Archive for the ‘Alcoholcs Anonymous’ Category

Ageing’s alright; better than the alternative which is not being here. (George H. W. Bush)

June 28, 2019

And so dear listener, in two days I celebrate my 65th birthday and, like many people, I never really thought about what it would be like being 65 when I was only 20 as, after all, I was at university (first time) and hadn’t even started real work.

Or 30, when I was happily married but without child at the time altho’ Son Brian wasn’t that far away and I was working for the BBC as an established radio producer.

Or 40, divorced and back at the BBC (contract and casual) having had a career break in the wonderful world of public relations but living in what the wonderful Tom Shields once described as the independent republic of Summerston.

Or 50, when I’d left the BBC (or had it left me?) and I was beginning life as a subject tutor at Glasgow Metropolitan College and trying to teach potential young wordsmiths in an atmosphere where teaching wasn’t necessarily everyone’s main reason for being there but administrative ambitions came first for some management people (of which I’ve never been one)

Or……. well no, by the time I was approaching 60, the shit had already hit the fan and I was going through a period of ‘what the hell was that all about?’ and hoping that I was about to settle down again and maybe write a much better version of the book that I had already written about the alcohol dependency and the cancer.

The ‘Cold Turkey’ I talk about (unplanned withdrawal from alcohol over one weekend) had seen me being visited in the old Western Hospital by close family and friends who did not expect me to make it through the night – but I did; and when I was receiving radiotherapy (thirty-seven daily sessions) I attended the funeral of a friend’s mum only for the ‘mutual friend’ standing next to me to say ‘to be honest, I was expecting you to be the next’ – but I wasn’t….or ‘haven’t been’ to be grammatically pedantic.

But then, just a couple of years before the sixtieth I made one of the greatest decisions of my life; I went to UWS (Paisley) to study drink and drugs for two years. There were some who said, ‘Well if you want to go back to university and become a student again (sic), then why not do American Literature or something like that?’ but now I felt I had something to offer in the field of addiction treatment but also wanted to learn more about the part drink and drugs had played in my life.

And by chance I made some amazing friendships amongst fellow students and staff – including recently Instagram voting for a member of staff’s grand-daughter in some shopping centre competition and any grand-daughter named after (wrong spelling) a rock drummer of the sixties and seventies deserves my vote.

And the months around the actual sixtieth birthday saw me abseiling for charity, zip-wiring for fun, being a zombie (at a well know theme park near Motherwell) for devilment…….and a few years later saw some anxiety and depression and a heart scare.

The anxiety and depression still hang around but I do know people who have considered taking their own life and there are times I talk to them – about all sorts of things AND I also meet an NHS nurse (a different one each time) every six weeks to get my bloods taken and I have an AAA Screening Ultrasound Scan in a few days’ time in Stobhill Hospital so lots of people still look after me. So, it’s the least I can do for others.

I noticed the other day that Holly the Dog’s mum had written ‘Iaint850=65’ on a kitchen calendar which I though was an optimistic view of the future and then we discussed non-alcoholic drinks including a new one called Slipknot (that’s not quite right, is it Skippy?)

And I’m not long back from a long weekend in Arisaig of which I shall talk more at a later date but a wee bit of the anxiety showed on the morning of the day I was due to return when I worried about the train back down from Arisaig being cancelled and I’d be stranded. It wasn’t and I wasn’t.

But along the way there’s been graduations (me, Son Brian, the lovely KT and my grand-daughter from nursery with grand-son to follow) and there was a wedding six years ago and all the usual ups and downs associated with being alive……..

And I’ve spoken lots about the people who have helped so much over the years, the majority of whom are women………but maybe they’re more understanding than men who, in many cases, may feel threatened by some of the things I talk about. Many don’t believe, for example, that I am now simply someone who doesn’t drink alcohol; for many I am still a recovered alcoholic which is good in itself I suppose but may prevent others from recognising their own problems.

Mind you, in many ways, I am my own worst enemy. I’m not a great one for re-unions with people with whom I’ve lost contact and some organisations (e.g. the BBC) don’t seem to be great ones for re-unions. I was, however, supposed to attend one that was a celebration for someone who had worked (and still does) with the Beeb for forty years but a job opportunity got in the way. Or did it?

