The first 90 days, a murmuration of starlings and hashtag mania

The 90 days refers to the first 90 days of sobriety. They’re hard and anybody that tells you otherwise is fooling themselves and lying to you. Sobriety is hard work however long it is since you had a drink and the temptation to drink a glass of death is always far too close for comfort.

A few glimpses at the blog of somebody recently sober has underlined for me how seriously I took myself when I first got sober and what a pain in the arse it was for the people around me. Everybody I’ve ever spoken to who has went through more than two years of sobriety has been the same – we are earnest beyond belief!

The person whose blog I’ve glimpsed at has some quotes from partners of alcoholics and I want to shout at them to stop doing it. This kind of behaviour points a big arrow at your head that says in big letters, “I’m getting sober for somebody else.” I’ve tried to get sober for somebody else and I lasted a very short time (about eight hours). If you’re going to get sober then do it for you. Doing this kind of thing to make amends is doing it all arse backwards. Whether you’re following a 12-step program or not the making amends bit is way down the line because you have to understand a bit about you and the way you drank before you can understand how you fucked up somebody else’s life.

There is a rule around the rooms (which is the way AA members refer to meetings) that you shouldn’t share your story until you’ve been 90 days sober and that for the first weeks at least you shouldn’t really be opening your mouth at a meeting very much at all. The reasoning is that all you can talk about is your drinking and how it affected you and your family and friends and not about sobriety. Listening to people share about their sobriety gives you the tools to shape your own. As Zeno was supposed to have said, the Gods gave us one mouth and two ears to indicate that we should listen more than we speak.

All the above is my opinion of course but I know a good many long term alcoholics in recovery who will agree with me all the way.


So what are the starlings all about? As I was waiting for Ogden to finish his staring at squirrels and cat morning routine before he allowed me to pick up yesterday’s food in a black bag I stood on the little hill in the Bark Park. As I did 30 or 40 starlings flew over my head and they were so close I could see the pattern of their feathers on their breast and the light of the sky through their wings.

The hashtags – well that’s something that annoys me no end. You look at a photo on Instagram and they have millions of hashtags screaming “notice me, I’m a wonderful photographer and you have to notice me” and that makes me want to kill. It’s like that toddler having a tantrum in the supermarket. If you want to finish your shopping you’ve got to try and cut out their noise and it never quite works. So less of the hashtags, if you’re that wonderful people will notice anyway. I had a photo published six weeks after I got my first camera and there’s been quite a few others since and none of them have had tags that scream in your face. Yes I am aware that there’s tags at the bottom of his page but they’re bloody easy to ignore – it can be done!

Oh yes, another thing, don’t buy Marks & Spencer low fat lasagne because they use too much oregano and all you can taste is pencil shavings.