Somehow we always try look on the bright side of life. It is a very human thing to do this as we develop our outlook to living. Yet we can be entirely frustrated by reality each and every day. We do really want things the way we prefer and this can be a real problem for us.
So we can determine often how we feel about our living today? This just a suggestion, we can have choice, yet it needs to be realistic and within our personal power to make them. Some choices need for others approval one way or another. We need to take account of these or we tread on others toes often without realising what is happening.
More later as time affords..
September 13th 2006 [ all about last year]
Last BBC post - a month in recovery
A Bridge to Modern Living
"I hurt myself today to see if I still feel I focus on the pain the only thing that's real the needle tears a hole the old familiar sting try to kill it all away but I remember everything what have I become? my sweetest friend everyone I know goes away in the end you could have it all my empire of dirt
I will let you down I will make you hurt"
Odd choice? A reminder of what life can be like when anyone is lost to themselves. I heard the song only this year. And it reminded me of how life became towards the end of my drinking days. A world of pain and self harm I guess and the song epitomises, ends and new beginnings, changes and regrets, choices and living.
We can be redeemed
Maybe this is why I took time to write these posts. Simply because there is so much more to living once we find a path. And like all life redeemed, when we get back on the road to modern living, we get everything there is, good and bad.
Back into the reality of life
When we have been absent a while and in our own world and insulated, coming back to reality is a bit of a shock. Whatever route or road we travel itís a bit of a job.
Beginning a new phase (written last night)
It is sad to stop writing here as I have on the Beeb, especially because I enjoyed sharing and the feedback from you KT. I know though it would be unhealthy long term to keep the post going as it is, for all the right reasons and traditions associated with my fellowship. Maybe if anyone wants to carry on, please feel free. I know much wiser bods who could do this and share the things we do a day at a time.
As they/we say in the fellowship, I hand it over, having done what I set out to do, to whatever may occur. For me though, it has to end here. I shall of course keep my own stuff going elsewhere, and that is really just my therapy.
I am wondering what I have shared over the last month, a lot about me? Well maybe, at the same time the journey is really about recovery from anything and everything. We may call it recovery, it is actually a journey back to normal living. There is a recovery fellowship out there for just about anything and worth a look if you feel inclined. Just use any search engine and see for yourself.
Mind you KT, I have enjoyed your humour and insightful words. I have been watching Newsnight, its burbling in the background. All about kids and a balance needed for education, play and life itself! As if we can separate this out into compartments. This is actually part of the problem. Life is a whole and itís the whole, and as you mention KT itís the balance and the middle of the road where most of life works. And a brush with concerns about depression in children was attempted on the programme. And the debate then collapsed as experts and their anecdotes left the debate lost in speculation and short on facts. Oh well maybe one day. There seems to be much misunderstanding about depression in adults let alone kids! And something about boredom. Experts donít really understand what boredom is either or so it appears!
I am very pleased to read your depression is not clinical. A relief, but as with any form of depression, reactive, marked reactive, or whatever flavour we get, itís a real illness and can be life threatening, it needs to be taken seriously or it will lead to more difficult problems as life is left unresolved. Cognitive behavioural therapy and all therapies have their place. And for every ailment everyone finds their treatment which works, and we get expert and then can become deluded by our own wellness when it comes to our knowledge and belief to helping others. Slick political types believe in panaceas, there are none when it comes to helping people sort out their lives. People actually need people more than anything and strong links and support for any turnaround and recovery. There is no convenient way to fix people, or we would fix ourselves wouldnít we, duh! And smiles as my fellowship thrives on the uniqueness of people and their one similarity, a desire to stop drinking.
What a good day to conclude
Well it has been a good day for me. And very happily its had mostly good and the usual amount of grit to make me take seriously what life is, blinking hard most of the time, smiles. Stephen Fry is doing a programme on his form of depression I hear very soon, what he has to say it is so relevant for anyone helping or working through their stuff. To know what he deals with and what we deal with, the differences and similarities. The better informed we are the better able to help ourselves and others.
Soho home for the soberly challenged (written this morning)
Well I did get to Soho yesterday and it was a great moment to wander up Frith street and see the old familiar places associated with the trials and trepidations over the last few years. I wrote to the Soho service when I self discharged from my nightmare experience in a rehab. The rehab as I mentioned did not do what it or the counsellors intended. But Soho did. Maybe by the time I got to Soho, my life was so undone, it was only then I truly had the gift of desperation to get well. Soho accepted me into their care service system and they helped me beyond measure get back on my feet. So while I may say my rehab experience did not work, I concede it did give me a perspective to get well, another way and that counts too!
As with all recent journeys itís a bitter sweet. Success for me, and less success for a number who came into that service. Some passed away in their attempt to keep sober and I saw people who became friends die from this illness, nothing tamed their compulsion to drink whatever was done to help. A lot did and have made it though and its better to remind myself of these newly recovering friends I still meet about London today. Some rarely as they are back in work and prosper, some in voluntary work and building their bridge. And some like me, still making it to the bridge and with a few other ailments to stabilise before we too find our role in living and contributing to life again.
Soho Alcohol Treatment Service, most likely one of the unsung heroes of the NHS, they do extraordinary work with people who have lost their will to live and help them get well, or like me have found their desperate attempts to stay sober impossible alone, and support will get us back on the road to living.
