PDA

View Full Version : The Sobriety Experiment: Chapter Two



Pages : [1] 2

Lunarer
March 19th, 2017, 12:24 PM
Saturday, March 18th 2017 (My Story)

Continued from ''Up Until Now''

Over all then – that's my story!

The forum I used to help me before (the now defunct WQD) aided me greatly in finding my way early doors into a new kind of life far away from that one where I woke up on the floor of the bedroom in that cave over the winters. It had its problems, as any forum will. Many of its senior members hadn't been to the kind of places that many of us who are/were very serious drinkers and who have lifelong psychological and social dysfunctioning yet pretended they had, which is something I found to be deeply disrespectful. When I was going through my suicidal thinking I had to pull away from the forum for a while as it appeared to condemn me for feeling this way. Many of its members figured I was just seeking attention. Again – many of them couldn't relate to what I was going through. The senior members especially.

Things were never the same after that. I don't care too much for people posting responses to what I write. Sometimes there are periods when no one reads my text yet I still put down my 1000 – 1500 words daily. It's a tool I've used to help me stay sober since the beginning of my journey.

This website is the latest place to be cursed with these words.

Thanks for giving this your time.







Stevie,

Lunarer.....

Lunarer
March 19th, 2017, 12:25 PM
Sunday, March 19th 2017 (A Questionnaire)


Right then, we'll just get right on with it.

Thanks for the comments on the My Way Out forum. It's a nice place, this. So incredibly similar in style and design as the old forum I used to use.

This morning Lindsay and I were supposed to be attending my oldest niece's dancing show in a neighbouring town but Sunday public transport has meant that it's not gonna be happening. Or, to be more honest, lack of advance planning on my part has meant that it will not be happening. I'm a little worried about things with my girlfriend though. We're fine in the house (her house – never my cave) but when we've been attending things recently there have been one or two problems. At the beginning of the month we were to be meeting up with a guy from my college course who was playing his first gig and we managed to get all the way to the town he was playing without actually getting to the gig. I kept getting the impression that she didn't want to go and we ended up arguing. Then there was Thursday evening when we went out to eat and for an overnight stay in a posh hotel. Again, we ended up arguing. Now we have this morning where we don't manage to make it to a social appointment. Maybe I still suffer from codependency.

I'm a little worried. We have a little trip coming up soon to fishing town Montrose at the start of May and also we have only last night booked into a hotel room for a gig later in the year. Sometimes I wonder if I'm so used to doing things by myself that I feel it awkward to have someone coming along to everything now.

I have my next session with my clinical psychologist coming up on Thursday afternoon (my fourth session, I think it is) and I've homework to complete before this. Lindsay offers some assistance with this. It's the usual kind of thing you've probably done yourself at some point. Answer the following questions using a number:

1 – Never or almost never
2 – Rarely
3 – Occasionally
4 – Frequently
5 – Most of the time
6 – All of the time

I ask her for assistance in filling out this form. It's interesting to see how her opinions of me and my choices and personality traits differ slightly from what I believe myself to be. While placing my score from one to five based on what both of us say about each question I have to be aware that while Lindsay will be able to see me in a different light from that I see myself she will only have the experience of how I think, act and behave while I am with her and not all of the time. So I'll use her opinion as a guideline but not as a conclusive and definitive answer.

Here are four of the questions I was going to put a different answer to until I heard Lindsay's take on them:

Question 14) I have rage outbursts.

I was going to put number 3 down there, occasionally. Lindsay then mentions that I never show any rage.

Lindsay – ''Sometimes you get a little annoyed with the computer and the internet, like, when it isn't moving quickly enough for you or isn't working properly, but I've never seen you getting what I would say was really annoyed. Certainly nowhere near rage.''

I guess she's right, but then she doesn't see what's inside of me. There are times when I do feel angry and it's usually always got nothing to do with technology – it's people!

Stevie – ''Sometimes when people are walking towards me on the footpaths I get pissed off if they don't divide themselves up to allow space for me and just continue to take up the whole of the walkway. I think that it should be fifty – fifty whether you are on your own or in a group.''

Lindsay – ''We all get pissed off with other people from time to time but I don't think that you should put a high number for that one.''

Stevie – ''Sometimes I think I can get pretty annoyed though.''

Lindsay – ''But you don't display it in an outburst, like the question is asking.''

She's right. I guess. I end up putting a score of ''2'' because I do believe that I have a passive-aggressive stance on most things in life. How times have changed though – sobriety sneaking up on me.

Question 2 ) I feel loved and accepted.

This was one in which I felt a low score should apply. It's something that Lindsay picks up on. She seems disappointed. As if to place a low score here means that I feel as though she doesn't care for nor accept me. I know she does, but, as in every relationship, there are conditions placed on us and I am expected to be a certain way. My psychologist – the very guy I'm filling out this questionnaire for in the first place – asked me a couple of weeks ago if there were any relationships in my life in which I felt completely safe. I thought about it for a while and concluded that there is one. My friend English Sara. She's the only one who has seen all of me and still seems to accept me. I don't have to pretend when I'm with her.

I put down the number two as my answer.

Question 45) I don't let myself relax or have fun until I've finished everything I'm supposed to do.

Lindsay is quick to suggest I give this a higher score. I think this is an interesting one though. I spend around two thirds of my time at Lindsay's flat. Around a third of my time at my own cave. I think that there are two very different Stevie's depending on where I am. The Stevie who stays with Lindsay probably does get things done before he is allowed to relax. In fact – doing college essays and so on IS my relaxation, which are things many people becoming stressed by. But when I'm in my cave the other Stevie comes to the fore. The Stevie so filled with anxiety and hatred at his surroundings that he gets in and straight away gets the headphones on and vanishes into his own little world.

Because I am at Lindsay's more than I am at the cave I decide to answer a number 4. I frequently don't allow myself time to relax until all that is to be done is done. I'd put the lowest score on the other Stevie though.

Question 122) I feel spontaneous and playful.

I glance toward Lindsay on the other side of the couch. She's smiling while nodding her head. I know. Sometime I give myself a hard time for my apparent lack of playfulness and capacity for spontaneous behaviour.

Lindsay – ''I can't wait to see your spontaneous side.''

Stevie – ''Who says I have one?''

Lindsay – ''Everyone has a spontaneous side.''

I'm not going to get all negative and suggest that I might be the exception here (and this is what I believe to some extent) but I think hard about what my answer to this one might be. I have to go with the lowest score of just ''1'' – never or almost never do I feel or act playfully or in a spontaneous manner.

Through the text messages I got a row from Scottish Sarah for missing the niece's dancing show this afternoon. I deserve it too. I didn't sober up to be a shitty uncle, yet here I am.

I'm 771 days away from a drink but still can't get myself to keep to a fairly basic schedule.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

RIP Chuck Berry

1334

Lunarer
March 20th, 2017, 02:29 PM
Monday, March 20th 2017 (Spring)


It's over! Normally my worst time of year by a considerable distance – winter. Autumn is a close second in the ''Seasons I Am Most Fearful Of'' competition but this is only, I feel, because it is during this month that I start to think about the winter. This winter has been nothing if not rather straightforward, There have been no suicidal thoughts or feelings (there's a big difference between suicidal thoughts and suicidal feelings) whatsoever. I even enjoyed Christmas. Whatever it was, slightly milder temperature, having Lindsay by my side, or the fact that there were no alcoholic drinks or cigarettes with anything other than tobacco inside – something has made the difference. I won't be naïve about it, but I feel that there no longer needs to be within me this tremendous fear of the dark months. Spring begins today!

I'm beginning to feel a little better generally. I'm not sure if this is directly a result of this one single date of the calender (it was sunnier yesterday after all and has been raining quite badly here in central Scotland this morning and later in the afternoon as well) or if it is, which I think is the much more likely scenario, that I am actually doing better with my life. My addictions counsellor, Margaret, whom I had almost one hundred sessions with over a three and a half year period, used to talk all the time about the flower and the petals. The idea that each of us is his or her own little plant and that we need petals, healthy petals, to surround us, to attach to us. These could come in the form of various friendships and relationships; jobs and hobbies; anything that I healthy for us, that helps us to be who we are, content in life.

For so long I thought Margaret was mad. I used to become frustrated by her and all of this ''petals of a flower'' talk as it was clear from her demeanour that she came from a comfortable background, and even if she hadn't I had created an entire history for her in my head so much so that I struggle to take on board what she said. She had it all and at the time I had nothing. That was what I thought anyway.

Now I realise that I have started to build up a little bit of a life for myself. I have some petals surrounding me. I suppose that I have something Margaret may not have all that much of – time. I'll turn thirty nine next month and so I am still relatively young. I noticed in Alcoholics Anonymous that mid thirties is a popular age to sober up. I could one day, effectively, become an ''old timer'' with thirty years of continuous sobriety. Thirty years! Holy shit! I have every reason to feel optimistic.

Two weeks from now and this library will close down. It, like the charity shop just opposite which I volunteer every Friday morning, has been a great support to me while I sobered up. I try to imagine what I might have done when I lost internet access back in the cave. All those times when writing and posting on WQD wasn't as much an option as it was a necessity, like breathing in the fresh air of a morning. Less than two weeks from now and it will be gone. The council closing it to save, apparently, eleven thousand pounds per month. Less than the cost of one staff member's salary.

I've had some good times here, in this room, beside the other regulars who come in here to privately go about doing whatever it is that each of them might be doing.

I think I'm feeling gratitude. For those who don't know me very well this might sound ''normal'', why would someone not feel grateful at being two years off the booze, one year away from the drugs, and six weeks (tomorrow) smoke free?

But I was for a long time seemingly incapable of the finer traits and emotions of the human condition. Empathy, love, humility, and gratitude – none of these seemed possible, they just never came to me. Perhaps I was trying to hard to feel them, trying to create them, rather than just letting them come to me in their own time.

I was told once by a member in AA that she felt the slower recovery to be the best recovery. That there's no rush for this. She said that these things will come to me if I only have faith.

I'm staying in my own town this evening so am going to go visit my good friends English Sara and Dennis. Lindsay will be at her Children's Panel meeting just now and so I'll likely speak to her about that at some point over the course of the evening. I miss her. I always do my best to block people off from getting to know me. My psychologist calls it my ''detached protector mode'' and we'll be looking a little more at it on Thursday at our session. I'm good at blocking people off but I'm equally as talented at blocking off any attachment from my end. Don't care. At least try not to. This way any future loss won't hurt too much.

I look out of the library window though and into the sunshine that still beats down on us despite it now officially being evening time. I think it would be hard to deny that I have fallen for Lindsay in many ways. I don't think that if we stopped seeing each other from tonight that I'd be able to completely detach from my feelings about it. I think I'd be hurt. It's scary, but healthy.

I'll pack up the computer and walk out that door into the spring sunshine. Hopefully that warmth of spring will be there to greet me and to accompany me on the walk to Sara's.

It's a little reminder to me that the winter no longer exists as I used to know it.

A little reminder of what was then but is not now.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Entering spring.

1045

Lunarer
March 21st, 2017, 04:18 PM
Tuesday, March 21st 2017 (Dying Petals)



I'm sitting with English Sara and Dennis last night and I'm looking around the room. There isn't a seat free so I take to the floor. They are struggling, these two. For some reason I had no issues with myself letting my cave get into a complete state but it hurts to watch it happen to others I know and care about. The place is getting worse each time I come around. Sara fell and broke her ankle at the end of last month so she's been immobile. Dennis has recently turned seventy but could still be capable of tidying up should the inclination come to him, it's just that he's choosing not to.

Stevie – ''I thought I'd pop round because the trip to Montrose is in six weeks now. Time is ticking away.''

Sara – ''I'm not sure if we'll be able to afford it. We're hoping to go see my daughter in London in the summer.''

It's unlikely that they'll be able to afford both (between you and me it's unlikely that they'll go on either trip) and so we agree to work out our funds and then I'll pay them a visit a week on Friday (same day that the library closes) and we'll either drop the idea of the trip or commit to going and book our rooms. I wonder what state the place will be in when I next come to visit in eleven days from now.

So I'm walking back to my own little sess-pool of a cave and wondering about yesterday's post. I'm thinking that I spoke a little prematurely about all of that ''gratitude'' and ''things going well with the petals of my life's flower'' – and all that jazz. I'm feeling a little less than I was earlier on. I'm not getting down on myself (although I am very prone to bouts of this type of behaviour), rather I'm just allowing myself to become a little concerned about my petals.

It might not all be as wonderful as I was writing about yesterday. Imagine if Lindsay decides to finish with me at any random given moment. It's not likely to happen but it would leave me in a much worse position than I currently am. The college only has twelve weeks to go and then I'll be really struggling for mental stimulation. Things might not be all that great after all if they could be toppled by just a couple of small events. My new and sober world could come crashing down at any time and it wouldn't actually take all that much for it to happen.

When I feel like cheering myself up the booze doesn't work. I don't mean drinking it – that NEVER worked, not really. I mean that reminding myself that I have managed to somehow stay away from it for more than two years has long since lost its importance. It doesn't even help to remind myself that I have not taken any drugs for more than a year either. Nope – what motivates me right now is the reminding that I have been smoke free for six weeks. And it is a full six weeks to the day now. It, for some reason, works better at motivating and resuscitating the more optimistic parts of my brain into trying to feel some gratitude,

So today I have been busy at the college. I tried a couple of courses before but had always dropped out by this time. This year I am in it to win it and have been doing really well, even though it is not exactly the most difficult course or highest level I could have imagined. But this college course ws never about me trying to gain the qualification (although that is a big part of the plan) – it was about commitment and self-care. Could I commit to doing something I set my mind to? Could I find myself to be dependable? Can I rely on myself in my sobriety? These were questions I was interested to find answers for this year. So far, so good. It would mean that I would have to ditch some of my negative and highly destructive self-hatred and find a way of showing compassion and care towards this Stevie guy who I seem to be stuck with for this lifetime. I'm pleased to find out that things have gone really well in everything college related throughout the past few months and I'm in a very strong position going into the final trimester, which we just started yesterday.

Today we're looking at a lot of theory stuff in preparation for a coming assessment. Up until now we've been working through musical projects at the rate of one per four week period but for the next two weeks we're going to be prepping for this assessment and little more. Then we're off for two weeks while the Easter Bunny feeds us full of chocolate. When we return there will only be ten teaching weeks left and so I'm a little concerned that we won't be able to do another three projects and will only have two. That means that from last September when the course began until the end of this coming June when the course finishes we will only manage to squeeze in seven projects, eight if you include the Christmas Remix.

Lindsay had a bad time of it at the court this afternoon. Like me, she has a son she doesn't have access to, but unlike me she does get to see him every fortnight. This contact is supervised though and children's panel meetings and court attendances are constant and ongoing. I think that I'm grateful that my children didn't see the worst of my drinking. That way they can't have been damaged by it. They knew me only when they were really small and had no real way of knowing what alcohol is. Lindsay's son has been damaged by her drinking but it continues even now, more than eighteen months after she quit. And not just the psychological stuff either.

Her son has a school attendance record under forty five per cent for this year. He's rarely there. The courts have assigned his carer a crisis team who visit the house every day but still they cannot get him to school. One of the social workers has resorted to paying him for every class he attends but it's making little to no difference. He's had the perfect background for him to become an addict in the future. Now the courts and social work are teaching him that negative behaviour is to be rewarded and that it pays to play the victim.

In the future, when he walks into his first AA meeting in a few years, they'll all say that he is an alkie because his mother is. That alcoholism is a ''family illness''. This does little to help matters. It just means that Lindsay continues to take the blame and responsibility for her son long into his adulthood and his old age.

Like I said – I'm glad that my children never had to see the worst of my drinking.

'
'
'
'
'

'

Stevie

It was actually snowing a blizzard this afternoon.

Lunarer
March 22nd, 2017, 05:04 AM
Wednesday, March 22nd 2017 (Waiting For My Man)


I have a couple of interesting things happening today. Normally I write my posts in the evening and then post them when I can. Sometimes recently I've struggles more than at other times during my online stay and telling of my story since I sobered up. When I was new to online recovery journaling I had internet access at home. When I lost that I had access to it at the local library (the one that is but a week from closing down) and on public transport but my laptop battery has died as of late and so I find that I have to be connected to a power supply in order to post. It's meant that there have been times in the last month where I've been posting a few days behind. I think last week I fell behind by five days was it not!? I'm enjoying this little spell where I'm managing to post every day and keep up to date with this journal.

There's a guy coming to pick me up in a half hour or so. We're on our way to a SMART Recovery meeting. I've been to these things before but never one this early in the day. I haven't even been to an AA meeting at this time of morning. He's not a friend, I barely know him, but he's coming to take me away for a few hours. I met him at Restoration. Susan (project manager for most of these rehabilitation things) has been trying to get me to help organise and run a guitar music class for people in recovery for a couple of years but now that I am over the two years sober mark I have passed the magical time that means I can officially become a volunteer. This thing can finally get off the ground and running. She has okay'd all of my Disclosure Scotland stuff and everything.

She's got this other guy who will run it with me. He's not sober enough to be considered an official volunteer so I'm likely to be top dog in this little project. He's picking me up (around twenty seven minutes from now) and we're going to SMART, doing a little ''get to know each other'' stuff (which will include I'm sure, but not be exclusively about I hope, recovery stories) and then we're off to meet Susan at her work. Her work that will hopefully soon become our playground for teaching music. With me currently being a sound production student at the college I am hopeful that one day – in the not too distant future – we might be able to get a newcomer alkie guitar player booked into the college studio for a little recording session. That's the plan anyway, but I know that these things are to be taken just one day at a time.

We were advised when we started up at the college to get networking. Meet people. Get ourselves and our names out there. I am not naturally gifted at this at all. I am much more the introvert. So much so that it often scares me although I have to admit to making peace with it in my sobriety so far. But it's something I have to work on. I'm not sure if I'll be staying on and continuing with the sound production studies for another two years so that I could get my diploma but were I to decide that this is the best option for me then networking is something I'm going to have to try my hand at. This guy who is coming to pick me up in the car in what......twenty two minutes or so?......will be networking of sorts. Getting to know another person interested in the music industry.

I also know (because he told me when we met last Friday) that his son (yep – he's a bit older than me, I'd say mid-fifties) is in the other group in my year at the college. He's a sound production student also and I could have been in his class had things been only slightly different at the induction last summer. I wasn't sure who he was talking about but could recognise the guy no bother from photographs on his phone. Yep – I've seen the guy around the college from time to time. I know who he is. This could turn out to be a really healthy networking exercise actually. I could meet two musical contacts out of this. Not to mention those I could meet along the way should this class take off. Things could be looking up. More petals for my flower?


Then I'm back here, to Lindsay's town, where I'll be attending the Slimming World class. I'll go over this quickly as I only have nineteen minutes or so before my ride arrives. At my first weigh-in four weeks ago I was twelve stone; three pounds, around seventy eight kilograms. This is what I count my starting weight to be – my quit smoking weight. Not much at all, but still the heaviest I've ever been. Some of the women (and there are some guys go as well) have managed to get themselves into some incredibly large dress sizes – the eating equivalent of my alcoholism – and I often feel out of place, but they want my membership fee and so they help me feel comfortable. The uneasiness is all in my head. I didn't join to lose lots of weight. At under six foot tall I am well within my healthy guidelines although we have set a target weight of eleven stone; seven pounds, and I hope to reach this before I return to Alcoholics Anonymous after my ninety day holiday – around mid May. People always told me that when I quit smoking I'd put on weight. Already I have seen this to be nothing more than a delusional scare tactic and something people tell themselves so that they can continue to smoke.

Week 1 (Mon 20/02): 12 st; 3 p

Week 2 (Mon 27/02): 12 st; 4 p (up 1 – the new heaviest I've ever been)

Week 3 (Mon 06/03): 12 st; 1 p (down 3)

Week 4 (Wed 15/03): 12 st; 2 p (up 1)

Week 5 (Wed 22/03): ??????????


If I put on a pound again this week I'll be back at my starting weight, my quit smoking weight. It's all about not putting on.

Anyway – I'd better get going.

My ride will be here in fourteen minutes.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'

Stevie

A busy day ahead.

1110

Lunarer
March 23rd, 2017, 12:02 PM
Thursday, March 23rd 2017 (Striking The Crossbar)


One of the advantages of attending the Slimming World classes for a month now is that I am learning to eat a little better. When I was drinking I was, as I'm sure you can imagine, not too fussy with what I was eating. It was a case of ''when I have to'' and money was super tight. Now I am at least beginning to think about eating more healthfully even if I am not implementing the ideas I am getting from their books and suggested dishes. Maybe I should start doing so, however, as I step into the scales at last night's class to find myself weighing in at twelve stone on the dot. I've lost two pounds somehow. There's no rhyme nor reason for how it works. I thought I did okay last week and gained a pound. This week I thought I'd done really poorly and lost two. Oh well.......

There were other positive things happen yesterday too – my good fortune not ending there. I seem to be writing behind at the moment. I have just been to my psychologist session and there is much I'd like to discuss from that meeting but I can feel yesterday still pulling on my sleeve. Perhaps I'll squeeze the psychology talk into the later parts of this post but more likely is it that I save it for tomorrow. Yesterday I had my first little wobble with Alcoholics Anonymous.

I've explained to myself over and over why it is that I am staying away from the fellowship's rooms and it is to do with dependency, the lacking of being able to step back and see how I am actually doing while I'm still in the rooms. It's very easy to assume that you are getting along quite grandly when you are have an AA meeting to look forward to, something to do in the evening, but the reality........we can't know for sure unless we take a little time away and see how we get on. For as long as I've been in recovery I've been active in AA. This is by far the longest period I have gone without a meeting (I'm currently on ''day thirty nine'') and I am starting to get used to being without it. This is both good and bad.

For a start it is good because I have shown myself that I can live without it in my life daily, even weekly, and so I have shown that the dependency is not necessarily there. It's good to be responsible for my days without having the safe haven of an AA meeting to go to in the evening to offload. I've had to find other ways of decompressing and letting go of any concerns I may have been having from one AA-less day to the next. There have been tough times too (well – not really ''tough'' but there was that argument with Lindsay at the hotel last week and college has produced some stressful moments in the last month as I bombed the latest project) and so I've found myself reaching out to my Higher Power a little more often, the God of my understanding, than I had been doing so while active in the meetings every few days or so. I know that some people in AA actually cite their Higher Power as being the meetings, or the fellowship itself, but this is a very silly scenario to create for yourself in my view. It commits us to the meetings all the time, bolsters our sickness.

My musician friend picked me up shortly after I posted yesterday's ramblings and we made way for the SMART meeting. A very interesting SMART meeting too, so it was. Interesting because of the way I listened to everything being said. The room was filled. I am used to SMART meetings having six, maybe seven at a push, in attendance, but here we have a meeting where every seat has an ass on it. The facilitator has to go grab a few extra chairs for the latecomers to squeeze in. Then we are off. It's check in time. The thing that surprises me most at this meeting is the length of sobriety. Usually at SMART I am by far the longest sober member at two years (and almost by two years as well) but at this one I am the longest sober by around only eighteen months. There is some recovery here, rare for SMART.

As the meeting progresses I take a back seat. It's interesting how some people see those with longer term sobriety as having nothing to offer, like they should almost be excluded, rather than having something that others might be able to learn from. AA comes up quite a few times with many of the men and women here saying that they could not get into it or that it did not work for them. Given the number of relapses they seem to have had in the two years they've been coming here I wouldn't mind knowing exactly which part of SMART they feel to be working for them. I don't chip in much at all other than the check in and check out we are always asked to do. It never ceases to amaze me how people in recovery say what they have to say but then keep going, either so desperate to be heard are they or their ego is egging them on.

The thing is – these guys are just about getting it. All the things are mentioned that Alcoholics Anonymous would teach if they would just swallow their prejudices and go. We discuss the parts we ourselves play in our resentments with others; looking towards more positive futures; tools for aiding the calming of our racing heads. All the things that AA tries to teach us. Only there's no guidance here. It's all kind of hit or miss. There's a serious lack of structure. When discussing tools to help with sleep someone from the room suggests mindfulness but it is completely overlooked and instead we go down the route of rewarding ourselves for stopping a racing thought. I mean: ???? Mindfulness could be seen as the first step in connecting with a Higher Power.

I hate to say it but AA has all of this stuff already covered. There's no reason for any of these guys to be struggling like they are, wandering in the recovery wilderness – there's a meeting tonight just five minutes down the road from where we're sitting where all of this stuff and more can be learned!! I've compared my absence from the rooms to a football match (I'm British so by ''football'' I actually mean ''soccer'') with each day representing a minute of a ninety minute match: me against the pull of Alcoholics Anonymous. We last checked in a few days ago and the match was fizzling out – nothing was really happening, either side just trying to suss each other out. Here we are now in the thirty ninth minute and I think that I have let myself slip for a bit, a concentration lapse. Not long enough for them to slip past my last defender and into my penalty box to get a shot on target, but they've opened me up long enough so that they've tried a shot from distance and it's thundered off the crossbar above my goal. Nasty. The ball is cleared out of play for a throw.

We were not only at this building, my driver and me, to attend a SMART meeting. We were also here to discuss starting up the guitar based music course for people in recovery. There are some ID issues I'll have to clear up for next time and we have a few things to work out before we can officially begin. My friend has been clean and sober for seven months so not quite long enough to volunteer. He'll be my number two. I can apply to become an official volunteer now as I have passed my eighteenth month of sobriety and have been away from the agency's services for over one full year. The two of us will have to meet up and discuss how exactly we wish to run this class.

Shit! Is that the time!?

Guess I'll be talking about the psychologist session tomorrow then.....

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Writing a day behind.

1414

Lunarer
March 24th, 2017, 04:45 PM
Friday, March 24th 2017 (Little Stevie and the Detached Protector)



I almost slept in for my voluntary shift at the Charity Shop Cafe this morning. It was one of those mornings when the alarm goes off and I realise I've set it to my midweek alarm and so it sounds at quarter to six, thinking that I am going to be making way for the hospital to catch the bus into college, failing to see that I am in my cave this morning – but a stone's throw from the cafe and I don't start until ten. There is very little to do in my cave and so I opt to drift back to sleep. Then I wake at quarter to ten. Fuck, double fuck, and triple fuck. But it's okay – I like working at the charity shop and it remains out of my comfort zone so I am still slightly afraid of it. This is good in that it still gives me that feeling of having accomplished something once it is done. We don't get that so much when we know that we're good at stuff. I don't anyway.

After this it was a case of walking to Restoration to meet up with the alkies and addicts I have known and come to (grudgingly) love (in some cases) in the time I've been sober. There is one in particular who was there last week and is here again this and it's getting to the stage where I feel that he'll feature enough in this journal in the near future that it best I be giving him a name. He's going to be helping me run a guitar tuition class for people in recovery (or still actively drinking – I'm not fussed as long as they don't turn up to class drunk or wasted) and so it makes sense that I give him a music related name. I thought about Hendrix for a while but decided against it. Then I thought about Leo as it's short and so quick to type and easy to remember (it's also named after the guy who brought us Fender) but again I ditched it and am going with ''Marshall'' instead. That's a cool name in its own right and fits in quite well considering what we're going to be doing together.

I actually managed this afternoon to get evidence of him playing. I don't know what it's like where you come from but here in the small towns and villages that make up the Kingdom of Fife, here in central Scotland, the average musician of any quality is hard to find. Marshall, I'm happy to say, is of a high enough quality that running this course isn't going to be the embarrassment it might otherwise have been. He's not as good as my good self (and this is in no way me being big-headed – it's just a truth I've picked up since I got sober, and it's actually good for my confidence that I remind myself that I do actually have some skills) but he's good enough to help run this class. He's coming from a social work background as well so has typed up a Risk Assessment for the class as well as an Aims and Objectives and we look over this stuff while sipping on a coffee and being among others who belong here, our society's weak!

But it's not this stuff I wanted to talk with you guys about this afternoon. No – I wanted to talk about the session I had with Dr. Bacon yesterday afternoon, my clinical psychologist. Remember that questionnaire I wrote about the other day? Well, he starts looking over that from the get-go and before I know it we are more than thirty years in the past. He does this somehow – gets me out of the moment and where he wants me to be – without me even knowing until it's too late.

In order to look at my issues, using the Scheme Therapy that is the plan here, we have to look at the biggest trauma I faced in my life. My father dying suddenly in a car crash when I had only been in school for a month. Dad would have celebrated his sixtieth birthday a couple of Sundays ago. Instead he only made it to twenty six. The aspects of this that I am being forced to look at this afternoon are not directly related to the accident itself but more the aftermath. Why did my carers not tell me at the time? Why did they let me find out in another way?

Stevie – ''My grandmother said on her deathbed to me that her one regret was not telling me that my dad had died and letting me find out at school.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I'm trying to figure out what young Stevie might have made of all this. The little boy who's trying to make sense of the world, that's what we're always trying to do as human beings and especially at that age, who now has to also try to make sense of hearing about this.''

Stevie – ''For years I thought about this – that they should have told me – but more recently I've been looking at my nieces and thinking differently. My oldest niece is now five, same age I was when all of this happened, and her little sister is about to turn four – the same age my little brother was back then. If something happened to my brother then what would I tell them?! They are tiny. They wouldn't understand. How could I tell them that daddy was never coming home, that they would never see him again, ever!?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yes, but I'm wondering what it must have been like for you, for young Stevie.''

I know what he's doing. He's honing in on something and he's not letting me do what I always do – deflect! I've been asked a question, indirectly, and, rather than answering it I have done what I always do and taken the scenic route in the hope that my having to answer him will become lost in the forests, the mountains and streams of the pathways I'm leading him down. This works on most people, has worked against them all for years, decades, but this guy is not going to let me away easily. I can't deny it either, now that I'm aware of how often I do it. He's always going to bring it back to the question. It's about me. In these sessions I am running out of hiding places, and fast, it's only been a few sessions. It was this kind of insight and awareness of humankind and its collective nuances that made me want to study psychology in the first place. Sometimes I still feel like a mistake is being made in trading it to continue with sound production, but that's for another post.

Dr. Bacon says that one of the main reasons people like myself can have a tendency to ''overthink'' and ''intellectualise'' things so frequently is so that we don't have to be emotionally present. When things become complicated – overthink!! When thoughts or feelings get so close to me that they threaten to show me as vulnerable – intellectualise!!! This way I can distract people, and this includes me, sufficiently that my front remains intact. I guess this is why things often become so claustrophobic with Lindsay at the moment: it's getting to the stage where it's being expected of me to open up more. I'm expected to offer more, and it's not normal, not in my world. The Detached Protector within me is quick to rise to the challenge and protect young Stevie from what he sees as an imminent emotional onslaught, an attack on his confidence and masculinity.

Lunarer
March 24th, 2017, 04:46 PM
Friday, March 24th 2017 (Little Stevie and the Detached Protector - Part Two)


I'm expected to offer more, and it's not normal, not in my world. The Detached Protector within me is quick to rise to the challenge and protect young Stevie from what he sees as an imminent emotional onslaught, an attack on his confidence and masculinity.

Dr. Bacon – ''I'm wondering what all this made young Stevie feel like.''

Stevie – ''I did speak with mum recently, when I was going through my Step Nine amends with my AA sponsor, and she had said that we, my brother and I, never asked any questions about dad and so the older we got without asking then the more she just figured that we weren't interested.''

Dr. Bacon – ''That's quite tough to get the head around, isn't it!? Do you think that young Stevie, that any young child for that matter, would have the capacity within them to actually seek out answers to this?''

Stevie – ''How would they tell? The goldfish dies and you flush it down the toilet, salute and mourn it, then go get another one. A toy breaks and you are told not to be so hashy with them next time. A parent dies? There's not much they can say to make these kinds of things any better.''

Dr. Bacon – ''There's certainly nothing that can be said to make things better, but there's a responsibility, a duty of care....''

There was one time during this session that I felt something unsavoury toward my psychologist. I wondered for a few moments what on earth gave him the right to begin to question the decisions of both my mother and grandmother (my late father's mother) and make it out to me, at least this is the way I was perceiving it, and possibly suggesting that they did the wrong thing. In fact, in retrospect – how could what they did ever been considered the right thing? He's right. My mother had a duty of care, regardless of whether she had her own grief to deal with, and so did my grandmother – but mainly my mother – had a duty of care as my primary caregiver – to tell me, to tell young Stevie (the Stevie who created this Detached Protector in the first place) that his father was gone and was never coming back. To put all of this on me, to expect me to go to her when I wanted information on this, it seems insane now.

There was a massive cover up in my past. I was taught from the very beginning (not through the lessons where we are sat down and are shown, which would have been fine, but the other lessons, the lessons in which most of our teachings are drilled into us – watching and learning) that we don't talk about these things. We bottle them up. The Detached Protector and excessive use of drink and drugs are incredibly similar methods of building up a wall around ourselves so that no one else can get to us.

Self-pity. I've been accused of possessing it in great droves many times. My sponsor and the Big Book liked to tell me this often. Self-pity is so dangerous. I was also told this by the people of WQD, the forum I began my online journal into recovery. At what point, though, does self-pity become something else?

Stevie – ''I have noticed myself threatening to........show vulnerability...as this session has progressed and I have had to ask myself to stop. Don't show it. This is just self-pity. That sort of thing.''

Dr. Bacon – ''That's really honest of you to say that, and fantastic that you've noticed it.''

I makes me question the way I was groomed into my recovery. It was quite a militant way of doing things. AA taught me that self-pity is one of my biggest sins – perhaps my daddy of character defects – and that I should always be very cautious when entertaining it for more than a second, a fraction of a second, yet here we have someone trying to coax from me some of this ''self-pity'' – actually telling me that dwelling in this personal shortcoming of mine might be absolutely necessary if I ever wish to recover properly. I am sometimes very harsh on others in recovery from addictions in that they always seem to me as though they are weak, like they are doing things the easy way, like they can't see or won't accept that there is a rite of passage to getting sober and it is hard, hard, hard. Blood and sweat must be produced, but not tears, never tears, that is just self-pity, but dues must be paid. How can you expect to get sober and stay sober if you will not stand naked and be counted? The God of my understanding loves me, is a God of love, will love me unconditionally, there is no question, but also He expects results.

Like Dr. Bacon! He wants this room to be a safe place for young Stevie to come out of hiding, to ditch the Detached Protector and come out into the open to see that it, this world he is a part of, is actually, sometimes, a safe place.

Dr. Bacon – ''People get around it, you know!? The Detached Protector.''

Stevie – ''Everyone?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Nine out of every ten. But all of the motivated people manage to.''

That includes me then.

Dr. Bacon – ''Sometimes with young people I notice that some of their habits are less ingrained and so are easier to change but in the more mature I often see higher levels of motivation.''

Being seen as vulnerable was never my thing. But he wants to see me break down this thing, this Detached Protector, and he wants it to happen in his company, as he sits there. This isn't like going through the Twelve Steps with my sponsor where I can go home and do any of the more embarrassing things while on my own. I'm not sure if we personify this thing, this Detached Protector, which has become the latest foe I must find a way of defeating, make it into some sort of evil man or perhaps even monster, or whether it's more like a tool that young Stevie wields when he feels frightened, like a massive shield or forcefield, his own Ozone Layer, or something.

But he, this little Stevie, is going to have to learn to step out from underneath this shield he has created and out into the night, or the day, on his own for a little while, to hopefully learn that it is not a rain-filled and flooded post apocalyptic world out here where the rest of us play, full of things that would, given a moment's chance, do whatever it took to hurt and humiliate him, but is instead actually a warm and sunny spring day.

I should find a way to communicate with him, to tell him that winter is now over, and that every winter is followed by a spring.

The time when every cycle begins anew and darker parts of nature have died off to be replaced by the light.

A time for the dying of the old and the rebirth of the new.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

The battle has begun.

Lunarer
March 25th, 2017, 04:38 PM
Saturday, March 25th 2017 (Walking Out Of The Smoke)



It's nice to have a dry night. That what I was thinking. Sounds like I'm a little child who's been recently wetting the bed but that's not at all what I mean, or it might be – I have been spending a lot of the last few days thinking about younger Stevie, but then he was never a bed wetter. Drunk Stevie had a few moments with the mattress though. Moving on.

What I was actually meaning when I said I was thinking about dry nights was that I was glad last night to have a rain-free walk to the next town to see Lindsay. I was at it again this morning/afternoon and managed to walk, between last night and today, a total of twenty seven miles. It's not bad going. Takes my total miles walked since I quit smoking just over six weeks ago to two hundred miles. If someone was to ask me how I managed to quit smoking (and there have been one or two people I know recently try to quit but then start again after a few short days or even hours) so easily I could tell them that I literally walked myself out of the habit. I have been looking after myself a little better though, over all I mean. The whole idea of watching what I eat and attending Slimming World once per week is all good smoke-free behaviour.


Last week I tried to contact my mum. Her birthday was on Wednesday and with Mother's Day coming up tomorrow I had thought it best to try to reach her. More than this – I want to reach her!! I haven't been the best son in terms of getting the birthday cards and presents in over the last few (lots of) years (or brother, or brother-in-law, or uncle, or or or...) but this time I'm a little better prepared. I have her something. I was speaking with my auntie last week and she told me that mum was going to be out of the country from the day before her birthday, right through Mother's Day, and would be back at some point afterwards. It's right that she should do what makes her happy but once again the young Stevie within me – he was has created and masterfully crafted and perfected my Detached Protector over the last three decades or more – feels let down, abandoned. It's not her problem though, I accept this, and she shouldn't have to worry about having one son who is getting on with his life in the way that she might have always liked while also having a son who can't move on seemingly because he can't let go of some things that happened waaaaaaayyyyyyyy back in the past, but ever since my last session with Dr. Bacon I've been questioning everything I know about my mother, or thought I knew.

We spoke when I was making my amends with her in accordance with AA's Ninth Step that we were both going to try harder to make contact but so far things have stayed almost exactly as they always have been. I guess that I missed my big chance last weekend when I didn't go to my oldest niece's dancing show in the next village. Once again I made myself an outsider. Again – it's not her responsibility to change her life for my sake. I have to accept that she has a life and I'm not really a part of it. I can't resent her for that, or at least – I can't afford to resent her for that.

I wrote yesterday about how sometimes we can overthink things or intellectualise them so as to avoid claiming any emotional attachment to them. Today I've been out on one of my walks and I've been doing a lot of thinking, I guess this happens while we go through therapy of this kind, but I have to say that I don't feel as though I am in any way doing it so that I can avoid feeling anything. Rather I feel it is the complete opposite. I'm trying to connect with young Stevie. He's in there somewhere only he often holds up the Detached Protector even to me, or, maybe it's me who puts it up, the current Stevie, so that I cannot connect with my younger counterpart. Whatever the case I have done a lot of searching and reaching inwards over the course of my walk, trying to tell young Stevie that it's okay to feel the way he does, but that we'll need to work together if we want to get past this.

Lindsay was out last night with the girls from her university class. They just finished their last essay so it was party time. There was a little pressure put on her to drink from what she told me afterwards and I'm proud of her for making it through the night clean and sober with all the stress she's been under this week with her son. The other students are aware of her brain haemorrhage sustained during a fall one night when she was completely drunk a couple of summers ago, but they aren't privy to her status as an ''alcoholic.'' Lindsay and I both prefer to cultivate the idea that others don't come out and tell us all about their bad habits, past and present (do they pick their noses, cheat on their partners, indulge in a little cross-dressing at the weekend, wank off to midgets?) so why do they need to know anything about us? The haemorrhage is enough of a reason for them to back off after a while.

We chatted into the night about what's happening in our lives individually and collectively. I decide to share a little on what I was talking about with Dr. Bacon, the clinical psychologist, who has me in the middle of a Dexter moment when I've just found out that one of my parents isn't at all, perhaps, who I thought they were. That they weren't infallible. Rather they are accountable. We discuss a little of my stalling tactics, this.......Detached Protector. I decide to read out some of the post to her that I wrote last night. When it is over she reaches over and we hug. She thanks me for telling her all about it, saying that she knows how personal my ''online blog'' is and the trouble I've gone to in the past to prevent others in the real world from getting to its content. She says that it's great that I can accept it as being there and be capable of writing about it with such insight and ''detachment'' from it. I think so too. I also think that it's great that Lindsay herself can offer her own insights into this Detached Protector in me and how it has affected her in the seven months we've been dating. I'll maybe post a couple of those insights in tomorrow's post but to be fair I don't want to bog this journal down with just that one topic.

So that's two hundred miles walked in the time since I last smoked. As things stand just now I reckon the Slimming World scales will be loving me next week, assuming I keep it up. I also received a phone call from Jack the Lad but that's for tomorrow.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Walking not smoking.

1253

Lunarer
March 26th, 2017, 02:57 PM
Sunday, March 26th 2017 (Conflicting Emotions)


Sometimes I wonder what people who live in warm countries ever have to moan about, and what those from cold ones ever have to cheer about, but this is likely because I'm one of the many people who lives in a country where we get a big mix of weather. Last night signalled the start of daylight saving time and the clocks were all put forward for one hour and as if right on cue the weather has picked up and has been beautiful for two days now. I'd hoped that it wouldn't have any kind of negative effect on me but already it feels as though my brain and body are ''confused'' about the exact time and so I worry about sleeping tonight, but not to the extent where I'm catastrophising it.

My brother managed to win his court case against the castle that provided for his wedding to Scottish Sarah last September and so they have pictures of their new car up on Facebook. I'm not a member of that kind of social networking, refuse to do it and have no interest, but Lindsay is a member and she's ''friends'' with both Gary and Scottish Sarah, even though they've barely exchanged words when I haven't been there. They didn't get all of their money back for what must have been a contender for Most Fucked Up Wedding Of 2016 but they got back the money for the catering, which was the main issue I felt at the time.

It's Mother's Day today and this poses interesting conflicts of emotions for both Lindsay and myself. Her mother died back in 2014 (drink and smoking related heart failure at fifty four years old) and so has little to celebrate, while I have a mother alive and well but that is currently, as is always the case these days seemingly, in another country – a country I couldn't even tell you. She's ''abroad'' and that's as far as I know. Lindsay is also ''friends'' with my mother on Facebook so knows a little about this holiday she is currently on but the country hasn't yet been mentioned. Lindsay does have a father though who is alive and he's set to come visit early this afternoon. I decide to make myself scarce and head out on one of my walks. It leaves the two of them to mourn, whether they know they're doing it or not. Around half an hour ago Lindsay took a walk to the shop to pick up some discounted flowers to place in her memory on the windowsill.

I bumped into one of the guys from Restoration while I was out and about. The weather was lovely, as I've already mentioned but it's worth mentioning again, and so I stopped into the Wetherspoon's across from the Tuesday evening AA Step meeting which I used to attend every week and ordered a latte. I used to sit in here all the time and write posts on WQD but my laptop battery is currently without a working replacement. This visit has reminded me of how much I miss a working battery. Something else to sort out this week. The price of a latte has increased, I might add, only by five pence, but it's an unwelcome increase. The product hasn't changed.

So I met a guy from Restoration. He's been out the last two evenings. Watching a live band on both occasions.

Stevie – ''Did you manage to stay on your best behaviour both times?''

Jimmy – ''Yeah – I only had four pints on Friday night.''

Stevie – ''Did they leave you feeling rough the next morning?''

Jimmy – ''They did actually. I had a little hangover.''

It makes me wonder exactly what he bothers with Restoration for. It's certainly not to quit drinking. I'm not sure if I could risk one drink but I call say with a degree of certainty that was I to head out to a pub and drink as many as four pints then the floodgates would be opened and it would likely leave me with more than a ''little hangover'' come morning time, and in a state where there would be little chance of my claiming to have behaved myself. Maybe it is just a social club, like so many ''recovery'' ''services'' actually seem to be.

I mentioned yesterday that Jack the Lad had called. He's called a bunch of times in the last few weeks but I haven't been able to catch him until last night. He was one of many people I met with around this time last year to collaborate with in various musical projects, none of which came to anything. I got one gig out of it all – a gig that happened to be on the eve of my first sober birthday, which at the time I thought was really crazy. This guy though, this ''Jack the Lad'' was one of the more interesting of those I met with.

He's seventy or thereabouts. He's a retired lawyer and he owns a minor record label. I think he used to be a drinker as he was requiring a liver transplant and now his kidneys are failing him to the extent that he has to go to the hospital three times a week for dialysis. I wouldn't have known what it meant to have dialysis were it not for Lindsay's essay back in January on renal failure which I helped her to research. Now I know that it's a pretty brutal process. There is a chance that he wasn't a big drinker in the past but from the stories he's told me.......

We met up and looked at working together around this time last year and then one day he said to me that he would not see me for a few weeks as he was off travelling for a while. He called me from Portsmouth and then from Barcelona and then I didn't hear a thing from him until three or four weeks ago. We'll see what, if anything, happens.

It's more stuff happening though, whatever way I look at it. Which is a good thing.

Nothing much at all was happening in my life two years ago.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Eight in the evening but still not dark.

1061

Lunarer
March 27th, 2017, 12:49 PM
Monday, March 27th 2017 (Adult Children)


I received a text message from someone in recovery I haven't spoken to for a while. They are a member of ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics. There's a new meeting starting up on Saturdays in this town. I'm interested, but I don't know if I'll be there this coming Saturday as Shaun from the college has asked me to go with him to the next town to do a bit of guitar shopping for him. I'll go to the meeting the following week. I quite liked the freedom given in the ACA meetings, the fact that we kept things current. What are we doing NOW to get and stay better? In AA it always seemed to be in the past tense. I WAS fucked up, I USED to behave this way and that, almost like they can't see their current defective behaviour. In ACA there was a sense that those in attendance were always trying to recover from what they believe their problems to be. Not so many of them still living in the problem.

This ties in a little more closely with this whole Detached Protector thing that I'm investigating with my psychologist at the moment. There's a ''Laundry List'' for ACA. Have a look at this:

''
1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
8. We became addicted to excitement.
9. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."
10. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
12 We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.
''

What a fucked up bunch of cookies must go to those meetings, right!? Strangely they are not as fucked up, on average, as their AA counterparts. But then there are more AA members to choose from. I can't say that I suffer from all of the above, nowhere near to it, but I do with some. I know someone else who can also relate well to this Laundry List – Lindsay. She's interested in coming along with me to her first ACA meeting. We'll be going to check out this new meeting this coming Saturday afternoon.

We had a college assessment today and we have another to look forward to tomorrow. Today it was signal path stuff – anything to do with microphones or cabling; electromagnetic fields and impedance – tomorrow it's more to do with codecs and bit depth; aliasing and Nyquist Theorem. It's all good. This afternoon Shaun came top of the class with twenty two right out of twenty four. Second came some other guy, all the way down the line to one of us who actually failed it. Not so good. I got seventeen correct from twenty four. Not quite so good, but then I did do it closed book. Everyone else did it open book, meaning that they had all of the answers in front of them on their computer screen. I had the confidence not to do this and although some of the questions were obviously worded and designed to throw us slightly I managed to pull through.

Tomorrow's assessment also comes with the open book option but again I am going to try to trust myself enough to complete it only having my brain to pull answers from. It might seem pointless doing it this way (and if you fail the resit it costs forty five quid to have a third go) but we're always told to try pushing ourselves more. Doing it my way is the best way of pushing myself I think.

I haven't had many opportunities to push things with my Detached Protector much these last few days. The weather has been lovely (and is lovely now still) and I haven't felt threatened or exposed to the extent where I've needed to throw up this defence mechanism of mine. It'll come.

I'm heading off to a SMART meeting in ten minutes or so. I keep thinking of Jimmy and how he said he drank four pints and that was that. A lot of these guys who go to Restoration and to SMART don't really have a drinking problem I don't think. It's more a living problem they have. If they were forced into work then they'd go out and have a drink. Then they'd play the system. The drink is there as a manipulation technique to ensure that they are forever granted their welfare. It's sad. I think that both Lindsay and I could be seen as examples of people who can change their situations and grow a little while attending these groups.

In AA I never managed to get my Spiritual Awakening while going through the Twelve Step program with Stu. It just never happened. Now I can see that it's totally obvious why this was so – my Detached Protector Mode.

With Dr. Bacon, my clinical psychologist, I can work on breaking down this mode of thinking and behaviour. When this happens I think the rules of the game will change. I think that then I'll have my Spiritual Awakening.

Then the personal growth will really gather momentum.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Still an Adult Child.

1090

Lunarer
March 28th, 2017, 03:48 PM
Tuesday, March 28th 2017 (Half Time)


That's now a full forty five days I've been away from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm doing well. In saying that, I probably write and think about them a little more than I did in the first couple of weeks of my ninety day abstinence plan. Absence makes the heart grow fonder is what they say. It could also be said that absence makes you forget all the bullshit and remember only the good. Both are probably true in my case with AA at the moment.

Six weeks on Saturday and I'll be able to return whenever I want to (although the only thing currently stopping me is me and so I could go back tomorrow should the fancy take me) and I find it interesting that Lindsay actually hasn't been to a meeting in even longer than that. Her last meeting was on the Saturday night exactly a week before my last meeting. For her this is day........fifty two......yet she isn't keeping count. She says that she doesn't have that competitive streak in her where she has to challenge herself all the time with little experiments the likes of which I am currently undertaking. She's been away from the rooms for longer periods than this too and so she likely already knows that it can be done. But I am still learning if I can do it. She's going to a meeting tomorrow afternoon. I'm sticking to my guns.

Were this ninety days of abstinence a football match then we'd by now have entered the break. So perhaps I should be giving myself the half-time team talk. Nothing really to say other than to keep going as I am and have been. It's been interesting though. There have been a few times when life has thrown a little at me and I've had to deal with stresses (could anyone realistically manage to go forty five days without any stresses whatsoever?!) but never once have I felt the need to go running to a meeting to tell them all about it. That's not what it's supposed to be about. I guess that if you don't have a sponsor or have managed to get into the habit of talking things over with someone, or have developed the habit of being able to write things out in the manner in which I have practised, then you are kind of stuck.

Last night I was at a SMART meeting. I often go on a Monday night but I was at a different one last night. I found myself being a little grateful that the fellowship was there when I was trying to get sober because there's no fucking chance on earth I'd have managed to get sober using SMART tools or suchlike. Last night's ''tool'' involved us actually sitting there and writing out the benefits and disadvantages of drinking and not drinking. We are supposed to be doing this while surfing the crest of the craving wave, by the way – a ridiculous concept to someone who drank as I did in the last couple of years. I get it all now – the fact that I had a choice all along and there's no doubt that there are some good ideas within these tools – but there's no fucking way that I would have been able to sit and write out a diagram like this when I am trying not to drink or use. It just seems completely idiotic to even suggest it's possible.

But then SMART is what it is. I don't think I'll be going back simply because I don't have anything to offer and can't ever get anything from it. Marshall (guy who will be helping me run a guitar class for people in recovery pretty soon) says that I do have something to offer the meeting. That even by being two years sober I am showing others that it is possible. Bless him. He hasn't sussed SMART out quite yet. People who I have known that attend SMART meetings do not do so as part of a desperate bid to stay sober and try to conquer their addictions. In fact – they aren't even addicted. It's more like Restoration in that it's a safe place to go and be with other people you've got to know over a period. Sure, drink is something that they all have in common, but the people in SMART aren't ''alcoholics'' or ''addicts'' at all. They are just people who have little problems here and there. The real world version of the old WQD forum. People at SMART will always relapse because no one will ever reach the rock bottom often needed to take a quit seriously. All of this makes me think that for this first half I have been away from the rooms of AA I have been away from people who are like me in the way they once were.

I'm at my brother's and Scottish Sarah's and have just got the nieces down to bed. I haven't been here for six weeks for some reason which is the longest time I've been out of their lives for since, well, since forever. It's been too long. When I got the text message last night asking if I was available to watch them for the evening I jumped at the chance although I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't even the slightest hesitation. Now I am hoping to get back here for the weekend.

We had another assessment at the college this afternoon but it was another pretty straightforward one and is now in the bag. I'm doing okay. That's ninety per cent for today's assessment. I've done everything up to date that needs done. To be fair, and I say this a lot – this is only a National Certificate in sound production I am doing here which is a Level Six course in the British qualifications framework. Level six out of twelve (twelve being a Ph.D), and so it is hardly challenging me to the maximum. The thing is – this course would have been impossible for me to study two years ago, three years ago, impossible. That's the difference I think between where I was and where the SMART guys are currently. They'd likely be very capable right now, while in the midst of their drinking and drugging, to be able to compete at much more difficult educational levels. For me this is a challenge in that it has meant that I've had to commit to something long term. I've had to look after myself at times. I've had to learn to do some of the things that healthy people do on a regular basis.

The idea of being healthy one day is still something that very much appeals to me.

It's gonna require a heck of a lot more work though.

Here's to the second half.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Waiting for the ref to blow the whistle.

1171

Lost Soul
March 28th, 2017, 04:01 PM
Good for you for finding your way out :) wishing you many years of continued success

Lunarer
March 30th, 2017, 12:43 PM
Wednesday, March 29th 2017 (Second Half Whistle Blows)


Just seconds after posting last night the nieces' mum walked through the front door after being out for four hours or so. She'd been training at the salon and has nothing to say about it that is in any way positive. In fact she has nothing really positive to say about anything and what follows is a moan after a moan after a moan. Considering all of the good stuff that's happened to this family in the last year or two (Gary successful getting into university; the wedding; the winning back of funds lost during the wedding at the small claims court the other week; two healthy daughters , one of which started school last year – I suppose you could add my sobering up to that list a little further down the line) I find it difficult to accept that she might have anything to moan about, but then I guess I am in the same boat myself. I was in a horrible position a couple of years ago....hell – I was in a horrible position this time last year as WQD's Megs had yet to come and assist me in clearing out the cave, yet still I find things to be critical of in almost every post I type.

I do actually notice when I'm typing things negatively about my fellow human beings and their attempts at living their lives and fitting into their communities. One might say that I could greatly benefit from stopping myself in my thoughts, noticing the negative thoughts, and then typing something else instead. There's something feels silly about doing that though, something fake. I'm not here to suppress and hide away from what I am and what I feel (I do enough of that in the real world, unfortunately), to type only that which will create for me the greatest likelihood of readers respecting and loving me, this has been the downfall of dozens if not hundreds of members of forums and message boards I've known in the last two years. I'm supposed to be working through these negative feelings of mine and I can't do this if they are being suppressed all the time.

I'm going to nip into the Charity Shop Cafe for some breakfast and then take myself out on a stroll. I'm not sure how far I'll be travelling but the training plan for the double marathon charity walk will be coming through my door any day and it will be asking two things of me: distance, and pace. Over ten weeks of training I'll be completing four hundred miles of power walking in time for this Moon Walk in Edinburgh in mid June. It's a lot of walking, but not really. Anyone who goes out and runs six miles every morning will surpass this total every ten weeks by a large distance. I might one day turn into one of those guys who does exactly this but I'm starting slow and think that walking two back-to-back marathons is the next big challenge I should go for.

So where I stroll is yet unknown but I've Slimming World this evening in Lindsay's town and that's eight miles or so away. It'll be into double figures. I'm way over two hundred miles now in the near two months I've been off the cigarettes. When that training plan comes through the door the ante will be further upped. I'm pretending to walk down through the Euro Tunnel and through Europe. At the moment I am still in the very early stages and am heading for London but I'll get there in time.

To go with this healthy exercise routine I have adopted a healthier attitude towards food also. Slimming World kind of demands it. I'm hoping to have lost another pound this evening when I step on their scales but I know that at the moment I am well within the healthy weight guidelines for my height and age. Still though – the target weight is eleven stones and seven pounds and I'm not yet there so I have work to do. If nothing else it'll mean I save a fiver a week by not having to pay. We don't pay at Slimming World the whole time we are around our healthy target weight. Lindsay is currently slightly below her weight so is avoiding the place just now. ''I'm not paying for a Slimming organisation to try to fatten me up!!'' so she says. The thing is – Slimming World has a way around this and if you don't attend for more than a full month then your membership is void and you have to rejoin, which costs more. It means you have to keep going regularly and stay within your target weight. It also, of course, means that the money keeps rolling in for them, but that's for another more negative time.

Speaking of challenges – I've failed a few of them since I sobered up. I couldn't keep a house plant alive for a full year and both my Dragon Tree and Leopard Lily died in the second half of my attempts last year. I repeated the challenge again on June 30th last summer and bought the same two plants. The Leopard Lily died last month but the Dragon Tree is looking better all the time. The winter is over and so it has a little recovering to do and it'll be fine, more than fine, it'll be healthy for the coming summer. I also failed, twice, the One Hundred Push Up Plan. Six weeks (or more if you need them) of training to be able to complete one hundred consecutive good-form push ups. I think it was sixty one I got to. Good, but miles short of the goal. This has to change and so this morning I got down to the floor and got started. Not much for this week – just set an initial score which will decide the training column I am to follow for the first four weeks or so. I managed to make it to thirteen which means I'll be following the third column. It's a poor effort and I did give up as soon as I began to feel even the slightest burn. It's a lame attitude. But I'll ''push'' on with that challenge now that I've managed some.

When I got back to the cave last night from babysitting the nieces (who were very well behaved I must say) I noticed some mail. I haven't been back at the cave since Friday so there were one or two letters, most of them just shit, but there was one particularly interesting one. The concession bus pass has been renewed. Thanks, Dr. Bacon. I can now once again travel all over Scotland at no cost to me whatsoever. This'll be handy for all manner of things this coming summer.

In fact – I notice that it has been granted for twelve months this time instead of six. It doesn't run out until March 20th 2018.

That's really good news.

But then most news I receive these days is good.

It's just how I perceive it that's often not so good.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Lunarer.....


1215

Lunarer
March 30th, 2017, 12:45 PM
Thursday, March 30th 2017 (Two Bakeries)



College is going well. It and Lindsay have been the two main things I've had going for me in my recovery that has given it some purpose and direction. There have been many other things I've had going for me in this time such as my nieces and so on but these two elements have been the most interesting as they wouldn't have been possible during my drinking. The relationships I've had with my nieces are better now than they were when I was drinking (although maybe not recently) but I still had relationships with them. I was still a part of their lives, just not playing as active a role. College and Lindsay though – they have provided me with the greatest challenges in my first two years of sober living. It had been a great number of years since I'd been romantically involved with someone and managing to get into the final trimester of a college course, even one as lowly as this Level Six in sound production, wouldn't have been realistic before I sobered up. They've made big differences in me possible. They've encouraged me to try this living thing that everyone talks about.

I'm running a little late for class this morning which is frustrating as I used to have problems with falling asleep and waking up and so when I have nights like that now I tend to make a drama out of it and freak out that this might be the return of the sleeplessness. I get to the college and it's after ten past nine. Shaun has been on the text messages and so I am aware that I am to be walking into a classroom full of people. The class was rearranged and both groups are sharing the class for a new unit on radio broadcasting. I head to the toilets and try to wash the anxiety from me. Why is this happening again? It's because I don't spend enough time connecting with my Higher Power, that's one reason anyway. Anxiety used to be a bigger problem for me than it currently is but here again we have it rearing its ugly head once more, trying to sabotage my plans again when I am doing so well. Forcing away the temptation to walk off home and take an authorised absence isn't workng so I slow things down and try to establish a conscious contact. Then, after a short while, I am able to head into class feeling ''normal.''

We have a class all morning and are then given an open book assessment on it. It gives me a chance to scope out the other group. They seem more tight-knit than our group. I guess I've done okay with my plans to work on better bonding with other guys during my stay at the college since I was (unknowingly at the time) placed into the less sociable group. I'm sitting not far away from Marshall's son. Marshall and I are starting up a guitar class for people in recovery at some point in the near future and his son is in the same room as me right now. I don't know if he knows who I am. If he does then I don't mind, but it would be a small breach of anonymity on his part. If his son knows who he is running this guitar class for then he'll know that I have had addiction issues in the past. There's no need for him to know but I wouldn't want Marshall having to worry about slipping up with my name every time he's talking about it. Maybe it's best his son knows the script, assuming he doesn't already.

So the other group is a tighter group. This had been mentioned to me by one of the lecturers anyway on the bus on the way through to Lindsay's town a couple of weeks or so ago. We are given the choice this morning of waiting to get our results after the Easter holidays or coming back in half an hour to find out if we've passed. I head with Shaun to the town to fill up fuel in his car and nip into the Credit Union for a little cash withdrawal to see me through the weekend so we are late in getting our results. Both of us pass with flying colours but there is a pile of maybe half a dozen who have not passed. I'm thinking these failings must have come from the other group. My group was well capable of passing that assessment – especially with it being an open book one!! So the other group of students might be tighter as a social unit, and may still have all of their original numbers except one (whereas our class has halved – Devin being the latest to leave us this week as he's found himself a job) but we are the better students. I am sure all of my group will have passed, that we have the higher percentages. I'll find out when we return after the Easter break.

One day we will, collectively as a race, look back upon the times we currently refer to as ''the present'' and face what it is that we created. Only it won't be ''us'' specifically. It never is. The Vikings never had to look at themselves and think – ''Oh – What a nasty bunch of fuckers we have been!!'' It's always our great, great grandchildren who bear that responsibility. So they'll look back upon these times we think as being sophisticated and futuristic and see just what it was that we created for ourselves and actually supported until our dying breaths.

I've just been to the bakery ''Bayne's'' and purchased a filled roll for my after college lunch. It says on the paper bag it comes inside that: ''We are passionate about what we do and strive to give you the best every day – great value, freshly baked goods, served with pride.'' I open my roll and can see exactly what they've done. They've conned me by making the roll look full. They've pushed everything to the front. No – this hasn't happened as I've been walking, the contents swinging back and forth in tandem with my stride. No. The slices of boiled egg remain neatly placed aside one and other. I've been ripped off by a company who is passionate about what it does and strives to bring the best to us every day.

I head to Gregg's next as they currently have a deal on their coffee making it more affordable than Bayne's. It doesn't take long to see what is happening here either. There are two sizes of latte: normal, and large. I can clearly see as one punter after another orders one of varying size that the only difference between the normal sized latte and the large, besides the extra cost, is that with a ''large'' latte the woman finishes with the latte machine and then adds a little hot water from the same water dispenser we use at the Charity Shop Cafe. It's insane. We're effectivley paying twenty pence extra for some hot water to fill up our cup a little and water down our ''normal'' sized latte. Everything designed to look fuller and of greater value than it actually is.

This is, of course, just me ranting, and I'm not overly upset by this. What I am upset about, however, is how this pertains to sobriety and recovery. You see – many people say that when they sobered up they started to see that the world was good, that people were good. These are the same people who will tell you that you have to get and stay honest if you want to be sober. There's a mountain sized contradiction there.

I know what people are like. Am I afraid of people? Hmmmm.....some, yes. Am I afraid of human nature? Absolutely!! I think that human nature is very present in what just happened to me with Bayne's and Gregg's. It's probably happening with you right now as you read this – you're helping support them by saying that I am overreacting. Both of these bakeries doing what they can do deceive and con their customers into getting what they want. I just helped support them. Not only did I support the bakeries themselves but I also helped support the mentality that we should continue to fuck each other over. Support the philosophy that this is what will make us successful.

Steve Jobs didn't mention when he stood up on the podium of worship that we granted him and told us all about the new ways in which we'd be able to store a fuck-tonne of stuff and got us all excited about it that this fuck-tonne of stuff would actually be compressed to the extent where the sampling rates and bit depth would be so low that we'd make it okay to listen to audio at poor quality. We'd actually get used to listening to third rate stuff no better than our folks used to listen to. We're about twelve years now into a low point in music listening whereby we don't currently have the technology to listen to music the way the artists record it. We're getting close to getting ourselves out of this hole but it has taken a long time. A few people have made a shit load of money by creating this scenario though.

I bumped into a pal of mine at the college this morning. I haven't seen him since we stopped playing football on the Monday night. He's doing alright for himself. This is what he tells me. He and his girlfriend have just moved into a new house – one out by Formonthills, no less – which is a pretty suburban area. He's a lecturer at the college now and so is playing the game to perfection, like he was always taught to. They officially move in this coming weekend. It's all good and he's raking it in.

Lunarer
March 30th, 2017, 12:46 PM
Thursday, March 30th 2017 (Two Bakeries)



Part Two (since posts cannot exceed ten thousand characters).

Makes me wonder what's wrong with him though. Why would the first words out of his mouth be to tell me that he's just moved into a house (as well as telling me exactly where it is) and telling me roughly how much money he makes? Why would that be the first thing he would want to tell me? When I ask him how his brother is doing I am only told that he is the head guy on some building site in Glasgow and that he's also ''raking it in.'' In other words – making lots of money.

It interests me greatly that my former friend and football teammate has put on weight, and quite a lot of it. He's also looking a lot more run down than I've ever seen him. He's vaping as opposed to quitting smoking. He's only twenty seven so he's set himself up quite nicely for a happy life. Yet if he continues like this he'll be twenty five stone and suicidal by the end of the year. This is the mentality I have helped create today by going to these bakeries though – the idea that if we do everything we're told to do at school then we'll play our part as a passive and placid little consumer and will be rewarded with a mediocre life the same as the next guy.

I got the concession bus pass through the door yesterday and today I've received the pack for the coming Walk The Walk charity double marathon for breast cancer in June. Back-to-back marathons in under fourteen hours. I'll look at the training plan with you guys tomorrow. I'm late in starting but the training I've been doing up until now far exceeds the training asked of us. It'll be another challenge if nothing else but one over fifty miles long.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Looking at the training plan.

2010

Baclofenman
March 30th, 2017, 03:32 PM
Evening Lunarer:

I missed your posting last night, glad you have caught up today.






I head to Gregg's next as they currently have a deal on their coffee making it more affordable than Bayne's. It doesn't take long to see what is happening here either. There are two sizes of latte: normal, and large. I can clearly see as one punter after another orders one of varying size that the only difference between the normal sized latte and the large, besides the extra cost, is that with a ''large'' latte the woman finishes with the latte machine and then adds a little hot water from the same water dispenser we use at the Charity Shop Cafe. It's insane. We're effectivley paying twenty pence extra for some hot water to fill up our cup a little and water down our ''normal'' sized latte. Everything designed to look fuller and of greater value than it actually is.




There was a interview on 5Live this morning where Rachel interviewed some CEO or other from XY & Z incorporated. Surprisingly for the BBC it was a strong interview where he was trying to justify charging the same price for a product that had shrunk in size. It was sort of Paxman'esk and eventually this twat had to admit that in fact despite his protestations to the contrary, in fact Rachel had a point.

I was screaming at the radio "Do these people *really* think we are c***s"

I guess they do and I guess we are, as the majority just keep buying.

Thanks for the read.

Regards,



Bacman

Guitarista
March 30th, 2017, 07:36 PM
Hi Stevie,

Enjoying reading your journal, so thanks for sharing. Musician and runner here too. Similar views/experiences to yours were expressed by a friend here this week re SMART. Did you know that Hendrix's middle name was Marshall? James Marshall Hendrix. All the best with the course and charity do.

Safe travels, G.

Lunarer
March 31st, 2017, 04:46 AM
Friday, March 31st (The Wednesday Meeting)


I'm on the phone with Lindsay last night. We discuss many things – one of them being the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting she was at on Wednesday. I have purposefully kept myself away from the rooms for a while now, hoping to reach the goal of ninety days without a meeting. It's a way of testing out my recovery. People say that when we go periods without attending meetings that the ''head goes'' and that we tend to lose focus in our lives. Our mood plunges and we act out almost as if we are back drinking. Then, inevitably, we return to alcohol and our ways of the past, undoing all of our good work. It seems to matter little how long we have been sober – this is what the ensure will happen. Stop going to meetings and you drink, and for us – to drink is to die. We even have sayings and slogans: ''Seven Days Without A Meeting Makes One Weak!!'' and so on. I think that it's more a case of AA wanting to ensure its survival and so it tells its young that they must stay, scaremongers them into attending every week. That worked with me for a while and I felt I could never leave. Now I have managed to stay away for more than half of the intended ninety and have seen or heard little of the apparent madness that should be happening.

Lindsay has been away for even longer than I, by a full week (so around fifty two days when she got to the meeting on Wednesday), but she isn't doing this deliberately to test out what happens – she just goes through periods where she has to do other things and gets sick of hearing the weak and watered down message we know we get in the meetings around here.

Stevie – ''How was it?''

Lindsay – ''Yeah – it was okay actually. I think that being away for so long made it a lot more interesting.''

This was another of the reasons I am staying away. When I return I will have to relearn some of the cliches. I won't be as sick of listening to the madness of people who stay in meetings every week and sometimes day. I wonder which sickness is worse: those who stay away from the meetings for extended periods or those who remain and so enter a form of denial about how bad daily meetings can make you become.

We're not supposed to talk about other people and what goes on in meetings after we leave but no one ever listens to that and asking Lindsay about the meeting is as easy as it is for her to tell me about it.

Lindsay – ''Mrs. Gangster has had some kind of mini-stroke and they were saying that it had much to do with what was happening at Intergroup. One or two were ranting about AA after hearing that.''

There's a couple in AA in Fife who originally come from the city. I call them AA Gangster and Mrs. Gangster. They've been sober for yonks and yonks and they completely immerse themselves in the fellowship and everything it has to offer. A little too much if you ask me – it's a dependence for them, their whole life. They always preach service and getting involved in the running of AA. Mrs. Gangster was recently ''chased'' out of Fife Intergroup and I remember her bitterness from the top table at the Saturday evening meeting many times over the course of the winter. How much this ''chasing'' her out has to do with her leaving from not getting what she wants is up for debate. So the meeting tells each other that this stroke has everything to do with this Intergroup situation.

We like to do this a lot in AA and I am very careful to make sure that I do not do it, do not fall into that trap, because it's resentment really. There's one guy in Glasgow just now blaming his health on his drinking which there's no proof for. It's just ego telling him that it makes it seem as though he drank more than everyone else. There's a guy in Fife at the moment who's blaming his onset of dementia on his drinking (he's thirty five years sober) as he's recently discovered that alcohol can lead to health issues like this. Now we have Mrs. Gangster telling us all that it's Intergroup that's stressed her out to the point where her health is taking a battering. Anything that happens in your life – blame it on the drink!!

I don't want to fall into that trap years down the line. I don't get to see my children. Haven't seen them in years. They are both teenagers now but I haven't seen them since they were the ages my nieces are just now. My drinking was a factor in that happening, sure, but it wasn't the reason I don't see them. I left the family home for all manner of reasons and my ex took full advantage of our government's total lack of care for family stability. When she realised I was staying away for good she upped and moved away. We couldn't find her. Until recently. I always say that it was this event that crushed my world and set off my alcoholism. My ex-sponsor Stu thinks that this is ridiculous as the Book tells us that alcoholism is a unfit spiritual condition and nothing more and that an event cannot cause it to happen, but I think that he's ridiculous. I have to be very careful in my future not to distort this truth so that it makes me look as though I had it worse on the drink than I did and in turn makes my recovery look better when I finally do manage to regain contact with them.

The bottom line is that if I get to the age that Mrs. Gangster is and still smoke, am as overweight, am still as angry and quick to upset, then I should expect a stroke as well.

Besides all that Lindsay is fine. I'll see her tonight.

Today I have a hectic few hours coming up. I'll be heading next door to the Charity Shop Cafe for my volunteering shift in a little while before making my way down the town for some lunch (won't be Bayne's or Gregg's) and then into Restoration to meet up with my fellow alkies. After that I'll be coming back to this library. It closes at five o'clock this afternoon and won't reopen come Monday. Closed for good. Then I'll be walking across town to meet with English Sara and Dennis and hear all about how they can't afford to go to Montrose this year. If nothing else it'll be a reminder of how I'm doing the right thing in not smoking. The amount they spend on nicotine they could effectively do whatever they want. Yet they choose cigarettes.

Been there.

Never again though.

A day at a time.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Careful of traps.

1204

Lunarer
March 31st, 2017, 10:36 AM
Evening Lunarer:

I missed your posting last night, glad you have caught up today.

I was screaming at the radio "Do these people *really* think we are c***s"

Bacman

Thanks very much. Sometimes on the forum I used to post I was a day behind, often two, because of my lack of internet in the house and so I have to wait until I get to a wi-fi hotspot so that I can get it online and out there. It's tough going, to write every single day onto one of these message boards, but it serves me well in the long run I feel.

I'm gonna search for that programme, might find it on a podcast or something. I do often feel as though I'm overreacting when I go on these rants but there's more room out than in, and all that.

Thanks for checking in. :happy2:


Hi Stevie,

Musician and runner here too. Similar views/experiences to yours were expressed by a friend here this week re SMART. Did you know that Hendrix's middle name was Marshall? James Marshall Hendrix.

Marshall Hendrix indeed. The Marshall in this story isn't quite up to that standard though.

About SMART - sometimes I do this, criticize things that have helped me in the past, and then go back to defending them at a later date.

I'm very inconsistent.

But SMART alone could never have got me sober.

The coming back-to-back marathons are actually just walking, there's no running allowed. It's held every year.

The MoonWalk Scotland 217 (http://walkthewalk.org/challenges/the-moonwalk-scotland-2017/)

You never know though. May get myself running one of these days.

Thanks,

Stevie (aka Lunarer)

Lunarer
April 1st, 2017, 05:09 PM
Saturday, April 01st 2017 (Responsible Community)


Busy day yesterday. Sometimes I find myself writing but not managing to post until the next day. I call this (quite obviously I think): posting a day behind. But there's another thing that often happens. I write and post early in the morning or before the day fully takes shape and so I get caught up in the events of yesterday in today's post. I call this (again, for obvious reasons): writing a day behind. I don't know which one is worse but both disrupt the flow of my thinking and writing and end up with my head feeling a little confused. Sometimes it is a stress writing in this journal every single day but it's something I really want to continue to do at this point in time. I'm not quite at Soberland yet, that is likely when this story will end, but I want to capture as much of the voyage to this wonderful place as I can while I still have wind in my sails. So writing a day behind it is.

The Glenwood library has officially closed now. I know not what will happen to the building for the time being, or even in the future, but they put on a buffet for us with chocolates and cakes and coffee and doughnuts and everything was a little teary-eyed. Not for me of course, it's only a library (not to mention that I have that thing – the Detached Protector – that keeps tears from welling within this particular alcoholic's eyes, stops him from feeling anything at times when loss is involved) but it has been up since 1970 so there are a few people who have formed a relationship with this building beyond what I can understand.

That place was good to me though. I met a few people there. I did a lot of writing there last summer when I had little to do before the college started up (make that a LOT of writing) and spending the last hour and a half of its existence last night with a couple of dozen other regulars left me with no doubt as to its power as a meeting place for people within the community. It will be missed. It's closure will leave us all a little more isolated.

At the Charity Shop Cafe yesterday morning I looked through the survey questionnaires that people had been filling out. There is a charity offering to help try to sort out some of the local issues and they are asking residents what they like and dislike about the area. What would they do if they had the money to change some elements? We were granted ten thousand pounds last year as part of a shake-up project (yep – I live in a pretty shitty area where unemployment, drug use and crime are higher than the rest of the town) and the results featured in a BBC documentary screened in December. I filled one out on Wednesday and answered with my ''person in recovery'' head on. This means that I looked at it from the point of view that we are kinda responsible for own lives here. It's okay writing down in a survey that it would be great if there was more to do but unless you state examples then you would be as well as writing nothing down. Also – people wouldn't go!! They wouldn't attend! This is why there is nothing around here. There used to be but now there isn't. There are reasons for this.

Although some of the questionnaires were filled with comments such as this (there should be more ''stuff to do'' etc) there were some people who answered along the same lines I did. One or two (interestingly all within my age group (35-44) or higher) did mention that the main thing missing is a sense of community and that we are effectively responsible for this. It's our responsibility to shake ourselves up. Until we change then nothing will make any difference. It's interesting this. I've noticed a few times recently how a surprising number of people share my beliefs in a large range of things. It's just that they don't often have the balls to mention these opinions. They might not say it aloud at to one's face but at the moment I have the luxury of reading their views on an anonymous questionnaire.

I checked my emails for the first time in a week yesterday and noticed one from the guy who actually ran the charity that got us that ten thousand pounds to begin with - JP. He used to work with my old addictions counsellor, Margaret, who I have written about many times since I began my online journal nearly three years ago. I stopped turning up for my sessions with her some months ago but since discovering that she is in touch with JP. I wanted to set up one last appointment to thank her for being there at times when no one else was (or at least times when I thought that no one else was there) and to let her know that I am doing well and have moved on. Winging its way in the mail is our final session. Session ninety seven, I think it will be. That's the equivalent of over four full days sitting talking with her non-stop but split up over a four year period. Some of them were double sessions so it's even longer. One more hour to go.

JP also says at the end of his email: ''Secondly - would be great if you got involved in Charrette...will keep you posted and look out for stuff on Our Facebook and I'll email you too.
Cheers ''

I'd be interested in getting involved in anything within my community to be honest. There's no point in me being one of the guys who writes on a questionnaire that it is up to us to be responsible and pull ourselves together and then pulling the sheets over my head. I should get involved in helping us try to get out of this hole we seem to have dug for ourselves.

Anyway – I'm writing about yesterday when there's a whole new day just happened. It's not been as sunny as I'd hoped it would and I could really do with it staying dry for a while (please – even just a few successive days) but this afternoon I was at my first ACA meeting (Adult Children of Alcoholics – very similar to AA) which I'll write about at some other time; and I'm now sitting at my brothers looking after my nieces again (twice in one week).

They are sleeping (at long last – after a battle) and I'm sitting here beginning to feel a longing to be with Lindsay. I haven't been there much recently. Not as much as I've become accustomed to at least. Last week I stayed in the cave from Tuesday night right through to last night and I had hoped to spend all weekend with her. Then my brother text to ask if I could watch the nieces this evening and I felt obliged to accept. I know that it's okay to say no every once in a while but I was away from them for around six weeks and I feel I should show face again more regularly. I'm supposed to be making amends here still. Also – I wanted to look after them this evening. By the time Gary and Scottish Sarah get back tonight the bus service will have ended.

I'll get up early tomorrow morning and head to Lindsay's town to be with her. I'll be back in this town again for next week as I'm hoping to work through our college Easter break.

But nothing will stop me from being with her all weekend next week.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Missing Lindsay.

1329

Lunarer
April 2nd, 2017, 04:30 PM
Sunday, April 02nd 2017 (The Training Plan)


Right then, where were we? Oh yeah – we were trying to get out of the habit of writing about yesterday. So I'm going to bring us right up to date (although I intend to talk about yesterday's ACA meeting a little later on). The training plan for June's Over The Moon charity walk for breast cancer. Let's have a look at what I'm expected to be doing for the next few weeks in terms of planning for this walk of fifty two miles. Yikes!! Even saying it hurts my feet!!

Until the penultimate week there will be no training at all on Mondays. This is a rest day. That's cool with me. For most of this plan I'll have college all day every Monday and it's also the night that the SMART meeting runs. Although I've been going to Slimming World on Wednesdays the past three weeks I would like to get back into the habit of going on a Monday evening again. The half past seven until nine class is the one I prefer. It's sort of like my home group if you like. So Mondays are sorted. I like Mondays. Not many people can say that with as much honesty as I currently can.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are the next easiest days of the week with regards to the training plan. These days ask of me either to rest and stretch (something that seems to be more important as the plan progresses) but also for me to take part in other types of training. Swimming is recommended to help build up stamina and strength. I think that the route of the walk is quite something to behold and that the idea is if we put in as much training as possible then it allows us the extra energy to be able to take it all in, to savour the experience, rather than huffing and puffing our way through the last ten miles and missing our surroundings. I'm not much of a swimmer to be honest but perhaps the time has come to face this head on. Pilates are suggested as another form of exercise to try out during this part of the training process. Again – I'm not much good at them. Okay – I'll just admit that I don't even know what the fuck they are, but I'll research a little and get back to you. I'll have to find ways of getting some training down every Wednesday from now on until at least the final week of training before this damn walk takes place.

Wednesdays are busy. I'll be getting the miles in. Not too many actually, now that I'm looking a little more closely. They want me to do between five and six miles roughly every Wednesday but there is an emphasis on speed. I think that I should be blitzing the walks on these days. They are shorter but more intense. I'll be properly power walking. People look dreadfully ridiculous when they power walk the way I am picturing it in my head at the moment. I will try hard not to let these images put me off. I have to get a new phone sorted quickly. Jenna gave me an iphone back in June of 2015 and still it sits doing nothing. If I can get something sorted with a more up to date phone than the piece of shit I currently use then I can get a little more info about my pace and distance travelled. At the moment everything has to be drawn out in advance on my Endomondo account. It's okay but nothing would beat having access to hand while I'm out there. The Wednesdays I'm not power waking I am to be doing the ''other'' sport I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The swimming or those pilate things I have no fucking clue about. The only Wednesday I simply recover and stretch will be the Wednesday of the second week before the walk itself, which will be Wednesday, May 31st. That seems like a lot of active Wednesdays on the horizon. Luckily it is my midweek day off from the college.

Friday ends the week with just a recovery day the next two weeks but then adds a few miles towards the latter stages of the training plan. It's obviously been designed for guys who work in nine-to-five jobs and so the weekends get a little more hectic. Still – it's a bit of a commitment sticking to all of this training. The longest walk I'll have to do on a Friday will be eight miles and on weeks when I've been walking to the next town on a Friday evening to see Lindsay I've been travelling further than this. I might not be fit but I'm in a relatively good place physically all things considered.

The weekends are where it's at. Every single Saturday and Sunday between now and the walk on the tenth of June (besides the last Sunday of the plan) features a longer walk, starting around twelve miles but quickly gathering distance and ending up nearer twenty. Every Sunday I am asked to walk on hills. This is okay as I happen to live in Scotland. Finding somewhere to walk where there are no hills would be a challenge. Not far from where I live is a particularly nasty set of hills for miles and with me having my concession bus pass I am good to go for free. The bus will take me from my front door almost to the foot of the first hill. It's painful to think of me spending my Sundays in this way but it's the way I spent a few of the early Sundays back when I was very new to this sober way of living. According to the number of weeks we have left until this mammoth challenge begins today signals the start of the tenth last week of training and so I'll be starting on week three. This is okay, I've been doing a lot of walking since I quit smoking in early February, more miles than the plan would have had me doing, and so I am confident I can keep this pan going from now until the end.

Today I am supposed to be walking, on hills, for twelve miles. There's a total of thirty four miles to be walked in total this week, with a shorter eight mile trek on Wednesday but upping the pace a little. Plenty of other exercises to do in between. The mile-count gets higher as the weeks roll by and we have three weeks in May when there will be more than forty miles per week covered and the final week with sixty miles. These seem like extremely high mile totals to be walking in a week but I consult my Endomondo account and gloss over my personal statistics. I only did one workout before I quit smoking and this was a marathon distance walk when I was new to sobriety back in 2014. I actually slipped later in that month and drank again for six months or so. Besides that walk my account is dedicated to my smoke-free days over the last seven weeks.

There are a few weeks there with impressive totals. For me at least. The week from Feb. 13th to 19th I managed to cover over forty three miles and more than thirty five the following week. There was another week where I cleared the thirty five mile mark (which was actually last week, March 20th - 26th) and at the beginning of the month (March 06th - 12th) there was one week in which I walked just a third of a mile short of fifty five miles, which is only five miles less than the longest week's worth of training asks of me on this plan.

In just under eight weeks since I stubbed my last cigarette I've walked more than two hundred and thirty miles. In the coming ten weeks I'm going to be clearing over four hundred and thirty. It's a lot of work and it's asking of me the one thing that's always been lacking in my efforts in all areas of my life pretty much since the day I was born: consistency!!

Fuck!! Now I've banged on about this training plan so much that I've ran out of space to talk about that ACA meeting yesterday.

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Writing two days behind?????

1425

Lunarer
April 3rd, 2017, 07:23 AM
Monday, April 03rd 2017 (Thinking Of Rio)


Much more difficult it's gonna be to get my daily posts onto these sites this week and next. Without internet in my cave things are always a little trickier but I was on the phone to Barry the Bullet last night and will be returning to work with him from tomorrow onward. This means my time at Lindsay's will be limited and so I won't be able to use her internet. With the Glenwood library closing on Friday last week I won't have that as an option either. The other libraries close either at five or just before and I won't finish work until it's too late. There is a replacement laptop battery in the post but I won't get that until the weekend to even the option to use this thing on public transport or while having dinner at Wetherspoon or suchlike where I could use their connection. I'll just do what I always do and work things from my end, throw the words down onto OpenOffice word processing documents, and then post them online collectively when I next get the chance.

It's gonna be hard to get to grips with being away from the college for a full fortnight while we pretend to know whatever the hell it is we're supposed to be celebrating with this Easter thing. Two weeks away from all things sound production. Hmmmm... It's happening though so I had better get used to it. People, places, and things – they are what I have no control over. I was reminded about this at the ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families) meeting on Saturday there. I think that being away from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous has seen me regress slightly. Perhaps I haven't been aware of it happening as it's been so subtle, but I definitely have forgotten at times this fundamental and important aspect of my recovery – my powerlessness over people, places and things. I can't control whether Bayne's chooses to fill its rolls to con its customers any more than I can change Gregg's decision to ripp off those who fund it by watering down their lattes. Do I wish people would wake up and boycott this type of business? Of course. Can I stop the fact that this is never going to happen from getting me down? Only if I remember to practice that all important recovery principal and remind myself of how powerless I am over everything that is not me.

I was watching something on television with Lindsay the other night that we'd recorded on the iplayer. It was about former football captain Rio Ferdinand and how he's failed to cope well with losing his wife to breast cancer a couple of years ago (at only thirty four she was too) and now being left with three children to raise and somehow explain to them what happened. An impossible job, I have to admit, but I also know that it can be more dangerous not to talk to our young about this. I found it interesting that Rio mentioned suicide in the programme, admitting that while he's never really considered it at any point – indeed used to think of it as incredibly selfish – but that ''all kinds of thoughts go through your head'' and it makes me wonder. Even with his lifelong ''winning'' mentality and training from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United his thoughts went down the suicide line, however briefly.

Makes me feel a little better about the thoughts I used to have. I think much of my problems with suicidal thoughts and feelings were to do with how we are asked to talk to people when feeling this way and the fact that I chose to share these feelings with the old website I used to post, WQD, and how these thoughts were used as a playground for others to thoughtlessly, selfishly, and incredibly immaturely, dump their negativity regarding the subject onto the pages of my former journal and really closed it down as a subject for me to talk about. As incredible as this sounds it is what happened. People become terrified by things they don't understand and for a long time I wondered about the authenticity of members of the forum. How come no one gets it!? Over time it became clear why, but none of that matters now.

Scottish Sarah – ''Some people at the salon were talking about that the other day. Was it any good?''

Stevie – ''It was okay actually. It focused a lot on Rio himself but did mention other things more towards the end, like Child Bereavement UK and other places that help young people cope with loss. Things that we would doubtlessly have benefited from years ago.''

Both Gary and Scottish Sarah are nodding. They were at a fiftieth birthday party on Saturday night and I was babysitting the nieces while they went out – nieces who are becoming very close to being the same ages that Gary and I were when our father was killed and our carers chose the easy option and covered it up. It becomes obvious that Gary has been doing some thinking about all of this recently too. I've been working through some of it with Dr. Bacon, my clinical psychologist, and my little brother has had fate force his hand. In a little over four months his youngest daughter will turn four. Our dad was killed the day before my little brother turned four.

It seems as though by the nieces simply growing up a little they are forcing us to think about the past, especially with the age gap between the two being so similar to that of my brother and me, and so it's likely I would have been forced to look at this stuff just now anyway whether I got sober or not. The only difference in being sober is the way I can look at it. It doesn't have to be a resentment-inducing mess where everything is out to get me. It can instead be perhaps something I can use over the next four months or so to bond better with my brother. I've noticed us drifting a little since we stopped working together; his attention taken up by a university degree and mine largely by trying to learn to live sober.

I'm going to return to what we spoke about on Saturday night when I next post (which may not be for a few days as I mentioned earlier) but for now Lindsay and I must make way for the physiotherapist. She's an appointment at half past one and I'm going with her. Then we are heading to Slimming World to (probably) find out that I'm the exact same weight I was when I was last there a fortnight ago. Then we're off to SMART for six o'clock. I'm heading home after that, back to the cave for the night.

When I wake up tomorrow I will be going out to work for the first time since that week I did back in December. It's been confirmed and I'm meeting Barry the Bullet at his brother's back garden (which is where the work gear is stored) at half past eight.

It's all go.
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

See you when I see you.

1238

Lunarer
April 6th, 2017, 03:55 PM
Tuesday, April 04th 2017 (The Meeting Point)


Barry the Bullet fails to meet me at the arranged point so that we might go to work. It's a pain in the ass. I was so sure he would be up for it today. I've tried contacting him but he must have slept in. I'll expect a message of apology later in the day and we'll most likely head out tomorrow instead. I could have gone out and put in some effort myself but I have no idea where the ladders and bucket might be located. They are not in his brother's garden so must be at one of the other stops he uses and even if I did have access to the equipment I have no idea where abouts on the run we currently sit and so which customers require their windows cleaned next and which customers we even have left. Without Barry it is very difficult to know what to do. Ill have to hope he contacts me sometime throughout the day and we can arrange to go out tomorrow.

I started that business over nine years ago now and it's a miracle that it has survived this long. Without my brother running it for all that time I was a useless drunk and Barry the Bullet taking the reins this last year or so it would by now all be over. Somehow it still manages to tick over though. It's handy if you happen to be me. It's a little earner whenever I need it, whenever I can locate Barry. It's clear that I'll have to stay in contact with him more frequently when I am at the college so that I know roughly where we are in the grand scheme of things from one week to the next.

