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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/blog/neilfury
Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #2258138
This is my blog & my hope, writing daily will help me see my progress and log supporters.
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Previous ... -1- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... Next
September 19, 2023 at 11:44pm
September 19, 2023 at 11:44pm
#1055973
I have made an appointment with my GP for a referral to mental health services. I attend Tuesday's group meeting every week. I train every day without excuse. I am approaching three months clean and sober and have only had one lapse in the last six months. I'm not concerned about relapse...I have people who care about me...people who I can rely on if things change for the worse.

I spend around two (and sometimes more) hours a day writing posts for this blog. I hope those who come here have enjoyed what I have written and understand that I am not just doing this for me...I am doing this for us.

I didn't post yesterday because I wanted to see if anyone would answer the two questions I asked, and of the twenty or so people who have been on my blog since the last entry, no one...not one person could be bothered to share their experience in the matter I raised.

So be it...my membership approaches and if people cannot be bothered to spend a few minutes helping me, well why should I give a fuck (no question mark required because I already know the answer is silence) about them. I'm not angry, just disappointed.

There are some people I will miss, but mostly, not. I mean, what is there to miss when anonymous members come and go and never say a word...like ghosts...or ghouls might be more appropriate. Vampires who suck the blood of others and give nothing back in return.

I'll find a new home, and if people are the same there as they are in general here, then I will move on again. I have a feeling this is part of an epidemic of apathy and selfishness...akin to the mob mentality when toilet paper becomes the only thing that matters to people.

Thank you to those who have supported me by commenting and liking this blog and my portfolio. Now, I have work to do to make sure I have all of the items on my port transferred to files on my PC before my membership closes in a few weeks.

It's my birthday tomorrow...happy fucking birthday to me. This blog is now officially ended. Goodbye.
September 18, 2023 at 4:04am
September 18, 2023 at 4:04am
#1055899
I've been a member of WdC for almost three years now, and I still wonder if the stories I share on my port are relevant, understood or even appreciated.

I'm not talking about being popular, I am talking about the lack of feedback I receive on average per item read. It's an ongoing thing and anyone who has read this blog over time would be aware of how this state of silence affects me. There is a voice that tells me not to look at stats...that it doesn't matter if one hundred and sixty people have read a particular item, but only two or three could be bothered to share their thoughts on what they got from the experience.

I hear what they are saying, or not saying when I have to fill in the blanks myself. Common sense tells me they can't all be too lazy to write a few words of encouragement, or a few words explaining why they got nothing from my story. In the past on this blog, I have asked questions such as...is this lack of feedback the norm? And...do YOU have items with those kinds of figures? Then, over the following few days, it becomes apparent silence is once again par for the course.

Today, I had Bing do the math for me because although I don't write real good (sarcastically speaking), my math is even worse. Which is my own fault for leaving school without achieving so much as a junior level of education. So, Bing explained to me that only 1.25% of those who read my work review or leave a comment. The AI also told me that I shouldn't be discouraged by such lowly figures. And although I do appreciate the algorithm trying very hard to prop up my ego, I had to reply, "It's a little too late for that, Bing."

When my membership came up for renewal last year, one of the main reasons I didn't look for somewhere new to present my work was that I felt very indebted to this site and to those who have befriended and supported me...and also to those who did read an item and share their thoughts on said item with me.

I remember feeling exactly the same way then as I do right now...a little disheartened and somewhat perplexed as to why I continue to be on the nose with the vast majority of people who visit my port. And now, as my membership approaches, there is that same voice telling me this is not the place for me. That the stories I share and opinions I express are not supported or worthy of comment. And without any way to gauge how these readers feel, I must postulate that my stories are not clever or enjoyable.

I cannot help but feel that I belong somewhere or hope that there is a place where people will read something of mine and go...WOW. Something that has rarely happened here. Perhaps I am not worthy of comment. I admit there have been times when I have felt ostracised and definitely misunderstood. I am not the kind of person who goes along with commonality for the sake of acceptance and could even be accused of being resolute, but I call it being assertive.

There is a degree of guilt associated with all of this talk of leaving, especially when I hear a voice telling me I expect too much. A voice that reminds me of the times before I joined WdC, when I wrote in my bedroom and very few people read my words...and then telling me that I should just try and be happy with how things are here.

And you know what, I probably could be if I knew this was how it is for most members. But, as I say, no one has ever told me that is the case, and without any reassurance or data to go by, so I understand that it isn't just me, that there are others who feel the same way and have similar experiences with those who visit their ports, then I have to assume that I am the problem.

