Tag Archives: Alcoholics Anonymous

Adventures in the Big Smoke: Day 2

A photo of St. Paul’s cathedral that I took during my travels today

Someone remind me… how does that saying go – “God laughs when people make plans”, right?

Pheeeew. What a day.

After finding out that my good friend Frank was ill and thus unable to accompany me today I resolved to go it alone. Which worked out fine for the most part except that (a) I should have set off to the National Portrait Gallery much earlier in the day (because the traffic was mental by the time I got into central London by train) and (b) I shouldn’t have listened to some advice from someone about how Charing Cross is “easy walking distance” from Cannon Street Station.

Yup, I got a bit lost.

 

Selfie taken near the Thames today. Weirdly, my head seems a bit distorted in this image – like I’ve been given a Bruce Campbell lantern jaw! Haha

“Thank God for Google Maps” is all I have to say, because after having walked around for what seemed like forever I finally made it to the National Portrait Gallery.

It was worth the effort, as it turned out, because I loved the art on display by the likes of Lucian Freud, John Singer Sargent and many other famous artists.

My most striking observation of the NPG, though, is that the very best portraits were of celebrities, not royalty… all of which were technically very good paintings (often painted at an imposing scale) but which lacked the charm and personality of portraits such as the ones of Elton John and Paul McCartney that I saw.

I’m just sad that I didn’t get to attend an AA meeting as I’d planned, but the fact is I elected to come straight back to Mike’s place after visiting the National Portrait Gallery because it was getting quite late in the afternoon and I’d been warned how bad getting back home can be come rush hour.


Now to get set for the church service tomorrow… which is going to be an emotional day, since it’s going to be all about remembering my mum; that’s the main reason why I came to London, after all.

Christ, this has been a long, dreary year. I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

Maybe this event tomorrow will give some form of catharsis… I don’t know… “closure” does not exist as far as I’m concerned; but I’m glad that I’m there to represent my mum, all the same.

Okay, well that’s enough gabbing from me for now. Time to get settled for the night.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

P.S. There is an exhibition of Cezanne’s work on at the NPG at the moment, but I decided that £18 for a ticket was a bit much. I like Cezanne, but I don’t like Cezanne that much!

Adventures in The Big Smoke: Day 1

London Docklands skyline at twilight

6:20 a.m. Thursday 7th December 2017

The phone rings, waking me up suddenly.

“Did you order a taxi?”, said the voice on the other end of the line.

I groggily confirmed that I had indeed ordered a taxi the day before, shitting myself at the sudden realisation that I’d slept in.

“Well, we just buzzed your property and someone said that they hadn’t ordered a taxi”.

Then a pause.

“Okay, we’ll sort it; we’ll send another driver out”.

And that’s how this trip to London almost never began before it even started, dear reader.

Cut to:

10:30 a.m. (ish)

…And I’m standing in King’s Cross Square filming this on my Samsung phone:

 

Hehe.

Actually, upon walking around the sculpture, I don’t think it’s a cock at all… it has a nipple thing going on if anything.

Whatever. In any case, I’m pleased that I’ve got there okay after the three hour train ride and I text my friend the fellow blogger Michael Dempsey (of Recovering from Recovery fame).

I like London – so different to the goldfish bowl that is Hartlepool where everything and everyone seems to move so slooowly; now this is more my speed.

Amusingly, a chav accuses me of being a homeless person as he and his dickhead friends walk past.

Crikey, I knew that I was a bit unkempt that morning, but come on! Haha.


…As for the rest of the day, it’s a bit of a blur after I meet up with Michael. Tiredness started to set in quite badly by mid afternoon. But, as ever, it’s great to see Michael and catch up.

We have a walk around central London for a bit and the tour helps give me an idea of where I need to be for the special service commemorating victims of murder on Saturday.

A good day overall, despite the poor start.

Tomorrow/today I intend to get along to the National Portrait Gallery and visit an AA meeting – just because I’ve never attended a meeting in the capital and I have a feeling that it might be quite fun. Besides, it’s about time I claimed my chips.