Lindsay wants to go on a little trip away to celebrate her graduating from university. Her class finishes in August but she'll have two months of placement hours to make up for given the time she's missed through various drink related absences. So we're looking at getting away in maybe October. Perhaps a Spanish island or something similar. For this I will need a passport. I'm not one of those drinkers who could hold down a job and career and so don't have much life experience outside of my native homeland and so this will be something very different to what I'm used to. By working regularly throughout the holidays from college I could put something away for this trip each month. We have holidays for two months over the summer so there's plenty scope for earning. We also have this fortnight holiday where I could be earning but can't seem to meet up with Barry. I'll have to keep working on him and all will work out in the end.

It's not as if I've never been abroad before. I was in Florida for three weeks when I was in my teens, back in 1996. Mum sold the house when we left St. Andrews and there was money left over. I visited her when she lived in the United Arab Emirates in 2002, just before it became the clichéd place to visit, and I was in Menorca in 2005 with my all the family. That meant my children and partner; my brother and his partner at that time, and mum. We all went away for a week. This'll be different though. All this stuff that's happening is starting to make me feel as though I'm normal. It kinda makes me wonder what all the fuss was about with the drinking and using to begin with . I know it hasn't been that long but it is starting to feel like ages ago that I was doing all of that shit. I have to get to work if it's gonna happen though and at the moment I seem to be at the mercy of Barry the Bullet's sleeping habits.

I guess I can't really say all that much. There were times when we had employees and I would do the same to them. Often they would make their way to work and I wouldn't be there. I'd have slept in. The meeting point was always either at my brother's or down the town. This happened more and more towards the end of my drinking career and it's something I'm only starting to see as unacceptable now as it's happening to me. I'm the one that's normal now and keen to earn cash for I have reasons to while someone else has the abnormal sleeping pattern.

So – Gary, Scottish Sarah and I were discussing that Rio Ferdinand documentary from the other night and how it seems as though child bereavement services have fairly moved on since we were at school back in the eighties and nineties. It wouldn't have mattered what services were in place though – age plays a part regardless and it's clear that Gary is seeing this in his own children now. There are exactly eighteen months between my nieces. I am seventeen months, two weeks, and two days older than Gary. It's a pretty similar situation going on. So all of this thinking about the past that I've been doing at this stage of getting sober would have likely happened anyway because Gary's been doing it now that Youngest Niece is just four months away from turning the age that Gary was when dad died. She'll turn four on August 06th.

Gary – ''It is weird the difference between them.''

Stevie – ''How so?''

Gary – ''I think that if anything happened to me then Oldest Niece would be deeply affected by it. Her would be overturned. Youngest Niece though, I think she'd just, over time, get used to me not being around. It wouldn't have that much of an impact on her.''

I think he's right. Oldest Niece is more the princess. She's a lot more of what we would say in this day and age is feminine. She does all the girly things and wants all the girly stuff. Youngest Niece is more battle-hardened. She knows the score. She's made of tougher stuff emotionally than her older sister.

Scottish Sarah – ''If anything happened to Gary I don't think I'd be able to tell them that he wasn't coming back.''

Stevie – ''You'd have to.''

Scottish Sarah – ''I'd come up with something but I wouldn't be telling Oldest Niece that ''your dad's dead'', I don't think that's right.''

What she means, of course, is that she doesn't think that it's right for her to have to do it. It's very important that, should anything happen to Gary, that she wouldn't put her own fears and shielding of reality first and foremost like I've recently learned my mother and grandmother did. They put themselves first. It doesn't surprise me that Sarah would be thinking along those lines as well. They aren't at the same stage in this investigation of the past as I am. They don't need to be either, but nevertheless I am miles ahead of them in this.

Sarah would have only one other option if she was not willing to put aside her own grief for one second for the good of her children.

She'd have to instead create a monster like me.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Barry says we'll go out tomorrow.

1236

Lunarer
April 6th, 2017, 03:57 PM
Wednesday, April 05th 2017 (Healing The World)


I told you that I'd keep writing although exactly when all of this crap is going to make it onto the internet is still unknown to me. Barry the Bullet had another shitty night last night and so I've missed another chance of going out and earning some cash (it's also good to show face and try to keep this business going so that it is there for the coming summer – ten more teaching weeks left when we go back to college and then we're off for two months). I'm gonna arrange to meet with him so that I can find out where we are in the run, which customers still get done, and so on, so that I can go out all next week myself without having to worry about relying on Barry. I'd probably make a little more as well.

It's a shame too as the sun most definitely has its hat on for all of us Scottish pricks this fine day. It really makes a world of difference so it does. It makes everyone else less miserable too, I notice. It makes a difference to the way I view the world on many different levels. It obviously has an effect on how I look at the present day but it also makes the future seem brighter and my memories of the past a little warmer too. The fact that I am to be returning to window cleaning on a week when it is getting sunnier and spring has pushed out the last of the winter has made me feel more optimistic about window cleaning in general. I've forgotten most of the shitty parts of it and have been focusing on the parts I used to enjoy. I've been finding myself missing it at times when I've been thinking about it. I never thought I'd type that.

So I had to find something to do to take up my time. Marshall (dude in recovery who is hoping to start up a guitar class with me for people in recovery) text last night to ask if I wanted to go with him to a nearby town to see Susan (the project manager for the service that is trying to get this class up and running and who I still have forms of identification to hand into) and so I told him this morning of my change of heart (forced by Barry's sleeping pattern).

I was at the Charity Shop Cafe for breakfast this morning (and I have to be careful not to be self-destructive here as I lost another half pound at Slimming World on Monday and so am currently – or at least was for that moment I stepped on the scales – under the ten stone mark and so six and a half pounds away from my target weight, something I'd love to reach by my birthday at the end of the month) and was sitting with someone I speak with regularly who is in recovery.

We're sitting there and talking about all sorts of things but the whole time I'm waiting on the inevitable switch to a conversation about addictions and for it to remain the topic of choice for the duration of our time together. This is a common problem among people in recovery and something I had worried about happening with Lindsay when we first started going out back in late August/early September but that we seemed to get over quite quickly, I'm happy to say. We made a pact early on and managed to stick to it. This is exactly what happens and he tells me about his coming training and how addictions services have all this and that lined up for him. His incredible lack of self-esteem will lap it up – him not believing there to be another way in which he can gain status and position in society, another common problem with regards to people in recovery.

I was like this myself and wrote about it on another forum some time ago, when I was still in the midst of my drinking but of the thinking that I was cured. I was sure that I had plenty to offer others struggling with their woes, losses, and addictive behaviours. It seems silly now but I had been sober for around a month when I wrote about my thoughts of getting into addictions counselling and how I might be able to help others who might be struggling with what I ''used'' to be. Someone wrote this response in my old journal, those reading on Ryver might know who they are but there's no need to mention names. It doesn't really matter. This is what they wrote to me regarding my thinking about working in the addictions counselling field:

''
I*remember*going*to*a*meeting*years*ago*when*an*ol d*guy***a*Glaswegian,*funnily*enough***said*someth ing*along*the lines*of*"they*say*it*doesn't*matter*how*long*you're*sober,* I*say*that's*bollocks.*I'm*glad*I*was*seven*years* sober*and*not seven*days*when*I*had*my*first*heart*attack.*I'm*g lad*I*was*ten*years*sober*and*not*ten*weeks*when*m y*wife*died.*I'm glad*I*was*fifteen*years*and*not*fifteen*months*wh en*my*son*died*of*an*overdose.*The*man*I*became*in *recovery*during that*time*was*capable*of*coping*with*those*things* in*a*way*that*I*could*not*have*done*when*I*was*fir st*around".*

Recovery***as*opposed*to*sobriety***takes*time*and *practice.*Some*of*the*things*that*have*got*tangle d*up*inside*of*us might*straighten*themselves*out,*given*time.*Some* of*the*things*that*are*tangled*up*inside*of*us*mig ht*require*conscious effort.*All*of*these*things*will*be*acknowledged*i n*ways*that*they*simply*weren't*when*we*were*using *or*recently*stopped. I've*also*had*a*wee*bit*of*experience*with*drug*an d*alcohol*counsellors,*both*as*a*client*back*in*th e*day,*and*more recently*in*work*I've*done*with*rehabs*as*business es.*There*are*some*great*ones*and*many*poor*ones.* The*poor*ones all*shared*two*things*I*noticed***they*were*all*ex *addicts*or*alkies,*and*they*all*wanted*to*"heal*the*world".*Grandiose thinking*still*working*hard*in*them,*convinced*the y*knew*better*than*everyone*else,*convinced*that*t heir*thinking*was better*than*everyone*else's,*convinced*that*the*pe rson*they*were*"at*that*moment"*was*well*equipped*(indeed,*couldn't be*better*equipped)*to*help*others.*A*long*time*ag o*I*sponsored*one*person*who*spoke*in*early*recove ry*about becoming*a*counsellor,*I*just*suggested*that*she*p ark*the*idea*until*she*was*better,*and*then*take*a *look*at*it.*And*I've never*heard*her*mention*it*since,*and*she's*been*s ober*for*a*good*while.*Maybe*she'll*do*it*now***an d*she*might*be*good at*it.*But*she*wouldn't*have*been*good*at*it*when* she*was*first*around.

''

As I'm talking to the guy at the Charity Shop Cafe I am struck with the same thoughts about him as I am whenever I listen to someone speak in a SMART meeting, when I listen to Marshall talk about recovery, when I listen to anyone and everyone who goes to Restoration, and when I listen to people who attend FIRST meetings as well – almost everyone I talk to about recovery. They want to talk and talk and talk. I guess I am finally, fifty three days into my ninety days without an AA meeting, starting to see the advantages of being in the fellowship. They have a policy whereby we are to ''take the cotton wool out of our ears and stick it in our mouths'' and I notice that those who use other services do not possess this crucial skill. They always want you to hear their opinion and snuff out yours. If they ask your opinion and it differs from theirs then they get all offended and frightened and don't ask you again.

Being Teachable. That was something else I was advised to do while trying to get sober. I never thought that I was but the fact that, way back in the summer of 2014 when I received that post quoted above, I had already become slightly teachable. I was able to read the post and think about it, to try to understand the points it was making to me. Now I look around and I can see quite clearly that all of the poorest workers in the field of addiction all have that one thing in common – they are all in recovery. For the others it is a job, like their last one and like their next one, it's a job and they do their best. For those in ''recovery'' it is more than that. It is their ego, their self-worth, their sobriety – everything hinges on them creating a cover life for themselves in the same way many a serial killer has. Anything is easier than actually putting the work in to try to recover.

I think that everyone in the recovery world was stunned last year when the government cut the funding to our services by twenty per cent. We lost our addictions psychologist; we lost funding for Restoration; employees of agencies are on three month rolling contracts - we lost a lot. It's kind of obvious now though, to me at least, that this will continue to happen more and more. Why would the government want to give money to a service that isn't working? Why would they want to pile cash and resources into something which yields such poor results? They wouldn't, and they won't. This is already the beginning of the end. I think that places like Restoration, Addiction Services; SMART; FIRST; DAPL; FASS; Frontline Fife; and all of the others, need to start producing results or they can expect to be cut even further.

Lunarer
April 6th, 2017, 03:58 PM
Marshall (I keep forgetting if I spell his name with one ''l'' or two) and I arrive at the DAPL headquarters a couple of towns away. It's great being spring. The windows in Marshal(l)'s car are down and I saw a bumblebee earlier – the first time I've experienced either of these things so far this year. We're entering times when everything seems better. We're off to see Susan. She's meeting with us again to progress this music group. She gets onto the subject of cuts and results.

Susan – ''The reason that some people try to get into work as addiction workers for the Scottish Drug Consortium is because they wouldn't be able to get work anywhere else on account of their criminal records.''

It's a fair point, but one that still doesn't really make up for the fact that most of these guys I've met are very poor at what they do. Being an addict doesn't mean that you will be any good at the job. The guy I had breakfast with has quite a short temper. He also blames everyone else for things he does wrong. He can't speak very clearly yet still speaks quite softly. Rather than speak up and slow down his words he, quite rudely it must be said at times, or I think seems to most people, blames others for not hearing him. We've to turn our hearing aids up. It's never his fault. I wonder what kind of quality this is to carry into a job working with addicts and alkies. I know – it's his mental health, he doesn't know any better. But I was always told that I am responsible for my own illness. He must have to be too. I can see the yellowy-white colouring of his tongue as he lifts the spoon to eat his soup. Because he has ran out of teeth he won't be bothering with toothbrushes and so the bacteria has continued to grow and develop without any maintenance and care. It's a horrendous sight and one that shows me he does not look in the mirror too often. I know – empathise, and I do try, but the drug consortium would do well for themselves if they taught these guys how to do the simple things like this before training them to help others with addictive tendencies.

Susan brings up a comparison between the UK and the USA.

Susan – ''If we were in America people would be really happy about us being in recovery. In Britain there is still a very stigmatised way of looking at those in recovery, a very old fashioned attitude.''

I don't know if this is true. I actually think that people are happy that I'm getting better. My nieces even love that I have quit smoking – the final addictive substance to leave my life.

Susan, Marshall and I come up with a ''script'' for running this guitar class but I'll outline that tomorrow. I'm way over my word-count for today.
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Way over his word count.

2186

Lunarer
April 6th, 2017, 03:59 PM
Thursday, April 06th 2017 (The Schedule)


Right then – did Barry the Bullet get up this morning so that we could head out to work? The short answer would be NO. We're going to leave it until next week. That's three days work I've lost out on though and there's no guarantee that he'll make it out of bed any easier next week. I'll just have to have faith, pray to my Higher Power that his mother makes a swift recovery but I don't know if it works like that. I would be praying for someone else's good fortune but would really have my own best interests at heart. I'm still a little too new to work out if Higher Powers operate in this way and I've been away from the meetings for long enough now to start forgetting some of AA's teachings. Maybe Gods of our understanding work similarly to the Monkey's Paw if we secretly have our own desires at the root of our prayers, in which case I should be careful, but whatever way you look at it the opposite of praying for Barry the Bullet's mother to get well soon, regardless of what my true prayers may be, would be to not wish for her a speedy recovery. If my Higher Power is like that then I'm not really sure I understand him at all. Maybe I'm just overcomplicating it. Moving on.

I'll be heading through to Lindsay's this afternoon. I haven't been through all week but we were on the phone last night and I'm gonna go through today. I'm gonna walk through with my big heavy bag and all that so I'll be getting some more of my training done while I'm at it. The replacement laptop battery has arrived through the post and is sitting at her flat as we type. This way I'll be able to use this thing while out and about once more. The benefits were enormous before and they'll be enormous again. I'll be able to sneak around and use the laptop on buses and in cafes. There are other libraries in my town and surrounding towns and so I can get over the loss of the Glenwood one a little quicker. They are less hospitable and don't really have the same space as the Glenwood did (and none of them are as sociable as the Glenwood was which was the main thing it had going for itself – I think the community has lost a great meeting place with this closure, but I should get over it, that's last week's news) and so I am unable to plug my laptop into their power sockets but this new battery will mean that I won't have to bother. I'm back online.

I was at the Charity Shop Cafe again this morning. I have to be careful that this place doesn't turn into my replacement library as the food it sells is far from healthy stuff (it's like a modern day Greasy Spoon) and the menu here would see my Slimming World consultant's mouth hit the floor. It is the only place you can be with the community down at the Glenwood Centre at the moment though. When the really good weather comes in then people will meet at the benches outside but at the moment it really has to be indoors most days although today has been particularly decent.


@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


Right then, I'm in the next town. Lindsay is out with her friends from AA (Ann and Lisa – both went to SMART on Monday and both are just off the back of a lengthy binge. You notice that – when one of them goes out they take the other with them. Lindsay struggles as a result with them as friends as they can get quite close for a while but then when a relapse is on the horizon she is left out. They know they can't drink with Lindsay so she just has to sit around and wait for them to sober up so that she can be included again. They seem to be going through a little sober patch at the moment so all is good, but at some point soon........) so I let myself in with my key and I have to say it's been a good day so far. It's the weather. It can make what would otherwise be a normal and nondescript day seem heavenly. I'm not saying that this day has been poor – it's been pretty good and would have been had the weather been what it was at this time last month (maybe not actually – weather really does have that effect on me) and there is still much of it to go. I'm optimistic.

It's good to be able to get this stuff posted as well which I will do in a minute or so. When it clogs up my OpenOffice Writer rather than being out there and online it becomes a little irritating, almost like an annoying itch from an insect bite, only one from an insect that has somehow managed to burrow into my skull and pierce my brain. It won't find much in the way of nutritional excellence in there, I'm afraid.

So – Susan, Marshall and I came up with a music class structure. Here it is (rough estimate and subject to change):

18:30 – 18:35: Opening Statement.

We have something in the pipeline which outline what the group is here for and what we hope to achieve. I'll write it down in the journal when it's been finalised.

18:35 – 18:45: Check In

Similar to SMART only we talk about what we've been listening to, practising, and how we got on with the ''homework'' from the week before.

18:45 – 19:15: Lesson

Seems to be my section of the class as Marshall gives away more and more that he knows very little about why a chord is a chord, but we'll get to that the more he gets found out.

19:15 – 19:25: Comfort break

Or more accurately: smoke break.

19:25 – 19:55: The ''fun'' part, which it seems as though Marshall will be taking. This is more the part where we jam together, perhaps in pairs.

19:55 – 20:00: End of class, feedback, etc.

20:00: Get outta here, I'm sick of the sight of you guys.

This will start from April 19th, a fortnight from now, but will just be Marshall and myself for the first two weeks (meaning that it officially begins on the first Wednesday of May)

Anyway, that's me reached my one thousand words for the day already. I'm off to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Raising his replacement laptop battery aloft as though wielding some enormous sword in victory after winning an epic duel.

1139

Lunarer
April 7th, 2017, 12:33 PM
Friday, April 07th 2017 (Two Months Smoke Free)


The seventh of every month used to mean a lot to me a couple of years ago as the days I was sober became weeks, became months. Two years ago at this point I was two months sober to the day, but not long from a weed smoking lapse which would last until my one year sober anniversary on the seventh of February last year. This means that one year ago to the day I was fourteen months sober and two months off the weed, around thirteen weeks since I'd last taken any harder drugs. Today means that I am, to the day, twenty six months off the booze; fourteen months away from the weed; and two full months off the cigarettes. Perhaps even more interesting than this though, is the fact that I am also two full months off the Sertraline antidepressants. The ''brain zaps'' died off eventually. I did the right thing in weaning off them against the doctor's advice. Sometimes we have to accept that we know in our gut when something feels right and so we must go with it. This is by far the longest I have gone since becoming a teenager that I have had nothing destructive going into my system on a regular basis (although I am sure that my Slimming World consultant would have something to say about that given the menu at the Charity Shop Cafe). Let's get on with things.

So - I'm back in my own town again. I've been here quite a lot this last week, more than I've been used to so far this year, and I've noticed some interesting things as a result. I've noticed that I don't receive much in the way of mail. All of my current bills and debts are being catered for, I'm paying them as I should be, and so there is no reason for anyone to be sending me letters of hate and threats. I also have noticed that my Dragon Tree looks all but certain to survive from now until the finish line. The Scottish weather won't get cold enough and dark enough for long enough a period now for it to kill my beloved tree and so I am not long from being able to officially tick off another challenge in my sobriety. One that many might think ludicrously easy – keeping a house plant alive for one full year – but one that has taken me two attempts to achieve, assuming it makes it to June 30th as it is.

At the Charity Shop Cafe this morning (I'm working there – not just eating) I can see the true nature of the Glenwood Centre and what its fate must surely be. An old television has been thrown from one of the flats that sits high above the shops and has crashed onto the ground to be left (why? When there is a charity shop directly beneath you?). The weeds and reeds are loving this sunny weather as much as I have been and are pushing through all of the many gaps and holes in the slabs and no one is caring for them. It's gonna look like a jungle soon, or what my garden used to look like when I was drinking, whatever's worse. The welcoming doors of the library, which would on sunny days like today have been open to air out the place, are now hidden behind enormous and rusty metal shutters. It's starting to look a little derelict. One of this town's most well established restaurants sits next to the charity shop and I've heard through the grapevine that there are plans to move it, to relocate down the town centre, which would be another bitter blow to this community.

It seems as though capitalism is in full flow here at the Glenwood Centre – my local shopping area. Local hospitality such as the library and (at some point along the line surely) the charity shop are closing down and being replaced by places like Iceland and Tesco. It's easy to see the differences between the two different types of service when you step inside each of their respective buildings.

I'm working this morning with someone I've never worked with before. We're chatting away and some guys are coming out of the flats above the shop. This new woman strikes up a conversation about junkie types, the addicted. She says she doesn't want to judge but then goes out and judges. I decide, not to defend the addicts of the world, but just to point out that it is quite a daunting task for someone who has missed out on so much compared with their age-related counterparts, that often we leave school with little, go through long spells of unemployment, have trouble with the law, can't bond with our fellow humans and so go through most of our twenties and thirties (and for many of us beyond) without having much in the way of close friendships and certainly we don't have intimate relationships with romantic partners – we miss out on so much of what makes a healthy twenty first century person living in a developed and capitalist community that it seems like an incredible challenge for us to be able to change our ways and our personal resources at the time of sobering up or straightening up are so poor that we are often incapable of taking part in the very services that might be able to help us.

She asks how I know so much about this.

Stevie – ''After I'm done here I have another voluntary position I go to. It's with Restoration, they offer a safe place for those in recovery to hang out every week.''

Woman – ''Ah, Restoration!! I have a friend who volunteers for them.''

Turns out that she does and I know the woman she's talking about. She's not the smartest tool in the box, this volunteer we both know, and I am now worried for my anonymity. When this woman I am speaking with mentions my name and that she worked beside me at the Charity Shop Cafe to her friend then it's likely she'll be told that I am not a volunteer but actually one of the service users. I'm not that important that people want to talk about me when I'm not there but there is an enormous chance that this woman I was working with this morning will soon know that I am an ex-problem drinker. It serves me right for lying. I'm not a volunteer, but it's none of anyone else's business why I go to the place every week.

It's not that I mind her or anyone else knowing, not at all, it's more that I feel as though the threat of my anonymity being broken isn't really of any great concern to Restoration or indeed addiction services. In AA we talk about anonymity quite a bit, all the time actually, and in SMART there is an opening statement which covers this too. ACA does the same, as well as any other Twelve Step Fellowship you care to pick. Restoration doesn't seem to mention it though. Maybe my anonymity being broken here could be used to the advantage of the service as a whole.

I think I'm coming down with some kind of illness. This never happens. Worse than this I noticed pins and needles in my left arm and fingertips as I was walking to Lindsay's last night – a ten mile trip with my bag of goodies. Today I have had little flutters here and there but there has been no chest pain. Lindsay took my blood pressure and said that it was perfect. There shouldn't be anything to worry about.

So I won't worry.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Another week bites the dust.

1320

Lunarer
April 9th, 2017, 03:22 AM
Saturday, April 08th 2017 (Looking Over The Problem)


We're flying through the weeks now. I can't believe it's been eight weeks since I was last in an AA room. Fifty six days to the day. That represents fifty six minutes of our football match since I am taking ninety days away from the meetings (AA says when you join that you should go to ninety meetings in your first ninety days to ensure that you settle in and so I am putting my own little twist on things by staying away for that long) and there are ninety minutes in a football match (I'm British so when I mention ''football'' I am talking about ''soccer'') so we are ten minutes now into the second half. Things are hotting up.

Sometimes the word ''codependency'' comes to mind. I'm not sure what this means in a recovery context. This isn't some fantasy adventure where I am a solo swordsman travelling some unknown lands to slay some evil wizard or dragon who threatens the stability of my people; nor is it a game of Call Of Duty where I alone must face entire armies in the hope that we all might survive a Nazi invasion – it's hardly as dramatic as all that, it's just a case of me adding flowers to my life's petal. I think I wrote that wrong. I mean: adding petals to my life's flower. This means that the people who are with me on this journey are not people I depend on in the way that I think the codependency phrase means. I don't know. Would I still be able to stay sober if I lost Lindsay from my life? Or my brother? English Sara and Dennis? My nieces? I don't quite know what they are talking about when they speak of codependency because we all have people in our lives – even those who warn about codependency – who's loss to us would change things dramatically.

I think I've finally succumbed to illness. This doesn't happen to me very often but I think that there's no avoiding it this time. I'm gonna be ill. I decided to walk through the pre-illness feelings of weakness and cold and get myself to the ACA meeting that started up in this town last week.

''
Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household. We had come to feel isolated and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. ''

I can relate to most of the things that ACA says and discusses in its meetings but not everything. There was no alcoholism in my family while I was growing up. I also think that it's unfair to say that I come from a dysfunctional family as they did do their best, mostly for themselves I accept, but that is no different from any other family out there. Yesterday I had Oldest Niece with me to Restoration. She loved it. We were making Easter cards and cupcakes and she made one of each for her uncle Stevie, and again for her sister, mum and dad. Gary had asked if I could do this so that he could get on with a university report he had to finish for Monday.

When Oldest Niece and I got back Gary continued with his report. For all I know he could still be typing now. As a result of this Oldest Niece had to make do with the television after I left and Gary had still not looked at the work she had done while away, despite many efforts to raise his attention to them. Of course, Gary would, were we stupid enough, have us believe that the reason he is going to university in the first place is to provide a better future for his family and this is what most of us tend to say under similar circumstances, but it's bullshit really, and I hope we all know it, and I can see in Oldest Niece's face many times as she accepts she's second place to the laptop screen the smallest but surest first signs of abandonment. In many ways she comes from a dysfunctional family in that the family comes in second place behind a screen.

''To protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.''

I don't feel as though I was ever a people-pleaser but my own identity was completely lost somewhere along the line of time and I became confused as to how much of the facade I put on since I was a young boy was actually the real me. Probably not very much. I guess that this is one of the things that Dr. Bacon is trying to do with me during our psychology sessions – he's trying to smash down the facade, the Detached Protector Mode, and get to the real Stevie, surely just a child himself, and then I have the rest of my life to try to grow and ''mature'' this real child, to try to develop what is a very underdeveloped Healthy Adult Mode.

''We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative.''

Again – only parts of this ring true with me. I don't feel as though I was more concerned with others than with myself but instead feel as though I got into real alcoholic territory by becoming obsessed with myself and my tiny world. In saying that – I did seem to have an unhealthy preoccupation with particular types of people - those starving in the world and, in particular, women – especially those physically abused in the home. Maybe this was a form of people-pleasing but in any case was definitely used as a way of avoiding the situation I was faced with at that time. I worried about others to avoid having to sort out myself.

''We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.''

We're all dependent. In fact – we are all totally and completely dependent on others from birth to death and are all in our own ways terrified of being abandoned, more so in today's society than at any other point in history I feel, as our attitudes towards social media and the internet kind of illustrates, so abandonment is on the increase if you ask me and Oldest Niece is starting to warm to this type of lifestyle already, at the tender age of five. In ten years times when she's totally addicted to social media she'll, and everyone else will agree, think that she's made the choice to be when the reality is that she is as we speak learning that technology is more important than human interaction. She'll not be making a choice anymore than she'll simply be doing as she was told to do as she was growing up. Mum and dad will both look back and say that they were not on their computers or phones all that much so I'll write it down right now for future reference: you guys were on your laptops and phones ALL THE TIME!! Much more than I ever saw you talk with your children.

It's my duty as her uncle to always make sure that technology is second to her and her sister. It's something I have no problem with (and I don't have to even check my phone when I visit) but it's an enormous responsibility. I'm up to it though.

''These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us "co-victims", those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships.''

The meeting was okay but sometime I am sitting there thinking that I actually seem pretty stable in comparison to these guys. There is perhaps one reason for this: I attend sessions with a clinical psychologist. This guy, according to all of the bollocks I hear in Restoration and SMART and so on, should be shite at his job because he's not been an addict himself. That is what they say. But because he has not wasted so much of his life wallowing in addictive self-pity as we have is exactly one of the main reasons he is a psychologist in the first place. He's not that much older than me yet has his training and plenty of experience. He's in a position at a time of his life when it would be impossible for someone like me to ever be, let alone be at my age.

There's only so far identification is going to take you before it becomes pointless and just another problem. These groups are okay but to have them and only them (as well as their Twelve Step programmes) is only going to help a small percentage of the problem. The real work begins when in the presence of a professional who will not provide hiding places for you, who will constantly be pushing you to face demons and fears. The rooms provide too many hiding places. Too many opportunities for us to tell ourselves and each other how it is. Psychology works it differently. I have my next session on Monday afternoon.

''This is a description, not an indictment.''

I had to get straight and sober to start looking at all of this stuff so I thank AA for that, but I think I also feel less distracted now that I don't attend their meetings as I don't have to talk about alcohol all the time. In AA we very seldom speak about things related to recovery, it's always just a chat about our drinking days.

I reckon staying away for eight weeks has worked for me and I deserve a goal.

Fifty six minutes in and Stevie scores.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Stevie 1 – 0 Ninety days without AA

1822

Lunarer
April 9th, 2017, 12:25 PM
Sunday, April 09th 2017 (Hard To Relate)


Who'd have thought when we all made the transition (and a painful one it was too) from WQD to this place that so few of us would write in our journals? In fact – there seems to be only one other person (Jupiter) besides me who writes in this place regularly at the moment. What has happened to the others? I don't know why we didn't all sign up to one of the other forums that are on offer. Some of us have already, and some of us seem to have been members of multiple forums for some time, but most of us seem to just not be around anymore. I quite like My Way Out as a forum. It works the exact same way as WQD used to but is much smaller and has a few extra limitations (posts have to be under ten thousand characters for instance, not really a problem unless you happen to be me though) but it otherwise more or less the same. I guess it's best not to plug it too much as I know how much work is required on the other end once message boards become too popular and we end up losing them.

Whatever way I try to look at it though – WQD on Ryver has been, after only three months, a complete and utter failure. A total disaster. Strength in numbers. Unless there's an entire ''invitation only'' section of the site reserved for those and such as those that I have purposefully be kept out of the loop from then I can't see how anyone in their right mind could say that this new site has worked. There is no community left at all. Already a ticking time bomb. The ''Chat'' section appears to be the only place where anything happens, and very little at all happens in there.

But I'll carry on and the thing buzzing around my head this sunny Sunday morning (besides the dying embers of a virus of some kind that saw me head to bed very early last night and seriously sweat it out) is something that Lindsay was talking about. Being a former drinker as well (to the extent where her son does not live with her and she's had a brain haemorrhage from a drunken fall a couple of years ago) she speaks with a psychiatric nurse once a fortnight. The differences between psychiatric nurses and clinical psychologists was not clear to me until I started to immerse myself in the recovery world. Psychiatric nurses, besides the fact that they haven't undertaken anywhere near the same levels of training as their psychological counterparts, are more focused to keeping patients safe in the here and now. They look to protect the onion until ready for the peeling process. Psychology doesn't waste any time and gets straight on with peeling the onion.

This is quite an interesting way to look at AA sponsorship and the advice that was given to me when I was new to the rooms. I wanted a sponsor early and managed to get ''on the program'' at around three and a half months sober. Advice varied. Some said to wait, others said to do it at the earliest opportunity. Because my journey saw me enter into the life of a sponsee so soon I always thought it was the right way to go. Why would someone want to remain sick for a period before trying to get well through working the Steps AA has to offer? Now I am wondering. Perhaps it's better to make sure that you are safe in the here and now, just off a drink (and these days drugs too) bender that has often lasted for decades, before the onion peeling begins!? Or perhaps due to sponsors not being in any way qualified to help us peel our onions maybe the role they play is more that of the psychiatric nurse – preparing us for the next step of the help we'll need.

So with Lindsay and I you have a seven month old relationship between two former drinkers who met in Alcoholics Anonymous, one sees a clinical psychologist regularly while the other makes do with a psychiatric nurse while she's waiting on her referral to come through to psychology services. Some might think that we are a recipe for a bigger failure than WQD on Ryver. Who's to say!? The thing I'm thinking about is something that Lindsay and her psychiatric nurse were taking about at their session on Wednesday last week. I must have come up in the conversation quite a bit and the agency/organisation ''Relationships Scotland'' was mentioned, particularly ''Relate'' and Lindsay has already paid for a triage of sorts with them next week.

At first my mind started to wander. Or more accurately – began to be stretched in all different directions, trying to figure out what might be happening. My first instinct was that we are far too early into a relationship of any kind surely for us to be considering relationships counselling. Then I began to wonder if maybe this meant that Lindsay was clinging onto something she doesn't feel to be working. Then I wondered if she might be codependent, and then if I might be, then I chilled the fuck out and collected my thoughts, looked at what was going on.

At least she cares enough about what we have going at the moment to try to get to the bottom of any issues we might be having this early on. She had mentioned to her nurse that while we have only been going out for seven months she does feel closer to me than previous boyfriends due to the depth of sharing that goes on between us and has done since this all started. I get that too, but then when I take into consideration some of what ACA talks of regarding previous relationships. My own experience has been tainted badly by many of these. I was, or always thought that I was, attracted to women who lived life in much the same chaotic way that I myself did. There have been some belters in there. Relationships, like any other of life's petals you care to pick, are areas of life that I am having to learn all about as I approach forty years old. I'm learning now much of the stuff I should have been learning twenty years ago. Some of us, those who really do venture a little too far down drink's rabbit-hole, have it all to do from the moment we get sober.

I can't think of what particular aspect of our relationship Lindsay might be feeling to be out of control to the extent that she (and her psychiatric nurse) feels that there needs to be a more professional intervention other than the totally obvious one: sex! Seven months down the line and we still have not managed to get past this hurdle. There are times when I try to raise it (I mean to raise the subject) but there are other times when I enjoy looking forward to a period of time where we do not think about it, as if I'm happy to accept that it is not something we have to live with at the moment. She would try to initiate it early on and I would always start to feel claustrophobic and smothered. I would mastermind a way out of it. After a while Lindsay's efforts died down but she continues to bring it up every now and then, as you might imagine and as it her right. I think that she is going to go to this triage appointment with Relate on her own but then after this is hoping that I might go with her to the sessions. This won't be a problem and I'm happy to go along. I no longer feel frightened when I am in a position where I have to be judged. I wrote on the old WQD many times and in great depth about my problems regarding sex but don't know how necessary that will be in this new journal.

I'll cover this a little more tomorrow. I've a session with Dr. Bacon in the afternoon so there's no telling what tomorrow's post might contain.

I've still another week to go before I return to the college to get on with all things sound production related so to pass the time productively I am still hopeful that I can get a hold of Barry the Bullet and get out working this week.

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Hopeful about work.

1447

Lunarer
April 12th, 2017, 03:55 PM
Monday, April 10th 2017 (Bully and Attack – Part One)


I'm waiting on the bus so that I can make the trip to my own town this afternoon for my session with my clinical psychologist when I am approached by a young woman. She's asking if I have a light so that she might ''enjoy'' a cigarette while she waits. This is the first time this has happened to me since I stubbed my last one back in early February. It's nothing special – it's just interesting, that's all. But let's get to the session I had with my clinical psychologist later in the afternoon. I mention to him that I've been to ACA meetings (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families).

Dr. Bacon – ''Could I just ask what prompted that? Because you said you weren't going to AA meetings for three months so I was just wondering....''

Stevie – ''A new meeting just happened to start up last Saturday and I got the invite so I went. Everyone in her phone would have been asked to try to get the numbers up, get a little group going and a little money coming in, so I went....''

Dr. Bacon – ''Can I just ask about that? Can I just ask what your thinking and reasoning around going there, saying that you were taking a step back from going to AA but then going to this, just so that I can sort of get a sense of where you're at.''

Stevie – ''Lots of different reasons, it's something different, Lindsay wanted to go, there's.....I saw someone from AA today, well I say he's in AA but in truth he came for a few weeks and then never came back. I worry when that happens. I don't care about those who are in it for the long haul but I worry when too many new people pop in and then disappear, like they are almost spying on us for a little while without actually committing to being one of us. ACA seems to have a better group in this way.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I'm just really unsure about the decision making behind going to that....''

Stevie – ''I don't know. I just thought I'd check it out.''

Dr. Bacon – ''What were you hoping to get from it do you think?''

Stevie – ''Maybe a part of me knew that around fifty per cent of the members at that fellowship also go to AA meetings and so I wanted to touch base with some of them.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Was there a sort of sense of needing to do that?''

Stevie – ''No, there was a sense that I was actually cheating with my ninety day abstinence thing....I don't know.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think that there's maybe something important there that we might want to tap into....''

Stevie – ''Don't you think that maybe you're just overthinking it?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Possibly, that's a possibility, but it seems to me that part of your original decision in having that ninety day clean break was so that you could establish a life separate from that kind of identity, that section of people and the community in a way, and then this – and the way you put it is that it's not quite AA so it's not quite breaking the rules but doing a little bit of that anyway, it just seems like a mixed message to me about what you're actually looking for at the moment.''

Stevie – ''Looking for how?......''

Dr. Bacon – ''I mean satisfying some need that we all have. I guess that one of the things I'm wondering.....there's probably more than one reason why people get something from the meetings they attend.....social contact, structure, validation, all of these things that are important to making it a success – but you were talking about separating from that, with a clear idea in your mind about why you were doing that, but I'm wondering if part of what you're attempting to do here is where it becomes relevant for us and our work, is actually attempting to satisfy some psychological needs.....and I just think that's worth pointing out because if that's true, recognising that doing this is an attempt to satisfy a psychological need is extremely important for us to understand because satisfying our psychological needs is at the heart of this Schema Therapy approach, and seeing that our psychological needs have gone unmet in the past is what we think causes problems in the first place, and so understanding how we're meeting our needs in the moment, how conscious we are of them, how aware we are of them, and what we're doing to meet them, is really the crux of what we're trying to do here.''

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''So I'm just wondering if cutting yourself off from AA, for the reasons you've previously explained, you've cut yourself off from some of your psychological needs being met and that this is an attempt to satisfy them again?''

Stevie – ''It's possible – the meeting takes place in the very same room as the Tuesday night Step meeting.''

I'm thinking that we're spending too much time talking about this ACA meeting but is my impatience here related to my not wanting to perhaps accept the point he's pushing? AA meets some psychological needs I have and by not going I am cutting myself off from having them met? It would explain a lot. I did go to two ACA meetings recently (although to be fair they did only just start up and I was invited) but after fifty odd days away from the fellowship I award myself a goal the other day in my match against them. Was this goal just a diversionary tactic? It terrifies me that this whole time I've been away from the rooms that some of the daily faces I had got to know have been in a meeting every single day I've been away. No one can say it is in any way positive recovery. It's total and utter dependence!

Dr. Bacon – ''All our behaviours are motivated internally to some degree where it's as simple as the urge to eat, sleep or procreate, or whether it's something more complicated in terms of psychological needs that have to be met, ultimately our behaviour is motivated, it's driven by something..''

Stevie – ''Well I hope it isn't something I've criticised some members for ever since I sobered up.''

Dr. Bacon – ''What's that?''

Stevie – ''There are a few people I've known in AA since I started going who I think go for reasons that are very sad. They go to meetings every single evening, and there's a reason I think that they go and it's not the reasons they say that they go, and I hope it isn't the reason I went to the ACA meeting on Saturday, and that is it's because they're old, and when we get old we get lonely and I just hope that that wasn't why...''

Dr. Bacon – ''Why would that be such a bad thing?''

Stevie – ''Because I'm too young for that. I already have problems about getting old and I think that if I go to meetings more often it makes me feel older. AA is a beautiful thing in theory but its founders could never have predicted the way it would be abused by its members. Old people going to meetings because they're lonely? That's fine, but don't hog the limelight! People who want a safe place away from drink for an evening but who don't have their hearts set on ever being sober? Agan – cool, just don't tell us that you're there to help the new guy when he comes through the door.''

I like this though. This idea that everyone in AA goes to the meetings because they have some unmet psychological needs going on which motivates them to attend. Dr. Bacon finishes this half of our session by mentioning something I take as being filled with great hope for the future:

Dr. Bacon – ''What we're identifying here is a need asking to be satisfied, and I'm not at all saying, and I want to be clear here, this is not to say that attending meetings is the inappropriate way of doing this, more important I think is to try to figure out what this need is, and we're not going to be able to figure that out today, that's going to be a much longer term discovery that we'll have to make, but what it's telling us is that getting that need met is really important, but what is it? Knowing what it is matters, you know!? But whatever it is I think there's a sense that AA was meeting it for a while but wasn't meeting it fully or adequately for you to want to take a step back from it, that's just one perspective.

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''The other thing I wanted to talk about today.....was.....to give a little feedback about the questionnaires that you completed. You'll remember that we were looking at modes.''

We were. The Detached Protector being one we covered in the greatest detail.

Stevie – ''It seem like we're going down the Borderline Personality Disorder route, would that be accurate?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well, at the end of the day a diagnostic approach is very different to what we're trying to do in psychology. We tend to think that we all have these modes, they're intrinsic human qualities, it's just that we all have different combinations of these modes to different degrees and with different intensities if you like. What's really important is the modes, and the patterns that these modes create in your life.''

Stevie – ''Okay.''

Dr. Bacon – ''So – when I scored the Schema Mode Inventory that you completed it gave some results that gave what we were thinking but also some things that we had overlooked which I think would be interesting to have a look at.''

He whips out a little diagram.

Dr. Bacon – ''One of the modes that we hadn't talked about, and one that came out as one of the strongest, was this mode.''

He points to one he's drawn on his diagram marked ''Bully and Attack.''

We decide to have a look at that for the second half of the session.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Done with the first half.

1761

Lunarer
April 12th, 2017, 03:57 PM
Tuesday, April 11th 2017 (Bully and Attack – Part Two)


Bacon and I are sitting looking over the different modes that make up my personality, or at least that we think do, and this session we're looking specifically at the Bully and Attack mode, which apparently stood out quite strongly in my questionnaire results.

Dr. Bacon – ''The name of this mode makes it sound really harsh but I think the key thing to understand here is that this is a coping mode, so it's a defensive mode and so it's all about protecting ourselves and protecting this vulnerable child part of ourselves. So, the way you did the questionnaire you scored quite highly in some of the questions related to that and so it might be interesting to look at how that might play out, how it might play out in therapy and how it might play out in other areas of life as well.''

I catch a glimpse of my marked results on the questionnaire which are on the desk as he's flipping the pages and having a look. It's difficult to see anything really but I manage to catch sight of one or two of my results.

Stevie – ''Is five the highest?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yes, five's the highest.''

Stevie – ''I see three fives in a row there.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well, I'll go over the questions that relate to that mode and see what you think about that. Actually six is the highest actually, so the first question: ''I demand respect by not letting other people push me around?'' - you'd scored five which is pretty high. You also scored five for, ''If you let other people mock or bully you then you're a loser?'' This would relate to this mode as well. You also scored five for, ''Attacking is the best defence?''

Stevie – ''Fuck!''

Dr. Bacon - ''...''

Stevie – ''It's amazing how I don't remember putting my scores in for any of these questions, I suppose that's why there's so many of them.''

Dr. Bacon – ''One which is also in there, you scored three on that, which is ''I mock or bully other people?'' So it's important to remember that this mode is all about defence, it's a defensive mode, one that exists to try to protect us by.......maybe taking control of a situation, perhaps sometimes at the expense of others as well. But, for example, things that you scored completely low on were any kind of violent or attacking behaviour, physical violence or anything like that......you really don't engage that way and I don't think that describes you very well, judging by that and getting to know you quite well so I don't think that you're any kind of dangerous person because of this.''

Stevie - ''...''

Dr. Bacon – ''As far as I know, I think what it's more getting at and maybe what we could see as attributing more to the Detached Protector Mode is this, ''Woah, get back from me a little bit here!!'' and maybe sometimes that comes across as a bit cutting.''

Stevie – ''Yeah. This isn't new. I go through little phases of this I think, or have been through phases of that, my whole life I think. There were times when it would be pointed out to me that I'd said something rude and I didn't even know I'd said it. Then there were times when I'd say something and others seemed easily offended by it. I figured some people are just more sensitive than others but then I realised that I should watch what I say. Now I'm at the stage where I can't trust myself and so tend to be quieter, or at least try to be, make a conscious effort to try to be.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Uh huh! Well I'm just wondering – let's just think about today's session.''

He points out a couple of examples from the session where I have, very subtly but surely, tried to use assertiveness and ''bullying and attacking'' types of methods on him when things are going in a direction I'm not too happy with.

Stevie – ''You're right.''

Dr. Bacon – ''How do you think that would come across or be experienced by others?''

Stevie – ''Well if everyone has their own version of these modes we're talking about like you're saying they do, if you've got a Detached Protector Mode then it would likely bring out your own or worse, but.....ummm....I don't have much experience in what healthy adults do but I would suspect them to be strong enough that it wouldn't phase them too much, I don't know – it would depend on how invested in me they were.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think it might be happening just now.''

Stevie – ''Ummmmm....''

Dr. Bacon – ''But that's okay, and I want that to be clear. It's totally fine for that to come in here, you know, I'm okay with that. I accept and acknowledge that that's going to happen. I'm very accepting and tolerant of that, I want to be clear. Actually it's more helpful if that happens here than if it doesn't because I can give you pointers but I can only do it by-proxy if we're talking about how it plays out in other situations, but, you know the first thing you said there was, ''Well if YOU'VE got a Detached Protector!!'' which, on the face of it, is not an unreasonable thing to say, but there's an emotional quality to a message like that as well and I think that's what we're getting at here, an emotional quality that can perhaps feel a little persecutory.''

Stevie - ''….''

Dr. Bacon – ''And I don't think that you want me to feel that way. I don't feel that you have any ill intent towards me, but I do wonder.........this is hard stuff, to take onboard. It's hard to open yourself up to someone like this and for someone to be giving.......effectively what amounts to nothing more than opinions or thoughts about you as a person. And that can be really hard, that can feel really unpleasant, and I think it would be really natural to want to push back against that sometimes.''

Stevie - ''...''

Dr. Bacon – ''Don't overthink.''

Stevie - ''…...What was the question?''

Dr. Bacon – ''So I wasn't really questioning. I was more just observing perhaps that that was happening there. My word isn't gospel so it might not be that. And, for me, again, it's not something that deeply offends me in any way. I'm okay with it. It's important that you know that I can handle that happening. But at the same time it's something that's.....that would perhaps be emotionally noticeable in an interaction or in a relationship. So even something as small and subtle as that has an emotional rebound for people, and here I am okay with that and actually prefer it to happen than for it not to happen, but sometimes other people might not expect it in the same way, or might not tolerate it, or might not even consciously recognise it but be a bit averse to it. Is any of this ringing any bells?''

Stevie – ''Yeah.......I think that I have begun to notice when I'm doing this stuff and have my moments where I am silent, or certainly quieter, which has much to do with not knowing the group I'm with very well and so not knowing what they will be tolerant of.''

Which in itself can bring about feeling as though it is THIER fault that I am having to subdue myself. Talk about psychological needs being met? Sometimes I wonder if the only psychological need not being met in my world is my need to not have to analyse my every waking moment so as not to step on another of God's super-sensitive little children. Or is that me going into Bully and Attack Mode again? Aaarrggghhhh!!!!

Dr. Bacon – ''That would be a really understandable way to protect yourself.''

Stevie – ''Or I'm protecting everyone else in the room.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah, so a way to protect them from this?''

Stevie – ''Yeah, I might not always be completely selfish.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Why would you say that?''

Stevie – ''I'm a human being so I'm selfish personified.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Okay.''

Stevie – ''Dress it up, sugar-coat it, but I'm human....so.......''

Dr. Bacon – ''We're getting a bit isoteric at that point, let's pull it back a little bit, what makes you think that you're.......I don't really see that. I think actually you're a very considerate person from what I've seen.''

Stevie – ''A considerate person who bullies and attacks.''

Dr. Bacon – ''And this gives slightly the wrong impression. Really it's about defence.''

Stevie – ''Yeah, it's not sadism.''

Dr. Bacon – ''No. You're not doing this to hurt people for the sake of hurting them so that you can feel good about yourself for hurting them. You're trying to keep yourself safe.''

Stevie – ''Yeah....''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think you're doing a really good job though, even being able to have these kind of conversations and bear that in mind at the moment. Because you could actually be doing this right now, couldn't you!?''

He points to his diagram on the desk in front of me – the section called: ''Bully and Attack!!''

Dr. Bacon – ''You could be saying, ''Well what do you know, Bacon, really!? You've known me for all of five appointments.''

Stevie – ''I think if I was to speak with people who know me best, then and now, I think they'd be able to identify with this bullying idea here.''

Dr. Bacon – ''How does it come across in other situations, in the rest of your life?''

Lunarer
April 12th, 2017, 03:58 PM
Stevie – ''I think it comes across in cheeky, sarcastic ways. Like you say – I don't appear violent, but there's a desire from within me sometimes to come across as cheeky to offend. I've always had the skill to be able to suss out quickly what someone might be easily offended or hurt by and keep it close to hand, just in case I need to bring it out, and if I need to then it's an effective weapon I've got. And the opposite as well I think – with the Detached Protector making it difficult for others to suss out what it is that will easily hurt me, and so it....''

Dr. Bacon – ''That's a good piece of insight.''

Stevie - ''…..makes me a formidable foe when it comes to verbal warfare.''

Dr. Bacon – ''So for this verbal warfare you've got this really strong armour which is your Detached Protector....''

Stevie – ''Yeah, and homing missiles flying over the top.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah, it's quite a lot for us to get through.''

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think that although it's okay for you to have this armour all around you, and for you to know that I don't mind you firing off the occasional missile, is for you to realise that this isn't necessary in here. I think that ultimately what we need to do, to move towards at some point, putting down that armour, putting down those weapons and letting me connect with that other part of you. What do you think?''

Stevie – ''I keep remembering you saying that we weren't at the stage yet where we could start looking at how to defeat these modes meaning that there will come a time when we cross that line and are able to look at ways forward with this, and when it'll be outlined – rights, here's what we have to do to get over some of this stuff.''

Dr. Bacon – ''We're still at the assessment phase.''

Stevie – ''Yeah, we're not just walking down this dark alley together, blindly, with no plan.''

Dr. Bacon – ''This isn't an insight-focused therapy so the focus is part of it, we're not just trying to hope that by understanding things we're going to see things differently, that's a very important part of it, but the other part is by thinking about how to get around some of these patterns, bypass some of these modes, and there are different practices and methods for doing that, none of them miraculous, but what matters more is having a thorough understanding of how to do some of that, and doing it in partnership as well, with direction and focus.''

Stevie – ''You did say that people get over the Detached Protector which made me kind of think that the main goal was then to defeat that, now there's this Bully and Attack Mode too.....''

We look at the diagram on the desk. There's Little Stevie in the middle. To his right are his two coping modes, feeding out: Bully and Attack and the Detached Protector. To his left, feeding into the Little Stevie, is the Critical Parent.

Dr. Bacon – ''This isn't a coping mode, this is something different, this is just causing grief if you like, for Little Stevie. This isn't a coping mode, it's not about helping Stevie in any way. It's more like an internalised voice, a message if you like, that's been picked up and carried forward, that's negative and critical and unrelenting to some degree. The part of us that calls ourselves stupid and tells us we're not good enough.''

Stevie – ''What causes that?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Most often it's the messages we've received from our caregivers. For some people it can almost have a voice similar to an actual parent's voice, it can speak in a tone. For other people it can be other things. Depending on your place in society – for some people it can be like a societal message, like you're unacceptable, victims of societal racism and things like that. The point is that it's a part of ourselves that we hold onto in our mind that is attacking. It's kind of like the Bully and Attack Mode but on the inside.''

Stevie – ''Will Critical Parent be next session?''

Dr. Bacon – ''We'll probably need a few sessions to get into all of that, but I'm conscious of our time and I just want to check how all of this is sitting with you.''

It's a good question. I've been asked to look at these patterns and how they pan out in real situations over the coming weeks. Retrospectively at first will be good enough. I guess I'll have to wait a few days to see how this stuff sits with me as it's all a bit new really. My next appointment isn't until the beginning of next month (which is a bit of a pain in the ass actually) so I'll have plenty time to look over what we've been talking about.

Detached Protector Mode? Bully and Attack Mode? It's all a little obvious now that I think about it. I've been doing a lot of thinking about my past and upbringing but mainly in good ways these last couple of weeks or so and I'm noticing more and more these modes popping up.

In slightly less developed ways back then, no doubt.

But just as devastating at times.

'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Lindsay's Olympus digital voice recorder DM-650 for making these posts possible.

2585

Lunarer
April 12th, 2017, 04:00 PM
Wednesday, April 12th 2017 (Reflecting On The Modes)


The differences between Dr. Bacon (my clinical psychologist) and Stu (my former AA sponsor) are enormous. In saying that, there has been something similar this year in talking through some of my issues with Bacon as there was last year and the year before when I would sit at Stu's house once a week. It's just that the methods are so different, while at the same time so very similar.

I'm armed with my replacement laptop battery and so am writing down my thoughts on the Loser's Bus on the way to my girlfriend's town. It's good to have that freedom again and it'll relieve the pressure of posting every day I have to say. I don't have to be sitting next to a power supply to tick the box that is writing my daily entry. I have a little confession to make actually: I didn't write at all yesterday or the day before. I wasn't feeling well at all and couldn't really face writing, sleeping seemed like a much more attractive way to spend the afternoon and early evening, and I had thought about just leaving those two days blank. Fuck it – why do I have to write in this blog every single day anyway? But then I got up late this morning and thought it would be a good idea to use Monday's psychology appointment as a two-parter and got to work. I'll write a post for every day because I said I would and sobriety is all about doing the things I never could while drinking, the main one being – do the things I tell myself that I will!!

I'll be getting weighed at the Slimming World class this evening as well so have that to look forward to but given the way I'm feeling at the moment I don't think I'll be staying for the class. There's a little of the sniffles sticking around and I'm not used to this one bit. This is the longest I can never remember feeling under the weather for. Normally it is more intense but over very quickly. This is something altogether different. I'll be paying and staying for the weigh-in and then I'll be off into the night. The nights are so different now that we are in peak spring. It just feels like late afternoon, we don't seem to get evenings anymore. It just transitions seamlessly from late afternoon to the dead of night. It won't be long before we don't even get a night and the afternoon simply moves straight into the next morning. I can't wait.

So inevitably I am thinking about the session I had with Dr. Bacon on Monday and even more since I typed out much of it this morning. Bully and Attack Mode. I must remember, however, that this is a coping mechanism and is geared towards defence more that it is a case of me going out of my way to be nasty to people. I have been asked by Dr. Bacon to keep close watch on this mode (and the Detached Protector) to see if I can spot when they come about. I'm not trying to stop them just now (although the God of my understanding could be useful for this at times) but more we are just trying to gain insight into what causes them to come into action. How threatened and in what ways must Little Stevie be threatened before he calls upon one of these modes to help him? This is more what we're trying to do at the moment, to gain as best an understanding as we can so that we can later work on these in greater detail.

Due to my being ill this week so far I haven't had much in the way of social interaction and so haven't been able to create opportunities for Little Stevie to feel the need to call upon one of his modes but I have been thinking of one or two instances in the recent past when interesting scenarios have presented themselves and Little Stevie has called upon a mode.

I can remember one instance fairly recently with Lindsay when she said that I can be very piercing with my words. I'd said something and it had hurt her. At the time I hadn't a clue what it was that I'd said (and to be honest I still don't really know) but whatever it was had had the effect that Little Stevie had been looking for. We were in a position where it looked very much like an opportunity to have sex was going to arise and it would be very difficult for me to talk my way out of. Little Stevie started to feel threatened and out they came. The defensive modes. It's unclear as to whether I might have gone straight for the Bully and Attack mode or if I might have tried to work some Detached Protector on her first. Failing that I've then called upon my trusty Bully and Attack. I'm not sure. I do know, however, that continual behaviour like this and I could be in big trouble. The shame of it is that I wouldn't really have deliberately have done anything to cause it either.

I am thinking about how lucky I am at the moment. I'm not freaking out because I have a bunch of modes that make me sound as though I'm some kind of total fruit-job (and let's face it – they do make me appear so) but instead I am loving the fact that I can get to work through this stuff and, possibly, learn to defeat it and act appropriately. There is, quite literally, an astounding amount of scope for growth and personal development in working through this stuff with Dr. Bacon. I'm thinking of Jagger.

Long term readers might remember him. He was a long term sober AA member who I bonded with early on. When things were looking tits up with Stu and me I sought his guidance and met up with him as a possible replacement to sponsor me. Jagger died at the beginning of the month. I don't want to speak ill of the dead (there's no mode I could claim to have which would excuse me for doing that) but Jagger did always say, and was one of the very, very few in the fellowship I ever heard say so, admit to, that he was really poor at relationships. Of course, everyone took it to mean ''intimate, sexual relationships'' but I don't think that's what he meant at all. He had poor relationships all through his life, even in AA. Conversely he was a very likeable guy, but, like he fearlessly admitted on many occasions, he suffered from poor relationships with people.

I've no doubt he worked the AA Twelve Step program to the best of his ability. The problem with this though, is that it is not designed to help in this way. How can it be? It's using vague philosophy that's eighty years old. It says a big fat NO to all of the scientific research that has been carried out since then. It's a real shame because it meant that Jagger and millions like him die without ever conquering their problems. They don't drink, okay, I'll admit, that's great, really great, and it is, and so his life was probably infinitely better than it otherwise might have been, but......

It was once said to me (actually three times, but from the same person so I'm only going to count it once) that if you overthought things and overcomplicated them then there was a risk that you might be too smart to take on board what AA has to offer. I have to say that I am glad I was smart enough not to listen to all of the stuff I was told and to continue to pursue my trip into psychology services. As long as it did take I think that the rewards will be enormous.

Lunarer
April 12th, 2017, 04:01 PM
I'm like Jagger. I suck at relationships. I don't like people and I can't relate to them. He died twenty two years sober with the same problems in this regard as he did the day he put down the drink. Through putting in the work outside of the rooms I might not have to die like this, die the way I am now, for that would mean that I died the same as I am now, which would have meant I did not change.

AA has two tricks. Both of them are very handy tools to have. They have the God of our individual understanding; and they have the unity and fellowship meaning that we talk to each other when we are feeling blue. No one is going to argue with these tools. Friendship and Mindfulness. For those of us for which these two are not enough there is little else. Dr. Bacon says that the reasons for me taking a step back from AA meetings for a while is because I have psychological needs that are not being fully or adequately met when I go there and I quite like that idea. I think there's a lot in there. I think of some other guys I know in AA and wonder why they continue to go when it's obvious that it also does not meet fully or adequately their needs. I think it's maybe because AA continues to tell its members that there is nowhere else to go and that this is the final straw, the only place they can get well.

I'm going to, when I return to the meetings the week after I next see Dr. Bacon, ask three different AA members at different stages in their recovery for some help. I'm going to mention to them about how I struggle to connect with other people and what they think the cause might be, what they suggest I do about it, and how much they ask about it. It'll be my next little experiment. I'll try not to feel as though I am manipulating them as I go about discussing these things with them, and to their credit I may receive some wonderful advice and guidance, but this is for next month.

I have a good chance now of not ending up dying in twenty two years without having worked through my issues. It's not at all that Jagger didn't want to, or even that he was afraid of doing so which is what Stu told me, but it's more to do with the fact that he just did not know how to. AA told him that it had all the answers and he believed them. As a result he died feeling quite bitter with the word ''stubborn'' being used most frequently to describe him.

I can't wait to get to my next psychology appointment so that I can start looking a little deeper into things. I have two wonderful nieces who are still young enough to never know this current Stevie but only the new and improved one I am in the process of creating. I have a mother I barely have a relationship with. I have friendships I'd like to strengthen. I have a wonderful and beautiful girlfriend I want to bond with in much deeper and more intimate ways.

It's all possible.

How many meetings I go to while this is happening will not be a reflection at all on how successful I'll likely be. I'll just be going there when I have psychological needs that have to be met on those nights.

The short term fix.

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Starting to see that this can actually be done.

1966

Lunarer
April 13th, 2017, 12:27 PM
Thursday, April 13th 2017 (Giving Them A Goal)



I've written a lot of words in April. I like to try to monitor it so that I can gradually keep the monthly word count lessening from one to the next but it isn't going to happen this month unless I consciously limit myself over the next two weeks which wouldn't be a bad thing to be honest. Perhaps I start with this post.

I've received an email from Marshall. He's designed the flyer for the Recovery Through Music class that we are to be starting up next week. It's okay, if nothing more. He's left a little note telling me that:

''
The 19th is now a no go, as i think a Tuesday suits Stew better so I suggest not this coming Tues, but the next, at least it gives us another week to work on stuff.

See ya tomorrow.
''

''Stew'' in this case is the guy who would be sitting in the building while we work this class. It works better if there is a member of staff on duty while this class is running. It's common sense given our lack of training and it was in our risk assessment. I'm not sure if I'm too enamoured by the decision to just decide to change the night we had agreed upon. He's given his reason as it being better for Stew but I think that there's more to it than that.

Marshall, from what I've managed to learn about him so far, suffers from the same shortcomings and character defects that I have (I am not quick to ask the God of my understanding to temporarily remove them which, let's face it, I very rarely am) and almost every drinker and drug user who hasn't quite entered recovery or has only been there for a transient period of time suffers from. One of them is selfishness; another is an unreliable but very vocal ego. I can tell that his ego switches quite dramatically between telling him that he's really important and that what he has to say is extremely profound one minute; and then telling him that he's worthless and that he should just shut up the next, a bit like mine to be fair. He also suffers badly from fear and it is this defect I feel is at work here. I am being punished for him feeling inferior as, not really a player as we don't know, but in terms of theoretical knowledge and experience? I hope not, but when I return to AA I won't always be able to manage the Tuesday evenings. He knows this.

Lindsay has fallen asleep on the couch. It would seem as though she has caught whatever bug it was that grounded me for most of this past week. As she usually does when she's trying to sleep she has put on a video from her phone, this time it's a lecture about the human digestive system. It's been quite interesting stuff listening to it for the last half an hour even though she fell asleep not long after it started. They are supposed to be talking about what happens when you don't feel hungry in a little while which was something I struggled with while sobering up. I never felt hungry. I still struggle with it to this day actually.

Slimming World weighed me in at eleven stone and twelve and a half pounds last night meaning that I've managed to knock a further pound off and am that little bit closer to reaching my target weight of eleven and a half stone. After that I'll be able to attend for free providing I manage to stay within a couple of pounds of this weight either way and that I attend at least once a month. This'll be handy and is one of my current goals.

I haven't managed to keep up with my training program for the big walk in June this week since I have been ill but I guess this means it'll be plain-sailing from now on. I hope so. This coming weekend I'll be back on it. There are a few miles to get through. I might take a walk to see Barry the Bullet. At least walk to his town. I'm not sure exactly where he lives but I know the rough area. I could do with talking with him face-to-face about what's happening with that business of ours. That was a full two weeks there where it doesn't seem as though either of us worked when ideally both of us could have been. At this rate the business will be dead by the time the summer holidays come. There are ten teaching weeks left starting next week when we return after this Easter break and then I have ten weeks off until we start the next year. These ten weeks would be best spent working.

That's me now into the third and final month of my AA abstinence, meaning that I'm into the final half hour of this football match I am having against it, and I think that it would only be fair to give it a goal after that session with Dr. Bacon that I had on Monday. Going to ACA? What was I looking for? Perhaps some of it was a longing to be able to get back to the rooms. I'm not sure but the possibility that it might be this is enough for me to want to level things up a little. Let's give them a goal and it'll be back to a draw.

Stevie (1 – 1) AA Abstinence

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Less words this time (just).

954

Lunarer
April 15th, 2017, 04:38 AM
Friday, April 14th 2017 (Another Rising Word Count)


Women seem to forget a lot of things when they board the Feminism Freight-Train. There were four guys standing at the stance awaiting the bus we're all currently on and then one woman arrived. The last to arrive and so the one who waited the least, and yet still somehow she manages to be the first to select her seat. Guys may do unspeakable things to women on occasion but in general I feel that we, us guys, often get a very raw deal with regards to our treatment of the opposite sex. I notice how often men hold doors open for Lindsay – they never do it for me. I notice how cars stop at crossings to let her pass rather than try to make it before I get there and just about knock me down in the process. Being a woman has many perks and one of them surely is being treated nicely while out on day to day business. It's a side of humanity I, being a male, don't get to experience while out on my solo travels.

Lindsay was very understanding with me yesterday after there was a little incident. We were on a very busy bus and for some reason I just could not hand it over to the God of my understanding. I could actually feel my fists clenched as an attack of anxiety overcome me. When the bus pulls up at a stop a half-mile from our destination at the town centre my fight or flight response chooses the former and I apologise to Lindsay, quickly explaining to her that I'll meet up with her when I get there, and then I am out of the bus. As soon as I hit the fresh air outside I am fine. It was really weird, claustrophobic, like the onset of some panic attack or spell of hyperventilation. It was very sudden and I'm happy to say that Lindsay seemed to completely understand. She has suffered from anxiety in the past, most drinkers will have.

I think that this is perhaps one of the disadvantages in not being able to just switch off, shut down, and just accept everything placed in front of me without having to question it all the time. Maybe that way I would just be able to practice AA's tools and hand everything I found undesirable over to the God of my understanding. I'd be bloody good at it now. But as things stand, the way I see it at the moment, I look upon handing everything over that we don't like to our Higher Powers a very limiting tool. Obviously the defect will resurface the next day, or perhaps even later on in that day, as all we are really doing when we hand things over like this is ignoring them, burying them for the short term. When they resurface – just bury them again! There's a sense that this is just another form of denial.

It's really handy for things like......say.......when I'm in a queue waiting at a shop to be served and there's a massive hold up. People often start moaning and groaning whereas I can close my eyes momentarily and hand over my impatience to the ever loving God of my understanding, or more accurately I can ask Him to replace my impatience with patience. This gets me through small problems like this. It's just that AA promised that the Twelve Steps would tackle my grosser defects.

Down town yesterday I saw Vanessa from a distance. She should really be doing what I am currently doing and seeking professional help from psychology services and such like. With her history of childhood sexual abuse and prostitution and violence it is clear to me from miles away that AA can never see her needs met. AA is the route she's trying though, again and again for the last eight or nine years. Over and over she'll try this program, she's on another sponsor now so that's her stuck in this same approach for another couple of years at least.

I'm not judging her – I'm judging AA. I'm judging those would-be sponsors who choose not to tell her the truth in that AA will not work on some issues, that the tools at their disposal are useless for some problems, that she should work this program alongside proper help. They won't though. A true statistic would be impossible to attain but there's definitely a high number of members in the fellowship who believe that AA is the answer to all problems and that doctors and nurses are only out to get us, they don't get it because they aren't alcoholic. And so people like Vanessa will continue to drink and use forever.

I'm on my way to see Barry the Bullet. I'm hoping that we can chat about what might be happening with this business that both of us seem stuck with. There has been a sense for a long time now that it has been an indestructable business, incapable of being killed no matter how much either of us seemed to want to be the case at times, but I am beginning to feel a little unsettled at how things have been this last year regarding this business and the thought of being unemployed fills me with something I can only describe as the beginnings of terror. Barry hasn't answered his phone and so I'm not sure if he even knows I am on my way to see him but I'll be there by the time this post is finished.

On Tuesday evening Lindsay will have her appointment with Relationships Scotland, a counselling agency which helps people with problems in their relationships. There are times when I feel a little silly about it all as we are still so new to this (in the same way I often feel a little silly standing in the queue at Slimming World waiting to step on the scales while surrounded by people who really do need to be there) but I'm all for accepting that we do need some kind of outside help. There's no shame in that, I don't think. Dr. Bacon mentions that of all of the five modes I seem to have (Little Stevie; The Detached Protector; Critical Parent; Bully and Attack; and Healthy Adult) by far the least developed and unexplored of them is the Healthy Adult Mode. With a great deal of practice and work I can bring this one up to the level the others currently are at while hopefully reducing each of them sufficiently. It'll not be easy, fuck no, and continually keeping my head in the sand by handing everything over to the God of my understanding all the time won't make anything any better long term, but I'm sure that there's a way out of this for me. This forum is called My Way Out after all, isn't it!? It is unless you happen to be reading on Ryver that is.

So the next session Lindsay has after that will be a double session, meaning that both Lindsay and I will be taking the counselling session together. I actually think it's a really good idea. It'll give us the chance to accelerate our getting to know each other much more than would otherwise be possible. There won't be any hiding places for any of us if I can presume that the counsellor we are assigned is anything near the quality of Dr. Bacon. There is a sense that too much therapy can be a bad thing, of course – I am more than aware of this – but there's no crossover, everything will be in its right place. Dr. Bacon will be working with me on the Modes; this newer thing will be looking at the sexual problems Lindsay and I are having, or, more specifically – that I am having. I won't deny that it's been quite difficult at times sobering up and having to face all of the stuff that has come up for me in the last two years, this being perhaps the most awkward so far (actually – definitely the most awkward so far), but if I want that Healthy Adult to be the most dominant Mode in my (admittedly rather) complicated personality then I just have to keep chipping away at my fears and anxieties.

Unlike that trip on the bus yesterday when I bent over and acted the slave to them.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Hoping to locate Barry the Bullet.

1442

Lunarer
April 15th, 2017, 04:40 AM
Saturday, April 15th 2017 (A Lifelong Job)


I've missed a few walks recently on my training plan for the Walk the Walk charity thing in the middle of June. Two back-to-back marathons in under fourteen hours. It's a huge task for someone like me. If I wanna have a hope in hell of doing it then I'm gonna have to keep up with the training pan from now until the day itself. June 10th. It's not all that far away. It was super important, then, that I got back to it this morning, which I did.

This coming Monday evening will be the last Monday evening in which the current SMART meeting that I sometimes attend will be running. The facilitator will be leaving for her new job after that and so the meeting is expected to close. There seems to be no one capable of running it. The crazy thing about SMART is that the training is so simple and it is run by its members (slightly ripping off the ideology of certain Twelve Step fellowships) that there should literally be a half dozen of us lining up to take over Lauren's job for her. As mad as it seems (and actually is) she currently works for an agency called Frontline Fife and so has to be paid to run the SMART meeting. None of the member-run meetings involve any payment whatsoever. Addictions services are paying to have a SMART meeting running. After this coming Monday there will be no meeting. I think I'll go. Pay my respects.

I seem to go back and forth between AA and SMART. Or AA and certain people within it and SMART and certain people within it. Or between one of them and another of them, or anyone and everyone. It seems as though as long as someone is getting a little dose of criticism from me then I am happy. Or, as Dr. Bacon might try to point out, my Bully and Attack Mode comes out. I'm not sure about this though. Of course I subscribe to the idea of me having a part of my personality which is dedicated to attacking and bullying others in order to make me feel safer, I really do and have done for a lot longer than the few weeks I've been working with my psychologist, but I'm not sure that when I make these critical observations that it is the work of this mode.

There's most definitely still a part of me that hates very much. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it is that is hated quite so much for it to be the daily issue that it is – it's just hate, and so it would seem that every day there must be a target for this feeling. It could be seen as bullying and attacking behaviour but I'm not really sure that it this scorn of mine is helping me to feel in any way safer than I might be were I not doing it. But then what do I know really!? Not much. If this daily attack on the someone or something of my choosing IS a result of my Bully and Attack Mode trying to keep me safe for the day then I must be scared of a hell of a lot! Or is it a case of me being so used to pointing out flaws and imperfections in the world that I do it to feel safe without even really knowing that I'm doing it? I can't say that I can remember a day passing by when I did not use this tactic to get through it and so in some way it must be my Bully and Attack Mode at work, criticising to ensure that no one can criticise me? Or making sure that if they do it's only leaving open for criticism by them the fact that I criticise a lot. I can handle being criticised of that.

I didn't get any luck in tracking down Barry the Bullet yesterday and so I guess you could say that at the moment I am without a job. I'm unemployed. I will be trying again but on Monday I go back to college and am in there for three of the five working days. With charity shop volunteering taking up a full morning on a Friday (and I'd like to keep doing this as it's better for getting a reference for the future than my old window cleaning job) and so I plan to get out to work on a Wednesday (my only free day at the moment) but it's difficult at the moment because of all the other appointments I seem to have going. The latest is from the Citizen's Advice and Rights Fife office who are following up on the home visit from Cosy Kingdom last month after all of that abandonment cuffuffle. My housing officer will also be looking to meet up with me at Castle Furniture to sort out that referral he made and this coming Wednesday I have someone from Scottish Power coming out to my home as a follow up interview, again from the Cosy Kingdom visit. This is all being arranged for Wednesdays up and coming. It's a pain in the ass. Wednesdays are becoming my busy days when I need to be freeing them up.

There are ten teaching weeks left and then I'm off for ten weeks over the summer. I'd love to use this ten week period to go out and try to build back up some of the window cleaning business. I've learned that even me showing face for a few days seems to give the business a lift and it does better for a little while afterwards. Barry the Bullet really struggles when he's out on his own. It'd be great if I could get it to the position whereby I could find another worker to take over from me for the days when I go back to study. This would make life easier on all of us I think. The thing is that I know this can be done. I did it all once before. I just have to go out and do the same again. If things keep going as they are though then I fear there might not be enough of a customer base to even say that there's a business to get back up and running. I'll hunt Barry down but there's a sense of futility about it this time.

Over all I don't know what my reasons might be for being so hateful from day to day. Things are going relatively well all things considered. Then I remember that I'm not nearly as bad as I was. When I first sobered up I was kinda quick to anger and was running often on a very short fuse. This has changed. I'm not comparable to Buddha, not yet anyway, but I'm definitely better than I was, there's a definite improvement. This is, I guess, why I've never had a problem with being myself in the pages of these online journals I keep. I leave the ''writing to be liked'' to the others (and they bite my hand off to take me up on that!!) and don't mind showing as many of the sides of my personality that it's possible to capture while I'm sitting on a laptop either in my cave, in Lindsay's flat, or on a bus, in a pub, library, park bench, and all of the other places I've sat and typed out posts for would-be readers.

I think that this is because I know that this is a lifelong job and so I'm only ever looking for improvement. This is exactly what I've managed to find. Now I'll go in search of some more improvement. It's not quite enough improvement for some people (but then some people do sober up when there was very little wrong with them to begin with so I tend not to get much from their experiences or ''wisdom''), but any improvement on what I was is a worthwhile improvement. I guess that the question is: ''What could I be doing to improve more quickly?'', as well as ''Am I doing everything I could be doing to improve?'' and I don't suppose that I could answer that my heart and soul goes into my personal development like it probably ought to.

There's still a part of me that likes moaning and groaning, being negative, bullying and attacking.

But it'll die off given enough time and practice.

Loving this sunny weather.

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Loving the sunny weather.

1441

Lunarer
April 16th, 2017, 04:44 AM
Sunday, April 16th 2017 (Ferrari John)



Correction – it's next week that is to be the final SMART meeting at the local psychiatric hospital, not this coming Monday. But anyway – yesterday I arrive at the ACA meeting (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families) in the nick of time. I've agreed to do as they suggest and attend for six consecutive meetings but I have to say that the jury is still out. The problem is the same as I find in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous (and all such meetings I'm afraid) in that we are great at telling each other what it was like and what it's like now but never talk about what we did to get there, we never discuss the ''what happened'' part of our stories. I'm there just in time for my third consecutive week just in time because I tried to measure it exactly so that my fourteen mile walk for the coming charity walk training I was to do ended up at the ACA doors but slightly undercooked it and so had to do a little super walking to make it in time. I am slightly out of breath and more than a little sweaty. There are the usual suspects but there's something very rare for an ACA meeting this time – there's another guy!

Other Guy – ''You alright?''

Stevie – ''Yeah, I'll be fine in a minute, I'm doing the Over The Moon walk in June so have training walks to do every weekend. That's sixteen miles just done.''

Other Guy – ''Sixteen miles, that's a heck of a walk.''

It used to be but now my body can take to it no problems. It's nothing compared with the fifty two miles that make up the event on the day itself. AA's Gina chips in as well saying that her son has, in the last few years, done the Moon Walk (marathon distance and half of what I'll be doing in June) and last year did the Tough Mudder. I had fancied that myself but it's the week after the walking events and I'm told not to take part in any exercise for a full fortnight after the walk. Tough Mudder would just be pushing it.

I'm going to call the ''Other Guy'' a different name for this post and any I refer to him afterwards. I'm gonna go with ''Ferrari John.'' He doesn't drive a Ferrari but I think that'll be on the list of things he's trying to achieve while he's sober. He's one for the finer things in life I feel and cash isn''t something he struggles to obtain in the same way that the majority of us drunks do, him admitting to me later to being a ''binge drinker'' as opposed to daily drinker. I think it's the daily drinking that fucks you up the most, takes away most of the opportunities for the future, shakes away any of the confidence that may or may not have been there in the first place. He managed to stop before it got to that phase but for some of us it never gets to that stage anyway. Either way he's three years sober and has used AA to get there. He approaches me after the meeting and we talk AA, ACA and shopping for therapy, to plagiarise Super-Zoe.

Ferrari John – ''Hey, I liked what you were saying there about handing things over (to the God of our understanding) only working up to a point and having to search for other tools to progress from that and build on that.''

I'm beginning to see that others in AA don't take everything that is said there as gospel and that they too struggle while trying to find other ways to strengthen their sobriety and life, to tame the negative thinking, and can't find others to talk with about this stuff because AA is so closed minded to any form of help that isn't AA. He's through for the day but his usual haunting grounds are in Glasgow, this is where he lives and where his AA home group may be found.

Ferrari John – ''A lot of the meetings where I stay, most of them I'd say, are extremely bread and butter – stay away from the first drink and you'll not get drunk, all that sort of thing, which was great for the first couple of weeks or months when I arrived but doesn't do anything for me now. At my home group we talk about recovery.''

Stevie – ''Every Tuesday night, in this very room actually, there's a meeting I used to like where it just goes through the cycle of Steps round and round all year. There's a lot of recovery talk in there. I prefer those kinds to the bread and butter meetings as well but I still feel as though there's something missing.''

Ferrari John – ''Another of the members at my home group suggested something the other week and we are hoping to get it started up soon. It'll not be an AA thing but it'll be open to members. It's the idea of selecting tools and then going off and working them through the week and coming back to meetings to talk about our experiences in how they worked.''

Wow!! He doesn't even have to finish the sentence before it clicks in my head what this idea might be worth. Rather than attend an old folks social club every week with the odd talk about drinking vague recovery you would have meetings that spoke of recovery tools, tools from all walks of therapy, be it CBT, meditation books, acupuncture, the Schema Modes I talk about with Dr. Bacon, anything and everything, and then meet up again to reflect upon our experiences during the week in trying to work these tools. I'd imagine that one tool at a time would be selected. Maybe stick to one tool per month. That really would cover the ''what happened'' part that is so sorely missing from my experience. I think it really would struggle to take off where I stay because not all that many people in AA where I come from are interested in recovery or self-improvement at all, they just are happy to meet up for a free coffee and biscuit and chat with those of their age group. Also – they wouldn't be top dogs anymore. We'd all be back to square one and many of the old timers wouldn't like that I fear. It would threaten their sense of importance.

I'm getting a lift in Ferrari John's car back to Lindsay's. He does okay for himself. He'd getting married the weekend before I go on the big charity walk and he says he'll pop back to that ACA meeting shortly after that. He went through a suicidal spell at the end of last year.

Ferrari John – I've been there before but this time it was a bit scarier as I was starting to think about how I'd do it and how it would effect other people, should I leave a note, that sort of thing.''

I can honestly say that I get it. Everyone was critical of my counsellor Margaret when she suggested I talk with my brother about things when I was feeling that way. Counsellors aren't there to give us advice. But the truth is that talking with Gary let me see how my family would react were I to follow through. I could see that it would have an effect on them. Once it was out there I felt a little pathetic for saying it too. Ferrari John works in IT.

Ferrari John – ''What do you do yourself?''

Stevie – ''Not much. I'm a sound production student and I do a little volunteering on the side.''

I have to say that I feel a little terrible about myself as I am saying this but I have to remember that I am starting from the bottom up because the daily drinking destroyed what I had, not that I ever had much. I wasn't just a binge drinker.

Stevie – ''I think I'm gonna stay on and get my diploma. Who knows if I'll go to university after that!? I'm maybe a little old but we'll see.''

He says what so many say in that they admire anyone who goes out and learns something new, tries to start again. I guess......

We are parking up at the shops just around the corner from Lindsay. She's asked me to bring milk back in with me. Ferrari John asks for my number and so we trade. I am leaving the car.

Ferrari John – ''Here, let me give you something to put towards your fund for your walk.''

He whips out his wallet and hands me a tenner. I dip my hand into my pocket to look for some change.

Ferrari John – ''Just keep the tenner. It's a big thing you're doing.''

I guess it is. He drives off into the day leaving me not knowing if we will ever meet again.

I head to the shop, pick up the milk, and then fire back to Lindsay's. She's battering on with her university workload but that's okay because it's Saturday and so the football is on.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Loves the football.

1569

Lunarer
April 17th, 2017, 12:17 PM
Monday, April 17th 2017 (Easter Synning)



That was a difficult walk yesterday. I think the week off due to my ill feeling has taken its toll on my poor legs and they are feeling a little stiff despite my stretching. The back-to-back long walks are tough and there's no sign of them letting up any time soon. I have walks on every Saturday and every Sunday until the actual event on June 10th. This weekend saw me add another twenty seven miles to my total and so since I quit smoking I have totalled two hundred and sixty seven miles. It's quite a lot of miles building up now. Next weekend I have a few more to add on; fourteen on the Saturday and twelve on the Sunday, with a ten mile walk midweek.

Tonight I'll be at Slimming World for my weekly weigh in and this week I am hoping to have knocked another half pound or pound off my total. I'm nearly at my target weight (to be fair – I started at nearly my target weight) and plan to get there before I make my return to AA in less than four weeks. This'll make me my optimum weight for this coming walk and will also in itself be another challenge I can tick off the list. I managed to quit smoking and then within three months knock ten pounds off my body to get to where I wanted to be. Last night Lindsay and I traded Easter eggs and so I had a little chocolate but I'm sure it won't have too negative an effect on my weight when I stand on those scales this evening.

The way that Slimming World works is quite interesting. It's not a diet as such. It says that it's a healthy eating plan instead. As a result of this it actually says that we have to indulge in fatty extras and treats. We call the calories in these foods ''Syns''. If we don't use up our daily Syn allowance then we are dieting and this is not what Slimming World is about. I don't mind a little dieting to be honest to get myself down to my target weight as one of the main benefits of doing this is that I don't have to attend every week and I don't have to pay for as long as I remain at this predetermined weight. Once I'm at target then I can use this philosophy of Synning to watch what I eat in the future. I still don't think that I use the Slimming World ideas as well as I could. I haven't looked into cooking options and haven't practised even familiarising myself with the kitchen as I promised myself that I would when I went to my first class. I know what happens when I don't do the things I said I would do.

One thing I said I would do was complete, or at least try to, the college course that I signed up for last year. It may be only a lowly Level Six National Certificate in sound production but I can only take on what is directly in front of me. I attended college courses back when I was a drinker and drug user but they always ended up in failure and I never managed to get as far into the course as I have done with this one. There are ten teaching weeks left until I've managed to tick this box off as a success. Ten weeks left until I do the unthinkable and complete something that actually required a bit of effort and consistency. It shows I'm getting a little better which is what this is all about.

I'm on the bus on the way to rejoin my studies after being off for two weeks for the Easter holidays. A holiday that I happily admit hasn't been all that welcome. I would rather have been out working with Barry the Bullet and trying to make some cash but it wasn't to be and instead I fell ill for the first time in a long time. It was actually the longest running cold I can ever remember having and it's still lingering to this day......a little. It's not been great though. I would much rather have been studying and working through another project.

I'll be at the college in around ten minutes and will be first in the class as is always the case. The others will waltz in shortly afterwards one at a time and I'll find out if they all resented the break as much as I did. Probably not. People seem to enjoy taking time away from their duties and responsibilities more than I do. I guess that it's because others know how to relax whereas I still haven't really got to grips with that and figured out how to make it work for me.

Another thing I said I would do would be to keep a house plant alive for a full year and I think that my Dragon Tree is going to make it. Last year I lost both of my plants over winter and my Leopard Lily died during this winter. The Dragon Tree is going strong though. The main thing is that the winter is now over and while it has to make it until the end of June before it can celebrate its first official birthday the weather is now at the stage where I'm on easy street. It doesn't get fully dark now until after nine which is amazing when I consider what it was like just a few weeks ago. The Dragon Tree will make it. It's only a matter of time.

So it's an early morning post again today and I can't really think of anything else to say. Too much in the way of distraction on this bus I think. I always think a little more clearly when I can shut the rest of the world out and just let the fingers free associate.

See you tomorrow.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Heading to college after a fortnight away.

1030

Lunarer
April 18th, 2017, 03:12 AM
Tuesday, April 18th (A Sincere Apology)



I keep thinking about what Ferrari John was talking about at the weekend there when he mentioned that his home group had come up with a new idea whereby members talk about a specific tool for recovery one week and then go out and try it throughout the week before coming back to the meeting and sharing with each other their experiences of trying to work that tool into their daily lives throughout that week. It would be something very different. It would be keeping things in the here and now, as opposed to SMART who talk about tools ever so briefly but never about putting them into practice; and AA which essentially just talks about the past the whole time. It's something I'd be willing to travel for. As long as I have this concession bus pass I have free reign of the country. Scotland is literally my oyster (well, it's not literally an oyster to me, but you know what I'm trying to get at) and for the next eleven months I can make my way between any two points in the land of haggis, bagpipes and shitty sports teams as often as I like at no cost whatsoever. It'd be a travesty to waste it.

I still have that little trip up north I wanted to take to Thurso (one of the world's surfing hotspots, yep, here in chilly Scotland) and I will be making the most of my chance to make my amend with my old school friend who still lives, I think, in my home town of St. Andrews. I think that it's probably time I started looking at this amend a little more closely actually for it has annoyed me and frustrated me ever since I had initially considered doing it way back into last year. With my sponsor I had worked through many of the people, places and things that were on my twenty nine strong amends list. At first I did really well and got close family struck off the list, except my brother, he proved to be quite difficult to get one to one so that I might say my piece and I had to be careful not to let further resentment build as a result of this. I had to remember that it was in God's time that this amend would present itself to me, not in my time. Eventually the time did come.

I made my amends with my deceased father by visiting the Book of Remembrance on the anniversary of his passing (on the eleventh of October last year) and I went around doing favours for friends to help amend relationships with them. I paid Gillon back the one hundred pounds I'd borrowed a year before on the promise that he'd get it back the following week. When working the amends good intentions were not enough – I had to follow through. I contacted my debt collectors and creditors in a bid to ease my financial worries and make amends for all of the money I hadn't paid them that I'd agreed to. I even went to the council and asked for them to work out what the total combined debt of mine was from previous addresses and my two main stints in homeless accommodation. All of this was likely to come to thousands of pounds, more than could ever be considered a realistic amount for me to pay back, but the homeless stints were so long ago that they, similarly to one or two of the unpaid tax return forms from my days as a drunken business owner, were so out of date that they were off the system. Irretrievable.

My list of amends shrunk considerably as 2016 progressed but when the time came for Stu and me to part ways it left me with a list nonetheless. There are still some I have to finish. Amends I have to make. Only by making these final amends can I find out if this spiritual awakening actually does happen, but then I guess that the die-hard AA members would say that you only get it if you keep moving, if you progress continuously through the Twelve Steps and don't complete it in three separate sections over three different years. In 2015 I went through Steps One, Two, Three, Four and Five, stalling at Six because of my reluctance to give up on some of the defects I wanted to hold onto mainly because to get rid of them would mean having to make the life changes I knew I would have to in order to get well. I broke away from the program for several months. I took it back up again in the spring of 2016 and sailed through Steps Six and Seven. Finally I was ready to make those changes and have removed from me all of those defects I was clinging onto for so long. I started working through the amends Steps, Eight and Nine, getting much of the way through the Ninth before breaking away again, this time for seven months up until this point.

Stu did make changes to my life, helped me see some things differently. Many in AA seem not to like him, some even seem afraid of him, and he does carry with him an air of pomposity that I don't think he can see as being there, but he does teach a good program. I remember one time when I was really new to sponsorship, we were working through possibly Step Two or maybe Three, and Stu was discussing someone from within the fellowship, as we often did. I guess it's hard not to. We were talking about a bunch of emails being circled around members of Intergroup. Even at this early stage I was involved in this (farce that it is) and received a copy of the emailed ''conversation''. I couldn't believe that someone would make such a childish and scathing attack on my sponsor over emails which could be seen and read by dozens of members. I was looking to others with longer term sobriety for guidance and inspiration but here was one of many years, a time-served AA member, acting like a dick head.

Stu gave me a little background on this guy plus his little friend, also in AA, and told me a little of the story. The thing was, Stu wasn't telling me in the same way as this other guy was handling things over email. Stu explained to me that he realised his own part in this situation with these guys, and that in order to release this resentment he was going to have to make an apology. This couldn't just be a little meaningless apology in order to get rid of this problem – Stu had to get into the position where it was a sincere apology. He had to mean it. Getting yourself into a position where you can apologise, and genuinely mean it, to someone who you do not just not like but also that you believe is working against the fellowship you love is something that doesn't seem as though it would come easily. Hats off. It's something that most people in AA could really benefit from.

Most of all myself.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

It's getting colder again.

1230

Lunarer
April 19th, 2017, 05:22 PM
Wednesday, April 18th 2017 (Lifted)



That's the name of our new college project, names after a Pixar short film which we've to create a sound design for. It's a ''fun task'' so the tutor keeps saying but I keep casting one eye over to Barry the Bullet and wondering when I might be able to make contact with him. If I wanna work over the summer then he and I are going to have to come to some sort of agreement as to what's happening and stick to it. I have Scottish Power people coming out to my cave at some point over the course of today and then I'm supposed to be visiting with English Sara and Old Dennis this evening so I guess I could go tomorrow after college. Meet Barry and discuss all things window cleaning related.

