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Thanks for stumbling into my blog. It documents my journey in recovery from thirteen years of alcoholism, towards? Well, wherever it takes me. I hope you enjoy the ride. 

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Stumbling into fantasy . . .

Day 589

I was talking to a friend about fantasy fiction this week and thought about my own old, ancient writing from many, many moons ago. When I started writing in the early nineties I was writing fantasy and horror. Last night I came across this old effort of mine from 1997. At the time, I loved it. It even got published! But now, after so many years? I have to admit it makes me squirm and cringe a little: overly romantic, clichéd, saccharine-sickly sweet, faux erotic and . . . not very well written. Friends at the time used to ask me to expand it – a book, even. To their dismay I always said no. Thank god I didn’t waste my time. But it’s kind of cute. A newbie writer trying things out for the very first time and seeing where it goes. So what’s this post got to do with recovery and addiction? Absolutely nothing. Just a bit of nice self-reflection. A change is as good as a rest. We don’t have to be hardcore all the time. If you want to read some cream of the crop fantasy and Sci-fi authors: Freda Warrington, Storm Constantine and Justina Robson are stunning! 🙂


The Fallen.

Silent now, was the shore. Only the distant ebb and flow of the tide was to be heard. In the darkening sky, the clouds were beginning to pass and fade. The full image of the moon, whose rays shone over the vast beach, was now unveiled. Soon it would cover the eternal waters, repeating the rituals of nature, centuries old. The moon beckoned the shimmering sea back and forth like a father would to a child, offering promises of gifts. Only a parent as wise as this could offer the gift of life, love and all the mysteries of nature itself.

The obedient child obliged, slowly guiding the life within its celestial waters. The life, which also saw the child as an ancient guardian, a master that provided food and all the wonder the birthplace of the earth could offer.

Ancient as the game was between parent and child, it still offered new mysteries, fresh wonders of new birth and death.


For now, the child had been tainted crimson with the bodies of thousands of floating, silent warriors.

From the window, high in her stone fortress, the Scorpress watched these wonders as she had done for decades before. These wonders once held her mind captive. Now, tears welled from her depthless, red eyes.

Silence. The death-screams of her armies now gave way to the sound of the sea. Aside this, only the Scorpress’ grief could be heard. She tore her eyes away from the window and walked slowly to her throne were she slumped, staring at the timeworn stone floor. Her tears washed like tides. Her brave armies had fallen. All was lost. Thousands of warriors bobbed like apples in their watery grave. Others lay strewn on the beach outside the fort, their wounds staining the white sands the colour of berry wine.

Soon her enemies would smash their way inside. They would take her outside, parading their long-awaited prize in public and slowly, ever so slowly, slay her. The Scorpress rose and walked to the great oak table to pour herself a tall goblet of wine. She took one last look at herself in the looking glass.

Her human form always pleased her more than the others she could conjure. She discarded her robe, made from the flayed strips of skin of her enemies. In the dancing flames of the many candles burning around her, her dark skin glistened smooth like highly polished crystal with blood-red flashes across her stomach and tiny breasts. The contrast of pigments hypnotised all who were privileged or cursed to see her naked. Long, straight hair, black as cancer, poured down past her sleek back, gently brushing the floor. The only thing which belied her human shape was the long, muscular, leathery tail. It arced upwards from the base of her spine. At the end of which shone the deadly, hard ivory tip the size of a bull’s horn. It could gently caress a lover to the heights of passion and in the same breath, kill without warning. She lifted the tail over her head, the tip gently stroking the side of her face. Its warmth and smoothness gave her some ease.

Gritting her teeth she let out a deafening blood-scream, whipping her tail around at lightning speed, smashing the looking glass into razor shards which crashed to the floor around her. In her continuing rage, she destroyed in her path – unaware that the soles of her bare feet were being slit to ribbons by the razor-sharp debris. Tables, chairs, paintings; nothing was exempt from the scorned queen.

She fell to the floor helpless and breathless amid the havoc she had wreaked on everything she had once cherished. The stone floor was cold on her face, little pools of blood grew beneath her tattered feet. She whispered to herself, “I have failed my people.”

