Should Naltrexone be reclassified as an Over the Counter medication?

Time for a discussion about whether naltrexone should be reclassified as an over the counter (OTC) medication…

Here is an instant messaging conversation that I had yesterday with a friend from Ireland who has just recently gone onto The Sinclair Method and who has had some challenges obtaining naltrexone. For the purpose of ensuring her anonymity, let’s call her “Alice”…

 

Alice:

Hi Gary.  Hope you’re well, am still staying on track and seeing improvements already.  I nipped into Lidl last night and got a couple of bits I needed.  I headed to the check out down through the last alcohol isle….think their stores are the same layout in the UK.  Anyway.  Got to the check out and my brain goes….oh yeah…you wanted wine.  And so I doubled back for some I giggled inside, that would never have happened before my TSM journey.  Still drinking each evening but never without my 1.5 hour window after taking my nal.  This evening I came home to a letter from HPRA,  the health products regulatory authority of Ireland telling me that they have seized my medication….that I have already received?????

Alice's letter from the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) of Ireland.
Alice’s letter from the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) of Ireland.

…So I rang my counsellor and she reckons that perhaps my medication was sent out twice …which I doubt very much.  I think it more likely that big brother is watching.  Cannot understand that if I have acted unlawfully then why are they not prosecuting me.  My counsellor reckons it’s best to not respond and draw attention.  A bit scary and very very annoyed at the same time.  F*ckin bullies.

 

Me:

Huh?!? That’s nuts. And you’re quite right… pretty scary.

Jeezus, do these people have nothing better to do?

 

Alice:

Obviously not.  My counsellor warned me that something like this could happen.  I’m fuming.  Some bloody jobsworth being a right bully.

 

Me:

Yeah.

 

[Alice then discusses a possible not-exactly-legal strategy that she could use as an alternative method to acquire the naltrexone she needs, her defiant sentiment being “How dare they!!!”]

 

Me:

Apparently it’s legally available over the counter from pharmacies in Spain, you know.

 

Alice:

Yes I read that alright.  I might be going on holiday then 🙂

I’ll find a way round it.  I’m not stopping this.

 

Me:

Hehe. That’d be one way to do it. 🙂

 

Alice:

A weekend in Spain sounds good.  So feck off you Irish bully boys

 

Me:

Heh. You could kill two birds with one stone by upping your supply and having a nice little holiday in Spain. 😉

 

Alice:

I’m going to research it and see where the pharmacies are.  Might hedge my bets and have to post them back to myself.  They might be the same at the airport.  You know how bad airport security is these days.

 

Me:

It’s appalling that naltrexone is so hard to get hold of if you need it… you know, if this was a treatment for cancer there’d be protests, but because it’s a treatment for alcoholism nobody cares… which is so wrong.

 

Alice:

I know.  I’m treated like a criminal.  What I can’t understand is that they state that I’ve acted unlawfully, yet the end of the letter States that if they don’t hear back from me within 28 days then the case is dropped and they destroy the evidence….bit Irish if you ask me.

 

Me:

Haha. I like your way with words. 😉

 

Alice:

How come they don’t try a prosecute me if they’re really serious….no bloody sense.

 

Me:

Part of me wishes I got [caught and] prosecuted for purchasing mine from [name redacted]…. just because I’m the type of person who would go to the media to shame the system.

 

Alice:

You rebel!  What was the site you used? 

Thing is…if I was on the better side of this I might fight it.  I just couldn’t do it yet.

 

Me:

[Name redacted], though the package that I received was mailed from a factory in India

 

Alice:

I’m going to keep the letter though….I might send an anonymous copy to a paper…..you’ve got me thinking now.

I might just follow this up if they keep me anonymous…..send them a little snippit with links to Claudia’s clip* and some other online stuff.  Some reporter might like to get a little start with this 😁

Hmmmmmm….I think I need a new me email address 🤔

[* Note: see HERE for Claudia Christian’s acclaimed TEDx lecture about The Sinclair Method]

Me:

It might make for a good change.org petition… a campaign to get naltrexone changed to an over the counter medication.

 

Alice:

This might be more useful than I thought.  My contribution ….even though I haven’t got tangible results yet.

I really can’t do it as myself though just yet.  Can you help?

You can use the letter if you hide my name and the letter reference/case number?

 

Me:

How could I help? Would you like me to write a piece on my website about it, obscuring your name and other details?