I am not going to leave, but it might be worth the extra investment to join another site and see what things are like there.

I hate blame because it serves no one, but I can't help but think this lack of feedback, if it hasn't to do with my work per se, might possibly be a side-effect of social media, where many people are only interested in promoting their own brand. I would love to think that statement is going to upset any member who reads it and be vehemently denied, but past experience, logic and a growing sense of apathy are telling me otherwise.

I think that after three years, it can be safely assumed that you, and a large portion of the people who visit my port, are probably not my target audience...but there might be one out there who will understand me and like what I do.

I am proud of how I have progressed in the three short years I've been here. And considering when I first joined, I struggled with the mechanics of writing due to my aforementioned lack of education, I really do feel I have come a long way.

I hope this post doesn't come across as simply a big whine because there is no bitterness here. I would like to think anyone who puts their heart and soul into their work and then posts it on any site would want more for the effort than they get from those who come, read and leave without giving anything in return...not even a thanks. This isn't Napsta, but simply a desire for a small degree of recognition for the work and a little respect from those who consume it. And if that is too much to ask, then perhaps the answer is that I was born in the wrong century, before manners and approbation became a thing of the past.
September 17, 2023 at 2:51am
September 17, 2023 at 2:51am
#1055854
What do you get when you cross a group of alcoholics with a non-drinker? An uncomfortable standoff.

The last time alcohol crossed my lips was in early November 2018, at my hotel in Patong, Thailand. While I was there, I would wake late (but not late enough to miss breakfast) and leave my room. Then I would search the corridors for hotel staff who refurbished the rooms, so I could tip them 100 baht each (along with the traditional Thai bow, wai). Then, with the wonderful feeling this gave me filling my heart with joy, it was time to hit breakfast hard...hard enough so I didn't need to eat again until late afternoon. I would then return to my room for a little rest, allowing the food to settle before changing into my swimmers and heading to the pool. Once I had a deck chair sorted, I would order a pina colada and alternate between reading a book on Theravada Buddhism and subtly (or perhaps conspicuously) check out any Russian women (who seemed to be everywhere in Patong) most of whom liked wearing string bikinis poolside...and I, for one, had no issue with this.

Looking back...is it any wonder I dream of returning to the land of smiles?

Yesterday, at Ash's party, I was the only one who wasn't drinking alcohol (besides the kids). This doesn't usually bother me...in fact, I hold up my sobriety (from alcohol and other drugs) like a badge of honour. But there weren't enough people there for my non-drinking ways to go unnoticed by the majority in attendance. Peer group pressure became an issue...not for me, but for them.

I don't want to sound like someone who gives in easily to this kind of controlling behaviour because I'm not. If I decide to dig my heels in on any matter, wild horses couldn't make me change my mind. But because it was my new friend's birthday, and it was becoming obvious that my not drinking was causing some degree of chair-shifting among the devoted practitioners of the drop, I gave in to peer group pressure (for the greater good of all in attendance), had one shot of Black Sambuca (I do like the taste of licorice, and at the same time, the silencing of voices saying, "Go on...just have one!").

And once the fist pumps (I'm not joking either) were completed, I was accepted into the group as one of their own. It was then things relaxed markedly and I had a pretty good afternoon. The alcohol had little effect on me and didn't come close to touching the significant dose of caffeine I had consumed before leaving for the party.

Caffeine... as we all should know, is a psychoactive drug (isn't it ironic that no one is pointing fingers and judging addicts of caffeine, especially those who are addicted to caffeine)...(and yes, I know, drinking coffee is socially acceptable and better health-wise than being addicted to meth), that flowed like a raging river through my body, before attaching itself to the appropriate receptor sites in my brain, which in turn, released just enough dopamine so that I could enjoy the next few hours, despite witnessing the downhill slide of all those around me.

Despite them knowing I wasn't truly one of them, my hero status was secured (at least until the next morning when they wouldn't remember me or my good deed) when the group realised they had consumed almost all of their supplies and needed more alcohol. I saw my opportunity to kill two birds with one generous offer...to drive the least drunk of the lot to the bottle shop. The compromise was once my mission was complete, I would bid farewell to my copilot and go home.

Once home, I got on my bike and rode for forty minutes...glad to have survived the party and the ride (always).