The door of the great room opened. Slowly, her breath now calm, she raised her head. Standing in front of her was Ethis, her lover. Staring into one another’s eyes, they shared the un-spoken conversation of defeat. The black-robed figure slowly walked to his queen. He knelt next to her and began gently dipping his hand through the river of hair. His touch was soothing, as it always had been. There was no need for words, just a caress and a soft breath spoke volumes for the two lovers.

Raising their heads, they heard the inevitable thunderous booming, reverberating around the empty castle. They were here. Their enemies had begun smashing an entrance inside, desperate to claim their trophy. It would be a matter of mere minutes before they were both found. The Scorpress quickly turned to Ethis, her eyes dazzled with urgency.

“They will soon be upon us my love,” her voice quaked. You know what we must do. Ethis nodded. They rose from the floor and gently embraced each other with a new calmness. It was almost as if, in the light of what they were about to do, they had all the time in the world. Facing each other, their cheeks now traced with tears, she blessed her lover’s soft mouth with a long, deep kiss. Silently she whipped her tail over her shoulder, its glassy tip plunging into her lover’s back, puncturing his skin as she pumped her lethal poison into his blood.

Ethis felt nothing. The Scorpress’ arms took the full weight of the lifeless body. Tenderly, she laid him on the floor. Then one last kiss.

“I love you,” she whispered into his ear. Once more, her tail arced over her shoulder, she placed its tip carefully between her own lips. Eyes closed, she drank. The deadly, warm, white liquid dripped deep into her throat. Her body rolled like a rag doll onto her lover. They both appeared as if asleep, in the wake of passion, tranquil and at peace. The Scorpress had finally won, denying her enemies their glittering prize.

Drawing by yours truly

Stumbling towards 2020 and beyond . . .

Day 587.

It’s Christmas! Yay!!!

Yay? Not yay?

When the familiar comfort blanket of alcohol and drugs has gone and the only thing mixing in your bloodstream is coffee or tea. You’re soberly watching with gritted teeth and stretched smiles, the world and his wife happily celebrating (ironically with various substances) this once joyous period for us.  It can be, and is for many – hell on earth. In fact, pick an occasion, any occasion: birthdays, funerals, weddings, new jobs, unemployment – you name it, the newly-clean and sober struggle. We try. People wouldn’t believe how hard we try to get through these things. If you could see the work we have to do in our heads to simply get to our beds at night, clean and sober – you would be stunned. But others don’t see it, they never will. We don’t want to talk about it and we certainly don’t want patting on the head. The internal war we have twenty-four hours a day is just, well . . . it’s just another day for us. It’s what we do. It’s what we have to do. But booze-fests such as Christmas, we have to up-the-anti, crank up the super-psychology and sharpen up and pull even more tools out of our boxes.


This Christmas, I won’t be torturing myself with thoughts of drinking alcohol like previous years. Why? I’ve put the mental work in. Lots of it. When you mix lengthening sober time and hard-core psychology together, you tend to calm down, think naturally and give yourself a break. But definitely, sober time helps, the more the merrier. It simply makes everything easier.


So: 1: Do I enjoy Christmas now?  2: Am I happy and contented? 3: Am I fixed?  4: Am I now a smug little bastard with all the answers now I’m sober? My answers in order: no, no, no and no.


1: I do not enjoy Christmas at all. I tolerate it and get through it because I don’t have a choice. Well, I do have a choice but I choose to do it sober. The other choice is no longer an option if I want a good and fulfilling life. This Christmas I know I can promise myself I’ll get to 2020 sober as a judge. The previous years I couldn’t promise that. I did make it through sober, but I couldn’t promise it. I tortured myself. I locked myself away in my room. I seethed with jealousy that other people were getting drunk and I wasn’t. The whole world was having a wonderful time without me. Yet another Christmas without my son. Another Christmas away from Colchester, my true home. The list goes on and on and on. But now the torture has gone. I simply don’t enjoy Christmas like I once did. No big deal – it’s just another day. Life goes on and always will – with me or without me. Life goes on. I might as well make it a good one. I’ve tried the bad way. It sucks. Baby steps.