I've planned to visit people this week. I like to keep busy but that doesn't mean going to an AA meeting every evening. It means seeking out those I know who do not drink and will not mention recovery or sobriety any more than just asking me briefly how I'm doing. On Monday night after college I went back through to Lindsay's for dinner and to check in at Slimming World. Last night I went straight from college to visit with my nieces, brother and Scottish Sarah. Tonight it will be English Sara and Dennis. Tomorrow I am visiting my friend Gillon and we'll watch the second leg of the Manchester United Europa League tie against Belgian side Anderlecht. On Friday I will be back at Lindsay's for the weekend.

English Sara popped into the charity shop on Friday morning while I was working and we had a coffee. I don't see her as much as I used to and it unsettles me. Dennis is always there now that they live together. That's okay but I used to like when Sara and I would have our little one to ones. Dennis nips out for a cigarette and I tell her exactly that.

Stevie – ''How is he?''

English Sara – ''Yeah, he's fine.''

But he isn't exactly domesticated.

Stevie – ''I noticed when you moved in the place got the woman's touch it had been so desperately looking for but that since you broke your ankle......''

English Sara – ''I know. He started to help out around the house more when I moved in but now he leaves it all for me again.''

I guess he's just like I was while I was living in that cave over that period, maybe from a couple of years before I stopped drinking up until Megs came to save the day by helping me declutter my surrounding, in that he just does not give a flying fuck about his surroundings at all. I can relate, but then I did my utmost to keep people from entering my cave back then whereas Dennis seems to be passed that and doesn't care whether others see his or not.

She also, English Sara, mentions at how she'd been up to see her son the day before and how she got that little pang of home sickness. She misses it but doesn't want it back. I get like that too sometimes. I think that from the outside people think I'm probably doing a lot better these days. Those who are still stuck in their addictive ways (people from SMART and Restoration) will likely see what's happening on the outside (Lindsay, college) and that's all they'll really see so they make up their minds about me based on that. I don't think I'm as far away from my addictive thinking as all that though.

English Sara – ''You ever get that?''

Stevie – ''I do. There are times when the football is on and I think back to the days when I'd visit Fuzzy and all the guys would be there and we'd each have our coupons on and the whole day would pass by. I tend to just watch football on my own now, on the rare occasion I actually do.''

That's not all I miss either. In a much more sobering way I miss the wasted times. Those times when I'd be able to just throw on a movie I wasn't even that interested in and drink just to punch out and not feel. It's only natural that I'd miss that as it's a part of my Detached Protector, it's a habit ingrained through years of sustained practice and ritual. I don't overthink it and view it, as AA might, as being danger signs that I haven't accepted my fate as a sober person. I competed my Step One better than to think like that. In fact, yesterday there were a bunch of us from college walking for our lunch down the town and two of us have gone back to smoking cigarettes over the Easter holiday. One mentions that it's only a matter of time until I start it back up as well but another says that she doesn't think so. That she can't see me smoking again. How lovely that is to hear but it's more a case of how much I believe it to be true. There's something very solid sounding about my quit, all of my quits as things stand. But yeah – there are times when I miss just not being able to punch out and not be present. That's the past now and sometimes that makes me a little sad. Not really sad or sad enough that I might give it any real thought. Just.......a little sad from time to time.

I should get on the college case at some point this afternoon and use Lindsay's voice recorder to create some recorded samples. In the Pixar short there are literally dozens of potential noise makers and I have a list of one hundred and fifty one sounds that I'll have to try to come up with to fit in with the video. These range from the banging of the human's head into the wooden wall to the moving of the bed sheets; from the ambience of the calm outdoors to the tractor beam of the spaceship. There's a lot happening in the short, and we only have to create a sound design for the first two minutes. To be fair to us though we are very new to all of this and we only have until a week on Friday to submit our finished versions. With Lindsay's voice recorder (the same one I used to capture the sessions with Dr. Bacon) I can get as many of these sounds as possible today while I am off. Tomorrow morning we have a unit on radio broadcasting but I'll stay back in the afternoon and put in some time. I might even head back in there on Friday afternoon instead of Restoration. The successful students will be those who give up some of their own time to the cause.

It's fun, if a little hectic at times.

But this is what I asked for.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Sampling and recording.

1194

Lunarer
April 22nd, 2017, 02:10 AM
Thursday, April 20th 2017 (Lindsay gets an A)


I'm real proud of her for it too. That was her last essay of her degree as well. Another A. She's only an exam to go (the week I return to AA so not long now) and a few other little bits and pieces and then she's graduated. Well, she still has twelve weeks of placement to go and to make up all of the hours that she missed while an active drinker so she's still got a bit to do but the essays are done with. She's a step closer to graduating and becoming that nurse. It's such a shame that her mother isn't here to see it. Her mother was an alcoholic who never found recovery and so left us, as we do if we don't get well, while in her mid fifties. Reminds me of Gillon's father. Watching him die of alcohol and smoking related illness while in his fifties was my motivation for getting help in the firt place. I was already in counselling but it wasn't going well. I upped my game, committed to a quit, found WQD Forums, then got into AA.

I try not to get too down on myself for not feeling this warmth of gratitude that I feel I should be feeling as I effectively saved myself and my family from putting us all through our own version of Lindsay's mum and Gillon's dad in fifteen to twenty years. I don't even think it would have ended like that to be honest. I think suicide would have stepped in there long before I reached my fifties yet somehow I don't really feel any gratitude about not being there any longer either. Gillon's dad and Lindsay's mum would probably have loved to have quit like I have when I'm the age I am (one week until I turn thirty nine) yet for some reason I seem quite unable to appreciate it as I feel I am supposed to. Maybe the gratitude and appreciation comes later. I've never been one to post these inspirational quotes that plague social networking and places like this because they are just meaningless words on a screen. They don't mean anything to me unless they do, you know!? They sound all nice and trite and all that but if I don't really connect with it then I'm not going to pretend that I do. One day I'll have my spiritual experience and it'll be up to me not to let it fall asleep again. But Lindsay has an A – well done Lindsay!!!

She was at the Relationships Scotland meeting on Tuesday night and we've recently talked about what happened there and what was said. There's a six week waiting list for sessions to start and they come at the price of twenty pounds per session. This might seem cheap and inexpensive to Americans who have to pay for everything themselves, and it is very cheap and inexpensive, but for someone born into a Nanny State like the United Kingdom who is used to having everything covered by taxes it seems dear. I don't mind paying – I just find it very strange that addiction counselling which in my opinion and experience does not really work comes at no cost to the client; nor do my sessions with Dr. Bacon cost me a thing (Ferrari John had told me on Saturday that he attended sessions with a clinical psychologist at a cost of ninety five pounds per session, so he only attended three times, but they seemed a little further on that I am with Dr. Bacon – we're still at the assessment stage but then I guess we can take our time and do things a little more thoroughly), yet here we have relationships counselling coming with a price attached to it. Just seems inconsistent, that's all. I'm happy to pay.

Lindsay tells the guy who is running the Relationships Scotland triage all about herself and her past. The guy actually works next door at the FASS (Fife Alcohol Support Service) headquarters and his main job is an alcohol counsellor. Lindsay says that she found him to be really pleasant and supportive, easy to be around. I get that little pang of worry when she tells me that it's a guy, it's something I still don't think about enough. You hear the words ''relationships counsellor'' and you assume ''woman'', I do anyway. I made the same mistake with my clinical psychologist and it has turned out pretty well in the end. So far anyway. Lindsay says that she'll get a call in around six weeks to book her.....or rather – our!!.....first session but it will not be this guy whom she spoke with. I don't think I'll be all that fussy to be honest. I'm changing in this respect. No longer so eager to take the female option if it is available. I'll be okay either way.

She mentions to him all about hers and my experiences with alcoholism and how we are both mid-term sober. I wonder though. Are we? Are we not still sober babies? Lindsay is currently twenty months sober and I am sitting at twenty six months, but only fourteen off the weed, and both of us had events and situations in our histories and childhoods which made us a little more (to say the least) withdrawn than our peers, a little less likely to succeed from the get-go. Our defective thinking and behaviour starts from way back when, right at the beginning. But anyway, she tells him all about that. She tells him about our various different support methods and how we both used to use AA all the time but no longer bother. He says that he is aware of the fellowship and accepts that there is a place for it in the recovery world but that he doesn't agree with all of their practices. I don't know what his experience of this actually is though. He's not a former addict or anything so it'll most likely be clients of his who tried AA but found that the FASS rooms are much more forgiving of a relapse and encourage drinking, better enablers than AA will ever be.

She tells him about our communication issues and problems in the bedroom. That while we do not argue she worries that we might soon start and that we seem like the sort of couple who would keep going once we'd started. Ouch!! I guess she could be right about that though. But then our recovery teachings show us that we should not hold onto resentments and so we should, on paper, be better at this part of our relationship than other less informed couples. But then it comes more naturally to them, the ''well'' couples. They don't have the dysfunctional behaviour and thinking that we perhaps do. I think we are past that though. There hasn't been any ill feeling on my part for some time. My Detached Protector is out of the box and I've asked Lindsay to call me on it if she ever feels I'm trying to use it against her, which she does. Maybe she feels as though there's a bigger issue than I do. I am a guy and so I guess stereotypes come into it a little. Am I that dumb about things like this that I fit the male stereotypes? I guess we'll find out from six weeks on.

On the way to the hospital to catch my bus this morning I could see a guy walking towards me in the distance. Well – I more could hear him than see him. He was coughing his fucking head off!! A smoker, no doubt. But then when he gets a little closer I can see what it is that he really is – a vaper!! I'm so glad I am becoming more and more impervious to the effects of human weakness mixed with advertising – a recipe for complete disaster. Fair enough – he might have a chest infection or something – it might not be the vape alone that is causing this quite violent episode to disturb our otherwise lovely and sunny spring morning. Unlikely but possible.

Thank fuck I just quit – he actually looked like he might soon rupture something!!
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Well done to Lindsay!!

1405

Lunarer
April 22nd, 2017, 02:11 AM
Friday, April 21st 2017 (The World's Nursery)


Do you not think that it's slightly amusing when one of our fellows who thinks of himself as being a little higher up the social ladder than everyone else who might happen to be present acts all confident but it isn't all that convincing!? I find it humorous, I have to say. He feels as though he's supposed to come across as fully and supremely confident and self-assured. That's what he's been told probably ever since birth and he really believes it, expects it of himself, lives by it. Only this time it isn't coming across as all that convincing. Instead he appears to me to be someone who feels as though he should seem at all times to be confident trying to appear confident. It isn't quite working and his fears set in a little. Others here might sense that he is not all that he is trying to fool us all into believing that he is, see the real vulnerable self, and this will not do, so he tries even harder to be confident. This just makes him seem more like an actor.....and so on.

I was probably staring at him for some time while finishing my breakfast at the Charity Shop Cafe this morning after my volunteering shift because he leaves the counter and sits down for a moment but then looks up and catches eyes with me. Rather than turn instantly away from my gaze he fixes on me for a moment before pretending that something else has caught his attention so that he can break away without feeling as though I have beat him in some sort of staring contest. Most people don't practice the art of confidence and so look away instantly the very second they catch eyes with someone else, indeed they spend almost all of their waking life trying not to make eye contact with other people, go out of their way to avoid it. This guy has some training in the art because he holds my gaze for a little while. It's easy to hold it at this distance though, he's way over the other side of the cafe, but were we right up close in person I doubt he would manage this without trembling. It's pathetic.

The truth is that now that I am working on my Schema Modes with Dr. Bacon and all of the other tools I have my social observation has started to go through the roof. I find it almost completely impossible to not watch people. The thing is – now I don't see them as adult humans, or as intelligent creatures capable of greatness in the way that they would love others to look upon them. No. Now all I see when I look at my race, and this includes that member of this race that looks back at me when I look into my mirror, the Triangular Glass, are the little children they used to be. Only now they are older. I don't see them as adults though, just children who have grown into taller and older looking bodies. I'm starting to see humanity for what it really is.

I think if you were to get anyone into a psychologist's chair and get them to start admitting their life stories then almost all of us would have the same things going on. None of us are at all that different. We all want to be different, unique, our egos demand that of us on a minute-by-minute basis, but we're not. We're all just lost little children clinging onto what we've got all the while trying to gain extra love from the world to fill our needs for acceptance and a place to belong, a sense that our lives are worthwhile. We are all positively terrified of our own shadows, even through the bravado, this ''confidence'' thing that we have to fake to pretend that we are more sure of ourselves and our surroundings than we'd ever want for others to know.

All of a sudden the entire world is just like one massive nursery to me.

Susan phoned me to talk about this apparent guitar class for addicts and alkies that Marshall and I are supposed to be starting up under the supervision of Susan from local addiction agency DAPL (Drug, Alcohol and Psychotherapies Limited). It seems to be taking a while to get started up and every time we get close to beginning something happens or goes wrong and things get delayed for another week or so. This time it is the signing of the volunteer forms which I must do before anything can become official but again the meeting we were to be having has been cancelled, this time without rescheduling, and Susan is away on a week long spell of annual leave so I'm sitting in limbo.

It was supposed to be starting up on the nineteenth but Marshall and Susan have decided that Wednesdays are a no-go due to no one being able to sit in with us. We drew up a risk assessment and agreed that we should run the class at a DAPL office with a paid member of staff present in the building the whole time. This way it's all above board. It means that both Marshall and I are protected from anything that could potentially be thrown at us in the early stages of something like this. I'm not trained to take the offloading of other people's problems either so should a punter turn up at the door with something to get off of their chest then there's someone there to deal with it properly.

Hopefully it will get started and that we can get it up and running within the next few weeks. First thing really is getting those forms signed and my proof of identification handed in but this seems like a difficult arrangement to keep this month so far. Maybe it would be better if it dragged on until the college finishes up in late June so that I could give it more time. But then I'm hoping to get working with Barry the Bullet over the summer so I'll be even busier than I am at the moment.

Fuck it. There's nothing can be done about any of that just now.

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Enjoying the world's nursery.

1048

Lunarer
April 22nd, 2017, 02:12 AM
Saturday, April 22nd 2017 (Blood Money)



I was at the Credit Union making a cash withdrawal on Thursday. I also asked for a statement showing my current balance and all transactions in the last month. Since Wednesday the Link's Market – a local travelling funfair – has been visiting this town and Lindsay and I will be making our way there this evening. There are a couple of things to do between now and then.

One of them is my walking training for June's Walk the Walk double marathon, the Over The Moon Walk, for breast cancer. This weekend I have more miles to walk than last weekend. Sixteen miles today and fourteen tomorrow. It's a heck of a lot of walking and I often struggle to be arsed with it but I said I was going to do this and so I kind of have to. Things are okay once I get moving. I think I should use the bus pass next weekend to travel to different destinations so that I can make the walk a little more interesting. There's only one real way between my town and Lindsay's that you can make on foot and I am becoming bored getting up on Saturday mornings and walking through to my town and then back here again. I need something different. Sixteen miles is a surprising distance to plan a walk for.

The other thing I have to do before Lindsay and I are free to do whatever we want to for the weekend it attend the ACA meeting this afternoon. I said I'd do as they suggest and attend six consecutive meetings and today's meeting will be four in a row. They say that you are well on the road to getting better if you can handle what comes up at six meetings in a row but nothing really has come up in the three meetings I've been to in April so I am expecting a little more this week and next. After these two things are done then we'll be making way to the Links Market for a hot dog and a ride on the dodgems or whatever.

There is actually one other thing we have to do. Lindsay really wants to go away this year. By ''away'' she means travel abroad, or at least visit a different country for a week. You guys call it going on ''vacation'' – us lot call it going ''on holiday'' – but whatever you call it Lindsay and I are going to the travel agents to check it out this afternoon, probably just after the ACA meeting. This'll be a whole different experience for me. I was absolutely not the sort of drunk who would ever dream of being able to get out of the United Kingdom for even five seconds let alone be looking at a week in Spain. This is something completely different from how I normally spend my time. If you'd said to me two years ago that I'd be going on ''holiday'' with my girlfriend I genuinely wouldn't have believed you. It seemed ludicrously impossible. I have been abroad before, I've been quite lucky in that my mother always made a bit of cash (Florida: 1996 when she sold the house in St. Andrews; United Arab Emirates: 2002 when Gary and I visited mum for a week when she worked through there; Menorca: 2005 when mum, Gary and his girlfriend and myself with family all went away for a week) so this won't be something that is completely alien to me but it'll be the first time I've been away without my mother being there, or paying for it all.

But this will still be something out of my comfort zone. Most people seem to, even when they claim to be going through the worst of their drinking, go away on trips like this every year. Lindsay herself has been away four of the last five years and it hoping this trip will make it five in six. This is when it starts looking a little down though. It's the way the money has been earned that makes me feel down. This is not at all working an AA program of recovery.

The government have made some sort of mistake, a technical error with my situation and the whole time I'd been at college, from late August right up until around six weeks ago, they had continued to pay me my sickness benefit (or ''welfare'' if you are one who says ''vacation'') while I was also receiving a student bursary. It wasn't that both were going into my Credit Union account at once and that I deliberately manipulated the system. No – I had no idea as the student bursary was being paid into some third account but in my name, not an account opened by me though. It was all a little complicated. However, the Indian woman who works there alerted me to this and transferred the extra payments from this third account into my account. I am now being paid only my student bursary but I withdrew immediately one thousand pounds from the overpayments of sickness benefit and Lindsay dumped them into her ISA. The remaining few hundred stayed put.

When I get my statement from the Credit Union on Thursday I notice that there is around nine hundred quid still in there. I look carefully through my statement. My Christmas loan only has around eight weeks to go until it's done with. With me not having to pay for transport and with me no longer spending thirty five pounds per week on cigarettes I notice that I am actually not spending quite as much. Last year (and most years prior to this) I was very much living from day to day, from one payment to the next (my old WQD journal is filled to the rafters of examples of this and there were many times when eating was simply not an option – shoplifting chocolate even happened a few times), but now I notice that in the six weeks or so since I was made aware of this blunder by the Department of Work and Pensions I have actually not been spending the full amount of college bursary each fortnight. This is even with me paying thirty bucks per week to my gas and electricity companies to help clear off some of the debt I have with them. Even taking this into consideration I am spending less than the tiny amount I am earning.

If only Barry the Bullet was easier to reach. Then I'd really be on easy street. The thing is – this trip away, this ''holiday'' won't be covered by the student bursary. I'll have to dip into the money that has been paid to me by mistake. The error money, the blood money. This is the only way it will happen. The trip itself will cost around four hundred bucks all inclusive and I'll need a passport as mine ran out years ago. This'll cost around eighty bucks with a further ten to the Post Office so that they can check it. Apparently more than ninety per cent of unchecked passports are rejected. So we're looking at nearly one hundred quid just to think about leaving Scotland's shores. It's valid for ten years after that though.

How much it costs after that is up to Lindsay and I. She's currently into her overdraft and so isn't made of money at the moment either and she does have a few things coming up that will require her to pay something towards. Although the NHS pays for her university fees and gives her some living allowance she still has to pay to get onto the nursing register so that she can be licensed to work in the sector which costs around as much as the passport will cost me. She still has three or four years to run on her passport though so that's something we don't have to worry about at least. I suppose that the main worry is that the only reason I can afford this is due to the fact that although I have notified the DWP of their mistake I have not declared that there has been an overpayment and so it feels like I'm stealing, feels like I'm going against everything that I learned through my Step-work with Stu. When I'm wrong I am supposed to be promptly admitting it.

I don't know really how this AA absence thing is going. Maybe I'll reflect upon that as I trudge the sixteen miles to and from my town and back to Lindsay's this morning. The football analogy I've been using hasn't been touched on for a while but I'll add more to that when I get the chance to figure out how it's all going. Today is day seventy without an AA presence in my life. This means that I'm in the seventieth minute of my football match. We're currently sitting at a one-one draw with me scoring just before half time (forty fifth minute) and them scoring not long afterwards. It's hard to know what life would have been like had I been in AA meetings every Saturday and Tuesday nights as they were the meetings I was most involved with.

It's hard to see how I could have learned anything I don't already know. Lindsay's Relationships Scotland counsellor said to her the other night that people come to use services like FASS and DAPL to help with their addictions but then quickly realise that the addiction is just a symptom. They then discuss and work on what the real problem is, once they have discovered it. AA kind of misses a trick here and just keeps talking about the addiction all the time. Even though many of us are years and years away from our last drink we love to walk into rooms and go all the way back into our pasts and talk about the drinking. It seems very strange come to think about it.

Anyway, I should get going, I feel like I've been rambling for ages. These thousands of steps aren't going to walk themselves. I'm missing a lovely morning. If I go now I might get back before Lindsay wakes but it's unlikely now with the distances of these walks getting longer all the time.

Here's to sixteen miles.

A fair distance but less than a third of the actual walk I'll be doing in June.

Yikes!!

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Lots of walking after lots of talking.

1770

Lunarer
April 23rd, 2017, 05:03 AM
Sunday, April 23rd 2017 (The Links Market)



It's the London Marathon this morning. The top guys will be running this in just over two hours, which is pretty fucked up, as we have fourteen hours to cover twice this distance in six weeks or so. Yesterday I managed my sixteen miles no problems. I actually improved my speed quite a bit which was really what I've been aiming for. Normally I'm walking an average of just under four miles an hour but it's important to me that I increase this average and yesterday's walk saw me travelling at four point one four miles per hour over the course of the seventeen point one miles I walked.

I can see why humans decided to move from Africa into Europe and America all those years ago. There's no doubt that part of their reasoning for this was greed but it's also pretty clear that much of their reasoning was nothing but boredom. Even on my little walks I have become bored with the limitations I've placed on myself through route choice. This weekend I move off a little further in another direction in a bid to find different scenery. I've managed to find the entrance to a coastal walk I wasn't aware existed. I didn't have time or distance to try it out yesterday but I'll be heading straight to it when I get moving again later on this afternoon. The only problem I have with coastal walks is that the are not covered on the apps or online resources I use and so I won't know the distance I've travelled. I can't even go by the time because the coastal routes are always a little slower than the four miles per hour I've been putting in recently. Where there's a will there's a way.

I'll be turning thirty nine on Wednesday this coming week. The Twenty Sixth. I used to like birthdays (a wee bit anyway) but recently they have been something to fear. Too much time wasted has made me feel as though I wish I could go back to tell myself before taking that first alcoholic drink to not bother. Not gonna happen though. There is something that could come out of this latest birthday of mine though. I might get to see my mum. It's been a while. I saw her on Boxing Day when we had dinner at hers and then I saw her ever-so briefly at Oldest Niece's birthday back in early February. Not a cheep since though. I won't hold my breath but it'd be nice.

I was talking about that at the ACA meeting yesterday actually. I was thinking on my walk at how chronic loss and abandonment has affected my life and how things might have been had I not sobered up and tried to work through these issues of mine. It's not all bad though I was also thinking about what I've been left with in my life now that I am approaching forty. My working history is one of the things that stand out. It's appalling. I don't have much of a working history outside of cleaning windows. All of these career people, those who called themselves ''functional drunks'' – it's difficult to communicate to these guys just how different it is and was for some of us. We often drank until we passed out at really unpredictable times of day and night. Often we'd wake up and go again, not stopping until that little spell was over. Then we returned to what we might call functional alcoholism briefly and we could almost have a normal life for a bit, maybe even clean up the house, and then we'd go back to passing out at unpredictable times. All of this with a reduced capacity for living life and with a mind that is more child-like than it is healthy adult. It would take a super human to have managed to create and continue with a career while having an addiction.

Sandra (woman who runs the ACA meeting) approaches me at the end of the meeting and discusses my debts with me. She asks what the point is in me trying to pay them off over the next twenty or thirty years like I seem to want to. She explains about how this pertains to the Twelve Step fellowship's Step Nine amends and says that going bankrupt, but she called it something else, her having a background in law and all that, could be considered making an amend with myself. I wonder about this as we're not supposed to be too concerned with ourselves during this Step. We did enough of that while we were sick and this Step was all about repairing relationships with other people. She asks me if I want to have this reminder of my sickness for the next twenty to thirty years it would take to clear some of my larger debts. Of course I don't, but I have to be careful not to take the easy way out if it will come back and bite me further down the line. She asks me to think about it and give her a shout if I decide to go ahead with it. She'll help me fill out the forms. We'll see. I'll have to have a little think about what Step Nine actually means to me at the moment.

But to go back to that point about my mum. I think the situation with her shows how child-like my thinking still is regarding abandonment and such like. She spends time with my brother as I can see on Lindsay's Facebook and the nieces were on some Easter egg hunt at their gran's the other weekend. I wonder if this is anything to do with it. Does she spend more time with my brother because he has children? I have children too but they have been out of the picture now for over eleven years. Then I realise that I am doing what little children do. I'm being very egocentric. What have I done to mum to make her so disinterested in being near her eldest son? That's a very child-like way of viewing it. She doesn't have an interest – deal with it!! Who really cares what her reasons for this might be!? It's not my concern. I've done my best in trying to build bridges and communicate with her since we had our Step Nine talks at the start of the summer last year. Perhaps it would be best if I spoke with Dr. Bacon about possible ways of accepting that I don't have any parents. My mother is effectively out of my life. She always has been really....

So Lindsay and I were at the Links Market last night. We had waited until the evening to try to catch a little more of the festival atmosphere that the night offers. My brother and nieces had been earlier in the day and had said that it was really busy but I was actually surprised by how few people were there. Hundreds of people for sure, but we didn't have to wait in long queues to get onto the rides we fancied. I notice that Lindsay mentions the past quite a lot. Every now and then she'll tell me a little about how she used to do this and that with her mum and son. She did it over Christmas, she did it in Edinburgh, she's been doing it while we've been looking through online holiday brochures. This market was yet another place that they used to visit every year. With her losing her mum (and best friend by the sounds of it) to death (alcoholism and smoking while in her fifties) a couple of years ago and her subsequent drinking binges causing her to lose the right to have her son live with her there's little doubt that she's going to think about this stuff. I think she might have even been looking out for her boy with one eye while we were cruising around the streets. It was good fun though.

Of course there is going to be a downfall to having something like this coming to town and the police are as busy as you might expect. The amount of underage drinking on show is alarming. Little girls looking around as young as perhaps fourteen (although it's hard to tell for sure these days since they're all waxing their faces with tons of that shit that makes them look orange and fake) puking all over the place and guys scrapping with other boys from different schools. Ten years from now and some of these young people will turn their lives around; others will do okay but act like this over the weekends way into their lives as adult children; but a large number of them will end up on the dole queue and spend their lives being looked after by the nanny state that is ''Great'' Britain, just like me. They don't bother us though so everything is fine.

I have to say though – I'm perhaps getting a little too old for all of that upside down carry on that goes with sitting on most of those fairground rides!!

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Hanging upside down.

1559

Lunarer
April 24th, 2017, 08:09 AM
Monday, April 24th 2017 (Lindsay's Sleeves)



I'm on the way to college just now and I'm in a little trouble. We're supposed to be adding sounds and effects to that Pixar short I mentioned the other day (Lifted – the first two minutes) and I've recorded a bunch of sounds for it using Lindsay's voice recorder. The only thing is that I can't find the cable that connects it to a computer and so barring listening to them through a set of headphones plugged directly into the recorder itself there's no way of listening to any of the recordings. Useless for a Pro Tools session the likes of which we are required to work with. This means that I am effectively just beginning my project this morning. I'm way behind the schedule set down by my own plan from last week. The thing is – I'm confident I'll get it done. I don't know how I'll do it, I just have this feeling that I can trust myself to get into college today and tomorrow, the rest of the week, and that what I have submitted by the deadline on Thursday will be more than enough for the unit. I like having confidence in myself.

We (Lindsay and I) did a little clearing out in the spare room yesterday (in between all the sporting action – there was the London Marathon from ten, the second FA Cup semi final between Arsenal and Manchester City at three, followed by Real Madrid against Barcelona in the evening) and Lindsay showed me her AA box. I have one of these too. Just a box where we keep all of the mumbo-jumbo handed to us in our time in AA. My box consists of dozens of things I received from Jenna within my first six months of entering the fellowship and a few other things that I got from others. Lindsay has been in the fellowship a lot longer than I and so she has accumulated more mumbo-jumbo.

Inside her collection we have quite a bit of literature. Being a woman she had all of her books given to her and they come complete with little notes inside the front cover. Little notes written by the group or person who is giving the book away. My Big Book has nothing written inside. Fair enough - I'm not exactly an easy guy to get along with but I would perhaps have been hoping to have been shown the same love and acceptance that anyone else is when they join. Lindsay was clearly better looked after than I was when I arrived.

Besides her literature and all manner of little trinket and laminated quotes and so on and so forth is a binder containing plastic sleeves filled with notes. It's from her ex-sponsor. Lindsay hands it to me and I take a look inside. Her ex-sponsor (not Leader – he would never do this, the one she had after that, Karen) has printed off worksheets for each Step and placed them in their own little sleeve. I glance through the early Steps and notice that she's added a bunch of little exercises for her sponsees to complete. There are quotes from the Big Book and I noticed that Lindsay's Book itself has many highlighted sections in yellow and purple and red. I'm assuming that each different colour represents some different kind of meaning. Maybe the purple refers to God sections while the red deals with Steps, and so on.

I get to nearer the back of the sleeves and reach Step Nine. I'm going to have to look at this in more detail later as we're trying to declutter this room while the sporting action plays in the background and so for now a little glance is all I have time for but in the not too distant future I will be checking out this pack in much greater detail. I notice a little section she's printed off about Step Nine and our debts built up through drinking. I'll have to check this out. After Step Nine follows, quite obviously I think, Step Ten. This is the Step I never reached. /I could have, but many members seem to rush into Ten without ever finishing Nine and so they never complete their amends lists. I wanted to finish off my list before going onto Step Ten. I never got around to it.

I ask Lindsay. She agrees to tale me through the final three Steps as she's been through them twice already. It'll be a good little bit of insight into different ways in which the program can be taught as she'll likely adopt, whether she knows it or not, the methods used by those who sponsored her. I know that this might seem like a silly idea from the outside but she won't be an official sponsor of mine. She'll just be taking me through the final three Steps so that I might finish this program once and for all. I have accepted that the spiritual awakening is false. There is no magic or witchcraft involved in AA or its program. It's just a lot of pressure to conform and see things their way, or more accurately, the way of the old-timers. I could never quite find ways to connect to people who came from childhoods much like my grandfather's. So there is no spiritual awakening. The equivalent of this will come when I work through defeating my Detached Protector and Bully and Attack schema modes with Dr. Bacon.

It'll be nice to be able to say that I've managed to get through the program though. It'll be my experience that I can share. It took me three attempts and two different sponsors (well – one sponsor and one Lindsay) to get through it. I think it's important that I don't tell others in the meetings over the years to come that I got a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps like everyone else does. It's much more important I think that I tell the truth.

The truth of why I want to get through the final three and one third Steps of this program is still unclear to me, I guess it's just that I feel a pull towards it that I don't think will stop until I have officially completed the final Step.

Of course I know that it is an ongoing and lifelong process, working these last three Steps, and although I don't expect anything wonderful to happen at the end I have to say that there were times when I was going through this program over the last two years where my life was dramatically improved as a result of working them.

Damn – the bus is here already.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off to college.

1143

Lunarer
April 25th, 2017, 06:32 AM
Tuesday, April 25th 2017 (The Last SMART)



I didn't go to Slimming World last night after my last ever SMART meeting but I know I weigh less than I did last time because I weighed myself at Lindsay's. I'm a pound down from what I was. I'll very soon be at my target weight which will mean that I can attend for free (providing that I make sure I pop in once in every month otherwise my membership becomes void and I have to pay fifteen bucks to rejoin). I can then attend any class I want to for the lovely price of sweet fuck all for as long as I remain at this weight. I'll have to start paying again if I go a couple of pounds above or below this weight. I'm not there yet though so I don't know why I'm mentioning it. This is for another post. But I'm nearly there, proving that it is the eating that puts on the weight when you quit smoking and not some biological event as a direct result of the act of quitting smoking itself.

The last SMART meeting I'll likely (hopefully) ever be at was as poor as I've come to expect. We had no structure; someone walking out in the huff; someone lying about the length of time they've been sober for; someone trying to dominate the meeting by talking all the time; someone playing the victim to an absolute tee; you name it – SMART has it!! Apparently they are going to try to keep the meeting running even now that Lauren has left but it's off next week because it's the May holiday. The college is off too. Everything shuts down for a day with no reasonable explanation why. I still don't know if SMART works to help people of if it actually hinders them in many ways. I guess that it's different for everyone but I can't shake the feeling that some of these guys would possibly benefit from not having so many places to go each and every evening that drill into them that it's okay to relapse. That relapse is a part of recovery. I always cringe when I hear that. It's a dreadful message. My sickness used to love it when Margaret told me that – it meant I could drink that day without any feelings of guilt. If I just kept drinking then I am still in recovery.

I was speaking with Gillon yesterday. He'd tried to contact me but my phone was on silent (English Sara has tried about eight times in since Saturday morning but hasn't managed to get through – I'll have to pay her a visit this week) and after that other week when we had booked out the studio at the college for a session he has been visiting with pals and (while probably drinking) mentioned this to others I know and used to drink and take drugs with. One or two appear to be interested in getting involved with some kind of musical project. I have to say that my guitar playing has seen better days. I don't know why I have played so little since sobering up. I played with that band for a few weeks eighteen months or so ago and we played one charity gig (on the eve of my first sober birthday no less – my one and only sober gig) and had a few meetings with some other guys around that time but nothing ever seemed to happen. Now I have this plus the DAPL guitar class looming somewhere in the background to get me in the mood.

We're supposed to be getting sleet and snowy weather today and tomorrow. The cynical part of me would love to say that this is typical in Scotland but it really isn't. We are getting very close to May now and I used to always say back in my window cleaning days that the year began on the first of May. That was when we were sure to be over the snowy and chilly weather. This year my philosophy is being tested. When the sunny summer weather arrives I shall have to put some effort into trying to enjoy it as it won't stick around forever. It never does.

In time for the summer I could really do with finding a regular and reliable way of communicating with Barry the Bullet but I've been saying that so much recently that I'm myself becoming bored with it. It's something that'll have to happen though.

College is becoming a bit of a drag at times I have to admit. I think that Lindsay is feeling the opposite. She's for three years now (four actually after taking that year out to sober up) been studying and now she's into her second last week of university and facing life in the workplace – a fate that is eternal, so things are maybe a little different on her end. For me right now the thought of studying any more after this seems like a foolish idea and one that I'm not altogether certain I'll be doing, as things stand.

I wonder how many will be in college today. Yesterday there were only five of the class turned up and in the afternoon only three of us. It made for an interesting experience but one I'm not too keen to repeat too often. I'll find out in around twenty minutes.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Arriving at his stop.

924

abcowboy
April 26th, 2017, 08:41 AM
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YeSKE1gBdBo/VJ7SgPfHEyI/AAAAAAAAACs/PbKCVrBppao/s1600/happy-birthday.gif Stevie!

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 05:22 AM
Hmmmmm...

Some missing posts.

Luckily I can do this:

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 05:23 AM
Wednesday, April 26th 2017 (Turning Thirty Nine)



I'm not there yet. It's still only Monday, April twenty fourth, but I have a bit of time and so I thought that I could free up Wednesday by writing its post this afternoon. Shaun wasn't in college today so I am not able to get my usual lift back to Lindsay's town. Instead I am on the bus. I'll be meeting her at the hospital at six so that we can attend the SMART meeting. This'll be the last one. Lauren leaves for her new job after this and I have been told that no one will be taking over from her. It's strange because she's been talking about the training and trying to encourage us to do it for months yet we didn't bother. So now we have to face losing our meeting. This is more than okay for me as I had kinda stopped getting anything from SMART as it was but for many others in the group I feel it'll free up one evening of their weekly calender in a way they might not like. It was a good little group though.

Turning thirty nine. At least I've given myself a little head start. By the time I reach my thirty ninth birthday on Wednesday I will have quit drinking for two years and (almost) three months. I'll have quit all drug taking of any kind completely for one full year plus (almost) three months. I'll also have quit smoking cigarettes for (almost) three months. These are obviously enormous changes and advantages I have made from when I began my online journal nearly three years ago. Things are looking up. They should be anyway. What else is there in the way of improvements since I'm thinking along those lines?

Lindsay is a big plus in my life that wasn't there before. She's been one of the major changes that there has been since I sobered up. I met her while I was a new-to-AA member and we gradually became friends before starting to spend a lot of time together. Now it even looks as though she's going to take me through the final three Steps of AA's program, which should be interesting. I spend my weekends there now (as well as Monday nights and the odd Wednesday night) and although we've had a little spell where things started to look awkward I feel as though we have passed that quite well and have moved forward.

My education has taken a little boost in the time I've been sober as well. It might only be a Level Six lowly National Certificate in sound production but anyone trying to get this qualification must commit to it and stick it out for the nine months it goes on for. During this time they have dozens of written and practical assignments to complete. They have to get used to things like blogging, web design, sound design, and studio recording techniques. There's a lot to it. Proof that I have done well is that I have never managed to take to a course of study and get this far without dropping out yet. Plus – there are only eight of us left in my group out of the eighteen or twenty that started. Somewhere along the line these guys have dropped out. It looks as though, a day at a time, I am going to get my qualification. It will likely be small and seemingly insignificant to some of you guys who have had successful careers for many years but to me it is quite a big slice of evidence that I can actually commit to something and see it through, that I can care enough about something, and myself, to make it to the end. This is the ninth last teaching week until the qualification is mine.

It might also sound silly but I am but a couple of months away from keeping my house plant alive for a full year. This was a challenge set down by Narcotics Anonymous back when I used to go there every now and again. It's a challenge I failed last year when my plants both died over the winter period when I was a mess. That's another big change in itself – I survived a winter with very little fuss. This last winter was absolutely nothing when compared with the winters of previous years. It's actually probably the biggest change when I think about it. There hasn't been a suicidal thought enter my head in more than a year. There's nothing fundamentally depressive about me – I was just going through a really shitty time and with little support.

That might not be true actually. When I think at things I have still to work on, things which do me no favours in my life, my mood is one that comes to mind straight away. I am very negative and depressive by nature. My default position is one of solitude and cynicism. I really don't like people. Human beings I feel to be incredibly selfish and capable of being so, so much more than we are. I feel that there is some good in us, of course, but humanity at its core is severely disturbing, borderline evil, nothing more than wild animals, and I have a tough time in handing this over to the God of my understanding. I have a hard time in forgetting some of the things that we do to each other and the creatures we share this planet with. We are truly scum. I have to find better ways of coping with my attitudes and thoughts towards my fellow scumbag.....I mean, my fellow man and woman. It's something that the Twelve Steps have been unable to help me much with. My faith lies in Dr. Bacon and the techniques we will work on from next Thursday afternoon onwards, and perhaps with the girls from ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) but I fear may be something I am cursed with to some degree indefinitely. I'll die with a large part of me hurting over this. It's in itself cynical but it's the way I see it as things stand.

I also have problems in the workplace with my working history being appalling for a guy of my age. It's gonna take some time to try to right this, if there ever can truly be a way of righting it, and to start to recover from it. For me ambitions for the future have to be a little less than what they might be for my age group. I don't see my children and so I can't be looking forward to watching their lives blossom. They are both around school leaving age now so they could be up to anything over the next couple of years. I'll miss it all. It's another big difference between my late thirties and the late thirties of most men.

My health should start improving with all of the exercise I've been doing in the build up to this enormous walk (is to me anyway) that is coming up in six weeks time or so. June 10th – fifty two miles. Two marathons one after the other. I've covered three hundred miles in the training and since I quit smoking. It's something else positive to end my thoughts on turning thirty nine.

Things sometimes suck still. I don't mean it in the way that recovered people do when they say that sobriety isn't all one big bed of roses. That's obvious – that's life. I mean that I still don't feel as though I'm much closer to getting out of this hole I've been stuck in all my life. I've started climbing out at least but it's gonna take a lot more climbing before I can say that I'm that average human male of my age group. That's the best I can hope for but it is admittedly a tall order.

Sometimes I rather enjoy trying to get out of the problems I've created for myself while at other times I feel as though it's taking too long still. At least I don't feel that hate I used to. That's one of the main things I notice different from turning thirty nine to when I turned thirty eight. That and the lack of suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

So it's still Monday but I'll post this on Wednesday. It's cheating a little and isn't quit in fitting with my ''one post per day'' rule but everyone is entitled to a day off once in a while.

Wednesday it's my turn.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Taking today off by writing this out on Monday.

Still have to log onto the sites to post it today though.

1470

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 05:24 AM
Thursday, April 27th 2017 (Being Alone)



I'm a strange creature indeed. A creature that would have done anything today to have been alone on his birthday. I'm not supposed to be writing today, I'm supposed to have the day off. That's what I wrote that extra post on Monday for. I'm good though, I don't mind writing today. Like I said: I'd have done anything to have been alone today and I've managed to succeed with this. I have been out. I've been out quite a bit actually. I was at the Charity Shop Cafe for breakfast and was at the Credit Union to make yet another cash withdrawal. I then went to the shop round the corner from my brother's and paid into the paypoint system my fortnightly debts and bills for my gas and electricity. I would not venture round the corner to my brother's though. Not today, not on my birthday. Then I thought about my hair. I'm getting sick of it being long and so have to get this sorted. In the end it was not to be today though. But none of these people I have met on my travels would know that it is my birthday. I can't wait until it's over. Next week can't come quickly enough.

So – I am writing tomorrow's post today again, a day ahead, or today's post yesterday, depending on how you perceive things. Assuming that you perceive today as being Thursday then I'll be heading to college today for the last class of the ninth last week of study, but I haven't been yet so I won't know what happens when I get there as this is still today, or yesterday I should say. If you are keeping up with today being still Wednesday then we'll call today today, just to make things a little easier. You follow?

I don't know why my birthday always sucks so much. I think that it's because I am expected to show emotions that I just cannot (or will not) fake and pretend to enjoy being the man of the day. I hate Christmas for this as well but since everyone is involved I am more able to get into the mood and can fake it rather well, actually don't have to fake it as much since for some reason I seem capable of enjoying parts of it. This will likely be more difficult as the nieces grow older and become less and less interested in the social aspects of family Christmas. Birthdays though – they are different. I'll see everyone when I see them and I won't have to feel as though I must fake anything and everything. The day will be over. I'll be accepting cards that represent old news, yesterday's events, and so less of a deal will be made over it. This way I can fake my way through the joy at being a year older a little more easily.

It's Lindsay I feel for on this day. I was supposed to be staying with her last night so that I was there this morning to open my present. It had been arranged this way. I even got my midweek walk in by hoofing it from college yesterday (two days ago – you know what I mean!?) all the way to hers (a total of ten miles taking me over the three hundred mark by a few miles now). I even bumped into an AA member on my travels – Leader!! We chat for around twenty minutes and I have to say I feel a little drawn to the fellowship. I don't really know how necessary this ninety day abstinence plan has been but:

Leader – ''How you been doing? I haven't seen you for donkeys!''

Stevie – ''I was getting a little restless with it all for a while there so decided to take ninety days away, just to see how I go. It's been okay.''

Leader – ''I've done that too. I don't mean I've stayed away altogether but there have been times when this meeting has been the only meeting I've gone to for a while.''

We are standing right outside the Tuesday night Step meeting. One might say that I was drawn there and they may be right, but this is too early for the meeting to be opening, Leader arriving early to set up because he's nipping to the Fife Intergroup meeting later on in my town. It was a chance meeting. I was walking past the door as he drove up. Twenty seconds later for either one of us and this meeting doesn't happen.

I didn't stay at Lindsay's though. We had had a little disagreement on Monday night and I decided (really selfishly and probably immaturely as well) to cling onto this a little and use it as an excuse to say that I was going to stay at mine for the week. Lindsay made it quite hard and wanted to talk about it and I had mentioned that I'd be leaving while the bus still had forty minutes until it left so I had to wind down the clock and it was quite slow in ticking. She brings up many good points about my poor communication when it comes down to it but the truth is that I really wanted to be on my own for a while, a few days, which wasn't possible, but tonight and tomorrow – that's possible!! We can pick up wherever we left off at the weekend if she wants to and I'll be more responsive. I won't have one eye on the clock and the bus leaving. I'm selfish though – not working this Twelve Step program at all. But that's been obvious now for a long, long time.

Now that I have my wish for my birthday and I have been out and done the things I had to do I am alone as I wanted to be. How has this made me feel? To be honest it's a bit of a mixture. There's a definite sadness about the day but it is countered quite nicely by a feeling of there being no acting to do. The exhausting acting of enjoying this day won't have to happen after all.

Tomorrow will be a new day. My birthday will be all over, in the rear-view mirror.

Today, I mean.....

'
'
'
'
'
'

'Stevie

Thirty nine and alone.

1077

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 05:25 AM
Friday, April 28th 2017 (Isolating)



Back to writing in the day. My birthday is now well into the distance, something not to be concerned with for another great many days, but next year will be a bigger worry than usual. I'll be forty. Let's not get into the habit of thinking about that too often anytime soon.

I've just finished my shift at the Charity Shop Cafe for the morning and am loving it. I think it's one of the very few times during the course of a week where I get to be out of my head for a three hour period. I certainly can't do that when I'm at the college. The projects demand that I get into my head to look for inspiration and creativity and I struggle to just roll with it and forget myself – probably my biggest problem at the moment, at all times, since forever. Due to the deadline for the latest project being so tight I decided to stay back after class yesterday and work on what I have to do. This meant sitting in with the other group of students in my year. I am grateful that I was placed in the group I currently am as this group seems to have a very poor work ethic. They are quite vocal with one and other about the shortcuts they are taking with this project and how little effort they have put into it. That if it were a four week project then we might be able to make something out of it. This is what I'm up against. This is the future competition. I agree – four weeks would have left time to create a special project but I plan on getting the absolute best out of the two weeks that I can. Even if we had four weeks then most of these guys would just bang on about how good a project it would be if the had SIX weeks.

One of these students in this other class I recognise from photographs as the son of Marshall, the guy I'm supposed to be starting up the guitar class with in due course. He's thirty but much the same as the younger guys in the class. He'll piss around and play guitar when he's supposed to be getting on with his project (and the playing of the guitar does very little to aid the concentration of our peers who do actually want to work on this) and then get on with it when there's an hour to go until the end of class time, moaning about how much better his effort would be if he had four weeks to do this instead of two. I think this attitude is why his guitar playing skills are suffering so much. He's not that good. I can only hope that his dad is a lot better. It was hard work handing over to the God of my understanding all afternoon the petulance of the group I was sitting with but I am grateful that I put the time and effort in. I'll upload it on Tuesday once it's done.

I'm not going to Lindsay's town this weekend. I'm having serious problems with many things at the moment. Dr. Bacon has asked me to pay close attention to try to notice when I use any of my Schema Modes as defences and I'm noticing them popping up all the time. My Detached Protector Mode and the Bully and Attack Mode. Pretty much every time I open my mouth and say something I notice something wrong or something stupid or something that is likely to cause offence or or or or or...... It's got to the stage now where it's causing me to isolate terribly. Yesterday I was going to go visit English Sara and Dennis as it's been a while. I isolated instead and stayed in, switching the phone onto silent and putting it out of sight, and didn't leave the cave after I got back at five. Today I have finished my volunteering shift and have opted not to go to Restoration. This'll be the third week on the spin that I've missed – the longest I've been away from the service since I started going again at the beginning of last year.

My next appointment with Dr. Bacon is on Thursday afternoon and I am eager to see how we should work on this stuff. One session every three weeks is proving to be difficult. At times it doesn't feel like it's enough. I've had the phone on silent since Wednesday but I have been out and done the things I'm supposed to be doing. The isolating is a worry though. It's all stemming from this belief that everything I say causes chaos to anyone who might hear it. I don't know if that includes you guys, dear reader, whoever may still be reading this mess I call a journal, a blog, a whatever it is. I suppose it doesn't as you guys make the choice to click on here and read – others in the real world often have no option but to hear, and then we're getting down to the whole thing where ''they have a choice on how they respond to what I say'' which is true but a much more difficult thing to do and way too complicated for me to be getting into right now.

Isolating. Being alone. They have been the themes of the last couple of posts. It's not as big an issue as Alcoholics Anonymous might make it out to be as there is no threat of me drinking. That's not why I'm isolating. I can actually say that I have had little memories of the drinking and what it was like, little triggers and reminders of things I'd forgotten about in the two years since I last drank alcohol in this very room. They are pretty horrible little reminders to be honest. There's no chance of me going back there. Not as things stand.

It's been a difficult week but I have to remember that most of what is happening and what I'm thinking isn't real. It's all just in my head. I'm making all this shit up.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Making things up!!!

1056

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 05:26 AM
Saturday, April 29th 2017 (Fighting Isolation)



I wasn't supposed to be heading through to see Lindsay today – I was supposed to be isolating and hating it all weekend – but it's a different day and I wake in a different mood, a little more motivated than I have been for the last few days. I was supposed to be walking to English Sara's last night to see her and Dennis – actually did walk there, but turned around when I got close, turned around and walked straight back in the direction of the cave again, where I could isolate some more. This really isn't cool and not what I had planned. I really had wanted to visit with my friends but I was overcome by my own negative thinking once again.

Dr. Bacon (my clinical psychologist) has asked me in the three weeks between our last session and our next to look out for when I try to use my defences. I have two main coping modes that I've mentioned in the journals so far. I have the Bully and Attack – this mode does exactly what it says on the tin and so gets me into bother with people; and I have the Detached Protector – this is the mode which is active at this very moment and is causing me to go through this week of isolating and seeking solitude. I have been doing this homework as asked of me and have made the quite startling discovery that almost every single time I open my mouth to speak, or even have a thought , that one of these modes is active and in control. It's made me quite tired of thinking and I've sought solitude as a way of avoiding having to look at these modes and their control over me. It's amusing how Dr Bacon had said to me during one of our first sessions that oftentimes we over-think and intellectualise things because we are trying to avoid being emotionally connected to them when indeed now I am avoiding thinking about things so that I can avoid being emotionally present.

So what have I been doing all week? If I'm isolating then what exactly do I do in a cave such as mine which has no television, no internet connection, and is still in relative disarray? Well – it's hard to explain. Either that or it's difficult to admit. For a lot of the time I've lain on y bed with the headphones on and the laptop next to me and played a movie through. Only I've often had to rewind some of it as I lose track of what's going on and supposed to be happening. I'm stuck in my head the whole time. I'm thinking of the past. Looking back over what I can remember of the last thirty nine years. I am doing this quite slowly, trying to piece everything together and timeline it all accurately. Then I speed up as I get a little closer to the present. This seems to be a little more raw, a little more painful, and so I speed up and gloss quickly over the present and near future. Then I allow myself to slow down again. Now we're in the further future and so I can use what happened in the past, that which I have just dissected for only the God of my understanding knows how long, to try to predict what might happen a little further down the line. I allow myself to go all the way, as far as my thoughts might dare to go. I have quite a furtive and creative imagination and can predict a quite rich fantasy world for myself and all who know me. I even have possible futures of the nieces involved. Then I freeze. What the fuck is happening in this movie again??? I'd better rewind it a half hour or so. Then the process repeats itself until I wake to a new day.

This particular new day sees me get up earlier than I might have wanted to and arrange to meet with Lindsay before the ACA meeting this afternoon. The Adult Children of Alcoholics. Now I am at Lindsay's flat and am to be staying here for the long weekend. It's allowed me to feel a little less isolated but then somehow I felt less isolated from the moment I woke up this morning. The ACA meeting has quietened down a little since it started up on the first day of this month. There were around seven of us that first week but it has reduced now to just four. It'll pick up. I quite like the Big Red Book. I've only read through the sections we're read out at the two Book Study meetings we've had (they are to be once a fortnight – next week being the next time) but it feels as though it'll be an interesting book. I've hunted online for it, trying to steal a freebie PDF file, but cannot find the full book and so may just continue to attend the meetings and read it through with the group. I hope it survives.

Lindsay bumped into AA Gangster and his wife this morning on her way to meet me. He's having a go at her for not being at the Saturday evening meeting for weeks now. Although Lindsay has been to a couple of AA meetings (might just be the one actually – that Wednesday one a few weeks ago) since I have last been to a meeting, she hasn't actually been to that Saturday evening one since the week before I was last there. AA Gangster (who runs that particular group – a group in which Lindsay and I were regulars) won't have seen me there now for eleven weeks and Lindsay for twelve. It's a long time in the AA world. I can't be sure about Lindsay but I'll be back in that Saturday evening meeting a fortnight from now, my ninety days of AA abstinence will be over a week on Friday. It'll be my first meeting back.

Tomorrow I face a quite daunting task and one that will not be too great for getting me out of my head for a while. The training walks for the Walk the Walk charity event are getting pretty large and consistent now and tomorrow I have a route planned out at just over twenty miles. It takes me from Lindsay's front door, all the way through my town to the village beyond, and then out the back road towards this county's highest point. I'll then be scaling that (as I used to every other weekend when I first got sober) and then I'll be heading back to the village to get a bus back here. It feels like an insane thing to be doing. I did a thirty two mile walk not too many weeks ago but the terrain was a lot easier than tomorrow's will be. Then, the very next day, I have a sixteen mile walk to complete. This'll be on more sensible roads though.

For the next three weeks the walks remain long and relatively arduous but then decrease after that as we get closer to the event. Six weeks today is when it all happens. It starts off in the evening and runs all night and into the next morning. Fourteen hours is the deadline. It's more than two and a half times the distance I'll be covering in tomorrow's walk. Holy fuck!! It's not happening today though so I won't be thinking about it now. I have to remind myself to take things a day at a time. I could really have done with reminding myself about that at times during this week.

I did learn yesterday at the Charity Shop Cafe that Barry the Bullet had been cleaning the windows of the woman I work with. She hasn't seen him for a few weeks but on Tuesday he came round and did them. So he's still alive!?!? At least now I know that there's something of the business left. I might actually be able to get some shifts working over the coming summer. We have eight teaching weeks left at the college now and I'm good to get working as soon as that is over and done with.

Assuming I don't go back to the isolation mode I've been in for the bulk of this week.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Not isolating today.......

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Abcowboy

1432

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 05:26 AM
Sunday, April 30th 2017 (Hitting Target)



I don't know how on earth I'm going to handle the fifty mile walk when it comes around on the tenth of June. Back-to-back marathons. It's a pretty daunting thought. Today the training plan asked of me a twenty mile walk. I got myself ready and was out the door by ten. Lindsay has her last ever week of university this coming week (unless she goes back to do her Masters in a couple of years) and she has a couple of exams coming up. Best I leave her to it and be at one with nature. My route was already planned out in advance and so I make myself scarce.

At the eleven mile mark I am out of the main towns and mulling around little villages. This is what I've been doing wrong in my walks up until now – I've been sticking to walking in towns. I should be getting the hell away from those horrible places with those disgusting human things and out into the wild, nature, the great outdoors. Even here we have issues though as humans drive a little more recklessly when out of larger towns and don't expect (even though we are always taught on the road to expect the unexpected) walkers to be out this far and they often embarrass themselves by having to slam on the breaks or do a little swerve because they were looking at their phones instead of the country road and at what might be around the next corner – namely me – and then act aggressively as if I am responsible for their lack of driving care and judgement. Again, as always, the patterns are obvious: men tend to be worse than women, older people tend to overreact, and those driving more expensive cars tend to be bigger dicks. This happens with amazing consistency. Even walking all this distance out into the country and humans still come to try and spoil it.

I had planned to climb the counties' highest point and then head back into town and catch a bus. The problem was that the buses only operate every two hours out here on a Sunday. The next one passes through in just over an hour. This won't be enough time for me to walk to the foot of the hill, climb it, and make it back here again. I'll have to get the next one, two hours after that! As I'm climbing the steep roads (some of them very steep) I think to myself that if I just keep walking past the car park which leads to the hill and continue on to the next village then I can get a bus from there back to Lindsay's. They'll be more regular. It means avoiding the hill and leaving it for another day but as long as I clear the twenty miles that the training program asks of me then I'm doing what I set out to do. Then, when I finally make it to that village, I decide to just walk back to Lindsay's after all.

There were many times towards the end of this walk where I figured it'd be much easier to just use my concession bus pass and board a StageCoach for the final few miles. If I cheated though then it would fester, like it would were I to smoke a cigarettes, even a cheeky one that only I new about, and I keep thinking that if I give up now then how the heck will I manage on event day!? The last couple of miles truly suck. I develop a limp, start to get cramp, and then feel a blister on one of my feet. I get back to Lindsay's flat seven and a half hours after I left.

So I look at the route and the distance covered. Thirty miles. Still more than twenty two miles short of the fifty two point four miles that the event consists of. The first marathon is easy, the first twenty six miles, I've done it many times now and my markers show that I'm walking it at around four and a quarter miles per hour – a good wee pace. Easily fast enough to complete the challenge in the allocated time and the event itself will not have any punishing hills like the section I did today out in the wild. It also won't have cars trying not to run me down. But it's the second marathon.

It took me less than sixty five minutes to walk my first five miles but almost ninety to walk the last five, and it was the exact same route only backwards. The cramps and limping. The last two miles were very slow. So as soon as the first marathon is over the hassle begins. How am I supposed to get my body into the mood for this with such long training sessions? I can go back out tomorrow. I'm supposed to actually and have sixteen miles to do. I may try the coastal walk I discovered a couple of weeks ago.

I did complete a longer walk than this one back in March, I noticed my Endomondo account says. This was when I was walking only as a smoking distraction and before I had decided to enter the double marathon to raise money for breast cancer charities. This walk was thirty two miles. I don't remember having the same problems after that one. I don't remember blisters or limping. My time was the same as today's time yet I managed two miles further and this was at a time when I'd had less practice. I also weighed slightly more. I don't get it. I'm assuming it was those hills. From miles thirteen to eighteen today there were some pretty steep inclines and the Scottish wind was doing what it does best. I'd say that this was the most challenging walk I've done so far. I've a long way to go before I reach the level where fifty miles seems achievable. Less than six weeks it is now.

I weight myself afterwards. I've lost two pounds from when I woke up this morning. I find it amusing how our bodies work. This weight will slowly come back and I'll get to what I was before I set out. The thing is: at this moment in time, standing on these scales having just completed my thirty miles of hell, I am less than my Slimming World target of eleven and a half stone (around seventy three kilograms, or one hundred and sixty one pounds) by a full two pounds, meaning that I have lost nearly three pounds from this morning before I set out. Slimming World charge you every week until you reach your target weight. Then you can remain a member for free providing you show up for class once in every calender month. I notice that my available funds could do with this saving of a fiver per week (I wasn't at Slimming World last week and so will have to pay ten bucks when I go tomorrow – that makes it feel more expensive) and so the key is to go on a thirty mile walk every week before class???

I don't think so. But there's a good feeling in seeing my weight sitting at target. It's another goal I am getting closer to reaching. They seem to be happening all the time, these goals. In six weeks there will be the big one – more than fifty miles of charity event walked through Edinburgh city centre with the other one hundred double marathon challengers. My weight is getting close to being at target.

My house plant will reach ten months of age assuming it lives to the end of today, which it will, and so in sixty one days time I will have reached that goal in keeping it alive for a year. Around this same time the college will finish completing yet another goal.

I have also reached seventy eight full days away from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Setting goals and reaching them.

1369

Lunarer
May 1st, 2017, 01:21 PM
Monday, May 01st 2017 (Uplifted)


For some reason Lindsay is at university today yet we are off from the college due to it being the first of May and therefore a public holiday. So Lindsay's out the door early this morning and I'm sitting twiddling my thumbs and wondering what to get up to. My mind glosses over what I would likely be doing were it not for this stupid and most unwelcome holiday. I'd be concentrating on my latest project. In fact – had I the software myself, either bought legally or pirated from online resources, then I'd be able to continue working on this stuff while I'm off. I'd be able to put a lot more effort into all of my projects. But there are still college related things I could be doing, like the paperwork side of things – the parts that most students hate but that I, in all my weirdness, rather enjoy.

So I'm sitting reflecting on what has been a two week project instead of the usual four weeks. I head through to the kitchen to make a coffee and while waiting on the kettle to boil (and my eggs – good free foods for breakfast in accordance with the Slimming World healthy eating plan) I step onto the scales. Eleven stone and six pounds. I'm currently just below my target weight and so am happy. The thing is – as the day progresses I will gain slightly here and there, I reckon we all must do, and although it's very gradual whether or not I eat well today I will still weight more tonight when I step on the Slimming World scales for my check in. This morning I am under my target weight but when it matters I will be over it. I'll have to pay. So my target weight is actually much lower than the target weight Slimming World has me down for. In order for me to weigh eleven and a half stone by the evening I reckon I'll have to get my first-thing-in-the-morning weight down to around eleven stone and three pounds, maybe even eleven and two. I think that this is a little light for me to be honest. It's not unhealthy – it's just a little on the light side. Have I found another little malevolent capitalist tactic? Does Slimming World do this deliberately to keep me paying? It's not as if our scales are out either. I test them against the Slimming World scales by attending class, weighing myself when I get in and finding the sweet-spot in Lindsay's flat so that the scales in here match what those at class said. The sweet-spot is in the hallway where the kitchen door is. Shit – I'd better check those eggs!!

So I'm writing away on my college reflective reports. I notice that they've (the college lecturers) changed the deadline date from this Monday to Friday. They've given us extra time. This is a little annoying to be fair as it encourages us to muck around with this – and having sat with the other group on Thursday afternoon I can safely say that there are many of us who do fuck around. This is the eighth last teaching week until the course is over so I predict perhaps another two projects after this, plus the radio broadcasting project which takes up the Thursday class, and so we're not done yet. There's still work to be done. For this project we were to create a sound design for the Pixar short movie ''Lifted'' – or rather the first two minutes of it.

The last thing I wanted to do before getting started on this was to check out the actual original audio. I thought that if I did this I would always be working towards covering it, even if subconsciously, rather than coming up with something that was original and that I could call my own. By ''sound design'' all I mean is that we are given the video and have to come up with all of the sounds and music for it. Although in our projects page online on the Student Portal we were given the clip with no audio it would be easy to go onto Youtube and get the clip with audio. I decided not to do this and just work on my own ideas, as I think most people in our class did. Now that I have completed the task I figured I'd get onto Youtube this morning and check out the Pixar version.

I have to say that I was quite disappointed but what I noticed on Youtube was a bunch of students had posted their own versions of the video complete with original sound design. I took a half hour looking through all of these I could find as well as reading through the comments sections on each version. Seems like these projects come from all levels of sound production. One guy had done his as part of a third year university project. I was expecting more from him to be honest. What was interesting was how each and every one of us has highlighted different parts of the clip as being important. Most people, including myself, have gone with chirping crickets in the background at the beginning to set the scene. Inside the house a couple of guys have even added snoring to the human. Each and every one of us has a tractor beam sound that is totally different from the next. I guess I'm starting to get a little worried about the future of sound production though – how can it be that they all sound so similar if there are three or four years of study apart with some of them? Don't we get any better at doing this stuff as the years go by and we practice?

Well, it's kicking on and I weigh only slightly more than my target weight. It's a nightmare but there's nothing else I can do to shed the pound that I am currently over the seven and a half stone. Come class time this evening I will weight even more still but it's getting very close to me reaching another goal of mine and getting to that target. It'll happen next week. The super-long walks all but ensure it.

When at college tomorrow I'll be making sure that I finish off every little extra part of the project that needs done. I'll post my finished version here as well, just for the hell of it. Then I'll only have Wednesday to get through before I have my next session with my clinical psychologist Dr. Bacon. I'm looking forward to that session as I really have to find a way of getting out of this mindset where I hate everything and everyone, even if it comes more sporadically nowadays than it is constant as it used to be when I was an actively performing alcoholic. That's all for later in the week though.

For now I'm gonna chuck on some Opeth and get some house work done.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Heading towards target......

1197

Lunarer
May 3rd, 2017, 10:35 AM
Tuesday, May 02nd 2017 (No So Busy)



I'm on the bus on the way to college, loving this laptop battery meaning I can write while on the move again, but I'll probably finish off this post back in the cave this evening and worry about sticking it up here tomorrow at some point.

I step onto the Slimming World scales and weigh in at eleven stone, seven and a half pounds. I'm a whole half pound above my target. This is okay though. It means that I only have half a pound to lose before I reach target and so get my future classes at no charge. That's quite good going though – losing five and a half pounds since I was last here twelve days ago. Only half a pound to go. This I will manage for next week I'm sure. The really interesting thing about next Monday night is that it will be the ninetieth day off the cigarettes, a day at a time, and so I feel it fitting that this be the day I reach my Slimming World target. I'll have lost ten pounds in the three months since giving up the cigarettes totally blowing out of the water this idea that we put on weight when we stop smoking. I realise now that this is just a denial tactic we use, born out of self-pity, to let the world know how much we do not want to stop smoking. I guess the difference was that I not only accepted that I wanted to quit and pretty much had to quit but also that I wanted to come out of the other end feeling better off. To reach my Slimming World target of shedding ten pounds in the ninety days since giving up smoking should definitely be something that I feel better off for.

Looking ahead a little bit now. Today I have the final day of working on my college project but I won't get into that just now. The rest of the month is looking quite busy. It's not a case of there being shit loads to do every minute of every day, it's just that there are a few interesting and important dates for the diary coming up. This Thursday sees Lindsay take on her final practical exam before the end of the university year – her final year of training. Today is actually her last day of university ever (unless she goes back to study again at a later date, the option of speacialising comes after working in the field for a couple of years and she could go back and do the Masters some point down the line) but when I left her an hour ago she was still in bed. This same day I will have my next session with Dr. Bacon and I'm hoping it'll be a big one. I'll be mentioning the isolation I put myself through over my birthday week and how difficult I am finding it when I notice every day that almost everything I think, say or do, is really not me at all but merely one of my two defensive modes in the Detached Protector and the Bully and Attack. My hatred for all things in this world at times can come on quite strongly and I struggle to focus while stuck in this way of thinking and being. I am eager to get it all out in the open.

Tomorrow Lindsay will be attending another children's hearing relating to her son. I'll talk about that once it's happened. On Friday she has her job interview. This'll be something she can slot straight into the second she graduates. Say what you like about the National Health Service but it saves a lot of money in this way. There isn't this whole thing whereby people go out and get their degree and then go home and do nothing about it because there are no jobs. Lindsay will be working almost as soon as she's qualified. By this time the month of May will be well underway. The following weekend will be my return to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm not really all that excited about this to be honest. I think that I'll get back in there and see it for what it really is: a bunch of sick people talking about the past and doing anything to continue living in the problem while all of the people who arrive and get well disappear and are never seen again. I hope not. I feel I have some place there. I just can't bear the thought of listening to some people saying the exact same things they were saying the day I left three months ago. The thought that they might have been saying, sometimes word for word, the exact same thing for ten or twenty years really does make my heart go out to them.

The week after that sees Lindsay face her final theory exam and this is followed by what I am sure will be the weekend of the AA Fife Convention – the same weekend that signifies the end of the current football season. Later on in the month we have the wedding of one of Lindsay's friends and I, of course, have literally hundreds of miles to walk as part of my training for the double marathon for breast cancer charity. It's a whole lot of busy, but like I said there will be plenty of moments where I'm sitting doing nothing in between. They like to make us believe that we are super-busy, don't they!? The Gods – our television sets. They are always telling us that we lead such busy lives and that we're always on the move and all that shit. This is not quite true though. How is it that we are so busy yet have so much time to sit on forums such as this? Some people (the Facebook crew) seem to spend most of their lives on their phones and computers. It's hardly being busy now, is it? I think it's important for me to avoid things like this that attempt to feed my self-importance. Avoid them at all costs. This month will be busy, but not really..….....

Lindsay saw Bain when she was out and about yesterday. Bain joined AA exactly a week after I did and we were good friends for a while. Then, as they all did – those who came in around the same time as I, he went ''back out there'' after picking up and drink and a drug and vanished from the rooms. I saw him less and less and then eventually not at all. He's had a whole lot longer than three months away from the fellowship and Lindsay wasn't sure if he was being genuine when he said that he was thinking about getting himself back to the rooms. I guess time will tell.

It always does....

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Knowing that time will tell all.

Lunarer
May 3rd, 2017, 10:36 AM
Wednesday, May 03rd 2017 (Lifted Feedback)




I'm on the Loser's Bus on the way to Lindsay's town. It's the long route to her part of that town but it gets off nearest to her block of flats and so when you factor in the walking time I save it actually works out around the same time door to door. I'm not being lazy though and taking this bus to avoid walking. I actually usually walk the ten miles every Wednesday as my midweek walk for my training plan but this morning I was early at the charity shop for breakfast and managed a few miles this morning/early afternoon. By the end of this coming weekend I'll have topped the three hundred and fifty miles total since I quit smoking back on my second sober anniversary in February. I'm taking it easy with the walking this week in preparation for another absolute monster this weekend. The training plan asks of me a twenty mile walk on Saturday followed by eighteen miles on Sunday. One walk is fine. Anyone can manage twenty miles I'm sure. It's the back to back walks that hurt.

I'll arrive at Lindsay's before she gets back from her children's hearing about her son. She'll get back around five and then I'll hear what the latest is. Then it'll be evening and another day almost at a close. My how they are flying by so it feels. Tomorrow I am meeting mum for lunch for my birthday. She asked what I wanted and I've said lunch will be enough (although I will be taking my sponsorship form with me expecting a donation for this monster walk next month). She's picking me up at the college car park at half past twelve. I have a three hour window between finishing college for the day and my session with Dr. Bacon in the afternoon at half past three.

Yesterday we received some feedback on our latest college projects. The tutor took his headphones around the class one at a time and listened to our efforts, starting with me. This project threw us off guard. Both our group and the other had issues with what had to be done in the two weeks we were given. I am slightly ashamed to say that I took on some of the negativity of the others and considered just giving up and/or handing in something less than satisfactory, something rushed, something I felt to be good enough. In the end I had the confidence in myself that I would somehow manage to get something done that I was happy with and yesterday during feedback I was so extremely glad that I had put the extra work in last week by going to classes out-with my timetable and putting the extra hours in.

Neil – ''That's good, Stevie – I'm loving that.''

He moves on to Shaun. Lindsay and I have three main friends in Alcoholics Anonymous. Three women. Ann, Lisa, and Rhona. I haven't seen any of them for weeks but Lindsay has been in regular contact with all three throughout the last three months I've been away from the rooms.

Neil – ''What you've got there is okay, Shaun, but we need to be finishing this off this week and you've still got a few sounds to add in there.''

He moves on to our only female student in both NC sound production groups. Just before I get to talking about what I wanted to mention with Ann, Lisa and Rhona I'll just say that I find it really interesting the conversation that a teenage boy is having with an elder peer in this Loser's Bus I am currently travelling. By the sounds of things he is doing well in his studies and this elder peer of his (too friendly with him to be his mother, perhaps an auntie or something?) is advising him on how to get the best out of his life. I find it interesting that all of the advice that she's giving him and he's soaking up, contributing wherever he can in that naïve way teenaged boys do, is related to personal success, financial success, playing the game, if you like. It's the same stuff we all get told I suppose. I observe that not one thing she is advising he does relates to actually being a good person. There is nothing in there about trying to be the best person, the best young man, the best human being, he can be. This is all left out. It's all about being the richest this and the most successful that and the most egocentric the next thing. It's nothing surprising but it still stings me a little.

Neil – ''You've maybe got around ten per cent done there. What's happened to the rest of it?''

Our female student and the lecturer get into the whole thing about the project not being long enough, that the deadline came around too quickly, and so on. He doesn't miss her and hit the wall. Our female student will have to be thick skinned to make it to the end of the year now. He moves on to our young gay student. I head out for a coffee.

Ann is currently in the local psychiatric hospital. She gets out on Friday. Lindsay visited her last night. She's okay, she just had one of her moments when she's threatening suicide to her GP and so she's been referred. This is not Ann's first time in this hospital and so the drama has been knocked out of it a little for me. It's just her doing the rounds now. When people in AA tell you that they were in and out of psychiatric hospitals you think instantly of Stonehearst Asylum and suchlike and that they must surely have been fucked up royally at one point. The truth is that this is what they were really doing. They got sick of being on the outside and so played the game to their GP and their responsibilities are taken from them for a week and they are treated in hospital instead. I think that for Ann it's now going to be very difficult for her to get and stay sober. With each and every time something like this happens it undermines the situation she's in. Things will have to perhaps get for her like they did for me if she wants to be sober. Going in and out of psychiatric wards was something I was referred to once back in December 2015 but I opted to buy drugs with my bus money instead and not attend my referral.

I arrive back from getting my coffee. Neil is telling another student that they have to get a move on if they want to tick this project off, that they maybe have sixty per cent done. That they need to get a shift on. He moves onto Rory – the sixth and final student we have left. The young gay guy is upset as well as while I was out getting coffee he was told that what he currently has is nowhere near the desired standard and that he still has much to do. Rory's work is fine. Neil is loving it too. Both Rory and I seem to have finished this one at the first time of asking and our work continues to be at a reasonable enough standard. I find this very interesting.

I turned thirty nine last Wednesday. Rory turned thirty nine in December. The rest of the class are much younger. Shaun is nineteen; the female student sixteen; the gay guy eighteen; and the fifth guy twenty three. So the class is made up of three teenagers, a guy in his early twenties.......and two guys pushing forty!!! On a course such as this where IT skills and knowledge of modern technology key components to creating music and website design and all of the other software and hardware elements that make up the majority of our projects I find it interesting that the two students in the class who are sufficiently old to not have had computing classes in school would have the consistently highest standards of work. On this particular project we are the only two students to have actually completed it on time. What does this say?

I can understand my own motivation. It's the same thing inside me that makes me just know that (barring injury or something similar that makes it impossible) I'll somehow complete all fifty of those tremendously long and arduous miles in next month's challenge. That part of me that is motivated to do things now that it sets itself to doing. It's a motivation that comes from knowing that I'm playing catch up to my peers, to those my age who did not make the decision to waste so much of their lives doing so very little. It also comes as a defence to drinking and drug taking. To fighting against those parts of me. To erasing some aspects of the past. Rory is not an addict but perhaps his motivation is similar. Perhaps when we get a little older our desires are shaped differently. Do the younger students really appreciate what they have been given with this course? Or does the fact that they have a million tomorrow's that neither Rory or I have take from them some of their responsibilities to themselves and this part of their lives? Do Rory and I have no option but to want this more? Or does personal life experience come into this in some way? Do the more ''mature'' students have more in the way of self-expression and a need to get it out there? What is it that makes Rory and I, the two oldest students now in both groups, the best students?

Who knows? I'll upload both Rory's and my own version of our sound designs for the Pixar short ''Lifted'' after this. It was good fun to do. The next project is a remix. We only have seven weeks to go on this course now. I should get thinking about exactly what it is I want to be doing when these seven weeks are over.

I'd upload some of the other guys' versions, but they haven't finished them yet!

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

At age thirty nine one of the best students.

Lunarer
May 3rd, 2017, 10:37 AM
Stevie's Lifted Project



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MfyLlu0pOg&t=1s

Lunarer
May 3rd, 2017, 10:38 AM
Rory's Lifted Project



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJkC0kU7Tz4

Lunarer
May 6th, 2017, 02:04 PM
Thursday, May 04th 2017 (The Elephant Effect)


I'll be meeting with mum in a couple of hours to kill some time before I have my next session with my clinical psychologist. It's this session that I'm really holding out for. That's all that really matters today. Fuck the rest of it! It's all about trying to figure out how to defeat these Schema Modes I now know I have as these are the things that will kill me if I don't find some way of ridding my personality of, or at least keeping a check on them. Resentment may be the number one killer of alcoholics according to AA but I know myself better than this. I know that it's prolonged isolation that will do it to me.

This isolation used to always come during times when I felt as though I had nothing to offer anyone in this world. That everything I did and tried to do actually only served to hurt or frustrate other people and so the best type of defence, during those times, was to retreat. Retreat to where nothing you say or do affects me you. It's not healthy but it works short term. This kind of thinking was at its absolute worst when I went through my suicidal phases (or the suicidal phases were brought about from this type of thinking for too long) and then it subsided a little during times of my two years sobriety when I've felt I've been doing well. It's back again now though – and I feel in the mood to be doing a whole lot more isolating this weekend.

Working through some of my issues with Dr. Bacon as well as attending the ACA meetings for around five weeks now (so that's five sessions of both of these services) has brought about a far more acute sense of who I am all over again. This is similar to what things felt like when I was working through the Fifth Step with Stu. Only the negative stuff about me is discussed and there's so much of it that I can't even think about trying to imagine there being any good. It's another one of those moments where you have to stop and think. Another of those moments where you realise that everything good about yourself that you thought existed is all bullshit. It isn't real. It's instead consumed by the vast amount of badness. The defects. The shortcomings. These same shortcomings that the God of my understanding is supposed to be removing from me.

I've been reading a book that Sandra from ACA loaned me this week. It's called ''I Got Tired Of Pretending'' and was written by some dude called Bob Earll. He says this:

''Giving up all or any of alcohol, drugs, caffeine, sugar, or nicotine is a great way to start pulling some nails out of the coffin lid you've got covering your feelings. In doing the family-of-origin work most of us will encounter all three of the angels/demons: repression, suppression, and splitting off. They are angels when we are children because they protect us from the pain that (hurts too much) to live with. They are demons when we are adults because they keep us in prison..........I realize now that my attempts at meditation were no more than disguised repression, suppression and splitting off. Trying to meditate was one more way to cut me off from my feelings.''

So yeah – without finding a tool that works for me in terms of dealing with my overwhelming negativity I am as good as back to the beginning again. I don't have the same grated nerves or sense of panic that I had when I first stopped drinking but I am effectively back to the start again emotionally. Life's become like some old-school board game that one might have played with their grandparents back in the day. I keep landing on that square which demands I go all the way back again, like most alcoholics do I guess. The longest snake on the board.

I can remember Super-Zoe (psychologist I saw before Dr. Bacon but who specialised in addictions and didn't want to see me full time on account of her not sensing a threat of relapse from me at all) saying that she didn't want me 'shopping for therapy' in that I try everything out but don't really give it much effort before moving onto the next thing. I guess that this is why I'm putting so much effort into these sessions with Dr. Bacon. I have little interest in trying anything else out to be honest. The things I haven't tried seem silly, some of them, and I have no wish to roll another dice that will likely land me on that nasty square or that long snake again. So I have to work as best I can with what I've got just now. Keep faith in that things will improve given time.

It's the homework he gave me that's fucked me up this time though. I was asked to try very carefully to notice when my two defensive modes (the Detached Protector and Bully and Attack) come into play during my day to day life. I have done this and have been amazed at how often one of them controls my thoughts, words and actions. Almost every time I open my mouth it is one of these two modes doing the talking. It's terrifying and utterly exhausting. It's getting to the stage where I don't know what to say, when to speak, what to do. So I isolate. It's safer for everyone. The only person it hurts is me. People say that this is bullshit – that when we isolate we hurt others who love us. This isn't at all true.

I'll be seeing mum in a couple of hours for the first time in months. She wouldn't know any different whether I spent these months alone in my cave. It affects her not at all. My brother and nieces are the same. In the weeks it's been since I was last there how has what I've been doing or where I've been touched them at all? It hasn't. As long as when I show up I am nice and good at pretending then all is well in their worlds. They couldn't give a fuck about mine.

Lindsay? She's too busy with her exams and children's hearings and job interviews for anything that I do when I am not in her company to have any effect on her. Plus – she won't know!! Gillon has become used to me popping in to see him once in a blue moon, if even that regularly. English Sara and Dennis must be starting to feel the same way. Nothing I do has an effect on anyone. The butterfly effect does not quite work the same way we think it does when it comes to us isolating. It's more like the Moth Effect for us – couldn't get more different. Or the Elephant Effect. Something silly like that.

AA isn't affected in any way by me being away from their rooms for twelve weeks now. The college won't mind that I am not in attendance this morning when I should be. The charity shop would miss me, I have to admit that, but this is simply because we are short on volunteers at this time. It's nothing to do with me. Anyone else could be there in my place. Then I could isolate and they would neither know nor care.

This is all good for humility. I am effectively nothing and what I do has little to no effect on anyone else. Humility. That's the way I should look at this.

The Elephant Effect.

I'll post tomorrow on the meetings with my mum and Dr. Bacon.

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Suffering from the Elephant Effect and unaware of any cure for it.

1328

Lunarer
May 6th, 2017, 02:05 PM
Friday, May 05th 2017 (Lunch With Mum)


There were a few things that came up during my first one to one with my mother in some considerable time. One to one? Sounds like she's my therapist or something (she's certainly not that) but no – we'll get to my therapist tomorrow. She's just my mum, but someone important to me whatever the case. There used to be a time when I think that she used me to catch up with all of the family news as I saw my brother and nieces a lot more often back then but now it is I finding out from her how the rest of those in my family I was once so close to are getting on these days now that I am barely a part of their lives. Quite well by the sounds of things.

She always wants to talk about my children for some reason. I get it – they are her grandchildren after all – but I'm not as keen to see them as she is. Makes me feel a little terrible but mostly at how I don't feel terrible about it. I guess I can think of Lindsay's situation and see mine for what it really is. Mum follows them on Facebook.

Stevie – ''How can you see their accounts without being friends with them?''

Mum – Both of their accounts are set to public, for some reason. He had posts up recently about a march through Edinburgh with the army cadets.''

Decent. At least he's active and involved in things.

Mum – ''But he really doesn't post much at all. She doesn't post anything really.''

Mum seems sad about this and I can't tell if it's because it is a chance to see how they are getting on missed by their reluctance to share their lives online in an unhealthy way like so many others of their ages do – or because she is deluded into thinking that a lack of social networking activity is synonymous with them not having social lives. Have they inherited from me my poor communication skills and my lacking abilities to form and maintain lasting enriching relationships with other human beings? I don't see it like this. Perhaps the reason they don't post much about their lives on social networking sites is because they are actually out and about and doing stuff. It's possible that they are emotionally healthy and so don't need the validation we think is on offer in places like the forums and networking of the world wide web. It's possible that they actually have real, live, offline friends.

Lindsay's son, on the other hand, is really heading south. His attendance at school is down to forty odd per cent and it's looking like he's going to be heading into a temporary foster home or into a care institution until his school performance picks up to acceptable levels. The school has done everything they can do to help him. They've even reduced the number of subjects he's expected to attend, dropping things like chemistry in a bid to try to get him to pass those essential subjects in maths and English. It's all been in vain though. He's a fortnight younger than my daughter and so is eligible to leave school officially at the end of next year, a month after he turns sixteen. Lindsay lost access to him during 2014 after a particularly bad drinking spell. Now she has supervised visits in public places with a social worker present.

Mum – ''Does Lindsay have similar problems to yourself?''

Stevie – ''Lindsay's in AA so yeah, she's got issues.''

Mum – ''It's just some of the things she posts on social media....''

I do wonder about this actually. All these inspirational quotes and so on. People aren't stupid and putting up some of the things she does (and it's nothing that members of these very forums don't put up themselves) does suggest a certain type of person. Were I to continually post videos of electric guitar solos it wouldn't take people all that long to suss out that I was probably a player of the instrument myself. People aren't as dumb as I sometimes say that they are. Well, actually they are but we'll move on for the sake of keeping things relatively civil.

Mum's partner, who I call Johnny Bravo, has his own problems and it would seem as though mum has to step in and do the work that Dr. Bacon does with me. Mum isn't qualified for this and I can tell she's struggling and perhaps feels that it's a good thing that I am available to talk to about this kind of stuff given my present situation and the fact I'm open with mum about my own self-help and therapy. Perhaps she feels as though I won't be as judgemental as others might be in knowing that her partner is in need of some extra assistance to live life. I am judgemental though. Johnny Bravo comes from a different class than that of myself and all my loser friends. We are on the bottom – Johnny Bravo is still much nearer the bottom than the top but it's still night and day to what I have known in recent years. His daughter is a GP; I don't even know what the fuck my daughter does. He built his house; I rent mine from the council. It's a different world I inhibit. Here he is though – behind me in a sense. I am putting the work in to try to get better and move on; Johnny Bravo, from what mum tells me, is still very reluctant to seek the help he clearly needs from what mum tells me.

That'll do for now.

'
'
''
'
'

''
Stevie

Sometimes can't be assed writing.

Lunarer
May 6th, 2017, 02:07 PM
Saturday, May 06th 2017 (Chair Therapy: Part One)


After the usual pleasantries to start off with we get straight on with it. I start by explaining the problems I've been having since the last session which I've talked about in here over the last few days.

Dr. Bacon – ''It sounds like it's been a bit depressing, a bit unpleasant, to tune into and start to recognise this mode-driven behaviour...''

Stevie – ''I was expecting that though.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think so, yeah, but that doesn't make it any easier, it's still unpleasant. Do you feel it's been a worthwhile thing to do? Even though it was unpleasant can you see why you're doing this and why it's worthwhile doing this?''

Stevie – ''Why I'm?......''

Dr. Bacon – ''Why you're tuning into all this stuff and, you know, recognising all this stuff about yourself if it's just making you feel worse?''

Stevie – ''Well yeah, it's the key thing about this therapy, is it not!? If it's making me feel worse, if it's making me feel bad then let's figure out what it is and how to get rid of it, but, emmm... but I guess it comes down to that thing I used to feel all the time when I was drinking. If all of me has to be changed then it means that the current me isn't acceptable. Life seems all about just trying to manufacture ourselves into something that we feel to be acceptable. That hurts, as a thought......to think that it could be like that, as though it has to be that way.''

Dr. Bacon – ''What do you mean by acceptable? Acceptable to who? Acceptable in what way? Because to me that implies that there's something wrong.''

Stevie – ''Well there is something wrong isn't there!? In someone who walks around all day spending the vast majority of his time in one of two unhealthy defensive coping modes...''

Dr. Bacon – ''But is that wrong?''

Stevie – ''To bully and attack people all the time? Or when I'm not doing that to hide away and retreat? Yeah!''

Dr. Bacon – ''Why's it wrong??''

Stevie – ''Why's it wrong?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah.''

Stevie – ''Ask any of my victims and you'll get an answer to that one.''

That's not a comment he's gonna like but it's too late to take it back. I'm thinking that Stu tried something like this once. When I asked him how he felt about my sick past he said that he did not see me defective as such – he just saw someone who was doing what he had to do to survive with the limited of life's tools he had to work with. I liked that way of looking at things. Dr. Bacon is trying something similar at the moment.

Dr. Bacon – ''It seems to me as though we're going down a very values based route here in the way that you're talking about it as being right or wrong. That's not the way I would look at it, because actually, you know, if you really think about these things there isn't really a right or wrong, there isn't a good and a bad – there's only ways that work better than others. A lot of that depends on the context you're in, the society you're in, how things have worked out for you in your life, I think we can say safely that what's happening at the moment isn't working for you but I think that's a different thing altogether from saying that it's right or it's wrong.''

Stevie – ''I guess.........''

Dr. Bacon – ''And you're right in that the way things are operating for you at the moment isn't helping you to get your needs met, isn't really helping this need to better connect with people.''

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''Would that be something you'd be happy for me to do? To be mindful of when we go down the route of seeing things here as being right or wrong?''

Stevie – ''Yeah.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Okay, well I'm really glad that you've been able to monitor this, and I'm sorry that this has been really unpleasant for you, and it seems as though noticing all that's been happening has really made you withdraw and to really take yourself away from the situations that cause you to feel that...''

Stevie – ''But it doesn't make sense. Why would I become so terrified of feeling my coping modes that I would seek to hide if hiding IS one of them? I must not find the Detached Protector to be all that bad. It must be the Bully and Attack I really fear.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well you did mention ''victims'' earlier. What is it you've seen that you haven't liked?''

Stevie – ''There's so much.....almost every minute I'm outside of my cave I find something that isn't to my liking, something that just has to be condemned.''

Dr. Bacon – ''So that really critical, judgemental part of yourself that you're picking up on....''

Stevie – ''Can be very tiring!''

Dr. Bacon – ''What's to say it's not this?''

He points to our little diagram. On it we have the five modes that make up my personality. In the middle we have Little Stevie – the young vulnerable me. To the north-east we have the Detached Protector. To the south-east the Bully and Attack. To the south-west the Healthy Adult, and to the north-west, the one he's pointing at just now and suggesting might be responsible for my ongoing, unremitting negativity towards all living things – the Critical Parent!

Stevie – ''Because it's not doing anything parental. It's nothing to do with me, it's all external, it's...''

Dr. Bacon – ''Don't worry too much about that, really, I think the words we use on these modes can sometimes be a bit misleading in that respect, when we're talking about this parent part and particularly this critical parent part, what we're talking about there is a certain set of ideas or standards that we have internalised, that we hold for ourselves and potentially for others too.''

Stevie – ''So the world isn't meeting the standards of my Critical Parent?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Mmmm.... What are the standards of your Critical Parent? What is that part of you seeing that it doesn't agree with, that it doesn't like?''

Stevie – ''The million dollar question.''

Dr. Bacon – ''A couple of examples?''

Stevie – ''Hmmm.. I've just had lunch with my mum. I haven't seen her in ages, and I don't remember being critical of the situation or the venue, the food, anything, the whole time I was with her.''

Dr. Bacon – ''That's interesting because you haven't been short of criticising your mum in the past and you mention something interesting when you say the venue wasn't picked up on by your Critical Parent.''

Stevie – ''It's not venue specific – it's everyone in them too, but not this time.....for some reason.''

........

Lunarer
May 6th, 2017, 02:08 PM
We look into several things. Could my lack of criticism at this time be to do with a feeling of safety while being with my mother? Could this be one of my needs being met and so the Critical Parent feels no need to be present? We don't know because for some reason I tend to try to control the situation by using my diversion tactics to get away from discussing what I may or may not be feeling about all of this.''

