My thoughts on Steve W. and the After Dark Facebook Live show

Firstly, a big hello to all of my regular readers – I hope you’re both doing well! (haha). I want to write a little bit about a friend of mine called Steve W. and his Facebook Live show, After Dark. This is a show produced through Rule62 (see: https://www.facebook.com/Rule62Live) and shared to 5 other Facebook pages including the Fuck Heroin Foundation.

A screen capture of the After Dark Facebook Live show
A screen capture of the After Dark Facebook Live show, hosted by Steve W. (note: this image has been edited to preserve the anonymity of the show’s commentators)

But first of all, time for an update:

Okay, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated this blog. Quite honestly, there hasn’t been that much to report.

In terms of all of my little hobbies… well, I’ve been trying to teach myself some basics with HTML using LinkedIn Learning and I’ve also recently revisited Adobe Photoshop, trying to master a graphics tablet that had become an ornament collecting dust on my shelf for the last two years.

I also set a new personal record by hitting the 130kg mark for my bench press at the gym, which is kind of cool (I think I’ll get up to 140kg in the next few months), but it is a bit draining; I often find that I’m pretty much physically and mentally f@cked after these brutal training sessions. Still, it’s good therapy. The fact is, after my mom was murdered two years ago I desperately needed a safe way to vent… a place where I could just go berzerk, throw weights around and smack the sh*t out of some punch bags. So for me the gym has provided the perfect sanctuary for my own particular primal scream. I’d go so far as to say that it’s saved my life, in fact. I don’t know how I would have kept as sane as I have without that catharsis. It’s become a way of purging myself.

As for the website and the YouTube channel, I have a few things lined up – a couple of podcast interviews and Dominik has promised a sequel to his last article on here. So things are ticking over nicely.

Okay, I think we’re up to date now. Time to get back to Steve:

I first connected with Steve as a result of my interest in the (sadly missed) recovery juggernaut that was Morris Rosenbaum-Benda and got chatting with him over Facebook Messenger. We chatted a bit and the truth is I liked Steve pretty much straight away. The indelible impression that I was left with was of a smart, funny man with a deep level of compassion for people struggling with addiction. And someone who’d seen a bit of the world, too – for instance, though he currently resides in Florida he’d worked for a time in the UK for the addiction treatment service Turning Point.

Despite Steve having had a different addiction and recovery experience than myself (i.e. Steve’s experience has been with Narcotics Anonymous, whilst I found The Sinclair Method after having drifted away from AA some years ago), we seemed to hit it off quite well… which is refreshing, because it’s got to be said that there’s often this weird tribalism that goes on in the recovery world with all of these different factions that are often very opposed to each other… something that puts me in mind of 16th century feudal Japan, with all these different warlords (or daimyo) ruling the roost in different territories. That probably sounds like an absurd comparison, but believe me when I say that there’s certain addiction treatment-themed Facebook forums where I’d immediately be attacked simply because I got well using The Sinclair Method. I’m seen as fair game for abusive behaviour simply based on the strength of other people’s biases and for the fact that I am “on their territory”, you see.

What’s really sad about this is that after this happens enough times you end up constantly being on your guard whenever you communicate with anyone who is an advocate of a different treatment method. And thus, to use another comparison, you run the risk of becoming a walled state yourself…  you run the risk of becoming North Korea when it comes to your attitude towards outsiders.

But not with Steve, I’m pleased to say.

He has been a breath of fresh air and has been really great to speak to. I cannot recommend his After Dark show highly enough. It is really well produced and Steve is a natural host with a relaxed, warm demeanour. The format that it adopts is not dissimilar to a radio phone-in, whereby people leave comments or even ring Steve (should they wish to) for a live conversation using Messenger. His regular followers (or “The After Dark Army” as they have become known) are also a decent bunch… just a nice group of people.

What’s striking is that Steve is up to his 674th show (674th!). Now that’s devotion. That level of dedication says something. It says you’re the real deal when it comes to wanting to help people and provide a haven. In fact, it’s the type of thing that would have really helped me back when I was struggling.

At the risk of turning this article into a novella, given what I’ve already mentioned about some of the crap I’ve endured on some forums I’d like to close with something that I tripped over in my newsfeed yesterday evening – an article on Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s campaign to make the web a safer place by urging governments, companies and private individuals to sign up to a contract to use the internet in a more responsible way  (see:  https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/05/tim-berners-lee-launches-campaign-to-save-the-web-from-abuse).

To quote from the article, Berners-Lee says:

Humanity connected by technology on the web is functioning in a dystopian way. We have online abuse, prejudice, bias, polarisation, fake news, there are lots of ways in which it is broken. This is a contract to make the web one which serves humanity, science, knowledge and democracy

My own thoughts on this? I think it’s a great idea. Whilst I champion freedom of speech, it should never be used as something to cowardly hide behind as a licence to abuse other people – there has to be some accountability. Alas, the situation that we often have is the well documented online disinhibition effect whereby people become oddly removed from the consequences of their behaviours on the internet and speak to other people in a manner that they wouldn’t dare to outside of cyberspace.

Oh well. That’s enough from me, I think. As ever, it’s been a blast writing again.

 

Peace and love

x

Gary