 

Alice:

Yes do please.

I’m going to contact the papers here anonymously too.

 

Me:

Cool. I look forward to writing it!

 

Alice:

Do you want a colour scan?  I can do it in work tomorrow.

 

Me:

Sure.

 

Alice:

Brilliant.  Thanks Gary 😁

 

Me:

I can use Photoshop to obscure your name.

 

Alice:

Yes….I’ll send it tomorrow.  Thank you so much.

 

Me:

You’re welcome.


…Okay, so I’ve redacted the content of this conversation in certain places in order to preserve Alice’s anonymity but it reads fine, I think.

Jesus, it makes me so angry – just the injustice of it.

THE LAW REALLY IS AN ASS. 

I mean, here’s someone who’s (rather nobly) doing everything possible in order to help herself recover from a horrible, debilitating addiction… and yet she has to put up with this – being made to feel like a criminal; it’s just wrong on so many levels… absolutely scandalous.

Something needs to be done, I think… and I would love to read other people’s feedback on this.

And, in closing, I would like to thank Alice for sharing her experience and also for her commitment to the cause. I think that it’s actually quite brave of her to allow me to publish this.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

 

Thoughts on AA Agnostica – A Tale of Unsung Heroes

A big hello to my regular readers.

This has been a bit of a rubbish last month for me. I’ve really lacked the motivation to write anything and have just felt strangely at odds with a few different things and a few different people.

Which is not good, I know – but I get spells like this.

I dunno… maybe it’s my bipolar or maybe it’s just the poor weather getting to me. It’s also been exactly one year since the end of the trial and since my mum’s killer was caged, so the memory of that has been playing on my mind..

That said, the last couple of days have been quite interesting.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading and have reacquainted myself with a bit of AA history, reading up on the background of famous early atheist/agnostic members such as Jim Burwell and reading websites like AA Agnostica and AA Beyond Belief.

…So what’s prompted this research?

Well, I just got a most interesting comment from a gentleman called Edward on an old article of mine (see HERE) that discusses the possibility of splicing The Sinclair Method (TSM) into the DNA of the 12 Steps, substituting the words “God” and “Higher Power” with “pharmacological extinction”… and what Edward wrote about secularaa.org set off a whole chain of thought and curiosity with me about how someone would go about actually trying to set up a secular TSM-themed meeting. Just what exactly would be the protocol? …And just what sort of resistance to expect if you wished to become part of that whole ecosystem.

And – oh my word – as a result of this research I was quite shocked to have read the details about some of the discrimination that these groups have had to endure because of the intransigent and intolerant attitudes of brethren from traditionalist groups.

Of course I’d already heard about what happened in Canada (see HERE) with some secular AA groups being purged from meetings listings, but I had not read the finer details about what exactly had gone on there and I think that it’s absolutely scandalous how these groups have been treated.

But, on a positive note, it is encouraging to know that there are people in AA fighting this type of persecution and looking to try to bring AA into the 21st century and make their fellowship truly inclusive.

It really is a story of true heroism in my eyes because I have to give these guys real props for the stand they’ve made… and it also makes me think that when it comes to something like the idea of splicing The Sinclair Method into the 12 Steps there is potential for a real dialogue with such people to discuss how to go about charting such new, uncharted territory.

Okay, well I’m “talked out” all of a sudden; I guess that’s all I have to say for the moment, so I’ll say bye-bye for now and do some further reading, I think.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

Musings on Techspeak Analogies and The Sinclair Method

Hi guys

Since I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while, I thought that it was time for an update.

Aside from a few visits to the gym, binge-watching all four seasons of Halt and Catch Fire on Amazon Prime and playing some games on my new Xbox One X I’ve not been doing much, to be honest. I’ve had a really lazy start to 2018.

About the games I’ve been playing on the Xbox: I decided to go with Xbox exclusives such as Quantum Break and Gears of War 4. Whilst I completed Gears of War 4 (which is a relatively short 8 hour campaign), I have yet to complete Quantum Break… though I am keen to get back on it today as I’m intrigued by the time manipulation concept behind it and I think that the use of live action cut scenes used in a TV show type format is inspired.

I am also a big fan of Alan Wake (a vastly underestimated game made by the same Finnish company that made Quantum Break) so I’m happy to invest myself in it.

You know, it’s interesting… given my interest in gaming I often find myself using gaming or tech analogies to describe things.