All in all...my fear of going to the party was not as bad as the reality...just.
September 15, 2023 at 7:08pm
September 15, 2023 at 7:08pm
#1055784
I've been invited to Ash's birthday party today. It starts early, at 11.00 am and I'll be arriving on time and leaving early. Ash and Tamara don't use meth anymore and have just passed three months since they last used. But, they are still addicted to nicotine, Tamara gambles online (slots) and craves unhealthy food...and today, they will both be drinking alcohol.

Alcohol is the worst drug for me to be around because my entire family are alcoholics. As a child, my older brother abused me and it was worse whenever he was drunk. The only people who didn't have alcohol issues were my Mom and me. Hell, I would rather be at a party where everyone was high on meth than to be around people who are drunk.

I've already told them I won't be staying long. I'm not much of a social butterfly and crowds are definitely not my thing. Once I've had enough, I'll come home and go for a ride. I'm feeling a little anxious about it all, but I'll be OK.
September 15, 2023 at 5:59am
September 15, 2023 at 5:59am
#1055765
TV is shit. Repeat programming and advertising that grinds the senses to the point of insanity. When my Mom went into aged care, I bought her a smart TV, and when she died, I brought it home and set it up in my lounge room. Now, instead of watching free-to-air TV, I'm watching a lot more YouTube channels. And because of the way programs are recommended by way of algorithms and previous searches, over the months, I've been watching a lot of documentaries and podcasts that seem more instep with my interests.

There are way too many to mention here, but one in particular I've been getting into is a podcast called, 'Have The Balls To Talk'. It's basically a men's club where the subject matter reflects some of the issues men try to deal with. The main focus is how we, as men, can improve ourselves and our lives...and thereby, improve the lives of those around us.

I'm watching one at the moment about addiction, and the sobriety coach who is guesting REALLY knows his stuff. The title for this post came from him. I'm astounded at the high rate of substance use disorder among males of all ages. That was a stat that I found horrifying...and here I was thinking I was the misfit.

I was so impressed by what he had to say, and what he said made me realise that although at this point in time, I am killing it, there will come a time when I will be challenged by circumstances or feelings that could potentially make me a lot more vulnerable than I am right now.

I (and anyone for that matter) can see how easy it is to fall into a false sense of security...that I HAVE fallen into a false sense of security. Thoughts of using, at this point in time, are far from my mind. But now I am aware that despite being on top of the world (for now), thinking that I am ten feet tall and bulletproof against relapse, the reality is some time soon, things could change and I may be (or am likely to be) at a high risk of having a fall. And because I am riding high on a wave of success, if or when I falter, it could be a fall I will never recover from.

I need support to deal with the demons that right now lie in wait...as they always have done. I want to believe that I want this life more than I want the high...that I want how I feel right now, to go on forever. But looking at this through clear eyes, I can see just how stacked the odds are against me. I can use it to my advantage because I'm a fighter (although I hate violence) and the thought that my addiction will beat me makes me want to scream...NO IT WON'T! But the reality is I must seek professional help because going it alone significantly reduces the chances of me finally beating this addiction I have to drugs.

I know I quit counselling only a few days ago, but I wasn't getting anything out of it. No disrespect to the people who offered to help me, but they are not psychologists and although I haven't had much luck finding someone whom I felt comfortable with in the past, doesn't mean I should just sweep my issues under the carpet and hope for the best. I need a referral from my GP, which will give me twelve sessions with a qualified psyche. All I have to do is find one I like and get to work.
September 14, 2023 at 2:06am
September 14, 2023 at 2:06am
#1055717
At Tuesday group, we begin by going over the week that's been and finish with our goals for the week ahead. I usually manage to come up with things like, 'stay off drugs' or 'exercise every day'...very sensible, but fairly obvious and vanilla. This week when Katie asked me about my goals for the rest of the week, I blurted out, without much thought about exactly what it was I was committing to, that I was going to wake up every morning, take my first breath, appreciate that I am still alive and live in the moment.

All very easy things to say, but achieving them is, as I have found, much more difficult to do. I mean, how can we live moment to moment without thoughts of the past and future interrupting? Waking up and taking that first breath is the only thing that isn't done with intent, and so, what comes next is a decision...wash my face and brush my teeth...which is a plan and not living in the moment in a literal sense. Or so I believed.

Today, as I rode up a hill on my bike, I almost unconsciously selected the appropriate gears, changing down one gear at a time to make it easier to pedal as the grade of the hill increased. As I did this, I settled back into the seat for the climb ahead and then focused on my breathing. There were no thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow...just me making my way up that hill.