Dr. Bacon – ''What I'm sensing here is a bit of a deviation from, a bit of an avoidance, a bit of pushing away, from the central issue there. I think this could be one of the behaviours that the Detached Protector part of you does which is to take advantage of one of your assets which is your intelligence and intellectualise a little bit about something that's going on, to effectively make it mute, to make it not matter anymore.''

Stevie - ''...''

Dr. Bacon - ''….''

Stevie – ''What was the question again?''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think we've come back in lots of ways to the idea that a lot of the time what's triggering for Little Stevie is other people, other people not feeling safe, making him not feel safe, making him feel vulnerable, and I'm wondering if a part of that is related to these Critical Parent rules are for what makes the world.....okay. If you're okay then that's fine, you're okay, but if you're not okay them you're vulnerable and so you're bad.''

Stevie - ''….''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think we're bringing some really good stuff for us to get to grips with once you're ready. What I wanted to talk about today was to look a little at the patterns of behaviour at work. I think that one of the core unmet needs here, unmet emotional needs, is to do with relating to other people, connecting with other people, in ways that feel meaningful and enriching and fulfilling to you. I think that there might be other unmet emotional needs that we have to figure out as we go along and I guess what I'm interested in is what the patterns are that are emerging, what sort of things are happening on a routine basis as part of this mode-switching that are getting in the way of that happening? That are getting in the way of you getting those needs met. That's the essence of Schema Therapy.''

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''I was wondering if we might try something called Chair Work, it comes from something called Gestalt Therapy and the idea is that, because we have these different sides of ourselves it can be really helpful sometimes in the therapy room to create a bit of space because right now it can be a little tricky to see what kind of fits where and what belongs to which part of you, and the way that we would do that is that we would maybe have a kind of exercise where we set out a couple of chairs and because today you are perhaps really a little bit more in the Detached Protector mode that this chair here, this chair you're sitting in just now, is that part of you. But I might bring in another chair or two and what I'd like to do is I'd like to being in those chairs and mark them out as different parts of you, pop one down and say that this is the Healthy Adult part of you, and pop another down and say that this is the perhaps the Vulnerable Child part of you, and if we think right now as those three parts being the most important parts of you, I'd really like to just try a bit of an exercise, if you feel up for it, kind of asking you to rotate between those chairs, see a little how it feels to be those different parts of yourself, to see things from their perspective, to fill them out a little bit.''

Stevie – ''Yeah, I'm up for it.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Great! Sometimes it takes a little more convincing.''

He goes out of the room to fetch a couple of chairs.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Playing with modes.

1902

Lunarer
May 7th, 2017, 08:42 AM
Sunday, May 07th 2017 (Chair Therapy: Part Two)


We now have four chairs in the room. One is for our good doctor to sit in. The others are for the three parts of Stevie that we are looking at in this session: The Detached Protector, where I currently sit, and the Vulnerable Child Mode (Little Stevie), and the Healthy Adult Mode. Looks like we'll be doing a little role playing but I get it – the idea here being to isolate the characteristics associated with each particular mode here.

Dr. Bacon – ''Right, so you were saying there that you're kind of feeling a little more in the Detached Protector Mode at the moment...''

Stevie – ''You said that.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well, yeah. I have said that so sorry, maybe you...''

Stevie – ''I think I've been more in Bully and Attack this session. I think I've been digging at you a little, trying to perhaps get you to just talk for an hour so that the time can pass by and I can just get outta here.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Thank you for saying that.''

Stevie – ''I suppose it is quite a Detached Protector thing to do.''

Dr. Bacon – ''But very Healthy Adult to say that to me. I'm a little conscious of that but I'm also aware of not trying to push you too much and make you feel too guarded because I'm guessing that today, recently, you've maybe been feeling a bit of that. So maybe I have picked up a little bit on that and I appreciate you bringing that up.''

Stevie – ''Mmmmm...''

Dr. Bacon – ''Maybe that's a bit of Healthy Adult coming through would you mind shifting over to this chair for a moment!?''

I get out of the Detached Protector chair and move over to the Healthy Adult one – a chair that I different in design deliberately from the other three in here. We are using normal NHS chairs for this task, complete with plastic painful seating and spindly metal frames, but this Healthy Adult chair is black instead of blue and has arms and a leathery feel about it. Relatively speaking, in this room at least, it's a seat of royals, more like a throne. Perhaps it's more just a fear of status that's making me feel this way as I move the short distance from one chair to another.

Dr. Bacon – ''And as you're doing that I just want you to think about that part of yourself, so this is that Healthy Adult part of your that is different from that Bully and Attack mode, that's different from the Detached Protector – this is the part of you that has a sense of......what you really need, and how you might get it. This is the part of you that knows what's best for you even if you can't always put it into practice.''

This ties in with something mum was saying when we were having lunch just before this session. She was talking about her partner's daughter and how well she's doing. I think she's a GP and her husband owns a letting agency. They come from completely different places than my brother and I, were handed chances and opportunities all throughout their lives that we never had, and they seem to do well for themselves. I'm not really interested in how they are getting on but I have to accept that for mum they are perhaps success stories she can tell to others since her own children have been such dismal failures right the way into their thirties, and mum says to me that she thinks that these two have a firm sense of where they are going. They don't hurt anyone getting to where they are – they just have an acute sense of what they want and need and how to get it. Dr. Bacon is describing this to me right now as being Healthy Adult. I don't believe mum at all when she says that they don't hurt people on their way to what they believe the stars to be: anyone involved in letting homes to people at current rates is so terrible that even the referendum on Scottish independence picked up on it as a part of their YES campaign. Maybe if every letting agent was to sleep in a car for the worst winter in thirty years for a few weeks then they'd change their minds about things. This is ultimately what shaped my thinking on the subject. I didn't care about letting prices until then.

So is this Healthy Adult on my part? Setting standards based on real and genuine experiences!? If so then this man in question, the owner of this letting agency of whom mum speaks so highly, is motivated only by his need for cash and a feeling of success. This is primal in the sense that it is basically egocentric and wholly selfish, completely blind to what he does to contribute to a situation so terrible that it was brought up during referendum time. Egocentric must surely mean childish as my nieces are still incredibly egocentric and are five and (almost) four respectively. If so then it is not Healthy Adult on his part. Not seeing a bigger picture, or choosing to ignore it for our own gains.

Dr. Bacon – ''Now I want to ask that part of you, so I want you to speak from that part of yourself, when we think about the situation that you are in just now where he could go and see his friend tonight but the Detached Protector part of you is saying ''Why bother? You could do it another time!'' The part that's suggesting that you isolate as you have been doing recently – what does the Healthy Adult part of Stevie have to say about that?

Nothing apparently, for I begin to talk so much shit that barely a few seconds pass by before he butts in and I find myself back in the Detached Protector chair before I can believe it. Dr. Bacon seems to find this amusing.

Dr. Bacon – ''So when I asked you there.....to tune into that part of yourself, the Healthy Adult part of you, you seemed to go straight into the Detached Protector mode, and so what I'm interested in is what.....I'm interested in why you prevent, why this part of you that I'm speaking to now – Stevie's Detached Protector, why did you come in there when I was trying to speak to him, to that Healthy Adult part?''

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''Why did you try to keep me away from that part of him?''

Stevie – ''To continue existing......I suppose.''

Dr. Bacon – ''What does that mean?''

Stevie - ''…..Well....I've been in existence for thirty three.....thirty four years of his thirty nine......and I've done most of the talking for him in that time...''

Dr. Bacon – ''So you've been around Stevie's life for that long?''

It's clear now that I am being asked to play out the role – and only the role – of this Detached Protector (shouldn't be too difficult) and to try to acknowledge exactly what it is that I gain, or not, from spending so much of my time in this mode.

Lunarer
May 7th, 2017, 08:43 AM
Dr. Bacon – ''And what's your job in Stevie's life? All that time you've been with him – what is it that you've been doing for him?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''I've been helping him.''

Dr. Bacon – ''How have you been helping him?''

Stevie's Detached Protector - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''What are you doing for this little boy in this seat?''

He's pointing over to the only seat in the room which hasn't been sat in at any point yet and the one I'm really hoping that I won't find myself in at any point in this session. The Vulnerable Child seat. I liked what he said earlier in the session about to feel vulnerable is to feel bad – and I don't want to be a bad boy this afternoon, I want to be good. To be good perhaps means to continue to keep up this pretence of not being vulnerable, of being strong. It's just a pretence though. I'm lying to myself.

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''You'd have to ask him, he created me.''

Fuck!! Why would I say that!? I pray that he will not take me up on my own advice and ask me to sit in that chair so that we can ask him but we're not interested in that at the moment – we're interested only in finding out what the purpose is in the Detached Protector.

Dr. Bacon – ''That's a really good Detached Protector right there.''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''Indeed.''

Dr. Bacon - ''I'm asking you because I'm hoping that since you're here to protect Little Stevie that you'll be able to see that I'm here to help Little Stevie too. That really we're all on the same side, and I want to understand, and I'm not going to ask you to do anything, and I hope that you can see that, but I haven't actually done anything to try to hurt him...''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''I think that you're always trying to hurt Little Stevie.''

Dr. Bacon – ''You think I'm always trying to hurt him?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''Yeah.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well thank you for telling me that because that's really important. Why do you think I'm trying to hurt him?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''You just tried to hurt him there, to humiliate him, by asking him to play out some role of a character he has no idea about, the Healthy Adult. You tried to expose him and humiliate him. Asking him to act out something he has no idea about I felt to be quite cruel so I had to step in. I won't have him bullied.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I appreciate you looking after him in that way, but I want to be clear with you that my intention in doing that – so that might be different from what the effect was – but my intention wasn't to hurt, or humiliate Little Stevie, but was to try to bring out a part of him which I think is there but you perhaps try to convince him otherwise.....because you're afraid of that part of him a little bit. I think that you have to see that we're on the same page, that we're all here just to help that part of Stevie.......but I can't do that if you're always getting in the way.

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''How come Little Stevie doesn't ever tell me, the Detached Protector, that he'd like me to back off a little?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Are you sure that he doesn't? Are you listening?''

Stevie's Detached Protector - ''….''

Dr. Bacon – ''Are you listening for that? Or are you listening for what you want to hear?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''Maybe I should listen more closely from now on.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I think that would be a really important thing for you to do because I think we've both heard him talking, in these sessions, about things that he's unhappy with.''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''And one of them is me......''

Dr. Bacon – ''Things that you do sometimes, that he's unhappy with. Things that you do sometimes, that really hamper his life, hamper his quality of life, hamper his potential, what he could do.''

Stevie's Detached Protector - ''….''

Dr. Bacon – ''If you're there to help him then why's he so hurt still? Why is he still suffering so much?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''There are other modes.''

Dr. Bacon – ''You're right.''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''It's not just me.''

Dr. Bacon – ''No, you're right.....but I think that you're one of the strongest. I think that you hurt him as well.....by stopping people from getting too close to him, too close to anything real, stop him from feeling anything and taking any risks because of that. Where does that leave him?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''I let him take risks, I think?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Do you let him take enough? I think you can be very 'all or nothing' about things, which doesn't really give him room to grow.''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''I wouldn't be able to call myself a protector if I'm not going to come to him whenever he shouts.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I don't want you to get rid of him completely, there will be times in Stevie's life when he will need somebody like you, when it's a good thing to have you there, when it's a good thing to have a bit of Bully and Attack in there too, but if you keep doing what you're doing, if you keep things as they are, where is he going to be ten years from now?''

Just thinking about this fills me with a skin-crawling sensation, or more something I can feel in my bones. What would things be like indeed!? It's a horrible thought. I don't know if all of us feel the same way though. The Detached Protector part of me has been working hard at trying to isolate me over the last two or three weeks. It's been avoiding me visiting with Gillon and English Sara; it's been shortening the time I spend at Lindsay's each week; it's been trying to (and doing quite a good job actually) convince me that I enjoy spending large amounts of time alone. I've been falling for its charms too and have spent more time in the cave these last couple of weeks than at any other point in 2017. It's quite scary. Where will Little Stevie and all of these other parts of him be in ten years' time? I don't really want to think about it but thinking about it is the only way to show the Detached Protector that it doesn't actually do me as many favours as it thinks it does. We talk about the possibility of my Detached Protector allowing me to visit with Gillon, Sara, and not cutting my trip to Lindsay's short this weekend.

Lunarer
May 7th, 2017, 08:44 AM
Dr. Bacon – ''Would it be okay......for you to let me speak to Little Stevie for a while? Are you ready to let me do that yet?''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''I think that Little Stevie wants to go to Gillon's tonight, and to Sara's tomorrow, and to Lindsay's over the weekend.....''

Dr. Bacon – ''You did a good job there, like a good Detached Protector, of not letting me get close to him again. You're very good at what you do, you're good at doing your job, you're not letting me get close to him.''

Stevie's Detached Protector – ''He called me into action there.''

Dr. Bacon wants the Detached Protector part of me to think about anything else that he might be able to do or say that might help show that there is no threat to Little Stevie in this room. The fact that it isn't the cave, my natural habitat, is perhaps enough for things to not feel safe. Even in the cave there is a large amount of unsafe feelings and insecurity. There's nowhere safe to be and so Little Stevie remains protected, the Detached Protector part of me shutting this part of the conversation down. He points to the chart on the desk, to the vulnerable child part, Little Stevie.

Dr. Bacon – ''We all have this part of ourselves, this vulnerable child part. This is how we connect with other people, vulnerable part to vulnerable part. There's only so far that I or anyone else can get with you. Your whole purpose is to keep people away, to keep people from getting too close to him, but by getting close to him is the only way to have a relationship with him.''

Stevie's Detached Protector - ''….''

Dr. Bacon – ''I'm conscious of our time here today, so what I'd like to do is, if you feel able to, as a kind of demonstration I suppose if you like, a commitment to a path that we are going down here...''

Stevie's – ''I'm gonna have to sit in that chair!?''

I look across to the Vulnerable Child seat. It's been empty the whole session. It's a horrible thought. Sitting in there? After spending almost all of this session in the Detached Protector part of myself? I can't imagine it. I'm not ready for him to see me vulnerable. It would really progress things further but I can't do it.

Dr. Bacon – ''I think we could sit in either of these chairs, I don't want you to sit in that chair and to just finish up and not really give it much time, I'd like for when you move into that chair for it to be a bit more meaningful and for us to spend time with it. I wonder if moving into this chair – the Healthy Adult chair – might be something that would be a nice way to finish up, to show that this part of you, this Detached Protector part of you, is willing, in principal, we're not going to go into anything I'm just asking you to change seats before we finish up, that in principal can see the rationale and logic, because this part of you is very logical, can see the rationale and the logic, to taking a step back a little bit and to letting another part of you – and this part will look after all of these parts, all of the parts of Stevie, but in a healthier way...''

Stevie's – ''Yeah, we can finish up in that chair.''

I manage to do it and we begin to finish up. I have homework for between this session and our next, which will take place a fortnight from now on May 18th.

Dr. Bacon – ''So, there might be the odd occasion where Bully and Attack and Detached Protector are useful, but it's a measured way, where and when they're required, and remember that if you're in either of these modes then you're not going to have real connections.''

Stevie - ''…...''

Dr. Bacon – ''That's one of the problems that we're talking about here, that's at the core of Schema Therapy is unmet needs. That's why we think that people suffer. Because their needs go unmet. One of the things that this part of you, the Vulnerable Child part, needs is to feel safe, particularly to feel safe around other people.''

Stevie – ''It's struggling with that.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah, but it's been struggling with that the whole time. It's been struggling with that for most of your life. That won't change overnight.''

Stevie – ''Is there supposed to be a 'no pain; no gain' kind of thing with this? Are they supposed to get harder?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah, usually things have to get worse before they get better.''

Stevie - ''….''

Dr. Bacon – ''It's because you're facing up to a really tough situation. You're seeing things about yourself that you don't like.....and you're not just running away from it entirely – I know you've done a bit of running away...''

Stevie – ''I have.''

Dr. Bacon – ''But you haven't just quit therapy and given up. You've said that I'll do what I have to do, you've committed to this still. You know....''

He points to the Healthy Adult part of me on the diagram on the desk – the part of me that I refuse to acknowledge exists in any form.

Dr. Bacon - ''….I think there is a reasonable amount of this here.''

Stevie - ''….''

We look through my homework sheet. It's pretty much what I've been doing but with a little structure thrown in. I've to spot the activating event, what I was feeling during it, which modes were most prevalent during, the parts of my reaction that were justified, and the over-reaction – the part of my reaction that was too strong.

Stevie – ''These modes of mine don't always make things worse, depends what way you look at it. Long term pay-off perhaps isn't great, but....''

Dr. Bacon – ''You're right – people don't do things for no reason. That's what we've got to remember. The whole of psychology is based on that principal, that people don't get stuck in patterns of behaviour that don't work in some respect for no reason, there's always a short-term pay-off of some kind. It's just that the long-term consequence is what causes problems. That's one of the things that the Healthy Adult part of you will be interested in as well. What is the balance here between short-term benefits and long-term consequences?''

It would appear that connecting with other people is what we're working on here and that an essential part of that is my feeling safe when around people.

Dr. Bacon – ''And I'm interested in what are the different modes and patterns that come into play that prevent that from happening!?''

And then some hope:

Dr. Bacon – ''Because I think that once you can start to make this work for you, have your Healthy Adult come into play enough so that your needs can be met, then I think you'll start to feel better. That's the idea of Schema Therapy. Once your needs are met adequately.......you should be alright.''

Stevie - ''…..''

Dr. Bacon – ''What would you say were the main things you have taken from today?''

Stevie – ''I've been encouraged by the idea that there might already be some Healthy Adult in there. That was a surprise. That it's not a case of learning from scratch what it means to be an adult. I liked the idea also that connection-building is based on the two vulnerable parts of people connecting. It's quite scary but......well, two Detached Protectors aren't going to get along for very long. Or two Bully and Attacks.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Bully and Attack and a Vulnerable Child. I see quite a lot of those types of relationships. Or Detached Protector and a Vulnerable Child. We talk about this in terms of Schema Chemistry. You see it all the time. People drawn to modes.''

Stevie – ''Why would?......''

Dr. Bacon – ''You see it quite a bit actually. People who are quite emotionally fragile and spend lots of time in the Vulnerable Child Mode, people who don't have very strong Detached Protectors themselves, it could be quite nice, to have somebody who just gets the practical things done. And sometimes with a Bully and Attack it can be quite nice to see somebody bully and attack someone else....can make them feel protected, this is one of the things we see sometimes in domestic abuse situations, that this person is strong because look at how they are bullying and attacking that other person......but the problem is that they can turn it around on them.''

I wonder what fit we are, Lindsay and me. What our 'Schema Chemistry' is. It's actually quite frightening to think about at the moment when my confidence and sense of self is taking a battering like it has been since my birthday week. We could literally be any combination right now but whatever it is it doesn't feel as though it's working too well at the moment. I'm glad that the next session is in a fortnight's time. That three week spell was a little on the long side. It's starting to feel as though my Detached Protector loves the sessions as he gets to hide in there, escape the rest of the world, but this isn't a case of me avoiding living out there by hiding in here. Dr. Bacon started off all this mode-driven stuff to begin with and so it's with him only that I'll be able to get through it.

Lots of good stuff today. It was suggested to me that I already have a partly functioning healthy adult somewhere within my psyche; I spent some time really noticing that the Detached Protector part of me, perhaps my strongest mode, does very little to help the healthy parts of me. It was explained to me that good human connections are based on the two vulnerable parts of either party connecting first and so as long as I am in either of my two (pretty evolved and efficient) coping modes then I can never connect with other people. It's also been suggested to me that once I start to work this Schema Therapy in ways that benefit me then I should start to feel much better.
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Thanks for reading.

4155

Lunarer
May 11th, 2017, 01:42 AM
Monday, May 08th 2017 (Ninety Days Smoke Free)


How easy was that!? Totally fucking easy – that's how easy! There's been no withdrawal of any kind. As a former thirty roll-ups per day smoker I have now, by the end of today, saved myself from inhaling two thousand and seven hundred cigarettes at an estimated cost of around five hundred quid. Five hundred bucks!! Wow!! That really is something. But I'm not going to bang on about it as the actual quitting of the cigarettes is nothing special. I'm not going to act as if I deserve some kind of medal or something for quitting – more I deserve a slap for the thousands of days I was a smoker. Let me outnumber them with smoke free days before I think about medals.

Lindsay and I are struggling. There's no doubt about it. Maybe there's too much pressure with all of the therapy and whatnot that's going on. Normally I am at hers over the weekends but last weekend was a little shorter and this weekend even shorter still with me not actually staying over for a single night. I think that since my birthday my Detached Protector has been in full control and it's pretty much dictated things ever since, even after all that stuff I spoke about with Dr. Bacon last week. I'd rather be isolating than being with people. I managed to get myself to English Sara's on Friday evening but left before too long. On Saturday I finished up at the ACA meeting and then was due to be with Lindsay but couldn't be bothered. I boarded the bus set for home but as it was passing through Lindsay's neighbourhood decided at the last minute to get off and go and see her like we had arranged. As soon as I arrived I knew I'd made a mistake though and that I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be in my cave. Isolating. Lindsay picked up on this and we argued for a bit, ending with me leaving to get the same bus I could have been on anyway only the one three hours later. I don't know what's going on now. The time I spend with her from week to week has been decreasing gradually. I think we're struggling now.

I guess we've always been struggling, ever since the beginning. Come to think of it - how could we not be struggling? The extent to which I have been damaged throughout my life is only just becoming clear to me now through my sessions with Dr. Bacon and it's in quite a frightening situation I find myself to be. I've kind of been here before. When I went through my Step Five with my AA sponsor Stu I discovered the exact nature of my wrongs, or was supposed to have, as the program tells me. I discovered the exact nature of my wrongs in terms of some behaviours I had followed in the past, sure, but I didn't actually learn much about myself in the process. AA is quite sure of itself when it says that its program will help you to get to know yourself but that hasn't been my experience at all. But when I went through my Fifth Step there was this sort of hangover that followed me around for a while afterwards, like a huge fear and negativity in everything I thought or tried to do. I focused only on the negative about myself. This has been the case with therapy as well. I'm feeling as though I am emotionally struggling more now than I have been at any point throughout my journey since the Fifth Step work I did with my old sponsor, way back in the summer of 2015, nearly two years ago now.

I'm struggling more now with my sense of self than I have been at perhaps any time since back then too. At least after Step Five I had something to look forward to. I would soon get to see what there really was to this guy – what Stevie lay behind all of these defects that would soon be getting removed. And I did get to find out too – another bunch of bloody defects is what's there, that's what!! And so my sense of self is confused once again. Why did I have to go and have that fucking birthday??? Things always get a little tougher for me during the last week of April and the beginning of May.

If I allow myself to think about it then I could see how I could seriously save face by just forgetting all about this Lindsay thing and moving on, carrying on with my solo journey without her. My Detached Protector would love that. It would think that it's protecting the young and vulnerable Stevie from any future upset. I could look back on our time together as being nothing more than a complete disaster, in many ways just as big a disaster as all of my previous relationships with women. I could start thinking along the lines that I am just not the sort of guy who is supposed to be with someone. That I am one of those lone wolf types. Perhaps relationships just bring too much in the way of complications to life to make them worthwhile. My Healthy Adult not anywhere remotely close to being able to come out during these times and run the show instead leaving nothing but my defensive modes to do so which inevitably ends in disaster. But I'm going to try not to think along those lines. I've been given the potential here for an out. She'd likely think me an over-reactor or perhaps even pathetic, but should I take this out I have been given?

One of the things she said before I left was that relationships are supposed to be a two-way street, an equal partnership, but that this is not the case with me. That she offers me so much emotionally yet gets little to nothing I return. I can see a little more clearly now the ways in which my Detached Protector and Bully and Attack modes have had a field day with Lindsay. They've been terrified of her at times and have almost completely shielded the young and vulnerable me, Little Stevie, away from her altogether. I should get some of this written down onto my homework sheet. I've heard this a lot throughout my life: that I offer up so very little of the real me, that I am a closed book. So often that I'm sick of hearing it. I think that I am in the right place in terms of mental space to begin working on these schema modes, and that Dr. Bacon is the right man to be helping me work with them to find out behaviour patterns that work best.

Whether this happens quickly enough to save Lindsay and I only time will tell. But it will happen. I have a strong feeling about that.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Eager to get on with his next session. A week on Thursday can't come quickly enough.

1205

Lunarer
May 11th, 2017, 01:42 AM
Tuesday, May 09th 2017 (Day Eighty Seven)


This is day eighty seven away from the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and so I am scheduled to return this coming Saturday. We'll see. The Fife Convention is not the weekend I had predicted and is actually the Saturday of the following week, May 27th. One of Lindsay's friends is getting married that same day and so I don't know what's happening there, don't know what's happening with much to be honest. I know that she has plenty to wear and has ordered a new dress for the occasion. I'm thinking that I will probably need to shop for something also. For my brother's wedding I rented a kilt, a man-dress. That won't be happening for someone I don't even know though. Like I said _ I don't really know about much at the moment. All I know is that I am onto the next college project and we're doing a remix.

I've been reading through that book that ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) loaned me. It's called ''I Got Tired Of Pretending'' and it's about how an adult raised in an alcoholic/dysfunctional family finds freedom. Then I stop. It isn't actually about this at all. The same problems can be found in this book as can be found in any AA meeting or ACA meeting. They tell you what it was like and what it's like now but mostly tell you sweet fuck all about what happened for them to manage to make this change. It's really disappointing. The book has a few more examples than the meetings though so there are at least one or two little insights and pointers to be taken from spending time with it.

Let's back up a little to Sunday. For the first time in a fair few weeks, certainly I think the first time in 2017, I wake on a Sunday morning in the cave and not in Lindsay's bed. This is okay though. To be honest I could do with a little break. It's not that I have anything against Lindsay – it's just that with the way we've been this last week and with her having her final university exam this coming Friday (not to mention how acute my senses are in terms of noticing my schema modes in the Detached Protector and Bully and Attack and how much they are constantly fucking with me) I think that spending a week away is just about the right thing to be doing. This leaves me with a full Sunday with nothing planned. I suddenly get that anxious feeling I used to when I had time to do things but no things to be doing. All of a sudden in these situations time can become an enemy, something I'd rather not have any of.

I head down the town centre for some lunch after having a bath and so on. I'm still awaiting a hair cut but can't find a barber that is open on this – the God of other people's understanding's day of rest. I grab a filled roll from a rip-off bakery and sit outside in the sunshine for a while. A guy that works in the Charity Shop Cafe on Friday's in the kitchen walks past and we end up chatting. I offer to buy him a pint and we head to the local Wetherspoon. I used to eat and sit writing and posting in this very pub a few times a week last year while I was trying to get better and awaiting the start of the college course. I haven't been in much since starting college but nothing has changed. I get the round in: a pint of Tennant's for my colleague (two pounds and forty pence) and myself a large latte (one pound and twenty five pence). We get chatting, the situation and atmosphere allowing us to go places previously untouched. This time it is more than the latest football scores, although that does come up (his team Rangers coming from one down to win two – one against Partick Thistle and my team Raith Rovers winning against Ayr United but seeing other results go against us so finishing ninth meaning a play-off to stay in the division. Another season where our decline is evident).

I left my phone in the cave deliberately as I wanted to be in control on this sunny day. When I have a phone on me I am not in control of who I speak with and how I feel. Phones dictate things – they have a sort of power over us that we just should not allow them to have. My phone sits at home while I am out and about from ten in the morning until just after nine in the evening. That's more time than some people have ever been away from their phones. After our drinks are finished I survey my change. I can afford another round. My colleague doesn't have cash on him. He's on the dole and doesn't get paid until Tuesday so I'll do the buying. One more won't kill me. I get another round in.

Next I make a trip to see Gillon. Dr. Bacon had said on Thursday that he was going to leave the decision of whether I should go there after our session to my Healthy Adult mode but in the end my Detached Protector won and I went straight back to the cave and stayed there all evening, not surfacing until I had to work at the Charity Shop Cafe the following morning. Here I am though, on this warm and pleasant Sunday afternoon, sitting out in Gillon's garden drinking coffee and watching him smoke.

I finish off this rather sociable day with a trip to English Sara's. This is my second visit there in three evenings. I was conscious of my homework this entire day. Dr. Bacon gave me more structured homework this time but basically the same thing as before in asking me to really look out for and try to notice when either of my defensive coping modes come into play. I am to focus on patterns of behaviour that do not serve me well, that do not work. When the Detached Protector mode starts snooping around and speaking for me I am to try hard to acknowledge all of the ways in which allowing it to does not work in terms of getting these psychological needs of mine met.

I have to say that the entire day I have nothing to report in terms of negative mode-driven behaviour. I guess that while at Wetherspoon in the morning; Gillon's in the afternoon; and English Sara's in the evening – I guess these are all places in which I feel safe and so there is no need for my coping modes to show face. I wonder where they dwell when I do not need them and so don't summon them. They perhaps just lay around in the limbo of my psyche waiting for the call.

Right, I feel like I could write for an hour here but I'm going to leave it there.
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Having a really sociable Sunday.

1209

Lunarer
May 11th, 2017, 01:43 AM
Wednesday, May 10th 2017 (The Jazz Trio)


All this writing behind really screws things up. Because it takes so long to type out the sessions with Dr. Bacon I used them as my posts for the weekend. This has left me a little short in terms of what's been going on. I have little to do at the moment though and so I can relax and do some writing. I don't know how or when or why daily writing became the part of my life that it has done but it is both a privilege and a pain in the ass if I'm being honest. It definitely has its good points but it also takes a bit of time and is often awkward trying to fit it into each and every day that passes by. It's a little challenge though and to be honest it starts to creep me out if I don't do it. I don't know what would happen if I was to lose my arms in an accident or something and wasn't able to type. Better not even go there actually. Moving on......

I think that today has been another Detached Protector run day. That's the part of me that's been most prominent throughout this last twenty four hours. I avoided getting my hair cut this morning for the simple reason that there were too many people in each of the barbers I passed for my Detached Protector's liking. He also tempted me away from the college this afternoon. There is a jazz trio of drums, double bass, and keyboards, in the college this week doing some recording and the lecturer had me in on Monday morning helping get them set up. My Detached Protector stepped in this time as well. He's been stepping in more and more since I started working with Dr. Bacon and became aware of this coping mode's existence. There's never an ideal time for this to start happening but I felt a little nervous in the studio and started forgetting things I know. I did what was asked of me but I fumbled around more than I might have done. For some reason my confidence didn't come into the studio with me. It's frustrating as I feel as though my attitude and workflow in situations like this is more important in terms of getting work after this than the projects and paperwork in the classrooms is. I was supposed to help out today but didn't. This Detached Protector is really starting to fuck with me and my future. I keep thinking of what Dr. Bacon said: Keep this up and where will Little Stevie be in ten years? It's a frightening thought.

I'm on my way to Lindsay's town just now (on the Loser's Bus as usual) but had to fight off the desire to be alone for another evening. Lindsay is going to want to talk and stuff – things I can't be arsed with at the moment. I realise the importance of not letting my Detached Protector define me but he's certainly been out and about, allowed to run free today, stepping in and stopping Little Stevie from getting on with his day. Yesterday I noticed the Healthy Adult part of me keep him on a tighter watch and as a result I went out and did the things I set out to. I was at the college all day and then attended the meeting about working together as a community to improve the lives of people living in the area. This is a similar project to the Starter for Ten project I was involved in last year but seems to have a greater scope. There are more volunteers and staff involved. It's the turn out from the punters that is the main concern, but then to be fair this was hardly well advertised. I noticed it when I was at the Charity Shop Cafe.

I can see how my recovery is starting to take shape by looking all around me. We are to answer questions regarding our community and specific parts of it. I listen carefully to what my peers and neighbours have to say about the area they live. The reason I am saying that I can see how my recovery is beginning to take shape is because I can hear a lot of the old me in these guys as they moan and groan about absolutely everything. One guy even voted every single category the lowest score possible. Blame blame blame. The council should be doing this and that and more and all the rest. If some of these guys had their way then the council would pretty much do everything from dressing their kids in the mornings to taking them to school to you name it. Desperation is dripping from the ceiling of the rooms.

I guess that this is the damage that the documentary has caused. Damn BBC! They made a three part miniseries last year about life in this county and it was screened back in December. They made us look (or rather WE made ourselves look utterly pathetic and pretty much incapable of doing anything for ourselves and the BBC totally miked it for viewing figures) like complete morons. We all laughed and joked about it at the time though, all excited about seeing ourselves on the television so we were, but now this feeling that it is okay for us to be pathetic – indeed to be pathetic but not even know that we are pathetic – is dominating and the staff involved in this project are going to have a difficult time in sorting out what to do with any funding that we do manage to secure. I've put my name down so I'll be at the next meeting tomorrow afternoon. I don't know what can be done to help people within this community see that we are perhaps not as helpless and pathetic as we seem to believe that we are. I think that only by helping people to see this can any real changes happen around here.

I was speaking with Gillon at the college the other day. Yesterday morning, it would have been. There wasn't much going on in the classrooms and so I went for a seat and a coffee with him. I haven't spoken much with him this year but here we are chatting away twice in the space of three days. I did say that my Healthy Adult schema mode was coming out to play a little more yesterday than he has done today and I guess things like this are testament to that. When I'm feeling good perhaps it means that this mode is in action. When I feel negative and defeatist then perhaps this means that one or more of my coping modes are in action. It's maybe as simple as that. But anyway – I'm chatting with Gillon and he's talking about life in general but pushing it a little bit, trying to get a little deeper. Then he mentions that thing that almost all of us alcoholics and drug addicts know well, especially when we are new to the recovery world. He mentions that emptiness inside.

When I joined Alcoholics Anonymous there were some who would talk about this emptiness. My old sponsor used to mention it all the time. He would say that most of us go out into the world trying to fill this emptiness in any way that we can. First we try to do as our society has told us we do this and we seek out love, look hard for money, and try to attain approval from others, specifically strangers, to validate us. This is a short term fix. The feeling of emptiness then comes back. So we go out and try to make more money and attain a greater level of approval and (what we believe to be) respect and admiration from the strangers who make up the communities we live in. This works only as well as it did before. The emptiness inevitably returns.

Gillon is doing well on paper. He is studying for his diploma in renewable energies and has a guaranteed university place for next year. His mum is helping him to buy his house from the council and he's to pay her back so he'll be on the property ladder. He has a healthy son and daughter. Both he and his girlfriend are doing well. When I left on Sunday I put my empty drinks can into his outside bin and noticed it full of empty Frosty Jack's cider bottles. His partner is still drinking every night. Now he is talking to me about an emptiness that he has not found a way to fill.

Stu would always tell me that this emptiness will never be filled with external stuff. I suppose he's right. Just look at anyone who works in business. Every year they strive for more. They can never have enough. The emptiness is always there. Stu told me that it's an inside job. That we can only fill this emptiness by working some kind of program or spiritual system into our lives and this must be done on a daily basis. We can help get rid of it by completely restructuring our thinking. We should try to forget ourselves every now and then by helping others. I think he's right to an extent. I just think that the feeling of empty is supposed to be there. We're supposed to feel it so that we are motivated to better ourselves or better our situation. I think that with Stu's method we can perhaps be slightly guilty of not paying attention to our natural thoughts and desires which is basically running away from our feelings. Was that not what I read in that book and mentioned here the other day!?

The bottom line is that I cannot see Gillon meditating. He just doesn't seem the type. This is not to say that he never will, I just don't see him getting rid of his current feelings of emptiness by this method. Maybe it's his mind telling him that he's on the wrong path. He's possibly supposed to feel this so that he can change paths and head in another direction. It's not as if the emptiness he's experiencing just now is killing him. I think it's just a little uncomfortable. But uncomfortable enough to feel it worth mentioning to me in any case.

There is more I could scribble down but I'm nearly at my stop.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Take care.......

1778

Lunarer
May 11th, 2017, 02:55 AM
Thursday, May 11th 2017 (What's The Score?)


In terms of the soccer match between myself and not going to AA, that is. That's been eighty nine days just about (or will be by the end of this evening) and so that means eighty nine minutes of the ninety have passed. We're still tied at one goal a piece. Should there be a winner? Should one of us score again and claim the match? Or would it be fair to call it a draw and both sides just play out the last couple of minutes to a tie?

I think it would probably be the respectful thing to do to just hand AA another goal. Let them win this match. Score at the death so I have no time to recover and strike back. After all – many of the reasons I have been able to stay away from the meetings for three months without even the slightest temptation to drink, take drugs, or smoke is down to the lessons I learned in those rooms and with my sponsor and AA readings. Maybe I should concede that this has been a challenge that was pointless. What was the need? Why stay away from the meetings for ninety days?

But then I remember why. I am still quite clear on this. My reasons for leaving are two-fold. I had to show myself that I could do it but also I was becoming very sick to death of it. The same things were being said by the same people ever single meeting I went to. There was very seldom anything that was said that I might consider insightful or helpful, mostly it was just people talking about their pasts, so it had become incredibly stale as well. The fun and excitement has long since left. Now I have managed to get used to not being in meetings I can go if and when I feel like it. Just think about Sunday. I managed to have a great day by going to the pub in the morning with a charity shop colleague; visiting Gillon and family in the afternoon; and then Dennis and English Sara in the evening. Great stuff and very Healthy Adult. Or I could have gone to a meeting. I have proved to myself by taking this holiday that I am capable of finding other things to do. I didn't obsess about not being in AA – I just got on with it.

In saying that – the number of times I have mentioned the fellowship in this journal during the time I have been away must be in the hundreds, at least the dozens. It has been a fantastic source of information and friendship, unity, if you like, AA, and without it I would have had a hard time in getting sober. I just can't have seen it being doable. The thing is – I don't feel in any rush to go back. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better if I just tried to keep this run going, see how many days I can build without entering an AA room. There are people I'd like to see once more but I fear that nothing will be any different. The same people will say the exact same things – in some cases word for word as if they've been saying it for years, maybe even decades – and it will be as if I never left. That's the big fear I think.

There's a real lack of people my age. What I feel tends to happen is that people arrive in need of help and batter the meetings in, in cases such as my own they go every day for months. Then they get a little bit better and go back into the real world, only visiting the rooms once in a while to keep their feet in the door. Years later, when they retire and have little else to do and don't have the workplace to feed their need for a sense of belonging, they return to the meetings under the disguise of helping others and giving back and attend on a basis so frequent that some might deem it obsessive. As it's been so long since they were new to the rooms, worked with a sponsor, and did any work on their personal development, and added to this that sense of knowing it all that retired and elderly seem to possess, you have someone who will bring only his opinions into the rooms. This is what the majority of rooms are made up of: new people and very old retired people. You also have those who only ever seem to turn up when there's some drama going on in their personal lives but for the most part it's young blood in for a brief spell Vs. retired elderly.

I wonder what mode it is that is writing this post. It could easily be my Bully and Attack but I don't think it seems this way as I'm writing. I don't feel any bitterness towards those I may be writing about but I am beginning to get the sense that others would judge me as bullying and attacking by what I write. Maybe this is when I know I'm getting better – when I somehow start to know that my modes are coming to the fore even when it doesn't feel as though they are.

Lindsay asked me a couple of times last night what was wrong. Nothing is wrong. It's just that I have to think so carefully now about what I might say that I have began to not have the time to say it. Trying not to offend anyone can be difficult. I notice how defensive I am when with Lindsay now. Not just her but I am starting to see how all of this working on the schema modes has alerted my Detached Protector so much that it is running the whole show now, maybe always has been, but it's really in control now. Apart from Sunday there. It seemed to stay in bed on Sunday and I had quite a sociable day. Since then I have retreated back into myself, never sure if what I might say has any place and so remaining quiet. I did this at ACA last week as well. I didn't contribute. I have been given chair duties for the next four weeks and so this means I can do the same. I can use the cover of chairing the meeting to save from contributing myself. If I know that I am not expected to speak then the stress is taken out of the situation.

I can't see me saying anything at the AA meeting either when I drag myself there kicking and screaming on Saturday night. I think that the only place I really feel safe in speaking is at my psychology session every second Thursday. I am really looking forward to my long walks this coming weekend. Hours on end I will be outdoors and won't have to worry about the pressure of saying the wrong thing the whole time. My Detached Protector will enjoy this but I also feel that all this walking for this goal is something that only a Healthy Adult would do. All this walking is perhaps letting these two modes get to know each other better and to find some common ground.

Anyway – I'll be at the college soon so I'm gonna get going.

I like the college. The fact that we work with headphones on all the time means that I never have to worry about what I may or may not have to say.

Which my Detached Protector loves.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Gonna just keep his mouth shut again today.

1306

Lunarer
May 13th, 2017, 05:03 PM
Friday, May 12th 2017 (Lindsay's Congratulations Card)



Another trip on the Loser's Bus must mean that I'm on my way to Lindsay's town for the weekend. I'll be taking trips to many towns over the course of the weekend but not while sitting in buses like this one unfortunately. No – the walking schedule is getting to its extreme sections this weekend and next before it chills out a little for a week and then we have the full fifty miles just four weeks from now. This weekend and next see me with some challenging walks to look forward to.

Lindsay had her exam this morning. That's the last piece of university work she'll ever have to do. Now she has three months worth of placement hours to catch up on and everything will be done and dusted. With a job ready and waiting on her she'll no longer be a student nurse. The whole time I was at the Charity Shop Cafe this morning she was sat with pen in hand. Yikes! A pretty long exam then. It's over now though.

She was supposed to be heading out with the girls from the class after the exam but this didn't seem to happen. Because of Lindsay's mental health issues she is allocated more time for her assessments and with everyone starting together by the time she was finished the others had left. I don't think she was all that fussy but I do feel as though she senses she's missed out on something. Lindsay is well liked in AA and people seem to like her when they meet her but with regards to the other students in her university class she appears to be something of an outsider. It could be that the others have known each other for longer and so she's the new girl. She started with a different group. When Lindsay last picked up a drink she suffered a brain haemorrhage which meant she ended up taking a year out. The others in her original class sat their final exams last year. Lindsay joined the third year group late, the year that was originally a year behind her.

I wonder if there might be something else though. I wonder if social media is perhaps biting her on the ass a little bit more than she might see. Lindsay is one of these people who posts quotes about positive mental health and all the rest of it. These seem sweet enough but people suss things out. My mother asked about Lindsay when we were out for lunch the other day. She managed to guess by reading the types of quotes that she puts up for others to read that she may have come from a background similar to my own. Sometimes I think she posts a little too much. She posts quite honestly.

I don't think that this is the correct way to play the social media game to be honest. Those I know who seem to be most successful at having online lives are those who post the most superficial things – the ones who lie! The ones who post frequently and pointlessly. I think that it's a very sad but true case of us liking those we don't really know and afraid of those we do know. I think about my own experiences on the first forum I started journaling. The website WQD which has since been closed down. The most popular people on that forum seemed also to be those who were best at keeping their true selves guarded yet frequently feeding the rest of us little bones of balonie. Those of us, like myself, who weren't afraid to (or weren't afraid enough to stop) tell others all about ourselves and not just highlighting the things about us that we think made us worthy of love. Thinking back to that forum after being away from it and its members for over four months now and I have to say that there were some extremely sick people visited that forum. I'm actually wondering if I ''met'' anyone on that site that I would consider healthy. The bottom line though is that I was not well liked at all on that forum, not because I'm a complete asshole or anything (debatable in some circles) but because reading me was like living with me – I couldn't hide my faults like all the others prided themselves on being able to do.

It isn't as busy here (whichever you might be reading on: Ryver or My Way Out) and anyway I take very little interest in anything anyone else writes on these things anymore. I don't actually like the recovery world all that much. It does wonderful things, I believe, but I think that the biggest egos I have ever met have been in this world of those who no longer drink or take drugs. I wonder if Lindsay would post a little more often and post shite that only makes her look good and popular and funny and so on if she would have been out with the university girls this afternoon. Either way I think that they'll probably still be out and are bound to be steaming drunk by now so I don't think that she would have still been out and about.

Today is my ninetieth full day away from the rooms of AA. When it reaches morning I'll be on day ninety one but since I'm gonna force myself there tomorrow night then ninety is as far as I'll get. That's thirteen weeks. Thirteen Saturday nights and Tuesday evenings I've missed out on. Actually – in the whole time I've been writing and posting on the My Way Out forum I have never been to an AA meeting. It is quite a long time. But then nothing lasts a long time really. In five years I might look back on this time in my life and in the grand scheme of things the ninety days will seem like nothing, just a little experiment, which is all it really has been. The more time that passes the smaller this experiment will become. It's been extremely worthwhile though. I've managed to regroup and think about things not related to drinking. I've managed to become able to see my drinking as just a symptom of a much bigger problem (which I always have been able to see I think but now I really can see that this is the case which kinda puts AA's entire philosophy into question for me) and I now have other tools to help with this.

I guess that this means AA now serves a different purpose for me now than it did when I first joined back in February of 2015. Quite what this will be will be interesting to discover and I presume this will begin tomorrow night when I make my way there. Lindsay is off out with friends and so I'll be heading there myself. I already have it totally fixed in my mind that I won't be sharing anything at all. I'll just say that I'm glad to be there and glad to be sober. I'll talk to people out in the smoking area at half time (but not while smoking a cigarette myself this time) but will be a closed book when in the actual meeting. This is perhaps a very defensive (and some might say Detached Protector-ish) way of looking at things – why not just wait and see how I feel at the time? Why decide now not to speak? It doesn't make any sense!! - but I think that there is a sense of wanting to protect myself from some members of the fellowship.

Some will not want to hear that I have managed to stay sober for ninety days without AA. They might actually get a little hostile about it as they certainly did when I mentioned that I was thinking about trying it. I can't think of a better word to describe how a few of the were that afternoon than hostile. It's the most fitting word I can think of. So much for unity. I don't know why they weren't in support of someone in their ranks feeling as though the time had come where they felt strong enough to leave home and try it on their own in the big, bad world. It's not just that though, this fear of hostility from those who want to know nothing of someone managing without the fellowship for a while, that is going to keep me quiet tomorrow night when I force myself to return to its rooms. It's more the case of me just not talking as much now anyway.

Lindsay had asked me if everything was okay the other night as I was pretty quiet. At college yesterday, Shaun asked me if I was okay as I was quieter than usual. This morning Sandra said a similar thing at the Charity Shop Cafe. I'm quieting down drastically. There is a lot of negativity goes on in my head. Even people very new to my musings will have already sussed that out. It's okay to write about it all here though. I can't afford to let it out when I'm in the real world though. So much for not being afraid of my faults. Now I am so afraid that people are noticing very quickly a difference in me. Over time this will serve me well though. It might not mean that my Healthy Adult is active but it keeps the Bully and Attack at bay.

It's more likely a case of my Detached Protector branching out. Since my last session with my clinical psychologist my Detached Protector knows that it is hampering the quality of Little Stevie's life by talking for him all the time and keeping him isolated indoors. This way he is allowing me to venture outside still but, rather than speaking for me, is simply silencing me.

But it feels better. It feels like the days are a lot less hassle when I don't have to worry about talking or saying much.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Has Lindsay's Congratulations card in his bag.

1709

Lunarer
May 13th, 2017, 05:04 PM
Saturday, May 13th 2017 (2-1)


I woke with the alarm at half past five this morning and checked outside. The weather forecast has got it right. It's pissing down with rain. To be fair it's been a while. Either way I've used this as excuse enough not to go on my long walk this morning. Now I wonder if I'll actually be able to complete this mammoth fifty mile walk in four weeks. Lindsay says that I'm just being negative but I know my body and at the moment I don't think I'd have a hope in hell of finishing this double marathon walk. I get to around twenty five – thirty miles and I begin to cramp up and limp. I can't see me managing to limp my way through twenty miles. I'm not keeping to the training plan and so I can expect problems when the time comes. Can't say I'm looking forward to it all that much.

Lindsay is out tonight so I'm home alone. I was out at my first AA meeting for three months earlier and will be heading out later to meet Lindsay and then walk her up the road. Her friend from university is getting married in two weeks and we'll be at the wedding but only she could attend this evening, it being a party for the bride and all that, and I don't know the groom so I had to make do with the Saturday evening meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Out of respect for the fellowship and the help it has given me I decided last night that I would give it the win in my little football match I was having with it. Last night was the end of the ninetieth day away from the rooms and so the ninetieth minute of our contest and I decided that AA should score. It was out of respect for AA that I decided to do this. It was out of respect for myself that I decided to leave the meeting at half time this evening.

I'm not going to beat around the bush here: it was fucking dreadful!! I hadn't given much thought as to who might be taking to the top table when I returned but it ends up being a complete bore. Two old guys who I'm sure if you asked them to answer honestly would tell you that they only attend for the social aspect of the fellowship and the fact there's little else for them to do at home. This is okay, there's nothing wrong with wanting to get out on the weekend, but it makes for a total and utter sham of a top table. The share was muddled and all over the place. He used almost every cliché in the AA book (but none of them can actually be found in our Book) and offered nothing of how he managed to stay sober. He told us plenty about what he used to be like and what he's like now, sure, but he missed out anything to do with how he managed to get there and so doesn't talk of recovery at all.

Another thing he does is lie. We all want respect. I get that. But in the recovery world there is this tendency to make our personal stories out to be much worse than they actually were. We dramatically exaggerate our drinking histories so that we look more impressive now that we have recovered. Our sharer tells us how, when he got into AA, he had no house, no job, no wife and no children, he had ''nothing'' so he says. He then slips out that he's celebrating forty years of marriage later this year and he's just turned thirty eight years of sobriety. So was he married or not? Where's the fucking consistency? Is he lying to make it seem as if he is more impressive, that he endured more, that he deserves an extra big medal? It's pretty lame.

I can't do it. I just cannot stick around to listen to the others in the room throughout the second half. It's too painful. I'm actually seeing this meeting in a very different light from before. Everyone here appears sicker than I remember them being. Young Nicola is sitting next to me and she's all chat. ''I haven't seen you for ages'', and all that (which a few people do say to be fair to them) and then the meeting starts and I am sure as I am listening to our old man jumping back and forward as he talks about nothing but the distant past from the top table I am certain, absolutely certain, that I can smell alcohol on her breath.

There's a desperate sadness about this room for me just now. This was the room where Lindsay and I really got to know each other. It's the room I brought in the new year. I was here on Christmas Eve too. It holds some decent memories for me. But now there is something different about it. I walk back to Lindsay's feeling pretty terrible. What is the cause of this? Do I feel bad about myself being so judgemental that I can't sit in a room for ninety minutes and listen to people talk about the distant past and recite cliches? Perhaps. Maybe I'm sad at the thought of not fitting in there anymore. This would mean I am doomed – if I can't even find a place to belong in the rooms with a bunch of sick people.

I must try to remember that this is not the only meeting in my area. In saying that – I don't want to get caught up in trying to find a meeting I can belong to, that will consistently offer me something, I have been there before and it only ends up in tears. It's possible that I've just outgrown the fellowship. At ACA this afternoon we were discussing how this is the next phase of our recovery. AA is the very first phase – the stopping of the drinking. Then we have our Twelve Steps with which to take it to the second phase. After this we then get serious about our recovery and seek help from doctors and psychologists – really try to sort out the problems in our lives. Seems that I am doing things in the right way then, it's just that it's not happening as quickly as I'd like. By going back to AA, especially a meeting that does not ever talk about the program or Steps or anything, is perhaps me going backwards. This is possibly why I don't find much there anymore.

I was really disappointed this evening. I actually wish I'd never gone.

I would have liked to have remembered AA as I remembered it before.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Not really sure on his involvement in AA now......

1162

Lunarer
May 14th, 2017, 02:04 PM
Sunday, May 14th 2017 (The Weigh-In After the AA Meeting the Night Before)


It was an interesting weekend for football. My own team, Raith Rovers, was relegated to the third tier of Scottish football last night after a dramatic draw and resulting penalty shoot-out. This kinda sucks but it's sometimes a good thing to go down. We can regroup and try to win it next season, get back to where we've just come from but with a trophy. It's not ideal but it's progress. The natural world forces progress, whether good or bad, on us whether we like it or not, and so even a season that has seen us lose our place in the second tier is progress, although I doubt that many of the die-hard Rovers fans will see it that way this morning. Tottenham played their last ever match at White Hart Lane this afternoon before they move to their new ground for next season.

All this talk of football? I guess I'm just trying to distract myself, trying to find some way of coping with that incredible disappointment that was last night's AA meeting. My big return after ninety days away ended up being very regrettable. I didn't have much time to ponder over it last night as I'd arranged to walk down to meet Lindsay at her friend's house but ended up staying for ninety minutes before we got a taxi up the road. One of her pals is getting married in a fortnight and this was her Hen Night. There were nine women all drunk as skunks (except for Lindsay of course, herself being an AA member) in one small space and I was caught amongst it.

It's fun at first but after a while I can feel a headache coming on. There were a couple of times when I was sitting quietly, just watching and listening to the sound of the room, and I have to say that I found it quite remarkable that only a few women could manage to create such a racket using only their mouths. The alcohol was helping, I'm sure. I didn't find being there stressful at all, besides the coming slow-burning headache, but I mean that the temptation to drink was never an issue. To be honest I have to sometimes remind myself that I'm supposed to be thinking about drinking when I'm in situations like this. That not drinking is supposed to be some kind of big deal for me, that I'm supposed to spend time trying to freak out about not drinking.

I'm standing on the scales this morning and looking at my weight in preparation for this week's Slimming World weigh-in. I have to try to reach target as soon as possible so that I don't have to pay for these classes any longer but over the last two weekends I have done nothing which suggests that this is the case and that it's up for grabs. I haven't been following the diet plan at all and last night Lindsay and I had pizza for dinner and then I ate loads of crap at the party last night. This has been what my diet has been like for the most part these last two weeks. I've also not been walking like I should have been. We're getting to the part of the training plan for the coming Walk The Walk fundraiser where I need to be taking it seriously yet I seem to have stopped training altogether. I haven't been on a deliberate, long walk since that big thirty mile one I did two Saturdays ago. This isn't good enough.

So it is with some trepidation that I step onto the scales this morning and then again this evening just to check and make sure of what I'm seeing. Both times I've weighed myself today I have been under my target weight. This surely can't make sense. Perhaps our scales are running out of battery power and so the readings are inaccurate but there is a possibility that this is the true weight I am. I've been losing even while not paying attention to watch what I'm eating and while reducing exercise. This is fine, I'm not bothered by that at the moment, but the plan here was never to wither away to nothing – it was to establish healthy eating habits and make sure that I didn't put on any weight when I quit smoking. I've done these so now it's time, assuming I am at my target when I am weighed tomorrow, to keep my weight stable – to make sure that I don't lose any more. At the moment (again – assuming that the scales at Lindsay's flat are accurate) I weigh nearly twelve pounds less than I did when I stubbed my last cigarette.

I'm been thinking on and off about the disaster that was last night's meeting with Alcoholics Anonymous. It was, like I said last night, terrible. I have to find a way to make this easier on me. I think that I'm going to play a little game. I'm going to look and listen for only the good things said in meetings from now on. I'm going to then try to write in this journal the three best and most insightful things I hear at each and every meeting I have go to from now on. The only catch is that I am not allowed to repeat the same thing. This means that something said last night that I'll write down in a second can never be written again. This does set it up for me to find it more difficult as time goes by to find good things but it also means that I have to listen harder to find them.

The three things I will mention from last night are all AA cliches. For some people I think it they are the only pieces of recovery advice and experience they have to offer.

1) Stay away from the first drink.
2) Get to as many meetings as you can.
3) Try the Twelve Step program.

One is obvious but still really good advice. Two should only apply to the early days. Three is optional but definitely something I would recommend myself.

Hopefully as the weeks and months go by (I can't see me going to meetings all that often) I will be able to add to this list some interesting things. No matter how shite a meeting is (and there will be some shite ones to come regardless of how careful and selective I am over which ones I attend) try to find these three things. It's something to take the sting out of meetings.

I do accept, though, that I was perhaps really unlucky last night and that not all meetings will be nearly as bad as that one was.

I'll be back at college tomorrow. It's about time I started thinking about that.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Focussing on three pieces of insight and recovery advice.

1180

Lunarer
May 15th, 2017, 05:51 PM
Monday, May 15th 2017 (Our Boxing Friend)


I've started this post early doors but I'll be leaving for the bus any moment and so I'll have to pick it up later on. This means that at the moment I have no idea if I'll be reaching my Slimming World target this evening (it seems like a long way away) but by the time I post this I'll already know so I should be able to finish this post by saying whether or not I managed to achieve this.

There are certain things you can do to change your weight throughout the day. It must be water retention or something but I notice that my weight can increase by up to five pounds over the course of a day. I've just tried the scales and as things stand at this very moment I will make target. The task for the rest of the day now is to somehow avoid putting any weight on, or, if I do, to knock it back off again by the time weigh-in time comes at half past seven this evening – more than five hours from now.

So – two boiled eggs for breakfast (oh my God of my understanding – I've become one of those people who goes online and starts talking about what he's eating, please help me!!) and I'm good to go. By the time I have my soup for lunch and the morning is spent sitting in front of a college computer I'll likely increase by the pound I'll have to in order to go over target again and so will have to pay for my Slimming World class next week. This will not do and so I can kill two birds with one stone. I haven't been walking much at all these last two weeks and I should really get my arse into gear if I even hope to finish the fifty mile walk in less than four weeks' time. I'll walk from the college to the class this evening which takes place in the next town. It's around eight miles. This should hopefully lose me any weight I've picked up during the day. It's kinda weird that it works out like this but it really does. As soon as I stop walking I will begin to put the weight back on very slowly but by this time I will have been weighed and should hopefully have reached my goal of eleven and a half stone (around seventy three kilogrammes).

Speaking of that weight I was trawling online yesterday at Lindsay's request and discovered something about a boxer who weighed approximately this weight I am aiming for this evening. It didn't say whether he was an up and coming star or anything, just that he had fought a couple of bouts here and there. He then blew his future by taking six hundred pounds from a friend to take a baseball bat off someone's head. Apparently there had been a disagreement over money and so our boxing friend had been paid (with a further one hundred and twenty bucks being paid to his accomplice) to act out a vengeful act which left the ''victim'' with twelve hours of facial reconstructive surgery. Really nasty stuff. Our boxing friend's accomplice served two years in a young offenders' institution while our boxing friend himself (twenty one at the time of sentencing back in 2011) received eight years behind bars.

This is the guy who is to be wedding Lindsay's friend in a couple of weeks. They apparently had it out with her not long before I arrived at the Hen Night to pick up Lindsay a couple of nights ago. These friends wanted to know why it is that they have not yet met this guy. Why it is that she barely keeps in contact with them anymore. The most disturbing thing about all of this is that just as Lindsay and I had began dating late last summer she had been to a funeral. This was the funeral of a guy who had committed suicide – this friend of hers' husband. Now, in the ultimate rebound, she's marrying this new guy just a few months later. They've been going out for less time than Lindsay and I. It's not surprising that her friends are concerned by this new partner of hers when, to top it all off, she reveals his full name and that information about him can easily be obtained online. The information I just mentioned. It's not my position to judge but I'm wondering if some people ever deserve a second chance. I'm talking about the type of person who'd take a bat to a guy in his mid-fifties.

Anyway – I have to get to college.......

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Right! Now I'm back from college and have been to Slimming World. It's nearly eleven in the evening and I'm writing this in bed while Lindsay sits through in the other room catching up on soaps and reality television. Not really my thing. Just creates a multitude of things for me to get all negative about and feel the need to criticise. Not worth the hassle. So I write about my Slimming World experience before I get an early (ish) night for a change.

Like I said at the top of the post – when I woke up this morning I was at my target weight, the problem was trying to stay under it as the day progressed. I tried this by having two boiled eggs for breakfast and a small soup for lunch with just a couple of drinks in between. After college I walked to the Slimming World meeting – a good eight and a half miles away. I had time to pop into Lindsay's to grab my book and change out of my sweaty clothes and weighed myself to see for sure if I'd be getting it tonight. Eleven stone and four pounds. I'm three pounds under my weight. Any more lost and I would be too low – you're allowed three pounds either side of your target. By the time I got weighed I had put on a half pound which means that my official weigh-in came to eleven stone and four and a half pounds. I made target. As long as I stay within the guidelines and don't go more than three pounds either side of it then I don't have to pay and I only have to show up once a month to keep my membership active.

Ahhhhhh... Feels good to be chalking off these little goals of mine.

'
'
'
''
'
'
'
Stevie

A target member.

1113

Lunarer
May 16th, 2017, 02:07 AM
Tuesday, May 16th 2017 (Statistics and the Certificate of Success)


I've managed to get Lindsay's old phone working (I say ''old'' but it's newer than either of my two phones by many a year) and spent some time on Sunday afternoon (when I should have been walking) putting music across from my laptop onto this phone. Now my walks don't have to be so lonely. This will hopefully motivate me to get out there again and put one foot in front of the other.

I have my Endomondo account open and stored on the right of my screen while this OpenOffice word processing document takes up the left of my screen. If I bring up the statistics and then spread it out a little I can see how I've been doing. Filter it onto ''Month'' and I can clearly see. My membership on this website, Endomondo, goes like this:

August 2014: 26.2 miles. I walked a marathon distance for some reason back in 2014 when I wasn't drinking but was a couple of months sober and was about to go through my final relapse. This tested my body to the max and I remember it being really tough. I can walk marathon distances pretty easily these days.

For the next workout of any kind I have to skip all the way until just after I quit smoking ninety eight days ago. Then I can see how many miles I've been walking in preparation for this monster walk in less than a month's time.

February: 88.5 miles.

March: 142 miles.

April: 111 miles.

May: 23.66 miles.

There's something really odd about these stats. For one – I seem to be reducing the number of miles each month this walk gets closer. Obviously I am going to have to wake the fuck up and get on it from now on. Last night after college I walked to the Slimming World class in a bid to stay at my target weight (which I managed to – yippeeeee!!!!) and so added just over eight miles onto the May total (meaning that it was hilariously low prior to yesterday) and I'd imagine I'll have to do the same again this evening. On Wednesday Lindsay and I are going to the next coastal town to visit one of our AA pals and so we have made a plan. We'll leave the house together and while Lindsay is at her appointment with her psychiatric nurse I will be marching along the coast to meet her at Rhona's. On Thursday I'll have only small walks from the college to Dr. Bacon to the next meeting about improving our town. On Friday I'll walk from the Charity Shop Cafe to Lindsay's. Then I'll have the big fuckers over the weekend.

It's another goal. A mini-goal. A goal within a goal. Breaking a bigger goal into smaller, more digestible sections. Try to get the mile tally for May above that of the other months. I have a hundred and twenty miles to walk in the next two weeks if I want to do that so another challenge has started. I like challenges. Well – this isn't really a challenge, is it!? It's more just a little challege, a mini challenge. The actual fifty mile walk – now that's a fucking challenge!!

As I take my Slimming World book from the facilitator I revel in the success. I no longer have to pay to attend. My Slimming World journey has been short and sweet but a success nonetheless. Here's the statistics for my time in those rooms:

I quit smoking on the 07th February (that was the day of my last cigarette, I always get confused over this. So the first day as a non-smoker, my ''Day One'' started on the 08th) and then got into Slimming World on the 20th in a bid to keep that weight off. The weight I was promised I would gain as a result of giving up the smokes.

20/02 - 12 (stone) 3 (pounds)

27/02 – 12; 4

06/03 – 12; 1

15/03 – 12; 2

22/03 – 12

03/04 – 11; 13.5

12/04 – 11; 12.5

17/04 – 11; 13

01/05 – 11; 7.5

15/05 – 11; 4.5

This is kinda fucked up. I seem to have lost weight more quickly in May than at any other time. So I lose weight better when I'm not going on any of these long walks? Interesting. I can't explain. I also wasn't attending Slimming World very often during my times of best weight loss. When I am attending once a fortnight I seem to do better than when I go every week. These are very strange statistics coming out here but they must mean something.

I think all they really mean is that it took me a while to lose the bad habits. Only recently have I really been sticking to the plan and paying close attention to what I'm eating and, more importantly, how much of it. I think also that it was much easier to lose those last three pounds as I knew that I could reach target. The motivation levels were higher. I had really tried the week before and managed to knock five pounds off in the two weeks (a good achievement at my weight – not having to lose much) but could only get to within a half pound of it. This made the last push that much easier I think.

So now I have my Certificate of Success and it's pretty much a free lifetime membership – providing I can do as they ask and remain within my target weight guidelines. I look around the room and say my silent goodbyes. I wonder what's next. I'll pop in every second or third week just to keep in contact.

There are one or two who have gained weight again this week. Who just don't seem to be able to lose despite promising the rest of us that they follow the plan to the letter. I guess there's the same amount of denial in these rooms as there is in others I could mention. People perhaps attending for reasons other than to directly lose weight and learn to eat better. It's not my concern.

I've done my little bit and I'm chuffed.

Holding onto it will be something I'll have to keep an eye on.

But I might throw in a Snickers bar with my lunch today.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Had better go catch his bus to college.

1094

Lunarer
May 17th, 2017, 07:50 AM
Wednesday, May 17th 2017 (Thinking In Steps)


I'm slowly building up my mile tally this month. I couldn't believe how low my month of May was at the halfway point. The worst month in my training plan since starting all this walking carry on back in February when I quit smoking. I walked from the college in the next town to Lindsay's on Monday and again yesterday and so I've managed to add a few to my total. We are now sitting at thirty two miles for the month. It's eighty miles behind last month but I'm confident I'll catch up on this.

In a short while Lindsay and I will be leaving to go to our friend Rhona's. We visit her every now and then after meeting her in AA. Lindsay has her appointment with her psychiatric nurse at half past one and then she's getting the bus through to Rhona's town. I'll be leaving with Lindsay but heading in the opposite direction – walking to Rhona's and planning to get there around the same time as Lindsay. I've drawn the route into Endomondo and it'll be another nine miles added onto this. I'll be walking tomorrow but it'll be another fairly short one (I count short walks anything from three miles to around fourteen; mid range walks from fourteen to maybe around the marathon distance of twenty six and a bit miles; and long walks as anything over this, although I do feel that there should be a fourth category for walks over thirty two miles long as this is when my body really begins to struggle. There is only one walk coming up in the build up to the actual fifty mile event itself and this will be the day after Lindsay's pal's wedding a week on Saturday, the same day of the AA convention, probably the next time I have any involvement with the fellowship) as there's so much going on.

On Friday Lindsay is coming to the Charity Shop Cafe to check out where it is that I work and we're gonna have a little lunch there before heading to Restoration for the first time in over a month. She'll then be taking the bus home while I'm walking the nine miles through. On Saturday I am going to get the miles in and plan a route that will really test me. I think that the official training plan for the walking preparation says that I am to walk twenty two miles this Saturday and eighteen on Sunday. I think that I'll be trying to walk the combined forty miles but perhaps not in the way that they have it outlined. Sunday is the final day of the football league season in Scotland and England and so I am keen to be involved in that (the length of my involvement is nothing more that sitting watching Final Score on BBC, but I can live with that) so I'll be doing a longer walk on the Saturday.

It's not just wanting to watch the football on Sunday that makes me want to push it on Saturday though. It's the doubt that is setting in. I've been on two thirty plus mile walks this year (the only two thirty plus mile walks of my life, come to think of it) and both times I have starting thinking ahead to the walk itself. The last time I walked thirty miles was just a few weekends ago and by the end of it I was really struggling. So badly was I struggling that I couldn't possibly see how I could manage another twenty miles. The thought is daunting. If you don't know what I mean then try it. Head out with me on Saturday and we'll go for a thirty mile or so walk. Feel that burn in the legs, the burn on the mind as well. Contemplate as we are limping along and starting to feel the cramps setting in just how the fuck we are going to walk another twenty miles on top of this while in this state. It's perhaps the very type of thing that the whole ''a day at a time'' thing was created for. After this weekend I'll probably need a couple of days where I do little but stretch.

This coming Monday there is something to look forward to. The lecturers are asking us to book in some studio time and get practice in. We're running out of weeks until the course ends and so we should make the best of the time we have left. We've (the usual four of us that seem to be spending our time together over the last few months) have booked out three hours on Monday morning and we have each selected a song we wish to cover. I'll be playing all of the guitar on the day and Shaun will be playing bass. I think Ross will be playing keys and some drums, the other drums will be programmed or sampled. The only catch was that we each have to sing our own choice of song. This has added a little humour into the mix.

I have selected Green Day's ''Holiday;'' Shaun selected Josh Turner's ''Your Man.'' Ross picked a John Legend song I've never heard of and have forgotten the name of, and Paige went for ''XO'' by Eden. This gives me some music to learn over the weekend which could add to my stress but I have chosen to see as a way of getting away from other stresses. I haven't picked up the guitar much at all this year – haven't really picked it up much in the ten years since I left the Academy of Music and Sound if I'm totally honest – and it's a constant regret of mine. It's weird how I regret something like this. I am annoyed with myself for not having the passion and joy in doing something that I feel I should have. Maybe it is something I can reclaim but it might also be something I could perhaps do with accepting as gone or never there in the first place.

Well, I've reached my one thousand words for the day so anything else would just be rambling. I'll have quotes from that book ''I Got Tired Of Pretending'' to post tomorrow but I've written them out already. This is to free up some time for copying out the session with Dr. Bacon the following day which will likely take up posts for Friday and Saturday. All this writing. I have a couple of things need written for the college as well and a reflective report in a week or so on our current project. Not to mention our online journal portfolio.

Thankfully it's a warm and sunny day and so the walk to Rhona's town I am very much looking forward to.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Spends lots of time writing.

Too much?

1164

Lunarer
May 18th, 2017, 01:42 AM
Thursday, May 18th 2017 (Bob Earll Says)


Sandra from ACA will no doubt be expecting the return of her book ''I Got Tired Of Pretending'' when I see her again on Saturday afternoon. Today I have a busy one in store. I'll be heading to college in a few minutes to attend my radio broadcasting class before heading to the Credit Union to withdraw some cash for the weekend before it closes at one o'clock. I'll then grab some lunch before heading for my next session with clinical psychologist Dr. Bacon at half past three. After that there is more action with my community as we get together for another meeting to discuss what might be best for the people who live where I do. Hopefully the turnout will be a bit better than it has been the last couple of meetings. That's all stuff I'll reflect on in the coming days (as well as writing out the psychology session which usually takes a while but helps me to digest it all better) but for now I wanted to write out some of the interesting things I got from the book Sandra loaned me. Just a few things that took my interest and gave me something to think about. Hope that you (if anyone even still reads in here) enjoy.

''I have always felt that people who are newly graduated from an assertiveness training course should be made to wear a banner across their chest announcing the accomplishment, so that the poor waiters, waitresses, store clerks, gas station attendants, mates, and friends who catch the initial volley of gunfire will know why. People who have never been assertive in their lives don't know at the core of their being that it is okay to stand up for themselves. An assertiveness training course doesn't change that, it only convinces them on an intellectual level. Not believing that they have a right to stand up for themselves on an emotional level, they approach their initial test runs from a defensive posture. They attack rather than assert.
I am now equally convinced that there should be a handbook and banner for the people just getting in touch with or just learning to express their feelings. Little children living in a functional home who are in the process of getting in touch with their feelings do so in a supportive environment. Those of us who have to start this process all over again aren't as lucky.
Once I started getting in touch with my feelings and needs it seemed like everywhere I went was a mine field. Almost every encounter exploded in my face.
When I started to get in touch with some of my anger, I became aware of the suppressed and repressed anger of others. I would go to meetings and organisations I belonged to, and I could feel the suppressed and repressed anger buzzing around the room like a neon sign about to explode. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream. I sat there like a good boy.''

''Using Carol's definition (of intimacy: ''Me being me and letting you see me.'') I can safely say that intimacy was a rare commodity in my relationships.
I didn't know me so it was impossible to let anyone ''see me.'' If anyone did ''see me,'' it was because they had the ability to look past the problem, beyond the mask. If I showed myself to anybody it was by mistake, and I deeply regretted it immediately afterwards.''

''At the time I quit smoking I was in the middle of a separation from my then wife. I had lost control and desperately wanted it back. She was sleeping with someone else. I wanted her back, control back, and him out of the picture. On top of that I was getting a little difficult to be around. The tiniest things would make me angry. I am convinced that one of tar and nicotine's primary functions, besides killing us, is stuffing anger.
One day Harold quits smoking. A couple of days later he comes home from work, still not smoking. Entering the living room, he looks at the green sofa against the wall and then to his wife Martha. He looks back at the sofa and then Martha. Finally he says to Martha, ''I hate that puke-green sofa!''
Martha, shocked, says, ''Harold, that sofa has been there for twenty years!''
Harold says, ''I know, and I've hated it for twenty years!''
Martha says, ''I think you ought to have a cigarette.''
A smoker who uses cigarettes as one of the methods to stuff out his or her feelings is surrounded by friends and family accustomed to that behaviour. When the smoker quits and their feelings start coming up, everybody gets uncomfortable. People perceive this change in the smoker as a threat and don't hesitate to encourage the smoker to go have a cigarette.''

''After the age of thirty you don't want the pounds to come off fast. The elasticity in the skin started to go and, if you lose weight too fast, you wind up looking like you're standing in a sack.
The first twenty pounds melted away. I started to feel good about not eating red meat, not drinking coffee, not smoking, and not eating sugar. But other rumblings were starting to go on inside me. I was crying more. I was aware of my anger. I was aware that sometimes people said or did things that hurt me. I was afraid. I wasn't sure God was going to help me. In fact, I started to interpret the emergency feelings as a separation from God.''

''A couple of months later a friend came to me and suggested that I start running. He felt that it would help me stay off the cigarettes, lose the rest of the weight, and feel even better. I ran out of breath after such a short distance that I was embarrassed to run where anyone else could see me. Doing well wasn't enough – I had to look good.
Out came the running shoes, shorts, and T-shirts. This time I had a friend and a couple of others to run with, so even though I felt silly, their presence made it somewhat okay. I would just suck my stomach in and run as hard as I could when there were strangers around. Running my ass off to impress people I didn't know and would probably never see again was a waste of good energy.''

''There was a lot of stress in going to the gym. First, lot of the women and girls were lifting more weight than I could. And I still had the old jailhouse, iron pile, mentality of ''he who lifts the most is the best human being.'' It was embarrassing as hell to come up to a machine some tiny damsel had just finished and not be able to move the weight until I had lightened it. One more than one occasion, when I would see a gorilla coming down the line of machines behind me, I would increase the weight by a hundred pounds when I was finished. Anything to look good. Just being there exercising to improve the quality of my life wasn't good enough. Second, I didn't like my body. It wasn't perfect. I was ashamed. I thought that in order to be okay I had to look like Mr. America. I did not have the ability to give myself praise for having the courage to risk the unknown process of taking care of myself. Third, I expected myself to know everything about exercise. I thought I was defective if I had to have the instructor explain it to me. And if I didn't understand after the first demonstration, I knew I was a failure. Adult children often suffer from a learning impairment.''

''We must learn that we are not weak and flawed because we need rest and a certain amount of sleep. We must learn to find a good dentist and a good preventative medicine doctor.
When I first moved to New Mexico I called three people I knew and asked them for a dentist. None of them would recommend the dentist they were currently seeing. Their dentist was good enough for them but not for a friend.
Learn to always get second and, if necessary, third options. If you can't do these things alone, and many of us can't, find a supportive friend who will go with you and help.
Don't be surprised if any sudden interest in your health is perceived by the people in your life as a threat.''

''There are two kinds of forgiveness: false forgiveness, which takes place in the mind, and true forgiveness, which takes place in the heart.
False forgiveness is achieved by gathering information and coming to a logical conclusion or by simply making an intellectual decision to forgive. The decision can be forced upon you by yourself by or others.
False forgiveness is a socially acceptable method of stuffing your feelings.
False forgiveness is the method of forgiveness practiced by religion, many self-help groups, and by most people in twelve-step recovery.
The need for false forgiveness is a result of fear, the fear generated in each of us when confronted with having to experience the pain and feelings attached to having to look at the truth of what happened to us when we were children.
I hurry to falsely forgive you because I believe that as soon as I forgive you, you will stop hurting me.
False forgiveness is like putting a bandage on an open wound. Underneath on the emotional level, the wounds are still bleeding unattended and are being further infected by the lies contained in the bandage.
True forgiveness is a smile, a sigh, a tear, and an understanding that takes place in the heart.
True forgiveness is an acknowledgement of your pain that comes from me allowing myself to experience my pain, past and present.
True forgiveness is an act of great love, the love I have bestowed upon myself by my willingness to go to the caverns of my soul for the truth, a truth that can't be found in the mind.
True forgiveness is a gift from God that was with me when I arrived on this planet. This gift was lost in the bombing, sirens, air raid shelters, and subsequent rubble of my early childhood.
True forgiveness comes when I get rid of a belief system that says forgiving you makes you right and me wrong.
True forgiveness is not just an absence of anger.
True forgiveness is possible when I no longer believe that the moment of I forgive you, I will cease to exist.
Perhaps forgiveness is moment to moment, like life.''

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off to start his Thursday.

1811

Lunarer
May 20th, 2017, 04:16 AM
Friday, May 19th 2017 (Busy Little Day)


So today was another busy little day and one in which there were more good thoughts and behavioural patterns than bad ones, which isn't all that common an occurrence if I'm being brutally honest. The session with Dr. Bacon has not been copied out yet and sits on Lindsay's digital voice recorder in my bag awaiting a spell where I have some time I can devote to it. This might not happen until next week though. My next session is in a fortnight and then I think there's going to be a longer break while he goes on annual leave again. The session was different. We looked into why I didn't do my homework in looking out for my Schema Modes and their patterns in my life and we looked at goal-setting, short and long term, and why goals are not the ideal way to go about living life successfully. We looked at much more sophisticated ways of looking at living without goal setting. It was interesting and I'll type it out over the course of the next few days.

I've been giving much thought to a couple of things that Lindsay said to me recently. One was about her stress over the build-up to her final exams over the last couple of weeks and how she coped with that. Our incident a couple of weekends ago in which I wrote about how I felt we were struggling she now refers to as her ''freak out'' and I think she's viewing it as an overreaction on her part, something to do with the accumulated stress as she approached the exam. I've never liked the idea of exams. Too much hinges on them. Stress calls by teenagers to agencies like Samaritans has risen again this year. I'd imagine that suicide related to exams at school has also risen but is too sticky a point to look at – it would mean that the system would be put under enormous pressure to change and we don't know how to, are incredibly resistant to it – and so we continue to keep our heads buried firmly in the sand.

Lindsay was with her psychiatric nurse during the week and they talked about the stresses over the exams and how she struggled, had her ''freak out'' with me; and also how she sometimes feels about coping and her ways of managing this. She never thinks about drinking, she confirms this to both her psychiatric nurse and to me when we talk about it afterwards, but she does sometimes get the thoughts of taking a dozen or so of her emotional regulation medication as a way of punching out, stuffing her feelings. She admits herself that while she acknowledges that alcohol is not in the equation there is still this longing at times of extreme stress where running away is an attractive option. Lindsay's own Detached Protector in action?

Another thing she said was in relation to my family. I asked her if she felt that, having known me for all this time now, my family was distant. I guess I asked knowing what she would say but I just wanted someone who knew me to say it. This way I could stop pretending that I have a mother and brother whom I am close to. I could then begin to look at my family and my life, not through rose-tinted glasses, but through the brutally realistic Jasper Conran spectacles I wear on my nose every day. Now there is no denying that the distance between members of my family is vast.

Lindsay met me at the Charity Shop Cafe and then we headed to Restoration. I hadn't been in over a month and didn't really expect anyone to notice but I was pleasantly surprised. It would seem as though I am one of the crew and people notice when I'm not there. Was I not here because I had my guitar group to run with Marshall? People had started to think along these lines I think and I'd actually forgotten all about that group we were supposed to be setting up. I think that ship has sailed though. That's over a year now that I've been meeting with DAPL's Susan about it for meetings and phone calls and all the rest and this time we even had a date set out for it starting and everything, only nothing happened. My own confidence and willingness to avoid people, places and things which I think are wasting my time should be avoided. Susan, Marshall, and anyone associated with that guitar group – they are all on that list.

It's no one's duty to chip in and pay me something towards my Walk The Walk fifty mile double marathon. To offer a little sponsorship support to breast cancer by signing their names onto my little form. No one has been able to yet as I never carry my form with me – I have still only one payment and that was from Ferrari John, a guy I've met only once in my life. It does look like, however, that there will be one or two people at least from within the confines of the Restoration church hall that will be contributing a little towards the cause. The sponsorship form will have to start travelling with me wherever I go. I should be taking it to the college, to AA, to the charity shop. I should be hassling my ''family'' as well. If I don't get the hundred pounds in then I have to pay it myself before I can enter. I think I'll try the Wednesday afternoon meeting of AA next week and take my form with me. This is likely the meeting where I can expect one or two people to offer a pound or two. It'll be interesting to see....

Lindsay and I bumped into an AA old timer at the town centre this afternoon as well. I am always struck by how different people are when they are outside of the rooms. They act so normally. Then they go into a meeting and they seem to transform completely and become a cock-head, spouting bullshit like no one else can. This guy is nowhere near my favourite people in AA. I think he's selfish and uses the fellowship as a way of filling up empty time he has since his wife died. He uses it as somewhere to go on a Saturday night, Wednesday night, every fucking night – and what he says while in these rooms is rambling and often nothing to do with drinking or helping the new guy. It's lame, and wholly selfish. Then I see him out of the rooms and he seems like a decent and regular guy. The three of us head to the shops to price walking shoes. He needs a new pair for hiking and I do for this coming walk. I'll have to break a new pair in over the next three weeks. This pair I am currently using are weakening all the time. I don't end up getting anything and time is ticking.

The forty miles I've walked this week has brought my mile total a little higher than it was at the start of the week when it was really poor for the month of May. It's getting better at ling last.

Still have no idea how I'm going to walk fifty miles though.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Fifty miles??? No idea......

1261

Lunarer
May 20th, 2017, 04:59 AM
Saturday, May 20th 2017 (Another Abandoned Cave)


I had planned on a mammoth thirty mile walk today but it hasn't happened. Rainfall outside combined with a later than desired rise from bed and still muscles in the legs to force me into submission. I'm not going to be walking today. I'm really running out of free days when I can get these really long walks in. You need to set aside around seven hours for them and so it takes up the vast majority of the day. There also can be little else done afterwards until the legs, shoulders and back start to feel normal again. I think that the way I'll cope with this is to walk a little tomorrow and then nothing at all (other than the usual shorter walks I don't count as training – all the little one mile and two mile walks down town or to the college and so on) until Wednesday which is my day off college. If I go to the AA meeting then it starts at two and so if I am up early enough I can get in one of the longer walks. Then my time is taken up until the weekend when I'll have Sunday free. After that the training plan sees us lowering the distance walked as we try to allow our bodies time to recover in time for the main event. I can get two big walks in between now and the point of slowing down, three at an absolute push. This coming Wednesday, and next Sunday are pencilled in as essential. I have to get my arse in gear. Sounds like I'm being hard on myself. Good - this is the exact time for that! Get your arse into gear, Stevie!!!

With five weeks to go until the college is over and done with I feel like I have a little safety net. After these five weeks comes a period of uncertainty. The huge walk will be history. I won't have to worry about training plans and sore legs. I'll have other stressed though. One of them will be work. As I was walking to Rhona's during the week I noticed a window cleaning company busy at work. It got me thinking that this might be an easy way to get some money together over summer. This is obviously second choice to getting a hold of Barry the Bullet and trying to go back out to work for the customer base we had built up. With my own work I could decide my own hours and would be paid around double that of any employer. The hassle is in getting back out there. Why has Barry been so hard to reach this time? What's going on? Lindsay says that we'll add him as a friend on her Facebook profile this evening and see if we can reach him that way. Just in case he's lost his phone and hasn't been getting my calls and messages.

There is also the option of trying something totally different. Why go back into window cleaning? That's something surely related to my old life and so might be taking a step backwards. Maybe I'd be best pushing myself a little and trying something totally different and out of my comfort zone – like I did when I started volunteering for the Anna and Elsa at the charity shop last summer. Would this be affected by a decision to seek employment elsewhere? Would I be able to continue to volunteer? Would there be a need to? Would I have moved on? I'll be trying like a bear to reach Barry through Facebook this evening and looking for other ways of contacting him. Failing that I can always go and knock on the doors of some customers and go looking for him that way. Track him down. Failing that I'll maybe be best looking for something else for the coming summer.

And then what happens after that? Am I to go back to college to try for a sound production diploma? Is that really what I'm looking at doing? Is that really what I want to do? This coming Monday there are four of us students going into a studio to get some practice in and so I have been expected to practice guitar parts for four songs we are gonna be trying to record. I've been struggling with this. I've been struggling to get into the guitar for a long time actually. Remember that audition I had with that band last May, just over a year ago now, actually, yikes?! That was the last time I put any effort into my instrument. I think that may have actually been the last time I spent any time with it at all. I am thinking that if I cannot get into the swing of things soon then perhaps I would be best putting my gear up for sale. I don't think I'm overreacting here. I just don't think I have a passion for playing guitar anymore.

So do I really want to take anything further in terms of the audio industry? It's difficult to decide. I guess I don't have to decide now but it would be a little more relaxing to have some kind of plan set out in front of me. As things stand it feels as though I've had a year long holiday, a year's reprieve, from my old life but am setting up and getting ready to return to it in five weeks. It's not exactly a thought that fills me with hope and optimism for the future.

A couple of months ago one of my neighbours complained to the council that I was not living at my address. I'd spent a lot of time over the Christmas period at Lindsay's flat. My council housing officer called me and we arranged a meeting in the cave. He had been told that it had been abandoned. Yesterday I look at my phone and notice this text message:

''Hi Stephen, ive had reports again that you've not been staying there. Is everything okay? The neighbours have reported your windows wide open, they are concerned for you incase somebody breaks in while your not there''

I should do well not to think about the poor grammar of someone in a position of power and authority over me. The windows are open but they are not wide open as has been stated. The reason no one will break in is because the front of the cave looks onto a main road with a bus shelter directly opposite. Too many people look onto the street and the neighbours are clearly nosy bastards. I don't think that I'm going to be able to fool this situation for much longer. I'm going to have to let the surrounding houses think I'm in. The only way I know to do this is to continue to open and close the windows every time I am in – alternate them frequently – and, on days when I am in, create noise. The way I'll do this is by hooking the speakers up to the computer on a Friday morning when I leave for my voluntary shift and leave a playlist running at volume the whole four hours I'm away. Not volume that will attract a police presence – but volume enough that the neighbours realise that they could have much worse people staying next door to them than I. It'll be Opeth for breakfast for my local residents every Friday morning. When I am there during midweek evenings I will be doing the same – visiting Gillon and English Sara while Opeth screams the house down back in the cave. Keep alternating the windows between open and closed.

Right then – the weekend is underway and Lindsay will be awake soon. The bulk of the final round up of matches in the football season doesn't happen until tomorrow. I'll find plenty to do though.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Left the windows open.

1346

Lunarer
May 21st, 2017, 04:50 AM
Sunday, May 21st 2017 (Moss and the Stone)


Lindsay's brother is coming to give us a lift to a town a few miles away at half past eleven, around two hours from now. The four of us (Lindsay, her brother, his one year old son, and our twisted narrator) will be going for lunch before heading shopping for something for me to wear for this wedding next week. I'm trying to go easy on the cash situation so it'll be a pair of trousers and a shirt. I have shoes but I'll have to buy a pair of trainers for the big walk and I need to do this soon as they'll need broken in for a good few miles before the event – an event which will still be underway exactly three weeks from now despite it starting at midnight. I'll be well into the second marathon by this time, assuming all goes well. The training for it seems to be taking another dip this weekend. The leg muscles are still a little tight and the weather is still a little on the wet side. Wouldn't stop a real walker but I'm just a causal one.

At the ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Families) meeting yesterday I was hearing about some people who are taking up walking very seriously though. In fact – they make what I'm doing seem quite pathetic. There are three members of AA who are trying to raise money for the Scottish Recovery Walk by walking five hundred miles throughout the month of July. That works out at around sixteen miles per day, every single day of the thirty one. I know the three people she's talking about and I just can't believe that they would be physically capable of this task. Then I begin to think about some of the factors involved. Neither of the three of them have to work and so they have all day, every day, really, to complete this. Because of this they can perhaps watch their pace. One of the reasons I think that my muscles tighten so often (besides lack of adequate stretching before and afterwards) is because of the time limit associated with the walk itself meaning that I have to keep up a continual speed of walking the entire time. I'm trying to get my average up to around four and a half miles an hour but it's proving very difficult to keep up. Maybe these guys are walking more slowly and this makes it more achievable? I may contact one of them to find out some information. I doubt I'd have time (or the physical ability) to complete it but the college will be over with by then so I may have some extra time. This would be taking the double marathon to the next level.

The ACA meeting itself was a disaster though. I don't know how to listen to my criticism and judgement best. Judgement doesn't just come for no reason I don't think. As the members are each taking their turns to speak there are one or two my brain starts to oppose. Dr. Bacon would likely say that this is my Critical Parent Mode in action and that I should not listen. I should stuff this voice out and listen to what is being said. If this is so, and my judgement (and let's not pretend, dear reader, whoever you may be, that you do not judge others yourself. That was one of the many problems I had with the WQD forum – it was filled with people who assured me they did not judge others at all and tried to convince me that they were all but perfect ) is indeed my Critical Parent Mode talking to me, then I think that it does actually serve a purpose to me thus contradicting what Dr. Bacon was talking with me about on Thursday.

