Archive for the ‘People’ Category

USGBD came round the other day. A cup of tea, a chat. Much of it about alcohol and The Spreadheads. USGBD used to be an addiction counsellor and was speculating about who was an alcoholic in The Spread. It wasn’t territory I felt particularly comfortable in.

I’m sure there are a lot of alcoholics in The Spread and I can think of three or four straight off. But it’s not for me to say, it’s for them.

I lied. Lied by omission but lied nonetheless. USGBD thinks I just stopped drinking, he doesn’t know about the detox or the antabuse. “That’s good,” he said, “it shows you can control it.” I should have corrected him I suppose. I should have told him that I couldn’t control it, that it took 70mg of diazepam to stop me drinking and it takes an antabuse tablet a day to keep me sober.

I just didn’t want to go throw the whole thing. And, I suppose it made me feel better that someone thought I’d done something involving self-control and discipline. (I have, but I don’t think I could have done it on my own).

I was more honest with Jiffkriff on Friday. He, in the course of our conversation admitted his addiction to cannabis. He smokes every day (and I used his visit as an excuse to join him) and recalled the only time in the last four years when he hadn’t. He was in ‘a dreadful state’, mainly insomnia.

He also told me about someone he knew who gave up drinking and then started again but was able to do so in moderation. His friend had been drinking a bottle of whisky a day and then had stopped completely.

Jiffkriff said, “But it was always a battle.”

“He said ‘every time I went past the pub it was a battle not to go in’. Now, he was drinking a can while he was saying this, and he told me: ‘I decided I wasn’t going to let it win, that I was going to have two cans or four cans, but I wasn’t going to let it be on ‘its’ terms.'”

That’s the dream isn’t it. I can’t imagine there are many recovering alcoholics who don’t wish they could do that (we’re in that ‘what is addiction’ territory again). I do. I miss it awfully. For the moment I’m committed to abstinence. How long that will last we will see.

I lie to you (anyone who reads this) by omission too. I don’t tell you my real name or the names of anyone I know, I don’t even reveal where I live. There are good reasons for this. I need to find work freelance and I don’t want anyone to Google my name and come up with ‘alcoholic’, but I also know there’s an extent to which I want to avoid publicly making that ‘I’m an alcoholic’ statement because one day – deep down – I hope that maybe I won’t be. Maybe I’ll be able to make all the changes in my life, my personality, that will enable me to drink with discipline and restraint.

History suggests that will never happen, but who ever learned the lessons of history?



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Mag and I slogged across the Eden and through Dodge (AIGTHOO) to the Dodge Market this morning.

I enjoy it, the bargain hunting and the hustle and bustle make me feel like a member of the real world who has to watch the budget. Mag loves it.

It’s disappointing to be huffing and puffing so much and my chest is still my main preoccupation, the fly in my sober ointment. Talking of ointment, a slight flare up of my eczema is also troubling.

I must report though that my cravings have decreased. Maybe it’s just the passing of time – this is my third sober Sunday, a day that would normally be devoted to heavy (and enjoyable) drinking – maybe the drugs do work.

Getting out of the house into the fresh air and doing some exercise helps too. I didn’t do so well yesterday, didn’t work through my list of positive things to do, and I’m convinced that not leaving the house had something to do with that. It doesn’t take much, but it helps.

We walked back, stopping at the corner shop to get some milk.

As I left a young woman outside accosted me. “Excuse me mate,” she said. I must admit my heart sank somewhat. She was dressed in the uniform of the Thin City underclass and was obviously waiting for someone who I guessed was the bloke I’d heard inside buying a bottle of coke and a litre of ‘the cheapest’ vodka. I braced myself for the request for money or fags.

But no, she pointed at the green leaves sticking out of my ruck sack. “Excuse me mate, you’ve got a leek,” she said and we both laughed like children.

That’s a good lesson for me. Stop expecting the worst.

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Jiffkriff is coming round in a bit. Since I stopped drinking he’s the only one the Spreadheads I’ve really seen.

There’s a great scene in The Wire… (I became pretty obsessed with The Wire last time I was on the waggon and one thing I can tell you is that it’s not always easy watching for a recovering alcoholic, boy do they film drinking well and boy does it look fun). But, anyway, there’s a great scene in it when Beadie tells McNulty (who’s been on the toot again) that the people he’s drinking with won’t be the one’s who turn up at his funeral.

She’s right.

Not that there’s any fault in that. We drank together because drinking was what held us together. Now it’s gone for me and I’m gone from where it’s done.

I’ve seen it myself and done it myself. We’re all full of good intentions standing at the bar, but stuff which involves actually leaving the bar seldom happens. Lom, a lovely old guy who everyone in The Spread knows and has a great deal of time for, had been seriously ill just before I finally left The Spread. Now, it would be wrong of me to tar everyone with the same brush, but only a couple of people (not me) went to see him in hospital.

It’s probably for the best. Last time I was sober, I continued to go to The Spread, staring at the beer taps and the whisky bottles while slurping my squash and sober. I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be ridiculous to suggest this is why I didn’t stay sober for longer than a year.

It’ll be nice to see Jiffkriff though. He’s probably my closest friend in The Spread. And, he’s one of the few Spreadheads who doesn’t fit into the “almost certainly has what medical professionals would call a drink problem” category. He has a cannabis problem. Well, a problem in that he has to smoke it every day, which to him isn’t a problem, which is cool.

Anyway, he’ll be here soon, for a cuppa so I better log off.

Thanks for listening. Leave a message.


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Do we? I hope not, wouldn’t that be terrible.

I did find myself getting a little annoyed at a friend today though – for no particularly good reason it must be said.

I mentioned Desmond in my drug run down post.

I owe a fair amount to Desmond and he – or so I think – owes a fair amount to me.

Desmond and I did collaborate on what was to be a business. Just a website, which he set up and which I helped out on. He did everything really, I just wrote a little. It never happened. Desmond was – to my eyes – very obviously an alcoholic. Desmond was – predictably enough – in denial about it (“I almost never get drunk.”) Desmond hit the proverbial rock bottom. Desmond detoxed himself, moved house, got a lot of other health problems looked at too and is in a much better place.

I went to see Desmond today. I hadn’t wanted to go while I was still drinking and put it off again while I waited for the all clear on TB. Now, I thought this meeting would be to discuss work. Desmond is a real computer genius (I don’t use the term lightly in this case) and has now started to reap the rewards of his fantastic social media presence to get jobs. I thought I was to be offered some writing work on the back of this. I was not.

And, I’m angry about this. Unreasonably so. Like many very technically gifted people Desmond doesn’t have the greatest social skills in the world (which, if my experience is anything to go by is almost certainly one of the root causes of his drinking) and telling someone that you’re earning hundreds of pounds an hour for what work you get (he doesn’t get very much yet) when you owe them at least a couple of hundred quid, is not great.

The upshot? I stalk off feeling pissed off that I’ve just been asked to help out on the old site for no cash.

But, I didn’t ask. I didn’t raise the debt. I didn’t say: “let me know if you need a hand with any writing.” Desmond can write very well any way, he doesn’t need a hand.

There is a part of me that is very nasty, jealous and even potentially vindictive about the success of others. It’s not at all attractive. I think it’s because I’ve been quite close to success myself in some ways and because I know I could have (maybe will) done/do so much more with my own life. It’s not good or productive and I want it to stop.


That’s why I blog sometimes. I just have all this crap going round in my head that never comes out and hopefully crapping it here will help.

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