I have been contemplating learning how to meditate, but I don't think I would be a good student because I find it hard to completely clear my mind of all the stuff that needs to be done tomorrow, and all the things that I didn't get done yesterday. And today, as I crested that hill, came the realisation that what I had just done IS a lot like meditation.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a sceptical bastard and doubt almost everything I am told...at least until I can prove it for myself. It doesn't matter if it is religion, science, or what people say their intentions are in general, I tend to take it all with a pinch of salt until shown otherwise. I have grown to understand that the only person I can truly rely on is me. That's not to say I think all people are liars, but as we age, and the people we knew and trusted become memories, leaves a person with a degree of scepticism, and in my case, feeling rather jaded.

I acknowledge that these feelings of negativity do nothing to help me get through life. Yes, it might be harder for someone to take advantage of me, but at what price? The majority of people we meet are not bad people, but in saying that, I challenge anyone to stand up and say they have never done a bad thing in their life. I know I can't.

I'm not talking about regret, that's a whole other subject, and I go to a quote we all know..."Let he who has no sin cast the first stone."

The point I am trying to make is, if I want to achieve my goal this week, I need to accept a few truths. One is that what has happened to me in the past will not change, no matter how much thought and energy I focus on it. And, in my opinion, the hardest thing to accept...that tomorrow is not mine to control. I can plan my day and hope that things work out how I wish them to, but as we all know, the best-laid plans are destined to fail.

What a conundrum...without plans, we meander through life like amoeba existing on a plate, and the reality is, if we do this, nothing will ever be achieved and would be akin to living life like a Buddhist monk...who, when it comes down to it, still makes plans for the day ahead. So, my goal for the week, which was to take each moment as it comes, is by definition, unachievable, especially in today's society.

Taking all of this in stock, there have been a few moments since waking up on Wednesday morning when I did experience what I thought I might by living in the moment. It was a very strange feeling to me, and I am having a hard time finding the right adjectives to accurately describe them. Freedom...contentment...peace...humility...comfort...joy and awakening are a few.

The things I imagine someone who prays might feel...and perhaps someone who is experienced at meditation. And when I think about it, I can't see much difference between the two. If you told me a year or two ago I would be saying things like this, I would have scoffed. But now, I accept there might be more to life than my cynical outlook has allowed me to see.

Next Tuesday at group, when Katie asks me how my week went, I will say that there were moments when nothing else existed but the here and now. But, I will have to admit that my goal was so much harder than I could ever have imagined. We are all works in progress...from the moment we are born until the moment we die. And perhaps living in the moment, taking that fact into account, is the balancing act we could all benefit from.
September 13, 2023 at 7:24am
September 13, 2023 at 7:24am
#1055693
I received a review today from a member called WriterRick...it was a great review...very detailed, and I must admit, I was quite flattered that he thought my story was good. And as a return gesture, I reviewed something of his. When you think about it, this gift of reviewing we give to each other is, if we all participate, like a perfect dynamo that should never run out of energy.

Thanking him in my reply, I pointed out one of the reasons I don't review as much as I should. Taking the time from our lives and gifting that to someone here on WdC should, in my opinion, receive a reply of thanks, at the very least. And if possible, a review of their (or someone else's) work in return.

Unfortunately, there have been times when I have reviewed someone's work and heard nothing back from them. I found this to be very disappointing and it has led me to become somewhat bitter, not just towards them, but towards the act of reviewing. I know I shouldn't have allowed a few people's thoughtless actions to affect me in such a negative way, but it has.

I know if it happens to let it go, but the truth is, as much as I may try to put it in the past, it has had an effect. I cannot help but think how different it would be if everyone was more courteous and showed the reviewer our appreciation and respect by simply saying thank you.

And even in our lives offline, giving randomly is such a great thing to do and benefits not just the recipient, but us as well. I imagine random acts of kindness would cause elevated levels of dopamine to flow through our bodies.

This giving attitude is part and parcel for many people, but it has only been in the last few years that I have become aware of how important it is. Because if we don't, it deprives us of a very special feeling. Buddhists know this all too well, and although giving shouldn't be viewed in this way, I doubt much good karma comes the way of selfish people.