We talked about my confusion regarding two of my Schema Modes: The Critical Parent and the Healthy Adult. One of my problems is not knowing which is which sometimes and confusing one as being the other. Judgement of people in ACA is something that only my Critical Parent would do and so I'll write this down on my homework sheet. But I would say that it could only be my Healthy Adult that would recognise this. That makes sense to me but I could be confusing them again. Sandra (woman who started up ACA in this part of Scotland – the Kingdom of Fife) goes first and she starts talking about how some guy has approached her on the bus on the way through and asked her on a date. They were going to be heading out for drinks later that evening.

This sets me off. Either my Critical Parent Mode begins to tell me that this is her third man since I started attending these meetings just six or seven weeks ago and that I have no idea why she would mention this to us besides perhaps the fact that she is desperate for us to think of her as attractive and desirable – this woman was perhaps attractive once but she is now starting to look very haggard and unwell, fatigued from long spells of suffering and worry, as she approaches her sixtieth birthday – and she is obviously fighting off terrible feelings of perhaps facing the rest of her life alone. Next week she'll have fallen out with him and she'll talk about how he's co-dependent or himself an Adult Child and so on and so forth. This is not at all going along with what is discussed in the self help book she loaned me the other week. This is feeding the judgement of my Critical Parent.

Like so many in AA – why bring this stuff to a meeting? The meetings are grounds for sharing our experience, strength and hope – not sharing our dysfunctional behaviours and thinking patterns, not for seeking attention or validation. Then I pause. I had a good sponsor. It is only through him that I know all of the stuff I just mentioned. In many ways sponsorship is like parenting but pertains only to the life in the rooms. I know the behaviour and how I should conduct myself in meetings. I'm not saying that I always do – but I know how to. Maybe others who had much weaker sponsors learned things another way. Maybe their own Bully and Attack Modes were encouraged whereas mine was trained to be suppressed. This is more judgement you might notice but is it all my Critical Parent? Could it not instead be my Healthy Adult warning me that there is nothing else to be learned in these rooms? That AA and ACA and all of the rest of them have had their use? That the future for me lies outside of the false recovery that these places encourage?

The time has perhaps come at long last where I don't bother with any of the groups at hand. This is quite possibly the warning that my Healthy Adult Mode is giving out to me. The healthy people leave when the time is right – this is why the rooms are so full of sick people. Look at my sponsor. Used to do three meetings a week but now that he has a baby he is only at one. He's other things to do now. This will all be going down in my homework sheet for Dr. Bacon and our next session a week on Thursday.

Lindsay says that her family is as distant as mine. Yesterday she called her brother to ask if he'd be willing to pick us up from the wedding on Saturday. The next thing he was talking about was that his partner was working and he was going to be bored with the baby all day. Lindsay seemed to read between the lines here and suggested we all go for lunch today. She says that her brother was hinting but to actually ask to spend time with her would be a sign of weakness for him or completely out of his emotional comfort zone. He fucks around instead.

I think about my own brother and his family. Mum said when we met a couple of weeks ago that she only hears from him when they are looking for a babysitter. It's getting to be like that with me too. It hurts. But my brother is much like Lindsay's. He's not in touch with his feelings at all. He's useless at displaying any emotion whatsoever and he's incredibly poor at sticking up for himself and asking for what he wants. He's effectively got the emotional range of a piece of moss or the stone it clings to.

Lindsay and I are supposed to be working through things the likes of which our brothers may never get the chance to. We're trying to become healthy adults while our brothers just assume that they already are, if they even ever give it a moment's thought. It's up to us then to be the bigger guys and to make the first move.

Lindsay's done her part and it worked out fine.

My turn next.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Has a brother who's like moss and a stone.

1563

Lunarer
May 23rd, 2017, 01:50 PM
Monday, May 22nd 2017 (Three Years On The Cue)




That's how long it would have been had it (the Cue – nickname for the forum I originally joined when I was just starting out with this recovery thing) still been going and survived into another year. It was nice to have everything consolidated into the one journal on one website but I feel a little more secure now that I write on multiple platforms. I feel as though it's less likely that my little online world is going to come crashing down one day just because we lose one website. It's also healthy to move on. What was fast becoming stale has been revamped, rejuvenated.

I'm not revamped or rejuvenated though. At least not all that much. As I think back to what I was writing one year, two years, three years ago, I am left with this horrible feeling that I am not all that close to being on the mend. In some ways I actually feel as if there has been no significant improvement at all. I am still so very negative, take myself far too seriously, and still have fears regarding almost anything and everything that may or may not exist on this earth. Whatever I or you or anyone else can think of there is likely some deep, psychiatric, psychological, or philosophical reasons for me to in some way fear it. I liked what Dr. Bacon said during our last session about him believing that it is part of human nature to always feel threatened. He was saying it largely to appease some of my own views I was expressing at the time but it definitely concerns me how quick I am to jump on anything that makes human beings out to be pathetic and weak. These comments confirm my bias'.

Surely, though, there must have been some improvements in my life during the three years I've been rambling on these forums!? There have been, of course there have been. The list might not be endless but it's certainly quite long, I should think. Where I'm not all that positive that there have been a great many positive changes is with regards to my thinking habits and patterns. These I still struggle with on a minute-by-minute basis sometimes. In some ways I think that there are signs I am doing even worse with my thinking than I was doing before. I don't write with as much humour in my posts, for instance. I often just seem to come right out and say it, whatever it is, and it's never usually all that pleasant.

Maybe I'm doomed to always be this way. Or maybe I am changing but it is happening so slowly that I don't notice it, happening so slowly that it might actually be many more years before I begin to see the positive changes I say that I so desperately want. Or do I perhaps still cling onto dysfunctional behaviours that have served me so well in the past. When I say ''well'' I mean in terms of helping me avoid moving on and perhaps confronting one or two things. I used to get accused of this quite a lot. Clinging onto my dysfunctional thinking so that I wouldn't have to change. The idea that I perhaps did want to change – just not enough to actually want to do something about my life. That I wanted both everything to change and nothing to change. Much of it was probably very accurate come to think of it.

Dr. Bacon says that psychology is all about the beliefs that no one does anything without there not being a reason for it. That people do not get stuck in patterns that do not work for them for no reason. There's always a pay off, even though it may be very short term. I'd like to think that I am getting a little better at thinking more long term. I think it'd be quite unfair to criticise me too much for not being able to think much beyond the immediate future in recent times. When I first started posting there was very little chance of me thinking beyond the very short term. I hardly ever thought beyond the drink that day. There wasn't much else worth thinking about. When I sobered up I started to think more long term but people kept telling me to keep it in the day, to take life a day at a time. It was designed to slow me down a little, to stop me from thinking that the moods I was having back then were going to last forever. It worked for a while.

Over the last year I have started to think a little more about the long term than I am used to. About what things might be like beyond today, or even tomorrow. Lindsay seems to have her heart set on going on holiday, taking a trip abroad, when she graduates and finishes her placement hours. This is set to happen on September 26th and so we are looking to be leaving on the 27th or the day after. This will require planning and thinking ahead. We'll have to do a bit of saving. It'll require that I think beyond tomorrow. I'm cool with that now though. The college is proof that I can think more long-term than the next day. Five weeks from now and it'll all be over.

When I really think back to what it has been like over the last three years I've been writing online I can remember some particularly nasty spells which I can't possibly deny were much worse than anything I can see me having to face this year. What about the sleeping problems I had in the very early days? From the time I first joined and tried to get sober in 2014 my nights were plagued with sleeplessness. There were several times when I was up for consecutive days and nights without a moment's rest. I remember it not being the most fun. This sleeping pattern seemed to continue until last year when I started to fall asleep quite quickly and to stay asleep once I was there. I also don't have such problems in waking as I perhaps used to.

There's also the fact that I don't ever feel like throwing everything away by taking my own life. That's the major change in the last three years.

Really I'm just huffing and puffing. To say that things are no better than three years ago would be silly. I should simply say instead that while I am not always exactly where I'd like to be I should be grateful that things are generally on a steady incline.

When I compare each year briefly I can honestly and safely say that 2015 was better than 2014; last year better than 2015; and this year, so far, better than last.

Here's to another three years.....


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'


'
'
'
Stevie

Three years writing online......

1180

Lunarer
May 23rd, 2017, 01:52 PM
Tuesday, May 23rd 2017 (The Only One To Pass)



Sometimes they make fun of me at the college by the number of words I write. We have online blogs to write every day we have classes and the others in my class tend to write nowhere near the amount I do. My blog (which actually counts as our student portfolio for the Scottish Qualifications Authority so is pretty important really) is enormous and there's no chance in hell that a lecturer will read it all. I'm confident that any random date selected will be home to a post that will demonstrate what they are looking for us to know in terms of technical and theoretical knowledge and skills. We also must complete a series of paperwork assignments for each of our projects and this includes a reflective report. Again, mine are always much longer than the others. I'm the only sound production student I know who might be described as being a writer. They aren't nasty about my writing lengths, it's more of an ongoing joke. This morning we are given an assessment – what will be the final one of the year – and we get on with it. We're discussing copyright laws and styles regarding remixing. My answers are vast (I think this is what they are looking for – full answers) and the joke is on me afterwards. In the afternoon the joke is on them as we are handed our results (I'm assuming they were marked over lunch) and I am the only one in the class to pass. The only way to ensure that you include everything they are looking for is to write down everything you know on the subject. I'll be polishing one of my projects while the others are resitting a two hour assessment. I'd rather keep my writing as it is.

I was standing at the vending machine awaiting my latte (I know – just because I'm at my Slimming World target does not mean I should be slacking off but a latte every now and then won't kill me – just add the syns with all the milk) and I notice a text on my phone (obviously – where else am I going to notice a text??!!?? It is from Sandra, the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families. She always messages me to ask how I found the meeting at the weekend and this week I explained that I found it very hard going. That I might take a back seat from all meetings from now on, pop in once every couple of months or so. She asked me why and I explained that I felt as though I was doing okay for a while and then I started going to ACA and went back to AA and now all of a sudden I feel as though I am struggling a bit again. So today she has sent me this:

Sandra – ''Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed, you can bandage bleeding, with food, alcohol, drugs, work, cigarettes, sex, but eventually it will stain and ooze through your life. Finding strength to open the wounds, pull up the core of the pain. That is holding you in your past. Make peace with yourself and this will rub off on others. Keep safe.X''

I couldn't quite get my head around it before the vending machine told me that my latte was awaiting collection in the cup below. Still can't work it out now. Is it not the craziest thing ever? What is she trying to say exactly? Is it a case of I am not sure if being in meetings serves me all that well and so all of a sudden I must have a billion open wounds? That I'm somehow sick because I just don't feel that meetings help me out much at this moment in time? Is that what's going on? Or is she trying to tell me something? Does she see me as nothing more than a walking, sometimes talking, open and bleeding wound? Of all the things she mentioned in her text as ways to bandage bleeding wounds (food, alcohol, drugs, work, cigarettes, sex) I don't actually take part in any of them. I suppose I eat food but only as much as I need to keep hunger away. I don't believe in eating for the sake of eating. I can't help thinking that anyone who would send me a message like that must be at least a few peanuts short of a Snickers.

Darren from college is quitting weed tomorrow. His live-in partner quit two weeks ago and now he has to too. Two weeks. I want to tell him that two weeks is nothing in the quitting world but there's no point. If he asks then I'll mention what I think, but why would he? He is very specific about this plan of his. I hope he does it but can't see it being the cruise he seems to think it will be. I remember how sure I was when I told myself that I'd had my last drink and puffed my last doobie, only to pick one or both up again shortly afterwards. Yet I was so damn sure at the time! Darren is damn sure at this moment but he might be about to discover just how strong the pull of his crutch is. His partner may find out the same very soon. Let's hope he does manage it though.

I bumped into mum at lunchtime. She had just been to Youngest Niece's sports day. I had no idea it was even on. It amazes me how distant my family is becoming. Over the course of 2017 I have noticed a tremendous gap growing between my brother and I. The gap with mum has been increasing for years. Now there is one with my brother, and that means my nieces too. I guess it's just something that comes with getting older. People are going to start getting a little more distant.

A customer text this afternoon as well and asked if my window cleaning company would be calling around anytime soon. I replied that we'd hope to get there by the end of next week. This buys me a little time but I've no idea why I would come out with that. I don't even know where Barry the Bullet is. For all I know he has another job and has lost his phone. That would be enough for him to not know or care that I was trying to reach him and have been messaging him daily for a couple of weeks now. I'm tried, using Lindsay's social media, to contact him this way but he hasn't been active yet. I am thinking about maybe calling on this customer who has text when I am in my town tomorrow. I could try. She might be able to tell me exactly when Barry was last round. If I could try to work out roughly where about on the run he is then I might be able to track him down. In five weeks I am going to have finished with college and will be hoping to get as many hours as I can get. I have to find Barry.

Tomorrow I'm walking thirty miles. I'll be leaving in the morning when Lindsay leaves for her first shift of her last placement. This is the big one – twelve weeks full time. Then she's an extra month to catch up before she starts her job after we come back from Spain or wherever we end up going. It all sounds like a good little plan. Not the thirty miles though – it sounds like hell. That and Sunday and then that'll be the long walks done until the event itself two weeks later.

Lots happening.

'
'
'

'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off for a bath.....

1332

Lunarer
May 24th, 2017, 03:11 AM
Wednesday, May 24th 2017 (Thinking Miles in the Morning)



Lindsay started her first shift of her final placement this morning. She started at seven but I was out the door with her. I have an appointment with the doctor at half past two and thirty miles to walk before I get there. I allowed eight hours for the walk so I had to get out there at the crack of dawn. All this walking sucks. Alas, I was to turn around at the bus stop as soon as Lindsay had boarded and return to the comfort and laziness of her sitting room. That was all just a couple of hours ago. Now I am more awake and in tune with what needs to be done.

I'm going to have to make a trip to my town this afternoon for a doctor's appointment. Even though I stopped taking my Setraline antidepressant medication I still collect it every couple of months so that there is a paper trail that says I still use it. I have found that this worked to my benefit last year, just having something that says I take medication, and so I am reluctant to become rid of it altogether just yet. So collect the antidepressants this afternoon I shall. I wouldn't mind getting to my town a little earlier as I could do with popping into the college to make final preparations for submitting my remix project. As far as I can tell there were five things still to complete in order for me to gain my NC in sound production. There was the remixing project which I have all but completed. There was the assessment we got yesterday morning which I managed to pass. That's almost two of the five ticked off.

The other three things are just getting started though. There's the radio broadcast we do on Thursday mornings. I'm a little behind on that but there are still plenty weeks left to catch up but for tomorrow I have my script to be completed. I could be getting on with that as a way to cope with the guilt of not going on the massive walk I had scheduled although I will be walking to the next town and back a little later on. Besides the radio broadcast there is one other MIDI unit to be done (which we didn't have to do until the SQA decided that they were going to be paying the college a visit and checking out their creative industries section) which is underway but still has a couple of hours to be spent on it before it really starts to sound like a finished product. Then there's the eighth and final project which will be a digital DJ unit – a live performance played out using one of the software programs we use to create music in class.

So one of the five things has already been done and one of them is all but done. That only leaves three things to do and I have done what I set out to do. I've managed to gain my qualification. Exactly what the fuck I might do with it totally remains to be seen but at least I'm doing things I set out to do – providing you don't count the thirty mile walk I should by now be on. There are still four full weeks after this week to get these things ticked off. I can smell the finish line. Just keep pushing. I've also put my name down as a volunteer to help set up a stage where an orchestra will be playing some time in the near future. A full orchestra will be getting recorded and so this will be an enormous task in setting up. It'll be good for me to get some more hands-on experience.

Besides college stuff I can't think of much else I could be doing to take the sting out of my laziness (although it will be around fifteen – twenty miles walking to my doctors and back so I should go easy on myself) so I'll do a little housework so that the place is all clean for Lindsay coming back this evening. I'll get the dinner on for her coming back too. Twelve hours in a hospital ward is not to be sniffed at. I don't know if I'd be able to do it, and if I did, whether I'd be able to do it all again the next day, and the next. She's on today, tomorrow and Friday, and the off for the weekend (we have her friend's wedding on Saturday). We're not sure on her shifts after that but it'll be three per week with a fourth shift one week in every month for the next three months or so. For as long as I was away from the AA rooms there – she'll have this placement. It seems like a long time.

I saw a wave through a car window as I was heading back here after college yesterday and noticed it was an AA punter. I'm starting to become much more comfortable with not being there, with the knowledge that it's okay for me not to be there, that I don't actually have to go to meetings all the time. I don't resent the fellowship either for using its scaremongering tactics to keep me there and so creating within me a dependent attitude and belief system although it does still frustrate me that they do this to everyone who comes through the doors, but I understand the self-preservation that is the underlying reason that they do this. Just like that I'm taking some time away from ''recovery'' again and not even thinking about it. I'm looking forward to not having to sit through an ACA meeting this weekend either, especially after that text message sent to me by Sandra yesterday. They really are a crazy bunch of people. It takes a certain amount of wellness to have started within one before they can start to spot just exactly the types of people that attend these meetings frequently. Maybe there is resentment still there as I seem to start to feel awkward even talking about these fellowships.

So – there's college stuff to be getting on with since I've decided against a thirty mile walk (but will be walking to the next town later on, and back again) and this can be done both on this very laptop (radio script) and the college computers (remixing project) and it would be a really successful day were I to manage to finish off both of these. I also have to get in something for Lindsay's dinner this evening and she's left her vape with me on the off-chance I might be passing the store to get the coil fixed. She's not ready to stop smoking yet but she's ready for vaping so I guess it's a step in the right direction, even if it feels a little to me like replacing a bottle of cider with a bottle of wine. As long as it's more socially acceptable then we can convince ourselves somehow that we're doing the right thing.

We rarely ever do the right thing though, do we!?

Just look at the news coverage of the bombing in Manchester this week, and the way that everyone is talking about it.

There's this whole idea that we're in some movie or something and that ''they'' are the bad guys and that ''we'' are the good. We just point the finger in scorn and then go back to what we always have done and in so doing help maintain the systems that cause this kind of thing to happen. Nothing ever changes. Until it does then I think we should expect bombings like this to increase in frequency and devastation as the years tick by. In my country and yours.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Trying to make up for not walking his thirty miles.

1340

Lunarer
May 25th, 2017, 05:22 AM
Thursday, May 25th 2017 (The Other Side of London)


Yesterday I ended up going out on a walk after all and managed to get eighteen miles in. That takes my total miles walked since quitting smoking to four hundred and twenty one, or, from my front door in Fife, Scotland, all the way down through England and out the other end of London with not much to go until I reach the tunnel and then I'm off into Europe. Hypothetically at least. Afterwards I weighed myself and was just under eleven stone – half a stone under my Slimming World target weight and in the red – but much of this will return as the evening turns to night.

I stop twice on route to get some more water in and I read the papers while I'm waiting in the queue. Quite predictably the headlines are all related to Manchester and the recent terrorist attacks. Every journalist getting a little hard-on, actually excited by the news of all this death so that they might get a story and make a little cash. It's disturbing. It's also very disturbing how the nature of the attacks are never discussed openly. Why does this happen? What are the reasons? Americans seem to think that (and us Brits are catching on – foolishly) it is just because we are the good guys and the ''terrorists'' are the bad guys – like we're all in some movie or some shit. Talk about childish and burying your head in the sand. Why do these things really happen? Why, when we ourselves commit acts of extremism and terrorism against other countries, do we say that it is in defence? That we are doing so passively? Does every country tell its citizens this fairytale? And are they, like us, stupid enough to just suck it up, devour every spoonful that we can get coaxed into our rumour-obssessed little mouths?

I wonder what's really going on. Terrorists often say that they use violence as a last resort. I can see their point. Using violence against human beings seems to be the only way to shut them up for two fucking seconds get them to listen. I get why people might call these attacks ''senseless'' as the newspapers certainly have, but I don't think there will be no sense to them at all. People aren't motivated by things like senselessness. There will be as much sense to it as when we attack and bomb other countries. We are as much terrorists as anyone, America is the worst though. At least it was quick in Manchester. Britain and America are well known for their torture when they commit their acts of terrorism – acts which result in far greater death tolls than we've seen this week. It is reported that this bombing was a revenge for air strikes in Syria and so what do we expect!?

We've said our piece and done our grieving. Let's move on to a solution now, and I don't mean tightening security all over the country. What were they trying to communicate? If we do what we always do and pull together for a short time but just revert back to being selfish pricks to each other by next week and cruising around with that sense of entitlement we are almost born with these days then we are just sentencing the victims of the next attack to their deaths. That's exactly what we'll do though. Just go back to our hate and rage. Read the newspapers every day which feed our fears and hatred, continue to buy products from companies that promote these kinds of events by producing worldwide inequality and poverty (not to mention the cruelty to animals and children and the environment that we contribute to every single day all in the name of saving a buck or two – a million mini-terrorist attacks each and every day committed by each and every one of us) and nothing changes. Then we are shocked when it happens again!?!? I don't get it. How can someone who shops at Walmart even say that they care about attacks like this? It's the ultimate in hypocrisy. Human beings are fucking morons!!

My brother had his finals yesterday. I have no idea how he got on. We're not exactly close these days for some reason. I'm guessing that it's something to do with me. He's been studying for his diploma in horticulture and so that will be that. He'll be onto his degree next. Gillon will be in the same position. Off to university next year. Lindsay started her placement and it seemed to go well. She's there for twelve weeks and then she'll be almost done. I'm left behind wondering exactly what it is that I might do with the rest of my life. There hasn't been much hope for me for a long time. I think that my carers had some hope for me back when I was a wee boy but it never happened. One by one I failed every stage in Erickson's lifespan development theory.

Things can go anywhere I want them to really. I'll never have a ''normal'' life in the way that some people do who don't have my disadvantages growing up and into their middle-age. Lots of people hit the ground running at school and things work out. For many of us it is different. I'm going to be competing with people half my age for much of the time. I already am at college as my peers all tend to be much younger. I don't have much working experience doing anything other than cleaning windows. I'm shaping up to be a very late developer. There's no real catching up for me. It'll always be a life of damage limitation.

Sometimes I get sick of being involved in all of this recovery stuff that promises to change the way I am and think. It doesn't take too long being involved in these things before you begin to realise just how totally messed up these people in recovery are and if it hasn't worked for most of them then how is it going to work for me? I suppose I have on tremendous advantage over many of my recovery peers in that I don't feel the need to go completely over the top in order to have people think of me as being nice, and caring, and loveable, and...... I can happily admit that I am doing this charity double marathon for my own selfish goals and desires. The fact that it involves sponsorship money and contributes towards breast cancer (which killed my father's mother) is all fair and well but it's not why I'm doing it.

For me to even be able to admit that must surely show some degree of wellness in me. To say that is to demonstrate the kind of honesty that you can't buy and that most humans can't comprehend. But that's the truth – I'm walking these miles for my own reasons and not for the charity, just like everything else I do.

It disgusts me to my core to see how this disease of needing to be liked and agreed with and respected has filtered to something like these recent attacks down south. People using the deaths of their fellows as a way to validate their own feelings of worth and self-importance. But that's what humans have done historically.

Solidarity may be our strength, but we only demonstrate that when we're either killing others or being killed by them. That's human nature in a nutshell.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Learning from the worst.

1284

Lunarer
May 26th, 2017, 02:57 PM
Friday, May 26th 2017 (Convention's Eve)



I can run my fingers through my Dragon Tree, cusp its leaves in my hand, and easily feel how strong it is. They say that when we sober up we are so useless at caring for anything that we should try to keep a house plant alive for one full year. In 2015 I tried and bought two plants, both of which died over a particularly bad winter for me personally. Last year I figured I try again and bought the same two plants. Over the most recent winter only one of them died – the Leopard Lily – but this other one is still going strong. A few days from now it will be eleven months old having been purchased on June 30th. With the temperatures as they currently are there is little doubt in my mind that in five weeks time I'll be buying it a birthday card.

The weather has been brilliant over the last few days. This morning the sun is at it again. Tomorrow one of Lindsay's university pals ties the knot (with an ex-convict who battered an older man with a baseball bat so that he needed twelve hours of surgery to reconstruct his face back in 2010 – and who she's known and been going out with for less time that Lindsay and I have been) and I can't see the sunniness and loveliness changing for the worse between now and then. It should be a wonderful day for a wedding. It'll be my first since my only brother's back in September when everything seemed a little easier and more straightforward, but probably wasn't. I've heard that we're supposed to be getting a bit of stormy weather tonight and tomorrow morning, which wouldn't surprise me, but it should clear up and turn nice and warm again in time for the ring exchange.

Lindsay didn't manage to get through a full week at her placement without fainting and being sent home. I do worry about this. It happened during the last placement, twice, but then didn't happen at all in all the weeks since. Perhaps it's the temperature inside the hospital. Maybe it's a stress related thing. Whatever it is we could do with it fucking off as quickly as it arrives as soon as placements start.

Yesterday saw the fourth and last meeting with the visitors from Glasgow who arrived here hoping to gather our local council and residents of my local area and discuss what might be best to do to improve our lives. Some of the ideas are just never going to get started although there is a singing group starting up soon and it will be held in the library. The fact that the council are going to let it be opened for use is a good sign. I don't know how close it is to being reopened – or if that will ever happen – but I'm told that this group from Glasgow, if they've done anything, it's to raise awareness of how missed the library is. The Charity Shop Cafe is also mentioned a lot at the meetings and the importance of keeping it. I don't see how these people can't see that some of the decisions they are making put our beloved charity shop at risk.

Today I fucked up big style by not going to the Charity Shop Cafe for my volunteering shift. I can't really give any real reasons as to why I didn't get up in the morning and just go and do it like I do every other week. I was asked yesterday at the meeting what I considered myself to be: a volunteer, or a voluntary worker. The man asking me I sensed had some opinion on what the difference might be and so I gave it a little thought before I answered. I figured he might mean that I am a volunteer because I am doing it off my own back, I'm not being asked to do it from the job centre or government as part of a deal for me to qualify for benefits. This is not what he meant. I guess what he's saying is mostly true: I am a voluntary worker because I have duties laid out for me each and every week (except this week apparently) and am working – it's just that I accept not being paid for it. What's to stop them from paying us? I have my own reasons for opting to work there and they are pretty vast. Apparently this philosophy has come from Scotland's best crime fiction writer Val McDermid (not that terrible author we are know for in Fife – Ian Rankin).

I work there (and let's face it – I only do three hours a week, fuck all really) because I feel it's part of my Step Nine amends. Most of my worst drinking was done towards the end when I stayed in this part of the town. I should be giving back if I can, so I work there. No one who visits the charity shop was at the wrong end of any of my violent drinking nightmares – it's more a case of me personifying the area. I'm making my amends with this part of the town. I also feel that the charity shop was good to me while I was sobering up. It was a place I could go and think about things in the earliest days. More than this I also am starting to build up a reference in project manager Elsa (although today will most definitely be a black mark against my name) which might make up for my lack of experience in the workplace at future job interviews. These are all good reasons enough for me to forsake the thoughts of payment for my brief and meagre services.

In terms of real work I am getting close to the end of my college course and will be looking for work. It makes sense that I try to get back to my old job and I now have four weeks to try to get a hold of Barry the Bullet or I may have to go looking elsewhere. This would not be a bad thing I guess but the advantages lie in getting a hold of Barry and getting back out to doing what I used to do. They include being able to pick my hours and much higher wages. The efforts to locate him will have to be such that it is my priority from next week. There's four teaching weeks left at college before we break off on June 23rd. We're not in on a Friday though so it'll actually be the 22nd. Less than a month. It'll come around quickly.

Moving onwards.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Decided against helping set up the AA Fife Convention tonight.

1154

empyr3al
May 26th, 2017, 03:16 PM
I have a plant that has lived for a year and a half despite me slipping once or twice for a bit. Its pretty healthy but not grown like I expected. Though I should check its soil ph, etc and fertilize. I lost one plant (A bamboo plant) but it was more tricky. So in plant therapy choosing a plant that can survive for a bit is good. Kind of like relationships. How much pain can you cause. Yes it is a measure of whether you are staying on track. I find its a huge self assesment tool and helps you regain confidence.

Amends are a big deal :) I appreciate what you have said and wish you the best. I have been thinking of volunteering as well. I think worker means more that you are working on yourself but I have not read those books so I don't know the context. Possibly it means responsibility?

I'm sorry you lost your mojo today and didn't follow through on a promise. Don't let it hurt you too badly.

Lunarer
May 27th, 2017, 01:28 AM
Saturday, May 27th 2017 (Thinking Conventionally)



Feel a little guilty posting my rantings and ravings given what's just happened on the site (My Way Out), but here goes.

Lindsay's still in bed and I'm up early. We have to be at her pal's house for two this afternoon for this wedding and the weather so far is holding up nicely. A storm is supposed to be on its way though. I'm up a little earlier as I've decided to make my way to the AA convention after all. I don't know why really. I've just been drawn to it for some reason. I'll only be able to attend the first part and then I'll have to make my way back here to get myself ready for this wedding. There's plenty time to get everything done.

I went to my first convention back in May of 2015 when I was only three months sober. It was an eye-opener for many reasons. For a start I was new to the fellowship and was still at the stage of lapping up every bit of it I could get close to. Secondly – I was amazed by the sheer number of people I had got to know in this short period of time. Literally dozens, if not a hundred. These were all people I'd never set eyes on just one hundred days earlier. I was making friends left, right, and centre. I was there with my AA sweetheart Jenna, and good pal in the fellowship in my first year Bain. I was one of the newcomers. The hopes for the future.

At this first AA Fife Convention I had arranged to meet with Stu who would become my AA sponsor. At this large gathering of former drunks we had our first little chat on sponsorship. Stu asked me outright: have I ever actually sat down and thought about it? I am never to drink again! I went back to the cave and gave it a little pondering. I concluded that this is actually quite difficult to deal with as a though. So much for treating it a day at a time, eh? I met with him the Wednesday after that and I began working on the AA Twelve Step program. I have fond memories of this first convention.

I wasn't at last year's convention. Things had changed significantly in the twelve months and my resentment with AA was growing. Rather my resentments with some members within the fellowship. I was still working my way through these Steps and had been to Fife Intergroup a few times by this time. As a result of this I received emails from the Fife Convention Committee. I still do actually. I began to see how childish some members of the committee could be. I was supposed to be heading down to the venue the night before to help set up and then to be helping out on the day at the reception.

Just days before last year's convention kicked off I received emails from the guy who runs the convention, the main guy, the head of the Convention Committee, as did everyone else who was on the mailing list. The emails were rather rude and very accusatory. I asked Stu if it was he some of the issues on the emails were referring to. Turns out that it was. Stu had done something that had caused one of our female members to go back out and drink. I was confused. Then it turned out that this woman had not had a drink at all. I sent a message to the head of the committee asking for an explanation and, if possible, an apology for the very unprofessional use of cursing in his emails. What I got in return was something that I thought I'd left behind when I stopped drinking. I was still new to the rooms at one year and three months sober and was still looking for guidance on how to behave and conduct myself. I thought long and hard and decided that I wasn't going to support something like this, someone like this. He'd offended and lied about my sponsor; lied about someone in the fellowship drinking (which in itself gets everyone all animated in typical AA fashion and could potentially be dangerous) and now he was being a general prick in response to my questions about it all. I told him to remove my name from the list of volunteers on the day.

They apparently always kick off the day with the count down. This was true the only time I was there. They start at day one. If this is someone's first day sober then they are to stand in front of everyone and they are given a Big Book. If no one is on day one then they move up the days until someone stands. Then we go up and up, through the weeks, months and years until everyone has stood. I think that it was Main Man who stood up last in 2015 and it was around thirty five years. I was three months alongside Jenna and Bain but this morning I'll be standing up when two years is called out. Cool!!

After I've been to the convention I'll be heading to the wedding with Lindsay. I had only actually been to one wedding in my life before I sobered up and by the end of today I'll have been to two since. I didn't exactly hang out with the sort of people who were likely to ever get married, still don't, and so one was my brother and the other is my girlfriend's friend. Lindsay and I aren't getting on wedding-good but we are getting on well. There are times when, as a relationship, it lives up to its stance and reputation as being difficult. People like to say that relationships are tricky. There are other times though when it is so easy that it's difficult to remember that it's supposed to be hard.

The storm will come, the forecast is rarely wrong on that website, but not before the convention, or at least my participation in it, is over. Whether the wedding will avoid it is another thing altogether. I'll be back in around four hours and will be changing into my new trousers and shirt.

But first I have to go spend the morning with a couple hundred sober drunks.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'

'
'
Stevie

Heading to a convention.

1084

Lunarer
May 27th, 2017, 01:32 AM
Thanks, empyr3al.

You're right - I won't let losing my mojo for a day stop me and turn into more than what it needs to be. Glad you managed to successfully raise a plant for a year and a half. That's pretty good going by my book.

:happy2:

Lunarer
May 29th, 2017, 02:08 AM
Sunday, May 28th 2017 (A Convention, Wedding and a Walk)



Right then – lots to get through.

I guess that walking these enormous treks I've been going on as part of this Walk The Walk breast cancer charity walk has been good for me in many ways. It was initially something I started doing as part of my quitting smoking plan and also to help ensure that I did not gain any weight in the early weeks of the quit. Then it turned into training for this challenge. And what a challenge it is shaping up to be. Today the walk was thirty miles and I struggled to the extent where I seriously wonder how the hell I'm gonna manage the full fifty that makes up this challenge. All of this happens on June 10th – less than two weeks now.

Lindsay says that it'll be different on the night. That there will be loads of us doing it and so I won't be walking alone. That time will pass more quickly as a result. Yesterday I noticed something else I'll have at the event itself I am lacking now as two people come out from a house in front of me and start marching, arms swinging in a most regimented manner. I'll have pacers! The only other people strolling along the streets while I am out on these mammoth excursions are more like zombies than actual human beings – heads facing down towards their phones and scuffing their feet along. Those with me on this walk will be punishing themselves in the same way I am and so will be walking with a purpose. I have to admit though – walking thirty two miles today has allowed me to see that this is an enormous distance we are to be walking on the tenth and I'm not absolutely positive I will manage to do it.

Yesterday morning I popped down to the Alcoholics Anonymous convention and before I knew it it had started and I had my seat propped up next to Captain G, Mike, and Leader. I haven't seen many from AA in a few months now and it was pretty good catching up with one or two of them before things got underway. It was pretty quiet though. There were maybe ninety of us there. Lots of empty seats. My only other convention was two years ago and it was busier than this. It's perhaps a sign of the times. I mention this to one of my peers to see what she thinks. There's a kind of ''It's all about the fun and taking part – we don't need a lot of alcoholics here!'' attitude and this seems to be shared by most. I guess that they don't keep as up to date with Intergroup records as I do and know how much this convention is struggling to keep itself afloat and that it's even been mentioned at Intergroup the possibility that it may soon have to close. This thing shouldn't be taken for granted – it's dying, and the attendance this morning kinda shows that.

Jenna is there so I catch up with her. She was something of a sweetheart of mine when I entered the fellowship and we were sober buddies for a few months. I hadn't actually had any real and meaningful conversation with her in over a year and I have to say that she seems different now. She seems more unstable. Like she could burst into tears and go running for alcohol any second if I said the wrong thing. I wonder if this is what my sponsor used to warn me about back when I first came in and we talked about what was and might be happening between Jenna and I. Two years ago at this time she was three months sober; this year she's two months. I wonder what I was thinking back then. I can see now how I was acting in a foolhardy way.

The speakers get underway. Three of them. First up is an attractive foreign woman who instantly tells us about her father dying suddenly when she was five. This is obviously something I can instantly relate to. Then she spoils it all and mentions that she always thought that this had something to do with her turning out to be an alcoholic but that since she came into AA she now knows that it doesn't – that the reason she drank like she did was because she was born an alkie. Instantly any hope that I had for this event drops, I lose my optimism. This is the problem with the fellowship – the indoctrination! The cult mentality. The spreading of dangerous messages such as this one. I am distraught but others seem to be loving this – she's an alcoholic because she was born as one. This seems to be a good enough explanation for them. I wonder if it's, as they say in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families), a case of that they tell themselves that their only problem is drinking and that they became a drinker.....just because.....so that they only have to do that – to stop drinking, and don't have to try to look at the real reasons they were hiding behind booze all these years. Stopping drinking is the easy part.

The second speaker gets underway. This is a little more promising. She starts talking about how she always gravitated towards men when she was younger and drinking. They had something about them that the women didn't. They drank faster, harder, and more in an evening. They got ready to go out, headed out, drank, brawled, then called it a night. I've had similar experiences in that I struggle to mix with other men and find the company of women the easier option. Since sobering up I have worked at this – none more so than at college where all of my peers bar one are other males. The trouble is that this sharer then doesn't mention anything more about it. She mentions nothing of how she tried to sort this problem of hers out. Also – for someone who has brawled as she claims to have – she says nothing of any injuries sustained during these times. No one ever really does. My injuries are quite easy to see. My collarbone tends to stick out from where it was broken in a brawl. The scar on my forehead has healed well but is still noticeable. It's my hand that's the most obvious though – and most of those cracks and breaks are from fight I won! It's not as if winning a fight saves you from injury. Why don't people in AA have any marks on them? As the collection starts going around I speak with Captain G.

Captain G – ''I haven't been going to many meetings either. After I quit from the Sailor's Rest meeting I haven't bothered with a home group.''

Stevie – ''I'm the same. I haven't had a home group since I left the meeting two towns away in the opposite direction nearly a year ago.''

We discuss the sharers and how the problem always seems to be lack of recovery talk. People just talk about the past for half an hour. It's boring once you've heard it. Then they mention what their lives are like now for a couple of minutes at the end.

The third and final sharer begins. I have more hope for him. At the end I turn to Captain G.

Stevie – ''That was a bit better.''

Captain G – ''You think so? I was about falling asleep.''

I guess so. I think the reason it sucked so much this morning was the fact that the sharers were all still very sick in that they seemed totally aware of what their main issues are but demonstrated that they have no desire to actually work on them. The first one is willing to overlook the issues created by her father's death when she was a child and just treat her problems as though they were caused by drinking and drinking only because she was just born an alcoholic. There's no other explanation she seems capable of trying to grasp. The second one just about had a drink ten months ago because her father died from this ''illness'' showing that she is nowhere near strong enough to be up there sharing for us. She looks and sounds like she could pick up and drink at any moment actually. The third sharer doesn't seem to want to sort out what are clearly huge co-dependency issues he has and would rather just hope that everything works out.

This is supposed to leave us inspired? Makes me feel good about my own efforts to get better though – even if they have, for the most part, been in vain thus far. I take the good things from the convention which were.........shit, I can't think of any!! It was nice to meet up with people I haven't seen for a while though. The truth is that I was full of hope going in there but was glad when twelve o'clock came that I had a wedding to be getting ready for.

I've ran out of time to write about the wedding so I'll mention that tomorrow.

'
'
'
'

'
'
'
Stevie

Not all that inspired.

1577

Lunarer
May 31st, 2017, 09:07 AM
Monday, May 29th 2017 (Wedding Reception and the Party Afterwards)



I've just completed a quite horrible eighteen miles of walking which is pretty much the last of the big walks of this training schedule. What made it so difficult was that it came the day after Sunday's horrible thirty two mile trek. The legs are tight and I'm feeling it in my lower back. Mainly it's the feet though – they feel quite incapable of walking any further. That's fifty miles walked in the last two days. It's a fair amount of walking yet it still doesn't equate to what I must walk in one fourteen hour period in less than two weeks. I don't know (and I'm not just moaning here – I'm being totally straight with you) how the hell I'm actually going to cope on the day. It's an enormous challenge for a Stevie. I've also suffered a little sunburn on my arms and the back of my neck due to this wonderful weather we've been having. I should be careful in future when it's hot though – us Scottish dudes just are not built for warm weather like that!

So I was at Lindsay's friend's wedding on Saturday there and had wanted to talk a little about it yesterday but got caught up rambling about the convention and so on and so I didn't get the chance. Dr. Bacon has been keen for me to get on with my home work tasks in trying to spot when my behaviour and personality modes come into effect and how it all pans out. There were plenty opportunities at this wedding to check out my dodgy behaviour and try to gain a little insight into what causes it in the first place.

I learned a great deal about my Detached Protector Mode when I was at the wedding. It was okay actually during the service and while the photographs were being taken – it was really at its worst while we were at the party afterwards. Most people in AA say that they are very socially awkward. Some of them are. Others are not though – they just say that they are. Lindsay is one such person. She often talks of how she lacks confidence in groups of people that she doesn't know but from what I could see at the party she did a pretty good job at socialising. Neither Lindsay nor me knew many of the people who were there (although she did know one or two from our table) but she managed to talk, seemingly effortlessly, to most of them. I found it a tremendous struggle the whole night and was glad when her dad came to pick us up in the car. When we got back to hers I headed straight to bed and fell asleep right away. Lindsay tells me the next day that she wishes she could fall asleep as quickly as I sometimes do. Makes me think back to my early days of sobriety when I just could not get to sleep no matter what I tried.

I think it's the Detached Protector that wants me to hide away in these situations. Get out of here any way you can. Save face and get the fuck outta here!! This could be my Critical Parent but it's much more likely the old Detached Protector. Whichever mode it is I can be damn sure it isn't the Healthy Adult. He's the one I'm supposed to be trying to reach in most situations but always seems to be the most elusive – especially when I'm in a position where Little Stevie feels threatened. The whole idea of a system of modes seems silly to me when I'm in an awkward situation and at exactly the times I should be trying to watch out for them. It means that I'm not really doing my homework for Dr. Bacon, my clinical psychologist, the way I've been asked to. I'm not spotting patterns of mode based thinking and behaviour as they are happening and learning from these experiences but I'm instead dismissing the home work while in the midst of the patterns and then trying to look back on them the next day and hoping to figure them out. It's still doing my home work, just perhaps not in the way I've been asked to. Whatever way I ''choose'' to go about it I think that as long as I have something to show for my efforts this week then all the better our next session will be.

There's no doubt that had I taken a drink of alcohol I would have had a better time (actually – since it's been so long I'd likely overdo it and end up being a complete ass-head and so had a much worse time, made a complete fool of myself and would probably have fallen out with Lindsay – but you know what I mean?!) but that would have been me trying to stuff out my feelings instead of dealing with them. In dealing with them I had a pretty miserable night where I just couldn't connect with anything. My inhibitions were sufficiently high that my self-consciousness was nothing short of overwhelming.

One of the bridesmaids is also Lindsay's friend and it was with her and her family that we sat with at the party and that we arrived in the car with. While in the car on the way there they were bickering. The car is a seven seater and is full. Lindsay does mention this later – how she and I both come from tiny (and, let's be honest – shitty) families who don't really care about us all that much and so it was nice to be amongst another family while they were having some banter – banter those from tiny (and shitty) families don't have the opportunity to become involved in.

She's right. My family – even on the rare occasion that we are together – tend not to know how to laugh and banter with one and other. It's fun to watch others who can but it doesn't have give my self-pity defect a workout – a little play in the sun. I've noticed that my defects have become stronger and more resistant to my defences since I started getting involved again with ACA and AA meetings. The God of my understanding is becoming harder and harder to reach.

It wouldn't surprise me if He's trying to teach me a lesson.

I wonder who'd win in a fight: the God of my understanding or my Detached Protector.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Wouldn't want to bet against either.

1116

Lunarer
May 31st, 2017, 01:35 PM
Tuesday, May 30th 2017 (Loss Aversion)



I'm just back from visiting English Sara and Dennis. I'm not at Lindsay's this evening – I'm in the diabolical and claustrophobic cave instead – and on the way here I checked in at Barry the Bullet's brother's house. He wasn't in and there are no ladders in the back garden. This is where we started keeping the window cleaning equipment when we lost the car and were working in that area. There's still a chance that Barry could still be out and about and working away but is just in a different area but it doesn't look good.

Why won't he answer his phone? Or even text message me back? It'd be great to know either way if there is still a window cleaning business for me to go back to over the summer. It's easily the best way for someone like me to go about earning some cash over the ten weeks I will be without college. I could apply for jobs to keep me going over the summer but how long would it take to get one and to get a start? I could be back cleaning windows for myself with Barry the Bullet the day after the college finishes.

I was at the Credit Union earlier to make a withdrawal. I took out fifty quid. This gives me ten bucks to buy a MIDI keyboard that one of the guys from my college class was selling and forty quid to get me through the next bunch of days. I was gutted to hear my balance. I currently, now that the fifty pounds has been withdrawn, have nine hundred and fifty pounds in the account. This is the first time I've been under a thousand pounds for a while. The thing it – this is the most I've ever had in the bank in my life! This had come completely out of the blue and due to a random bunch of events. Most people have plenty of thousands in the bank at any one time (even those who claim to be alcoholic which is something I could never get my head around) but since I started college I managed to save this cash.

This hasn't happened because I earn a lot being a student or because I'm a hard worker or anything like that. It all happened due to a government fuck up that saw me still receive my sickness benefit that I was on prior to starting my studies as well as the student bursary I get for studying. This means I have been ''earning'' twice as much as I might normally have been. I'll admit that the extra cash saved in not having to pay for nicotine every day since early February has probably helped in this as well. But the bottom line is that I have under one thousand pounds in there and I started to feel something. Could this be Loss Aversion?

Loss Aversion is a part of our psychological make-up and one of the reasons that as a species we are mostly heartless and selfish. I didn't care much about money when I was drinking. I only had to source enough cash each day to buy booze, weed, and cigs, and maybe some food, and I was rocking. Now that I've had a thousand in the bank I am noticing myself feeling different about money. I'm averse to losing it. Despite the MIDI keyboard being a possible investment in a mini-studio I could get up and running in the coming months (which would be really handy if I plan on taking my studies further) and living costs being essential I am hating the fact that the supply of cash is as it is. I'm perhaps more afraid of losing that (or even spending it) than I was of being constantly penniless as I was when I was drinking and at any part of my life before or since. I wonder if this is what it feels like to be a normal person. To live in this constant and irrational fear of losing what we have built. It seems like a horrible way to be. I wonder if we all experience this all the time, just that we deny it to ourselves. No wonder humans seem so angry all the time.

Something will have to give on this situation though. Sooner or later someone from upstairs is going to realise that this wee Stevie dude has been overpaid and I'll be charged all this cash back. This'll likely happen very soon as the college comes to a close in just under four weeks. I don't know how I've been managing to get away with this for so long now. This has been going on since I started college back on August 29th. It's quite insane but has been very handy. Before I started studying at the college I was in receipt of sickness benefit due to my being declared mentally unstable to immediately return to the workplace and I was placed on the Back To Work Programme which aimed to help me slowly integrate myself back to work within two years. I used to have to attend meetings with an agency called Triage every two weeks or so. This let the government know what I was up to. It was all handy enough. Then I started at the college, but, for some unknown reason, I continued to receive Triage appointments through the post. I called them and explained that I was now in full time education and so I wouldn't apply. I had already explained all of this when the college sent out my start date. The Triage letters kept coming. I never attended one the whole time I've been a student yet the letters just keep coming. I'm amazed that no one has clocked that I haven't been to a single Triage meeting in the last nine months yet still my benefit is not stopped. It's quite amazing actually.

I'll be continuing to try Barry the Bullet every way I can until I hear from him that it is over and that there is no business left. I'm willing to meet up with him and, assuming he's quit, get details of customers we might still have left and go out myself. I'm willing to invest in new equipment for this in a bid to try to make the very best of the summer.

It's the only way I can think of that I'll be able to keep my Credit Union account above one thousand pounds.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Really hoping that he can get his account back up to one thousand.

1121

Lunarer
May 31st, 2017, 01:36 PM
Wednesday, May 31st 2017 (Mabel Mittens)



I keep thinking about how close I am to completing the college course. All of the short term goals are being ticked off but now it feels as though one or two of the more long term ones are starting to be as well. Assuming my house plant lives to see midnight tonight (which it will) then it'll be eleven months in my care and thriving. Three weeks tomorrow will be the last day of the college year. That's two challenges that were a little more than just getting through a day sober or similar. These required a little more in the way of care and consistency. I'm getting better at things I guess, becoming a slightly better human being than I was before. I hope so anyway.

English Sara has bought a kitten. Mabel Mittens is its name. I don't know what on earth would possess her to go about making this choice. When I arrived there last night both she and Dennis were sitting with hardly any tobacco and grumbling about an electricity bill. Moments like this aren't uncommon in their world. Now they'll have to buy cat litter, cat food, pet insurance, and all the rest on top of what they normally spend. I think both Sara and Dennis struggle with feelings of loneliness. Even though both now live together I think that I notice it when I am visiting. I can feel the loneliness, sense it in the room. Or is this just me being in tune with my own loneliness? Perhaps all three of us experience this emotion in the same way. I don't think that all three of us suffer from any kind of constant extreme loneliness, but I do feel something of it coming from all us, seeping from our pores.

When I get back to my town tomorrow there are a few things I have to do. I have to go to college for the fourth last Thursday (might not even have to go four times if I can finish off the radio broadcasting unit soon) and then I have another session with Dr. Bacon, my clinical psychologist. I'll have to make the most of this one because I'm sure he mentioned something about annual leave in June and so I'm expecting it to be a few weeks until we next meet. In the evening I am going to visit one (or more – we'll see) of my old window cleaning customers. One of them text me the other day and so I know she's expecting us soon. Maybe she'll be able to tell me exactly when Barry the Bullet was last in the area. I keep thinking that if I could just try to keep around one hundred and fifty to two hundred of them (customers, I mean) then I would be on Easy Street for the summer. That would be....say.....fifty houses per week at a value of five bucks per property. Two hundred and fifty bucks a week. That would be okay. In order to finish off the fifty houses for the week I'd only have to go out Monday, Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday. I'd have plenty time to collect the money in the evenings and plenty time during the week to make Triage appointments or work at the Charity Shop Cafe. The only problem I have is time. I don't have much time between now and the end of college/start of working happens on the 23rd of June.

Actually, that's insane saying that – there's almost a full month. In this time I am to find the work (much of which should already still be there) get the gear in (ladder, bucket, scrims, cloths and business cards) and that'll be me ready to go. I'd much prefer Barry the Bullet to be assisting me in this but if I have to go it alone then so be it. I'll keep trying him but in the meantime I'll start working on my own solution. It's what a healthy person would do.

Most text messages I receive are pretty easy to reply to but I have two on my phone from today that I'm having to think about a little more than usual. I have one from ACA's Sandra. She's just asking me how I'm getting on. I'm not really sure on how to answer, as silly as that sounds. It's not that it's a big issue – I just find it difficult to dismiss someone by sending them some shit I don't mean or that doesn't have any effort behind it. How am I doing? I was hoping to go to the fun fair that is being held at the country park in my town on Saturday and had planned to go to Gary's last night after visiting with English Sara to see if the nieces were going. I didn't go though.

Why not? If I'm being honest I think that the comment Lindsay made was playing on my mind a little. About how she and I don't have positive families around us. Maybe I want to stay away from my family for long enough so that they make the connection first. How long would it be before my brother made the phone call to me? I can pretty much tell you now – the next time they are heading out one night and need a babysitter for the nieces. I don't know if this is good enough. The annoying thing is that Gary communicates with Barry the Bullet through some online app of some kind. When I can't reach Barry I usually contact my brother and he reaches him online. This is why it's been so tough this time. I'm on my own in trying to reach him. This is kinda getting off topic though – I was supposed to be talking about that message from ACA's Sandra. I don't know what I'll say to her. If I don't go to that fun fair on Saturday then I'll show face at the ACA meeting.

The other message was from my housing officer. I think he's trying to fuck with me – to test if I'm staying in the cave or not. Twice now he's had anonymous phone calls from someone (or someone's) in the area reporting my cave as being abandoned. Each time he's contacted me and I've defended my position, telling him that I am most definitely living there. The first time we arranged a home visit and he came out to me. It went well. The second time a ''conversation'' via text messages was enough. Now he seems to be wanting to come out again. I don't know if this means that there's been a third call about the property. Why would someone go to all the trouble of phoning the council over and over to report an empty house? The local busy-body. I am surrounded by old people. Maybe they have nothing else to do. It's possibly Peter that's been making these calls. He's ninety six and terrified of his own shadow. He's the gossip. No wonder. At ninety six he might not have worked in the whole time I've been alive. Scary!

So – I am struggling with whether to contact my brother first as he seems not to give the slightest shit; I'm struggling with what to reply to Sandra regarding how I'm doing; and I'm looking to meet with my housing officer again at the cave to discuss what's happening with my property and if anyone lives there.

Just another day in the life of a Stevie really.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

What sort of name is Mabel Mittens for a cat anyway?

1291

Lunarer
June 1st, 2017, 02:57 PM
Thursday, June 01st 2017 (Fifty Peppers)



Last week saw the fiftieth anniversary of its release in the UK and tomorrow will be its fiftieth in the USA. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Fifty years old. In saying that, it really shows how new a medium popular music actually is and judging by the Britain's Got Talent show that it running every night this week we are getting so very close we could be to it being over. To think that the electric guitar, the synthesizer, all of these modern instruments, we could have exhausted within one hundred years. It's bound to happen. We got a few hundred years out of a piano and a bunch of stringed and wind instruments but then when do you ever hear them being played nowadays? In the same way that academic study keeps most classic novels in print it is the movie soundtrack that keeps classical music alive. I may have to stick on Sgt. Pepper to hear what it sounds like after all this time (although it certainly hasn't been anywhere close to fifty years since I last had it on).

The radio broadcasting project will have to wait until next week. If it were me I would have organised everyone alphabetically and then booked them into the radio studio accordingly. Instead it has been a case of no one wanting to go in there and be assessed and so everyone still has their broadcast to do and we only have.....what!?....three weeks left!? I was hoping to get mine done this afternoon but there were diploma students in there doing their graded units and so I've booked myself in for nine o'clock next Thursday morning. I'm dying to get all of the work for this NC completed and in the bag. It'll be the first time I've actually finished anything worthwhile for years. It's getting to the stage where I'm allowing myself to become frustrated though – I know I'm going to do it, I just want it done.

But then what? What happens after this course is done with? At least while it is running I have drive and focus. It gives me something enjoyable to look forward to each week. I enjoy the learning. I enjoy having the access to all of the lovely equipment. I like finding out what new projects we'll be doing from one month to the next. I actually enjoy the friendships as well. Our class started with sixteen or so students in it and this whittled down to just the eight of us. This has kind of split the group into two bands of four students. The three guys I speak with most regularly have become people I enjoy meeting up with from one day to the next. Come Sunday night I find myself wondering what they might have been up to over the weekend. So what happens next then?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record I am hoping to reach Barry the Bullet so that my summer might be filled with a large amount of window cleaning. This morning everything went to plan. I got up in plenty time, got ready and then made it into college. I practiced my radio script until I was ready to be assessed. Then I went for lunch and to make a withdrawal from the Credit Union. The afternoon then took a turn for the worst. I ended up going back to the college for my assessment but, like I said, there were other students higher up the priority food-chain so they got the vote. Then I had a nightmare with Dr. Bacon. It was a successful enough session – don't get me wrong – it was just putting me into some tight spots and made me a little uncomfortable. I'll talk more about that another time, probably tomorrow but certainly over the weekend.

Then I was set to go speak with a window cleaning customer whom Barry the Bullet has been cleaning in the time I've been at college in the hope that I might be able to track his whereabouts – exactly where he might be in the monthly run – but she wasn't in. It'll have to be tomorrow. I have a short window after I do my voluntary shift at the Charity Shop Cafe and before I head to Restoration. I can visit sometime around then. She's a fairly old woman so could be in or out at any time of day but I know that she goes into hospital next week so I'm hoping I can catch her before then. I've been trying to think of other customers we used to do that Barry might have continued doing for the last few months and contacting them. If I can track down roughly where he is in the monthly cycle then I have a better chance to finally speaking with him. It's been a long time.

So – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is fifty years old!? It was never my favourite album and I was always bemused and more than a tad bewildered when it used to top all of the album polls and lists in all of the music magazines but in recent years it has fallen from grace a little as the Beatles' milestone record in favour of Revolver and/or Abbey Road. Revolver is already fifty (fifty one actually) and Abbey Road will be turning forty eight in September of this year. I remember when I started really getting into their records that they were around thirty years old. Now they are fifty. It's crazy the way that time passes when you're not thinking about it. Nowadays there are many younger people locally listening to Oasis albums and they seem like they were only released a few years ago but they are all around twenty – twenty five years old now. It's nuts!!

This record turning fifty has really opened my eyes and made me think a lot about how new a medium the album actually is.

Not that that'll help me locate Barry the Bullet.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Has a few years before he reaches fifty.

1038

Lunarer
June 3rd, 2017, 01:47 PM
Friday, June 02nd 2017 (Daydreaming Drinkers)




Lindsay and I are chatting this evening while Jools Holland is on in the background. She mentions something about her fantasy life that she used to have. I ask her to elaborate a little and she tells me a little about what some of her fantasy life used to contain and where it took her.

I guess that most of us are prone to a little daydreaming from time to time. Some of us more than others (and I suspect that us drinkers might be many of those who do it more than others) – I know I had a rich and furtive imagination when it came to what might have been. Mine didn't start off when I was a young boy and develop as I grew up. It rather just started a few years ago when I was really getting into my stride with the whole drinking thing. In Lindsay's daydream she kind of went from one idea to the next. I kind of clung onto one idea and rolled with it. When she had first started getting help for her drinking Lindsay's psychologist had said that there was nothing wrong with a little daydreaming here and there but when she started seeing her psychiatric nurse she was told that this sort of disassociation is unhealthy and they worked on bringing a halt to it. I don't keep my daydream life going any longer either – I guess it died off when the horrors of the reality of sobering up proved to be stronger than any fantasy life might be.

I'm still thinking a little about the Beatles and their album ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'' and how it recently celebrated its fiftieth birthday (actually today is the fiftieth birthday of its release in the United States) and how young this makes music – at least popular chart music the likes of which dominates popular culture these days – actually is. Fifty years! It's sweet fuck all really. In fact, there will be loads of people on these forums who are old enough to remember its release. It's.......disappointing, in a way. I've always been raised believing that these albums of the fifties and sixties were true classics having stood the test of time and survived generations. The truth is that we only go back one generation really before we have people the same age as McCartney and Starr – the two remaining Beatles.

In fact – most people who were making music or movies back in the sixties, the Golden Ages, are still very much alive and with us. Bob Dylan released his first album in 1962 and is still alive. The Rolling Stones are still kicking around. It's the same with movies. Did you know that Clint Eastwood was born in 1930? He's been around for fucking ever, starring in and directing movies. He's still with us. I've been thinking about this stuff all week. My mum has been alive through most of the poignant moments we talk about in popular modern culture and if she wasn't then her mother certainly was. It means that we are not even near to finding out which films and movies will truly stand the test of time and will be loved by my great grandchildren and yours.

I don't actually think that they will fare all that well to be honest. Having spent the last nine months working in a college classroom and studio with teenagers and dudes in their early twenties it becomes quite clear that their musical knowledge is incredibly limited when it comes to most things prior to......maybe the mid nineteen nineties. This'll continue until the day comes when no one alive will have even heard Sgt. Pepper's album before. It's happened to a large extent with novels. It'll happen with music too. In saying that – classical music written hundreds of years ago still gets airplay but I don't think popular music has the character in many ways to lend itself to adverts as such. Classical music doesn't really date and so it always sounds pretty menacing. Pop music changes shape all the time and relies heavily on technology of the day. As a result it can age really badly really quickly. Just listen to almost any record from the eighties to see what I'm talking about.

The walks are getting shorter and much easier. I only have four to go before the main event next weekend. The longest one of these is only eight miles. Last weekend proved to be quite stressful for my body and I can still feel my muscles a little sore in my calves and lower back. The big walks are done with. It makes me wonder if I'll keep up with this level of activity once the event is over. Will I continue to walk as I have been doing? I can't see me putting in the thirty mile walks unless I had a reason to but hopefully I can keep up the ten mile ones. They take up quite a bit of time but they are great opportunities to get some alone time and listen to music through the headphones. Maybe I should make a point of trying to get twenty miles in every week. It's something to think about later in the month.

On an end note: how many hours could be deemed excessive regarding playing online games on one's phone? Lindsay has recently become addicted to a little hospital game called My Hospital and seems to spend quite a bit of time on it (is actually on it right now). I'm thinking that it can't be too realistic else she wouldn't want to spend all this time on it after just finishing a twelve hour shift in a real hospital. I was just wondering. I guess I spend quite a bit of time online so I shouldn't probably get into it.

Anyway – busy weekend coming up again.

The Champion's League final (and, if you don't like that – the Britain's Got Talent final) will be the icing on Saturday's cake.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'

'
'
Stevie

Doesn't daydream like he used to.

Misses it sometimes.

1040

Lunarer
June 3rd, 2017, 01:48 PM
Saturday, June 03rd 2017 (Before The Football)




The Champion's League final will be getting underway soon so I'm looking forward to watching that. I actually think that this will be the first football match I'll have watched in its entirety. Last season I did a lot better than that. I actually went to a few games to support my local team. Nikki at Restoation managed to get us free tickets and I would take Dennis and English Sara. This season I have kept up to date with all that's been happening in all of the leagues across Britain, and I could probably give you the impression that I knew what I was talking about, but this will be the first game I'll actually have watched. That might be a lie actually. I think I watched Manchester City put five past West Ham in the League Cup a couple of months or so ago. But anyway – football isn't what I came here to talk about.

I don't know what I came here to say really. I just try to type something up every day and try to reach the one thousand word mark. We're now into early June and so that'll be over one hundred and fifty days I've consecutively written in this journal. Scary stuff. I think that some of the posts fly by when I seem to have lots to say but at other times I feel the word count a chore to try to reach. One hundred and fifty thousand words written in the journal this year so far. It'll be more than that actually. I usually write a little more and so all of the one hundred and fifty extra bits will add up to a few thousand.

I met up with Lindsay down town this afternoon. We were going shopping. I wanted to try to find an extra couple of things that might make next week's walk a little more comfortable. I managed to get in some marathon socks which seem to have extra support in key areas of the foot where blisters are most likely to be a problem. We're talking over fifty miles here, remember, and so it's not a case of ''if'' when it comes to blisters – it's a case of ''when'' and I'll do well to be fully ready for when they come. There are two pairs and we are allowed to stop after the first marathon to change our footwear and get some protein down our necks.

Earlier this morning I nipped along to the shop for milk and noticed the anger of my fellow countrymen. It's hard to go out there every day with love in my heart (head) and try to get along with the people who make up my community when they themselves come out with such anger. People trying to push in front of others in the queue at the shop and getting defensive when they are caught out; drivers acting rudely on the road to other road users. The list goes on. Dr. Bacon (my clinical psychologist who I will talk more about tomorrow) would likely say that it is my Critical Parent Mode that is at work here. It's telling me that these people are acting in ways that don't meet up to my standards and so I become judgemental. I don't know if it's this or if it's just a case of me absorbing so much negative energy from the people out here with me this morning when all I wanted was a calming walk to the shops for milk on a lovely sunny start to the day.

So I met with Lindsay this afternoon.

Lindsay – ''How was it?''

Stevie – ''Oh my God – it was horrible! And I forgot to give Sandra her book back so I'll have to go back again.''

Lindsay – ''What was so bad about it?''

Stevie – ''It's just sucked the emotional strength out of me and I can actually feel myself in a much worse headspace than I was when I left the house this morning.''

It's true. ACA has been testing my sanity for a couple of weeks now but this week just pushed me over the edge. I used to get like this in AA as well at time – I would leave the house feeling good and optimistic about the day and coming meeting and then would feel the good mood being sapped out of me during the meeting. It's happening in ACA now too. The days of me going to meetings of any kind are very limited now, I can feel it. I think if I can just continue to wean myself off them I'll be fine. I'll manage without them. In this way I feel like one of the lucky ones.

Lindsay – ''That's not good, babe! You shouldn't be going to meetings and feeling worse!''

Stevie – ''They were all crying in there. All about different things.''

One of them was crying because she wasn't sure whether she should take less hours at work to spend with her family. She isn't sure that they can cope with the reduction in wages. There are tears but I don't really know what they are there for. Dramatic effect for our benefit? It's possible. It would be like me going in there and crying about not knowing what I'm going to be doing next year. Will I go back and study for my sound production diploma or what will I do? There's a time and a place and I don't think ACA is it. I also believe that if I fail to track down Barry the Bullet then I'll face money shortages the likes of which this particular ACA member would likely be unable to relate. I'm getting stronger though. I know this because I don't have to mention it in meetings. The others took turns to weep over the smallest things.

Lindsay – 'They're sick people. I don't think you should go back.''

Stevie – ''We'll see.''

We will indeed. I have to say though – the longer I stay sober for and the more work I do with Dr. Bacon, the sicker these fellows of mine appear. It's quite frightening. We are walking along the high street and we bump into Kerry who used to be in AA but whom I haven't seen since she brought Lindsay to my old home group back in August last year. I chat with her partner and son about the coming Champion's League final while Lindsay and Kerry catch up on things. They are going to meet up next week for coffee. It's a good thing for Lindsay I think. She's a bit like me in that she sometimes appears isolated and doesn't make the necessary steps to reach out. Turns out that Kerry is still struggling with weed smoking and drinking but can't go back to AA for reasons we already know. Two of AA's male members have a special liking for her.

I could think that she is overreacting but I know all about this and how rife and unmonitored it is within the fellowship and it's dreadful. I've seen it with my own eyes too many times now.

Right then – football!

I was reading this morning about Dani Alves who will be playing for Juventus this evening. He was talking about how he used to get woken up in the mornings by his father back in Brazil to help work on the farm before they made the twelve mile trip to school. Either he or his brother – whoever was deemed by the father to have worked the hardest that morning got to take the bicycle to school while the other walked.

Makes you wonder what chance our pampered nation's children have of growing up to compete with that.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off to watch the football.

1325

Lunarer
June 5th, 2017, 12:53 PM
Sunday, June 04th 2017 (Incredible Deja Vu)




I messaged Sandra from ACA to let her know that I wouldn't be attending another meeting for the foreseeable, but that Lindsay had said that she would like to try it one more time and so would take the book in to her that I borrowed a few weeks ago. It was that book about recovery from Bob Earll, ''I Got Tired Of Pretending!'' - was an okay book with some interesting points that I typed out in this journal, just so that I might be able to locate them again if I want to for any reason. I say that a lot actually with regards to books and copying stuff out that I find interesting. I say that I dump them in here so that they will be easy for me to find. The truth is that trying to find anything in these pages would be quite a struggle. A post every day – how could I ever remember where I wrote something. It hasn't been long since I copied out some of those sections of that book I'm talking about but I couldn't tell you where on earth back there it might actually be. Even though I have the advantages of naming my posts accordingly it is still often very unclear what exactly might be contained within each post. Anyway.......

I had one of my little walks to do today and so I got it done this afternoon. Eight miles is all that was asked of me. I have another short one of seven miles tomorrow and then an even shorter one of just five miles on Wednesday and that's the training done. I'll be ready (apparently) for the double marathon on Saturday. I kinda can't wait until it's over even though I know that it will be fun at the time. I've been on dozens of walks this year so far and covered hundreds of miles. I've made some interesting discoveries along the way. This afternoon I made another discovery. I had always meant to go down this way on my travels but was always afraid of the unknown. If I kept walking to places I roughly knew where I was going then I could track my times and distances better. If I knew the terrain then I could get more accurate readings from my walking and the surfaces will be similar to what I will face on the day. We're on the coast and so to travel anywhere where there might be rocks or beach is risky. This afternoon I take the risk.

I like to slag my town off quite a bit, and Lindsay's town too (I ''like'' slagging off everything though, don't I!?) but today was another scorcher and there are some lovely places locally with some wonderful scenery. This afternoon I find myself walking along a little harbour along the coast of a little village that is almost directly joined onto the edge of Lindsay's town. There are plenty people around but not so much that I begin to get agitated with them. There's just the right amount of them for me to tolerate. The harbour then turns into a coastal walk which I have been down parts of but never around here – or so I thought. I'm walking down a little path towards a section of beach and I get the most incredible deja vu. I have actually been to this little strip of beach before but it was when I was a little kid. I can remember my auntie being there, and my cousin, her son, but very little else. I have been here before. I've probably not been back here since. It's fucked up! I've been a few places since I was last here (and am even looking to get away for a week to Spain at the end of the summer) but there are pretty little places all around me. I don't know where my negativity is this afternoon. Not that I'm complaining.

I've sunburn on my neck and on both arms. Had I shorts then I'd have been wearing them and so would have had burns on the backs of my legs too, which is one of the worst places from what I can remember of summers gone by. I always get burned at the start of the summer. I think it's because it's usually so cold, grey, cloudy and miserable that we take for granted the higher temperatures when they do arrive. It can go from being cold one week to all of a sudden the summer wants to turn up and so just appears the next. Last night I was sitting out on the balcony at Lindsay's flat and noticed that it was quarter past eleven yet still it was not dark. It wasn't bright sunshine, but it wasn't dark. It doesn't get fully dark here in June and won't again until towards the end of July. Within three months of that we'll hit the clock change and it'll be heading towards being pitch black – darker than it gets at this time of year – by four in the afternoon.

It is a very strange place, this Scotland. Nothing much really happens. It was all happening down south this weekend though as we've seen more terrorist attacks and the British Red Cross concert for the Manchester attacks a few days ago – and Cardiff (in Wales – in southern England) just hosted the Uefa Champion's League final in which Real Madrid did what no other team has done in the modern era and retained the title. That gives me more ammunition for the next time I'm involved in a ''Who's better? Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?'' debate – a debate of which I've always leaned towards the Ronaldo side.

Anyway – I don't have much time so I'm gonna get moving. Back to college tomorrow for the third last teaching week and then I'll have to figure out what I'm doing with myself. I know I said I'd copy out my session from Dr. Bacon but haven't managed to find the (lots of needed) time. I really want to though because I felt that to be one of our better sessions.

I think that I'm fine with Dr. Bacon. There's an action plan.

It means I don't need AA and ACA anymore.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Discovering beaches he's been to already.

1080

Lunarer
June 5th, 2017, 12:54 PM
Monday, June 05th 2017 (Level 9, 8, 6)



I'm still not going to be typing out my session with Dr. Bacon. I'll be sleeping in the cave tomorrow night though so I'll have peace, time, and nothing else to do. This coming weekend I'll be super-busy with the huge walk and won't want any stress for a few days after it. I'm actually having problems in collecting the cash I've been sponsored. People have been really good at telling me that they'll contribute this and that and then signing the form but then they don't seem to be available to put the money where they put their mouths. As things stand I am going to have to throw in around sixty quid of my own cash which will take the cost of me doing this to one hundred and forty five quid. It's not the sort of cash I'm normally able to spend and wouldn't have been able to were it not for the Department of Work and Pensions' tremendous fuck up with me this year and last, since August until now which saw me, for a few months at least, receive both a student bursary and my sickness benefit. Yesterday I was loving people – today I am back to thinking of them as cunts!! Seems like I still have the old Black & White thinking.....

So I'm back at Lindsay's and she's still working. She did get some bad news though in that she checked her exam results and has failed. Everything was going so well. She was studying every spare minute she had and seemed to be peaking at just the right time. She'd gone throughout the year passing each of her essays: the first one she got a C, the second a B. The main one last month (actually would have been around two months ago now – fuck this year is flying) she got an A. Everything seemed to be heading for a success. Now this has happened. I don't know exactly what it means – whether there will be a resit, or remediation, or what happens now. Something will happen though. It's not the end of the world but I think from what she's been texting this afternoon that there have been a few tears. She'll get there – she's just doing it the hard way, that's all!

My course couldn't be any different. Lindsay is currently at the tail end of her degree – it's Level 9 on the UK qualifications framework. Both my brother and my pal Gillon are sitting their Level 8 in their respective subjects. Gary is doing well (from what I hear – it's been over six weeks since I talked with my brother in any capacity) but Gillon has been lazy (his words, not mine) and is struggling at the end. I am, in comparison, working through the very latter stages of my sound production course, which is at NC level, or – Level 6 of the British qualifications framework. I'm sure that each of these guys studying above my level have had much more to do whereas I have had it pretty easy I think. There haven't been many problems I've encountered during the course of my study.

I think that this coming Thursday I'm booked in to be the first of the two Level 6 groups to do his radio broadcasting unit and so I won't have to go in on the Thursdays after that. I think that the final week we are not even in on the Tuesday morning for some reason. At least that's what it says on the online timetable. So I'll be in tomorrow all day and then Thursday morning. Next week I'll be in all day Monday and Tuesday, and then the last week I'll be in only on the Monday and the Tuesday afternoon. Then it'll be done, completed – I'll have finished my first big sober challenge. A week after that my house plant will be getting its birthday card. I'll be killing two, rather large all things considered, sober stones in one week. This'll all happen a fortnight after I (hopefully, but I've honestly no fucking idea how) complete a fifty mile walk for breast cancer.

What'll be happening in the weeks after that I have absolutely no idea and, if I'm being honest, it's a really scary feeling. I suppose that this is what Lindsay was talking about the other day – the change from being a student to actually going out into the world and doing the job, and how different and big a change that is. I think if you asked Gillon to be honest he would tell you that he started the college as a way of avoiding going into the workplace with the very limited skills he possessed and that at the start of his studies he felt relaxed knowing that he had a few years of study left. He has children so the state gives him plenty coin, he doesn't have to work to support them. I guess maybe I felt that same way when I started my own study. I had a year where I could decide what I wanted to do next. The college has been fun and it asked many questions of me this early into my sobriety. Could I self-care enough to get through it, to stick it out until the end? Could I bond with other men? I've done okay with these things but three weeks from now and I'll be onto something else.

Will it be a summer of working with Barry the Bullet? Or would I get stuck in that trap again? Will I go back to study for another year? Would there be a point? It's all pretty scary. The uncertainty. I think I'm at that age now where uncertainty is most unwelcome.

I've wasted so, so much of this life. Almost forty years of it flushed down the pan.

I don't feel at the moment as though I'm any closer to saving myself from flushing the rest down with it.

Something'll turn up.

Just when and what is completely unknown.....


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Counting down the days until his student days are over.......

1045

Lunarer
June 7th, 2017, 02:46 PM
Tuesday, June 06th 2017 (Projects)



The college course is almost finished. We're on the eighth and final project. Here's what I've been getting up to these last nine months or so:

For the first project we were assigned a group. Everyone was a stranger to one and other and this was a good way of getting us to mix together. I was put in a group with young Ross who is still on the course today; Devin who left the course earlier in the year; and another guy who is still technically on the course but I'd be amazed if he managed to stick it out and get everything done these next two weeks so that he actually gains the qualification. This took us the majority of September and all we had to really do was create a dance track using software that was alien to most of us. The result was okay at the time – completely shite when I listen to it now.

The second project was group based as well but this time we were to work on a sound design. I was placed in a group with a guy called Harry who is long gone from the course; a guy Daniel who is one of the seven still going; and Shaun, who was after this project to become the person I've become closest to within the group. We've even been to a gig back in February. Sound design is basically creating sounds for a movie or video clip. In this case we were given a two minute clip of an alien roaming an unknown planet after landing on earth. We worked pretty well together and I feel listening to and watching this clip now that we nailed the atmosphere. We did a good job.

The third project took part over the course of November and was our first self-directed one. The brief asked of us many things but encouraged we used both of the software programs we work with in college. Ableton Live 9 is a dance music based program which is perfect for electronic music and Pro Tools 12 is used more as a studio tool and is brilliant for recording live and mixing and mastering. I created my track using Ableton for the MIDI sections and the backing track which I then took into the studio with my guitar and used Pro Tools to record myself and then create the finished version. This track is okay when I listen back to it but the guitar sounds pretty lame. I should have spent more time at home working on the tone and practicing the parts. The MIDI part I programmed for this track using the piano in Ableton is a high point for me.

For two weeks in December we worked on a Christmas remix and we could do whatever we wanted providing we used one of the MIDI stems the lecturers gave us. I wrote a metal-style electric guitar version of O Come All Ye Faithful and at the time, again, I felt that I'd done pretty well. Now that I know better I hate the way I've compressed the fuck out of every part. If I could do it again I'd come up with something better but this time the playing by myself was pretty good. I stayed late a couple of times to work on this track and it was around this time that I last worked with Barry the Bullet. It seems so long ago.

Project Four was the podcast and I got creative, searching through Youtube to find interviews with Frank Zappa and John Lennon and making it out as if I was interviewing them. We had to select a music genre and dedicate our podcast to studying it. I went for popular commercial music and went for a sort of critique of modern music television like X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent and have felt ever since doing this that this was the point in which I peaked during my study of sound production. The lecturers have only recently got around to marking all of our coursework this past week and I received positive feedback with Neil saying that this was the best podcast project submitted by an NC student.

Project Five took us from early February until March 10th and was dedicated to sound synthesis and sampling. This was, and still is, my weakest project. Strangely it is the one to receive the most ''likes'' on Soundcloud but I know pish when I hear it and this is most definitely it. It's probably the project in which I learned the most though. By this time I was quite comfortable using Pro Tools and navigating my way around the hardware in the studio (it helped that I used to do a bit of home recording using an old LE version of Pro Tools back when I was trying to sober up initially) but I was falling behind a little when using the Ableton program. With this project I got my skills with it up to that of the rest of the class, and in most cases, above it.

Project Six was another sound design similar to Project Two but this time it was a little more complicated. It was also a solo project (all projects since the second one have been solo but we are expected to get other students to help us in every project since) creating the sound effects and music for a short Pixar film ''Lifted'' which I posted a few weeks ago. This was another pretty strong work of mine and a return to form after a quite shocking fifth project.

Project Seven has not long since been submitted and was another pretty good one. This time a remix of a song we were given the stems for. Stems are just the individual sections of the song (one for main vocals; another for backing vocals, guitar, synth, drums, etc) and I was happy with what I managed to create. Alongside this project there was quite a bit of paperwork, a couple of written assessments, and another MIDI track which probably should have been part of the Project Five sound sampling and synthesis but was done instead over the last couple of weeks.

At the moment we have two projects running together: a digital DJ unit and the radio broadcast project which I'll hopefully be nailing on Thursday morning. I'm booked in at nine as the first student to do it and I can't see anything other than a complete pass. I won't take anything else if I'm being honest. This'll mean that this coming Thursday will be the last Thursday I'll need to be in. It's just Monday and Tuesday for the next two weeks and then it's all over and done with.

Over and done with and onto what I am not sure. I still get frightened when I even think about what life will be like after these next two weeks are done.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'

Stevie

The best podcast handed in by an NC student.

1189

Lunarer
June 7th, 2017, 02:47 PM
Wednesday, June 07th 2017 (University Tour)



Lindsay had a practical assessment to do this morning at the university campus and the deal was that I would go along and support her and so we are out the door together this morning. She's been to the college I attend a few times now. She actually used to study there back in the day but recently she's been a couple of times to the studio with me just to see what it is that we get up to when at the college. This is the first time I've had the chance of her returning the favour though. I have been to Dundee University before – I actually wasn't in attendance the first day of the college year last August as I was attending an open day – but this is the first time I've seen the nursing campus which is based in another town.

It's interesting to get the tour. I can see Lindsay being quite popular around here. Everyone stops to speak with her and most of the time I feel like that quiet little schoolboy with nothing to say, just standing there like some frozen moron. The campus is actually pretty small. There's a main courtyard surrounded by the buildings themselves but half of these are for residents – students living on campus or doctors who are over here for any number of reasons. It's the first time I've ever been in a lecture theatre. It is, disappointingly, just as I pictured them to be.

Lindsay nips off and does her assessment which, I'm happy to say, she passed. While she's off doing that I am sitting in the canteen (only fifty pence for a latte and it's better than the ones we get at the college) reading my latest book. I've only read a few books this year. Actually, it's worse than that. I read Green River, Running Red (story of the Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway) which I bought online while Christmas shopping – I'd wanted to read it for years. I also read The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer which I thought was a really humorous look at autism; I Got Tired of Pretending (which I have written about recently in this very journal – and which I have still to somehow return to ACA's Sandra without actually setting foot in another meeting) and.......and that's it. Shocking really. This latest one is another book I've had my sights on for a while but have never seen at a discounted price. I have never had bank cards or money or any way of paying for things over the internet and so have never been able to do it that way but Lindsay got me it in secret a couple of weeks ago and so I've started on it. Revolution by Russell Brand. Lindsay could have been in that assessment all morning and afternoon and I wouldn't have cared. I'd have been happy just sitting in that canteen sipping on a fifty pence latte with my Russell Brand book.

The weather has really sucked this week. It's done little to nothing but rain – sometimes torrentially – for the biggest part of the last three days. This is a good thing in that if it rains like this now then it isn't likely to on Saturday night when I start my big walk. I had my last practice walk today (a whole five miles) and that's it until half past eleven on Saturday night. That is when the clock starts on the fourteen hour time limit that the one hundred of us mad enough to not feel that walking one marathon is enough of a challenge and so commit to doing a second one immediately afterwards will have to walk the full fifty two miles. The closer we get to the event the more I am starting to freak out about it. The size of the challenge is only now sinking in. I have a bra to decorate which I'll ask my nieces to do tomorrow after I've passed that radio assessment at college. Then it'll just be the waiting game – a game I've never been all that great at.

I should be expecting these challenges to be coming thick and fast now. That's me four months off the cigarettes today after all, which means that I'll also be sixteen months off the drugs and twenty eight months away from my last drink. I'm no slouch to quitting any more. Challenges should be something I am coming to expect.

One of my bigger challenges started this afternoon. Lindsay and I are down town and we're sitting in the travel agents looking over trips to Spain for a little getaway later in the year. We manage to find something we're happy with and so we nip along to the bank to make the withdrawal from her ISA (I put one thousand pounds in there when I noticed that the Department for Work and Pensions had made the overpayment into my Credit Union account. This way it's not lying around in my account) and we have now paid for the trip in full. We'll be flying from Edinburgh to Costa del Brava on October 02nd – something like sixteen weeks on Monday. It's just for a week but it'll be the first time I've been away in over twelve years. I was quite a dark drinker. I wasn't one of the guys who managed to have an active addiction as well as a life. The way I operated one had to go – and it was the life.

Now I'm relaxing in the evening. It'll be bedtime before too long and will be heading back to my town tomorrow. First will come the radio broadcasting assessment and then I'll be heading to my brother's. I'll ask the nieces to decorate my bra (the walk is for breast cancer so we all wear a bra – even the dudes) and I'll ask Gary to contact Barry the Bullet via that app he speaks to him with. Then I'll be staying at my cave for a night. I think I've broken my five night rule at Lindsay's this week. While I'm in the cave over the next night or two I'll be copying out the session with Dr. Bacon. It was too good a session to miss out on.

Right then – enough typing. On with the evening.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Booked his first trip abroad in more than a decade.

1097

Lunarer
June 9th, 2017, 06:07 PM
Thursday, June 08th 2017 (Applying Myself)



This summer is flying by so quickly that I'll have to be careful to stop and suck some of it in – else I'm in danger of letting it slip away. Mind you – given the way that the weather has been recently there is little chance for summer. We'll get back there again soon. I just hope that this rain doesn't keep going through to tomorrow and, most importantly, Saturday night for the big walk. Fifty miles in the warm (but also strangely cool) night and into the morning would be fine without the extra hassle of having to battle against any dodgy weather. It'll be hard enough as it is. The rain is easing off a little now that we are into the evening but it hasn't vanished altogether and the sky looks as though it could fall again at any given moment.

I'm back in the cave writing this evening having just spent the longest spell at Lindsay's since the Christmas period. Nothing much changes while I'm away. The plant I am hoping to keep alive for a full year is now eleven months and one week old and is going strong. The place is as I left it. There is plenty mail. My latest Triage appointment has come through. It's on Wednesday next week. I won't be going. I haven't been since I started attending the college and shouldn't even be getting these appointments through the door but if I just keep ignoring them then I should continue to receive sickness benefit over the ten summer months.

One piece of mail, more a little calling card actually, is from my housing officer. Again he is saying that the council has received complaints regarding my cave being uninhabited. It's been abandoned. I'm lucky that it's dated today. He's been to my door this morning. With me texting back this afternoon it looks more like I am living here full time. It would have been a little on the dodgy side had he posted the card through the door last week and it had taken me until now to get back to him. He would have had more reason to be suspicious then. As things stand it appears to be working out for me but this time he wants to come out again and visit me at home. I don't know who he'll be bringing with him but I'm expecting it to be a little more difficult this time. I'm expecting them to push me a bit more.

I'm pleased to say that I managed to pass my radio broadcasting unit at the college this morning and so that ticks off another box in the list of things to do before this qualification becomes something I've officially completed. There's not much left and so I've been thinking a little about what might be best for me to do next. The radio lecturer gave me his sales pitch and did a good job of advertising his course to me. The biggest concern for me in doing the sound production is the chances that I'll find work in the field once I've qualified. They say that there are many different things that you can do with the sound production degree but they're gonna say that, aren't they!? The radio lecturer seems better able to prove that there are greater working opportunities after we've graduated.

I apply for the radio course. It's better to apply for courses now and to refuse the offers over the summer than it is to do what I've already done this year and not apply (as was the case with my top choice which was to study psychology at Dundee University. Like I said though – I failed to actually apply. I think that fear combined with a lack of confidence and belief in myself to ruin that chance for me. I kept telling myself that I wouldn't be accepted due to lack of experience) and so I spent the rest of the morning applying for courses and looking through the prospectus.

The radio course is a two year diploma and after that they work with Sunderland University with the degree program. Sunderland is down south in England, near Newcastle, and would be a lovely little trip away for study. Chances of working in the industry (or at least in some part of the sound industry) seem to be quite high as the lecturer recounts many former students who have all passed their degree by doing the two year diploma in this town followed by the Sunderland degree option.

Another course I applied for is the Practical Journalism. This was an idea that English Sara had suggested to me a couple of years ago when I was just sobering up. It would perhaps whet my appetite for writing and put it to some good, or some bad, depending on how you look at it. Again it would be a two year diploma and then onto a degree somewhere else. They don't seem to have a partnership with a university like they do with the radio program and so I'm not sure what the next step would be. Universities tend to be a little on the pompous side when it comes to things like this. They tend to want you to start and finish with them rather than start somewhere else and then join later on. I'll likely get an interview so I'll be able to ask plenty questions over the summer.

Then there's the option of staying on and doing the sound production diploma. All three of these courses would run at the same level (Level Seven/HNC next year and then Level Eight/HND the following year) and then lead onto university afterwards should I find my chosen course to be desirable. I know that at thirty nine I am pushing it a little. These courses all take time and two or three years from now I will be well into my early forties. When I consider the wreckage that has been my past life though it kind of makes me feel as if there has never been a better time to go off and do something like this. I'll never get another chance. I should choose wisely. Radio broadcasting; practical journalism; sound production.

I'll have plenty to think about over the next two months.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Giving himself plenty to think about.

1079

Lunarer
June 9th, 2017, 06:08 PM
Friday, June 09th 2017 (Planning the Walk)



I've gone and got myself up this morning far too early. I've ages to go before I have to be at the Charity Shop Cafe for my voluntary shift this morning. This is all part of the plan though. I went to bed late last night and got up early this morning. Tonight I will be staying up late again but tomorrow morning I will be sleeping in. I'm hoping to sleep right into Saturday afternoon. This is for that bloody walk this weekend. I'm trying to get my body into the habit of having energy at night. The walk kicks off at around midnight tomorrow night and I'll be walking right through the night and into the early afternoon of Sunday. When I wake up early tomorrow afternoon that'll be the last of me being in bed until Sunday night when the walk is all over. The God of my understanding knows how badly I want this walk to be over.

The Charity Shop Cafe has put the prices up on some of its products. I'm okay with that but remember talking with that MSP at the meeting the other week about changes planned for our community in the coming months and him saying that there is a difference between a volunteer and a voluntary worker. That I am actually a voluntary worker. He kind of got me into the way of thinking that what I am doing by giving up some of my time to help out the cause of the charity shop is in some way me allowing myself to in some ways be exploited. Elsa, who is the manager, has just been to Portugal on holiday for two weeks. This is all fine and well, people go on holiday (even I now have one booked and paid for), but it does make me wonder a little now that the prices have been increased on some of the products in the cafe. I'm paying thirty five pence more now than I was last week at this time and I'm getting nothing extra for it. The systems we have in place ensure that nothing that doesn't succumb to it has a chance of surviving.

I was thinking a while back that things seemed to be happening in fortnights these last few months. At the time there was a fortnight until I was to walk into my first AA meeting in ninety days. A fortnight after that was Lindsay's friend's wedding and the AA convention. A fortnight after that was to be the massive walk I had signed up for. A fortnight after that was to be the end of the college year. Each of these fortnights has resulted in disappointments if I'm being honest. The return to AA was nothing short of disastrous. The wedding was okay but my struggling to connect with anything while there fairly bettered on my self-esteem. This next fortnight is all but upon me. The walk.

I've to arrive at Holyrood Park between nine and ten tomorrow night. I have then to make my way to the pink tent which is where I'll be registering for the event. I can then head off to the yellow area to set up camp and prepare myself. Lindsay will be coming with me up to this point. She won't be allowed in the yellow area as she isn't registered but she'll be needing to get back to the bus station around this time anyway. We're hopefully heading to Edinburgh from whenever I wake up tomorrow and get a bus through to have a look around the shops and a bite to eat. She'll then be making her way back to her flat which is, amazingly, not even as far from the starting grid as the end of my challenge will be.

I have packed everything I need into my little bag. I have my Cap and Walker Number. Apparently it's important that we wear our caps as it helps the volunteers to recognise us from the other, more sane, walkers. There are apparently going to be several hundred to a couple of thousand taking part on the night but only one hundred of us are set to be doing the two laps. Our caps are different colours and from the halfway point onwards I think they have strict policies in place to look after those trying for the fifty miles.