For example, when it comes to my experience with The Sinclair Method (TSM) and how it removed my craving for alcohol I’ll often explain it in terms of having received a software patch to “fix some bad code”… and I don’t think I’m alone… I notice that a lot of people on the forums fall into the habit of using techspeak in order to explain their experience of pharmacological extinction.

One of the most famous recent examples of this type of thing was Claudia Christian‘s TEDx speech at London Business School where she said that she “pressed Control, Alt and Delete” on her addiction thanks to TSM.

Hmm…

The fact that TSM offers a “software fix” that other treatment methods don’t does prompt interesting conversations, though.

I remember chatting with Jenny Williamson of the C3 Foundation a great deal about it at one point… the fact that the difference between The Sinclair Method and other treatment options such as the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is that theirs is a palliative approach all about managing the condition and finding ways to tip-toe around triggers, whereas ours offers an actual cure.


Okay, enough yapping, I think.

Time to grab a bite to eat and settle down for the night.

Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

My Liebster Award Nomination

Well, this is nice.

I have been nominated for The Liebster Award by fellow blogger, MagnumOpus. Thank you so much for nominating me, Magnum. It’s really flattering.

Magnum has a wonderful blog called – appropriately enough – MagnumOpus. It’s quite an endearing motivational blog, all about spreading positivity. To quote the About page, Magnum describes herself as: “An optimistic person who sees the bright side of every situation and every person”.

Click on this link to check out her blog: https://magnumopusforyouu.wordpress.com/

I have had some really nice interactions with some other bloggers on WordPress and there are some very talented people on this platform, so it’ll be a pleasure to put forward some nominations of my own.

Here are the rules for The Liebster Award:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked.
  3. Nominate no more than 11 other bloggers for the award.
  4. Pose 11 questions for them.

(So do you see how it works? It’s essentially very similar to a chain e-mail, passed from blogger to blogger – the only real difference being that it’s actually quite a nice thing rather than an annoyance. Oh and by the way, it’s apparently okay for a blogger to be nominated by different people a number of times… there’s no rule against it)

Anyway, without further ado…


Questions from MagnumOpus:

  1. 1. What was your dream as a child and did you achieve it?

My ambition as a child was to be a great artist, to draw comic strips and to be famous for it. As for whether I achieved this… well, as for being a great artist, the answer to that is “I’m still working on it”… the answer to the second part is “yup, I first got published in Spit! comic back in the nineties” (see below for the concept design for one of the characters that I drew for that magazine)… and, lastly, as for the part about being famous – well, not really; even though there is a cult fanbase for those old comic books my name is not really well known… in fact, it’s only recently that fans of this stuff have been searching me out and saying “Are you the guy who drew this?”.

Original concept sketch for Sefton Ward: Paranormal Detective, a comic strip that I wrote and drew for Spit! comic back in the 90s [interesting fact: my old college friend, the 2000AD comic book illustrator Lee Carter (of Indigo Prime fame) owns this original drawing and has it on display in his home]
  1. 2. If you were given 3 wishes , what would you ask for?

I only have one wish: to be given a time machine… something which I’d use, firstly, in order to go back in time and stop my mum from being murdered and, secondly, which I’d use to go back in time to give my younger, stupider self a much-needed slap around the head.

Oh and if there was some way that I could engineer it, I’d like to make a life sentence in the UK actually mean life… not sure how I could use a time machine to do that, though.

  1. 3. What inspired you to start a blog?

I felt that I had a story to tell and, given my one man war against the tyranny of brevity (haha!), I thought that WordPress would be a good fit for my hyper-verbosity!

…And at the risk of sounding like a wannabe do-gooder, I also felt that some people could perhaps relate to some of the hardships I’ve endured during my life and could take some inspiration from some of the solutions that I’ve found – such as, for example, the story of how I recovered from alcoholism thanks to The Sinclair Method (see the podcast below – I’m the guy in the T-shirt on the right).

  1. 4. What is your biggest fear and what are you doing to overcome it?

Ooh! Good question. My reflexive response was to write “fear of failure”, but after a bit of thought I have to say that the thing which I fear most is being written off – that’s the thing that keeps me awake at night.

You see, here’s the thing about me… thanks to a combination of alcoholism and bipolar disorder that hijacked my life for the better part of two decades I managed to either miss out on or squander a lot of opportunities (on both a personal and professional level). And despite being as bright and as creative as I am, the fact of the matter is that what most employers want more than anything (more than even skill) is reliability – something which I just couldn’t give for many years and which would render me both unemployed and unemployable for a long time, unfortunately.

