Given that I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone and have a go at new things, having very recently tried my hand at hosting video podcasts (see HERE), I thought that it would be good to try doing a conventional audio podcast interview and my friend Michael Dempsey of Recovery from Recovery fame kindly volunteered to be my first guinea pig interviewee for this little experiment.
So – without further ado – here’s what we came up with:
I think it turned out alright. Sure, there’s nothing in the way of any real production values… no jingle or anything… but that’s to be expected; and yes, the sound quality leaves a little bit to be desired on my end, but as far as first goes go, it’s not half bad.
I look forward to doing more and would like to thank Mike for not just being a brilliant interviewee, but also (being an experienced podcaster himself) a really good mentor and – last but not least – for lending a hand to clean up the audio for me.
Many, many, many thanks to him for that.
As for the content of the interview itself: I think it’s really good. The last half of the interview, in particular, is really insightful and I got a lot of identification from Michael’s observations of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Also, during the course of the interview Mike has some really useful expert advice for anyone wanting to set up their own recovery blog.
…Okay, well that’s me done for one article and one interview. It’s been a blast.
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”.
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:
Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
Answer the 11 questions asked.
Nominate no more than 11 other bloggers for the award.
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. 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?”.
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.
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).
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.
5. What is that 1 book that changed your life (you can also mention an incident if not a book)?
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.
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.
8. Which Superhero would you like to get if you could have a superpower?
…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 simplylooks cool – and there are millions of little kids on the planet who love dressing up as Batman who agree with me on that score.
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.
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…
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.
My nominees are:
Beckie’s Mental Mess
Barbara from myaphorisms.com
Stephen from A Fractured Faith
…And my questions are:
Why did you start your blog?
Which person (alive or dead) has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
What is one fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
Have you met anybody famous and – if yes – what were they like?
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?
What’s your favourite book?
Where do you stand on the “nature vs. nurture” debate when it comes things like addiction, mental illness and crime?
Name a pop song that you enjoy listening to but would feel really embarrassed to admit to liking to most people.
Should there be a “Blogger’s Code of Ethics” or do you believe in complete freedom of speech on the internet?
If you had a time machine what would be the first thing you would do with it? And why?
What would you like inscribed on your headstone after you’re dead?
…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.
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.
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.
“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,
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!
“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.
10:30 a.m. (ish)
…And I’m standing in King’s Cross Square filming this on my Samsung phone:
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.
Well, I finally got around to watching Dallas Buyers Club on Netflix and it was really good. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both turn in exceptional performances.
Sadly, what undermines this biopic is the way that it takes some extreme liberties with historical fact in order to make it fit better into a three act play structure… for example, both the Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner characters seen in the film are invented – they’re actually based on a combination of different people rather than two real individuals. They’re composities.
Another aspect that’s completely fictional is the depiction of Ron Woodruff (as played by Matthew McConaughey) as being a raging homophobe, when he in fact had no hostility towards gay people in real life and it’s since been suggested by several people close to Woodruff that he was actually bisexual.
But if you can allow your brain to shut that information out it’s quite possible to enjoy this movie for its depiction of a group of people with HIV/AIDS coming together to form their own “buyers club” in order to (often illegally) access the best medication available in order to prolong their lives.
The best parts of the film? For me, they’re easily the scenes where Woodruff is poring over books in the library and educating himself on the best treatment options available for the virus, ultimately becoming an expert in his own condition and ultimately a civil liberties hero in his fight against the FDA in order to allow AIDS patients the right to experiment on their own bodies as they see fit.
There are in fact several parallels which I see with the scandalously unfair fight that many people with Alcohol Use Disorder in many countries have on their hands trying to access naltrexone or nalmefene using The Sinclair Method… and the undignified hoops that some patients are forced to jump through in order to get hold of a prescription.
I also relate to the scenes where the Matthew McConaughey character is ridiculed for educating himself on his own condition and the best treatment options available. I’ve had this several times over the years, with an addictions worker once cautioning me that I “think too much”.
The democratisation of science is a scary thing for some people. Autodidactism is especially threatening to some doctors, it seems.
But the question should be asked: is it really monstrous arrogance to “act as your own doctor” and take risks such as importing naltrexone illegally when you’re forced into that position because you know the default medical paradigm in your location is woefully ineffective in comparison to The Sinclair Method?
When the system has you over a barrel and your choices are severely limited, are you really the villain for saying “Fuck off. I’m not playing by your rules anymore. I’m just going to import some damn naltrexone myself”.
I would say not. It’s not so black and white as far as morality goes.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the movie. Despite the lack of historical accuracy it’s still a good watch. I got a lot of identification out of it.
Another film worth checking out for that similar theme of laypersons on an autodidactic quest to educate themselves on medicine (in order to save their little boy) is Lorenzo’s Oil (see HERE). Well worth viewing.
Just back onto the subject of The Dallas Buyers Club: there’s quite an interest article here about a HIV patient inspired by the initiative of the Matthew McConaughey character who has recently injected himself with an untested gene therapy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41990981
Makes for interesting reading. It wouldn’t surprise me if gene therapy was one of the next things that they’ll look at for addiction treatment. Hey, you never know.
Okay, well I’ve ran out of things to say. Thanks for reading.
A new YouTube video by Katie about The Sinclair Method:
I must say, these videos are great. She’s a real natural – she has bags of charisma – and when it comes to my own recent still very amateurish video efforts (see HERE and HERE), I could learn a lot from Katie, actually – because these are really well made.
About the video: moderation wasn’t the path that I ultimately chose. I think that the reason for that was that I felt as if I’d drank enough booze for a lifetime and I just wanted it to be over… but isn’t it amazing that The Sinclair Method gives someone the power to have that choice?
Please be sure to subscribe to Katie’s channel. We need more videos like this please!
I’d actually love to see more people start up Sinclair Method-themed blogs and YouTube channels… so if you’re an aspiring writer or aspiring vlogger and thinking of starting something up (or have already set something up) please do drop me a line because I’d love to feature it on my website. It’s great to get that cross-pollination going.
***Edit: just regarding blogs, here’s something that I’ve just got to share – a blog by a TSMer friend of mine by the name of Nicky Katz (click on the image to open the site in a new tab):
I don’t think Nicky has updated it in a little while, which is a shame because it’s a really well done blog and I’d love to hear how he’s doing post-extinction. But please do check it out, because as I say this is quite a nicely done site.
In fact, I’m going to paste this into my resources section.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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.
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.