We will get a little break after the first marathon. We had to select our half-time meal (well.....soup) when we applied for this challenge and so we get that plus a chance to change our clothing, socks or shoes, and to collect our marathon medal. Then it's off for the next lap around the track. The second marathon. The temptation to sit will be strong at this point but I should be careful. Much will depend on the time it takes me to complete that first lap as the challenge shuts down exactly fourteen hours after the first challengers, which will be us, set off from the starting grid. The council will be wanting the roads back up and running by then. For the second lap I think there are vehicles driving around which carry water supplies and cereal bars and suchlike. If we get stuck along the way or feel thirsty then we are to contact volunteer and they will flag down a vehicle. It says this on their little sheet:

''On your second lap, we will not keep Marshals at fixed locations, instead it will become a moveable feast and they will travel with you, consequently foot, bike, and car Marshals will continually patrol the distance between the front and back Walkers ensuring that you have all you will need in the case of water etc. The route will be clearly marked to assist you.''

Initially I just started walking as a way to combat the slight cravings I was having for cigarettes. I didn't want to put on weight as a result of my quit. Now it's turned into a fifty two mile walk for breast cancer and I've only been off the cigarettes for one hundred and twenty two days or so.

Hopefully this fortnight's challenge will be more successful than the return to AA's rooms and the wedding was. The next fortnight will see me finish up with the college and gain my NC in sound production. It'll also spell the end for me in terms of knowing what it is I have to do from one week to the next.

As soon as this walk is over I'm going to have to get busy.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
''
'
Stevie

Preparing for that damn walk.

1126

Lunarer
June 10th, 2017, 08:05 AM
Saturday, June 10th 2017 (The Morning of the Walk)



You'll know straight away that I've managed to complete both laps of this monstrous walk as I'll call tomorrow's post ''Two Medals.'' Any other title and it means I've failed to get round the second lap and so only get my marathon medal. Two Medals it will hopefully be but exactly how I'll manage to do this I haven't the faintest idea. People keep telling me that it'll be different on the night, that I'll manage to get more miles in as the event will heighten my motivation. I get this. I can see how this could happen. I don't see how it will make my legs any more capable of walking distances it hasn't been able to in the past, not that it's ever tried.

We're gonna be heading out soon as there's a few things I need to get first. I know – I sound disorganised, rushing out to get stuff at the last minute, but to be fair to myself I only received the email last night telling me of all the rules and conditions associated with and fixed to the event. One of them is that no walkers are allowed to wear backpacks of any kind. We are to store goodies we might need (phones, extra cash, blister kits, anything we might need) in bum-bags instead. Being a guy my initial thought is something along the lines of: ''Ahem, excuse me!?!? Did someone just say gay-bag!?'' but I have to look quickly past this as I prepare to head out to pick one up. I could do with getting the carbohydrates in me as well. I could also probably benefit from getting something to wear on my bottom half. Jeans and the tracksuit I have are no go's.

I've upped my efforts to contact Barry the Bullet even dragging my brother into the mix. He uses that What's App thing that I don't and the last few times I've struggled to get a hold of Barry it's been through Gary and What's App. This time not even Gary can get an answer. I've tried Barry's brother but he seems as elusive as Barry himself. I await Gary's response. Will What's App save the day again?

It's a good thing that this has maybe happened actually. I reached out to my brother. Since it doesn't look like I'll get around to typing out that session with Dr. Bacon I'll just quickly mention a little about what he was saying last week with regards to my brother. I explained to him all about how I used to feature heavily in my nieces' lives but now just play a little infrequent cameo and that I have a particular distaste towards this new role. I'm struggling to fit into it. I want my brother, or his wife, to get in contact with me and reassure me that I am a part of the family. To be sitting on these cold and barren outskirts is most uncomfortable (which is strange because you'd think I'd be used to it giving how isolated and on the fringes of society I once was). I explain that Scottish Sarah had text me out of the blue one evening to say that Oldest Niece had mentioned that I don't visit anymore and that she misses me.

Dr. Bacon – ''Sounds to me like when she was saying ''they miss you'' that she was perhaps saying ''WE miss you?''

Stevie - ''…...I don't think so...''

But there's a chance he could be right. We also look back at our communication over the course of 2017 and it would seem that what is going on right now is pretty common. I sit and wait on them to contact me. Just before Oldest Niece's birthday in February it was they who contacted me. Then there was a spell when I wasn't around for about six weeks. It was then Sarah who broke the ice. Now it's been around the same again yet it is I waiting by the phone on another call. From their perspective I must seem pretty disinterested. This time I pick up the phone – stop things from getting any worse.

Last night I decide to give Barry the Bullet one more try but his phone goes straight to answer-phone. For all I know he's quit and has given up. He's maybe even gone and got himself another job. I just need to know which addresses are still on our books and I can go out myself, if I know where the ladders are. There's so much I don't know about this business now that only Barry does. I give up and head to bed.

This morning I wake and check my phone. Has Gary heard from him and left a message? I'm afraid not. I'm still none-the-wiser. I dial Barry's number one more futile time. This time it starts to ring.

Barry the Bullet – ''Hello?''

Stevie – ''Barry?''

Barry the Bullet – ''Steve?''

Turns out he's still been going out cleaning the windows but not as often and not for around five weeks now. Things are salvagable. He didn't reply to the Facebook friend request I made using Lindsay's account (I just will not go down that road myself) because it seemed like an old woman trying to reach him. Turns out that it was the anniversary of Lindsay's gran's death and so she had temporarily changed her profile picture. Barry's looked at it and thought that it must have been some mistake. None of this matters now.

Stevie – ''I only have two weeks left at the college. Four days actually, then that's me off for the summer.''

We arrange things for this coming week. I'll be at college on Monday and Tuesday so Wednesday we arrange it for. I don't know where we'll be meeting yet. The ladders are at some guy called Andy's house as he was in the area when he last was out working. I don't know who this guy is or where he stays so as things stand I'm not really any further forward. This could all still turn out to be nothing yet.

But I'm not going to think along those lines. I have to stay positive and will need positive vibes and thoughts when we get to twenty four hours from now when I'm either honing in on the finish line or sitting in the ditch cursing my failure.

You'll know straight away tomorrow if I managed to complete both marathons as I'll title the post ''Two Medals.'' Any other title and I didn't manage it.

I'll see you at the finish line.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Going back to work.

1130

Lunarer
June 11th, 2017, 11:58 AM
Sunday, June 11th 2017 (One Medal)


It's a little predictable really but I didn't manage to finish the double marathon and claim my second and most sought after medal. I still like the one I've got though. The problem was pace. I attached myself to the end of a little group that were setting quite a strong pace from the get-go and did my best to keep up with them. This was tough going but a huge distance started to build up between us and the next closest group behind. If we wanted to realistically complete two marathons in fourteen hours then it would be essential to complete the first one in less than seven hours. After the first marathon there's a little health check and the option of some soup. This is all fine and well but every second that ticks away during the half time break is a second that you're not getting back at the end of the second lap.

This group I was slowly establishing myself as being a part of were starting to look as though we were going to set a first lap time of under six hours. This would be pretty good going and would be by far the fastest time I've ever walked twenty six miles. It would leave eight hours for the second marathon. Things were going really well.....until I felt something just after the eighteen mile mark. Something in my leg telling me that the rest of the night was going to be a little tougher. As the miles started to drag in I noticed how much I was starting to struggle to keep up with my group. At this point I think I should have dramatically slowed the pace. I should have thought, ''Okay – that's been a really fast first eighteen miles. Let's slow it right down for the rest of the lap and stop thinking about the time quite so much.''

The fifty two miles was never all that realistic for me but I had my sights kind of set on forty miles. That would have been a success in my view. Had I slowed the pace and played for distance rather than time then the forty miles may have been achievable. As it went I kept the speed high – determined to get what was looking like a sub six hour marathon. Around twenty two miles I found that the group was just keeping the pace too consistently for me and my poor legs and a small gap started to build. Still there is no one in sight behind us, maybe a dozen walkers in front. The last two miles are the worst and the regret of trying to reach the six hour marathon sinks in as the gap between my group and me becomes large. Eventually we reach a corner in the track and they go out of sight for the first time in the night. From then on it just gets worse.

I manage to stumble across the finish line in six hours and forty five which means that those last couple of miles must have been really slow. My group vanished from sight altogether and those who had been so far behind us that they could not be seen by us started to overtake me. Six hours and forty five minutes is still my quickest ever time at walking twenty six and a bit miles but were it not for my stupid little legs starting to feel the burn around that eighteen mile mark, if they'd just managed to hold out a little longer, maybe another two or three miles, then I might have been able to keep up with the group.

So I have my medal and I'm sitting back at Moonwalk City munching on my soup and roll and I can't shake off the feeling that this will be impossible now. I've taken on a challenge that is far too much for me. It's the time limit that makes it so difficult. Two marathons. I guess that anyone could do it given enough time but as I'm sitting there nursing my poor feet (it kind of changes actually, rotates where the pain may be felt. On moment it will be in the legs or feet and then I'll get used to that so it'll change and my lower back will start hurting. Then it'll be my shoulders. Then back to the bottom half again, and on and on) the big clock strikes half past six in the morning meaning that the halfway point has now passed. This would then mean that I would have to do the second marathon in under seven hours. Still though – there are Over the Moon walkers (those committed to taking on both marathons) coming in and then ten minutes later they'll set back out again.

They won't have time to finish. Besides the group that I was a part of for those first six hours and the group in front of us I doubt that anyone else will make it within the time limit. Still though – they head out and give it a blast. I notify the volunteers that I won't be doing the second lap and I rest some more before heading back to the bus station. I guess that I should have done what those walkers coming in after me did. They went at a comfortable pace, even though it meant that they were finishing half an hour after me – a true Hare and the Tortoise moment – and then just went for the second lap as best as they could until the time limit expires and they are asked to leave the course. At least this way they would have more miles under their belt than I do.

I'm sitting at Lindsay's now and wondering what to do about next year. Will there be a next time? This is an annual event. I'd have to work hard on my stamina and pace in order to even have a hope of trying for that second lap. I don't really see the point in just trying for the first lap as the fourtene hour time limit pretty much means that you could almost crawl your way to the finish line on time. The two laps though? That seems so far away given last night's performance that my feet ache just thinking about it.

There were around forty of us Over the Moon walkers. There were around the same number of children out there trying for the half lap. There were two people in their eighties – one did the mini walk (six miles) and another (at eighty three) was trying to complete the half marathon. It's hard to forget what the event is actually all about. It's about Scotland uniting against and raising money for breast cancer.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Starting to feel a little stronger this afternoon.

1163

Lunarer
June 12th, 2017, 10:58 AM
Monday, June 12th 2017 (Not All That Stiff)



The legs aren't as stiff as I might have imagined them to be on a morning such as this. I'd expect them to be a little on the cramped side but that isn't the case at all. My body has recovered quite well and quite quickly. This will be really important given my desire to get back out to work with Barry the Bullet midweek. I wonder how some of the other walkers are faring at this moment. Those who completed the double marathon are probably doing okay as they tended to be obvious fitness experts but the normal guy and girl doing the marathon might be feeling one or two tightened thighs or calves right about now. My muscles feel okay until I sit in one position for a little too long. Usually when I go to stand up I am reminded of what it was I was doing this weekend.

Walking around Edinburgh at this time of the morning allowed me to see a little more clearly what it is actually like. What is really behind all of that famous architecture and history? Unfortunately it is nothing nice. Homeless people. In Fife where I live in Scotland we have the best homeless system in the whole of the United Kingdom. The British government is presently trying to squeeze the life out of it but as things stand it is strong. On the two main occasions I have had nowhere to stay I have found the system to be very accommodating. The people I am walking past this morning in Edinburgh are not so fortunate. This is the real Edinburgh, the real Scotland

. There's a sickness can be felt in my stomach a little regarding what it is that I am actually involved in here. Sure – I am showing support for breast cancer and that is fine and all that. After all – the homeless people probably deserve to be homeless, right!? They probably had homes and all that but gave them up because they're junkies, yeah!? The truth is that some of us make as much of a choice to become homeless as others do to contract breast cancer. What if some of these women smoke? Does what we eat not have an effect on our odds of cancer growing within us. The Moonwalk all of a sudden seems so incredibly selfish and exclusive – a way of raising money for those who already have plenty. Why can't there just be a big walk where you raise money for what it is that you want to raise money for?

I left the college early this afternoon. I was stuck on something and was becoming frustrated that there were no lecturers around to help me out. I decided just to leave. It's not often I am stuck on something but it is often that there are no lecturers around. Considering what they earn it is frustrating that they are so seldom available. It seems as though things are going to be going right to the wire with us this year when most of us might have already finished our NC by now had we had the luxury of having a lecturer present.

I have an assessment coming up on the technology we use at the college to create our projects and so I should have a little look at that for the rest of this post. I believe that the main parts we will be asked about will be:

The host computer, DAW software, audio interface, the MIDI controller, and probably monitoring. Here's a little look at the specifications of each and the role they play in me producing these projects at the college:

The host computer.*

This is the PC in front of me. This contains an Operating System (Windows 7 in this case) - HP Intel i5 with 16.0 GB RAM and is a 64-bit Operating System. DAW system (Ableton Live)*
Contains HDD (Hard Disk Drive) to store software applications (DAW - Digital Audio Workstation) and to store music library; and also to load and save*projects.*
Hosts input/output devices.

Inputs = qwerty keyboard/mouse/MIDI keyboard (Novation Launchkey 49)/audio interface.*

Outputs = *audio interface/VDU (Visual Display Unit = AKA. The Screen on the monitor).*

The audio interface provides bus power to external devices. This is an important thing to remember.*

DAW Software

Ableton Live 9. This allows me to browse and import music from my music library; to load and save projects. Crucially, it allows me to warp audio to a beat grid (beat matching); to create templates; map MIDI parameters; and to play, record, mix, edit, master and bounce my final session. It also allows me to blend music as a DJ.*

The Audio Interface*

A Sound card and audio interface is the same thing. It allows me to monitor the incoming or outgoing audio signal; provides digital to analogue conversion; can be used to monitor on headphones and connects to main PA. The audio interface is the M-Box 2.*

The MIDI Controller*

It provides tactile, hands-on, control of virtual parameters within the DAW software environment. This is done via MIDI mapping and the controller that I am using is a Novation Launchkey 49. MIDI mapping can include faders, pots, pads, pitch and mod wheels keys and transport controls.*

Monitoring*

Allows me to monitor output from DAW and this can be done using either headphones or the main Pa.*


That should just about cover it. I think we'll be doing that tomorrow. After that then there's just the Digital Djing practical assessment to do and I'm pretty sure that I'll be finished with the course for the year. I don't have to go in on Thursdays anymore since I'm finished with the radio broadcasting unit. The time I'm expected to be in class each week is diminishing quickly. The week after next it'll be down to zero hours and hopefully this will result in a significant rise in the number of hours I go out to clean windows with Barry the Bullet. We'll see.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Not as stiff as one might have anticipated.

1034

Lunarer
June 17th, 2017, 03:54 AM
Tuesday, June 13th 2017 (Thinking Of Tomorrow)



Perhaps a little too much? I keep thinking that all will be revealed tomorrow. Will Barry the Bullet meet me for a day of cleaning windows? I've to give him a call this evening to arrange meeting place and time. I don't even know the address of the guy's house where the equipment is so that'll be something I ask for tonight just in case Barry should sleep in tomorrow morning – something he's been known on occasion to be guilty of. If he doesn't meet me though it will be tough to get cracking myself as I don't know which customers we still work for. I continually bang on about that week I worked in December as being the last time I was out working, and it was too, but besides that it has been some time. The last time I actually led us in a day of work was way before last December. I know very little of what goes on with my old business these days. I will be looking forward for tomorrow all day but we are taught in recovery to live for one day at a time and it is not tomorrow I should be living for – it's today.

I am freaking out a little bit about the prospect of returning to work (to continue talking about tomorrow I suppose but I am really going over how I feel about tomorrow at this moment in time and so I think that this can just about pass as me keeping it in the day). I know it'll be great for me and that even thinking about a summer without any work or study or anything worthwhile going on would be ten times worse – it might mean that I ended up travelling to AA meetings daily for the want of nothing better to do and that would be a travesty. I'm doing just fine with it for now remaining in my rearview mirror. I can turn around and travel the short distance back to it at any time should I feel the need but as things stand I am ahead of it and going strong. My work though – I have reasons to be fearful and apprehensive about it.

For a long time there – around seven years – it was something that I felt was slowly killing me. That damn window cleaning business. It tested me in ways I remember being too much for me. This time it will definitely be different. Barry the Bullet has a tight grip of the reins now. He knows in which directions it will be best travelling. I am only there to keep him company really, and to take my half of the purse at the day's end. Not traditionally motivated by money I must admit that it is playing its part in my reasons for going back out there tomorrow (please, please show up, Mr. Bullet). I have payments that I would benefit from keeping. I have said this before but this time I am on a roll – paying my creditors every fortnight now since that woman came out to visit me from Cosy Kingdom some three months or so ago (or was it even that long ago? Maybe two months. It's been a while though) and so to keep this going serves me well. I also have a holiday booked and could do with perhaps putting something away for then. A little day in Barcelona will likely cost a few quid so it would be nice to head out there prepared.

I could also do with putting some investment into that cave of mine. That will be three and a half years I have ''lived'' there and it still has not seen but a lick of paint. It is still early and I will be heading to college soon but tonight I will be heading back to my cave and I will be there for the whole week. It is handy as a little drop-off place, a ''doss-house'' or whatever they call them, but it's not ideal to be spending any amount of time in. It's perhaps this feeling that the neighbours are picking up from it, a sort of nasty, cold and isolated vibe that it gives off to the surrounding area, that it making some of those who live near me contact the council with information about my abandoning the place. I wonder if I'll return tonight to find another post-it note from my housing officer arranging a home visit to come out and see the place once more for himself before he makes his mind up about what is going to happen next. A little bit of decoration and I'd be in a much better position to convince them that I am living there. The very fact that I have spent money to colour the place up would bolster my case. It's all possible if I get enough work this summer.

Tomorrow's work is not all that I am thinking of though. Yesterday I was stuck with something at the college and the lack of available lecturer bored me into grabbing my things and leaving early. I'd asked my peers and they couldn't help me. I tried Youtube but I had difficulty in pinpointing what I was trying to do, in trying to tell Youtube what it was I was looking for. There were no other options and when conditions arrive meaning that the cat is away I'm not one for getting into the swing of childish banter that some of the mice in the group seem to thrive under. There was nothing else for it but to vanish. This hasn't effected me though as I sit with the Student Portal homepage and I haven't been marked as being absent. I've been marked on the register as being in class. This tells me that the lecturer was likely so late that when he arrived in class many of us had gone home (when I left I probably started a little chain reaction) that he couldn't be sure who had been in class and who had not and so just marked everyone he'd seen in the college at some point that day as being there. He saw me briefly in the morning.

I'll be leaving in five minutes to head back to the college and will have what will be my final written assessment of the year (which I wrote about the other day) and I'll be glad when it's all over. Then I'll be in my town staying at the cave for the rest of the week while I hopefully get back into the swing of all things window cleaning.

I'll keep writing my thoughts down but I'm not really sure when I'll next be in a position to post.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

C'mon, Barry the Bullet. Please turn up tomorrow morning.

1165

Lunarer
June 17th, 2017, 03:55 AM
Wednesday, June 14th 2017 (Addresses)



I was at English Sara's last night and noticed how distant I seem when I am there nowadays. That which was once so comfortable a place for me is now becoming uncomfortable. I feel as though I'm losing a friend. I don't have enough to be losing any at the moment. Gillon popped into the classroom yesterday morning and we went for a coffee. He's another friendship I'm clinging onto. I only have two friends left besides family and Lindsay and my relationships with each of them (excluding Lindsay) has somehow managed to become worse since I got sober. I can't really put my finger on exactly why things have turned out to be as they currently are but there are definitely times when I feel as though I am powerless to stop things from continuing on this downward trajectory. In many ways things have become worse since I got sober and clean but there are other ways that they have become unimaginably better.

I managed to, against all of the odds, meet with Barry the Bullet and get out today for a full day's work. I say ''full day'' but this means only that we put the hours in and not the effort. Either it's been so long since I last worked (beginning of December) or I still haven't fully recovered from the weekend's walking but now I am even stiffer and sorer than I was upon reaching the finish line in the early hours of Sunday morning. When I wake up tomorrow morning I can expect to feel even worse. I'm using muscles this week I haven't used in a long time.

It's worth the pain though. To get back out working has been good for me today. It brings back some memories so it does. Barry himself seems to have lost a little weight. He does look as if he's been through a stressful time and from what he tells me his mum has been in and out of hospital. Under normal circumstances he would likely have had time of work and so I don't grudge him the time he's had off from doing this. It's not his fault he's the entire skeleton crew of this company these days. He has had some help along the way. Ian (one of our former workers when my brother and I ran this company back when I was a drinker) has been out with him a few times. He's also had one or two others out helping him but, as to be expected given the working attitude of the people of the times, they were useless and not worth keeping a hold of. So for the most part Barry has been at it himself.

The first thing has says to me having not seem me in over six months is how well I am looking. I don't get this because I see myself all the time, or at least every now and then when I look into the mirror at Lindsay's or the triangular glass in this cave. Perhaps he's referring to a look of lessened sadness and anger. Could be. If working today has done anything for me it's brought back memories, sent me triggers, and one of the things I remember most is how I used to feel upon waking in the mornings back when I was drinking. My brain would pick someone at random, likely someone I was most resentful at that time, perhaps someone at work, someone from the family, someone who was doing better than me, a customer who had recently bumped us, anyone it wanted to – and then it would hate upon them for the full morning. This made even bouncing from the bed to the bathroom a difficult experience. The hate was actually painful. A voice from inside would wish upon them many very unsavoury things. Of course – they couldn't hear me, I was only hurting myself. This hatred in the mornings and these incredibly negative conversations I would have in my head, directed at people I was resentful towards, often including myself, never happen anymore. It's like some surgeon of sobriety has operated on me and completely removed them.

So – just in case Barry the Bullet does a runner again in the near future and I struggle to contact him again over the course of the summer and beyond I will keep track of the addresses we have left and the dates they are due. This was today's less than stellar effort (but was the best my tired and stiff body could manage on the first day back):

Annandale Gardens

80 – Done
79 – Done
77 – No longer clean – people moved out
76 – Done
75 – Done
73 – Done
72 – Done
71 – Done
69 – Off the books, we took too long to come round this time and he's got someone else.
65 – Done
60 – Done
58 – Off the books, got someone else, didn't think we were ever coming back.

Stevie – ''How long has it been since we were actually in this street?''

Barry the Bullett – ''Fuck knows man, I reckon maybe two months.''

I'm thinking that Barry's ''two months'' is maybe more like three months.

52 – Done
51 – Done
50 – Done
36 – Done
34 – No longer gets done, moved out at the start of the year.
32 – Done
30 – Barry cancelled them because they bumped us of fifteen quid.
27 – Cancelled to go with another guy because we were taking too long.
23 – Done
22 – New one picked up this afternoon. Paid Barry with a half gram of grass rather than cash and so Barry made the necessary deduction from his cut of wages. Wants added to the monthly run.
21 – Cancelled, got someone else months ago as we were taking too long to get round each time.
16 – Done
11 – Cancelled months ago as we weren't regular enough any more.
10 – Guy died a couple of months ago and the new folks moved in get the same window cleaner as number eleven next door.
6 – Cancelled, not regular enough.
5 – Cancelled, got someone else more regular.
4 – Cancelled, taking too long to get round the run.
3 – Still on books but didn't do him today as he's in the hospital. He's ninety six years old.
2 – Done
1 – Done, plus extra job of cleaning moss from gutter and downpipe.

Heriot Way

13 – Cancelled, got someone else as she didn't think we were ever coming round.
12 – Done

All in then – quite a few lost and these are the ones that Barry is concentrating on the most. Likely he feels guilty, like he's been left with the responsibility and has let me down. I don't feel this way at all, and I'm not thinking about the ones we've lost. Think about all of those customers we still have left. That's nineteen in just one street in just one of the four schemes we'll work hard this summer at trying to keep. Nineteen houses at five bucks each plus the twenty five quid for the extra job we got at no. 1 Annandale and we managed to complete just over one hundred and twenty five bucks worth of work. I'll begin to lose this muscle stiffness soon and will be much quicker up and down that ladder. The idea is to complete two hundred pounds worth of work per day between the two of us.

I've many reasons to be earning some cash this coming summer. A day in Barcelona later in the year for a start. I want Christmas out of the way as soon as we hit autumn as well. I'd like to get ahead for once, even if just for a little while, rather than always trailing behind. I want to try to get away from this hand to mouth existence that I struggled with for so long and that did nothing but bring me down. There I go again though – all the ''I wants'', I'm setting myself up for a crash.

It's not about what I want, hasn't been for two years now. I have to try to remember that it is not about what I want but is instead what the God of my understanding feels necessary for me to have.

I wrote yesterday about how I had reasons to be apprehensive about working today. Turns out that this was all just bullshit. I was wasting my thinking time with worry.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Is gonna be really stiff tomorrow.

Worth it though.

1468

Lunarer
June 17th, 2017, 03:56 AM
Thursday, June 15th 2017 (Super-Stiff)



Still unable to post these ramblings onto my forums I nevertheless continue to write and to store them onto my computer for future uploading, likely tomorrow evening when I am at Lindsay's. There aren't many other places I go to where getting online is possible. I used to go and visit with Gillon at least once a week but I tend to find that he has become a little negative in his views. That might seem strange to you – I mean, the thought of me finding something or someone negative is like the pot calling the kettle black. He's negative in ways he'll not now be able to change.

He was talking with me the other week about this ''emptiness'' he sometimes feels when he wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night. Also, I'm assuming, it follows him around during the day as well. Emptiness. I think that what he really means is that he feels loneliness, but it takes a rare man to admit he's lonely. It's been easy for me in the past because I have been encouraged to be honest with myself and others (not to mention the God of my understanding) about how I feel while in recovery and so I am miles ahead of many of my non-addicted peers in terms of honesty and being able to look beyond the surface. I think he's lonely because his brain is trying to tell him that he's on the wrong path, like mine starts to tell me if I place money and status at the top of my list of priorities each and every day.

Gillon hasn't had the cruel life lessons I've had in losing the rights to see my children and so he has moved onto the ''take them for granted'' phase, a phase I didn't have the time to get to, but again, of course, he'd never admit that. He's lonely, I think, because he's completely disconnected from his family, his children and his partner, even though they live in the same house as he. He's lonely because they are but a smokescreen and not at all what he lives for. The real prize, that which he desires most of all, the real prize is status. This, Gillon believes, can only be achieved by earning more money than all of the people who know you. When you earn more than all of them then they will start saying things like: ''Oh, hasn't Gillon done well for himself!?'' and if they don't then it's because they are bitter, resentful at the fact he has done better than them. I fear for Gillon if he is at present fearful and feeling his loneliness acutely enough to mention it to me when he reaches the end of his degree and then he finally realises that this ''emptiness'' he feels is actually loneliness.

I had forgotten that I was supposed to be visiting my brother (well – the nieces really) this week but he's text me to cancel, saying that he's forgotten about Oldest Niece's swimming lesson this evening.

Stevie – ''Nae worries, some other time.''

Gary – ''I'm off after this week''

Does that mean don't come round this week at all? I mentioned in a journal post the other day that while my life has improved in some ways in the time since I stopped drinking that it has in other ways completely shut down and somehow become much worse and it is with regards to my family that I mean it really has shut down. I think it's getting close to the stage where I fully call in my Detached Protector mode on this one. It will come in and relieve any emotional connection to my nieces – effectively forgetting that they exist. I won't have to move anything from the walls of my cave, the customised calendar or the pictures and drawings I have from them – they can stay where they are. My father's death when I was so young followed by the loss of being able to see my own children has left me in possession of impeccable skills in relation to disassociating from things that might hurt me. In this regard I might well be one of the best in the business. Continuing to not see my nieces won't be a huge problem to my conscious mind.

For my passport application I needed a few things from my mother. One of them was the date that she married my father. Mum is somewhere in Europe right now that isn't Scotland and so she's difficult to trace. Out of the blue she posts on Facebook that it has been forty years to the day (this happened on Sunday I think, the eleventh) and posted a wee note going on about how she doesn't know where the time has gone and blah blah blah. That she has two wonderful sons out of the marriage even though it ended in bereavement after only a few years. Makes me wonder for the first time actually.

It makes me wonder about what she might have said had I done what I should have done back in 2013/14 and killed myself. This is the first time I've thought along these lines. I've thought back to those days every now and then but I've never actually looked at things the way they are now and contemplated how they might have been had I just grown the pair of balls I needed to do what I'd promised myself I would do. It wouldn't have had any kind of effect on Lindsay because she didn't know me back then. It wouldn't have had an enormous effect on my mother because she's only seen me once or twice in the time since. I think I'm getting a good insight right now into how it would have touched my brother. Not at all. It might have damaged Barry the Bullet more than anyone else. Two and a half years on and I realise that no one would have been effected by my death. My mother would have made out as if it were bothering her. She'd have been so self-involved though that all of her grief would really just be guilt, she'd turn it all to be about her and what she could have done. It would have made a complete mockery out of my suicide. Either that or it would be blamed on the drink. I killed myself because I was a drinker. None of those reasons would have been the truth. The truth would have been that I did it because everyone is trying to do nothing more than what Gillon is trying to do just now.

I'm going to have to walk up to Dr. Bacon's now for my next psychology appointment and the weekend's big walk combined with yesterday's working escapades has ensured that this will be no easy feat. I'm now super-stiff. I did a little stretching this morning and will do some more in a couple of minutes when I prepare myself to leave the cave Bacon-bound.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Bring on the weekend.

1206

Lunarer
June 17th, 2017, 03:57 AM
Friday, June 16th 2017 (Stevie the Self-Aggrandiser)



Ten minutes later than usual we get the session underway. We start with the usual meaningless pleasantries that only really serve to waste time.

Stevie – ''I managed the first lap no probs but the second was far too long, and then I was working yesterday for the first time in months so I'm really stiff and sore so that's all the muscle groups had a workout.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Oh right, ha ha, yeah. So, I apologise, I have to head off quite sharpish at half past four, if that's okay.....''

Stevie – ''Yeah, that's fine.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah!?''

Stevie – ''I couldn't really be arsed today anyway, it's been one of those days, I didn't want to phone up though, to cancel, so I just decided to....well....I'm here now.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well I noticed that you're a wee bit later and it's not like you, to be late I mean.''

Stevie – ''Well I usually sit out there for ten minutes and there's never any water, or I've never been offered any, so when I was walking past I figures I might have time to nip to the shop before it hit half past, didn't quite make it.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Ah...''

Stevie – ''It still gives us fifty minutes so that's cool.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I apologise, normally I'd stay a bit longer but I've got something on that I have to....was there something coming up that made you a little later? Or....''

Stevie – ''Nah, not really, I was walking past and I made the choice to go get juice rather than just sit out there in the waiting area for ten minutes, there's a shop just up....''

Dr. Bacon – ''Oh right, I appreciate that I do run over time sometimes.''

Stevie – ''We run over sometimes so others are entitled to that as well.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Yeah, so anyway -...''

He asks about the walk and I let him know about it and how I feel. I don't feel much about it. He pulls me up on this. Apparently I won't allow him to congratulate me but it's so last week's news now. Besides – I think that when people at the event itself were praising one and other it meant something. Now that people who weren't there are saying it I find it weightless. It's like when people pretend that they really cared about the ''victims'' of the Manchester ''terrorist'' attacks. It's just words, it means nothing. One thing I think he quite liked was the way I didn't seem to be beating myself up over not finishing both marathons. That he feels as though this could have been a good opportunity for my Critical Parent mode to come out and really ruffle my feathers. Instead I don't seem to feel myself to be some kind of loser for not doing what I set out to do.

Stevie – ''I'll do it next year, or I'll keep going back to it until I do it.''

I don't know if he likes the idea of this or not. This kind of thinking is going back to goal setting and this is what we are perhaps trying to avoid.

As the session picks up some kind of momentum he points out to me that Little Stevie, the ''vulnerable and angry'' child within (something I am beginning to get sick of thinking about, not just in this session but in general) never really allows anyone to praise him and so loses out on these chances of connections. He then moves onto another ''mode'' – as if we haven't covered enough about these things already – and this time we are talking about self-aggrandising. This is ''perhaps'' another mode I have.

Dr. Bacon – ''It is similar to the Bully and Attack but it has a slightly different function. It's not so much there to protect – it's more the idea of putting other people down so that we can be up.''

Stevie – ''Don't you think everyone does that!? Don't you think that's just a natural trait of humanity and that a million or maybe even a billion are doing that right now as we speak?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Do you think perhaps that right now as you're saying that...''

Stevie – ''That I'm doing it? Probably. I just don't think I care this afternoon.''

We talk about why this might be. Why do I not seem to give a shit about my therapy this afternoon when I am usually so eager to get through this stuff? I mention about the charity shop. I've decided not to continue volunteering there. This decision has been made after the recent price rise in all the items sold there. This others me for many reasons but the main one is that it is just another example of capitalism swooping in and destroying a community hub. The new chair of the charity shop has made many changes to the way it is run. It's obvious to anyone now that she's in it for the money. This price rise confirms it. People say: ''It's still cheaper than some places!'' They are right, it is still. This is only due to the fact that other places have to pay staff.

I offered my services to the cause as a way of making my Step Nine amends to my community and trying to get involved more in it. The charity shop has slowly turned more into a business and so it is no longer there for the community. This then breaks the deal I had with it. I'll lend my time to help a cause but I won't contribute to someone getting rich by taking advantage of my time in this way. I walk out the door and I don't think I'll be back.''

Dr. Bacon – ''That's a very Detached Protector thing to do.''

This is one of the main problems with therapy. It was the same with AA's Twelve Steps. The confusion, the not knowing if I was doing the right thing. I don't want it to get to that stage again where I am questioning everything I think and do. For now I am no longer a volunteer at the Charity Shop Cafe and I feel my reasons to be just and perhaps even noble. For now I'll leave it at that.

Stevie – ''The Detached Protector, in some form, is where I've spent my entire life so far and it's very likely the place I'll spend the majority of the rest of it too, and that might be good enough I think. It's not a huge leap from where I was when I was drinking but it might be good enough at the moment. If I was self-aggrandising all the time then I'd likely expect more from myself.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Self-aggrandising, when we talk about that we're more referring to times when you actively rubbish other people, when you bring them down.''

Stevie – ''Everybody has some form of human they hate. For some it's blacks, others it's gays, for some it's junkies, for others it's anyone Asian. I'm not that pathetic – I just hate all humans. Where my hate is concerned it is all inclusive. People don't really change all that often, and remember I'm a member of AA, but I have to say that even in there humans show me a staggeringly limited capacity for change.''

Dr. Bacon – ''I'm really pleased that despite this being not a great day for you that you made it here today and that you didn't just go along with that Detached Protector which could have just cut you off from it all. I think that there's some Healthy Adult that has come through there.''

I have to try at all times to remember that this is what I'm actually here for – to try to strengthen my Healthy Adult so that it becomes my dominant mode. When this happens I will then be able to make better use of my other modes and my Critical Parent won't always be nagging in my ear. Then I'll be able to work on my relationship with the God of my Understanding. I am still very much blocked off from it at the moment. I suppose that it's a good thing we only have one more week at college before I go back to work full time as this means I get two months of therapy to get through this assessment phase and start putting some effort into my recovery (I don't mean recovery from my drinking here – I've moved past that now) so that when I set off on my next adventure I can do so with a little Healthy Adult in me helping me along.

Dr. Bacon – ''Which part of you is this do you think? This part of you that hates people?''

Stevie – ''I don't think it's the part of me that you might think it is. How do we know it's not Little Stevie?''

Dr. Bacon – ''It could be, could be.''

Stevie – ''Wouldn't that be something?''

Dr. Bacon – ''One of the reasons that I'm not sure if it's Little Stevie is that it doesn't strike me as a childlike mode in that – often the childlike modes are very extreme or undercontrolled, whereas.......when this side of you comes out....it's quite decisive. It's a bit like a....lazer surgery precision, almost, in the way it sort of cuts things out, or detects the flaws and analyses them. It's not the way I'd normally see child modes functioning.''

He's trying to bring out this Self-Aggrandiser mode more. This is exactly what this exercise is all about.

Stevie – ''Which mode is it then?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well I'm wondering if......it might be this Self-Aggrandiser, and....just let me explain the function of this to you: it's a mode in which we use when we're.....overcompensating for a sense that feeling inferior, feeling not good enough by putting that onto other people, by judging them.''

We end up using the charity shop as an example and I start talking about that again.

Dr. Bacon – ''This feeling that I'm picking up on, this anger, this is good. It's really important that it comes out in healthy ways and this is good.''

He wonders how is comes out at other times. He's a complete and utter hypocrite, has no way of doing his job without being one, in that he speaks of the dangers of judging people while he spends all of our time together doing just that and nothing else. I get what he's saying though. How does this anger of mine come out under other circumstances?! Usually by bringing people down.

I'm nearly at the ten thousand character limit for a post on the My Way Out forum and so I'm going to leave it there. I'll be leaving this town in an hour to visit with Lindsay for the weekend after a mixed week.

I may write about some more of this session in another post over the weekend.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Self-Aggrandiser?

1875

Lunarer
June 17th, 2017, 03:58 AM
Saturday, June 17th 2017 (The Good Stuff)



Today has only just started and already I am confused to the point of wanting to just say ''Fuck it!!'' and go back to bed but then that would just become a part of the problem. I'd lie there wondering if by doing so I was in Detached Protector mode and if I should challenge it by getting up and going finding something productive to do. So far this weekend I've been challenging every thought and behaviour I've had and it's not cool.

I'm not thinking about drinking. That's cool too. But I got this way when I was going through this point in the Twelve Step program – we were looking at all of the problems with me – essential to even thinking about recovery – but no closer to thinking about a solution. It was around this stage of the Twelve Steps that I started smoking weed again. This was better than drinking but still wasn't ideal. This time it's likely to just be a cigarette. I wonder though. Were I to start smoking again then how long would it be before I started the weed? Then the booze? I'm not going to, of course not. I'm not even thinking about it. What I am doing right now is acknowledging that I've been here before and know that I have to take it easy at times. Perhaps I need to bring out my Detached Protector on Dr. Bacon a little more often during our sessions. I said I would perhaps write a little more about this week's session in a weekend post, and I likely still will, but this morning I would like to concentrate on some positive things if possible.

First, though, there is always some shit to trawl through. Lindsay started at seven this morning. It's now just before nine. Both of us got up around six. She's gone back to her bed. What can I do to try to help her get into the hospital on time? She came home early yesterday after being sent away for having a bad cough but I never heard her cough the whole time I was here. This morning she says that she's not feeling any better and so that's that – another day off! I'm no mathematician but on this placement, her final three month (four if you count the extra time she has to make up, which we should) placement she's been scheduled to work for sixteen shifts over the last few weeks (twelve hour shifts so she's only in three times a week) and she's missed six of them – counting today and counting yesterday as a day missed. That makes for an awkward sum total. I'm just thinking about it from my own perspective in that if someone started working for us doing the window cleaning with Barry the Bullet and me then this attendance record would have been enough by now to have seen us get someone else in.

Right then – half a post in and we still haven't reached anything good. Story of my experience I guess. The best thing that's happened this week, the only good thing to have happened really, is my return to work. This has been a long time in coming. Last night I went online and, giving Lindsay the money so that I can use her ebay accont, designed and ordered business cards for us that will hopefully arrive before my next shift on Wednesday. I text Barry to let him know.

Barry the Bullet – ''No worries lad sound sound man tickets that be a novelty lol''
(No problem, that's good news, we haven't had business cards in a long time, will be good)

He's just been writing on a piece of paper ''Windows Cleaned Today'' and stuffing it through the letterboxes of those who are not in to pay us. This has been going on for around six months now. How things have changed. Well, now Stevie's back!!! I feel like there should be some superhero music playing in the background.

Stevie – ''Indeed, were yous oot the day?''
(I agree – were you and Ian out working today?)

Barry the Bullet – ''Aye man were 4 away from denholm court lad''
(We were – we are just four houses away from Denholm Court)

This means that either we've lost shit loads of customers in the streets between where Barry and I finished up on Wednesday and where they were working today, or, more likely, that both Barry and Ian were out working on Thursday too. This will be the first time that two people have been out working for three consecutive days in months. I'm feeling good about this.

Stevie – ''Nice one, we're back on it in a big way.''
(I like it – feels like we're getting back to work again like we used to)

Barry the Bullet – ''Aye lad just have to keep on it good to have you back though''
(I think so too, we just have to try to keep it going and get a run of days together)

That will be the hard part but I have a good feeling about it this summer. With Ian looking for work at the moment and me finishing college in a few days there is the potential for three of us to be out working if the work allows it. I'd have to get another ladder but this was a part of the plan anyway. There's a little chance that I could make a good go of it again this summer which is fantastic considering how worried I was before Barry answered his phone last weekend. He says that it's good to have me back out working again and I think he means it. He knows how hard it is to find people that will go out day after day and work for it and I think he feels that with me showing so much interest in coming back out that he'll be safe with work at least until the summer's over.

So my fate is becoming clearer. This coming Monday will start an eleven week spell of summer holidays in between courses finishing and new ones starting. Quite what I'll be doing come the fourth of September is at the moment anyone's guess.

None of that matters at the moment though. Ten weeks of window cleaning lie ahead.

I hope I don't pull a Lindsay too many times.

I should go see if she's getting up.

Until the next time.

Take care.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Focusing on the good stuff.

Even if it is cleaning windows.

1121

Lunarer
June 18th, 2017, 01:30 PM
Sunday, June 18th 2017 (Dunkirk)



It's a town in the extreme north of France. Hypothetically I am sitting there right now having walked the equivalent distance from the front door of my cave to this Dunkirk place in the time I've quit smoking some four and a bit months ago. I know not where I fancy going next. Perhaps I'll travel into Belgium next as this little town lies just six miles from the border. According to Wikipedia, Dunkirk has a population of just over ninety one thousand and so it hosts more citizens than my town and Lindsay's town combined. Some of my Scottish peers may be forgiven for thinking that Dunkirk might be found on the British Isles and I have to say that I could feel my brow raise when I saw it pop up on my Endomondo account which I am using to track my mileage this year.

Yes – I think that is what I shall do. I shall make way (hypothetically of course – I won't be leaving the miserable climate of Scotland until early October when Lindsay and I head off to Spain for a week on what will be this particular alkie's first time out of Britain in over a decade) for the French/Belgian border. I shall continue to walk along the Chassee des Darses in Dunkirk until I reach Rue du Magasin General from which I can get to Rue du Leughenaer and it is on this that I can suck up the French coastline and head onto the D60 which will take me to the border. This way I feel motivated to get back out there and walk a little. The training has been done and the main event has passed. Now I have nothing to train for and so no reason to get back out there and walk again. I'll have to find something soon but for now this silly little challenge of getting into an imaginary Belgium will have to do. The next time I go out I will be travelling across a border and into my fourth country of my smoking quit (Scotland, England, France, and then Belgium). For now I am in Dunkirk, but that's fine. Actually, right now I am in Scotland – not so fine!!

I say that but the way the weather has been again this week I can safely say that being Scottish has been okay for a few days now. I know not the exact temperature, and I've no doubt that for most people on forums like this which are dominated by Americans and other places where the summer weather is much more pleasant than this, that it would be nothing special but it'll do for me. It's nowhere near cold but not so hot that it makes going on my little walks a difficult thing to do. I'm trying hard to keep it going, to keep walking despite my challenge being done, but I've only managed seven miles this weekend. There's nothing to train for anymore. My motivation is being tested. The walking has a downside to it too though, the extent I've been doing it these last few weeks.

When I came back from my little (and at just over three miles it really was ''little'' by my standards) walk this evening I decided to step on the scales. If I want to keep my Slimming World membership then I have to show up at least for the weigh-in once a month. This means I'll have to go tomorrow evening. I wonder how I'm doing. Slimming World helped me shed seven pounds of unwanted Christmas blubber and helped me prove that weight gain is not necessary when quitting smoking and you never know when I might need it again. I am sitting at my target weight of eleven and a half stone and have been now for around five weeks. I step on the scales to confirm this. Yikes!! I'm a little on the light side! Eleven stone and one pound. At Slimming World you remain at your target weight providing that you stay within your target by three pounds either way. This means I can go as high as eleven stone and ten pounds and as low as eleven stone and four (although I don't know why I'm spelling this out to you because you're likely not mentally challenged and so can probably work it out yourself no bother). Right now I am sitting at eleven stone and one pound. I won't freak. I won't have to pay at tomorrow's class. It's amazing the amount our weight changes throughout the day. I'll weigh more than this in a half hour when the water I've lost through sweat returns and my body goes back to normal. Give me a decent dinner tonight and a decent sized lunch tomorrow at the college and I'll give you my target weight tomorrow night.

Speaking of the college – this'll be the last week. I'll have completed what I set out to do over the summer last year. There was a big build up to this course. Could I finish it? Could I prioritise? Could I demonstrate enough self-care to get me through to the end? Could I bond with other men? Would I push the Fukkit!! Button halfway through and give in? I am happy to say that the answer to all of these questions was a resounding YES!! - except for the Fukkit Button one, obviously. Not just have I managed to pass the course and get my qualification but it would seem that I have done it with less sweat and tears than I might have thought. Two full days to go and then we're off for the summer.

Well, just forty words or so to write before I reach my daily total of one thousand (it's not a bad discipline really) which only works out as a couple of lines really, given the font size and the surface area of the page on this word processing program I use. In fact – I'm probably over the thousand already.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Well over the thousand.

1031

Lunarer
June 19th, 2017, 02:34 PM
Monday, June 19th 2017 (The Penultimate Educational Experience)



This is it! The college has now but one day to go. After tomorrow it'll be all over. That's all folks!! Just one day to go. I wish I could say that this meant that I have been in college today working hard but to say that would be telling only a half-truth. I've been in college, sure, but again – even though we are this close to the end and only have one day to go – still I seem to be sitting around with little to do really other than assist others with things they still have to do. We're a team at the college and for one of us to pass we must all pass. I'm doing my part to help with this cause.

Just before lunchtime I am approached by the radio lecturer. He's willing to give me my interview and answer any questions I may have regarding the course. I know that Shaun and Paige, two of my sound production peers this year, have already signed up for this diploma next year but they are twenty and sixteen years old respectively. At my age (forty next April) I can't afford to make a mistake and so need to make an informed decision. I have to gather all of the information I can get my hands on before I decide whether next year will see me studying sound production, radio broadcasting, practical journalism, or no study and continuing to clean windows for a living, at least temporarily while I decide on my next move. It's all go. There are so many directions my story could go in the next few years and so quite a lot (as I see it anyway) hinges on me making the best decision in the next couple of weeks.

So what was said at the radio interview? I guess I was a little worried about the creative aspect of things. Out of the three courses on offer here (journalism, sound production and radio) I had figured radio to be the one that would encourage the least amount of creativity from students. The lecturer disagrees (well – he's going to, isn't he!?) completely and says that in actual fact it is likely the course from the three that has the largest scope for creativity. He explains by letting me hear a little of the students from this year and what they did for their end of year graded unit. One of them was interested in homelessness in Edinburgh (timely given what I saw last weekend while doing the Moon Walk) and so made the trip through and interviewed a bunch of homeless people. There's a cafe through there that helps feed them, offers soup and suchlike throughout the day, and she went to this cafe and interviewed some of the volunteers there too. She then compiled a thirty minute show and that was that. From the snippets I was allowed to hear it sounded pretty good. This was from a student doing this year what I would be doing next year was I to give the lecturer the answer he's looking for.

As well as praising his own course he has a little rubbishing to do on the practical journalism. He calls it a ''dry'' course meaning that the students (and probably the tutors as well) are almost incapable of cracking a smile. It's an awfy dry course. I'm sitting there thinking to myself that this could possibly be right up my street, the perfect course for one such as I, the type of person who can rarely, if ever, crack a smile. Someone like me – a ''dry'' person. But then I am trying to get away from my default and miserable self. That means trying to get away from ''dry'' things, be they people, places, things, or college courses. As fickle as I may be I currently feel that the journalism course is at the bottom of my list of possible courses and study options for next year. This will change from one week to the next and so I'm no further forward to making my decision but I know a lot of things now about the radio option and it sounds pretty good from where I'm sitting.

I won't be posting over the next few days as I won't be near an internet hotspot. I'll be in my cave from tomorrow night until the weekend. I'll be working on Wednesday and Thursday this week with Barry the Bullet. I don't know if he and Ian have been out working this week at all but they were out at the end of last week. With the college ending the day after tomorrow it's important (to me at least) that I try to accept as quickly as possible that I'll be back to cleaning windows for the next ten or eleven weeks. I found this very difficult in the past, to accept that I would be cleaning windows from one week to the next, but I think that this was largely because I didn't think there could ever be anything else. Now that I know there is an end to it I might be able to handle it a little better. Ten weeks, maybe eleven, and then I can once again try to revert to part time.

I'm going to jump in the bath now (probably won't – will most likely just slowly climb into it, I don't know why we have that saying) but Lindsay and I were both at Slimming World earlier this evening and were both still at our target weights meaning that we don't have to go for another month again and don't have to pay. There are a few newbies and each of them looks as though they have a heck of a lot of work to be doing before they get themselves down to a reasonable weight but that's what it's all about. Slimming World is the place for them to do it.

This is what it's all about. Making little goals and then going out and achieving them.

Dr. Bacon has a few opinions on this but until we've talked about that I can't really comment on it.

Tomorrow will be a decent day I feel. Saying goodbye to those I have studied with for the last nine months.

I'll keep writing my posts as usual, but I probably won't see you again until the weekend.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Getting close to the end.

1095

Lunarer
June 24th, 2017, 04:05 AM
Tuesday, June 20th 2017 (Year of Two Halves)


I'm a little disappointed with the end of college and the way it went. It just kinda ended and we all went home. I don't really know what I was expecting really but whatever it was it wasn't as flat an ending as it was. Now there will be no studying, at least for a couple of months. The lack of college will from now on leave an enormous hole in my time. Every week I'll now have a whole bunch of hours to kill that I didn't have to worry about for the biggest part of ten months there.

I'm going to talk a little about the college in this post, I can feel it, and I'll probably even ramble a little about my future and what I see myself doing next term. This is well trodden ground in this journal at the moment and after this evening I'll make a point of leaving these types of thoughts for a week or two. I want to try to get quickly into the habit of not being at the college. Since I don't think that I'll be going back to work at the Charity Shop Cafe again either then I'll have more time than I'll have been used to having since I started college. The first half of last year was very different from the second.

The first half of 2016 I was living in complete squalor. I mean it too! I'm not just talking ''I was a drunk and had a bit of a messy home'' – I'm talking complete anarchy. I started the year off by being eleven months sober but still smoking weed every day and I had moved things into the bedroom in preparation for the winter. I had, the month before, lost my car, pretty much the business, my internet (would also have lost gas and electricity if the law in this country didn't protect me so well) and had been referred to the local psychiatric ward . The business funds were crumbling and had reached almost nothing. I was running around the streets collecting money from window cleaning customers that hadn't paid Barry and co. during the day. It was quite pitiful. Inside the one room I was ''living'' was my bed on the floor and I was surrounded by garbage. Flies would constantly annoy me and buzz around in front of the laptop screen and I would have to clap my hands on them to squish them dead and then throw them into a mould filled tin of baked beans. It wasn't my proudest moment.

I wasn't seeing Lindsay at this time. Wasn't seeing many people from one day to the next, and although I got my act together over the following months (largely thanks to a forum member from Glasgow who made the trip through to help me – not that I had been appealing for it or anything) I still had loads of time on my hands. I quit smoking the weed and taking any drugs at all in the February and go the cave cleaned up over April and May. Over the summer I spent a lot of time at the local library. This got me into many other things including the courses that community education was running like Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and a couple of self-esteem building courses. Still though I had much free time. I don't know how many shifts I went out to work with Barry the Bullet but I can't think of one until the week I did in December. I did see my nieces on a regular basis at this time though.

In the second half my life changed completely. Time became less of an enemy. I started working at the charity shop in July; started the college in late August, then started seeing Lindsay at the beginning of September (I think our first date was on the first of September actually but I'd have to go back and check). I was much more involved in Alcoholics Anonymous (actually still had my home group one town away in the opposite direction with my sponsor Stu at this time, the beginning of September) and was at Restoration every week without fail.

I guess I'm a little worried about how my time will be spent now that the college is over. I'll be spending more time in my town on a weekly basis over these next ten weeks than I have done at any point since last summer. I wonder how my time will start to feel again. Will something else turn up that will allow time to feel comfortable again for me? Or will time become something like it did before, something heavy, like every hour is an enormous weight I have to lift? Perhaps this week I go to Restoration!? In the last three months I think I've been two or three times. I don't know why or when I stopped going so regularly. If I don't watch what I'm doing then I'll become excluded. Actually – when was the last time I received a text from Nikki informing me of the plans for the week. I've been going so irregularly that I've been taken off the group text? Nice. Get it sorted!!

So college is done. One by one we walked out of the classroom and into our futures. It was pretty much a case of once you have everything ticked off then you can go. First it was Paige. The only girl in the whole year she was fifteen when she started this course. She's come of age a little and deserves praise for the way she worked these last two weeks to make sure everything was handed in. First finished too. She wouldn't leave without getting my number although quite how willing I'll be to message a sixteen year old lassie I'm not sure. Then it was Shaun. Undoubtedly the person I became closest to over the year - I'll miss the banter. Then it was me. Off into the sunset to face another challenge.

Both Paige and Shaun have been offered places on the next level of sound production but have refused. They've both been offered places on the Level Seven Radio course and have accepted. At the moment I've been offered the same radio course and the college is awaiting a response. I've also accepted the Level Seven Sound Production so unless things change it is that I'll be doing next year.

But things always change, don't they!?

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Noticing things changing this week a little too much.

1116

Lunarer
June 24th, 2017, 04:06 AM
Wednesday, June 21st 2017 (An Out-of-College Assessment)


Ian used to work with us every day back when the window cleaning business was my main source of income. I haven't seen him in over a year but this morning I am, with Barry the Bullet, sitting in his new house. When I say new – I really mean it. He's moved into a property that is brand new. He was the first person in the scheme actually. Some of the houses are still empty, awaiting people to move in for the first time. The reason I am there is work-related.

Both he and Barry the Bullet were out working last week on Thursday and Friday. No one has been out since. This morning Barry and I are hoping to sort this and get out there. It's not going to happen though. Not for me at least. Ian and Barry the Bullet left some of the gear at Ian's and so we collect it, have a chat and a coffee, and then head out to get started work for nine o'clock arriving at the garden where the rest of the gear may be found, which is, incidentally, Ian's brother's garden. Only some of the stuff is missing. We're a second man's squeegee down. I ask Barry to get started while I walk up to the cave to get a spare. Only the spare doesn't have a rubber. Now I'll have to order some online from Lindsay's over the weekend and hope that they arrive for Monday morning. So Barry works himself for a while before the rain sends him home while I sit around the cave twiddling my thumbs and waiting for this week, and the next ten, to be over so that I can get back to studying something.

At least I have been able to open my mail on time this last two weeks as I've been spending most of my time in the cave and very little at Lindsay's. One letter notifies me of my upcoming health assessment. This sucks a little but I should be grateful in that it has come now of all times. It could have come much sooner. It's going to make me have to take a little look at my financial situation. For the last ten months I have been supported by my student bursary but it doesn't seem to have been reaching me due to some government fuck up and so I have been getting instead my sickness benefit still which I was on prior to my studies starting up back in late August last year. I went for one of these health assessments back in 2015 and was declared unfit to return to work immediately and was instead placed on something called the Back to Work Program which meant I was referred to an agency called Triage and they would meet with me twice a week for up to two years while I strengthened myself to the position where I was ready to go back into the workplace.

Then I started college. This seemed to cock everything up and I continued to get sickness benefit and letters telling me of my next appointment with Triage. I called Triage and explained that I was no longer a part of the scheme as I had started college and the woman assured me that this was noted and that I'd be taken off the system. Then I got another letter telling me when my next Triage appointment was. I ignored it and continued to get money put into my Credit Union I thought was from the college and appointment letters from Triage continued to come through the post. The Credit Union brought it to my attention that sickness benefit was going into my account and that the college were paying me but that money was going into another account and asked if I wanted the two of the accounts merged, which I did. I then withdrew the one thousand pounds overpayment and put it into one of Lindsay's accounts (which has been used to pay for the holiday and a few other things) just in case.

I got a Triage appointment through the door with the post the other day telling me of my next appointment and now, almost two years exactly after I first went on their little scheme, I am back for another health assessment with the Health Assessment Advisory Service. I have been told that they are even more motivated these days to try to find holes in one's story to send them back to work. I think that the people telling me this perhaps work a little too hard at getting away with things like not working for many years. I'm not there yet but it's been a while since the system had me down as doing any meaningful paid work. I'll try to keep things as they are (I have college starting back up, most likely, in ten weeks, and this time I'll have to take out a student loan – there's no way that I could still claim sickness or any other type of benefit) for another little while but I'm growing slowly out of this crippling fear I have of not being on ''the sick!'' Even should the woman who assesses me in three weeks time decide that I am fit enough to return to full time work immediately then it'll be another two weeks after that before I have to begin the gruelling experience that it visiting the job centre every fortnight.

The window cleaning can sustain me for the next ten weeks and then I'm back at college. When that equipment arrives I'll be good to go with Barry the Bullet and we'll start working on getting another ladder so that we can get Ian out full time as well. Then I'll work on trying to grow the business a little again. I have ten weeks.

Nowadays sometimes time is all I feel I have.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Has too much time.

1013

Lunarer
June 24th, 2017, 04:07 AM
Thursday, June 22nd 2017 (Looking Through An Old Door)


I've had a bad day today. This has easily been the worst of the days passed since I posted last. I was at the Charity Shop Cafe earlier this morning and explained to Elsa that I wouldn't be there tomorrow, wouldn't be back at all, and that I'd bring my things back to her at some point in the coming days (would have brought them back today but have left them by accident, or more likely without thinking, in Lindsay's town). I wonder a little about this place now. What exactly is so ''charity'' about it?

Most places who call themselves charities tend to say so on the tin. They are working in support of the British Heart Foundation, or Oxfam, or Cancer Research Scotland. It is obvious then how these places work (or at least should work) but with this shop I am not so sure. Where does the money actually go? What does this shop actually support? Where does all of the money it makes go? Does it simply go to the three or four paid members of staff? If so then there is something seriously wrong about this whole thing. This has contributed to my low mood on this day. I feel kinda like I've helped someone stab me in the back. I felt as though my time (it was only three hours a week, I know, but it was more than some give) has been used to support the very things I am most against. I feel slightly like I've been used, taken advantage of, exploited. I shouldn't care, it is over now, but I have to admit that it's a little sad that this has to happen.

In a world so obsessed with money it puts me in a sort of moral predicament. I wouldn't want to be paid – it would completely contradict the reasons I started volunteering there in the first place, but if it is only so that someone can make money out of me that they ask for volunteers in the first place then I feel like a mug. Some people have said that to me as they have come and gone through the volunteering staff history of the cafe. They come from the job centre mainly and they are forced to work there to keep their benefits. It's cheaper to pay people benefits and force them to work than it is to pay them a living wage and so the whole idea of volunteering to me now seems ludicrous and exploitative. I'm not sure if I'll ever offer my time again in this way. This might mean that I have become obsessed with money too, getting paid or it's not worth doing, and so be it.

Besides the disaster that has befallen the Charity Shop Cafe, or as I shall be calling it from now on ever since its ridiculous price rises – the Capitalist Shop Cafe – yeah, besides all that, I think that my mood has taken a beating for two other reasons as well.

One of them is my brother and his hold over me in terms of seeing my nieces. I should have thought he'd have known better himself given his past too. He lost his father as well, it wasn't just the older brother of the two that suffered that loss – he did too. Also he lost his niece and nephew when things went tits up with my ex-partner way back almost twelve years ago now. I haven't seen my son and daughter in all that time but he also hasn't seen his niece and nephew. I guess that this type of family loss doesn't seem to matter to him as much as it does me. Or maybe if I was sorted and had two girls of my own while he had no one then maybe I would give as little a fuck about him as he seems to me. This is the way I feel about things at the moment anyway. I haven't seen either niece for over two months now – a new record, beating my previous best of six weeks also set in 2017. Gary seems to be postponing my seeing them. I'm not begging but it does bother me more than slightly.

It's another thing that Lindsay and I have in common – we both have brothers who are incredibly shallow emotionally.

The final reason is to do with my past and my family. They came to me in a dream last night, or at least the house we used to live in did. I walked past this house on the way to the Capitalist Shop Cafe earlier this morning (it is on route just a couple of hundred yards from this cave) and the current tenants were standing at the front door. As I walked slowly by I could see right into the lower level of the property. I continue walking underneath the sitting room. It's a strange design, my old house, in that it's main rooms are upstairs while the lower level has only two bedrooms, a toilet, and a cupboard. The rest of the rooms are upstairs. Fuck – I really miss that house! I don't know why I've started to pine for it these last couple of days. It's not the house I miss, of course, it's my children and the family unit I had back then, that sense of belonging so long gone now.

There are some parts of my life I can think back to and I cling onto a little. Most of it, or at least large chunks of it, I don't want to think about and quickly move past. Those years from 1999 to 2006 are ones I have been trying to cling onto a little more than I'd like to recently (incidentally, one period I simply cannot abide is the period from 2008 to 2014). As I quickly pass the property and glance ever so briefly through that open door I begin to think back again to those years between 1999 and 2006 – as if this door is acting like a strange and mysterious portal into another place and time. Well, another time at least.

For some reason today I am finding that my Higher Power, Mr. God of my Understanding, is unable to remove these thoughts from me as I am asking. Maybe I'm supposed to think about this stuff for a while. Maybe there's a reason related to Dr. Bacon that I'm supposed to be searching through these past memories.

Maybe it's just a warning to me to stop walking past that bloody door.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Avoiding that particular portal.

1129

Lunarer
June 24th, 2017, 04:08 AM
Friday, June 23rd 2017 (Enormous Paragraphs??)


Wednesday was the longest day which means that we are officially into summer now but also that the days are becoming shorter. I noticed while out doing that Moonwalk that it doesn't actually get dark at all, not fully, not black like you'd expect the dead of night to be at this time of year, more a really dark shade of blue. The black will be coming back though. At two minutes a night. It'll take its time but sure as shit it'll happen. I used to start freaking out around this time of year. I'd start thinking about how close it was getting to the winter even though we had just that moment entered the peak of summer (although the wet weather we're having at the moment is just typical Scotland and is doing nothing to suggest that we will be getting our shorts on too often over the coming weeks and months). I'm not like this now. I actually think that I'm strangely beginning to enjoy the winters more. Last winter was one of the best seasons I can remember. Cosy nights in with Lindsay; college and charity shop keeping me busy during the days; a trip to Edinburgh to see the Christmas lights and shows. It was beautiful. The cold was there but it didn't bother me like it used to. I had some money. Not a lot, but more than I am used to having at this time of year. The football season is in full flow also during the worst of the winter while it has stopped just now and we don't have the luxury of a world cup or anything this year (under 21 tournament and Confederations Cup will both be over before we know it). This was perhaps the biggest change I've noticed in my sobriety so far. The change in mood last winter to all that preceded it.

Right then. Let's move on. I just wrote, like, a third of a post in one paragraph there. A huge paragraph. I'll try to tone it down a little from here on in.

I'll be heading back to Lindsay's soon (will be there already by the time I post all of this nonsense from another week) and I'm caught in two minds. I want to go but don't want to go. I want to stay in the cave this weekend but of course don't want to stay. I have no idea why I am being like this. It's great to get out of my cave and out of my town for a weekend at least and I'll be returning to my cave for Sunday night this week so that I can be up and at 'em for work on Monday morning and so I only have two nights at Lindsay's this weekend which'll be the shortest break I've had for some time, which I think could also be a good thing as it gives me time to suss out who I am, to be with myself, and all of that shit. But who wants to be by themselves all the time? This week, despite spending Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night, and all of today in my own town I did not spend any of this time visiting Gillon, my brother and the neces, or (which is probably most notable as I try to go there every week, just to keep up appearances) English Sara's. For some reason this week I have spent lots more time with myself than I have been used to. There, I've gone and done it again – I've written another enormous paragraph. I need to stop doing that. Any more and you'll begin to wonder if I'm doing it on purpose.

What have I been doing with my time then? I've been sitting through in this town all week and haven't even visited with English Sara. What the fuck have I been doing to entertain myself then for all this time? Sitting wanking myself off? Well, there was a little of that, maybe two or three times over the four days, but that didn't take up too much time. I did a fair bit of reading. I was loving my Russell Brand book ''Revolution'' in which he talks of how we might be able to run our communities in ways that benefit the many rather than the few but I hadn't been getting too far with it and now I am almost finished it. I've done this writing. I've also put a few hours into something else I am writing, something that won't be getting dumped online, an ongoing project I have plucked from the past, something I had started while I was a drinker but haven't looked at since. Something I thought was shit but having looked back over it feel it to be pretty strong. I spent more time this week wishing that I was working rather than actually working. I'll be good to go when the supplies arrive, I keep telling myself. It's been a pretty forgettable week actually. One that has not had much of interest at all.

I can salvage it though. I can get up and go to Restoration. I've tried reaching Barry the Bullet to ask if he's going collecting this evening but he hasn't got back to me. I am really hoping that this does not mean that he is back to being impossible to reach again. It becomes a real chore when he gets like that. Even if he doesn't get back to me though I can still go to Restoration. There might not be much happening but it definitely is good for me to keep one foot in there. It's effectively the only recovery tool I am still involved in (although I do still write here daily and speak to God, the One of my understanding, and I do have an ongoing relationship with Lindsay who is an alkie – so I guess I do have plenty bases covered, but going to Restoration would still be tremendously good for me, especially after such a lonely and uncomfortable week). At least by going this afternoon I would be placed back on Nikki's list and I would receive text messages every week letting me know what the plans are for the following week. Activities run pretty much on a ''first come; first served'' basis and so you have to be on the texting list to be a ''first come''. There may be one or two activities crop up that take my fancy. I have to be in it to win it, and all of that. It's a little over a mile away and so walking is no excuse (but then I've been walking marathons recently so I couldn't use that one anyway) and I haven't seen any of them since I did that big walk in Edinburgh the other weekend so I'm gonna shut up there and get a shift on. Restoration here we come!!

Damn – another huge paragraph.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

What's with all these huge paragraphs?

1190

Lunarer
June 24th, 2017, 04:09 AM
Saturday, June 24th 2017 (Writing Rules and the Importance of Being Idle)


That's two weeks passed already since the big walk thing I did for breast cancer (I mostly just did it for myself if I'm being honest but the charity was a nice touch) and I'm going through one of those spells where I think that life is short. Sometimes I think the opposite but at the moment it is short. Usually this kind of thinking can effect my thinking and behaviour – if it's short then I should not waste any time – but I've just thought about the fact that this coming Friday my house plant will reach the ripe old age of one year old and this makes me think about the past year. What an awful lot has happened in this one single solitary year. A whole college course, a relationship, a volunteering position. All of this in under a year. Now I am thinking that there is much that can be done in a year, in two years, in five, ten, twenty years. Wow! Now I am back to thinking that life is long again.

I suppose it's a little like the old ''glass half-full; half-empty'' carry on. Maybe I just have to admit that I do enjoy wasting time sometimes, and I'm not just saying that. Maybe I am okay with the fact that often I am lazy. There's nothing wrong with that I don't think. It was Noel Gallagher who said that ''He who loafs last – loafs loudest!'' (or more it came up on the big screens when Oasis would play live The Importance of Being Idle – which I may post here actually as it's been a long time since I heard that particular song or anything by that band which obviously includes that song) and maybe that's a philosophy I can relate to. Maybe we're all just equally lazy but in different ways. I think that to write over one thousand words in a journal every single day for all this time now shows that I am in some areas perhaps not all that lazy at all. No one else has come anywhere close to it on any forum I have ever been a part of. If I run completely out of things to say then I'll stop doing it but I am hoping to get to the end of the year as it is. I missed a few days last year but will not be making that mistake this. Then next year I hope to start toning it down a little, reducing my writing by a couple of hundred words per day at least. I may give myself a few writing rules to stick by. Perhaps like I am not allowed to ever write on Wednesdays or Fridays; that I have to keep to a 750 word count Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday; but that I can write as much as I want on a Sunday. Those would be cool rules. I might go with them. I'm going move on again though because I'm doing that weird thing I was doing yesterday where I ramble on and on and the paragraph becomes unreasonably long. Moving on.

For the time being there are no rules. I can write as much as I want to each and every day but I try to keep it under the ten thousand characters that the My Way Out forum has as its limit – which I don't mind breaking during posts dedicated to Dr. Bacon sessions – but try to keep it to one thousand words though. Next year I will do my utmost to implement the changes and rules stated in the above (incredibly long) paragraph. But yeah – life is long!

So if I live for my ''three score and ten'' then I will have......just let me get my calculator out for a moment......let me see.......I should have 11,250 days left of this life (or around eleven million words in this journal unless I change to the rules I am planning to). That's eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty days. Christ – even writing that out feels long. Surely if this is the plan then I can afford to loaf for a couple of thousand!? In saying that – I've been sober now for 866 days and it doesn't feel like an incredibly long time. That's nearly a tenth of what I might have left. I suppose that there are all kinds of factors to think about too. How many of these days will I spend less healthy than I presently am? That's scary! It doesn't feel like I've been sober all that long but for some reason it feels like ages since I last smoked a cigarette and like years since I last toked on a spliff. It was just nineteen weeks since my last fag (cigarette) and it's coming up on seventeen months since my last joint – smoked the night I played my first and only sober gig.

So – what happened last night? Did Barry get back to me and we go out on a cash collecting mission? Did I keep to my promise and leave the cave the moment I stopped writing my post yesterday Restoration bound? These would after all be the smart things to do, so no, I didn't do either of them.

This morning I will be heading to the post office to collect our latest batch of business cards and I'm gonna have to pick up some squeegee rubber as well if I wannna go to work on Monday (which is debatable but I know that I really should) as the online ordered stuff won't get here until late next week. If I walk the distance, say, from here to the post office depot and then into the town for some breakfast, then all the way round to the only shop in the whole of Fife that seems to sell squeegee rubbers (and they must know it too as they overcharge something terrible) then it'll add up to a fair few miles. This'll hopefully motivate me to get back out there and start walking again.

Last night Radiohead put on a top class show at Glastonbury. It's the far inferior Foo Fighters on main stage tonight but I might watch them as I think Lindsay is a fan.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Has got to reclaim his mojo........gotta find it first.

1087

Lunarer
June 26th, 2017, 09:26 AM
Sunday, June 25th 2017 (Pyramid Foos)




It's been one heck of an uninspiring week followed by a very similar weekend. I think I've been driving my girlfriend up the wall with my boredom. The good thing about boredom is that it makes you move, or it does in my case, and so I've looked online for dudes who are looking to start up musical projects in the local area. This perhaps saved me from eternal mind-numbing boredom eighteen months ago.

Before I get into that I'd like to mention a little of what happened last night. I knew that if I walked there, sat through it, then had to walk back, that I could still be back in time for the Foo Fighters kicking off their set on the Pyramid Stage (in my case from the couch and not the crowd) at Glastonbury. I was so bored today (it's not that I want to single today out as being particularly boring. I think it's more a case of the boredom from Wednesday onwards slowly building into a crescendo of boredom around about today) that I thought of this wild and crazy idea. I'd been out and about, sure. I'd been to the post office depot to collect business cards so that Barry the Bullet and I look at least semi-professional when we return to work on Tuesday (I'll explain why it's not Monday in a moment or two), I'd been for some lunch, and I'd been to the big store to purchase a rubber for my squeegee. We have some coming through the post but they won't get here until around Thursday.

Still though, I was feeling highly susceptible to boredom and it was attacking me on more fronts than I had defences for. I desperately needed something to do. I figured I'd go to the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. This was a meeting I used to attend every week (almost) for a great many months. It's the meeting I chose as my last before I went off on my ninety day abstinence and it's the meeting I chose as my return after I was done with that plan. It's where friends are. It would be safe. This wasn't the meeting of my choice this time though. I had been building up to going to a meeting ever since the boredom began. I had briefly considered going on Thursday and the again on Friday (there's a new meeting started up at the Glenwood Centre just down from where I stay) but I decided against it both times. To be fair these were both just fleeting thoughts. Last night I was more driven to go, anything to stop this feeling of boredom and nothingness.

So I grab my things and make way for the meeting. I haven't been for a while again. Just like that the times builds up once more. It's been four weeks already since the convention and six weeks since I was last at this meeting, or any meeting, and so perhaps the time has come to get back in there. I should probably do more to keep my feet in the door, maybe promise I'll force myself to go to a meeting (and to stay in it right until the end – something I haven't been able to do since mid-February) once a month. Tonight I'll end this and stay for the whole meeting.

I arrive there around five minutes after starting time. Everyone is already inside the building. There's no one standing out on the street. They'll be going through the many readings they like to do before things get started. This meeting isn't well known for its punctuality either and so it's likely they've just got started. By this time I had long since made up my mind that I wasn't going. It's not that I spent the twenty five minutes it takes to walk from Lindsay's to the meetings trying to talk myself out of it. Not at all. I had been keen and willing, armed with my fifty pence to drop into the little bag that they pass around at half time. It was just a case of arriving at the main gate being enough to make me think against it and about turn.

I spend the twenty five minutes walking back trying to figure out why I might not have been able to spend the evening with my ''friends'' and trying to justify my decision. There are obviously many reasons I decided against walking through the gates and into the meeting but perhaps walking in after it had started would have placed all eyes on me and it would have been uncomfortable. I might also have been frightened of the obvious judgement I would have received. Maybe it was that I started to think about all of the people who might be there and it put me off. I've always said that it would be great if they put up online who was sharing at each meeting so as to avoid some of the very worst shares out there (and there are some absolutely and truly shockingly bad and unlistenable shares come from the top table sometimes and I am keen to continue to avoid them) but not knowing who it would be I had to conjure odds in my head and the odds of the sharer not sucking were probably fifty-fifty – not a risk I was willing to take.

There's also the fact that if I am only heading to a meeting because I am bored on a Saturday night then I am just as bad as the worst of them.

There were a couple of things I wanted to talk about – like searching for musicians in the local area as a way to alleviate the mind-numbing boredom that was attacking me on all those fronts that I was talking about at the top of the post – but the word count is getting such that I might now wait until tomorrow to delve into that nonsense. Not because I am getting prickly about word counts again but in case I don't find anything to talk about in tomorrow's post due to another incredible bout of boredom.

The Foo Fighters put on a great show.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Fighting the boredom.

1066

Lunarer
June 26th, 2017, 09:26 AM
Monday, June 26th 2017 (Peasant Sponge and the King Cloth)





It's a thing where doing the dishes is a little more difficult without the cloth. I'm a cloth guy to be honest and fine the sponge way of doing dishes to be a chore. The sponge – when in the context of washing dishes – is more like a little peasant whereas the cloth is King. That's all I've really got to say about the matter to be honest. I'll go get what's needed at the shops in a little while and Lindsay will just have to do any dishes that crop up in the meantime.

I'm watching one of those morning discussion shows and it's talking about who is to blame for the recent high-rise tower block going up in flames the other week resulting in a bunch of deaths and a media frenzy – at the moment they are blaming austerity. One guy is taking about the lack of community understanding from housing ministers and local counsellors. He's mentioned how to even call a local council a local council is now outdated as they are nowadays little more than someone you'd phone about your bin. I can relate to this. The PAS events held recently in my town which aim to work with residents and members of the local council to find ways of improving life in the area went well but the council employees in attendance seemed to contribute very little to the cause. They didn't have much to offer at all. They didn't even seem able to offer up any insight into the way things work from their end. They seemed quite clueless, like they were only there to show face and provide a presence.

So today there are a few things happening, and a thing or two that should have been happening but no longer is. One of these is work. I'm supposed to be cleaning windows right now but am writing here instead. What's that all about? One of the reasons is that Barry the Bullet seems to have gone into some weird hibernation period as he often does and every time I try to contact him I get the message ''User Busy'' and so I can't reach him, but even had this not been happening I still wouldn't be working on this day. I was to be supporting Lindsay with her latest meeting about her son.

There's a thing they do, the court systems and child welfare bring into place when things aren't going too well. It's called MST – Multi-systemic Therapy. This is how they promote themselves on their website:

''MST is an intensive family and community based intervention for children and young people aged 11-17, where young people are at risk of out of home placement in either care or custody due to their offending or having severe behaviour problems.
The key goals of MST are to break the cycle of anti-social behaviours by keeping young people safely at home, in school, and out of trouble.''

There was to be a meeting this afternoon with everyone involved to discuss what was to be happening and how the situation is progressing. This has been cancelled this morning but I understand that this MST has put forward some procedure so that Lindsay's son is to be removed from his current residence (his grandmother's home – his late father's mother, quite a repulsive woman from what I can gather but then I'm a little bias) and into care of some sort, whatever that means. I don't think that by ''antisocial'' it means that he's out fighting in the streets of a night – it more refers to his school attendance which has dropped from fifty per cent for the term at the start of the year to just under forty per cent at latest count. It (the school) has dropped most of his subjects from his weekly timetable in a bid to get him the basics but we can all see now that not even this is achievable. The next move is to get him off and into care. Quite what this will mean I have no idea but I guess that all will be revealed soon.

They also claim on their website that they do this:
''They work intensively with parents and caregivers to put them in control
The therapist works with the caregivers to keep the adolescent focused on school and gaining job skills
The therapist and caregivers introduce the youth to sports and recreational activities as an alternative to hanging out''

My experience of these people is limited to say the least but certainly I've seen nothing to suggest that anything they say with regards to these points is true. The school attendance is lower than ever and he barely engages in any activities beyond his X-Box. The MST is more than likely just a bunch of overpaid oafs who have no real emotional investment in this boy or any of the others boys they work with. We'll see in due course. It always seems to come back to the fact that Lindsay is an alcoholic but, as I've said many time, she may have set the ball rolling but what is going on right now has nothing to do with her. It's been out of her hands for more than two years now. It's gotten much worse since she's been off the scene and that tells its own little story.

''After 30 years of research and 18 studies, MST repeatedly has been shown to:
Keep kids in their home, reducing out-of-home placements up to 50 percent
Keep kids in school
Keep kids out of trouble, reducing re-arrest rates up to 70 percent
Improve family relations and functioning
Decrease adolescent psychiatric symptoms
Decrease adolescent drug and alcohol use''

Right – that's me pushing the one thousand words again and I haven't even mentioned about my searching for musicians in the local area. Needless to say there have been a few replies and I'll be meeting up with a few of them over the coming two weeks or so. I've been here before of course and they never seem to come to anything, these meet ups with fellow music payers, but anything to take away that horrible boredom.

'
'
'
''
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Meeting musicians.

1067

Lunarer
July 1st, 2017, 08:19 AM
Tuesday, June 27th 2017 (The ''Per Item'' Calculation)



It's pissing down with rain but I make way to the meeting point to hopefully get out to work with Barry the Bullet at some point. This is taking forever, seemingly, to get into a healthy working routine. I walk down in the rain, wait at the meeting point (town centre outside Gregg's), receive a text message from him to say that the rain is getting even worse through his end, notice that it is doing the same out there (the town centre where I stay is indoors) and so cancel the day (it's not going to be getting any better today, trust me) and tell him I'll see him at the same time tomorrow. Then I walked back up the road in the rain and now I'm sitting back in the cave wondering what the hell I'm going to get up to for the remainder of the day.

On route to meet Barry I did notice a couple of things going on upstairs in this closed-minded, turbulent little collection of conscious and unconscious thoughts that fits snugly within the confines of my skull. I noticed one or two little resentments popping in there for no apparent reason and without any noticeable triggers. The first was the most prominent – the Charity Shop Cafe. Why has it put its prices up? Did it really have to go and do that? Lindsay and I were at lunch yesterday and the place we were at sold filled rolls at only ten pence more than the charity shop now charges. Their big breakfast deal is a pound eighty more but you get twelve items instead of seven and so when you work it out per item the charity shop charges fifty seven pence per item and the other place only forty nine!

This is quite an eye-opening calculation. But it's even worse when you consider that the charity shop does not have to pay any wages to its staff! It's mind-boggling how we allow it to happen in our community. I guess I'm the only one who's made the ''price per item'' calculation. Most people would likely just say that I am thinking about things too much or that they don't have time to be thinking about things like that (which I'm sure Dr. Bacon would say was them just trying to overcompensate by putting me down to make themselves seem more important – ''I have better things to do with my time than to work out silly little sums like that!!'') but I wonder what could be more important to someone, anyone, than what is directly affecting their community.

I've said it before and I don't mind saying it again: I don't mind giving my time to a worthwhile cause and if it's helping the local community but I don't think that's what's happening now. I think that the charity shop is now exploiting its workforce to make money and this I cannot do. It's twenty first century slavery and it's coming fast. Get people to work for you for nothing.

I'm walking down town and I'm thinking of the new chair who has created all this fuss and made all of these changes and I'm not able to think loving thoughts about her. It's my resentful self calling the shots. I'm getting unnecessarily rude. She's far from being what you might call an attractive woman and, like me, she seems to have this condition where something like repressed anxiety and low self-esteem causes her to often say and act in ways that are rude to people without her probably really meaning to be. She's unmarried but likely not through choice (she's a really ugly woman and this is not just my opinion, trust me) and it wouldn't surprise me if she's experienced a lot of bullying in her life. Now it's she who is doing the bullying, bullying a community that she does not come from and knows nothing about. I find myself focusing on all of these unlovable parts of her rather than searching for something positive as I know I must try to and am supposed to, or just changing this internal subject altogether.

I know that she is probably just doing that which she believes will generate for her the greatest respect and most of the other volunteers won't be able to see what is happening because are stuck within the walls of the charity shop in the same way that AA old timers are stuck in the rooms. They're retired now and so what else are they going to do to feel part of a community? It's not helping the bigger picture though, it's just simply putting themselves and their loneliness, their need for connection, before it.

Rather than continue to think about this I try to concentrate on the future (I'm still not great at living in the moment). Lindsay says that some of the charity shops in her town have signs up looking for volunteers and so I could move swiftly onto another voluntary venture. I don't know though. I don't know if I trust them anymore. In fact – the way things are now I don't know if I'm interested in charity at all anymore. It seems like they are just businesses but with a few extra perks.

I try to make an appointment with my doctor but they now have an automated thing asking me to pick from four options and so on but I don't have enough credit in my phone to risk all that shite so I'm going to change my doctor just now. It's quite far away anyway and I would probably be better off changing to the closest surgery which is only ten minutes walk from here. Interestingly, the first option on the automated system is ''If you have a life threatening condition....'' which makes me wonder about the despair that must be felt from someone who does actually have a life-threatening condition and calls her doctor to find a machine at the other end. Another little money saving tactic which does not serve the general public.

How much longer are we going to continue to let them get away with this for?

Probably forever as we've done a pretty good job so far.

I guess we've all got much better things to be doing.....

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

The word ''community'' will one day soon be removed from the dictionary.

1085

Lunarer
July 1st, 2017, 08:20 AM
Wednesday, June 28th 2017 (Absent Bullet)



Trying to make the most of a day off (they happen all the time now, like – every fucking day!!) I changed up my doctor surgery and did little else. The college only finished up eight days ago but already I am lost without it. My old doctor was about a mile and a half north of my cave and so it makes sense that I should register with my local one, the closest to me, less than half a mile from the cave. It makes me feel as though I'm a part of the community. I have to say though that this is something I've bee struggling with recently. A sense of belonging and community. It's a combination of leaving the charity shop due to the changes made by the new chair making it more expensive and less community driven, and that Russell Brand book I've been reading which talks all about the importance of community and how we've allowed capitalist ideologies to become so dominant in our societies now that this suffering we all feel yet completely deny is there and real is actually a spiritual suffering due to our lack of sense of community and belonging.

It's completely true I think. Twice this morning there were chances for drivers to fuck me over, me being a pedestrian on a mission and all that, and both of them took them, speeding up to try to frighten me, or just let me know that they feel as though they are important and that I should wait on them. I can relate. I too used to be filled with hatred – especially in the mornings and especially when I was driving – and it's still there every now and then these days but to a much lesser extent I must say, and when I see these guys racing to work I can't help but think of Russell's comments in the book. We are suffering, to a quite staggering degree, from a lack of community.

This makes me wonder if I might actually be right in leaving the charity shop and refuse to go along with the apparent community-busting and money-making philosophy that the new chairperson is bringing. Like all nasty ideas it'll spread rapidly throughout a community already in the throes of a terrible neighbour-fucking-over illness. By not giving up my free time to this place any longer (and I feel as though I've never had as much free time as I currently do) I am making a stand against this but it is a silent stand. Only me, Dr. Bacon, Lindsay, and perhaps some of you guys, actually know why I've left. But then would it make any difference in telling anyone else? Like Russell's book says – we don't know that we are suffering from a lack of community and so it's totally unlikely anyone is going to listen to someone that isn't famous and on television. It makes me think that people are not as sociable as they think they are and that the idea of a thriving community fills them with fear. We're actually very isolated creatures just pretending to be sociable. This is the way I've always felt about humans.

I got up this morning and text Barry the Bullet to make sure he'd be up and ready at the meeting spot, got no reply, risked going all the way down there anyway, waited and waited, realised he wasn't going to show, and then walked back up the road to the cave. Next time he and I are together I am going to have to get from him a list of all the addresses we still have left in this business, move all of the gear up to the cave and then come up with some alternative. Barry is just too unreliable these days. It'll feel like I'm stabbing him in the back – will feel that way for both of us – but it's either that or lose the business completely.

Maybe I should show him some loyalty and just split it. Fifty/fifty, right down the line. After all – how am I going to continue keeping a business running while I'm a full time student again? It's not going to happen. The extra money from working just one shift per week (could be as much as a hundred bucks) would be enough to cover my living expenses (I'm a cheap date now that I no longer drink, take drugs or smoke) and so one day's work per week is all I'll need come September. What about between now and then though? I could do with getting out as much as possible and it's been a complete disaster so far. Two weeks ago I went out to work on the Wednesday. Last week I was supposed to make my big return and work Wednesday and Thursday and then this week Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The reality has been that I haven't been out at all since that Wednesday two weeks ago and the money gained from that shift went straight back into the business buying business cards and rubbers for the squeegees. I'm not struggling for cash but I have to be careful or it might not be too long before I start struggling for it again.

So if I'm not going out to work today I'll have to make the best of another day off. It's getting close to lunchtime and I haven't an answer from Barry. I keep getting little images of him sleeping away. He'll get up soon to a bunch of text messages and missed calls from me and I'll hear from him later on. In the meantime I am going to head through to Lindsay's town and pay her a visit. I'll be checking up on dates for meeting musicians and getting on with completing that college funding application. I'll pop into the Credit Union on the way and find out if they accept student loan payments. If not I'll have to work out starting a bank account. I'll also contact mum about checking my passport application. Hopefully I have her details correct and am good to go. There's still plenty of time but it will pass quickly if I'm not thinking about it.

I'm going to leave the laptop here (in the cave) so won't be posting this or today's writing until probably Friday evening or Saturday morning. This way, should I stay over in the next town, I'll be ready to step straight off the bus tomorrow morning prepared to work. That's the plan anyway.

But, where Barry's involved, plans don't seem to mean much at all.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Sticking to his plan.....

1131

Lunarer
July 1st, 2017, 08:21 AM
Thursday, June 29th 2017 (Watching A Car Crash: Part One)


It's raining something terrible again. It's only been a week since the college finished up but already I am going nuts with the boredom, the uncertainty, the not knowing where I'm going or what's going to happen now. It's bringing out some of the worst elements of myself. Like all animals do when they feel trapped and uncertain I find myself biting. I think that Dr. Bacon notices this during our session this afternoon.

It's taking too long. These sessions. Nothing is happening. We're still just messing around at the assessment phase and it's taking too long for me. If I'm going to be making the best of things then I'm going to need tools to help me and I'm not getting them at the moment. There's a real sense of urgency, impatience, about me at the moment. It reminds me of when I was going through the Twelve Steps with my AA sponsor. It's very similar to Step Five in some ways. In that Step we talk about all of the resentments, fears and harms done to others that have been prominent features in our lives so that we can use the rest of the program to try to make up for this. In the case of psychology, or at least Schema Therapy the likes of which I am working with Dr. Bacon on at the moment, we look at existing patterns of thinking and behaviour and how they fail me so that we can use therapy to alter them.

For all the positives regarding AA's famous program it is in the changing of our negative behaviours I found it to be weak. Step Six and Seven have only one technique for ridding our negative thinking and it is to just ask for it to be removed. This ties in quite nicely with the whole idea of it being a spiritual program and so plenty more studying of spiritual philosophy may be required to complete these Steps properly but to be fair the whole idea of them really is to just ask an unknown entity to remove parts of your personality you don't like when they crop up. It's pretty vague. The main problem I find myself wondering about now though is what if Schema Therapy is just the same? What if it promises so much but also offers only the most vague of solutions? And what is the point in us spending all of this time talking about Little Stevie, my inner child, and all that? Why when I am going through these periods of being less than happy can we not focus more on the solutions instead of the reasons why Little Stevie might be hurt? Where does it lead us? Where does it take us? What is the point???