Now that I’m sober and that my mental health has drastically improved what I’m very much trying to do is to redeem and rebuild myself… though it’s not easy – I’ve left quite an unfortunate legacy thanks to my years in the wilderness (…oh and thanks to behaving like a horse’s ass).

So what am I doing about it? Well, I’m trying to set achievable goals and I’m trying to become the best possible version of myself – “creating some good karma”, in other words.

  1. 5. What is that 1 book that changed your life (you can also mention an incident if not a book)?

The Cure for Alcoholism by Roy Eskapa. The quintessential text book for The Sinclair Method, this book saved my life and released me from a near twenty year struggle with alcoholism.

  1. 6. Who is your favourite blogger in the WordPress community?

I like the work of a number of bloggers and I follow a number of blogs in my WordPress Reader, but if I’m absolutely forced to single out one person it has to be my friend Michael Dempsey of Recovering from Recovery because I think that out of all of the addiction treatment themed blogs out there (and there’s a plethora of them) his is one of the most balanced.

Click this URL to check out Michael’s blog: https://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/

  1. 7. Which is your favourite fictional character and why is he/she your favourite?

Patrick Jane (as played by Simon Baker) from The Mentalist.

Why? Well, because here is a character who is so inspiring because he is someone who has endured a devastating traumatic bereavement – the murder of his wife and daughter – but who courageously chooses light over darkness… there’s no self-pity and no brooding with Patrick Jane – he instead presents a defiant joie de vivre to the world… 

…And I find this quite inspiring because I know that this is how my mum would want me to live my life.

  1. 8. Which Superhero would you like to get if you could have a superpower?

This dude:

Art by Tony Daniels

Because I want Bruce Wayne’s superpower of being richer than anyone else! Haha!

Seriously though, what makes Bruce Wayne so special is that unlike other superheroes he doesn’t have any superpowers to fall back on and yet he’s still able to kick the ass of just about everyone in the DC Comics Universe thanks to his mastery of numerous physical and mental disciplines… and it’s this unstoppable, indomitable will that I admire so much – that IS his real superpower and something that distinguishes him from the likes of Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) from the Marvel Universe (and another playboy billionaire), who – let’s face it – is a push-over without his suit of armour.

The same cannot be said for Bruce Wayne at all… a true renaissance man who, as well as having an IQ somewhere in the stratosphere and being the world’s greatest detective, is an expert in just about every form of combat in existence and can bench press 800 lbs.

Well, that’s all I have to say, really. I rest my case. The only other thing that I could possibly add is that Batman simply looks cool – and there are millions of little kids on the planet who love dressing up as Batman who agree with me on that score.

  1. 9. Which pet do you like more, cat or dog? What is it about them that you like the most?

Oh I’m fond of both species and spend more time than I really should watching cute pet videos of both dogs and cats on Facebook.

But I would say that cats get the win just because their emotional colour-blindedness is so endearing. Haha.

Aaaw bless… they really are something else. And they remind me of children on the autistic spectrum in the curious way how they’ll give affection, but don’t know how to reciprocate it many a time. They’ll just look at you blankly.

They’re quite misunderstood, I think. Some people misinterpret the lack of reciprocation as coldness, but they just don’t get cats in my view. 

  1. 10. If you could have a talk over a cup of coffee with any person dead or alive, who would that be and why?

Easy: I’d pick my mum. I don’t think that I really need to go into why…

  1. 11. If you could have a day celebrated on your birthday, what day would that be and why?

“Pariah’s Day” maybe? A day that celebrates the outcasts and the misfits. A day that celebrates eccentricity and individualism, in other words.

Why? Well, because I’ve always been someone who’s never quite fitted in… I’ve never had a “tribe”… but I don’t see this as a weakness at all. Quite the opposite – I see myself very much as a free-thinker, not constrained by consensus opinion on any topics and someone who thinks outside of the box. 