Hey, why not?

 

The day closes with fish and chips and then coffee back at Mike’s place. Overall, it’s been a fun day spent in good company, but I am a little whacked. Time to retire.

And with that, I bid you adieu for now dear reader.

 

 

The troll strikes back: The revenge of Morris Rosenbaum-Benda

Well folks, after having a nap yesterday evening I awoke to THIS:

“Next time you and your pals get together after an LGBT meeting to write an article about me, try gettin your facts straight. 72 years sober today loser and I’m 96. Yous people with your darkie friends and your rainbow flags, jackasses.
You’ll never catch up to my sober time so yous mine as well Relapse tonight fairy.”

Hahahahaha.

Okay,okay, okay, so I stand corrected on a couple things. Sorry, Morris.

Oh maaan, honestly. Here’s what I have to really wonder about: the emotional well-being of Morris’s poor sponsor.

Can you imagine it?!?? Stop and think about that – and really think about it – someone’s gotta do that job; someone’s gotta help him take his inventory.

…Sweet Baby Christmas. I don’t know whether I’d drink again, but I might well end up jumping out of a fucking window if I was his sponsor.

Hehe. I’d love to hear a recording of one of their telephone calls or Google Hangouts, actually. I think it would be the comedy highlight of my year listening to what pretty much amounts to – let’s face it – the Bad Grandpa of Alcoholics Anonymous recount his sins.

Check out HERE, HERE and HERE for previous mentions on The Free Pigeon Press of the recovery demigod that is Morris Rosenbaum-Benda.

 

 

 

Zen, art & recovery: How I “sculpt” my blog

A Xena/Red Sonja homage that I’m doing as a present for my friend Edie:

…Still needs a lot of work doing to it; there are also certain aspects that need to be fixed – such as the fact that I seem to have given Edie Bell’s palsey! haha – but it’s getting there.

It’s nice to be back into a little bit of drawing.

My approach with drawing these days is to just say “fuck it and do it”. I used to be such a perfectionist; a complete detail-nazi, taking foreeeever on things – either that or saying “I’ll finish it once I have more inspiration” – but, having learned that procrastination is the enemy of success, I now consciously just throw myself into it and say perfection be damned.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that when it comes to drawing your own critical faculties can be your worst enemy sometimes… hence why I guess I’m more zen when it comes to my art nowadays.

Interestingly enough, my approach to writing my blog is similar. I scribble down a “thumbnail” of sorts (usually a bullet list which acts as a rough sketch) and then I sculpt paragraphs on WordPress, typing away like a madman. My approach is one of “more is better” to begin with (ha! I declare war on brevity!) and then, upon seeing the completed shape, I use my delete/backspace keys much like an eraser or a a palette knife or a chisel to give it a better crafted, prettier shape.

Sounds odd when explained like that, I know – but that’s my process.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I’m going to also have a crack at doing a Krampus-themed piece of art before Christmas (as much as anything because I think it could cool to have my own custom-designed Krampuskarten as a new Facebook cover).

It depends upon how much time I have after my upcoming trip to London.

But given that I’m going to cannibalise the composition of an old piece of artwork (see below), it probably won’t take too long.

An old design that I did for an evil tooth fairy. Since I’m not above referencing my own work, I’m going to rip off the composition for this for my own Krampuskarten design.


Barbara’s Elegant Aphorisms Website

From the Oxford Online dictionary:

aphorism

NOUN

 1. A pithy observation which contains a general truth.
‘the old aphorism ‘the child is father to the man’’
[mass noun]‘the debate begins and ends at the level of aphorism, with commentators saying that something must be done’
1.1 A concise statement of a scientific principle, typically by a classical author.
‘the opening sentence of the first aphorism of Hippocrates’
Origin
Early 16th century: from French aphorisme or late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos ‘definition’, from aphorizein ‘define’.