It was good to be back and wandering up the street past Ronnie Scottís and that took me back to many a good night, good memories of a different life.
My meeting went well and I am to participate in a small way in the conference to help determine future support to get people well across a range of services in the NHS. A low key conference where many services meet and help one another. I feel good to be able to be involved and included. And to be included and to give back some of my learning in recent years, to keeping to recovery and well being. As well as can smiles, some of us face new challenges here.
And being my last day of posting I went to two meetings. One big one and one small one.
The big meeting
Generally I go to big meetings to listen. Big meetings are more daunting and this one I picked, not far from Buckingham Palace is well known in the fellowship. Its like a trip down memory lane for me, I have not been there for over a year. It was good and a bit odd. Some meetings take on their own flavour and sometimes go a bit wonky. This one did as there were many out of towners and new people about. A lot of regulars and one person who used to be my neighbour in a hostel, before it got shut down for lack of funding and we were evicted. My second eviction in recovery. Funding cuts meant there was no money for the projects to continue as they had, to help homeless people with mental health issues. Thanks to my local council, I have a roof over my head today, albeit temporary, they were marvellous and kept me safe.
A good solid Ďchair personí and good discussion of recovery. And some procedural cock ups, smiles we do get into a stew when things donít go quite to plan, but overall a good recovery meeting.
London was mad busy and fractious so it was a tortuous journey on to my next destination. And I still got there without too much trouble, it did involve walking a ways, but the feet were just about ok, pain management and short breaks helped, not walking through the pain, but stopping and resting.
The small meeting
Smiles here as I know pretty much everyone who comes. Then we had four newcomers turn up. Which is absolutely great. We welcome them and they settle as we do for some discussion and sharing. We talk a lot and thrash out life experiences. Its all to the good. And ninety minutes later we are done. So from five to nine, two meetings and my head feels good, and inspired too by stories of how people are getting on.
Its good to hear how to get on, how to utilise tools of recovery, and good to hear what its like to be new to this again. We are all reminded how hard this life of recovery is and we must work at it everyday. Yes no holidays in recovery, its true, and its darn good to know!
Sometimes we hear friends hell bent on their next best step. And I made an unhelpful comment to a friend about what they are doing. It was taken completely the wrong way, or the right way, which indeed is my fault. I might have been better saying nothing, orÖ I guess I will never know. An hour later we are calm and resolved. It takes its toll on me, and my feeling was that I could have been more helpful another day or not at all. When anyone is set on a path, we need do our best to be supportive when asked, and not before. Its hard though, but the right thing maybe is to wait to be asked an opinion, and if honesty is requested, give it with care and definitely wait for it to be asked for. Volunteering obvious concern, well it is not good, I know and so understand my folly.
And then home and Newsnight last night. It is good to get about a bit better I reflect. The pain boundary is out to about ten minutes before it comes back as bad. So short bursts of walking are now possible with pain minimised. It comes back then quite ferociously. New learning.
Endings are just beginnings and Acceptance
KT, you reminded me about the acceptance of my type 1 diabetes. I guess I have. And over the years I have accepted what clinical depression is and does. And that I found recovery a key to a lot of my problems today. This is true.
I know that acceptance is part of my daily routine of life. Acceptance of all elements of living, we don't just get to acceptance we work at it daily. And I know there are a lot of issues I have not touched upon here. At my age, things change or get more difficult anyway.
The good news, I am reasonably confident and feel esteem for what has been achieved. The shape of our living does change as we get to know our true capacities and limitations. That some things are still possible and there are changes which rule out some old ways of living. Freedom from addiction is a daily reprieve and I do not underestimate the work daily to keep it so.
I have found community in the biggest city in the UK, in a fellowship I would never have dreamed would be my journey. I get so much from being in the company of people from all walks of life, particularly new people who are finding their way and the wisdoms of ages from everyone. I have a network of people again. The difference from times before, it was all about career and not what this network is about, living and life.
I donít know what bad news there is, really I feel the bad news is that much of what ails me cannot be fixed. Its all about doing the right thing with what I have and keeping myself checked out. The good news is the bad news is more manageable a day at a time as it happens and me being able to keep a clear head on my shoulders.
Type 1 diabetes will not go away, and is progressive. Clinical depression comes and goes as it chooses. Reactive depressions are more easily dealt with because I know why. Recovery is working for me a day at a time, and plugging into excellent services in the NHS when they are available helps and helped me stay alive long enough to gather my wits as life dealt some hefty hard knocks.
Johnny Cash, an inspiration to me over the years. And his words have double meanings and edges in how we read and hear them. We forget the power of Songs and writing as forget our own power and knoweledge is stirred daily. Thank goodness for poets and songwrites, philosophers and most of all people who live life and share it!
"I wear my crown of thorns on my liar's chair full of broken thoughts I cannot repair beneath the stain of time the feeling disappears you are someone else I am still right here what have I become? my sweetest friend everyone I know goes away in the end you could have it all my empire of dirt
I will let you down I will make you hurt
If I could start again a million miles away I would keep myself I would find a way"
A future Today
I guess the best news is every day we can start again, not a million miles away, and there is a way, to find whatís in our heart
By Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
And remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly & clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull & ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud & aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain & bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing future of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment
it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness.
Beyond wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees & the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours & aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy
Copyright © Don Oddy