  1. My nominees are:

Michael Dempsey

Beckie’s Mental Mess

Barbara from myaphorisms.com

Jon Stewart

Stephen from A Fractured Faith

…And my questions are:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. Which person (alive or dead) has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
  3. What is one fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
  4. Have you met anybody famous and – if yes – what were they like?
  5. What’s your “TV kryptonite”? Which TV programme would make you want to kick the TV screen in if you were forced to watch it?
  6. What’s your favourite book?
  7. Where do you stand on the “nature vs. nurture” debate when it comes things like addiction, mental illness and crime?
  8. Name a pop song that you enjoy listening to but would feel really embarrassed to admit to liking to most people.
  9. Should there be a “Blogger’s Code of Ethics” or do you believe in complete freedom of speech on the internet?
  10. If you had a time machine what would be the first thing you would do with it? And why?
  11.  What would you like inscribed on your headstone after you’re dead?

Katie’s progress at 5 months on The Sinclair Method

Had to share this.

…I awoke this morning to a notification on my phone that my good friend Katie had posted a new video to YouTube. Oh Goody! I always enjoy these; she’s becoming a great ambassador for The Sinclair method (TSM) and her videos are always fantastic – she’s a natural on camera and these videos are always really well put together.

I think it’s really great. It’s lovely to hear that TSM is really working for Katie.

Please do check out her YouTube channel HERE.

It’s so exciting to see new people picking up the social media torch like this; at one time there used to be so few of us writing or making videos about The Sinclair Method, but now it’s like there’s a whole bunch of us… haha! – we’re becoming like a superhero team, I tell ya: ‘The Avengers of Recovery’.

Check out my previous posts about Katie HERE and HERE.

The Infernal Möbius Loop of Addiction

Möbius Strip II by M.C. Escher. Like many artists, mathematicians and philosophers, M.C. Escher was fascinated by Möbius bands and how they symbolise infinity.

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a safe and happy Christmas. I pretty much just binge-ate yesterday, caught up with some TV and did my now traditional thing of watching Scarface. As I previously mentioned HERE, I don’t really celebrate Christmas – to me it’s just another bank holiday… just another day, really.

About today’s post: this is an unusually deep entry for me; a chain of thought that emerged after reading an article by another blogger the other day (see: https://afracturedfaithblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/spin-class-stories/). A good post; one that had me contemplating a Stephen King quote: “Hell is repetition”.

It really got me thinking about the never ending loop of addiction that is so hard for many people to escape from.

Many addicts will describe it as like being stuck on a hamster’s wheel, but, as far as visual metaphors go, the image that I prefer is that of a Möbius band.

From https://sites.google.com/site/themobiusbandart/artistic-implications:

‘The fascinating properties of the möbius band – its one-sidedness and one-edgedness – have unsurprisingly resulted in association of the shape with symbolic meaning. Most prominently, the möbius band is often associated with the concept of infinity, because of the infinite uninterrupted paths one can trace along its single surface. The band is also associated with unity and non-duality, due to the fact that two sides and two edges are joined and become one side and one edge in the construction of a möbius strip. Because of its symbolism for infinity and unity, some couples opt for möbius band-shaped wedding rings. On a similar note, some consider the Möbius band to be a fitting symbol for the relationship of space and time in the universe – they appear to be separate, like the two sides of the möbius strip, but there actually is no separation; space and time are not distinct and together form our universe.’

Hmm… yes, it has some romantic symbolism too. As the article mentions, it’s become a symbol of marriage – but that doesn’t invalidate my use of it as an addiction metaphor at all. Especially when comparing being addicted to having a weird form of Stockholm syndrome and the booze being like an abusive romantic partner that you keep going back to again and again and again, despite how damaging the relationship really is.

The saddest thing is that many people don’t realise they’ve become stuck on that loop until too late. In my own case, I crossed an invisible line and went from being merely a heavy drinker to someone who actively craves the stuff all the time.

Escaping the Loop

And that was me for many years: I was one of M.C. Escher’s ants crawling along an infinite loop: every day was like Groundhog Day for me.

But internally, despite the usual denials, I knew that there was something very, very wrong. I knew that my journey through this life had steered badly off-course somehow.

It’s quite hard to adequately put into words this feeling of ‘wrongness’ about my place in the universe that I felt around this time. But – put it this way – the lyrics of the Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime always resonated very strongly with me on an emotional level… lines such as ‘How did I get here?’, ‘My God, what have I done?’ and ‘Same as it ever was…’

The story of my search for answers, how I tried everything from Alcoholics Anonymous to acupuncture and how I subsequently discovered The Sinclair Method is well-documented on here and other places, but what I don’t think I’ve ever come close to adequately articulating is how inspiring David’s Sinclair’s work has been to me. His epiphany regarding the relationship between Pavlovian reinforcement and extinction and the discovery of the endogenous opioidergic system is an example of genius synthesis that still floors me even today.