2: I’m not happy and contented because I’m constantly guilty of internally beating myself up about my past. The wasted time. All my hopes and dreams. Please don’t do this! Also, my personal standards of what I do, how I do it and where I want to be, are high. Achievable but high. Not recommended! I always seem to convince myself I’m not good enough. It’s utter bollocks! I’m my own worst enemy. In recovery, all the above is a no-no! Very bad form indeed! But I’m getting better at giving myself a break. The past is the past and unless somebody invents time-travel, there’s nothing I can do about it. Would I even want to, now? Was the past really as good as I thought? Maybe. But maybe not. It’s the present and the future I need to obsess about now – and I do. My old thoughts of wasted time are now replaced with, ‘how can I make more time to fit in all the good stuff I want to do in life, in?’ A much healthier and practical thought process. Now, I want to stop time to catch up on all the good stuff. Forward now, not backward. Backward is an unlocked cage I trap myself in and never want to leave. Watching life on the wrong side of the bars. So – no I’m not happy. But things are much better than they were, and my old hopes are gradually becoming a reality. So for now, that will do. I’m working on Paulie: version 2.0. It’s a good version. Baby steps.


3: I will never, ever be fixed. But I will always have a choice: the easy choice of pressing the fuck-it button and drink, block everything out and have a shitty life again – or the hard, frightening choice to stay sober every day and see where it takes me. I eventually chose the latter. To live. To see what happens. To see what’s on the other side. So, this is what I’m doing now, day after day – seeing what’s on the other side of the cage bars and seeing where it takes me. So far so good. I have wonderful friends, a nice little job doing what I love, fantastic colleagues and so far, a nice little life. Far from perfect but nothing really is. Is it! So far so good. Baby steps.


4: Smug with all the answers? Nah, I’m just a little bit wiser, a little bit healthier, a little less stupid and my brain cells have finally kicked in. There are no answers when it comes to getting clean and sober. You can be guided, but no real answers. We are all different and we all find our own way. What might work for me may not work for you and vice-versa.  But one thing I do recommend that helped me and others I know. This!


Be selfish! No I don’t mean be an asshole to everyone. Be completely and utterly selfish with your recovery. Every list you ever make in your head, your life, your phone or on paper, make sure your recovery is number one, because if it’s not . . . the rest of your list  could eventually cease to exist. You have to put yourself first. Don’t want to do something because it will make you twitchy? Then don’t do it? Been invited out but you don’t feel safe? Don’t go. People think your weird because you’re not drinking alcohol at Christmas? Here’s some good advice – Fuck ‘em!!! It’s your life, your recovery and you know what works and doesn’t work. You’re in charge and you are in control. If others can’t accept that at Christmas or any other time – tough. Fuck ‘em!!!


So, my advice for Christmas? I haven’t any. My wish? That you are safe, as you find your own way. That you don’t crumble to other people’s pressure. That you put yourself above everything. Everything! That you get to realise Christmas is just another day. It will not kill you. That you try to pull some joy and gratitude from somewhere – anywhere! It’s there! You’ll find it, even in the darkest corners of the darkest rooms in your head. It’s there. Grab it and run with it until 2020 and beyond.

You’ll be fine. You’ll be ok. You’ll survive the best way you can.

I truly hope you find your way. Every day. Not just for Christmas or 2020. Forever!


Stay safe everyone xxx

Good luck. Find your way xxx




Stumbling into, not stumbling . . .

Day 586

A little more creativity before I post the ‘big’ stuff.

* * * *

When your life is pitch black,
Light it up,
I know,
It’s hard,
So hard,
To find your own flame,
When it’s been gone,
For so long,
Because of this,
Or that,
But it’s there,
It always is,
But the hardest part,
Is the search,
For something,
That the world,
Tries to snuff out,
After day,
After Groundhog day,
But you have everything you need,
To find your own light,
Just follow your own map,
Under your skin,
It’s in your DNA,
It runs in your veins,
It’s inside your heart,
It swirls in your soul,
It shocks your synapses into life,
It pushes,
And gushes your blood,
It flickers your lids,
Over the flash of your eyes.
                                 is . . .