Dr. Bacon – ''Because he needs to learn that something different can happen when that upset comes out, that it's not just going to be shut down. That it's not just going to be detached from. That we're not just going to direct it at someone else. That actually somebody can respond to that and see that it matters that he's upset, and can help him to think through what to do about it. So if you're coming in here all guns blazing and I am just really punitive and say something like: ''Okay, you're not trying, that's the end of therapy!'' that would just be us repeating that cycle. No change. If we just go detached and you say that everything's okay and that it doesn't matter and we just need to move on and I just go along with that then again that's just me going along with one of your defensive coping modes. No change.''

Stevie - ''…''

Dr. Bacon - ''I can't collude with these parts, I can respect them, and notice that they are there for a reason but I'm not going to get change from any of those. It's not just a case of Little Stevie coming out and moaning, it's about him saying that he's been hurt and someone else saying that this shouldn't be happening and helping figure out what to do about it.''

Okay. Let's forget Little Stevie for a moment. We're talking along similar lines to how Gillon was talking to me a few weeks ago. I'm sounding a little like he was when he approached me at the college and talked about this feeling of ''emptiness'' that he was hoping that further study would rid him of but that was sticking around him. I thought at the time that it was a sense of disconnection from his community that was his plight. It makes sense. I don't think we are as sociable creatures as we like to think of ourselves as but definitely more so than we currently are. Back in the day I'd imagine we lived in small settlements of fifty or more and there would be a kind of all inclusive mentality – something incomprehensible in a society where inclusion depends on social and economic status. Where people can't even fathom inclusion let alone believe it possible. Where it is fashionable to hate and exclude.

I suppose that this is why AA is so popular. It's not a case that it's THE place to go to get sober or even that its program can offer an end to one way of thinking and behaving and the beginning of a new way that will work much better. It's that it is all inclusive. You can go there and fuck up, repeatedly, and yet the fellowship has to accept you back (I must add that on two occasions I have seen this abused and it was appalling, but it has only happened twice that I've known in hundreds of meetings). This is the main reason for my visits to Dr. Bacon's room (a doctor who cannot legally sign my passport and so I'll have to search elsewhere) – lack of ability to connect. Gillon is perhaps proving to me that it's becoming a little more commonplace than just the one or two fuck-ups like me in each community and that even once-popular people can suffer from feelings of isolation given the way our communities are run at the moment.

Going back to my worry regarding any kind of plan to these sessions:

Dr. Bacon – ''The way our session is structured is, what we would do in the first little past is try to understand what modes have been active and causing a problem in the time between sessions. What we're trying to do is to establish the life patterns are, and that will be the patterns that different modes and responses create in your life, and there will be some pretty predictable patterns, there'll be a few key patterns, one of them is here – what's happening now. If there's nothing happening in the room then I'd ask you about what's been happening in your week.''

Stevie – ''Okay.''

Dr. Bacon – ''But if there's something happening in the room between us then I'd always have to deal with that first, because that's going to get in the way of our therapeutic relationship, that's going to be live, and if we don't deal with it there and then there's a good chance that anything we try to do over and above that is just going to be superficial.''

Everything's superficial though, isn't it!?

It hasn't been the best session but then that's around three sessions now we've been faltering a little. I don't know if this is just a part of the natural running order of a Stevie relationship. That's been a few months now and so I'm finding the trickier parts of me more difficult to hide. I'm letting my guard down.

Where's booze when I need it?

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'

Stevie

A constant internal car crash.....

1331

Lunarer
July 1st, 2017, 08:22 AM
Friday, June 30th 2017 (Watching A Car Crash: Part Two)


It's the day I've been waiting for for a long time. When we sober up, according to Twelve Step fellowships, we are so useless and untrained at looking after ourselves or anything else that we should try to buy a house plant and keep it alive for one full year. Apparently we should then move onto a small pet and try to keep it going for two years, but we're not there yet. I am there in terms of the plant though. Back in 2015 I bought two and they both died after around eight months in this claustrophobic cave of mine. Then, last June 30th, I thought I'd try it again and bought the same two plants (a Dragon Tree and a Leopard Lily but the Leopard Lily died) and now I am able to celebrate. Yesterday I was down the town and popped into the card shop and bought my Dragon Tree a birthday card. This might seem pitiful to some of you (especially those who consider themselves to be alcoholics but who had no problems in keeping alive plants when their drinking was at its worst – and jobs and relationships and.....) but this to me is a big day.

Talking about my problem behaviour in that I struggle to relate to people and to connect with them in any meaningful way – not because I don't try to but more because I create, quite frustratingly, defensive modes of conduct during connecting opportunities which renders them difficult and often impossible – I wonder about those who have managed to.

Stevie – ''Some people do. I have connected with people before.''

Dr. Bacon – ''They must be able to, like I can, see past it.''

Makes me wonder. Makes me a little suspicious actually. Do the people who I can seem to connect with want something from me? Is that why they are willing to see beyond the damage of my psyche? Lindsay? English Sara? Gillon? I could think that they all want me for one reason or another and that would help understand them a little better. It wouldn't explain more recent connections though. What about the folks at college? There tended to be two groups in our class and I was as valuable a member of one of these groups as anyone else who was a part of it. That's the way it felt to me anyway. Maybe this is one of the reasons for my slip in mood of late. I have lost some connections. It wasn't just a college course.

I'm meeting with mum (yep – you heard that right!! This'll be twice since Youngest Niece's birthday back in February, the day before my second sober birthday. I've been to more AA meetings than I've seen mum since) tomorrow morning. A large percentage of passport applications are returned due to some error but post offices will check them for you for a tenner. Mum says she'll look over it if I want and so it's happening tomorrow morning. I'll get to find out how my family is doing. It's got to be one of the most distant families ever now. I haven't seen my brother, his wife, or either of my nieces in more than two months. This is not how it used to be at all. Some things were definitely better early on in my sobriety.

I wonder if this is just the passage of time. It could just be that these particular siblings have reached the point in their lives where they go their separate ways. I think there could be another possibility though. It could be me. My modes often work in unknown ways to me but others will know all about them. Is it a case of me getting worse now that I am sober? It's highly likely. In many ways I feel more disconnected than I remember when drinking.

Dr. Bacon says that I have to have built an awareness about myself that means that I know which mode is most active within me at any given time and so that I can step in before he does and tell him which mode is in play.

Dr. Bacon – ''But if this is happening between us then that awareness isn't there yet.''

Indeed. Sucks. It's all about building this awareness then. If I want to move forward then this is the next step in doing so – learning to become an expert in knowing my modes.

Dr. Bacon – ''Without that awareness then it doesn't matter, I could teach you some of the best psychological techniques, tips and strategies in the world but if you aren't on it, if you aren't catching yourself and don't see it then you won't be able to put it into practice.''

Stevie – ''Is that something that's going to be happening?''

Dr. Bacon – ''What's that?''

Stevie – ''You teaching me some of the world's best psychological tips and strategies?''

Dr. Bacon – ''Well I don't know about that hahaha. This is something that often goes wrong in other types of therapy, this is why Schema Therapy was designed actually, you can teach....loads of people learn all of the techniques and strategies but...''

Stevie – ''Can't make them work.''

Dr. Bacon – ''Can't make them work. They know them......they just can't put them into practice.''

Stevie – ''I've all but given up trying to use AA's program because it was always during the times I needed it most that I was found wanting.''

Dr. Bacon – ''And the problem there is that when you are at the time when you need it most that is when the mode activation is the strongest, and remember when you're in that mode...this mode...''

He's pointing at the Detached Protector mode on our little diagram which always sits on the desk during sessions.

Dr. Bacon – ''This mode doesn't give a damn about your AA, couldn't care less. It's only function is to disconnect. I can feel this pulling me into one of my modes, my Compliance and Surrender mode, which is to just go along with people when they are unhappy with me – so that's one of my modes – so I'm having to resist just jumping straight into this change with you.''

I don't think that I want to jump into this change as quickly and recklessly as he might be thinking I do, or that I might be putting across that I do, it's just been a difficult transition going from college full time and working at the charity shop on the side to not being able to even get out and clean windows. Barry the Bullet has been on the phone to say that he'll be in touch about next week as his mum has taken another turn for the worst. Her years spent with a cigarette in her months are coming back to bite her in the ass, they always do but usually a little earlier than the sixty five years she's reached, and so once again I am torn between feeling bad for Barry and his mum and for myself for not being able to forget about all this shite and just get back out working for a spell.

I know my modes better though. It's Friday late afternoon and I'm supposed to be heading to Lindsay's for the weekend soon. I'm a little behind schedule though. It's the Detached Protector again. He loves asking me to just stay inside on my own. Why risk going to all these places that might humiliate me? It's the same mode that stopped me from going to Restoration again this afternoon. That's a whole bunch of weeks on the trot that I haven't been. Probably a good thing though.

What I am going to try to do this weekend is attend that AA meeting. Even if it's a whole load of shit and carries the weakest AA message I've ever heard (would have to be really bad then, I promise you) being there will help satisfy my need for connection.

It's not why we're really supposed to be going there but it'll do for me.

Dr. Bacon describes this situation I am currently in where I am to notice modes in action but not make any effort to try to stop them from happening as watching a car crash.

I don't have another session now for three weeks.

I'll be hoping for as few car crashes as possible.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off for his bus.

1439

Lunarer
July 1st, 2017, 10:36 AM
Saturday, July 01st 2017 (New Month; New Musicians)



The year half over then (not quite – there are more days in the second half of a year and especially one not a leap year). That's okay. I still like the thought of life not being all that long. Knowing that it does have an end. That we are all heading in some direction. That everything is always moving. Even if the direction we are always moving toward is death. It's good to think this way sometimes. It helps put things in perspective a wee bit.

One thing I'm doing to try to keep busy in the time I have between now and then is looking for musicians with which to spend my time with. This isn't a new thing for me and once a year I go on one of these musician hunting missions with varied success. Early last year I played my first sober gig but then things fell apart afterwards. I'm met with literally dozens of guys (and a few gals) since I sobered up in a bid to connect with others who share this passion of mine.

In saying that I haven't played guitar much at all in the time I've been sober. I actually once upon a time studied music at an academy in a nearby city and got myself to a pretty decent standard. I yearn to be back there (at that playing standard) but don't have the patience to get back into it in that way. Somewhere along the line I lost my passion for playing music. I'm not naïve enough to think that by playing a few auditions with a few guys is going to get me back into thinking back along those musical lines and giving it that kind of commitment again but it's all about trying to have fun. That and trying to connect with other guys.

So far I have three meetings scheduled. On Wednesday night I am to be meeting with some guy from my town. I'll be meeting him in the very same Wetherspoon I used to meet up with musicians the last time around. I think I'll take my laptop down there after work (assuming that happens) and have my dinner there while I wait on the guy to show up for seven o'clock. He's the most local of those I am to be meeting but he seems the least sure, by this I mean he takes the longer time to get back to me on the website private messages and he seems.....I don't know.....just a little unsure. It's hard to explain. Anyway – he's looking for a more acoustic thing and plays guitar and sings. It should be an okay meeting (they always are) so I'm looking forward to it.

Next weekend there's more happening. On Friday I am off to a small local village in the afternoon to meet another. This must be the most awkward town in my county to reach. There are hardly any bus routes take me to his neck of the woods on a weekday (there's no Sunday service whatsoever) and so with us arranging to meet at his house at half past two I will have to get a bus (according to Google) around two hours before we meet and won't get another one until ten to seven, a good four and a bit hours after our meeting is scheduled. It's at times like these when you notice how poor our public transport system actually is. I'll have to confirm this at the bus station where I'll be able to get official times and that but already it seems like travelling will be an issue for meeting regularly with this guy.

The third option is happening on Sunday. There's a band from another local town (a bigger one though and so comes complete with a decent public transport system) and they've sent me this message:

''
Here's a set list we're working on:*
Set list:*
1) Creeping Death - Met*
2) holy diver - KE*
3) You could be mine - Guns*
4) Rose of sharyn - KE*
5) Doom song (original)*
6) Seek and destroy - Met*
7) The Trooper - Maiden*
*cassandra (original)*

We're keen to write more originals.*
''


There's some really cool stuff in there. The KE stands for Killswitch Engage who are a (sort of) metal band and so the whole set is kind of very hard rock or out and out metal, with the Guns song being the exception – Guns 'N' Roses are more pop/rock if you ask me – and so this is a very different project from the other guys I'm meeting earlier in the week. I looked back through the history of this guy's membership adverts on the website and it seems like he only started this up in January and met up with the band members between then and late April. Then, around the beginning of last month, the lead guitar player left for some reason and they've been hunting ever since.

So this is where Stevie comes in. I think it's a good thing that they've only been playing together for a few months. It means that I'll have a better chance of sliding in. This is definitely the most promising of the meetings coming up and while I am still under forty (just) I think it's okay for me to play hard rock and metal music. There will come a time where neither appeals to me. These guys are all in their thirties. I have until Sunday next week to learn these tracks but that's fine. I could probably play The Trooper right now even though I haven't played for ages and the Metallica ones are pretty standard (although Creeping Death is pretty tough going on the old stamina) but I'm not familiar with the Killswitch Engage tracks at all. Practice needed. The main thing I'm interested in though is the quality of their two originals. What are their writing skills like? I'm looking forward to this one more than the others for sure but each of them will be interesting.

I met with mum this morning and we chatted for a couple of hours. I should probably have talked a little about that while it's still fresh in my head and talked about the musical stuff tomorrow but fuck it. There's never any structure to this journal.

In many ways it's just the ramblings of a madman!

'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

In many ways mad.....

1092

Lunarer
July 2nd, 2017, 06:20 AM
Sunday, July 02nd 2017 (The Shack)


Yesterday was one of those days that you don't really appreciate how good it was until it's over. I think that yesterday might turn out to be a very important day for me a little further down the line.

I'm talking with mum over coffee in the morning. We've met at a local cafe and she's going over my passport application to make sure I've done everything correctly. All this planning for holidays abroad is very new to me but mum knows what's happening. I think she's not long come home from her third trip of 2017. She starts talking to me about Barcelona after hearing that Lindsay and I are looking forward to our day there. Most people I mention it to say little more than the importance of protecting my wallet but it can't be worse than any other major city. I don't live that far from Glasgow after all. Mum has much better advice for me although she does give me an example of her pocket being picked.

She then starts talking about her latest trip. She's recently been to Crete and has made some interesting observations regarding the differences between life there and life where she spends most of her time, here in the Kingdom of Fife in central Scotland. She says that one thing she notices more than anything is the sense of community spirit. I can imagine. Maybe I can't actually. The best way for me to would be to try to imagine the complete opposite of what I know from my time here. She is telling me of possible reasons we may have lost community whereas some places still seem to have it and thrive with it.

I drop in my own little possible reason and it does not go down well with mum. She completely disagrees. I mention that us no longer going to church might be a big factor in the lack of community spirit these days. She's a newsreader though. She watches it too, so when she hears ''religion'' she somehow connects it first and foremost with ''war'' and ''death''. She seems totally incapable of seeing that this is just a part of the capitalist agenda. Get rid of the church. Get rid of anything that threatens this new way of life we seem to be heading towards where communities don't exist at all. My mother isn't a stupid woman but I feel this part of her to be very closed-minded. She cannot see a single benefit to community by having churches or even, so it would seem, spirituality.

She seems incapable of separating the words ''religion'' and ''war'' and, if I'm being honest, why has she taken me saying that we might feel unhappy and disconnected as a community because we no longer are a church visiting society, at least that might be a little reason, one of many contributing factors, but why does she confuse religion with spirituality. She's quite sure of making me understand that she's not religious.

Stevie – ''I'm not religious either. But I have a God in my life. Not a hate-filled one that you seem to have got all messed up with, sounds more like the Devil fucking with you to me, and I am a member of a fellowship, a community within a community, that for all its flaws and imperfections, does try to promote a healthier and more spiritually driven lifestyle. It's the difference between me drinking to suicide and asking you to help me with a passport application so that I can go on my first trip abroad since 2005 – all made possible with the savings I've made from quitting smoking. That's what spirituality is capable of. The Bible is taken as a metaphor.''

As I am discussing this with my mother I realise how selfish I have become. How the God of my Understanding has disconnected from me, not because He's nasty and enjoys abandoning me, but because I am not doing his bidding. Thy Will Be Done. I've forgotten that and have taken a different path from he. But he's calling to me now, telling me that, as always, I have another chance. I just have to do the right thing.

I am at the AA meeting for it starting. Since doing my ''ninety days without a meeting'' thing I have tried a couple of times to get back into the AA way of things. I stayed for the first half of a meeting back in mid May. I then attended the first half of the local convention a couple of weeks later. This time staying right to the end was not such a difficult thing.

I found that a great deal of the judgement that I felt and that I was putting out to others began to diminish as the meeting got going. By the end it was gone. It's not perfect by any means. Some people who attend meetings are very sad and very lonely men and women. They aren't able – likely for reasons I am working through with Dr. Bacon at the moment and over the coming months, making me feel like one of the lucky ones in that I can take what I like from AA but realise that it does not meet all of my needs – to make it in the real world. Imagine, then, what life might be like for these people if the fellowship was not there.

It's easy sometimes for me to forget that all of the stuff that's starting to happen in my life now: the dilemma with which course to study; the coming holiday; the quitting smoking; the double marathon attempt; perhaps even just the fact that I am alive still – this is all directly related to the fact that I started attending AA meetings on a regular basis back when I first got sober. I even met Lindsay in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.

More than perhaps all of that is that I found a god, a Higher Power. The God of my Understanding. This means I am effectively never alone. I know have a (sort of) socially acceptable way of talking with myself. I just have to better learn the signs I am disconnecting from Him so as to minimise the time it happens. The more time I spend disconnected in this way the worse I will feel. All of this has taken me more than two years of exploring and investigating, writing it all down, to figure out. It's no wonder I can't communicate it with mum. She may or may not have her own Higher Power but at the moment she feels that there is only one god and it is one of evil. She suffers as a result of this belief. She can't see that the real evil are the corporations and news outlets that promote the ideas that ''religion'' and ''war'' are synonymous.

Captain G drops me off at Lindsay's after the meeting. While I've been away Lindsay has found a movie for us to watch. The Shack, it is called. It's a 2017 film but we got an HD quality copy from the site ''fmovies'' (although the second option is best – ''fmovies.io'' rather than fmovies.to but either is okay. I've found this year that this has become our favourite movie streaming site. I am a little sceptical of the movie at first but we watch it. My mind is still buzzing around thoughts of the day to concentrate much on it. I have to make sure that this evening's meeting isn't a one off and isolated event. I'll do my best to get there next week too.

Then the film begins to take shape and it follows the themes of my day. The protagonist's daughter is murdered and he finds himself in the company of God for the movie. He is like my mum is now, like I used to be, in that he believes God to be evil. During the course of the film he goes through a kind of fast-tracked version of what I had to do regarding my father and my lot in life while I was working through the Twelve Step program. The same kind of psychic changes I've had to try to go through since getting sober. The film is a little wanky at times but I really enjoyed it given the context of the day.

Sometimes life can be beautiful I guess.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Leaving it there.....

1430

Lunarer
July 3rd, 2017, 02:31 AM
Monday, July 03rd 2017 (Old Timer Training)


Captain G drove me to Lindsay's from the meeting on Saturday night. We had a good old chat. The only AA member I've had any sort of contact with over the last few months has been Lindsay and so I've lots of catching up to do. He's telling me as we are driving along about a couple of resentments he's had recently and how his method of dealing with them is to pray for the other person each and every day until eventually, sooner or later, it is gone. It might take a while but keep at it and eventually the resentment will die. From the way he explains how his resentments started I have to wonder if I am quite as bat-shit crazy as I often disrespect myself as. I'm a ''quick fix'' kinda guy still and so I don't like any solution that features the terms ''eventually'' or ''sooner or later'' but I like the way that each and every one of us tries to find what works for him or her.

He starts talking about Lindsay and me and how it's great that we're doing so well and going on holiday and all that.

Stevie – ''You seeing anyone yourself?''

Captain G – ''I'm seeing someone from the fellowship.''

Stevie – ''Oh right, anyone I know?''

Captain G – ''Yeah, you'll know her.''

I figured that would be it. I'd be left to cast my mind over all of the women I've met since joining AA over two years ago in search of one I felt to be a potential match for Captain G – a task that may have wasted many a.......whatever thought measurements are called.......but he just comes out and says it.

Captain G – ''Marie.''

Stevie – ''Oh, nice.''

I haven't seen her for fucking ages. The last time I even heard about her was when she spent a couple of months (must have been around November/December time) in a local psychiatric ward which was something I only learned through someone else's Facebook (I won't get Facebook myself).

Captain G – ''Yeah, been seeing her for around seven or eight months now.''

So the psychiatric ward thing happened while the two of them were dating. That's okay.

Stevie – ''That's nice. I didn't know.''

Captain G – ''We wanted to keep it secret from others in the fellowship.''

I get it. I was the same with both Jenna and Lindsay. It's not the business of others in AA. But over time (and not all that much of it I can tell you) people in the fellowship came to know all about it. It's not important enough for others to care but it is important enough for those who find out about it to spread it. Lindsay and I are now common knowledge in AA but, as I am beginning to realise, Captain G has other reasons for perhaps wanting to keep such a tight lid on this part of his private life.

Captain G – ''This is actually the main reason I left my home group. They said that I shouldn't be going out with her. When we started dating she was only a couple of months sober.''

This is frowned upon in the rooms, and rightly so, and we call it ''Thirteenth Stepping'' in the rooms. Marie was a newcomer, two months sober and still learning the ropes. Captain G, on the other hand, has been in the fellowship for years (six and a half at the moment so just under six when this all started taking place) and has been through the program. He's supposed to know better. What would people think about him if they knew? Who gives a fuck!? It's a little closed-minded again from people in AA. For all we know what happened between them happened very organically. We just don't know. I've never been able to see how the old timers can tell us not to be so judgemental but be so judgemental themselves. If we are all only sober for today then why does it matter how far into one's sober journey they are?

Stevie – ''I got the same advice with Jenna and with Lindsay. They didn't want to know the details, they just got the basic information and made an instant judgement about it. To be honest it was one of the times I saw genuine sickness in some of the old timers. They've never been able to communicate well with the opposite sex and they have huge issues in sex as a subject. They come from a repressed age but where's the growth?

Captain G – ''My sponsor lives on his own and he's divorced from his wife but still went round every day. I wondered what the hell he knew about relationships when he was acting like this.''

Stevie – ''I was the same. Stu had a Russian bride who lived apart even though they were married and then the moment she was refused her visa to work in Scotland she mysteriously fell pregnant and now has her visa. Stu acts like he's in control but if you want my honest opinion there is no love in that relationship whatsoever. They are both satisfying aesthetic needs – theirs is a marriage based on co-dependence.''

It doesn't matter too much about Captain G's relationship with Marie or Captain G's sponsor or ex-sponsor's relationship to his ex-wife and how healthy or unhealthy it may be. Nor does my sponsor or ex-sponsor's reasons for marring his Russian bride in need of a visa come into the equation when I'm assessing my own love life. All of this is just distraction, stopping me from connecting with my own problems in my own relationship. If I wanna be this guy who turns into a better AA old timer than the current old timers, a more wise and worldly in the ways of recovery old timer (which I do, of course) then I'm going to have to conquer my own demons, my own fears.

Lindsay contacted a relationships guidance/counselling agency a couple of months ago and she went to an induction thing where they discussed the outlines of what it is that the service offers as well as Lindsay giving them her perspective of what our relationship is all about. She was then told that she'd receive an appointment date for the two of us to go down and start some kind of relationships therapy around the end of June. This has actually happened and on Friday she got a letter with an appointment which is, with amazingly little notice – this very day! So, in my dreams, today goes like this:

I get the bus in a short while to my town to meet with Barry the Bullet and head out for a day of work. I'll finish this around four o'clock this afternoon and head straight for the bus station and get the half past four bus back through here so that I can make the appointment at five. It'll be tight.

These sessions will likely be happening every fortnight and they will be (probably) structured round possible reasons as to why I find having sex with my girlfriend to be such a fearful task. It'll be all spotlights on Stevie once again but I'll give it a shot.

Quite whether this will work or if this is something that Dr. Bacon is more likely to be able to help me with is as yet unclear. I'll give it a go though.

Anything to be a better and more knowledgeable old timer in thirty years time.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Going through extensive new wave old timer training.

1293

Lunarer
July 4th, 2017, 03:21 AM
Tuesday, July 04th 2017 (Relationships Scotland)



The working situation is still as embarrassing as anything – not working yesterday because Barry slept in – but would have been out this morning had it not been raining again. It's mad out there. The weather forecasters didn't mention anything about it last night, it's as if they don't even know sometimes what it's going be doing, and Barry and I are still hoping to get out in an hour or two depending on what happens, but these are all little reminders of how shit and inconsistent an earner this occupation can be – and this is supposed to be peak summer time too. So far we've had two brief hot spells and the rest of the time it's been wet. I actually heard the other day that this year's June was the wettest June for seventy five years. Global warming in full flow. I still have eight weeks after this one (or is it only seven now?) until any study I might be engaging in gets up and running and so I am keen to get working to put a little aside for this coming holiday and maybe even for Christmas.

I'm gonna talk a little bit about last night's relationship counselling session that Lindsay and I attended in a moment or two and this will likely take up the rest of the post but I just wanted to quickly say that......actually, nah – it's neither the time nor the place.

So I meet Lindsay at the Relationships Scotland main office and it isn't long until we're called up. It seems like it's going to be quite interesting. The counsellor is female which helps me tremendously in opening up (but to be fair every employee I saw in the building was female and so it makes me wonder about the authenticity of the equal rights movements we're been having in this country for decades) and we are led to a little room upstairs. Lindsay had started this idea rolling after her psychiatric nurse had suggested it after we'd had a few troubles a couple of months ago – April I think Lindsay came here for her initial meeting.

I had figured that it would be a case of the spotlight being shone on Stevie and him having to explain a few things about himself to these women but it wasn't like that (not yet anyway). It was more a case of the counsellor finding out a little about the two of us and our relationship. On the way out the next couple in the waiting room are called up. It's then that I begin to wonder about how we might have appeared to our counsellor. This couple seem very different from Lindsay and I.

This couple look as though they both work full time whereas Lindsay and I are both students despite us being each well into our thirties. As we are telling the counsellor about our individual lives it becomes a little obvious that we are not the type of couple that walks into these rooms all the time. I suppose that we are an interesting little challenge. Neither Lindsay or I drink or take any drugs and so we didn't meet in a pub or a nightclub. On the contrary we met in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous – a fellowship that while I accept is not invisible is certainly not as known in the public eye as I might be led to believe give my affiliation. We are both ex-drinkers and users in recovery. This gives our relationship an interesting dynamic I feel.

I've heard Lindsay's story before but as I listen too her explain it to our counsellor I can see that my acceptance of it is perhaps not normal and has come about by the fact that I am used to listening to horror stories about people drinking and am used to seeing it in my everyday life. The problems with access to her son; the brain haemorrhage and so on. When the counsellor asks us one at a time if we have ever had thoughts of suicide it is almost a case of ''Of course – who hasn't!?''

As we start to talk about our relationship I find myself judging us a little, thinking that the other couples who come her will all be more sophisticated than us, more ''normal'' and that their problems will be more adult and less ''alkie'', less addict. I do think though, and always have since we started going out, that Lindsay and I do share some qualities that aid our relationship that some of these ''normal'' couples would be terrified of. One of them is the fact that since we are both in recovery and have our individual therapists we are constantly advised to be honest and are constantly encouraged to seek growth, spiritual growth mainly. This all gives us perhaps some advantages over these other couples who have a little more stability and greater direction that we have, both individually in their lives and within their relationships.

As I am listening to the outline of what will be happening in these weekly sessions I can't help but feel that this will be yet another place where I will reap tremendous advantages. Every Monday evening we will have our one hour session and we'll be going over all sorts of mouth watering subjects including the reasons we drank in the first place; our family history; our sexual health; you name it and it's there. Initially there will be six sessions before we go through a review to see if another six might be needed – for some couples the initial six is fine but others may need more – and it is suggested to us in a joking manner that the six sessions will likely not be enough for us.

She also says that we might have to do a lot of talking and work around loss as there appears to be a lot of loss in each of our lives. I guess this is true. I think that when you drink like I used to (in your cave on your own for so long) that you tend to miss out on quite a lot of things that other people deem necessary, perhaps even essential, parts of growing up. I missed out on a lot of these things. Many people in AA and on forums like this don't seem able to understand this and that's okay. Some alkies have relatively normal lives. They are married in healthy partnerships; they have long-term employment; they have a circle of healthy friendships. They have everything that makes the adult human healthy, they just drank a little bit too much.

I didn't have any of these things. It's not that I didn't try – they just didn't ever seem possible. The truth is that, given the modes Dr. Bacon and I are discussing during our psychology sessions, I probably wouldn't have had the capacity to gain this normal stuff that so many take for granted. It seems as though sitting on my own with a bottle in my hand was pretty much the only option and sometimes now when I think back I can relate to this older Stevie a little better than I've previously been able. I can understand him a little better.

Anyway – the rain doesn't look like it's going to die down any but maybe if I go meet Barry the Bullet at the later time that we've agreed this morning – do my part as it were – then possibly the weather will do its.

Later dudes.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Far from normal.

1292

Baclofenman
July 5th, 2017, 02:44 PM
I did notice a couple of things going on upstairs in this closed-minded, turbulent little collection of conscious and unconscious thoughts that fits snugly within the confines of my skull.



Love that phrase....

Regards



Bacman

Baclofenman
July 5th, 2017, 03:17 PM
The first was the most prominent – the Charity Shop Cafe. Why has it put its prices up? Did it really have to go and do that? Lindsay and I were at lunch yesterday and the place we were at sold filled rolls at only ten pence more than the charity shop now charges. Their big breakfast deal is a pound eighty more but you get twelve items instead of seven and so when you work it out per item the charity shop charges fifty seven pence per item and the other place only forty nine



Ahh but have you considered 'your' shop may offer more beans, peas or chips than the other local charity shops in the area. Fresher free range eggs or a larger cup of coffee. The additional cost of transport to, said cafe may outweigh the increased cost of 'your' shop.

This is a conundrum that will play on the mind of many a peckish cafe attendee.

Regards


Bacman

Note to self - never, never again will I post on this site using the mobile theme.
It sucks, as does predictive text....

Lunarer
July 7th, 2017, 06:15 AM
Wednesday, July 05th 2017 (Firsts For Everything)



I find myself still casting my mind back to some of the things we talked about at that first counselling session with Relationships Scotland on Monday night. I actually can't wait to get started on this. The counsellor has a lot of work to cover in terms of our family histories and how we ended up as drinkers and then as ex-drinkers but I think already she hinted that she is impressed by the level of honesty and insight that we both seem to share. It makes me realise that all of this recovery work we do; all the sponsorship and meetings and AA stuff; the psychology appointments; listening to others in places like Restoration; trying all types of therapy once (I even tried art therapy a few months ago) – it all adds up. It all makes for people who aren't so afraid to explore or express themselves.

I had been worried that the spotlight might have been shone on me during these sessions (there will be times when this happens) but this isn't new to me. I'm not a beginner when it comes to sitting in a counsellor's chair. I'm actually getting quite good at it but have to remind me to be myself as best as possible, whoever that is. We have these personae we adopt given situations we find ourselves in. You notice it a lot on forums such as this where everyone acts almost sickly nice and fake – not at all a true reflection of who they are. Perhaps even lying but more likely just desperate for approval. I'm possibly no better than any, perhaps even worse than some in that sometimes I am nastier in these pages than in the real world – this is often used as an outlet for me rather than an ego-stroker – but to get back to the point: I can't let my previous experience in counselling settings dictate who I am to be when I am at the Relationships Scotland sessions which will from now on be weekly engagements.

One of the things (actually THE thing) that I felt was Lindsay's main motivation for starting up these sessions in the first place was our sex life, or lack of it. The counsellor brings this up.

Counsellor – ''It says here that you hadn't had sex yet, is this still the case?''

It is! When she asks about it and why this is so despite us being together for ten months now I can only speak up and say that it is my doing, that I'm responsible for this happening (or not) and that I'm still unsure exactly why. Rather than make an enormous thing about it she gives me a little hope.

Counselling – ''We have a sex therapist here, they're very good....''

Hmmmm... ''they'' doesn't suggest male or female but given what I've seen of this place so far I am going to all but guarantee that it's a woman.

Counselling - ''...that's maybe a road we'd go down later. Obviously sex is a part of relationships and so it's going to come up in these sessions. You both are going to have to try to be comfortable talking about all kinds of things related to sex. We will talk about different positions, porn, masturbation, and so on.''

This is completely fine with me.

Counselling – ''To have been together for ten months and not had sex.....that's obviously something that we would consider a problem but we'd be able to work with you on that. It would start as maybe mutual masturbation and then move on and eventually onto penetrative sex. That would be kind of homework that you guys would be given.''

I've covered my past sex life in this journal on older versions of this website and how difficult I've found it in my sobriety. It's been a long time (eight years now – almost all of my thirties) and I gave up trying to figure out when the last time I did it sober was but I reckon it would have been when my daughter was conceived and she'll be fifteen later in the year.

They say that sobriety is all about ''firsts'' in that we have to learn to do things all over again. It's not the same as relearning because we never really learned to do things sober anyway. I've had my first sober birthday, first sober Christmas, all of that stuff. Soon I'll be going on my first sober trip out of the country. I've played my first sober live gig; I've studied my first sober college course. This though – when sex comes into play it is much more difficult.

AA might say that I should work my program and that it should all be fine. Sometimes I think that these AA old timers have said those words so often that they have completely lost all meaning. It's just something they say now – an answer to every problem. It's their way of avoiding thinking about anything: just hand it over, pass the buck and bury your head in the sand. ACA is just as bad. It would suggest talking about it every week for the rest of your life. Nope! Unfortunately an answer to real life problems cannot be found in fellowships like these. Their programs are useless against issues such as sex.

Thankfully I am gaining insight into why. My defensive schema mode – the Detached Protector – is so powerful that when it is in control very little can stop it. When Little Stevie feels vulnerable this mode will come in and shield him. Sex is now a situation where Little Stevie is triggered and this mode comes out to play. The program can't help me with this because it isn't designed to. Dr. Bacon said the other week that once my awareness is such that I know at all times exactly which mode I am in then we can start to work on some of the better psychological techniques and tricks. I long for the day but it can only happen once my awareness is highly acute. There's no easy, quick fix for this.

There might be a fix though. The good thing about all of these ''firsts'' is how interesting it has been learning all about them. I can't see how first sober anything's can be fun and interesting if they were always done anyway. Learning to have sex all over again – learning something like this sober for the first time in many a year – it'll be a lot of fun I think and certainly it'll be interesting.

Right then – I'm meeting some musician guy in a while so I'd better get moving.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Learning and Relearning.

1142

Lunarer
July 7th, 2017, 06:17 AM
Thursday, July 06th 2017 (The Laptop Stays in the Bag)



Ahhhhh.... the joys of getting back out to work. That's another full day in the bag making it a whopping two days for the year. Now we are faced yet again with a quite terrible rain storm that seems destined to remain the course of the day and so the week for me looks to be already over. As a result of this working I am already now stiff and sore. It amazes me how much weaker I am now than I was when I approached the end of my drinking. I feel as though I was stronger back then somehow. I didn't seem to stiffen so easily. I guess I was just more used to it back then. Even though I missed more shifts than I worked it was still unlikely that I would miss work for the six months at a time it seems to be happening these days. I hope to get back out again soon: Monday to Thursday next week.

Tomorrow afternoon I will be heading to a tiny little village not too many miles from here to meet with a musician hoping to get something started. Last night I was at my local Wetherspoon's to meet up with another guy with similar ambitions. This coming Sunday I have an audition for a rock/metal band and there's another guy I messaged on SoundCloud who it looks as though I'll also be meeting up with at some point next week. The search for musicians is back in full swing. Last night's guy...I'm not so sure I'll see him again. Twenty four years old he seemed to want to get outta there as quickly as he showed up and seemed terrified of the Wetherspoon atmosphere which was actually quite busy for a Thursday night. I know not if we'll meet again but I won't hold my breath.

I get it though, his anxiety about entering a busy pub. I was like that as I approached the door. Something started telling me that I should maybe bump the guy. Or even call him and apologise and reschedule. I used to come here all the time and I guess that in the early days of last year when my internet was cut off and I started looking for wi-fi hotspots and found Wetherspoon to be one of the best I perhaps struggled to enter. After a while it became pretty commonplace and I had no problems in entering, finding a seat, ordering food at the bar, and then setting up the laptop. Now that I think about it I perhaps look strange. I have my laptop with me for this meeting but the same voice that is telling me I should be better served by cancelling this meeting, about turning and walking back up to my gloomy cave is telling me now that to be seen sitting here with my face buried in a laptop would be weird. Somehow this voice convinces me that these people would give a fuck. If the twenty four year old I met goes home and writes in his own little journal then he'd probably discuss how tight and wound up I seemed. The laptop stays in the bag and I resort to people-watching to pass the time, trying to think up different places to arrange these types of meetings in the future.

Now that we are twenty four hours away from this incident I am wondering what schema mode might have been active. Dr. Bacon is always asking me to look hard at these modes and try to figure out which ones are active and at which times. We're looking for patterns here: real life patterns of thinking and behaviour. Walking into a busy place would be the obvious trigger for Little Stevie, as would the thoughts of appearing silly in front of all these other people (most of whom seemed not to even notice he was there to be fair) and so the Detached Protector would be the obvious mode he'd call upon. This is the only mode that would try to sabotage an event by telling me that it would be best if I avoided it – that being alone would be better, safer. The fact that I entered the pub despite this active mode does not in any way signify me getting better. Last year around this time, maybe more like fifteen months ago, I was going through the same thing: bring out the Detached Protector but fight against it and do what I had planned anyway. I say this but it was only a week passed Saturday I walked to an AA meeting but couldn't actually enter the room.

Sometimes the Detached Protector still beats me. I think that when it comes to moments like last night when I decide to fight against it and things turn out to be less than worth it there is a sense I feel as though perhaps I should have listened to it and boycotted. It's only when I fight against it and things turn out to be enjoyable and worthwhile that I notice the benefits of continuing to try to combat and defeat this thing. Times like the AA meeting last weekend. That was incredibly worthwhile once I had been. Well worth going, and good for me too. I've promised myself that I will be going again this weekend and this is still the case. Lindsay is working tomorrow and Saturday so I'll be looking for things to get up to anyway.

Yesterday I was walking back to the cave after working with Barry all day and bumped into a couple of the volunteers at the Charity Shop Cafe as they were closing up. What has happened to me?.....and all the rest of it. Turns out that Elsa, project manager for the last fourteen years, is leaving on the 21st. They are having a night out for her on Thursday next week and I'm invited. I should go. It was Elsa who gave me my interview for the position I started in July last year. They seem to be struggling for volunteers again. I'm not the only one to have left in the last two weeks. Once again the new chairperson – her responsible for all of the changes that led to me leaving in the first place – is brought up. Bullying – at least perceived bullying – of one of our more disabled volunteers. I think that it's a case of mental illness in our chairperson. I don't think that she means to be all horrible and aggressive all the time. I think she's just like that through some personality disorder she either isn't aware of or doesn't know how to treat. We all have schema modes and some are more harmful than others. Like all of us though – she has a responsibility for her own mental illness and so while I think it is okay to be tolerant we must do so only up to a point.

Apparently if I ask the chairperson she will provide evidence (she apparently has to on request) as to the donations made by the store over the last five years. I can then add up what I know the shop to make each year and then make a decision about my future there. I wouldn't like to think that I could be coerced into working there again but this afternoon Barry and I headed to the Charity Shop for lunch. We'll see. Baclofenman makes some interesting points for me to consider too:

''
Ahh but have you considered 'your' shop may offer more beans, peas or chips than the other local charity shops in the area. Fresher free range eggs or a larger cup of coffee. The additional cost of transport to, said cafe may outweigh the increased cost of 'your' shop.

This is a conundrum that will play on the mind of many a peckish cafe attendee.

''

Right then – we're supposed to be keeping these word counts down a bit.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

A busy boy.

1363

Lunarer
July 7th, 2017, 06:56 AM
Friday, July 07th 2017 (Endless Summer)


I got a bit of a fright when I stood on Lindsay's scales last night and noticed myself to be weighing in at eleven stone and ten and a half pounds. This makes me, at this exact moment in time and no other, more than my Slimming World target weight but is enough to kick-start my anxiety. I am allowed to be within three pounds either side of my target weight and so anywhere between 11; 4 and 11; 10 is okay. My current weight is not. It probably means that I will not eat tomorrow until dinner time in the evening and that will only be because Lindsay has returned from work and so will be there to witness. It would seem strange to her if I was to say that I had already eaten as I always ''weight'' for her to come home first.

Lindsay often says that I should be careful with my body dysmorphia and although I tend to dismiss these comments I do have to accept that the way I feel whenever I am over my target makes me wonder how healthy my attitude to my weight actually is. According to the NHS:

''Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance. ''

and to Wikipedia:

'' Body dysmorphic disorder*(BDD) is a mental disorder characterized by an obsessive preoccupation that some aspect of one's own appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it. ''

so I'm not altogether sure that what I have is a definite disorder but I do spend time worrying about my weight when it isn't within the Slimming World guidelines.

I think back to the Relationship Scotland counselling session on Monday evening. She was saying (the counsellor) that she would like to look at my coping strategies a little more closely in future sessions and wondered what they might now be since all of a sudden, in one two-year period, I have ditched all of my previous methods. First the booze (exactly twenty nine months to the day), then the drugs (seventeen months to the day), then both cigarettes and the antidepressants (both exactly five months ago to the day) I had been taking. There isn't really anything else left over. My mum didn't smoke, drink or take drugs while I was growing up but she did eat and it is hard to believe it's actually my mother in her wedding photograph. She's gone up and down in all the years since many times but she seems to have her own weight target and it's a lot more lenient and forgiving than my own. I don't know if this is some kind of factor in my attitude towards weight or if it's more to do with my lack of acceptance and tolerance of ageing.

I still cling to youth, well.....not youth so much, I just don't want to be a forty year old and start to decline as we inevitably do. I can't imagine being as stiff as I've felt recently after all of this climbing ladders all the time – can't imagine a world where I get this stiff this quickly. It's pretty pathetic. I cling to my twenties and early thirties. It'll be interesting looking at what my current coping strategies are. I'd be a fool to think for a moment that I wouldn't become one of those hooked on food if I don't watch what I'm doing. Such a great percentage of the population I am a part of do exactly that and use food as a way of getting through life. As a result we apparently, here where I stay in the county of Fife in central Scotland, have the greatest number per head of population of overweight women in the UK. Blokes can't be far behind. When I heard that I thought something like, ''No way......Surely not....'' but then I noticed that you just have to look around you to see that it is a ''huge'' problem. If it can happen to all of them then it can happen to me.

More people attend the Slimming World meetings I've been to than attend any AA meetings in the local area. They probably double or even triple the number of people I've seen in AA meetings in Glasgow. They also seem to all relapse whenever they go on holiday or on a night out. Being overweight is more forgiving of relapses than drinking is from what I can tell. I'd say that there is the same percentage of people around my age compared with those much older (like – hardly anyone under fifty) than in AA but I will say that there appears to be a greater willingness to learn from the group. By that I mean that a good recipe is a good recipe and a good piece of nutirtional advice is exactly that, a good weight loss tip is treated as nothing more or less than that and it doesn't seem as though some comment has any ''weight'' to it only if it comes from the mouth of a member who has been at their target weight for thirty years and is one of the crowd. Everyone seems willing to learn from everyone else. Yet it has a greater relapse frequency....

I can still access the college's Student Portal and so my membership must still be active. I got a letter through the door the other day which has motivated me to get my arse into gear where my future is concerned and I find myself this morning sending an email to the lecturer who runs the radio broadcasting course. He'll get back to me soon enough to say that it's all good. I've been for my interview and everything anyway. I had hoped to have more time to think about things and to perhaps even attend an interview with the practical journalism tutors before making my mind up but I can always change my mind at a later date. At least this way I can get on with applying for my funding now and I know that this will not turn into the endless summer, that there is some sort of pot of gold waiting at the end of this rainbow. We have been getting the odd rainbow as well given that the last couple of weeks has been a case of rain one minute followed by sunshine the next and then that pattern repeated.

Okay – there's a bus leaves stance twelve in an hour and it'll get me into that little village with quarter of an hour left over to find the guy's address. He's asked me to take my guitar with me so there will be some playing involved. This is okay even if my fingers are as stiff as my legs these days. These stiff legs will make walking to the bus station painful. I could use my concession bus pass to get me there for free and it would save the walk.

But that's no quick way to get back down to my target weight now, is is!?


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

His weight is fine.......until he knows what it is.

1235

Lunarer
July 9th, 2017, 05:27 AM
Saturday, July 08th 2017 (Schema Phases)


There aren't many football-less Saturdays to go now, thankfully, and the new season will be kicking off five weeks to the day (actually it starts on the Friday night so less than five weeks to go). This is indeed good news. Life is different when the beautiful game is with us. There's been a lot happening too. Mike Ashley, owner of Newcastle United and generally a chancer, has been quoted as saying that he's a ''Power drinker who likes to get drunk!'' He's worth around three billion quid yet still talks as if he's a teenie-bopper: a ''power drinker.'' I think that the summer this year has been completely different from all other summers I have known. For some reason I have wanted it to be over since it started and I can only think this is to do with direction in life. The college gave me that and ever since it finished I have felt unsure about things.

Glasgow Rangers and St. Johnstone have also bailed from Europe in the earliest opportunity and transfer values continue to remain high with Romelu Lukaku signing for Manchester United for around seventy five million quid. There is an interesting little video on BBC Sport.com that covers illegal streaming of games and how if people knew it was illegal to do so then they would be less likely to do it. There is an anonymous fan on there trying to fight our case for us, explain why streaming rather than paying the ludicrous television deals to watch the same games is a good thing, but he's not on the ball enough for us, or maybe he was but he's been edited. I think that the more people who stream illegally and the less people who pay to watch football then the closer it'll be to being back where it belongs – in the hands of the fans. Cancel that subscription and get it online for free!! Football is a community thing, not a business.

The new season is the future though. What's happening now? Well – given that I have Body Dysmorphia I felt it necessary to assess my progress given yesterday's fat-finding catastrophe. I am now starting to lose again the tiny little amount I put on and am feeling all the better for it. It's all about avoiding my default setting still. Even though I am well into my third year in AA and all this recovery business I am finding that my default state is still uncomfortable enough that I need an enormous distraction to take it away from me. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever find out what it's like to be human.

Rather than focus too much on self-pity and the negative situation I find myself still very much involved in I try to think more about possible ways out of this. Praying was never something I was too great at, never gave it a chance, but I have established a sense of a Higher Power. I think I know the essence of what we are talking about when we mention the Gods of our Understanding. It's never been the real answer for me up to this point though. Lindsay has been working the last two days and so I've had a little more time than I might otherwise so I've had a look at Schema Therapy online and tried to find out a little more about what might be happening in the future with myself and Dr. Bacon.

''The Schema-Focused model was developed by Dr. Jeff Young, who originally worked closely with Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of Cognitive Therapy. While treating clients at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Young and his colleagues identified a segment of people who had difficulty in benefiting from the standard approach. He discovered that these people typically had long-standing patterns or themes in thinking, feeling and behaving/coping that required a different means of intervention. Dr. Young's attention turned to ways of helping patients to address and modify these deeper patterns or themes, also known as "schemas" or "lifetraps."

Yeah, I get that. And that too.

''The schemas that are targeted in treatment are enduring and self-defeating patterns that typically begin early in life. These patterns consist of negative/dysfunctional thoughts and feelings, have been repeated and elaborated upon, and pose obstacles for accomplishing one's goals and getting one's needs met. Some examples of schema beliefs are: "I'm unlovable," "I'm a failure," "People don't care about me," "I'm not important," "Something bad is going to happen," "People will leave me," "I will never get my needs met," "I will never be good enough," and so on.''

And that too.

''Although schemas are usually developed early in life (during childhood or adolescence), they can also form later, in adulthood. These schemas are perpetuated behaviorally through the coping styles of schema maintenance, schema avoidance, and schema compensation. The Schema-Focused model of treatment is designed to help the person to break these negative patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, which are often very tenacious, and to develop healthier alternatives to replace them.''

Sometimes, as my awareness is growing, I feel a little tired of these modes, these schemas I have created as coping mechanisms. I've known for a long time that certain things, certain ways of thinking and behaving, haven't been working for me yet there has often been little option, little defence against them, and so I've more or less just let them do their thing. Like watching that car crash while knowing all along that it's coming but being unable to do anything about it - like Dr. Bacon was on about the other week.

''Schema-Focused Therapy consists of three stages. First is the assessment phase, in which schemas are identified during the initial sessions. Questionnaires may be used as well to get a clear picture of the various patterns involved. Next comes the emotional awareness and experiential phase, wherein patients get in touch with these schemas and learn how to spot them when they are operating in their day-to-day life. Thirdly, the behavioral change stage becomes the focus, during which the client is actively involved in replacing negative, habitual thoughts and behaviors with new, healthy cognitive and behavioral options.''

I started my sessions with Bacon on the......I think it was the twenty sixth of January..... and we've spent the majority of our time together in the assessment phase. Now though I think we have moved onto the second phase – emotional awareness and experiencial – as I'm asked a lot more to try to spot which mode I'm in at any given time and complete minor homework assignments. We do go back to the assessment phase every now and then so perhaps I'm sitting on the fence still – not quite into the experiencial side of is but not fully out of the assessment one either, kind of still having one foot in each of them. It won't be long before I enter the third phase, the phase that will take up a lot of the time: the behavioural change stage. Can't wait.

I'm building up a word count again so I'm going to get a move on now, get away from this journal.....

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Has to go shopping now.

1230

Lunarer
July 9th, 2017, 05:29 AM
Sunday, July 09th 2017 (More Schema Phases)



Good morning! Here's a little story:

''Harry is a 45-year old middle-level manager. He has been married for 16 years, but his marriage has been very troubled. He and his wife are often resentful of each other, they rarely communicate on an intimate level, and they have few moments of real pleasure.

Other aspects of Harry’s life have been equally unsatisfying. He doesn’t enjoy his work, primarily because he doesn’t get along with his co-workers. He is often intimidated by his boss and other people at the office. He has a few friends outside of work, but none that he considers close. During the past year Harry’s mood became increasingly negative.

He was getting more irritable, he had trouble sleeping and he began to have difficulty concentrating at work. As he became more and more depressed, he began to eat more and gained 15 pounds. When he found himself thinking about taking his own life, he decided it was time to get help.

He consulted a psychologist who practices cognitive therapy. As a result of short-term cognitive therapy techniques, Harry improved rapidly. His mood lifted, his appetite returned to normal, and he no longer thought about suicide. In addition he was able to concentrate well again and was much less irritable. He also began to feel more in control of his life as he learned how to control his emotions for the first time.

But, in some ways, the short-term techniques were not enough. His relationships with his wife and others, while they no longer depressed him as much as they had, still failed to give him much pleasure. He still could not ask to have his needs met, and he had few experiences he considered truly enjoyable.

The therapist then began schema therapy to help Harry change his long-term life patterns.''

It's always a case of people being the toughest aspect of life. I've often said that this recovery carry-on would have been an incredibly simple and straightforward affair were it not for me having to deal with other people. Some of them are okay, or rather I should say that sometimes I am better at dealing with people than others, and the exchange is not altogether unpleasant, but the majority of the time I see people as nothing more than selfish little shits who are always using any opportunity to fuck someone else over and to lie to them without getting caught, trying to constantly justify every selfish action of theirs.

Dr. Bacon says that this might be an overcompensating mode of mine whereas I criticise others to make myself feel better as my self-esteem is shot and my own sense of worth non-existent. I don't know if he's right about this though and we've never really gone back and looked at it again. I don't consider myself to be any better – I'm human too – and so it's a fear of nature that is my main issue here. When my son was born (way back in September of 2000) it was my first real experience of being with an infant. Fatherhood was great. I was finally getting rid of the memory of my own disastrous family by creating my own one. What I did notice though was that my little boy was unbelievably selfish. He was a baby and so was completely incapable of knowing that anything beyond he existed. Still though – he was a creature that only cared about one thing: himself!

It was this awakening that allowed me to see beyond any doubt that we are born as nothing more than exactly what it is I think we are. I do believe that we go through a phase after this and when we get a little older when we begin to learn that others exist and that we are all connected. That if we want the best for ourselves then it makes the most sense that we try our best to live in harmony. This is my favourite phase. Then something changes again when we get a little older still and we go through this kind of identity crisis in which we think we can make our mark and learn who we are by making the most amount of money we can, and, preferably more than the next guy. I don't know how much of this is environmental and how much of it is nature but I think about bullying in teen years and how easy it has been proven that seemingly normal and selfless people will start to assist in bullying if it helps their own sense of belonging. They put themselves and their image above the needs of the victim and, much more crucially, above their own beliefs at that time. In this way they are even worse than the baby because they have a conscience to beat out of the way first that the infant hasn't developed yet. Every phase of human development is cursed with selfishness and a small degree of evil, except maybe that stage between infancy and adolescence.

I'm at the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous last night. I'd promised myself last week that I'd go again this and so I've kept my word. It wasn't a huge struggle to get myself there but there was a little part of me tugging on my arm asking me exactly what it is that I think I'm going to get from it. It's not that I'll drink if I don't go. This is obvious to me now after I successfully completed a ninety day without a meeting challenge – something that others in the fellowship seem very averse to. It's something else. Dr. Bacon says that he feels no one acts out for no reason. That the whole of psychology is based on the idea that people do everything they do due to psychological needs and whether or not these needs are being met. Whatever I used to get from the meetings – whatever psychological needs were once being met – no longer are but there's a definite sense within me just now of lack of belonging. Since the end of the charity shop volunteering I have felt the sting – the lack of communication and connection – and so it makes sense to try out AA again as it will offer me exactly this.

Without having some more experience in schema therapy this is not a great idea. I am still very much that car crash waiting to happen. It's okay that I attend but I should try to remain silent wherever possible. Thankfully last night it is a big meeting and so there are several people who decline the opportunity to speak. Damn schemas:

''A schema is an extremely stable, enduring negative pattern that develops during childhood or adolescence and is elaborated throughout an individual’s life. We view the world through our schemas.

Schemas are important beliefs and feelings about oneself and the environment which the individual accepts without question. They are self-perpetuating, and are very resistant to change. For instance, children who develop a schema that they are incompetent rarely challenge this belief, even as adults. The schema usually does not go away without therapy. Overwhelming success in people’s lives is often still not enough to change the schema. The schema fights for its own survival, and, usually, quite successfully.

It’s also important to mention the importance of needs in schema formation and perpetuation. Schemas are formed when needs are not met during childhood and then the schema prevents similar needs from being fulfilled in adulthood. For instance a child whose need for secure attachments is not fulfilled by his parents may go for many years in later life without secure relationships.''

Dr. Bacon sometimes says that there are both positive and negative aspects to trying schema therapy at my age. By forty we tend to find that negative thoughts and patterns are very ingrained but there is still within us great motivation for change.

It's very difficult to find any information on exactly how it is that we will go about trying to weaken these beliefs I have but I'll have another look in a wee minute over a coffee.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Making coffee.

1382

Lunarer
July 10th, 2017, 03:07 AM
Monday, July 10th 2017 (Good Things and Bad)



It'd be nice to get out to work, start off the new week with a bang, but it's raining again. It's not the kind of rain that is likely to stick around all day (thank the God of my Understanding) but it's enough to mean that we can't get started at the usual time and just generally it puts a ''dampner'' or things. That's been more days with rain than without since I left the college more than a fortnight ago. Weather in Scotland really is shit, like most other things here.

Thankfully I have a holiday booked which will be my first trip out of this country for yonks. It really frustrates me how some people in recovery, especially the ones in AA meetings who begin everything they say with ''Hi, I'm ******* and I'm an alcoholic.'' and then tell us all about their terrible drinking lives which included marriages, full time and long term employment, cars, mortgages, and regular trips to other countries. I think it's incredibly disrespectful to those of us who would find those things so alien that they would be uncomfortable. I don't say in meetings that I'm an alcoholic simply because I don't classify myself as having been one. I was just a drunk. But I do believe that there are sections of my story that dwarf many in the rooms these days – especially when it comes to all those things taken for granted by most – those things that people don't seem to think are all that important in their lives when they have them but just the same are all the things that help create a healthy adult persona. It's the loss that creates the devil in us. It's little wonder that these people don't seem to ever have anything different to say from one month to the next because they don't really have anything to recover from.

Tonight Lindsay and I will be attending our second session with Relationships Scotland and its couples counselling and we'll most likely be looking at loss. That's one thing that the counsellor did mention at our inductory session. She said that there were lots of examples of loss in both of our lives. Both Lindsay and I have spent large parts of our lives isolated; neither of us has ever been married; we don't really have any friends (Lindsay is well liked in AA but doesn't seem to want to pursue things much outside of the rooms; I'm not even liked in AA but do have a couple of friends outside of the fellowship that I can visit from time to time) and both of us have traits of the borderline patient. We have both lost access to our children. We've lost quite a few things in our lives but none more so than the opportunity to try to do normal things at the ages we're supposed to do them. Loss..... That's without this counsellor knowing anything about the passing of my father when I was five which is what started off this chain reaction of shite in the first place.

I don't know why I was so poor at coping with what happened in my life and why it seems that so many others who go through worse seem to do okay. Madonna lost her mother when she was around the same age I was when I lost my father. It worked out for her is all I'm saying. I don't fixate on possible reasons as to why she was so strong while I was so weak but I'm not going to apologise for thinking about things like this from time to time. I used to get so frustrated in the very early days of my recovery when people would always, rather than answer my question or engage me in an exchange of thoughts about a particular subject either recovery or non-recovery, they would often take the cowards way out and tell me to stop over-thinking. I was making them feel uncomfortable and so they would try to shut me down. It's not the same as when Dr. Bacon says I try to intellectualise things so that I can avoid connecting with them.

That's one thing that I did read when I was looking over websites talking about schema therapy. People like me often develop and nurture a defensive and cynical stance on people and the world and that this can often be so that we don't have to invest in them. I guess this is right in many ways but I still think I lack the ability to love people because they are actually disgusting and horrendously selfish creatures I want no part of.

There have been good things happen this weekend though. I emailed the lecturer who takes the radio broadcasting course and he got back to me telling me that he'll be in the college next week and will send me an email when it's official and I'm on the course. At least that's confirmed. I received through the post my Summary of Attainment which has my previous qualifications plus the NC in sound production added to it and all of its component parts. It makes me look like I've done quite a lot of things as there are dozens of elements to the course I wasn't aware of.

Another big thing done this weekend happened yesterday. If I want to go on this little trip to Spain in October then I would have to get my passport photo signed and I was struggling to find someone who would do this. I had thought that Dr. Bacon would be able to but we checked and it is not permitted for a doctor to do this. Apparently it was due to the large number of people asking their general practitioners to sign their photographs. Aww... poor little underpaid and overworked GP's. My heart bleeds.....

Lindsay is a trainee nurse though and so knows lots of nurses. She actually should have finished her training by now but took a year out after having a drunken fall that ended with her having a brain haemorrhage and so most of the girls from her original year are already qualified and have been working for a year. One of them happily signs it for us (even though nurses are always cited as being more overworked than doctors) and so we are one step closer to making that flight in twelve weeks' time or so.

Between now and then there is lots to do though. The rain looks like it's not going to be dying off just yet and the forecast is for it to stick around for most of the day. I'll get going just now and contact Barry the Bullet, see what he makes of things. I could really do with getting out and cleaning some windows. That counselling session this evening won't pay for itself.

I feel like I am better prepared mentally for the day ahead now that I have put some of my hatred onto the pages of these forums.

But it'll come back.

'
'
'
'
'

'
'
'
Stevie

The hatred always comes back.

1205

Lunarer
July 11th, 2017, 07:38 AM
Tuesday, July 11th 2017 (Relationships Scotland Part Two: Love and Sex)



There was a guy on the old Ryver forum, back when it was called WQD and was designed in the very same way as the My Way Out forum, and he's on the new Ryver WQD site still, who we once upon a time were very sensitive towards and supportive of. He was sober for two years at the time and was on the lookout for a partner. Thoughts of being completed and his sobriety perfected seemed to be thrown into ideas of romantic love. If sobriety itself couldn't fix him then it appeared that he felt as though a relationship would. He spent some time on the dating circuit without much luck. He complained about being ugly and needed constant emotional support throughout. He told us all about his experiences which I absolutely loved as it was and is still incredibly rare and difficult to find on forums such as this.

Then one time he seemed to hit it off with a girl and before you knew it he was engaged to be married and then disappeared from the forum only coming back every now and then, once in a blue moon, to let us know that he was married, that she was pregnant, and, just the other day, update us on how his daughter is via pictures and photographs. The whole story is one you might call beautiful, a true success story. One of the reasons we get sober in the first place. It's living life on life's terms. It's what it's all about. The whole thing did for me, however, come across as being a story written by someone very immature and insecure – someone who was ready to just jump into a relationship with the first woman he met that liked him; was, as Bob Dylan said (and this is my first Bob Dylan quote of this new journal even though it's now into the second half of the year) ''Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet.'' He came across as desperate and it was quite embarrassing reading about his experiences. There were times when I wanted to message him and ask him to slow down a bit, not invest so heavily so quickly.

I will say again though that this is what the honest writer risks when he writes as he does on forums – he leaves himself open to judgement as others feel that they know more about him just because he reveals a little (or a lot) more than the average poster.

Lindsay and I have been going out now for a while now. I say it's around ten months; she says it's ''almost a year''. We're sitting in our second relationship counselling session and the counsellor is trying to gather how it is that each of us view our situation. I seem to think of it as still early days. We're still working things out and we're living just for today, as we are taught in AA and suchlike. Lindsay seems to have this projected belief that things are perhaps a day at a time but that this doesn't stop us from thinking ahead. We have a holiday booked together for instance. True. When we booked and paid for that last months there were fifteen weeks before our flight leaves the runway. This is a forward-thinking commitment. The counsellor begins to take things down the route of how we feel about each other. Lindsay comments that she had been thinking this past week while I've been staying at my cave for the usual few days midweek that she was thinking about telling me those three little words that seem to mean so much but that she backed down when the chance didn't really come up.

It makes me think a little about how I view love and the importance of saying it. At the time as I sat in the session my Detached Protector was having a field day (I think I'm actually becoming really good at spotting which mode I'm in and when – something that will please Dr. Bacon when I see him again on the twentieth) but now that I am sitting in the comfortable couch while Lindsay is out working and I am doing housework since the weather is back to being wet meaning that Barry the Bullet and I will live to fight another day I can do a little online research. When is it time to say tell the other person that you love them?

It's no surprise that there are loads of websites dedicated to the question (and that most of them are pretty lame) but what was quite surprising was the amount of people who happily confess that they first said those words early in the relationship. I mean REALLY early. In fact – to not have said it by this time into it (ten months) almost puts Lindsay and me into some kind of record-breaking territory. Some people say the magic words the same day they meet the person; some say within a week; but most seem to have said it by three months. It makes me really wonder.

Could it be a case of my past plaguing my thoughts on this subject. Due to my active drinking and drug taking over the past few years I probably spent more time on my own than most others did outside of prison. I spent two consecutive Christmas days all by myself with the blinds shut and the phone battery removed. It was a dark time admittedly but in a strange way it kind of worked out. It has now left me with this ability to be able to tolerate isolation. I don't mind being on my own for a full day, even two or three. I tend to find something to do when many people resort to television and checking their phones every thirty seconds in the hope that someone feels them important enough to have left them a message, a little slice of love and approval. After a few days I'll admit that I can start pulling my hair out (metaphorically) but for a couple of days I'm good. I've accepted that sometimes I'm gonna be on my own and that's just inevitable. I'm comfortable with it now too.

I don't think that this is the case with a lot of people. I think for many of them their greatest fear is being alone, perhaps second only to being seen as being alone by others. I was thinking about Captain G on Saturday night. He was telling me last week that he's been dating Marie from AA for around seven months but that I'll never see them in the same meeting together. They agreed a long time ago to ''do different meetings!'' I think that a bit of this was probably to do with his guilt (she's a relative newcomer who was only two months sober when they began dating while he his sober date is way back January of 2011 – the whole thing will be very much frowned upon by old timers and sponsors). Marie was there this week and my brain started to do its little time-line thing. Marie got out of that psychiatric ward around the middle of March. She was there for three months which would take her back into last year. I remember Lindsay telling me that she had seen on Facebook that Marie had been committed. They've been going out for around months from last week. This would mean that Captain G had only been going out with her for maybe a couple of weeks, a month at the most, when she went into the hospital.

It's no wonder his sponsor was asking him to reconsider dating someone who had been committed into a psychiatric ward less than a months after they had started dating and who had just joined the fellowship. To be honest I would have told me to stay the hell away from Jenna when I first joined AA, something that Stu and others advised me to do but which I largely ignored up to a point. It is evidence to support my theory that we are terrified of being alone. Captain G seems a little like the guy I mentioned at the top of the post in that he'll do anything not to be alone, or seen as being alone. Maybe they are stronger through it all now but I have to say that if Lindsay was committed within a month of us dating I would hope that I'd be strong enough to realise that the timing wasn't right for either party and that the best thing would be for us both to continue working through our individual problems first and then who knows further down the line.

We mention to our counsellor the influence that AA can have on the relationships that start up between its members. I think that by the way we talk about how ''it takes an alkie to know and alkie'' and all the rest that there's a part of every AA member that wants another AA alkie to be by their side. Our counsellor asks us if we see the fact that we are so similar as a positive or negative feature of our relationship. Again our answers differ with Lindsay saying that she sees it as positive while I argue that while we may be similar in some ways we are completely different in other ways. In this respect I feel us to be the same as any other couple. She likes the television; I can't stand it. I am told that television preference does not change the fact that we are similar but I disagree. Hours spent in front of a television tells a lot about a person. Lindsay likes to ''chill out'' as so many of us do and this will start tonight from the moment she gets back from work. Switch off and relax. Fair enough – it's a twelve hour shift on a hospital ward. Me – I like to stay turned on. When I would come home after working shifts on the window cleaning my way of relaxing was often to post on the forums and then write and record some music. It's a very different way of decompressing. Lindsay and I aren't as similar as some might think.

I can imagine Dr. Bacon smiling to himself. Perhaps he'd accuse me of diverting the conversation away from the subject so that I don't have to emotionally connect with it. This is a tactic that my Detached Protector does. It's that mode I'm in again. It's good that I'm spotting it though.

Regarding the length that this post is turning out to be I think I'll cut it here and post this next section as tomorrow's post. It'll be the first time I've cheated but it'll be nice to have a day off from writing tomorrow.

Who knows? I might even get used to it.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Gets tomorrow off from writing.

1864

Lunarer
July 11th, 2017, 07:39 AM
Wednesday, July 12th 2017 (Relationships Scotland Part Two: Love and Sex Continued....)



So this is a continuation of yesterday's post and will actually be written yesterday. Well – today, but the title and date will suggest yesterday. It means that today (or tomorrow, depending on which way you want to look at it) will be the first day I'll have off from writing in this journal for the whole of 2017 so far. Unless I can't do it and feel compelled to write, possessed to write, in which case I'll be writing a day ahead for the foreseeable. We'll see. I hope that doesn't happen. Sometimes I wonder if all this writing actually helps or hinders me.

But anyway – here we go.....

Regarding when the best time to tell your partner that you love them for the first time I found a couple of interesting little pointers on a couple of interesting little websites. Like I mentioned yesterday (earlier today) – people seem to get so overwhelmed and confused with their emotions, as well as scared to death of being alone or being seen as being alone, that they yearn – and not in a healthy way – to always be in a relationship that they will utter these words so incredibly prematurely. Or what seems to me like prematurely. Then they justify it by saying that they are still with this person today and so it proves that they loved them all along. I think what they really mean is that anyone who is going to jump and run with the idea that someone is willing to tell them that they love them when they don't know even the slightest things about them is probably as desperate as them and so they most likely will end up together forever. It's just a manifestation of this irrational fear that we have of being alone, even for the slightest time, and this irrational fear where we believe that we are unlovable if we aren't with a partner all the time. Someone, anyone.....

Then I notice the age groups that are answering this question and I have to grab a pen and paper. It seems as though (not always but typically) teens and young adults under the age of twenty four or twenty five are much more likely to confess to feeling for someone they have just met feelings that they don't understand and so just assume that it is love. They feel happy so they associate it with love. I know that there have been all sorts of experiments and tests done and teenagers feel pleasure more intensely and so are more likely to get the high from being in a relationship and so confuse it with love. You'd think that twenty-something's would know a little better, be a little more experienced, and the ones that are must not have been involved with these website's data collecting. I won't even go into those who confess to loving people they talk with online but have never met.

When we get a little older, and particularly when we get into our thirties, we seem to take a bit longer. It's not uncommon for people to wait for three to six months to pass when they are on the more mature but less flexible side of thirty to confess how they feel. I can only put it down to a level of maturity that allows us time to wait until the darker parts of a personality reveals itself a little. It's impossible to fake it fully for six months or more and so after this time it is inevitable that some of the other party's more irritating flaws will come out to play. How can one make an assessment of their feelings without knowing all about these little things and they are never going to start coming out and revealing myself in the early weeks and months.

It would also appear that culture plays a part. In Britain we are apparently very guarded with our feelings and expecting emotion from us, male and female, is like expecting it from a stone. In the Caribbean you are more likely to tell someone a little sooner as you are more likely to be open on an emotional level. I guess that I can relate to the British being cold but I don't have much in the way of experience of other places to draw upon. My horizons are not the most broad. I also think that those of Caribbean descent should try not to confuse that feeling of happiness brought on by extra gamma rays producing an increase in brain chemicals be confused with feeling a certain way. Most drunk people will love everyone....even those they have only just met. Maybe us being ''stony'' allows us to reflect a little more on how we feel.

One website says this:

''
I ask him, on the off-chance that, you know, he might just love this girl, when would be the appropriate time to tell her? They are going on holiday soon after all. A romantic evening sunset and bottle of rose on the beach? Perfect. But no. He would wait SIX MONTHS before saying 'I love you'. Why? Because he wants to make sure he means it.
I commend this last part. All too often in this Web 2.0 world of saying what you want and being all emotion-full and shouty on Twitter, only to forget about it later, have we lost the art of saying things we actually mean?
We*digitally puke our thoughts out*every day – on Twitter, on Facebook, on comments at the bottom of articles: it's an extension of shouting at the TV screen when something annoys us except we do it online, and want and expect followers in the process.
It follows then, that we are losing a sense of our real selves, of our real opinions, of our real feelings. We have a public-facing opinion where we're happy to share what we had for breakfast, the fact we hate so-and-so but simply love skinny dipping and downing shots – or whatever – but when it comes to our true emotions, we are guarded.
''

I don't know if she's using her blog as a way of criticising social media or if she is really passionate about what she believes but I have learned that just because someone works in a particular position or writes well does not mean that they are emotionally stable.

''
I'm am really, really lucky that in my relationship, my now husband told me he loved me within about a week of us officially dating. Ha! Could he really mean it? But then he had known me already for about a year and so had, I guess, developed these feelings 'behind the scenes'. He didn't expect me to say it back, either. Him saying it so early on, no strings attached, gave me the control, the confidence, of being able to wait a bit until I said it back, safe in the knowledge he meant it and I knew where he stood.
''

Hmmmm.... It looks as though they are all kinds of ways that this could pan out. She makes some interesting points. Could something like this be happening with Lindsay? After all – she had planned on asking me out long before she got around to doing it. There were some in AA and well as her psychiatric nurse who knew all about this before I did. Maybe something had developed in her before I was attuned to it, before I was actually involved, when Lindsay was just someone that attended meetings I went to on occasion and who I shared a common interest in getting sober with.

''
The point is that it seemed a lot simpler when we were younger to fall in love: we didn't have much emotional baggage, but also, we didn't have to keep up with the social habit of baring all online, all of the time. When we said something we meant it; the trivial stuff about breakfast and who you hate most on tele were saved for a few of your friends, if they'd listen – not thousands of followers.*
''

I like this.

Lindsay and I mentioned a little about how we started up and what was going on in AA at the time. I mentioned that I had started to look at Stu (my former AA sponsor) as a mentor and father figure who I had to run everything past before I could make a decision. This was one such thing I had to run past him and he was very averse to it but without really giving me an explanation as to why. In the end it is what cost us our relationship. Lindsay had been through similar scenarios with former sponsors (actually had creepy sexual advances on her by one of them – a guy in his sixties, a darker side of AA that I have not quite shut up about just yet, but that's another post) and at the time she was without a sponsor. Still though – AA opinions, ones not asked for, were coming into play.

The counsellor mentions that it seems as though there is a lot of intensity when starting up a relationship in AA. There is, it's true, but I think now I realise it's only really coming from idiots. Most people don't care; some are supportive; others, usually old men who are years sober but have been single for years and don't have lives outside of the rooms, aren't so supportive.

The counsellor was also interested in how Stu glossed over the Sex Conduct Inventory rather than give it the time and effort that he did the other sections of the Step Five Inventory process during our work on the Twelve Step program and how I had to investigate these things myself, which I did comprehensively on the WQD forum over a few weeks. It's an inventory that is shrouded with much debate in the fellowship, especially when you have younger women coming in every year and it is usually old creepy men who are pushing themselves to sponsor them, knowing full well that sex will have to come up along the road and so they will get their chance.

Relationships Scotland offers a sex therapy service but the waiting list is around two months still. We are now on that waiting list. It's been a huge hurdle for me personally and I wonder if the fact that we've been together for more than ten months now but haven't managed to get there is one of the main reasons for me struggling with my figuring out how I feel. It's more likely than possible.

Lunarer
July 11th, 2017, 07:40 AM
Right – I'm closing in on the ten thousand character limit that My Way Out sets for posts and so I'm gonna wrap it up even though I could still ramble on. I think that the best advice I read online regarding the subject of when it is best to tell the other person that you love them was from a website called Elite Daily. It says this:

''
We start out knowing very little, usually allowing our imaginations to run wild and fill in the gaps. As we learn more, one of two things happens: We lose interest or we find that we're even more intrigued than we were initially. The more often we feel the latter, the more likely we are to fall in love.

You don't need to wait until he or she tells you that he or she loves you. If you're in love,*you want to let the other person know.*But you need to wait until it's time.*Here's a few signs that'll let you know when*to say “I love you”:



1. You're sure you love the other person.

The truth is, you always know when you're in love. I understand that when you look back, it may no longer seem like your previous loves*were*full of love.
But they were. A shallower love? Maybe. Definitely a less mature one — for with each failed relationship, we change as individuals. So if you're questioning whether or not you love someone, it's not time to jump the gun and tell that person*that you do.*


3. You believe you're*capable of loving properly.


Maybe time isn't an issue; maybe you're too young. Maybe you're not*physically*young; maybe you're a little emotionally immature.*It's not something to be ashamed of — unless you're 30 or older. Once you hit 30, you don't*need*to get married and start a family, but you should be mature enough to truly appreciate a good thing when you see it. If not, then you must not be learning from your mistakes. If you love someone, say it. And give love only if you can do it fully and passionately.
''


Damn that ten thousand word character limit!!!


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Probably overthinking it now.

2176

Lunarer
July 13th, 2017, 04:09 PM
Thursday, July 13th 2017 (Three Down; Seven To Go)



Scotland's oldest football club Queen's Park Football Club had a birthday on the 09th, last week, last.....Sunday it was. One hundred and fifty years old. Pretty incredible. Nearly twice as old as Alcoholics Anonymous. Hard to believe that football was being played all the way back then. Twenty years before even Jack the Ripper was running around the darkened streets of Whitechapel there was the beautiful game. It was well attended too with some of the biggest recorded attendances being long before the law required us to have full seating in place like we have nowadays. Anyway – belated Happy Birthday, Queen's Park!!

The oldest football club in the world, Sheffield FC, will be one hundred and sixty on October 24.

I find it frustrating at how terrible my search for musicians has been this time around. During previous searches I have had many a session in a recording studio or practice room with many a guitarist, singer, keyboard player, drummer, or other guitar player(s). I've net in interesting people each and every time. This time though....... This time I met with one guy. Just one. The others? Fuck knows! One of them wanted to meet last weekend and then cancelled saying that we should reschedule it for during the week but I've heard nothing at all from him. Then there was that band. They were the ones I was holding out for this time. They were playing all kinds of heavy rock and even some metal but arranging a meeting with them has been nothing short of impossible. I've left the ball in their court but they seem unable to know what to do with it. It's a little annoying as I did put in some time on the instrument learning some of the more difficult passages of the songs they wanted to play.

I would get back onto those sites but there won't be anything happening I don't already know about. It's probably best I leave it until the beginning of the new year. 2018 could be the year it all happens. At this rate I can't see me having a guitar by January. There's no reason to have it sitting there. It could effectively be a little earner. I wouldn't get much for the main guitar itself – the Godin of my Understanding – but when I factor in all of the pedals, amps and accessories then I might do alright. It's possible that all this stuff might find itself on ebay in the coming weeks. If anything would be the ultimate statement that my former life is over it would be in the selling of my musical instruments and accessories. It would before long feel as though I was a different person. We'll see what happens.

There is good news though. I had thought that the new football season started on the weekend of the twelfth and thirteenth of August but that is when the Premier League kicks off in England. The rest of the divisions (English Football League from Championship down to the fourth tier as well as all of the Scottish leagues) all kick off the weekend before this. Saturday the Fifth August. Actually there are a couple of games on the evening of the Fourth to get us started. It's getting closer by the minute at this rate. So there is only this weekend to get through plus another two after that and then we're back on. I've missed the football season. It's another thing that has been sorely missing these last few weeks. Just a handful of weekends to go and all will be back to normal. Next summer there is a world cup and so the pain won't be as severe.

I used to always fear the winter and much preferred the warmth and light of the summer. Now I think things have changed. Another huge sign that a different Stevie is working inside me at the moment. I long for the end of this long and unwelcome summer. I'm not saying that I am looking forward to potential snow and general freezing suckiness......I don't know what I'm saying really. It's maybe just that there isn't much in the way of security for me at the moment. Last winter I was studying and so tended to know what was happening. There was stuff to do all the time, stuff to learn. At the moment I feel the opposite. There's very little happening. All this would feel dramatically different if I could just get out to work for three or maybe four days a week for the rest of this time off.

Barry the Bullet would have found three text messages and twenty eight missed calls from me over the course of the entire day yesterday. At first these calls were aimed at getting out to work. Then, by around midday I noticed that the odds of this ever happening were pretty low and getting lower by the minute, I started phoning more with the intention of simply finding out why he won't answer. Later on it was all about trying to reach him so that I might arrange a meeting with him at some point over the coming days.

Of course he's gonna try the whole, ''We'll get on it big style from Monday'' and all of the rest of it but I'm not interested in hearing any of that. Well that's not strictly true – hearing him keen to get out to work is not something I'll ever ignore, but it's also not something I can altogether rely on either. I have a notepad and pen now which I'll take with me to our meeting and which I'll use to copy all of the work we still have left into. This way I can go out myself if need be or with Ian if he wants to. Barry can have as many days off as he wants to and it won't have any effect on me or the way the company, the ''business'' is run for the rest of the summer.

It feels like three weeks have been wasted. There are only seven left after this week before college starts back up. This means I have seven weeks to gather and put aside a little bit of cash. It's not just that though. I get really fucking bored when I'm not doing anything. I get bored when I'm out cleaning windows as well, of course, but at least I feel connected. It's when I've nothing to do that I feel that emptiness that is synonymous with disconnection from community.

Right then.......that's about all I can be arsed saying.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Seven weeks to go.....

1134

Lunarer
July 14th, 2017, 06:17 AM
Friday, July 14th 2017 (The Fitness for Work Assessment)


So this afternoon I am going to be assessed for my fitness for work. Am I a raging loony still who is not deemed fit but who is instead to go on the Work Program? Or will I be declared fit and so look forward to an appointment at the job centre next week? I'll find out this afternoon. My attitude towards it this time around is a little different from the last time I had to go on one of these things. Last time my hair was a fair bit longer and Erin gave me something to put in my hair that would grease it up. This, combined with not washing it deliberately so that I looked my worst, made sure that when I went there I went looking pretty pathetic. I had also not shaved for days and was wearing old and dirty clothes when I went. I managed to get the result I was looking for and then headed back to the cave for a wash and a shave and to sort my shit out so that I could go and meet Megs – a member of the other forum I used to post in every day who had volunteered herself to come through to my town from where she lived in Glasgow to help me get out of a little jam I was in. So this was in April last year. Fifteen months ago now.....

This time around, while not exactly looking my best, I am in a much better state than I was back then in time for this interview. Lindsay was visiting her AA friend Rhona the other week and was hearing that she too had one of these health assessments and her preparation for it still seems to be very similar to my way of old. She'll exaggerate everything in a desperate bid to keep her benefit and avoid having to look for work. Her reasons are her fits. She has epilepsy. She hasn't had a fit in years but seems to have adopted this idea whereby she threatens the world with a fit every time she herself feels threatened. This way she can continue to get everything she wants while also avoiding anything which she might be frightened of. This is an attitude I can relate to but can't afford to continue with.

While I don't have the ''luxury'' of being able to threaten the world with an epileptic fit if I have to go and look for work I do find myself hoping that I can find a way to pass this test and keep my benefits for another little while, just the seven weeks I have left until my studies start back up. That would be peachy. The government don't look at it like this though and as long as I'm not seen to be doing anything then I have to sign a contract saying that I am willing to look for full time work on a full time basis. This is something I should just try to deal with if it's the way it's going to go down today.

You see – the difference between Rhona and I, in my humble and judgemental opinion, is her introduction to AA. I was fortunate in that I got involved with my home group one town away in the opposite direction where I located my sponsor. Rhona seems to have been lumbered with much weaker meetings and has never once attempted the sponsorship thing despite having been in the rooms for more than ten years now. She's missing the point of AA and its program of recovery in that this is a program and fellowship designed around the idea that we try and grow during our time in the rooms. We use our freedom from alcohol to try to rebuild our lives and work through our issues. We challenge our fears and we deal with our resentments. This is the idea as far as I can see. By taking the coward's way out each and every time Rhona feels even the slightest threat from the outside world and then running to the rooms of AA to justify it I think she's missing a valuable opportunity to learn about herself and to grow, to grow spiritually, and to work through this obvious crippling fear of hers.

But I think I'm missing a trick here too. If there's one thing that Rhona has it's friendship stability. Every morning she has people visit her and they sit and have coffee. I've met one or two of them (I've met all of them from the fellowship but she does know some non-AAers) and they seem okay. They seem normal. It's not as though hers is a hunting ground for all of the freaks and creeps of Fife. She always seems to have people around her. This is a very different scenario from myself and Lindsay as well.

When I think back to my sponsorship days I can see how my ideas about it, my interpretation of the Twelve Step program, has been manipulated by what Stu was going through in his life at the time. I was going through much change, or attempting to, as I sobered up. He was going through just as much in that since I arrived in the rooms of AA he has completed his counselling training and now has a job; has seen his wife move from England (yep – they were living apart for a long time) to Scotland with him; and she had their child the week after I turned two years' sober. This was his first.

So when I think about it I would have to concede that much of the information I received from Stu, not the stuff that he told me directly so much but the stuff that I picked up on in the same way that as children we learn more from what we see than we are told, was dedicated to getting stuff, to achieving stuff. That our lot can be improved upon by reaching milestones in life, by avoiding mediocrity and perhaps even by treating AA as a real-life Facebook.

Rhona seems not to want to achieve anything in life. Seems determined to stop anything that might want to help her do so. But this doesn't mean she has it wrong. Maybe this idea of achieving stuff means nothing if you have people come in every morning and night for coffee.

When it comes to people and getting along with them Dr. Bacon and I are no further forward than we were when I first arrived. We're still assessing.

So I'm stuck in the limbo of not being able to have people in my life or achieve anything.
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Stuck in a limbo......

1215

Lunarer
July 15th, 2017, 02:41 AM
Saturday, July 15th 2017 (A Little Torn)


I've been up since six this morning and I'm not too happy about it. Lindsay starts her shift at the hospital at seven and I had hoped to sleep through the alarm. No chance. Fear inside me or whatever makes me sensitive to even the slightest noise throughout the night and early morning and so I am up and at 'em before the day has even started. I've been moaning a great deal in this journal recently about trying to deal with boredom ever since finishing up at the college three weeks ago and today will be another test. I'll have to keep myself busy and try to keep moaning to a minimum. When I start moaning things just get worse but often the moaning starts subtly and before I know it I am stuck in the middle of it.

The Relationships Scotland counsellor says that I appear quite good at spotting my moods in the sessions and noticing quickly when certain defences are active. This is all part of my homework for Dr. Bacon. If I want to get to the part of therapy where we start to look at tools to help me deal with the flaws in my personality then I have to become something of an expert in spotting which parts of me are in control at any given moment. Which schema mode am I in? Only once my awareness is really good can we proceed. Hearing someone point out that I seem to be quite good at this – someone who isn't Dr. Bacon himself – is good to hear. Everyone likes being noticed for their efforts.

I'm a little torn between going to the AA meeting tonight, the one I've forced myself to go to for the last two weeks now after a lengthy (for me anyway) AA hiatus, or to stay in and make Lindsay's dinner for her coming in from her twelve hour shift and perhaps go to the AA meeting at the hospital in another town tomorrow afternoon instead. I've promised myself I'll force myself to a meeting once a week until further notice. I don't know why, possible to work on my attempts to connect, but this is the way things are at present. Sandra from ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families) has text me and asked if I would be able to return her book to her (I Got Tired Of Pretending) and so I will do that this afternoon but I have absolutely no wish to take part in the meeting. I'll deliver the book, act all nice and pretend to care how the meeting is going, then leave. I can't see me ever going back to those meetings again. They live in the problem even more than AA meetings do which is sadly quite a lot as it is.

At yesterday's health and fitness for work assessment I just rolled with it. I'll hear back within six weeks. The college starts up again seven weeks on Monday so I'm hoping it takes most of the six weeks for them to get back to me. The worst case is that they make a decision super quick and I fail the assessment. This way they might arrange an appointment at the job centre for as early as the week after next and so I would only have to deal with them for a month at the most. A month. Saying that just rolls off the tongue. It would seem like a lengthy month at the time but it could be a heck of a lot worse.

Most of the assessment was routine and pretty much what I was expecting. I at times thought of Rhona and what a disservice she might do to herself by completely exaggerating her answers to every question throwing any self-respect out of the window. She won't be the only one. I was asked about my general physical health, mental health, and drinking and drug taking history. One of the things AA is absolutely useless for is keeping a log of your recovery history and so I am glad that I went along with government agencies FASS (Fife Alcohol Support Service) and DAPL (Drug, Alcohol and Psychotherapies Limited) as well as my doctor as they keep evidence in the way of a paper trail. Without them there would be no evidence I ever tried to get myself better.

The doctor has made a couple of errors in my file as apparently my alcoholism began in 2013. Also he has said that my symptoms of depression started in 2010. I don't know where these dates are coming from. Maybe the 2013 one was when I first started seeing Margaret at FASS so I guess that one makes sense. My file also has that I broke my arm in 2010 which is completely not true but then I did break my collarbone in 2009 and so it's close enough. Makes me wonder if perhaps my doctor has a drinking problem himself. He'd likely say it was due to him being overworked. He never looks as though he's overworked when I see him. This is just one of the many reasons I changed my GP surgery the other week.

One of the questions was one that Rhona and some others must surely cringe when hearing. When was your last job and what was it doing? My last job officially ended on December 14th 2014 and it was, of course, the window cleaning business. That's more time on record as being unemployed than I've been sober for. It's a long time. Feels that way anyway. That was a time when everything was turning to shit and I was at the very end of my drinking but didn't know it yet. I put on record that I was quitting my business so that I could claim housing benefit and save my home. I've had little option but to keep the business a secret from everyone since.

This is the same business that Barry the Bullet and I discussed yesterday when he finally picked up the phone. We're going out on Monday after a failed week this week that saw me unable to contact him for one reason or another. The weather is shite this morning but a heatwave is forecast for the coming week and so things should be good on the working front from Monday. I've said that before though.

Local football team Raith Rovers kick off their season this afternoon with an away game against Dundee United in the Scottish League Cup. It won't be the easiest little group for us to get out of but the squad should be strong enough to get out of our league division and get back up to the second tier of Scottish football which is about the best a club of two thousand supporters can hope for, I'm afraid. It's cup games this afternoon though. The season will begin properly in just three weeks as league action begins for another year. It's about time too.
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Can't stand the thought of tomorrow's meeting so will probably go tonight.

1208

Lunarer
July 16th, 2017, 04:22 AM
Sunday, July 16th 2017 (Three Meetings in a Row)


Halfway point of the first of two months of uncertainty slap bang in the middle of the year. The summer. What was once so sweet but now so bitter. I start college seven weeks tomorrow. Fifty days. That's fifty times I'll have to take it a day at a time. I think it's four weeks to the day after that when Lindsay and I catch a plane to Spain for a week. Her placement was due to finish a couple of weeks before we left but now, due to absences noted and added on by the hospital (or the university, or whoever the fuck it is that makes these decisions – likely her charge nurse responsible for signing her off once the hours have been done), she now won't qualify and finish her degree until the week before we are due to leave. She finishes up on the Wednesday and then we leave on the Monday.

We were talking about that last night actually. How both of us are stuck in a time we'd rather not be. That we'd both probably take the coming winter over the current summer. Not only do we have our trip to foreign and sunny lands to look forward to but Lindsay will start off her job when we come back and I'll already be studying again at that time. I know all about the saying of the grass always being greener but at the moment I can't see how having some focused study at a level above that I've just done won't do me better than trying to constantly hassle Barry the Bullet in the hope of getting out for another window cleaning shift. I count three. That's three shifts I've been out cleaning windows in the time I've been off college. Actually, come to think of it, one of those shifts was done the penultimate week of the college course so I've only been out working twice in the last three weeks. No wonder I'm feeling the pinch. Hopefully this week I can get the full four days. We will just have to, as always, see.....