It really does.

It is a crime that he was never awarded a Nobel for it. It really is.


So what else have I been doing the last few days? (aside from contemplating really deep stuff about time, space and infinity, that is. Haha)

Well, it’s been quite interesting because a gentleman called Anthony who had seen one of my videos on YouTube ( this one HERE, to be specific) got in touch to tell me how much The Sinclair Method has helped him and how he’s become inspired to add his own voice to the campaign to raise more awarenesss of it by volunteering to do a podcast interview with the LDN Research Trust.

Great stuff – it’s wonderful that other people are choosing to pick up the torch like this and add their voice to the campaign. Not just that – Linda Elsegood and the other guys and gals from the LDN Trust are old friends of mine, so I really look forward to hearing that interview, which is scheduled for the second week of next month.

Here’s the interview that I did with Linda some moons ago. (God, as the photo shows, I was fat back then! Haha)

Meanwhile…

…I also finally got round to adding my name to the Wikipedia article on Spit! comics (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spit!_(comics)).

Somewhat narcissistic, perhaps… but hey, after years of disowning and being really embarrassed by my old work for that magazine, I’m finally taking ownership of it and finally standing up and saying ‘Yup, that was me – I was the dude that wrote and drew Sefton Ward: Paranormal Detective and Nero Ramone: Porno Star turned Hitman‘ for Spit! comic.

Scroll down to see a mildly NSFW scan of one of my old Nero Ramone strips…

 

 

 

(Still with me? The NSFW disclaimer didn’t put you off?)

…Okay, here it is:

Nero Ramone: Porno Star turned Hitman. A comic strip I wrote and drew for Spit! comic waaay back in 1996. I quite like the artwork for this one and the concept isn’t too bad either (a sort of hybrid of King Dong and the Sam Jackson character from Pulp Fiction). The only problem with it is that it’s fine as as one-off strip, but the concept didn’t really have the legs for a series.

The Wikipedia article on Spit! is marked as ‘stub’, by the way… meaning that it’s in need of expansion, so I may take it upon myself to add some further stuff to it about some of the other contributors and what they’re up to these days. I think that there should be a proper chronicle of the history of these type of magazines because, historically, Spit! was part of this whole new wave in adult humour that became very popular post-Thatcher in the UK… it signified a new freedom of sorts.

Okaaaay… it’s come to that point again. The point where I’ve just about ran out of things to say.

So for now I’ll bid you ‘adieu’ and leave you with hands-down my favourite film trailer of 2017, the Deadpool 2 teaser with its hysterically funny Bob Ross parody:

‘I’m gonna whack off again’… ‘hugs, not drugs’…hahahahahaha!

Classic. I just hope the film lives up to such great marketing.

 

 

 

 

#179 – Alcoholics Anonymous — The League of Nerds

Alcoholics Anonymous is often held as the best way to cure an Alcoholic. Is Alcoholism a disease? – does AA work? – whats with all the religious stuff? Buck and Myles (the B team) are joined by Jon Stewart, he spent 14 years attending AA meetings but left and stayed sober. He tells the B […]

See the rest of the article and listen to the accompanying podcast via #179 – Alcoholics Anonymous — The League of Nerds or watch the podcast via YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHfnp76cSsQ&feature=youtu.be

[Note from Gary: whoops… thanks to my unfamiliarity of how to share or reblog stuff on WordPress it’s in fact taken a couple of goes to get this right. Please do check out this podcast link. It’s really good – my friend Jon Stewart is on great, erudite form. I really like his statement “If you want self esteem you do esteemable things” and I can really relate to what he says about being stuck in the middle between between the AA Taliban and the anti-AAers.]

An alcoholic abroad

I just came across this blog this morning in my WordPress reader and I think it’s really interesting.

Though I was fortunate in that I never had such a problem, I have heard that some people have issues with what’s become known as a ‘nal-over’ effect from taking naltrexone… a bad hangover.

Avoiding “WordPress Tourette Syndrome”: The Importance of Omission

Hello dear reader. Well, I’m not sure how many posts I’ve got in me in the lead up to 2018… this may well be the last of 2017.

So what’s on my mind today?

Well, I’m just pondering upon something Quentin Tarantino once wrote about how, when it came to screenwriting, what he chose to omit was always just as important to him as what he would include.