As the weeks go by, the couple from my Tuesday group, Ash and Tamara (who I was, at first, reluctant to become friends with), have become closer to me. Ash and I are now firm friends and he has a birthday coming up this weekend. About a year ago, his cousin died. They played guitar together, and after the loss, Ash stopped playing and sold his guitar. I had no idea about this. I knew that he played and didn't own an instrument, but not the reason why.

Now, to me, a guitarist without a guitar is a tragedy, and with his birthday coming up, I put my feelers out and a friend (the one I spoke about a few days ago who smokes lots of pot) found a really nice Ibanez acoustic with a stand on Facebook Marketplace...and it was a bargain. So, with my upgraded awareness of how good it would feel to give something that I hoped would mean a lot (and much better than a bottle of alcohol) to him, yesterday, I presented it to him.

I wanted him to have a few days to practice, so he could get used to it and perhaps play some tunes at his party. And that's when he told me about his cousin. I could see how moved he was (and I was too), but as soon as he picked it up and began to play, I think we both knew it was meant to be. His art had been lost from his life, but now, it's back.

The friendships we lose because of addiction are now being replaced. The fact is that friendships are one of the main things addiction rips away from us, but once we find our way out of the haze, those losses make us realise what it is we risk if we weaken and risk everything we have worked for.
September 12, 2023 at 1:20am
September 12, 2023 at 1:20am
#1055615
I don't think I am as talented as my port might indicate (read with a pinch of sarcasm). It's been almost three years since I joined WdC and in that time, I have posted two hundred and nineteen pieces (I would love to know the total word count). In my opinion, I'm not a novelist (that's a fact) and not much of a poet either. After three years, you would think I would fall naturally into some niche of what kind of writer I am. Licorish allsorts, anyone?

I know that unless I'm really sad or, on the other hand, extremely happy, my creative state of mind is as barren as a dessert. But, a dessert only looks barren. If you were to look below the hot dry sand, there are many things there you might not expect to find. And this is where I find myself most days, sitting with my laptop, and wondering what I can write that will hold someone's attention long enough for them to learn a little more about my life...the victories and challenges I face going from one day to the next.

This is the process I usually follow. Out on my ride, I try to multitask by staying alive AND pondering all that is going on in my head. I've found the best way to come up with something write-worthy is by simply coming up with a title and then flying by the seat of my pants (the latter I learned recently is something some writers and hopefully fewer pilots swear by). If it works, I can't see any reason to change it, and I suppose it may contribute towards a style.

There are times when I will revisit and revise the work on my port as a whole. I'm looking for grammar, punctuation, and presentation issues. I'm not sure about you, but sometimes I will come across a title and have no clue as to what it's about. Of course, once I open said story/poem/essay/quote, the light comes on and the memories return. But there are some items that leave me wondering...where the hell did that come from?

These pieces are, for want of a better explanation, glitches in the matrix that my other self must have written without me knowing. I have to concede that the other Neil is way more talented than I am. I heard an interview once with a singer/songwriter, and she mentioned that there are certain songs she wrote and she has no idea where they came from. Robert Plant said the same when he penned the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven...stating it was like his hand wrote the words without his control.

Before having a similar experience myself, I put it down to drug-induced psychosis or creating legend. That was until one afternoon when I sat reading words I had little memory of writing. It felt like one minute I had nothing, and the next, there was this poem that had me scratching my head. It's a profanity-laden piece about an asshole whose girlfriend left him (and for good reason I might add). It isn't nice or sweet and is definitely not a popular piece on my portfolio. But the thing is...I love it, and in my opinion, it's one of the best things 'I' have ever written.

"Don't Ask Me Why

Perhaps I should stop trying to promote a piece that most people (so far) hate (bar a few more discerning types). But I can't let go of the feeling that if I find the right audience (which is definitely not here at WdC, going by past experience), this satirical little story of a man who is out and out revolting, could become something of a hit (more likely here in Australia). And if it ever gets made into a song that goes viral, I will be glad to accept the undeserved exultation on behalf of Neil from another dimension.



September 11, 2023 at 3:06am
September 11, 2023 at 3:06am
#1055561
I just found out a good friend died yesterday in a motorbike crash. I love bikes, but they are so dangerous. I sold my bike six years ago after a bad crash that could easily have killed me, and as much as I would love to get myself another one, I know the risks are too high. Losing a friend only reinforces my determination to fight as if my life depends on it because the bottom line is, it does. RIP, Swing.