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

But if I’ve learned anything from the last few years it’s that there’s more to happen in the years to come. My (now) late sister made it to sixty-nine and she had supplied a great deal of material support for me in recent years. Indeed, once the will is finally settled she will continue to do so both for me and the rest of the family.

So you know where to find me and my diary will always remain flexible.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 who, having written all the above, now fully expects to get knocked down and killed by a passing bus within the next few days.

And after all I said about the importance of women in my life, here’s four guys who are kinda role models for me and the song certainly is

‘but I am still alive’……….and anything is still possible.

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Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can hurt forever.

May 6, 2019

And so dear listener, you know what it’s been like over the last few weeks; the build-up, the anxiety, the analysis; and then the final ninety minutes. What drama…..

But I’ll come back to the feature length episode of Line of Duty later 😉 first Partick Thistle.

I wasn’t there on Saturday but I watched it on Twitter and some very descriptive writing and pictures. A three-nil win away to Queen of the South means that I will probably be contacting the ticket office later this week and renewing my season ticket.

Maybe it was the special training they had had this season; not just the well-publicised event of this week where all the players had to come up with the team they wanted for this Saturday; write it down on an anonymous sheet of paper; and put it in an envelope so that the management team could see who each other trusted.

What if you were the only one to pick yourself? Not so anonymous then, eh? 😀

But I put it down to another event earlier in the year not long after Gary Caldwell took over as manager and after good friend e and I had seen them in training at Glasgow Uny Science Park.

They were taken down to spend a day teambonding in a session with the Paras down at their Garelochead base. According to (only) one tabloid, after the squad thought the session was over, ‘an SAS squad swooped in to stage a mock kidnap that involved blindfolds and interrogation.’

It left one player (who I shall not name) in tears and ‘four soldiers were apparently required to capture Bruce Ntambe when the midfielder made a bid for freedom.’

Neither player has remained with Thistle but that’s not really surprising, is it?

Now do you understand the link with Line of Duty.

But first, I was at a book signing and reading last week presented by the former Head of Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, and very good it was too. I’d read the book and knew the stories but Jeff tells them well. Plus I’d worked for a few weeks in Selkirk and I did love the old BBC building in Edinburgh at 5 Queen Street which was something like three buildings badly converted into one and I am convinced that there was one door that if you did manage to get it open had a brick wall behind it. 😀

However there was one OOOPs moment. 😦

Just before it started I was asked if I’d like a glass of wine? ‘No thanks but could I have a soft drink?’ only to be told they didn’t have any. Seriously. Luckily I carry a plastic bottle of strawberry flavoured water and whilst that might not be popular with Xtinction Rebellion, it helped to quench my thirst.

Apart from any other consideration, I was driving.

‘And where was this this?’ I hear you ask. In Waterstone’s the bookshop at the top of Byres Road – next to a large Supermarket called Waitrose……….OOOOOOPs indeed. 😦

And finally, there’s not much left to say about Line of Duty. It took a dive for me when Ted went renegade, went to the nightclub, escaped by a door that nobody knew existed and ended up with the OCG in a warehouse full of cocaine.

And how come he didn’t know how to delete his browser history of porn – I mean I do. (I could probably have phrased that better)

And why is there always a bent copper as part of the armed guard for the final interview?

And because it wasa full length episode (well actually 85 minutes) theer was so much time left to fill that you knew the policewomn going to the loo with Gill was dodgy.

Still……that DCS Carmichael (‘ma’am’) is one helluva scorned woman – so watch for her come the next series. 😉

But it’s just a TV drama – so ‘stop making a tit of yourselves and piss off.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple – a constant in the sea of climate emergencies

Iaint850, who’s tried sucking diesel and didn’t like it.

It is well known that Adrian Dunbar had issues with alcohol a wee while back and he is quite open about the fact he has attended AA meeting over the last twenty years. Apparently he has not attended meetings recently but is aware that they are there ‘if needed.’

Recently he was seen with a couple of bottles of beer and the tabloids were ‘full of it’; ‘back on the booze’ and ‘off the wagon’. Bloody hell!!! I think it’s a ‘well done’ for not drinking for that length of time; not digging him up for having a beer. I know no more than that but we know many people who had drinking problems who are now able to control their drinking.

Anyway, a lapse does not erase progress.

Let’s encourage people who make an effort and not condemn them with the first words that come to mind. Think a little about the effect that words can have.