You! ❤

* * * *

Stay safe everyone xxx

Stumbling into gratitude . . .

Day 564

It’s been a while. There will be a full-blown post at the weekend. But until then, a little bit of creativity that fell out of my head. Dedicated and inspired by my colleagues and friends that bravely and passionately help others fight their addictions, on the front line every day. I’m so proud to be part of the family. So proud.

Stay safe, all xxx

Pin-pricks of light

Stumbling around an illusion called time. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick . . .

Day 468.

This is a dark post. A bit grim, raw, nasty and not in the slightest bit uplifting. Because it’s the truth. The ugly truth. A snapshot of your future if addiction gets hold of you. But if you want your day shiny and brightening up, I’d skip this today. It’s not for you. It’s really not for you.

* * *

Everyday we hear people say the same thing. Time flies! Where does all the time go? I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed!. The time has literally gone! Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

The days, weeks, months and years are so chock-full of time that by the time we think of all that time, time and time again – it’s gone.

Addicts can magically change all that! Poof!

Once we have flooded our bloodstreams, brains and vital organs full of our substance of choice – time, no longer exists. And as far as we are concerned, it never did. Every day is a filthy, bloodied, tear stained, non-existent, Groundhog Day. Our next fix dissolves the minutes, hours, months and years into a liquid state like the bubbling heroin in a red hot spoon.

We exist in a swirling grey fog of nothing. Nothing is exactly what we get when we rub the magic, addiction lamp –  our first wish granted. We wish for our next fix – second wish granted. Then eventually, further down the line, ‘I wish the next one kills me.’ Give it time (wherever time is at the time) and that third and final wish will come true. It always does. Give it time.

Anything and everything simply merges. Life (whatever that may be) swirls around us like the dirty blood slushing in our veins. We have given ourselves a licence not to think any more. Our feelings put on pause. We laugh and we cry but we never know why. Some of us cut and slash our sickening skin because we need to transfer our searing mental pain into something tangible and physical. Something we can see. Something that doesn’t hurt. When we put the rage onto our bodies it never hurts. The pain is a million miles away, the screams, distant echoes. The dried blood and scars are an addict’s Braille that we read when the lights go out.

The door never opens because it’s always locked. The phone never rings after it’s unplugged or switched off. The outside world is simply that – outside! It only exists when it has to – when we get our drinks, when we meet our dealers or when we finally have to sleep in it. Life never comes to us because we’ll never let it in – we’re too embarrassed, too angry, too ugly, too far gone, too paranoid – too dead. We are corpses animated to the tune of just one more!

Time, because we don’t know where it is anymore: rots our food, rots our guts, makes us stink, takes our kids, un- employs us, desexualises us, imprisons us, removes our souls, cages our minds, makes the shop doorways our bed and builds our cross and crucifies us. But we don’t care. We never care. We’ve spent years and years re-wiring our brains and hacking our fleshy, sputtering software so that ‘giving a shit’ does not compute anymore. It crashes our system – blue screen – error 404. No option to reboot or reinstall . We are totally corrupted and lost. Blip! Gone.

All the clocks have stopped in our tiny universe. Nothing ever revolves around our world apart from drink or drugs or drugs and drink. Our weather is toxic and the ground is a waiting grave – stalking us wherever we walk, stumble and fall. Always there and it will have its day – the day we are worm food, plant food, maggot-ridden and fly-blown. Then it’s up to heaven and hell to fight over us and show us our new home. I wonder if Jesus still does his water into wine trick! Does heaven have a rehab? And can the biblical, molten, screaming eternal hell that our churches and priests condemn us to be any worse than our own that we created for ourselves? I doubt it. A walk in the park. A walk in the fucking park!

Stay amazing and safe xxx

An illusion in time.