Why I’m Still Here: The Importance of Celebrating my Recovery

Well, I’m still decompressing after my recent trip to London – I’ve got a touch of travel fatigue plus writing a blog post a day to cover my adventures in The Big Smoke actually quite challenged me.

Me in Trafalgar Square during my recent trip to London

But why do I do it? Why do I write this blog?

Well, given the invisible nature of those people in recovery from alcoholism using The Sinclair Method (as previously discussed HERE) I think that it’s important to maintain a social media presence in order to say “I’m still here”… but, more than that, it’s also important to honour my recovery by having as much FUN as possible during the time that I’ve been granted and to try really hard to be the best version of myself.

It’s about embracing joy and spreading optimism.

If my scribbles on here make even one person who might be struggling smile and feel more hopeful then I’ve done a good job.

What I hope my story demonstrates is that it is possible to come back from the brink and to re-write your own narrative.

As Michael Caine says, everyone should reinvent themselves at least once in their lifetime.

And I also hope that my story shows that even under the strain of the worst adversity it is possible to stay sober and to come out the other end sane.

Patrick Jane (as portrayed by Simon Baker) in The Mentalist

Believe it or not, after my mother’s murder and during the course of the nightmare ordeal of the subsequent trial I found inspiration from the strangest source – the fictional character Patrick Jane from the TV show The Mentalist; I really admire the way how that character is depicted on the show… as someone who, despite having gone through the most traumatic bereavement (the murder of his wife and daughter), consciously chooses to heroically embrace the light rather than spend his life brooding.

It’s a brilliant performance by Simon Baker and I look at it and think “Yeah, that’s exactly the way to be – and that’s how my mum would want me to be”.

The fact is, it would have been quite easy for me to become an embittered and cruel man after what happened to me and my family, but I choose a different path.

 

…And on that note, because further words on the subject escape me for now, I’ll close this article with a classic by Electric Light Orchestra dedicated to anyone reading this who might be struggling at the moment.

 

 

Adventures in the Big Smoke: Day 3

After getting a bit lost yesterday as a consequence of taking the wrong stop I was more organised today… which is just as well because it was the most important day of my trip to London.

Today I attended a memorial service for families bereaved by homicide at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and lit a candle in remembrance of my mum:

It was a good service.

Though I’m not religious I could still appreciate the value of all of these families coming together to grieve their lost ones. The church had hired professional singers who were absolutely fantastic and belted out some great songs.

I have to confess that I nearly lost it when they sang Somewhere over the rainbow… a song that was especially moving to hear at the service, given how much mum loved it… especially the version by Connie Talbot that came about as a result of Britain’s Got Talent.

But I held it together quite well and also attended SAMM’s annual general meeting afterwards.

SAMM National (SAMM is an acronym for Support After Murder & Manslaughter) have really helped me this past year, by the way… they’ve been a real lifeline. I don’t know how I would have coped without them.


I don’t have much else to report, really. I just came straight back to Mike’s place after the service.

I did take a few photos and shot a couple of videos of Trafalgar Square, but didn’t otherwise do anything special.

Tomorrow I go to a Krampus-themed “satanic flea market/anti-Christmas fayre” in Bethnal Green which should provide some tongue-in-cheek fun.

 

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

 

Love and peace,

GARY

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!