Hmm… it’s interesting… I mean, Tarantino is certainly not the type of person that you think of as “Mr. Restraint”, but if you look at the original screenplay for his debut feature Reservoir Dogs it is a masterclass in lean economy; there’s not a speck of fat on that story and the fact that Tarantino leaves the very worst carnage in that story completely unshown (e.g. Mr. Blonde’s massacre in the jewellery store and the ear-slicing scene) makes it all the more powerful when left up to the imagination of the viewer.

“But what about all of the sweary dialogue and things like the silly Madonna monologue at the beginning of the film? Isn’t that completely gratuitous?” you might say, but I would argue otherwise; I would say that the uncouth dialogue and pop culture discussions that the characters engage in reveal volumes about their different personalities. They serve a real purpose.

For example, the unpopular views that Mr. Pink expresses on the etiquette of tipping (or rather not tipping) waitresses mark him out as a real individual and free thinker who doesn’t just follow the crowd and someone whose conscience is unburdened by the need to be particularly liked (a selfish streak that would in fact save his life through the course of the story, ironically enough).

Likewise, the fact that someone like Mr. White passionately sticks up for low paid waitresses demonstrates a person with clear empathy and compassion, sure, but later scenes where he talks racist trash about black people reveal the man to have a conflicted, contradictory sense of ethics at his core… something that really comes into play later on when the story becomes very much about White’s personal code of honour and how that impacts upon the fate of his colleague, the seriously injured Mr. Orange. This becomes the heart of the film, in fact. (***Note: since writing this I’ve had a rethink and I’ve come to the conclusion that “conflicted” is the wrong word to apply to Mr. White’s ethical rulebook. No… what I really meant to say is that, in terms of morality, he is a man who operates on a completely different code to most people… one that seems all about honour, but one that has some callous caveats which give licence to some pretty brutal behaviour.***)

As for the much-discussed Madonna monologue (by Tarantino himself in his role as Mr. Brown): well, that tells you that for all the character is intelligent enough to string together the words for a passionate (albeit vulgar) argument, his crude misinterpretation of Like a Virgin reveals a deeply immature, emotionally stunted man who likely resorted to a life of crime because his childish nature probably got him fired from every legit job he might have ever had.

Mr. Brown (as played by Quentin Tarantino): a man who just doesn’t understand Madonna…

“Okay then, Gary, you’ve droned on about Quentin Tarantino for the last six paragraphs – what does this have to do with anything?”, I hear you ask.

…Well, I’m just thinking about my process when it comes to blogging, really. As cathartic as it is to write these articles and as lengthy as they often are, believe it or not I often bin a lot of what I write; particularly my rants.

In fact I’ve written 2,000 word manifestos before today that I’ve thrown into the WordPress trashcan.

Why?

Because I feel some economy is important and I think that it’s too easy to get into the habit of writing about the things you hate all the time, particularly in a blog like this… and believe me, my frustrations are legion (especially when it comes to how unjust it is that people with Alcohol Use Disorder don’t have ready access to naltrexone and The Sinclair Method), but here’s the thing: if I were to let my anger overpower my emotional compass and if I just unleashed the beast then what example of supposed “recovery” does that really give?

No. I consciously choose a different path to lazy fireband polemics on here.

I choose love rather than hate.

Not that I’m a saint, mind. I don’t completely self-censor myself – hey, my writing on here is littered with words like “fuck” and “shit”… but the point is I am getting better with self-restraint and I think that makes me a better writer.

I think that another reason why I don’t turn this blog into The Orange Papers: Part Two is (a) because there’s enough blogs like that already out there, and (b) I’d like to think that I could actually strike up a reasonable conversation with any members of Alcoholics Anonymous on here without unnecessarily insulting them.

Rudeness is not the way to persuade anyone, I feel… and a little bit of courtesy goes a long way – even when you disagree with someone.

So that’s my thought for the day.

 

As for what else I’ve been up to: well, I got into the gym today and spoke to my trainer, setting up a new post-Christmas training regimen for myself that’s going to be truly brutal.

I also want to start the ball rolling with some driving lessons; something that’s been on my to-do list for too long and that has been a real impediment to my getting back into employment, given the number of jobs that require a clean driving licence – not having one has proven really limiting.

And, last but not least, I finally finished watching the last season of The Strain… which was good, though didn’t quite live up to the promise of the novels (though I do think that some of the changes made from the source material were bold, ballsy choices).