…So, for the benefit of any readers unfamiliar with what an aphorism is, there you go. I point it out because I recently became acquainted with a WordPress blog that has a really neat concept – a blog called myaphorisms.com.

It’s a great idea: what the author of this blog does is pen an aphorism a day… which sounds so simple, right? But that’s exactly the point… the genius of it, i think, lies in the simplicity of its design and execution. It’s actually a really smart idea for the format of a blog; I really dig it.

And what I like about Barbara’s blog is the way how she interacts with people in the comments section… in fact, that’s where the main action takes place, you could say.

Another thing that’s quite cool about it is the fact that the purpose-built brevity of the format she’s chosen would feed really well into Twitter and Facebook.

What can I say? I like it! It really appeals to my sense of design.

Something like this would work quite well done around a recovery theme, actually – an AA aphorism a day, for example.


…Which neatly leads onto my next subject:

The Welcome Return of Nicky Katz

Click on image to open link in a new tab

After an absence of some time and some hardship, is really nice to see my old friend Nicky Katz back on the horse with the social media scene, rebooting his Facebook and Twitter presence.

What can I say? He’s been missed. My hope is that he’ll also get back into the swing with his blog too… just because I was always a big fan of his website and I miss seeing his articles. Check out Nicky’s blog here: http://nickykatz.org/

Note to self: I really need to give Nicky a guest writer spot on The Free Pigeon Press because I’m fascinated with how he’s combining The Sinclair Method with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings – how he’s reconciling the two (a subject that I wrote a piece about HERE).

As much as anything I think that it’s important that Nicky does write because so many people can learn from his experiences – and yes – his own admitted mistakes too.

But the measure of a man is how he deals with adversity, not success – so I for one am grateful that he’s back.


…Okaaay, well I’m about done for this article, but before I go I’ll leave you with a couple of words of worldly wisdom from my favourite demented, scat-fixated octogenarian AA super-sponsor and wiener pioneer, the legend that is Morris Rosenbaum-Benda:

Hahahahaha. Love it.

I think this is better, though, just for sheer brevity (an art I’ve never mastered):

(!)

Hahaha!


…And on that note:

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

 

Confessions of an AA Troll: The Ballad of Morris Rosenbaum-Benda

The subject of today’s post is an inspirational, whirlwind Facebook phenomenon that goes by the name of Morris Rosenbaum-Benda.

 

…Oh boy, oh boy. Where to even start?!?

Rosenbaum-Benda is from Boynton beach, USA.

A former successful wiener hotdog salesman, Morris is a transphobic ninety six year old AA old-timer with sixty two sixty eight seventy years sobriety (his contradicting statements on the matter have become a great source of humour on his Facebook wall) and a serious fecal paraphilia.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I’m not making it up.

Rarely a day goes by without Morris harassing one of his several female followers to send him a turd photo.

The author of several deranged hashtag memes (usually on a variation of #youlldrinkagain), it has to be said that Morris displays an unusual adeptness with the use of social media and other aspects of information technology for an nonagenarian.

 

What do I think?

Haha. Frankly I think that there’s something strangely comforting in knowing that someone like Morris out there. The man takes trolling to a new, sublime level that’s pure comedy gold.

It’s good to know that he’s there to put all of us sinners in our place.

This M.C. Escher-esque schizopolis called the internet can sometimes be a lonely one to navigate for those of us in the recovery world – one with little humour and much disagreement, so it’s good to let your guard down and let yourself be entertained by the Morrises in this life.

 

Anyway, this is all I’m going to write on the miserable old bastard, lest I draw his unwanted wrath! Hahaha.

Bye for now.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

‘Rainman of Recovery’: Me and my nerdy Niacin fascination again

So since I felt on a bit of a roll I had a crack at another YouTube video (‘…and why not?’, as a late film reviewer used to famously say).

This time I decided to cannibalise an old article (see HERE) on Bill W.’s Niacin fixation and my summary of how – had Bill still been alive – he’d most likely have been very interested in The Sinclair Method.