Here’s a song about bent coppers featuring Ted Hastings;

Now, one might well question the wisdom of sending you here, of all places. Out of the frying pan into the, well, maybe not the fire but certainly a different type of frying pan, or some sort of wok at the very least. (Sister Michael – who else?)

April 18, 2019

And so dear listener, there I was driving out of Garelochead last Sunday morning at about nine o’clock and it was a lovely day for a drive home. I was wishing I was a passenger and understanding the attraction of living in the likes of Kilcreggan or similar. 😀

(I remember driving down to Kilcreggan a few years ago with the good doctor W to buy homebrew making equipment….and Helensburgh Pier played a part in that story as well) 😉

Anyway, smiley, smiley and then it happened. A warning light came on in the place you hope you will never see a warning light. It was an exclamation mark so I tried the handbrake but it was off so it wasn’t it. It was in the wrong dial for that and it was orange. 😦

But you see, I wasn’t sure if I could stop to look at the manual.

‘Why not iaint850?’ you ask.

I was slap bang next door to a big nuclear submarine base and I suspected that if I pulled over and sat there for any length of time, men with submachine guns would come rushing over and before you could say ‘Julian Assange is not a journalist!’ I’d have been surrounded and forced out of the car. The safety catches would have been on but their thumbs would have been trembling. 😦

I made the decision to keep driving. I could neither feel nor hear anything. Those days have long incidentally.

I got to Helensburgh and pulled in on the front. According to the manual it was tyre pressure but I looked at the tyres. They seemed fine. I kicked them as J had once shown me how to after the Clyde Tunnel incident but it meant nothing. 😦

Indeed there had been no flippety-flappety noises that you get when it’s a tyre (or two as in the Alderman Road incident)

I decide to phone the AA but had to do so up a close where there’s a restaurant called the Something and Creel (No, Skippy. That’s not its real name. I just can’t remember the first bit of the name) and as I was doing so a young couple came out of a door and nodded to me……it must happen a lot.

The AA did give me a time which kept changing and I was beginning to get fed up but I noticed along the front that there were some tables and chairs on the pavement. It was a café, open at nine on a Sunday morning. A godsend. As is the fact that the public toilets are also open at that time (next to the pier) and they’re free. 😀 😀

I finished my coffee and returned to the car. The woman from the couple came out and offered me a coffee which was very nice of her. And the AA man turned up. And checked pressures and pressed a re-set button and I was safe to go. Except I went back to the toilet…….just to be sure.

So I drove back up the road – back through the village of Cardross which has a co-op I plan to stop at at some point. I do not think I’ve ever had an incident in Cardross.

https://finder.coop.co.uk/food/store/G82-5PD/main-road

Much relief. My own toilet. 😀

So, finally, as you, hopefully, enjoy a holiday weekend, I plan to do so as well. Some garden work and maybe buy some new books and music. There’s still a wee bit of electrical work before my sister’s other property goes on sale but we have reached a stage (almost) where everything is in other people’s hands and I think my sister would be impressed – especially as we did it without an Excel spreadsheet!

Emotionally, I’m shattered, but yet again, in my life, a support team came into being over the last few months. I do hope I repay some of all that help.

And thank you anonymous lady in Helensburgh. 😀

And the PT fan known as Bean who reminded me about the existence of AS Electrics when I worried needlessly about my cooker. 😀

Tioraidh, actually wearing two badges on one jacket this week, but that’s still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, with some cool things coming down in the pipeline.

And so I mentioned AA last week and the fact that, eighty years on, little has changed in the way they approach alcohol issued – it’s still based on the Twelve Steps and going to meetings.

Lots of them.

Except….

About seven years ago I became aware that the meetings could be found online. Somebody I knew well at the time. You didn’t have to take part in these meetings (in fact you don’t have to speak at any meeting) but just listening in seemed to give her comfort.

And then there’s Twitter – something of a cesspit at times – but there’s #RecoveryPosse which gives folk the opportunity to voice fears and achievements in a short space of words and to get an almost immediate response.

I write one thousand words a week for different reasons but it’s always nice to get a response. 🙂

And I’m sorry bellechere lauren, but you’re not allowed to sit on the fence in the great Fleabag versus Derry Girls debate. Apart from anything else, the Derry Girls had music like this. Scarlet with Independent Love Song;