So last night I decided to, probably against my better judgement, attend the AA meeting. I suppose that it is the meeting I should feel most comfortable in. It's the meeting I've been to more than any other in the last twelve months. In the months leading up to the end of last year I was there almost every week. I was there on Christmas Eve and at the gathering held there on Hogmanay (that's what we Scots call New Year's Eve). I brought the year in with the group. I then continued going for another four or five weeks before I went on my, what has proved to be completely game-changing, ninety days without a meeting experiment. After ninety full days away I chose that meeting as my return but didn't stay for the whole thing. I then managed to get myself there two weeks ago and again last week. Now this marks three weeks in a row.

The whole time I'm thinking of what Dr. Bacon says. All human action is a result of psychological needs either being met or not being met. I bet that some of the people in this meeting, all across the AA board actually, don't care to realise that they are stuck in a pattern of behaviour that doesn't work by attending these meetings every night of the week. Psychological needs are not being met at this meeting, or others, AA as a whole can stop working after a while, yet they continue to come here. Every night some of them. There are needs being met for them at this meeting. That's the bottom line. They are coming here because they are getting something from it, week in; week out.

I'm not here to take the inventories of others though – only by taking my own will I have any chance in getting better. What's my reason then? Are any psychological needs being met by me coming here tonight? Or is it just boredom? I spent most of the day by myself so was it just a case of me seeking company in the evening only I know so few people in the real world that I am resigned to a meeting with others who suffer from loneliness and who lack the ability to make it in the outside world with other people? What the fuck is going on here?

Whatever it is thinking about it doesn't seem to be getting me off to the best of starts. I am quite frightened for some reason. Although I sometimes think it's fine to judge others so that I might make sense of what best to do with my involvement in the fellowship I do get quite petrified by the thought that everyone in these rooms might right now be judging me. I have to try to recall many of the things that these rooms taught me to begin with, those things I think I remember but have really forgotten long ago. I have to remember that I am just a little cog in AA's wheel and so am not important enough for people to want to spend time thinking about me, but, even if they are, then it saves them from thinking negatively about anyone else.

This meeting for me starts off bad but gets gradually better. The end is the best. The sharer is from another part of Fife and so I haven't seen him in months (first time in 2017) due to me not really caring enough about my involvement in AA enough to travel around anymore and it's good to meet up with people again after a while. This guy speaks and I pick up on many similarities. People always talk about getting identification but rarely do I ever get any meaningful identification from a top table. This guy talks about how he noticed everyone who came into the rooms at the same time as him talk about how great they felt after just a few weeks and how no one else seemed to have any problems in getting sober. He says that he had headaches for months, loads of debt that took five years to pay off, lots of problems really.

I can relate. My debts are still huge and I had many physical problems in early sobriety. I didn't sleep for literally months. I also had problems with hunger in that I never felt it. For almost two years after sobering up I never once noticed myself feeling hungry. It didn't matter how much, little or often I ate I couldn't get my stomach to respond. Now my problems are related to relationships and sex. Two and a half years sober and unable to perform sexually and having nightmares at even the thought of it. Lindsay's an attractive woman. It's something in my head, some sort of fear of exposure, fear of judgement....or something. This is not something that the sharer talked about though. When this is all behind me though it is something I would hope not to be afraid talking about in a meeting setting if I felt it fit in with my experience of overcoming things in the first years of sobriety.

As we go round the room in the second half of the meeting there are a few people say the same thing in response: they say that their drinking was completely different from his but then try to justify their presence in the rooms by saying that this doesn't matter because it brought them to the same place. They don't need to do this as AA will accept them with open arms anyway. You don't have to be an alcoholic to join AA. What these women are saying, really, is that they can still identify with some of the thinking and behaviour that the sharer talks about even though their drinking was severely tame in comparison. They also talk about how they like to hear how bad it can get so as to deter them from ever going ''back out there'' just in case. I've still only met one other person who has slept rough for more than just a night here and a night there. I've still yet to meet someone who seems as hurt as I feel I am in the rooms in that it comes out in my actions and theirs. I know that the majority of people in these rooms haven't had it all that bad and I'm growing more tolerant and accepting of that as time goes by......I hope.

At the end I realise that most of this negative thinking I had when I arrived in terms of the negative things that they were all thinking about me is bullshit. It's in my head and it created through fears and insecurities I have that I have no other ways of dealing with. It's important to be reminded that I can't trust my own thoughts and opinions at times.

Three weeks in a row I've been to AA now. I'm starting to feel some of the benefits.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Will be back next week for number four......

1558

Lunarer
July 17th, 2017, 02:37 AM
Monday, July 17th 2017 (Long Term Goals)


I quite like writing in this journal still, I have to say. I still notice that when I think about not doing it I get a kind of withdrawal that is most uncomfortable and so I'm not sure how healthy it has become but all of the professionals I have spoken to about it seem to love the idea and suggest I keep it up. I also notice that I am much more drawn to the My Way Out forum than I am the old WQD (which at the moment plays a bit-part role on Ryver). All of my old friends didn't make the crossover from the old site to this one and I do feel that there is next to no community about it anymore. I feel that My Way Out is a little more genuine in the way its members interact with one and other and in the way the whole site is run. It's quiet, yes, but I don't care too much for that if the people are decent and actually have something to say. I think I'll stop posting this onto Ryver WQD probably at the end of the year and just continue here instead.

When I got back from the meeting on Saturday night (carrying the leftover sandwiches and cakes – don't know why we used to get lumbered with them and am even less sure why we still do) Lindsay wasn't in the best of moods. It had been a pretty bad day at her placement. She's got her job to walk into once this degree has finally been achieved and it's in a nice and cosy little ward where challenges will be in existence but over eight hour shifts rather than twelve. It's becoming a struggle. With this being her final placement it is quite a long one too. The others have all been around five to eight weeks but this one doesn't finish until the end of September and has already been going for a couple of months. She's in it for the long haul. All I can do is be supportive when I can, offer a coffee and an AA cake.

We talk a little about what happens after all of this, what the plans are a little more long term. This could be a little scary if I let it but we're not talking about long term commitments regarding our relationship – merely individual goals. What was all this sobering up for in the first place? For me it seems to be going down the road of college study. I started out doing sound production but somewhere along the line switched to radio broadcasting. One of the reasons for this was employability. The odds of finding work in radio seems much higher than in sound production but jobs in sound production don't often tend to look at qualifications much anyway and so that might be a direction I head in one day based on just the skills I have just now.

Another reason I chose radio rather than sound production was the transferable skills. I like the scripting aspects of the radio course, the journalistic aspect. Anything that will see me having to think about and research something and then – the best part – to write about it afterwards should I treat like my best friend. At my interview it was explained to me all the projects, the kinds of things that students this year had done, and these ranged from one side of fucking everything to the other. There was one student who did her graded unit on homelessness in Scotland and took a trip to Edinburgh to interview homeless people on the streets. There's a cafe in the city that provides soup and warm food to homeless people and this student interviewed the volunteers who work there. What a really decent project. I could really see myself enjoying something like that.

I also heard about the two students who travel the local area watching football matches as part of their broadcasting experience as they report back on the college radio station: Boom Radio. Watching live football and then scripting and producing a show for the local college's radio station? What the fuck!? Who WOULN'T want to be doing that shit???? There is also the pull of Sunderland. Completing the degree in England rather than here in Scotland. The grass might be greener indeed.

Lindsay, by comparison, seems to have made a choice based on something other than what will be the most fun. I had to go with the fun option as it is something that has been sorely lacking in my life for so long. I've done the window cleaning thing for too long. Nursing seems to be such a bitchy and ego-driven profession and with such a toxic environment. I'm not just thinking about Lindsay's experience here – my mum worked in nursing all her life and I remember the times when she's mentioned about how uncaring the new starts would be from one generation to the next. When I think about the nurses in AA as well...... Most of the most unstable and selfish women in the fellowship work as nurses or have recently been struck of the nursing register. There's obviously a certain type of person who will go into that kind of profession and it's not always the type of person you'd assume. There's a lot of people overcompensating it would seem and they're using the HNS to do it.

Lindsay does have a plan though. Ultimately she wants to get through her driving test at some point after she qualifies and pick herself up a wee car. Then she could do community nursing. This is the new way of the NHS. Rather than wait for people to become so bad that they need to take a trip to hospital we are to start their care at home so as to save hospital beds. Lindsay would like to eventually do this. She'd drive around the local area and visit people in their own homes. I could see her and this being a really good match actually. We'll have to start working on this but I think she needs a year, maybe two years, of experience in the wards before she is eligible to apply for this kind of community nursing.

It's good to hear us speaking about plans like this. For so long, so many years, life seemed to have no purpose at all. It did for other people, they were better, but never me. Now all this talk of plans is exciting. It's sober stuff. When I first sobered up there was this tendency to perhaps think that I would have some kine of idea as to how my sobriety would progress from one year to the next – like I could roughly predict what might happen and how this journey might go down. I'm not even three years in and already there are little curve-balls being thrown. It's all good stuff though. Good and unpredictable stuff.

Barry the Bullet answered his phone last night and agreed we need to get out to work today. He's now answered it this morning as well so I've no doubt he'll be at the races today. It's lovely weather out there too and so I am much looking forward to getting out there and kicking some window cleaning ass. This is the week that gets the ball rolling with work.

I should get going if I want to make that bus.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off to work on a Monday morning.

1280

Lunarer
July 18th, 2017, 02:48 AM
Tuesday, July 18th 2017 (Relationships Scotland Part Three: The Genogram)


In a bid to space out her twelve hour shifts at the hospital Lindsay has rescheduled a couple of things over the next two weeks and one of them involves our Relationships Scotland session for next week. The counsellor had said that it might sometimes be best to see us one-to-one on occasion. As a couple is fine most of the time but it is always necessary during this kind of therapy to take parts of it individually. This week both Lindsay and I are in attendance but next week it will just be myself. This is okay though, good even.

Right then – so what the fuck's a Genogram when it's at home? It depend on its use as they can be used in social work or educational contexts but what we're looking at is a kind of family therapy and relationships so it goes like this:

''
Genograms are widely used by family therapists as a tool to map family relations, giving both therapists and clients an overview of family relationships and patterns. The genogram may help the therapist get to know the family and help them deal with their current issues. Genograms may help a husband and wife understand each other's learned patterns for responding to stressful situations, handling intimacy or conflict, or managing gender and cultural issues. Genograms are used by medical professionals to better understand their patients' medical, genetic and psychosocial history. Genograms are also useful for anyone who is interested in better understanding the patterns and issues in a family.
''

It's all about looking at what both Lindsay and I have learned from our families and how we put that into practice in relationship situations in the present day. That last part there about understanding better the patterns and issues in family – I am hoping that by doing this I might get a better idea of why my family is so distant and why we barely communicate. Why does my family find it so undesirable to be with one and other? Or is it just me? Still the black sheep despite two and a half years of continuous sobriety? Why does my family completely confuse personal development with financial gain? There are many things I am hoping to learn about while working through the Genogram model.

Rather predictably it's Lindsay's turn to go first. Her family tree takes up the whole of this session. Next week it'll just be myself but the counsellor says that it's a good thing is Lindsay sits in while we go over my own Genogram and so that will be done the following week. Actually – she's on training that following week, our counsellor, and so it'll be the week after that we get around to all things Stevie-Genogram related. Only the God of my Understanding knows then what we'll be talking about next week in Lindsay's absence.

She does well, Lindsay, in talking over her family history to our counsellor in front of me. Lindsay comes from a family where there is a long history of alcohol abuse and dependence and so I guess she was all but doomed to ending up a problem drinker herself before she was old enough to even know about the devil drink. She's also had a tough time in terms of taking on the role of the carer in her household. She was essentially her parent's parents.

Lindsay says herself that talking about this has taken some of the guilt out of her past. Lindsay's own son has suffered as a result of this pattern of parenting continuing for another generation. Even though she told herself when she fell pregnant that she would not put her son through anything like what she herself had been through she nevertheless did exactly that. I used to ask my AA sponsor why so many people in AA didn't want to seem to try the program of the Twelve Steps. He would say that it was fear. I would often question this but he would always ask me what else it could be. I guess. What else could it be? Lindsay admits that he own parents were too frightened to look at themselves. Our counsellor says that although things have been tough for Lindsay she has done a great job in now breaking this cycle. The cycle of drinking but also the cycle of fears at looking at herself.

Who would want to look at themselves like we have to when we are trying to recover? It's much easier to put personal development to one side and concentrate on making ourselves better by making more money. That'll fool them. Actually it's just what we all seem to do and so continues the not looking at ourselves. It must be terribly difficult for some people to accept that while they thought they were in charge of their lives the whole time they have merely been playing the roles laid down by their parents. All this time and they have had no control of their destinies after all. Just products of their experiences. It's another form of powerlessness.

I can't help but admire Lindsay as she talks about her family and how it impacts her life now. She seems remarkably articulate and composed. She has good insights into herself and the effects of trauma. I can see her becoming a really good nurse. The counsellor seems to connect her nursing to looking after her mother all those years while she was a drunk and while her dad was too busy drinking himself to bother contributing emotionally to his family. Lindsay seems to have been blamed for brining her parents together. If she hadn't been born then they wouldn't have had to live together. They would have had their fling and moved on. Her being born meant that they were destined to remain in a toxic relationship.

I feel closer to Lindsay now even though nothing has really happened. I feel closer to her than I did when we woke up this morning.....well.......yesterday morning.

This morning I am off to work again (yep – again) and Barry the Bullet will be meeting me in the next town for another day of window cleaning. Yesterday we were out all day and it was roasting. I wouldn't go as far as to say that it made up for all the fucking around that has happened in the last couple of weeks since I finished up at college but it will certainly be good to get out for my first consecutive shifts at work since I went out that week in December.

My genogram will be next and I have to say I am looking forward to it. Bring it on.

In three weeks' time.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

In therapy.

1151

Lunarer
July 19th, 2017, 02:12 AM
Wednesday, July 19th 2017 (Letting Rip)


This morning I am up early enough to be posting for the third consecutive day. Good morning everyone!!

It's going to be an interesting one today. The weather is okay at the moment but it isn't to last. It's supposed to get pretty bad later on but Barry the Bullet and I will be giving it a go until it does. At least I hope we will. He left his phone with me during work yesterday (I carry a backpack on my back all day and so it was just for somewhere safe to keep it since he usually switches it off when we are working – something I actually love) and I accidentally brought it back to Lindsay's with me. It's sitting right beside me as I type. I haven't been able to contact him at all since leaving him at the bus station after work fourteen hours ago. If he makes it to the meeting point tomorrow morning then it would be great but I won't run to the bookie's and throw a tenner on it. Fingers crossed.

The sun was beating down on us all day yesterday and despite three times applying factor fifteen sun cream I am badly burned on the arms and shoulders. I say ''badly burned'' but some of you guys live in really hot places and so I guess perspective comes into it. Badly burned to you might be blistered and in need of hospital treatment. I am in no need of immediate treatment – my arms and shoulders are just really red and sore. Usually on hot days at work I wear sleeveless tops but today I have a t-shirt with me. I might actually take my jacket as well, just in case. It looks and feels like it might get a little colder pretty quickly and at any time, but that's enough of talking about the weather – it's boring!

Barry the Bullet and I were walking through the town centre yesterday morning – kind of the same way I hope that we will be in around ninety minutes – and he is in agreement with me in that it is a much nicer walk in the mornings when only a few of the shops are open for business and hardly anyone is around. He mentions that he probably shouldn't say it but there are times when he thinks about coming down here during the busier times when everyone is ignorant as they go about their capitalist-serving consumerism with an Uzi 9mm and just letting rip – blowing everyone away. Fuck you too!!

I don't know why he feels that he ''probably shouldn't be saying'' that because he's not likely to be able to ever get his hands on The Terminator's favourite instrument of death (especially since he only seems to want to bloody work once in a blue moon) and so the likelihood of him ever being able to fulfil this particular murderous desire is extremely low. I find things like this quite interesting though. I think it's because you can never know. I'm not about to ask Barry how serious he is about his statement but I do wonder. How many times do those left behind by suicide victims mention that they felt they should have known and that they now realise that some of the things the deceased would say prior to their passing now take on a more personal meaning? Now that they know the context to which it was said and implied!?

I'm not going to worry about getting there this morning to find that Barry has shot up the place – I'm just hoping that he'll be there.

Lindsay came back from her placement yesterday morning not long after getting there. I'm not sure exactly what the problem is but this has been happening more and more with this placement – the final placement of the degree. Her attendance has actually been so poor now that the university has sent her an email saying that they have taken these absences into consideration and she now will not complete her placement hours until the week before we are scheduled to fly out to Spain. At the rate she's going there will be more absences and so her placement will continue on after we come back. She's stopped doing her part in helping herself get better. She's due in again tomorrow and Friday before a big one next week with four twelve hour shifts Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

It's annoying but I find it difficult to know what to do. How to best support her while also put forward the idea that I don't think the late nights are a good idea (she comes to bed later than me some nights even though she has to get up earlier) and that I don't really agree with her just coming home unless there is a good reason. I think that this is sometimes why therapy can be a little dangerous. Just like my old counsellor (FASS's Margaret, very long term readers will remember, if there are any of you left) advised I keep a drinking diary thus enabling me to drink I feel that our Relationships Scotland counsellor might yesterday have enabled Lindsay.

As we were working our way through Lindsay's genogram we looked at her sleeping history. She would apparently suffer from night terrors as a child and drunken dad would come through, angry that she had woken him up, and whack her. Our counsellor believes that Lindsay now has a fear of going to sleep. I don't want to be a dick or anything but last night was one of those nights when I go to bed earlier than she and could hear her coming to bed later. I don't know what time it was but I was sleeping having read some of my book. It was probably around an hour later. I went to bed at eleven so she went around midnight. Midnight isn't all that late but when you start a twelve hour shift at seven and have the alarm set for twenty to six then you are talking about some seriously fucked up shit and not enough sleep.

I can remember the days of not sleeping when I was in early sobriety (or should I say ''nights''?) and it sucked. I haven't had a long term pattern of night terrors as a kid and so don't really know how to try to be there in the best way for Lindsay. All I can do is be responsible in keeping my end. Go to bed at my regular time (whenever I want to between ten and eleven) on school nights and then wake up in as good a mood as possible and get on with my day.

If I manage to get out to work today and it's anything like yesterday and Monday then I'll be doing okay this week. Barry and I have already agreed that we'll go out on Friday evening on a debt collecting mission. We'll attempt to gather as much of the cash as we can from people who are not present to pay us during the day. This'll leave us with quite a profitable little first full week back. We'll be splitting pretty much everything we get as we have been doing so far but we'll be sticking a little aside for the business. This way I can, over the weekend, make an online order for anything we might need for the rest of the year or at least the next few months.

Tomorrow I'll have to finish up a little earlier as I have my next appointment with my clinical psychologist Dr. Bacon at half past three in the afternoon. It's been three weeks and I'm keen to get back to it and on with it.

Here we go then – off to meet Barry the Bullet for another day of window cleaning and not wanting to blow the faces off of others who share the town centre with us with an Uzi.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Sunburned.

1369

Lunarer
July 20th, 2017, 01:58 AM
Thursday, July 20th 2017 (Aurora)


That performance by the Scottish women's football (soccer) team last night was shocking, and against the Auld Enemy too. Six goals England put past us in what turned out to be their best ever recorded result in a major tournament and our first ever involvement in one. At least it wasn't seven. At least they made it to the tournament. The actual Scotland team hasn't competed in a major finals since the world cup in France all the way back in 1998.

Barry's not at the meeting point yesterday morning as I might have hoped for him to be but I do manage to get his phone onto a charger and look around it, have a little nosy into his private life, but not to the extent where I might be deemed intrusive. His mum has been ill recently and so he's likely to be quite close with her. Sure enough – he's been in touch through phone calls right up until June 30th when the calls seem to stop. This would have been around the time he ran out of credit and would not keep contact with me. Explains a lot.

I decide to call her and we have a little chat. I now know where he stays. His exact address, and his mum's too. The plan is that she phones around and tries to find out what he's been up to and she gets back to me. When she returns the call she says she's spoken to everyone who might know where he is and no one has seen him. In the end I jump on the bus and take a trip through to see if I cannot find him myself.

Barry's block of flats is like something you might see in the next Trainspotting film or something. Most flats have a security door and you have to press the number and the occupier will let you in but here the door is wide open – door off the hinges open! Inside there is a faint whiff of piss – either cat's or human, I'm no expert. There are four floors to these buildings but I'm surprised to find Barry's on the ground floor. I don't know why. I guess that it's because I have known so many people over the years who have lived in buildings such as this, have been in one or two myself, and they've always been at least one floor off the bottom. The ground floor just seems strange.

Barry's not in though. He's not at his mum's either. They reckon that it's best I leave the phone with them than it is me popping it through his letterbox. I'm not so sure myself but concede with no fuss. They (Barry's mother and I'm guessing sister) don't seem to have anything good to say about him. He appears to be in their bad books for some reason. I make my excuses and leave for the bus shelter but pop back into his block on the way. Still he is not answering and shouting through the letterbox that it is me and that I have his phone seems to make no odds. I write a note for him explaining that I'll call him in the morning to see if he's game for working and that I hope everything is okay. I can but pray.

I spend a lot of time on buses these days. I stay at Lindsay's more and more and so make the trips between her town and my own almost daily. Before I caught the bus to Barry's town I popped into the local book store as they always have their mix and match ''Three for £5'' deal on and so I spend a while browsing for a book or three to keep me occupied on this coming bus trip and the next few dozen after that. I've not long since finished reading a book I found quite interesting. Aurora, it was called, but Kim Stanley Robinson. I don't normally indulge in science fiction but this came at Lindsay's recommendation and so I gave it some time and really got into it.

It's the far future (2545) and a starship is off to a distant planet to colonise it and the story starts off six generations into the journey, only when they get to this planet, Aurora, they discover it to be poisonous and so a debate ensues over what to do next. Half of the crew choose to stay and try to find a way around the problems while the other half turn around and set back for earth.

I like some of the ideas in here. It brings into question the whole plausibility of space travel and argues that we aren't just going to be able to take this capitalist view whereby we can afford to destroy this planet of ours all the while hoping that one day we might be able to find another place to live and then charge people fortunes to live there. This planet is, in all probability, the only one capable of providing a home for human beings. The book throws up a huge number of thought-provoking ideas as to why space travel of this magnitude itself is pretty ridiculous and, most importantly for me, that suggest humans are essentially evil, bad.

Almost all of the world's greatest thinkers have come to this conclusion, that humans are evil, and it's something I've always believed. Robinson is not the only fiction author to suggest it as well. In this book it's the idea that so many people would volunteer to take on such a mission where they are completely aware that they will die onboard and that their children will too. With the book starting off with characters from the sixth generation we have a bunch of people who's life started on the ship and they have never known anything other than life on the ship. It's not as if they can ask their parents about it either because they know nothing of life outside the ship either. When we make decisions like this we are making decisions for all of our generations to come.

The idea of it being necessary to conquer things like space travel as part of human evolution is also challenged. We must do these kind of things and we will eventually. It's all about reaching that goal. It doesn't matter that ninety nine per cent of these missions might end in disaster we will have the audacity to call it a success when the first ship makes it. It's like saying that Mother Theresa's efforts make our efforts to help the starving is a success.

I like how it talks about how people live with little more than their ideas. We are pretty much just our ideas, and we'll act on and live in these ideas either until the day we die or until these ideas are realised.

Shit – I'd better get going or I'm gonna miss my bus.

Looks like I'm working by myself this morning.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Working by himself.

1200

Lunarer
July 21st, 2017, 08:41 AM
Friday, July 21st 2017 (A Note For Elsa)



I noticed a comment from paul-mh in my Ryver journal from the other day but couldn't make sense of it. I went back and read the post I'd written, Mondays it was, but found that I didn't mention social work at all. Maybe he read it wrong? I've had problems with people skim-reading my journal before and to be fair it is awfully long. Have I skimmed it when I've read over it and missed the point he's referring to? Is the comment a dig at Lindsay who is doing nursing rather than social work? Was it something I mentioned in another post? Or was it just a random opinion about social workers in general? I've no idea, but hi anyway Paul.

So that's Elsa – the project manager of the Charity Shop and Community Cafe for the last fourteen years – moving on to greener pastures. The rest of us all seem stuck on the bridge and the new chair is the nasty ogre who keeps jumping up and threatening to eat us all up if we don't change our acts and conform to her new capitalist ways. I feel like kicking her off that bridge at any moment. Someone's going to have to be the big Billy Goats Gruff. Elsa was aksing if I am coming back to my volunteering duties and explains that she has left a note for her replacement saying that I was struggling with time coming to the end of my college course and with going back to work but that I would likely come back at some point once I'd worked things out.

This isn't strictly true. That's making up little stories, Elsa. I was at the end of a college course, yes, and I have returned to work, yes, but the reason I don't work at the charity shop any longer has nothing to do with any of this. When the committee had one of their little meetings recently where they all get together and try to make each other important and stroke each other's egos for a couple of hours (sounds remarkably like an AA Intergroup gathering) one of the things they did discuss was Elsa and what they'd be looking for in a new project manager. She's too soft, is Elsa. Okay, I get it – I can see what they mean. It doesn't take a genius to work that out. I hope that they realise that they are not the only people who have seen this. Elsa making excuses for me and sugar-coating my reasons for leaving is evidence of her incredible people-pleasing but what do we want!? Do we want to replace her with someone who has only money-making in mind? Who's only thought upon waking each and every morning is ''How can I make as much money as possible today?''? It's a slippery slope indeed. I can only pray.

Since I've been out and about this week much more than I normally am since I've been working with Barry the Bullet – and especially since it's been in my own town – I've bumped into a few people. One of them I hadn't seen for a while was English Sara. She and Dennis are off to England next week so I said I'd pop in the following week. Gillon got an A for his graded unit at college and so he is off to university next year. We are discussing in the town centre as I wait on Barry (he's an hour late this morning) how we used to think that people with degrees were smart but now it seems like all of us are going out and getting them and that they aren't all that tough to achieve at all. Gary got an A for his graded unit on his diploma as well. He was also not what we would ever have considered an academic. Lindsay will complete her degree in a little over two months. All of a sudden the other half don't seem all that impressive and intelligent after all.

Last night Elsa had her send-off party but my Detached Protector asked me not to go. I'd had a hard shift with Dr. Bacon and so just stayed in. I've just been to the cafe to find out how it went and to hopefully catch Elsa on her last shift but she finished yesterday and so I'm stumped. Now I have her address though and so I think I'll write her a little note and send it off. I should be able to find her post code online no bother and so I'll send it off this week. I was told that the only thing to spoil last night was the new chairperson thinking that this would be a good time for her to offer up a speech of her own. This was Elsa's night but this new bitch thinks that she can steal her thunder. We've got to get rid of this woman. Show the committee responsible for giving her this position that we will not be bullied like this. Unfortunately people never stick to their guns with things they believe in. Remember the end of the film ''Gone Baby Gone.''? In order for change to happen we need on board people with that kind of belief in their beliefs although I have to admit that even I was struggling at the end of that movie.

Now I'm sitting in a little cafe at the comfy seats. This was actually where Lindsay and I had our first date although at the time I thought that it was just two friends meeting up. It was a couple of weeks after that we started seeing each other. Dr. Bacon had wanted to talk about her yestersay and I was all up for that but the session went onto my brother and so we just followed the natural course of things. I'll write about all that tomorrow.

It's not long after half past one and so I'm going to go to Restoration. It's been a few weeks again since I was there. Not much will have changed. I can't see it anyway. Like AA though I think it's important I show face every now and then to support the cause that was there when I needed it. I've been a member of Restoration actually longer than I have been Alcoholics Anonymous. In AA I am just one of the new guys who managed to get to the two year mark and stick it out. I suppose I am, whether I accept it or not, one of the recent success stories within the rooms. Very, very few have come in since me as newcomers and are still sober and attending meetings.

In Restoration things are a little different though. I am perhaps the ONLY member to get anywhere near the length of time I am sitting at sober (nearly two and a half years) and clean from all substance (nearly one and a half years). Most of the people who attend are stuck in the cycle of addiction and are nowhere close to starting off their lives in recovery. It makes relationships difficult for me because I judge them for not being able to do what I did and they judge me for being able to do it while they can't. It's an awkward group dynamic and there is little I can do to help them other than turn up every now and again and tell them that I'm still sober.

I'll write that little note for Elsa tonight and then I'll see you again tomorrow for a write up on yesterday's session with Dr. Bacon.

Adios.....

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Missed Elsa's send off.

1303

Lunarer
July 21st, 2017, 09:13 PM
Saturday, July 22nd 2017 (Little Stevie's Healthy Adult)


Glimpses anyway, that's what Dr. Bacon was putting across at least. I'm not so sure though. Maybe tiny little glimpses. For the most part I feel the Detached Protector part of me to be the most active in any given moment on any given day. So active that it managed to keep me from going to Elsa's going-away party the other night and made it difficult for me to stay in the Restoration hall for more than forty five minutes yesterday. It's a lot to answer for, so it does, but Dr. Bacon reckons that we're starting to see parts of my Healthy Adult mode coming to the fore more often than in previous sessions.

I had a shocking night last night. A return to the sleeping patterns of old? Nah, it was only one night. Sleeping was one of two huge problems facing me in the first two years of sobering up (the other being my appetite) and I seemed to sort it out, defeat it somehow, in the last twelve months or so. Every now and then though, it will return and I'll have a sleepless night. Just one I can handle. Maybe there's a lot going on in the head at the moment and it's making me think more than usual. I am not on Facebook but Lindsay is and every now and then she'll point out something she thinks I might be interested in from someone I know. One of my old friends Andy is to become a father for the first time at thirty four. Everyone seems to be becoming a dad these days. It's like we've got nothing else to do. It does make me think about the past though. Enough to keep me awake at night? Maybe just one night.

I could have called this post ''Hard to Love'' (and I may actually go back and change it to that depending on how I feel when the post is written) as this was a common theme in the session. I think that mum found me a little more challenging of the two sons and so it seemed, to me at the time at least, that her efforts were better spent on my brother Gary. This magnified my sense of being unlovable and so thus also my rebellion. I never spent much time with mum or my brother when I was younger. It always seemed to be those two doing one thing while I did another. That's not fair actually – Gary and I did more things together than he did with mum, but he definitely spent more time with her than I ever did.

Dr. Bacon thinks that this is important. We're talking about how this fits in with the feelings of being an outsider that I have at the moment. If I don't see my nieces again until Youngest Niece's birthday on the sixth of next month then it'll have been one hundred twelve days since last contact. It's a long time for me to not have seen them. It's the longest time since they've been born actually. It's been longer than this since Lindsay was at an AA meeting though. One hundred fifteen days she is currently sitting on. I though that I was impressive when I did my ''ninety days without a meeting'' thing from mid February through to the beginning of May but this is a whole lot better. She's not even trying to stay away either. I've had to persuade her a little but we are both going tonight. This'll be my fourth Saturday night in a row at a meeting.

So there's a reason I'm not just walking up to my brother's front door, knocking on it and walking in. This is the way it used to be after all. Now it's different though. Could it be something to do with my being left behind? I used to babysit or go and play with them while Gary would study and Scottish Sarah could work and this has stopped suddenly. It's rather annoying how little this seems to have effected them. Contact is broken. End of story. Perhaps they are married now and Gary is going for his degree next year and they've decided that they don't want any dead weight. I am surplus to requirements and not for the first time. I'm left behind.

Perhaps this was what was going on last night when I couldn't sleep after reading all about people I used to know and their new lives on Facebook. Perhaps I'm being abandoned again. If this is so then it seems as though my life patterns follow two distinct routes. I can either go down the route of detaching altogether from them and so just plodding along, or, in fitting with another of my coping modes, my Bully and Attack can come out to play, despite being most unwelcome, and it can tell me to defend myself by saying something along the lines of: ''Well if you don't care about me then fuck you – I won't care about you!!'' This is happening as well I know.

The difference between these two approaches is internal. I remember Captain G talking with me in the car the other weekend when he gave me a lift from the AA meeting and how he was telling me about how stressful he finds resentment to be and how he'll do almost anything to become rid of one when it pops into his head – anything other than drink, I should think. With regards to resentment I feel very similarly but sometimes a resentment will linger and it will be more difficult to remove than the others, more difficult to hand over to the God of my Understanding, or is it that He will not take it from me until I learn exactly why the resentment matters so much to me? Gary may not know anything about my resentment towards him for his apparent indifference to my absence in recent days (like – one hundred of them!!) but I do. Captain G is correct when he says that resentments are difficult things to tolerate when they are burning from within. If I could just go back to blocking this off – to detaching – then I would be doing all the better.

Dr. Bacon asks a little about the types of people my brother and his new wife actually are. They are carrying their own baggage. I started off a little journey seven years ago when I saw a ''self help guru'' for six sessions. This then continued with alcohol counselling and onto forums and eventually AA and clinical psychology. Plus all of the stuff in between. Neither Gary and Scottish Sarah have had the luxury. Change within them is most definitely not imminent. They believe that a change of career and greater income is the change that they need. I try to imagine taking away the last seven years of learning and look at things through their eyes. Sarah's mum was not the best influence possible in her life and as a result Sarah has grown up to have a belief system that means she has to be perfect or she's worthless. If she isn't perfect at something then she'll be very vocal in telling you why and it will not be because of any fault on her part. She's living in her own little princess's castle. My brother had the same tragedy in his young life I did and as a result has learned to block off emotion even more perhaps than I. Sometimes I think he struggles greatly to ''let it out''......whatever ''it'' might be, but whatever it is I think it sometimes needs to come out.

I think that the bottom line is that....well.....what am I really expecting!? Are Gary and Sarah really the type of people who can have a serious and emotional talk? Is ''we miss you'' really in their vocabulary? Do they even really talk to each other in more sophisticated ways than small-talk and idle chit-chat? Who knows, but I should stop pinning my hopes on something that they might not be able to provide me with. We will be meeting again on the first and third Mondays in August and then he's (Bacon) on another period of annual leave. I only had one session in July and it looks like there will only be one in September. He says that at the moment this is fine and we can get by with a session every now and then but when we start to work more intensively we will need to schedule fortnightly appointments on a regular basis.

Intensively? This is both exciting and daunting. I know that there will be tough times ahead. I also know that I am, as things stand, not ready yet to face the tough times coming. I still have growing to do. There's still moulding to be done. I'm not sure exactly at which points during this session he was referring to when he said that we were beginning to see some of my Healthy Adult coming out but it was good to hear. I think it's because he knows as well as I do that doors swing both ways and that the only thing stopping me from halting the rising day count between my last visit with my nieces and the next is me. Or rather a certain part of me. A certain part of me we devote much of our session time together each time.

I started writing this post thinking that I would write a couple hundred words and then continue it when I woke up in the morning but I haven't been back to bed yet and so ignore what I said earlier about the sleepless night. It's quarter past two in the morning her in Scotland and I'm heading back to my bed to see if I can turn this sleepless night into just a late night......a very late night.

I'll be in bed in less than five minutes.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'

'
Stevie

Heading back to bed but enjoyed writing this post so kinda glad he got up.

1715

Lunarer
July 23rd, 2017, 08:27 AM
Sunday, July 23rd 2017 (The Day Of Rest)



Another week comes grinding to a halt. Or do you consider a Sunday to be the start of the weeks? I prefer the day of rest to bring them to a close personally. Monday morning seems like the best way to kick a week off. Start it off shit and end it with a relaxing day. Lindsay's cat (Noelle) seems to think that every day is a day of rest. Lazy git. Lying in the exact same place she was two hours ago. The same place she always is. Recently though she's been out and about a bit more. She doesn't get out much since this is a first floor flat but there has been scaffolding built up all around the building as work begins tomorrow for the next six weeks and so from the balcony she can gain access to the scaffolding and then the world's her oyster. Or so it should be. After ten seconds of experimentation she is back in and in that spot again. Lazy kitty!!

I'd love to get back out to work again this week. Barry the Bullet has been challenging, what with his latenesses and how difficult he can be to reach on the phone most times, but we've made some good progress this week and got out to work for almost full days on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. That's almost as much as we worked in all the other weeks combined since I finished up at the college. I am hoping it has started a trend that will see us getting out to work at least three or four days a week for the next six weeks until the college starts back up again on September 4th. After that I will try to keep working but it will obviously be much more difficult.

Tomorrow I won't be working either. I have a Triage appointment in the morning that I have decided it best to go to. Then I am booked in with Relationships Scotland at five. There's not enough time in between these to make it worthwhile taking the bus trip to my town and trying to find Barry the Bullet. We'll go for it on Tuesday morning instead. Make a good go of it again this coming week. Triage seemed to make a big mistake last year and for some reason have marked me as being absent to every appointment I had with them since the college course started at the end of August right up until this last month when for some reason my absence has not been just ignored. I have been asked to come into this one. If I've been wrongfully paid sickness benefit this whole time then I wonder what has been happening with my college bursary this whole time. I know that I was awarded it for the first few months which is why I have over a thousand pounds sitting in the Credit Union for the first time in my life but since January until the end of June it remains unexplained.

Last night I went to the AA meeting. I tried to get Lindsay to accompany me but she wasn't up for it. It would have been her first meeting for one hundred and fifteen days. That's sixteen and a half weeks. It was my first meeting for one week.

It was okay, I guess. I like how I feel a part of something when I'm in the rooms but the actual content of the meeting is of the lowest standard possible within the fellowship. That's me been to every Saturday night meeting in July though, which was the plan, so that's all good. It was Captain G sharing at the first meeting which was okay; an old-timer woman the following week which was pretty dreadful; an old-timer guy last week which was pretty good; now it was AA Gangster's wife's turn. She just waffled on and on and there were many times I couldn't tell what the hell she was trying to say. Bless her.

What I did manage to get from her was that she is resentful of people in the fellowship who are in positions of power and who are not doing what she believes God's will for us. They are doing what people on the outside do – running from ego and little else. I get what she's saying. The Fife Convention is run by such people. I think that I know only a little part of it since I've never been involved in service of this kind since being a member. AA Gangster and his wife have done just about everything there is to do in AA service at some point along the line and so have a better understanding of how things were originally set up to run when these positions first started up all those years ago.

She also mentions that sometimes she prefers a night in front of the telly to a meeting and was going to come to this meeting two weeks ago but decided against it at the last minute. She says that nowadays she finds that sometimes going to meetings all the time can work against her. I decide to use this to my advantage. I haven't talked in the rooms about my ninety days without a meeting experiment and what I learned from it but decided to share a little on it this evening when it was my turn to speak. I mentioned that I found AA to be working against me for a while and that I found it healthy to step back for a while. I learned many things about my life and recovery that I wouldn't have been able to if I was always within the safety and security of the fellowship's rooms.

Sometimes I think I might have higher hopes for myself than many others in the rooms. The whole idea of going out to study in the hope of changing my job is just one area I feel this way. Most of the old-timers seem to be doing the same thing they always did (or at least did right the way up until retirement) and the younger people are not much better. Hardly anyone seems to make any profound external transformation. I want to be an exception to this. One of the reasons I am starting to believe that this will happen is exactly that part of me who is willing to do things like try out a ninety day away from the rooms experiment in the first place. The fact that I know it's a healthy thing to do. I'm not in denial. If it's being used as self-seeking – whatever it is – then it has to go.

Hamish shares a little afterwards. He says that I might be right in saying that if I find myself depending on meetings for my emotional and mental health then I would be right not to take it to addictive level but that he would rather be in meetings every night (and he is too) than go back to what he used to be like.

This is worrying. For him, at six years sober, there are only two options. I can tell that many feel the same way as they nod in agreement with his comment. The options are: go to meetings all the time or go back to how it was. They seem to be missing the whole point of why we're here. We're here to recover from our fears and insecurities, to improve our lives and move away from old habits. We're trying to be reborn. We're here to change our stinking thinking.

Or at least I am.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Still trying to change.

1311

Lunarer
July 24th, 2017, 04:32 PM
Monday, July 24th 2017 (Relationships Scotland Part Four: Solo Session)



Lindsay felt it best she split up her shifts this weeks and so it's just me at the weekly session with the couple's therapy agency Relationships Scotland. So just me and the counsellor. Last week was pretty much a Lindsay solo session as we completed her Genogram – a look into her family history as a way of trying to figure out how she approaches relationships – but it was important that I sit in on this, just like it will be important that she sits in on mine when we go over it in a couple of weeks. Next week she's on holiday, this counsellor, and so there won't be much happening until the following week. It's then that we'll look over my family history, my Genogram, before Lindsay has a one-to-one in the same way I did this evening the following week. They do it this way to keep things fair. I get a one-to-one and so Lindsay gets one too. It's the way it is.

I leave thinking much the same as I do when I walk away from Dr. Bacon after a session and how I often do when I leave AA meetings. I feel bad about myself. I know that this isn't how it's supposed to feel (not that I believe there is any ''right'' way to feel about things like this when they are still fresh in the mind) but it's how it is in that I wonder if I'll ever be at the stage where I don't think that I've still got it all to do I have faith that there will come a time during my sessions with Dr. Bacon where I am not stuck in the limbo that is the assessment phase and when we do actually move on to recovery tools that help me to live with my defensive modes but that time is not now. I will be seeing him twice in August but likely only once in September. Over three months we will have had only four sessions. It's difficult.

The Relationships Scotland counsellor mentions that she feels the same way about me that most people in this earth do: defensive, guarded, you know the drill!? She says that in the sessions we've had so far (in which Lindsay has been present at them all apart from this one) that she sees clearly that I am guarded in the meetings, that I'm guarded in the relationship......just guarded, and that it's obvious that it's hard for me to offer up much of myself, to put my defences to one side and connect, to allow people into my world. The problem now is that Lindsay is pressing things a little more than people normally do. People don't normally try too hard to get to know me. Andy had once said that I was hard to get to know but worth it when you did get to know me. I don't know if that could be described as being a backhanded compliment or what. But yeah – Lindsay is pressing hard on the whole get to know Stevie thing and this confuses him and his defences.

Another thing she points out is how isolated I appear within the relationship, both of us actually. I guess this is to do with being hurt or at least the fear of being hurt. It's a scary thing to think about though – that both of us seem isolated within the relationship. There are times when this counsellor is asking me questions that I can feel my guard really go up. Are these really questions she's asking me? Or are they statements and judgements but she's asking to make sure I am aware of them? It makes me start to question everything I know about myself and Lindsay. I'm not panicking but I really don't like these times when I second-guess myself and my life. Sometimes it feels like I am going in exactly the right direction but there are always those little moments when I doubt everything.

Next she asks me what I believe my role in the relationship to be. I ask her what she means – what are the choices available!? She rattles off a few potential roles for someone to adopt in a relationship: lover, brother, father, friend, sexual partner. Again I find myself unable to answer straight away and so can feel my defences rise again. Damn it! Now I'm second-guessing everything again!! What is my role?

She points out how difficult it is for me to give up sexually, emotionally, mentally – every way that it is possible to offer up and bring to a relationship. It'd be really easy for me to start getting super down on myself at this point but I rather like it when the cat is fully out of the bag. Just a little bit is never enough. Fully out – that's what I'm talking about! The thing is she's right about all of this. I do struggle to offer up myself to anyone and everyone. I'd likely be fine by myself on a desert island – it'd be when you started adding other people that I'd begin to struggle the most. Yet without people I wouldn't get very far at all. The alkie paradox.

We talk a little about my coping tools. What do I do when the 'racing heed' starts to get in the way of my judgements? One of the tools I use the most is from AA's Twelve Step program – the Sixth and Seventh Steps (Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character; and 7 – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings) but the counsellor advises against me handing things over to the God of my understanding while I am in these sessions. She would rather I let things out so that we could talk about them. The whole idea of getting better is by talking about and working through things. Whether or not I feel some things to be defective within my character do not hand them over while in these sessions. It's not really a case of my choosing though – it's kind of up to my Detached Protector which parts of me are allowed out during these sessions and which parts will remain hidden and forgotten about – passed off as being handed over to the God of my Understanding.

When Lindsay comes back from work this evening I find that I can relax. Everything seems fine. The counsellor did make me sound like a bit of a useless freak at times (or my head made it seem that way, which is most probably right) but at the end she summed up by saying those things that everyone says – how smart I am, only she adds ''wise'' into this as well. Hmmm... I've been called smart before, am actually usually called smart or intelligent or suchlike by pretty much everyone I meet these days but I've never been described as being wise before. This really is a first for that.

When it comes to relationships though......

Scotland had another bad night in the women's football again last night getting beat by two goals to one by Portugal despite us being the favourites. Nice one girls. We're not out completely but the odds of qualifying for the next round are now incredibly slim.

I wonder what my odds are now of qualifying for the next round of this game we call life.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Hoping to qualify.

1278

Lunarer
July 25th, 2017, 08:22 AM
Tuesday, July 25th 2017 (Phoning Every Hour)


Barry the Bullet has been a little easier to reach ever since the escapades last Wednesday when I had to go track down his home address and post the phone he'd left with me through his door. Today has not been one of these times though. Today is supposed to be the only day for the rest of the week where we have workable weather too and so I'm a little on the grumpy side. Lindsay is at her placement all day and I'm sitting here doing very little. I'm hoping to reach Barry soon to arrange going through to his to collect all of the work related stuff he has so that I can just forget about him and keep myself right about work these next five weeks but he has yet to pick up his phone despite more than twenty attempts. It just keeps saying that the phone I'm trying to reach is unable to connect and this usually happens when a line is dead because the phone is switched off. The most important thing for today (in my world I mean) is getting an answer from him and then picking up the workbook and cloths from his place. I should have had them in my possession a long time ago. The time for giving him extra chances has long, long, long since passed. I'll try calling him every half hour throughout the course of the entire day.

If there was beginning within my brain a little lingering doubt as to my future studying it was to be relieved a little this morning when I saw the email from the college offering me an unconditional place on the radio diploma that begins on September 04th – five weeks on Monday – and so I have replied to that. I've accepted it and so its kinda set in stone, although I'll not say that it's definitely definite until I receive the confirmation email back from them in response to my acceptance. It's almost definitely definite......but just not quite. I have to sort out my funding and so get that done this morning also – the only issue being where to ask for these payments to be deposited. The Credit Union isn't designed for things like this, it's more a savings account kind of thing, and so I give them Lindsay's details. I'm heading down the town in a while to kill a few birds (this is a metaphor meaning that I'll do many things on this one trip) and so I'll pop into a couple of banks as well just to see if I have any options other than the Credit Union.

I'll be killing some boredom by doing this. I'll also be out and about as I haven't done nearly as much walking since the Moonwalk as I did in the weeks and months leading up to it. I've kinda just stopped walking at all unless it's necessary and this isn't all that cool. I'll also be checking into the job centre to have a wee look at anything that might take my fancy. Browsing through their employment ''opportunities'' can be a real depressing drag at times but my current work situation can't be much worse than anything that they may have to offer. Too much time off and I am becoming restless, irritable and discontent – the times AA warns me of. Keep moving forwards.

Lindsay has with her to the hospital today my passport application which is still needing a signature from someone in a privileged enough position in society and so one of her nursy pals is doing that at some point throughout the day. Either this evening (or at the very latest tomorrow morning) and the passport application will be winging its way to the passport application reviewing people. It's another step in the right direction although one that has seemed a little more time consuming and disorganised than it perhaps needed to be.

I keep thinking back to that counselling session last night. It's the only one I'm likely to get on my own – all the other times will be with both Lindsay and I. I think the fact that this is happening every week (except for next week because holidays get in the way) and my sessions with Dr. Bacon – my clinical psychologist – are only once in a blue moon, I find myself warming to it a little more. As a counsellor she seems quite good. I guess the fact that she asks so many questions suggests that we are still very much in the assessment phase with her too as I am with Dr. Bacon but with the appointments being every week we will get a glimpse into how things can progress beyond this phase sooner rather than later. Despite having lots of experience of sitting in rooms such as this (well – not THAT much experience really, but a bit of experience) I don't have much knowledge of the later stages of therapy. Once we have a clear outline of the problem what do we do to try to sort it out? The only experience of this stage of recovery and therapy is with the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Even though it costs us every week (twenty bucks whereas the psychology is all paid for through the NHS or only the God of my understanding knows what it might cost) it's the frequency that has me rooting for Monday nights to come around so that we can move forward with this and see where it goes next.

One thing the counsellor does say that I truly believe is that whatever happens in the future Lindsay and I will always have a special place for each other – we'll remain in each other's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, sort of thing – because this is a first for each of us. The first sober. That's what it's all about in the early years is it not!? Getting through all of those ''firsts'' unscathed!?

So far I remain unscathed.


'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'

'
'
'
'
Stevie

Phone's still ringing.

1037

Lunarer
July 26th, 2017, 07:43 AM
Wednesday, July 26th 2017 (Lurking)


Those of you reading this journal on Ryver WQD (if anyone still even does) will remember a guy who used to write on the old forum we used to use up until last year. Paulmh. He was one of the more respected members of our former community, a modern day social media recovery old-timer (to be an online old timer you seem to need only a handful of years in recovery as opposed to AA old-timers and their thirty years and more). Those reading on My Way Out won't know who the fuck I'm banging on about and will just have to trust me that there was some dude on WQD called Paulmh and he was a veritable old-timer in an online sense and that he and I would on occasion exchange words relating to the recovery process. Well he's back.

We had a little ''conversation'' recently. This was the first time I've heard from him since the new year started and the old site went down. Among many things he says that he is impressed.... no – wildly impressed...by my commitment to writing out my recovery process daily in the way that I do and have done since around May of 2014. Sometimes it does take effort to write in here every day but most of the time it is due to some kind of inner voice telling me that an event or thought process in my life hasn't been looked at or reflected upon in the right way or nearly enough and so I had better get online and discuss with myself how I feel about it. Then it all of a sudden makes sense. It usually takes around one thousand words for this to happen, sometimes a little more.

I'm up early this morning but discover straight away that I won't be doing any work as the rainfall is torrential. Another day off! Yesterday Barry the Bullet didn't wake up until late and so neither of us could go out. It's ridiculous. I start to browse the news online and there's all the usual suspects: a guy kidnaps a woman and kids and has a twenty five hour stand off with the cops but has now been apprehended; austerity is now reaching schools as we are now to be having teachers employed who don't have official teaching qualifications; what happens to seven year old boys when they are excluded from school; do people who take many selfies daily show personality traits similar to those with psychopathy and narcissistic disorders? There's also an interesting little article regarding social media and this somehow gets me thinking about Paul's comment. Before I know it I am doing a little research, looking for opinions and perspectives.

Are message boards/online forums to be considered forms of social media?

There is, as to be expected, a large amount of information on both sides. Message boards are the original social media. There are even some arguments which suggest that Youtube should be considered as social media. It gets me thinking about my own use of the internet and whether or not I could be seen as being a part of this social media craze. I like to think I'm not but maybe I am using self-justification to hide this from myself. Humans are great at doing that. Now that the cat is all the way out of the bag I have to say I'm a little worried.

I post these ramblings onto two sites as I explained above. There's Ryver (the new version of the old and now defunct WQD forum which I signed up for when I made the decision to quit drinking more than three years ago now) and there's My Way Out – a site I joined back in March of this year and the one I like most of these two now. I think I'll stop posting onto Ryver when the year is out. I don't feel any connection to it. If anything I think I only post there so that I can have another copy of my journal online so that it is safe should I ever wish to skim through this journal when we reach the end of days.

These are not the only two communities I am a part of though.

I have a Twitter account but I barely use it and have never actually typed up a single tweet. I use it mainly just to keep up to date with football transfers and gigs and releases that bands I follow have coming in the near future.

I am also a member of BBC Sport which allows me to vote on certain issues and comment on articles.

I am a member of The Pie Shop (Pie and Bovril) which is a message board dealing more with local football and a great place to discuss lower league football the likes of which my team, Raith Rovers, are involved.

Let me see.......what else?....... Oh yeah – Transfermarkt is another football website that I use more for statistics than anything else. The amount of information regarding everyone who's ever had a job in football at any level in any part of the world is positively terrifying.

There is one thing I have to say I notice about my involvement with all these sites and forums though. Something that makes me feel as though they are not social media outlets, at least not in the way that I use them. I don't ever comment in any of them. Not one of these sites do I ever write. I've never tweeted one single time. Apart from the journal posts I write every day that go into this site (Ryver or My Way Out – whichever we're on just now) I don't really have any involvement. This brings up something that I found on my ''Forum Vs. Social Media'' mini research mission this morning.

One guy writes (funny how conversations about whether forums are comparable to social media would take place on a bunch of forums) ''The ultra penetration of Facebook and its ilk attract the "lighter weight" participants -- I mean those who are not super invested and will lurk a lot more than they'll post.'' I think he means this as a negative thing. Why shouldn't he? We should all pay our dues when it comes to the sharing of information, but I am the exact opposite of what this guy is suggesting. I do a hell of a lot more lurking than I do posting but I have no interest in lurking and reading the writings I see on social networking. I'm more attracted to stories. I take out of the internet what I need.

I tend not to lurk around social media because I find the majority of people's activity to be bullshit. Which part of the person is mostly active when they visit their Facebook page? I don't think it's anywhere close to the real part of them. I also see no evidence that it's the giving part of the person either. It's the taking part. What are the motives for posting on social media? It seems to me to be all show. Every time anything happens in life you throw up a picture of you smiling beside it. There's no emotional connection to anything. It feels wrong to me in some way. In many ways. Maybe it's just that I can't connect with it. Fuck knows. It's a common issue I have with Ryver too. People seem only to be posting things to take. Like they are sucking attention out of the site.

I don't suppose I have to worry much then. There's no way I am addicted to, or have a problem with, social media. Internet involvement may be a different story. There are only a handful of people I feel to be lurk-worthy on Ryver and My Way Out combined. Whether I'm lurking on people by reading their public ''conversations'' on the other sites I use is not something I worry about.

Today is the day when the passport application can be sent off.

The rain is only to last until this evening so there will be work tomorrow.

I never have to worry about internet and whether forums are too close to social networking when I'm working.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Indoors.

1402

Lunarer
July 27th, 2017, 06:26 PM
Thursday, July 27th 2017 (Day Nine Hundred and One)



Isn't that nice? It seems like a great many days. It's not really. Just under two and a half years.

Should cannabis become legal? That was the topic of one of the documentaries I watched this evening. The other was a debate on whether one of the factors involved in James Holmes decision to carry out the Batman Shootings in Aurora, Colorado back in 2012 could have been his recent taking of SSRI Sertraline. He seemed to be prescribed it in the months leading up to his attack before coming off them sharply and suddenly just before building up to the shooting. There are, as always, plenty of other factors to consider. One of the main ones for me being (and always will be when it comes to things like this considering I'm a Briton) is how easy it was for him to purchase the weapons for the attack. He just walked into the store and bought them. In Britain the idea of being able to do this is just insane. Would the shooting have occurred had he not been able to get his hands so easily on the instruments of death and destruction? It's never mentioned in a documentary that is only focused on the antidepressants.

Both Lindsay and I have experience with these SSRIs. She still takes a daily dose while I now abstain, coming off them back in February on the same day I quit smoking – my second sober birthday. I did so without the help of my doctor as is suggested in the program and the wider general population. He seemed to want me to stay on them forever. We were always waiting for something but never getting on with getting me off them. In the end I made my decision and lived with it, weaning off them over a five week period. I did have withdrawal and it was at times pretty nasty – the dreaded brain zaps!! - but over all it was well worth me doing and was done with the bare minimum of fuss. There are instances, however, where people have come off them suddenly and turned violent.

I'm writing while in bed (which never happens as I'm normally much better prepared with my posts than this) so this might be a flying visit from me this evening but I thought I'd check in anyway. That's not true actually. I feel as though I have to check in. If I want to post every day for the whole year than I have still over one hundred and fifty days to go. That's somewhere around one hundred and sixty thousand words to write judging by the way I've been going recently. I didn't manage to write every day of last year I don't think. Or did I? I can't fucking remember. I do remember writing a lot more frequently last year. There were several posts written most days but if I managed to post every single day is something I would have to check. But won't. I didn't manage to post every day of 2015 as I took most of August out and missed a few here and there. I didn't manage to post every day in 2014 because I didn't join the forum until late May and so missed the first one hundred and forty posts or so. 2017 it'll have to be then. So far I'm on fine form.

Both Shaun and Paige from my sound production course last year have been in contact today and all three of us will be reunited in early September for the Higher National Certificate in radio. Tomorrow will signify the end of the fifth week (unless you count the weekend, which I actually do) since the end of the course and so the halfway point of this new course coming back around. It won't be too long in arriving. It'll likely be similar to Christmas – you wait for a whole month for it to get here and when it does you end up wondering what all the fuss was about.

Barry the Bullet was on the ball today but I slept in a little. I was struggling to sleep last night so took one of Lindsay's tablets and they seemed to have made me oversleep a little. We ended up starting an hour later than usual but were pretty good once we got started. Tomorrow we'll be going at it again and I believe that Barry will be ready and with me all the way although I have finally taken the cloths and book back with me and so if he doesn't show then I can still get out myself. That'll be a bit of a challenge but one that I will almost certainly have to face at some point in the next five weeks. So be it. Tomorrow I am hopeful he will be there with me.

So should cannabis be made legal? In some countries and American states it already is. I signed the online petition to show support for its legalisation a couple of years ago when it was all the rage. I think that it is not necessarily inevitable as we are coming up with all manner of ways to deter people from smoking cigarettes and so it seems wild that we would consider putting weed on the shelves of our stores. Perhaps it would all be done online. You would only be able to purchase it on the internet and from big licensed companies. One of the things the documentary seemed to overlook was when it was talking about how current illegal dealers and producers care nothing for quality control and only about profit yet totally ignores the fact that this is the only way that big businesses will look at it. A company in it for profit will do whatever it can do to make money and will care nothing about the harm done to others......

Apparently my tapping on the computer keyboard is annoying and so I'm going to have to wrap it up there knowing that the next time I want to write while in bed then I should make sure that there's no one else in here first.

Over and out!

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Only just managed to get my thousand in for the day.

1069

Lunarer
July 28th, 2017, 06:51 PM
Friday, July 28th 2017 (Cash on the Floor)


This is one of those times when writing in here can become a drag. For the most part it's fine but then days like today when I've been working all day and have only recently come in but it's approaching midnight are a pain in the ass. To have to type away for a thousand words or so when I can't really be arsed. It feels like posting for the sake of posting. I'll be fine when I get into it. It's only a thousand words.

I've done quite well over the last couple of days. Barry the Bullet and I have bit the bullet and got the heads down and done some work. As a result I am left wondering once again how well we might be doing had we been out working every possible day over the last five weeks but there is no real point in thinking along those lines. We did our best today and this evening when we went out debt collecting.

I've had fun too. There was a time I used to positively hate doing this for a living. Anyone who read the early parts of this journal when I first joined the WQD would remember how I used to freak out about it and how much it would continually bring me down. I mentioned that I hoped that by getting sober I could finally end my relationship with cleaning windows. Some people, and this was echoed by people in AA as well, said to me that a change of job was not necessary. That this was an ''inside job'' and so the idea here was to change our internal worlds and not our external. Thankfully I have not gone along with this and have challenged the idea that I might not be able to do anything else and will be studying for another year starting on September 04th. For me it has to be an internal and external change.

But this summer I have found myself warming to the ways of the window washing. Perhaps it's because I know that it is only temporary and that I am not stuck with this like it's some sort of curse placed on me. Perhaps it's because I could really do with the money. It's possible that it is just something as simple as me now having something to take the boredom away as I would surely be pulling my hair out by now had I not this work to do these last two days.

Barry the Bullet and I nip into the Charity Shop Cafe at lunchtime for a quick bite to eat before we get back on it. It's not too busy so the staff are chatting away. I'm interested in finding out how they all find the first week without project manager for the last fourteen years Elsa. It's not sunk in yet. Feels like she's only away on holiday. Etcetera. Anna comes through and starts chatting. She was Elsa's second-in-command, sort of.

Stevie – ''I've still got the hat and apron. You'll be wanting them back.''

Anna – ''We'd rather have you back.''

Awwww... Stevie was one of the crew. Accepted. At the charity shop was a place where I maybe fit in a little better than I expected. I can't go against my beliefs though. I have to hold firm with this. Besides – I am doing well working with Barry the Bullet at the moment. I need the days for work. When college starts back up I would do better working on my free days than I would giving up my time for free. It's a sad state of affairs that the world has to be all about money like it is but that is kinda the way it is for me. I'll not be earning much for the foreseeable. I should work when I get the chance. I have all of the equipment with me again tonight so that even if Barry wants to sleep in on Monday I will still be able to go out. We would be heading out tomorrow but I'll have to take a walk to the store to get us some new squeegee rubbers. We kinda got robbed with our last online order. We'll get out again on Monday, at least I will.

Barry goes for the lasagne and I'm munching on a few breakfast items thrown on a plate when all of a sudden a little girl comes from nowhere over to our table. ''Daddy!'' she's saying. Barry has two children. One to his ex-wife and another, this girl, to a former partner. This former partner has just walked in with her two children and the daughter has seen Barry sitting there and come running across to see him. He tells me later that he saw her a couple of weeks ago but he's lying because I remember him mentioning to me last week that he hadn't seen her in ages.

Barry and his daughter's mum seem on decent enough terms and she offers up her new number which Barry puts into his phone. I can't help again but notice how it doesn't really matter what's happened – it can't stop children loving parents. His daughter is nine but Barry seems confused as to whether she might actually be ten and has to think a little before settling on nine as his final answer. There's nothing at all special about Barry. He's just a regular bloke. In fact – sometimes recently I've wondered about even that as he's been failing to show up for work so often. This doesn't matter to children though. They don't see it like that. Not yet anyway. Dad is dad. And he's usually always awesome.

It makes me wish that every man and woman, every mum and dad, and grandmother for that matter considering what is happening with Lindsay's son at the moment, would just put their selfishness and self-righteousness out of the way for a moment and all try to get along. Because what you feel about the other parent doesn't reflect what the child feels and trying to tempt a child into your way of thinking is among the sickest things a human being can do. It's happening right now though. All over the world.

I'm one to talk though. My nieces haven't seen me since April – the longest period of me not being there since they were born. I did contact my brother yesterday though. I haven't spoken with him, even through text, since around the night of the Moonwalk in Edinburgh. That was in the early hours of the morning of June 11th, nearly seven weeks ago. With it being my youngest niece's birthday not this weekend but the next I thought I'd use that as a way of getting back in contact. What would she like as a present? He got back to me in less than five minutes.

Well...I was quite surprised there to find that I've gone way over the one thousand words for the night and perhaps even more surprised that I did actually end up having a bit of fun doing it. It's nearly midnight where I am so it's almost tomorrow already. Lindsay is working tomorrow so she's been in bed for a while.

I'm gonna go join her.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Off to bed after a hard day on the windaes

1252

Lunarer
July 29th, 2017, 05:23 AM
Saturday, July 29th 2017 (Now I'm Just Preaching)



Whoever you may be, dear reader, you will likely have it. There's a greater than ninety nine percent chance. A sickness responsible for all the war, hunger, poverty and most of the deaths that have ever been. It's a sickness so profound we don't dare talk about it. Instead we act as though it isn't even there. But you have it. Not just you but everyone you know, ever have known, ever will know. It's a sickness you train into your children as well. It's the most outrageous example of human insecurity there can ever possibly be.

Up until recently I have been one of the ''lucky'' few (and I mean...like....extreme few) who hasn't had it. Now though, I am worrying that I may have just arrived late in the day. This sickness now seems to be growing in me too as it has likely been growing in you for most of your life, like a nasty green tumor (more brown and blue if you are British) hell bent on destroying you and everyone around you. It's now got me too. It feels sickly, like I need to take a shower actually.

It's money. It's not money itself – I get that some people want certain things in life and that they will need to bring in more money than some others if they are to do them – this I can totally accept and appreciate. It's the other money I'm talking about though. It's the side of money that shows how deeply and amazingly insecure we all are. How totally afraid every one of us is. I've never had money. In fact – one of the main differences between my own story and that of every single other story I read on the WQD forum when I was trying to sober up was that there were times in my first year of sobriety where I didn't have a penny to my name. I faced challenges that, while most of them denied the importance of and couldn't see the relevance, were quite unique in terms of sober up stories. There were many nights, particularly over the winter of 2015/16 where I starved.

I don't starve now. I'm not wealthy, of course not, but a cock up in the payments of sickness benefit over the time I was at college combined with the recent smoking quit sees me now with more than a thousand pounds in the bank, or in my case the Credit Union. You may laugh. You probably can't remember a time in your life when you had as little as this but I don't care. For me it is a huge sum. It's around thirteen hundred bucks. When I consider what I brought in from working with Barry the Bullet and doing some window cleaning debt collecting I am doing okay today. This is all while having my first trip to another country in my adult life already booked and paid for.

In this respect then I am starting to feel a little more normal. A little more like you. A little more like it's a level playing field on this forum now. I'm not so miles behind anymore. I still consider myself skint though. This is slang terminology for ''having no money''. I don't mean in a relative sense either. I mean that I am reluctant to let go of that money in the Credit Union. It'd be nice to say (with a straight face at least) that I am keeping it there for the future, so that it is there when I need it. I could make up some little fantasy about how it's for my children's inheritance. I could make up any little story I want though. It would all be bullshit though. The thing I've always been praised for in this journal is the honesty it contains.

The truth is that I need this money to feel secure.

Isn't that a worrying thought? That's just one thousand pounds in one bank account that maybe won't ever get used for anything other than feeding my insecurity. Scary. Think of how much combined in every bank account in the world which is doing just that exact same thing – satisfying someone's need to feel secure. That is truly scary. Most of the money that has ever been earned will never be used. Isn't that terrible to think about?

Do you know the part about this that I feel is the most disturbing of all though? You probably don't care but I'll tell you anyway. The sad thing is that if we all knew for a fact that were we to give up all of the money in our accounts right now, stripping us down to the bare bones (but most of us would start building it back up again slowly on the next pay day), all of the world's problems would end, we'd have no more war, austerity, illness, hunger, you name it and it's wiped out, none of us would do it. We'd hold onto that money with both hands terrified to let even a small amount of it go.

We care more about it than we do anything else in the world. Anything to take away that feeling of uncertainty and insecurity. Anything to keep us confident and self-assured. This is proof, if ever it were needed, that all humans, whether you're in recovery or not, are lacking that ability we talk about in the recovery world to feel safe and secure by our own volition. We need money to do that. An external source of happiness and security. No wonder we're all fucked. Psychologists call it Loss Aversion. Now I am starting to get sucked into it too. This was not what recovery was supposed to be about. So that I could become even more selfish than I was before but go through my life denying it. Yuck!

I've been for the shopping and Lindsay's off to work. I'll be heading to the church tonight for my fifth meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in a row. In those five weeks some members will have been to more than thirty meetings. I prefer the way things are for me at the moment with the Relationships Scotland counsellor and Dr. Bacon keeping me occupied with the self-help stuff. Until then it'll just be a case of getting on with some housework and heading to pick up a couple of squeegee rubbers for work on Monday. I think I'll take the scenic route. It's been a while since I walked any distance and I passed many an overweight person on my travels this morning. It's enough to frighten me into action. Like Bacon said to me: it's not so much about goals as it is lifestyle changes. Goals are when these people go to Slimming World to lose weight and then just put it all back on when they reach target; lifestyle habits mean that they weight is never an issue again. It can happen to us all, getting fatter.

It's up to me to make sure that it doesn't happen to me. I'll be forty next year. So the scenic route to the shop it will be.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

How can anyone possibly say that humans are good?

1230

Lunarer
July 30th, 2017, 04:20 AM
Sunday, July 30th 2017 (Not Promising Anything)


That's about another month done and so my house plant will be coming up on thirteen months of age. I haven't seen her in a while though. I'm trying to remember the last day I was in my cave. I think I spent last Thursday night there. It should be fine, it's a Dragon Tree and so it's required care level is pretty low (but high enough for last year's Stevie to have it killed off in less than ten months), but I should get it checked out just to make sure. I could also do with checking the garden and so on. If the council get another complaint about the property being abandoned and they come around and the cave doesn't look as though it is being kept up to date and clean then I might find myself with some explaining to do. I could also do with checking my mail. I'm expecting a couple of letters and I won't be able to read them unless I'm on the other side of my front door than I've been these last nine days or so.

I received a text message from the Passport Office to tell me that I will hear from them by the eighteenth of next month. I'm assuming this means that this is when I'll get it. That means that things really will be good to go on the whole Spanish trip. Yippeeeee! Just spending money to get but that won't be coming out of the Credit Union, my insecurity sickness will ensure that. I'll have to continue to get out there and work with Barry the Bullet and to be fair I have enjoyed doing that these last few weeks. The only major issues I've had being the lack of shifts worked and the terrible Scottish summer weather. Hopefully in Spain we will be treated to some decent weather. We've not been without it here this year but it's been the usual fleeting sunshine followed by many days of constant rain and overcast skies. It's not much fun being Scottish. Nice to know that the passport will most likely arrive in plenty time for the trip though. We aren't scheduled to fly out until the first Monday in October.

I'll get to last night's AA meeting in a moment but I just wanted to reflect a little on their Promises. They read these out in some of the meetings and I remember hearing them early on in my involvement and thinking that this would never happen with me. I was not at all hopeful that any of these promises would come true for me, not even given all the years I could potentially remain sober for. Quitting drinking at thirty six is pretty common in AA but is still a lot younger than many of them. I don't know what the average would be but with all the people who come in a little older and get it they probably bump the average age of a new quitter up a little. There aren't many people younger than thirty six come in and stay for very long. But then it's not exactly a great atmosphere for younger people given all the thirteenth stepping and shit that goes on. It's pretty dramatic as well. It suits older people I would say, the fellowship.

But these promises. There's one that for some reason AA Gangster has chosen to overlook when he was printing out the reading. It's an important one as well. It's the first one. Here are the AA Promises:

''
1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
4. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
''

The thing about these Promises is, when you first arrive through the doors I mean, is that they seem unrealistic, unachievable. ''We will know a new freedom and a new happiness''? Not likely. ''Self Seeking will slip away''? What if you don't even know that you are selfish and self-seeking? Nope. For me the first Promise was the one that meant the most. This told me that if I was painstaking then I'd see the rewards eventually. It told me that if I just ground through it and stuck in there that I'd reap benefits in the long run. It's the Promise that offers some hope. The others don't make sense until later on. I don't know why the group members here only read out eleven of these Promises during the reading – most likely it's a mistake that no one has picked up on. Happens. They seem to confuse the little wrapping up at the end as the Twelfth Promise.

The meeting itself was quite good. With the rain so torrential (yep – it really does rain this much in Scotland) most people have decided to stay in tonight but about a dozen of us have made the trip. I end up like a drowned rat by the time I get there. The sharer is a mess of a man with not much to say. He's one of those who pays lip service so that he can be liked. I find myself more accepting and tolerant of him than I may have been several months ago, indeed certainly more than I was the last time I listened to him ramble. The thing is I am liking my AA meetings again. That's five full meetings in a row I've been to, every Saturday night in July. Since mid February I had only been to half a meeting and the morning of a convention. Now I feel as though I am a part of it again. Maybe this shows me that the Promises are slowly beginning to take shape and become true for me. The ninety day abstinence from Alcoholics Anonymous was just what I needed to wake me up and allow me the time and space to think about things without being bombarded with suggestions as to how I should be living my life.

I had a decent little walk yesterday, ended up around ten miles, and so that's me just two miles outside the border from Belgium going into Holland. Hypothetically the distance I've walked since I quit smoking. From Scotland all the way down south and across the tunnel. Now progressing across Europe. It's around five hundred and seventy six miles walked. Better than a kick in the stones I guess.

I think I'm gonna go for a twelve mile walk on this fine day.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Finding AA to his liking again.

1249

Lunarer
July 31st, 2017, 02:32 AM
Monday, July 31st 2017 (One Month Down; One Month to Go)


Barry the Bullet and I should be getting back to all things work relates in a couple of hours. It looks like the rain is going to hold up and so that won't stop us. Motivation is also high from each of us. There's certainly work to be done so everything is pointing to another successful day to hopefully set off our first really good week of the summer. Up until now we've been peaking towards the end of the working week and this has often left me feeling a little flat. I'd have happily worked on Saturday there is it weren't for the problems I was having with my squeegee rubber and us not having any replacements left. I walked up to the local Rejects store and picked one up during my ten mile walk on Saturday – and a total rip off it was too – but then ordered a dozen decent ones online that should arrive on Lindsay's doorstep on Tuesday morning. I've never used these rubbers before but Barry recommended them and so I've trusted him with this. We now have enough of these essential little things to last us for a few months. Next week we'll order a thousand more business cards.

It's important to me that when I go back to study that all of this other stuff is taken care of as best as possible. Although I expect my study to start off really slowly it will mean that my mind is thinking about other things. Winter changes things. Just going into September will change things. Lindsay and I will have our holiday looming; Christmas won't be a million miles away; it'll start getting colder; we'll have that Metallica gig as well and although that's paid for, the tickets at least, the room needs to be paid still. It's on a Thursday night as well and so I won't be working much that week and certainly not the following day. I know that we are to live in the day and take things a day at a time but I'm getting better at not using those phrases to my illness's advantage and actually just taking the advice. I'm planning ahead as opposed to procrastinating and worrying about the future.

Just how slow exactly will the course take to get into the swing of things I wonder. The sound production course took ages. Sure, it was a lower level – one level below on the UK qualifications framework than this one will be – but I still expect it to start off at a snail's pace and not pick up until we get into next year when our Graded Unit will be required. It's frustrating. It was a good two months into the course last year before I felt that I was actually having to put some work into my classes. Up until then it was really slow. I suppose I should use the first weeks to get to know as many people in the class as possible.

While Shaun and Paige from last year's course will also be doing this year with me, as well as one guy from the other sound production group who I met a few times, it would serve me well if I was to keep trying to get to know the others. I have this advantage in that I know three people who will be in this class before it even starts but I know how bad I am at meeting people. I should beware not to fall into the trap of not bothering to try to get to know the others and stick to my little group. I'd imagine Shaun will mix well with the others and so he might bond well with someone else more his age group in the early weeks. I don't know about Paige. She's not the best at mixing in with new people but then she is only sixteen. I'm thirty nine and really should be better than all of this than I actually am.

The money that British football clubs have been spending this summer has been nothing short of sickening. Manchester City have spent the most with over two hundred million pounds spent on defenders with another in the pipeline. That's around 223,500,000 Euros. That's one team. Paris are trying to buy Barcelona and Brazil sensation Neymar for around £200M. That's for one player. It's getting so outrageous that I wonder where it'll all end. It might keep going like this until players choose to cash in every season with a move. It might end up with many teams going bust and having to call it a day like happened with Wimbledon, Clydebank and Gretna to name just three. In the coming years it could hit an all time low.

The real sadness of it all is that it is only afforded because human beings are so easily manipulated. All it would take was for a million people to say that enough was enough and cancel their subscriptions for sport television and do what I do – stream!! I find it humorous that it is people like me who are blamed for the way the television companies rip off their loyal supporters. If I was to conform and buy a subscription then they could afford to put the prices down. Some people, dumb as we can be, see things this way. I have seen nothing from human beings to allow me to believe that a company would lower its prices on anything for any reason. General Motors discovered, once upon a time, that it was cheaper to pay its customers court settlements and compensation than it was to recall a bunch of their cars that were dangerous and that were resulting in deaths. This decision caused more deaths. No one these days seems to want to stand up for what they believe in.

July still has a little while left but I can safely say that it has not been my best month of the year. It's been wet, sure, and it has followed the wettest June we've had since records began apparently, but not feeling as though I had a purpose was what I feel made it more difficult than the others. Interesting how I could feel this most on the month I returned to the rooms of AA. I think that I've been isolated from family as well and this hasn't helped. It'll end with a fifth trip to Relationships Scotland this evening – actually it won't! The counsellor is on holiday this week. It'll end quiet then.

I hope that August gets off to a better start.

One month down, one month to go.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Ending July

1143

Lunarer
August 1st, 2017, 02:28 AM
Tuesday, August 01st 2017 (A Difficult Habit To Stop)


According to the latest weather reports we are to be having torrential rainfall and thunderstorms for the next couple of hours or so. The sky seems to agree. It's going to start teeming down in a little while. It rained a couple of times yesterday while we were out at work too. It really is terrible. Weather changes everything. It's very difficult to make plans when the summer weather is as shocking as it has been this year. I can't remember the summers in particular being as bad as they have been these last three or four years. We also had those two outrageously bad winters in the past ten years (which just happened to coincide with my two homeless spells and sleeping in a VW Golf). Weather changes everything. It's really important. When your livelihood is on the line it is even more noticeable. Whether Barry the Bullet and I get out today is up to Mother Nature, and she HATES Scotland!!

It's a shame too because while we've been struggling to get into a routine of regular work and have been peaking towards the end of the weeks we did start off really well yesterday morning. Barry called to say that his bus didn't turn up and that he would get the next one. This was a little test for me. Would I go and sit at mine for a while (the ladders were kept in my garden over the weekend as on Friday we finished up in the local area) and wait it out until he got here to meet me so that we could get on with it together, or would I bash on myself? I did think about taking the easy option but I knew how important it might be in the future for me to get my finger outta my ass and get out there and do some solo work. I used to back in the day. This business only exists because I was willing to go out there and work on my own every now and again. I hadn't done much on my own when Barry did turn up – but I'd done some. I now know that when I need to do it I can find the motivation from within.

Barry is telling me at lunchtime about how he's got a grass tent up in his spare room and has begun growing. Anything to get some extra cash in I guess. He seems to be smoking it every night. I remember Super-Zoe saying to me that it was amazing the number of people who quit drinking and all drugs but just cannot let go of the weed. Eventually it brings them to their knees and the time comes when it is tricky to give up. I think that anything consumed in excess amounts leads to a difficult habit to stop. Weed is no different from anything else. Especially if the drug is the last thing to come off.

I think for me the trick was as simple as planning ahead and using the experience gained from my drinking quit. Exactly one year after putting down the booze I stubbed the last joint. This same tactic has recently helped me stop smoking for almost six months too. I think, to be honest, now that I have started this roll of quitting things on the 07th February it makes it more unlikely that I'll slip and cave. Anything to keep the quit date alive, the quit date for alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

I'm not saying that Barry has an issue with weed smoking. He might, but I'm not getting into that. It's not my business. I do know that he once upon a time had problems with Valium. Again – they're all just about as bad as each other once you develop a physical or emotional dependence on them, or both. I know he struggled for a while to stop popping those little bastards a few years back and that although he might take the odd little dab of fast stuff here and there that he no longer touches that which once brought him to his knees. It's a lot like the women that run Restoration actually. They completely abstain from the drug that caused them all of their problems in the past but seem totally fine drinking. They sip on a pint and then walk out the door. I've sat with them. I've seen it.

For some reason some of us don't seem to be able to have this luxury. For some of us we are never to again be out of our faces. That's when it hits me really. How well I've done and am doing. When I say something like, ''I haven't had a drink for two and a half years!'' it doesn't quite mean all that much. Maybe it will when it's ten years or twenty. It's when I think to myself that I haven't actually had my mind altered at all in eighteen months that I start to see a little more clearly what is actually happening here. No wonder it's been a little on the tricky side on occasion.

In Scotland we are almost trained to hate the English. It's really childish and really racist but it's kinda the way it is. So it must really be pissing some of my fellow countrymen off that the women's football team has reached the last four of the Euro 2017 tournament. We were dumped out in the first round winning one match and losing two – including a six-nil thumping by said most hated team. Next up they have the Netherlands team, the tournament hosts, on Thursday and a win there will (I'm sure you know the format for tournaments even if you are not a fan of football, what happens to the winner of a semi final, but I'll just point it out anyway, maybe a word-count thing) see them reach the final. Brrr.... Even saying it is enough to make the racist in me feel the chill. Fuck – even TYPING it sends me little shivers. It might well happen though. I don't suppose that it'll annoy too many Scots though as there seems to be very little interest generally for the women's game. There's plenty football on already it would seem without adding some more.

Right then. Let's go out and see what the clouds are doing now.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Rainspotting.

1093

empyr3al
August 1st, 2017, 09:54 AM
Looking at your thread, interesting. I had no idea you were that much a geek (compliment). I have multiple monitors (24,27,43) including a 4k. The software you use I used to use until I started to move away from music.

Lunarer
August 2nd, 2017, 02:28 AM
Wednesday, August 02nd 2017 (Sugar Walking)


I was walking a little yesterday. It's something I should really think about getting back into. I was getting quite good at it for a while there. With yesterday being the beginning of a new month I can use my Endomondo account to really have a look at how well I do this month. Last month was my poorest for walks I started logging when I quit smoking back on my two year anniversary from quitting drinking, February 07th with a total (rather lame one) of thirty three and a half miles. Next was June with sixty two which is amazing considering that this total includes the Moonwalk. The best month, and the month I will be aiming to beat at some point soon, was March, which is strange because that was before I started training for the Moonwalk, with one hundred and sixty two miles. This is still a pretty lame total when I think about it. There are scores to beat. August has started with one walk of five and a half miles. If I keep that up, five and a half miles per day, throughout the whole month then I'd end with a total of over one hundred seventy miles trekked. There's no excuse really. I do remember how hard some of those twenty and thirty mile training walks were becoming though. I'll just have to wait and see how I get on.

So no work got done yesterday but it's looking a little better for today. The weather was shocking but we didn't quite get the thunder and lightening we were promised and that I think would really clear up the sky and set up perhaps a little spell of decent sunny days, even just three or four would be nice. I still think I remember hearing that last June this year was one of the wettest, if not the very wettest, June that we have on record for central Scotland and surely the July we've just had must compete with other Julys as one of the worst we've had in terms of total rainfall. It's been the summer from Hell. It's really been a disappointing year for weather and so it goes without saying that it hasn't been a great summer for cleaning windows either, but then I usually do end up saying things that perhaps don't always need to be said, such is my propensity for verbosity.

I have been contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions about my assessment for work. They've come to a decision. I'm not sure what they have decided but I can handle a month at the job centre. I remember that woman I had as an advisor there when I was last signing on, Eileen, and how nasty she made life. Still though – even if I end up with her as my advisor it would only be for one month, five weeks at a push. My college course starts up on the 04th September, four weeks on Monday actually, and so I shouldn't have to worry too much about any hate-filled job centre worker trying to make my life as miserable as possible because seeing people she believes to be less than human, less than her, the ''work shy'' squirm under her power makes her reach for her groin. Work shy? I'd love to see any of those job centre employees I remember even climbing a ladder once let alone managing an entire shift. There is a chance that this will not happen but if it does I'll roll with it. You gotta.

One thing I'm going to start doing is taking my lunch with me to work. This'll be a little start for when I return to studies. All of last year Shaun would lead by example and I said I would follow. I never did. For some reason making lunch up in the morning or the night before seemed too hard. This is also the case at work too. I'm spending around five bucks a day on lunch plus a couple of quid on drinks. It adds up. I'm supposed to be saving up spending money for Lindsay and me for our little trip to Spain and a night in Barcelona. It's also poorer for my health. There aren't many good options down the town and during times like now when we're working near my cave the Glenwood Centre is the only option within walking distance and so the Charity Shop Cafe is practically the only choice you have there. I want to get into the habit of having nothing at all to do with that place unless I have to, and I shouldn't ever really have to.

Rather than having juice I think I'll be going for water instead. I've been doing well with the old quitting things bad for me on 07th February these last couple of years. Booze in 2015, weed in 2016, cigarettes in 2017, I really think that I'm building up to a sugar quit next. I'd have to have a look at it. I don't NEED to do this so I would have to set out some rules if I wasn't to absolutely abstain. Most people who I've known that abstain altogether are members of the fellowship who are also members of Overeaters Anonymous and so they are trying to do battle with a dysfunctional set of behaviours.

While Lindsay seems to believe that I have some kind of body dysmorphic condition I don't actually binge eat all that much, if ever, and have a relatively simple time in maintaining a healthy weight. I'll be forty in a few months so my body will begin to have more problems in this area (and every other one) but at the moment I have to try to be absolutely clear on why I want to try this out and what sort of rules I'll allow myself. For instance – will I allow myself to eat sugar at certain times? Maybe so that it becomes the little treat that it was supposed to be before human gluttony got in the way? We'll see. I don't have to decide any of that stuff now but it's something to spend a little time thinking about while I go about my daily eating.

For now I am going to get to work.

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Hoping that it stays fair.

1078

empyr3al
August 2nd, 2017, 11:03 AM
Water with flavour squits. Being verbose is not an issue for me at least. Interesting read again. My BMI is spot on and took some work from being under, not over. Good luck and I will read this all again to get the scope.

Lunarer
August 3rd, 2017, 02:01 AM
Thursday, August 03rd 2017 (Hitting Forty Properties)



Barry the Bullet has said since we started working together again this summer that we should be able to clean the windows of more than forty properties. He says that he manages to do around twenty before chucking the towel in on days when he has been working solo. I've always thought that this seemed like a little too much but in recent shifts we've been getting closer and closer to it – peaking the other day at around thirty six. Yesterday we managed to hit the magic number and we would have had time to do another three or four were it not for that damn sucky rain again.

It's been raining this morning already but it's looking a little better so we'll get out again for another shift this morning. Then it's supposed to get wet again with showers and small bits and pieces of sunshine for the next few days, decent on Saturday and Sunday morning, and then it turns wet again at the start of next week. Phew! It's a good job I'm a little better at keeping things a day at a time these days or I would be stressing already.

Hitting forty properties in one day is a decent little slice of window cleaning and it allows me to add a little more to Lindsay and my growing holiday fund. We don't need all that much but a few hundred quit would be okay. I haven't been out of the country in so long I'd like to enjoy this little trip – assuming I am by that time able to allow myself to relax and enjoy something, to take the stick outta my ass, as it were. Each property we clean is around five bucks and so our total for the day, assuming we hit exactly forty each day, will be two hundred quid. This is then split equally between us.

To put this a little into perspective my weekly rent is sixty five quid. When I study next year I will be getting student loan payments of approximately five hundred pounds per month, around one hundred and twenty five per week. The current sickness benefit I receive is around one hundred quit per week. All of this makes my efforts cleaning windows yesterday and on Monday seem very promising. I'm doing okay if I can just keep getting out and putting the shifts in. Now that I don't ache as much as I did when I first started coming back out again I can put the legs into the shift more. Fifty properties isn't impossible.

Barry might disagree. He seemed a little on the grumpy side towards the end of things yesterday when we were pushing through as the rain was starting. He talks about weed a lot and I know that he was going to his see his pal last night to take a little trip to go get some green and that he stood to make a few grams for the hassle. Maybe he gets that same little signal I used to get on the rare day I'd be working when I was drinking and the rain would start. I'd begin to think that soon I'd be able to get myself alone for a while. Alone with the drink, but then you're never alone with the drink. Perhaps Barry gets a calling of sorts from this often overlooked and underestimated little drug.

On the way to work yesterday morning I was approached by someone, a woman pushing a children's buggy. She didn't want to bother me and she was terribly sorry and all the rest of it but she wanted to get to the next town and needed bus fare. I have to admit that my judgement came out at first. She's very clearly either got or had addiction issues in the past. She's likely in her mid to late twenties but it's hard to tell as she looks a lot older. I'm sure twenties though, somehow. Most of her teeth are missing. Fuck it. I have a few quid on me. I have two two pound coins and fifty five quid in change. The two pound coins are for my lunch so I give her the fifty five pence. This doesn't go down too well.

I get it – fifty five pence isn't much, and I did think about whether I should have given her one of the two pound coins for most of the morning. We pull in money all the time at work and so I could have just taken some from the takings for lunch and made up the two bucks. Then Barry points to someone going into the local shop. I'm going in for juice anyway so go in after this person. She's buying a bottle of Frosty Jack's cider (which is what I ended up drinking every day in the last uyear or two of my drinking career); a couple of bottles of Tennent's Super (9% lager) and a mixer, orange juice I think it was, for to make the cider bearable. I used to just take it as it came. She throws twenty cigarettes in there and off she goes.

Barry says that he sees her regularly begging in the high street of his town. Every Saturday. I'll bet she does okay. The guys begging down the town centre in my town (Lindsay's actually – no one seems to beg in my town with us having an indoor shopping centre) do okay. I was walking past one of them not long ago and he was saying to someone who was donating him a pound or two that someone walked past and threw in just a twenty pence. Both he and his donation-giver were discussing how this was just cheek. Like people should feel obligated to give up at least a pound or something!? I think it's more like cheek to have a home to go to yet go out begging for money for drugs every weekend.

You can't be homeless in my county. There are places in Scotland where you can, and most of the UK has a homeless population, but not where I come from. Doesn't happen. One day it will but for now we enjoy the best homeless system in the whole of Britain. These guys will know this so it's not as if they are really out here with nowhere else to go. It's drug and drink money they are after. I'm sure of it. Makes me feel less bad about keeping my bigger coins on me in the morning.

The weekend is approaching and we'll see the start of the football season. Neymar still hasn't moved to PSG for the crazy £200m price tag but every morning it looks more and more likely that it's gonna actually be happening.

Maybe tomorrow will be that morning.

I'll see you then.

'
'
'
'

'
'
'
'
'
'
'
'
Stevie

Hoping that the rain holds off until later.

1177

Lunarer
August 4th, 2017, 02:49 AM
Friday, August 04th 2017 (Doing My Bit)



That damn English women's football team. I had worried about them doing well in this tournament from the get-go and especially since they smashed six past u