More than anything, I just wanted to have a crack at doing another YouTube video using some subject matter that might get a bit of debate going. The video itself went surprisingly well aside from a couple of bloopers, but then again I was talking non-stop for 18 minutes – so given the fact that I’m also a chronic insomniac I did surprisingly well to keep awake (!).

Heh. After reviewing these last two videos I’ve been thinking of a new online name for myself – ‘Rainman of Recovery’.

Hahahahaha! Hey, that could work!

Okay, that’s me done for now. This whole YouTube experiment has been an interesting one with a steep learning curve, but I think I’m going to now vegetate for a couple of days.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

My YouTube Video on the Subject of Trigger Immunity with The Sinclair Method

As I mentioned in a previous post (see HERE), I’d been thinking of experimenting with YouTube for some time, given that despite the fact that about a third of the world’s internet traffic goes through that site only 9% of businesses use it, I reasoned that it would be a crime not to have a go – especially since it could potentially seriously improve the stats for my site.

Hence my first attempt with the video below on the subject of my newfound immunity to triggers thanks to The Sinclair Method.

…What do I think of it?

I think it’s okaaaay-ish. Took long enough to upload. I still hate my accent and the flat, Aspie-ish cadence of my voice, but I think it’s fine for a first effort… I like the fact that it’s not scripted and I’m just keeping it real, being myself…. it’s not a fucking infomermical, in other words.

I must say, the camera on my Samsung S7 Edge phone is actually quite impressive for recording videos. It gives a really good picture.

As for follow-up videos, I’d quite like to do one on Alcoholics Anonymous and my obsessively nerdy interest in Bill W’s niacin fixation, as well as his desire to “find a methadone for alcoholism” (something which I’ve previously discussed HERE).

That and I’d like to do a series of interviews using the recorder function on Google Hangouts – the first of which will hopefully be with the British independent alcohol treatment provider, Paul Turner.

If anybody has any ideas for future videos that they’d like offer then I’m all ears. I’d love to hear from you.

My Noble Failure: ‘The TSM-themed Interview that Never Was’

The theme of today’s post is to do with all things techy and my chimpanzee brain’s heroic efforts to come grips with some gadget stuff over the last few days.

It just doesn’t seem to have been my week when it comes to gizmos. Honestly, it’s like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

First of all the monitor for my PC inexplicably buggered up on me, forcing me to use my laptop… then the brand new (and expensive) fancy-schmancy vaping mod that I recently bought decided to stop working on me for no discernable reason whatsoever yesterday morning.

The high tech vaping mod I just bought – the SMOK Procolor

What doesn’t help matters is that it’s so high tech that you have to be in fucking NASA just to follow the instruction manual.

Haruumphhh!

…Anywaaaay, thanks to knowledgeable assistance from the market seller that I bought it from I finally got to the bottom of why it wasn’t working.

Get this: the mod had a default setting in which it would lock – yes, lock – after 900 odd puffs. Stupid, I know… I mean, why?!??

Oh well… all that matters is that that setting’s been changed and it’s working now.

Nothing else could possibly go wrong on me today‘, I naively thought.

Cut to: early yesterday evening and, after having had a really enjoyable chinwag over the last couple of days with addictions expert (and fellow Your Choice, Your Recovery Facebook group member) Paul Turner, we decide to have a crack at recording a Skype interview to upload to YouTube.

A mental health nurse with 25 years experience, Paul is an independent alcohol treatment practitioner who works in the West Midlands of England. (see HERE).

In recent times he and his partner have seen great success using The Sinclair Method – something that Paul discusses in the really good YouTube video below:

…But back to the Skype interview  – and do you know what? It goes great.

Paul is a great speaker, a complete pro and a real gentleman to boot. The man is just really easy to talk to and I find what he has to say on the subject of the difficulties with nalmefene particularly interesting and enlightening (though I knew that it was much more expensive than its sister drug naltrexone – five times more expensive, in fact – I had no idea that the side effects were quite so problematic). We also share similar sentiments on how just how odd it is that despite the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous views alcohol addiction as the manifestation of a physical allergy, yet there is so much contempt in 12 Step circles for a medical approach like The Sinclair Method in favour of a religious/moralistic one.