 

Okay, well that’s me done until whenever.

Have a safe and happy festive holiday, guys.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

P.S. Just on the subject of Madonna… not a huge fan, but I have always had a guilty appreciation for this track. It’s a mushy ballad, I know… but i can’t help liking what I like; one of her better earlier ones, that’s for sure. By the way, I can’t get over how young Matthew Modine looks in this video – flipping ‘eck! …He’s changed a lot between this and Stranger Things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn5OJGucveg

 

Zombie Christmas

Wow. It’s the 18th of December already? Only a week away now before the birthday of the most famous zombie in history.

Sheesh… I’m in a rut. The flat is an absolute tip and I haven’t been into the gym in ages. I’m also smoking far too much (a bad habit that I reacquired whilst on the psych ward during the summer – a habit that I’ve had some difficulty shaking off).

Though, on the upside, I managed to finish off my Xena homage for my friend Edie:

“Edie: Warrior Princess”. Pencil on A3 watercolour paper.

As regular readers of this site will recall, I started this piece just before my recent trip to London and showed off an earlier work-in-progress photo of it HERE.

So what do I think of it now?

…I think it’s okay, though the face (specifically the eyes) are a bit too asymmetrical, so I may have a bit of a further tinker with it before I post it off to Edie. Sadly, even if I post it off as is now she’s not going to get it before Christmas because of the distance it needs to travel (Edie lives in Brooklyn) and the fact that the international mailing system comes to a bit of a standstill at about this precise time of year.

But it’s not bad; not the best drawing I’ve ever done, but not the worst either. It might work quite well as the basis for a colour painting, actually. I think it would look quite nice in acrylics and I think that what I’d probably do is add a mist effect to give better separation between the figure and the castle in the background.

So – anyway – what else have I been doing?

Well, continuing the zombie theme, I’ve been playing Dead Island: Definitive Edition on my PS4 – trying to finish the game; but I’ve reached a point over three quarters of the way in where I’m a bit stuck, so I’ll need to look up a walkthrough on YouTube most likely.

God, zombies are brilliant fictional monsters, aren’t they? They really are the best fictional creation of the last century (RIP George A Romero, bless him) They’re sort of like the new nazis – ideal go-to monsters for any fiction writers that need completely disposable antagonists for a movie or a book or a videogame or whatever.

As for the rest of the week…

Well, through Facebook I caught up with a cousin who I haven’t spoken to in years. Which was fun – she now lives in Vancouver, Canada and runs a wedding planning business.

I must say, I quite admire the life she’s made for herself; I admire her can-do spirit. Like me, she sees the world beyond the self-limiting prism (or should that be “prison”) that many people from our hometown seem to view the world through.

What can I say… it’s great that Nikki’s made something of herself and it was lovely to hear from her. A really nice surprise.


A gut-busting “Munch box” from Chippizza served in a 16″ pizza box, containing a pizza, donner meat, a parmesan and chips.

It was also nice to spend some time with my brother last night, with the two of us pigging out on a massive “munch box” from a local takeaway called Chippizza and watching old episodes of The IT Crowd.

It was fun. We should do it more often.

Andrew’s an interesting character, actually. Like me, he’s quite creative… an excellent draughtsman… except that whereas my focus is more on art with an occasional bit of writing, he’s quite full-on as a writer… self-publishing three novels and contributing to scores of horror anthologies

It’s a shame that we don’t get to hang out more often. Alas, not only does he slave away on all of these books every day, but he also works full-time as a quality and control inspector at a local factory… talk about having a busy life.

One of the many small press horror anthologies – Fearful Fathoms – that my brother Andrew Bell has contributed a short story to.

…As for what else I’ve been up to, there’s not much else to report.

I’m still researching the Krampus legend… my hope is to bang out another piece of artwork before Christmas and I think Krampus would be quite a fun theme to have a crack at; I could see myself doing a whole series of artworks just on Krampus, actually… which could be potentially lucrative if I decided to sell any prints of my work.

Other than that I’m just ticking over, still acting as an administrator on the Your Choice, Your Recovery Facebook page – a role which I quite enjoy; it’s good to be part of something that really helps people with drinking problems. Especially at this time of year. It’s nice to use my experience with The Sinclair Method to benefit others.

And on that note, I think I’ll sign off for now.

Thanks for reading, it’s been a blast.

 

Peace and love,

GARY