On 29 years of sobriety

In my early 20s I had a reputation for being trouble but then the alcoholic troubled often are. I was nasty and got nastier the more I drank. I wasn’t physically violent but people were nice to me in a wary kind of way. Had it been possible I would have crossed the road to avoid myself.

Like all alcoholics I drank to change the way I felt and alcohol changed me into a person I despised so I drank to forget her. A perpetual cycle.

On April 23rd 1991 a GP sat me down in his surgery and told me that if I didn’t change my lifestyle then I’d be dead before I was 35. I was 32 years old.

I knew that he wasn’t telling that it would be a brilliant party with great booze and equally great drugs but that my major organs would fail, that I wouldn’t be able to drink enough to stave off the DTs (Delirium Tremens) and I would die painfully and alone.

I wanted to live more than I wanted to drink and working out notice running a pub during my first three weeks of sobriety was one of the worst experiences I’ve had.

As I left the pub for the last time I began a period of mourning. Alcohol was my lover and I had left them without saying goodbye.

It hasn’t been easy getting to this point. A divorce then two bad relationships, being at the point of suicide more than once and so worrying to my GP that he gave me my medication daily. A police officer friend took all the sharp things from my home. A diagnosis of Bipolar I was devastating. I’ve at the point of drinking many times but, believe me, alcohol doesn’t solve problems it makes them worse.

A brief dip into Alcoholics Anonymous taught me how I didn’t want to be and that friendships within “the rooms” could be as unhealthy and destructive as those without.

Twenty years ago I moved to where I’m living now and finally realised that I was allowed to be who I am.

I am a photographer and a writer. If people don’t like me then that’s fine, it’s no business of mine what other people think of me. I don’t want to have more friends than I can count, I don’t need a hectic social life and I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations including my own. I embrace my eccentricity, my imperfections and my tendency to live like a hermit.

As I sat outside last night and wrote this it was still warm from a bright spring day. I listened to some music and sang along to it a bit too loudly. I read my words back to myself and I am both pleased and astounded with how far I’m away from the woman I once was.

Today I’m alive and sober and that’s all I want and need.

I leave you with these words of hope by Leonard Cohen:

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.


I was talking to someone recently and I’ve acknowledged that, as around the subject of Brexit, my attitude seems laid back. It’s not.

When I get stressed my mind begins to distance itself from reality and moving into a state called dissociation. I’m not unworried but my mind refuses to let me do it, it’s protecting itself.

This means that my approach is purely common sense and I get my information from good sources. I tend to shoot down people who share things that can be potentially dangerous. One troll this morning argued back and then had a look at my timeline to tell me how miserable my life was. Poor thing.


Here’s today’s corvid is a Jackdaw is technically is a subspecies but hey, it’s gorgeous.

The goo in my day – I got out with a camera for the first time in ages and decided to set up a Flickr account just for street iron. 

The bloody government

This morning I woke up and realised that if the blood tests I’m having tomorrow say I have a Vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency that technically puts me in the more at risk than I’d like to be group. I’m a tough old bird but the after effects of last years fall showed me that I’m not invincible and I was convinced that I am.

The first of the daily government updates didn’t help. Johnson taking questions and stumbling over the answers. Come on Boris order pubs, restaurants to close in a matter of public safety and then at least they’d get some sort of compensation for it instead of the ever dwindling numbers of customers and the heartbreak of watching their business being flushed down the pan.

Close the schools Johnson, think of the people with severely compromised immune systems. Find a way of supporting the families that need to work, pay rent, mortgages etc. Shake that fucking money tree you claim doesn’t exist by making the big businesses pay taxes.

The update today made me feel as though I was living in a version of  Your Attention Please by Peter Porter – “Some of us will die. Remember, statistically, it is not likely to be you.”

I think that you can gather that I have less confidence in the government than I did yesterday. Meanwhile I’m social distancing as much as possible and in this city we’ve only had five positive cases though one person has died. Statistically it’s not likely to be me but statistics have to come from somewhere.

I’m seeing people I care for worrying because of the lack of coherent information that we are being fed but then we cannot expect anything more from an incompetent government led by a buffoon.

o – 0 – o

Today’s #corvid19

Today’s good thing is that I got to sit down and read some more of the wonderful book I have on the go at the moment. It has a lot of intense emotion and quite a bit of sex in it and though I want to rush to the end I want to savour each word. 

All change

Advice has changed again as it seems to do every day. I am dizzy with the changes and have given up on the Prime Minister’s dreary updates because, let me be frank about this, he’s a fucking idiot.

Schools are closing and lots of parents are going to be really sensible and make sure they keep their kids at home. In my little corner of the world a lot of kids will not stay at home but go out and cause more havoc than they usually do. Because things are quieter they will widen their range of places to cause havoc. Do not assume that your shop or street will escape the flood of feral kids. Really, don’t.

It appears that tons of Tory MPs are unhappy with the slow pace of changes especially those connected with money and helping out people. The braying from the government benches has been to go harder and faster; like a hundred sceptics of rough sex who have discovered it’s actually really good.

I’m social distancing still because I’ve been topping up on shopping locally, just the day to day things. Today I got something to cook in the slow cooker, bought myself some daffodils and, despite the fact I’m on a low saturated fat eating regime, got a solid slab of chocolate. It tastes a bit icky but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Historic crises change us and our eating habits so a little indulgence before things get worse won’t be too harmful.

A chat with a local butcher revealed that we both think a form of food rationing will kick in soon. It’s pointless having older person hours in supermarkets if there’s nothing on the shelves. There is allegedly plenty of stock behind the scenes so why aren’t staff taking orders as the elders come in, giving them a chair to sit on and a decent cup of tea or coffee before bringing their shopping to them? You know, like we did in the years when we valued each other?

That’s my rant for the day so here’s today’s #corvid19

Today’s positive things. I’m going to cook so I’ll be in my happy place and have nutritious food as an outcome. All three cats are remarkably unclingy today so I get the time and the space to do these things.

The conversation

Yesterday (14 March 2020) I woke up and realised with a thud what Covid-19 meant, how serious it was and the impact it could have on my family.

My mother is 84 and lives in sheltered accommodation which means that she lives independently and there is a manager available who provides light touch support. Due to her age my sister qualifies to live in the same building and so she can act as her carer. It’s hard work for her and I live on the diagonal opposite of the country so it’s not easy to get there.

It occurred to me that my mother is in the high risk group should she contract Coronavirus my sister would probably be at heightened risk. We had to have that conversation and acknowledge what could happen.

If my mum dies as a result of this virus I cannot travel to her funeral. The options of travel available would have me sitting in one metal box or another surrounded by other people which goes against the guidelines and would see me suppressing vomit for a minimum for six hours.

So my sister and I had to discuss the hard things over the phone.

My mum’s funeral is paid for and she’s left exact instructions as to what will happen so my sister has very little to do in arranging it. The financial tidying up afterwards is something I can do but clearing her flat will be my sister’s task and it will drain her completely.

I pledged her my support for whatever worth it is.

Later in the day I heard my neighbour coming home with his dog so went out to say hello. His dog is a huge Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldog called Bruno. He is a 35 kilo puppy and as soon as he saw me he sat and started wiggling his arse for a treat. He makes me laugh and loved does that dog.