So anyway, the interview goes great. We talk for well over 20 minutes and upon reaching a point where we both run out of steam I press stop on the Icecream screen recorder app on my laptop.

And nothing happens. I go into it and press another key and it just inexplicably starts recording my screen again.

…It takes a minute for my monkey brain to work out exactly what’s gone on here.

I have a “Ah, that’s what happened” moment of realisation followed by a slightly sick feeling when I work out that the freebie version of Icecream that I have on my computer has a default 5 minute recording ceiling… no doubt to entice people to buy the pro version… and that most of the interview that just took place didn’t actually record.

Shiiiiit.

I explain this to Paul and rather than being mad he’s a complete gentleman, offering to repeat the interview at another time. What a good egg.

Oh well. It was a failure, but at least a noble failure! Haha.

(Hey, ‘God loves a trier’ and all that)

I’m just wondering what my best option is when it comes to screen recording freeware, because I definitely want to have another go. I’d quite welcome people’s thoughts on this.


…Moving on, there’s been not much else going on the last week to report. I’ve been on another Netflix binge (catching up on episodes of Bojack Horseman) and I’ve been back into the gym as well as reconnecting with some old friends from my local open access art studio.

Regarding the prostate cancer screening that I was talking about in my last post (see HERE), I’ve got an appointment with the urology department of a local hospital for next week, so it’s just a case of ‘wait and see’. I’m just pleased that my water works issue is finally getting looked at as it’s been a source of discomfort for a while.


Okay, well that’s about that from me. Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

An Elephants’ Graveyard for Sinclair Method Old-Timers? Hardly!

A question on the lips of many people who visit the TSM forums is just where do all of these Sinclair Method old-timers go… do they drink again? Do they join a cult? (unlikely, given many users’ previous experience with Alcoholics Anonymous)

Just where are they???

I believe that to a large extent The Sinclair Method is a victim of its own success. Think about it – a person can just buy The Cure for Alcoholism, get a supply of naltrexone and awaaaay we go. All from the privacy of one’s own home. Completely independent. No more AA meetings and no more rehab clinic revolving door. You can just leave all of that behind and move on with your life.

“So how is that a bad thing?” I hear you ask.

Well, because the 12 step method’s successful dominance is predicated upon having repeat visitors… it depends upon lifers… something that keeps them in business… whereas efforts to monetise the Sinclair Method prove difficult because naltrexone is such a cheap, generic drug to prescribe and there’s simply no real profit in giving someone something that could cure them.

Hence why (compared to AA members) we’re invisible. That and the fact that we simply don’t have the media presence that Alcoholics Anonymous does.

Television and films have enjoyed a long partnership with AA for good reason… scenes involving the redemptive confessional make for great viewing, whereas there’s little to no dramatic narrative in a scene involving a TSMer sitting on his/her couch, popping a nal and then waiting an hour to drink.

As to why TSM users drift off from the internet forums after a few years, I think that they’re just busy getting on with their lives… but I also honestly think that there’s an element of familiarity breeding contempt that comes into play after some time. Case in point – after 4 1/2 years of talking nearly non-stop about the Sinclair Method I’ve began to feel as if I’ve exhausted my observations on the subject. I feel “talked out” to a large degree and envy the enthusiasm that many newcomers just newly discovering The Sinclair Method exhibit on the forums.

Oh I still keep my hand in and chat to people about my experiences, but to a lesser extent these days. Why? Well, because I’m honestly too busy enjoying my liberation from addiction, doing my art and trying to get my bench press north of 130kg!

 

Okay, I’ve gone and “exhausted my observations” again, haven’t I? Thanks for reading. It’s been a blast. Until next time.

 

Peace and love,

GARY