I notified Meals on Wheels and my counselors that I wouldn't be coming back, and I feel a sense of relief. I expect within the next few days the fund managers for my 401k will be in contact to let me know what issues I need to address for the application to be accepted. Just ticking boxes and getting things done.

It's been almost eight weeks since I lapsed. It will be interesting to see if the three-month curse rears its ugly head again. I've experienced almost no cravings since then, and none whatsoever over the last four weeks. I'm feeling confident, but not overconfident about my chance of avoiding a possible relapse. I'm acutely aware of how quickly things can change, and one day at a time is still very much the way to live.

Training is going really well. I haven't missed a single day in eight weeks. My body complains every night as I climb into bed, or even when I stand up to get out of a chair (especially if I've been sitting for a while), but the pain is just God reminding me that I'm still alive. I can feel my body changing and getting stronger, and I like it...I like it a lot.

September 10, 2023 at 2:14am
September 10, 2023 at 2:14am
#1055516
I did my first day volunteering for Meals on Wheels on Friday...and I hated it. The guy training me stunk of cigarettes and BO, and I had to sit in a car with him for two hours. And to make matters worse, on two occasions he berated me for unclipping my seatbelt before the vehicle had come to a full stop. It was all I could do not to yell back at him, but I thought it best to bite my tongue, get the morning over with and get to my psyche appointment without the angst.

It was my third psyche appointment with two counsellors each time. I used to think it was two counsellors, and not one, for safety reasons (and I'm still not convinced it isn't), but they insist it isn't. At each of the three appointments so far, there have been different people taking the session. I like consistency, but apparently, for the last three weeks, there have been people away sick, and that's why they have been different each time.

And to top it all off, the last session didn't go well. Upon reflection, perhaps the experience with the Meals on Wheels driver/trainer put me in a negative frame of mind, but in any case, I wasn't happy once the session got underway. One of the counsellors was trying her hardest to facilitate, but was obviously inexperienced and was failing badly. The other looked bored and after the morning I had, on the way home, I came to a decision.

I have to be up at 6:00 am for Meals on Wheels, and I am no longer a crack-of-dawn kind of guy. So the decision to quit Meals on Wheels came easy. I have plenty to do around the house that will keep me occupied anyway, and they seem to have enough people on their books. And, as far as the psyche/counselling sessions go, I have given it three weeks, and I don't think it's helping me. I still plan on attending Tuesday group meetings, and this is where I feel most at home.

I admit I have stuff I could work on as far as my mental health is concerned, but I am not acting up right now, and still have a lot to do winding up Mom's estate. I figure that trying to take on too much, along with the fact the two-on-one sessions are not getting me anywhere, justifies dropping them. Perhaps at a later date, when I am feeling less overwhelmed, I will seek a psychologist to work on things proactively and hopefully, before any underlying issues become a problem.

I know one thing...it has been a long time since I had a holiday and relaxed poolside with a pina colada in hand. I think that exploring the countryside in a foreign land, instead of stressing about all the things I am doing right now, will be the best therapy.

I know quitting things may sound like a cop-out, but I am making the best decisions I can whilst on the run. There is no doubt the most important choice I make every day, is not to use meth...and so far, it's working out very well for me.
September 8, 2023 at 3:07am
September 8, 2023 at 3:07am
#1055351
Finally, I filled all of the criteria required for the application to get my 401k one year early. Pulling a tooth with a pair of pliers is one analogy I could use if I was being dramatic. A huge pain in the ass, if being reflective, and following all of the guidelines set out under the rules...now that the application is done and posted to the fund administrators.

Without a doubt, there will be some technicalities (uncrossed t's or undotted i's) on the application, that will delay the process...a delay I anticipate and am prepared for. I now have two doctors who have signed the claim forms, the second just a few hours ago, which was the last hurdle on my part. Now, I just have to await the decision, which should be a formality.

I didn't sleep well last night because of the stress and anxiety this whole process has caused me. Having to practically beg my regular doctor to sign was a definite lowlight. But, as they say, every dark cloud has a silver lining. That came in the form of the doctor I saw today, who recently started at the same practice. Instead of acting like I had asked him for a kidney, he looked at the form and filled it out without fuss. And so, I now have a new GP...not that my old one will notice.

The weight has been lifted and I am now looking forward to an early night in bed.

There was a bonus that came just before I left for my doctor's appointment when Mr Singh, the gentleman who owns the two adjoining properties, called by to make a fresh offer on the house. I laughed and said that he must really want to buy my place. He laughed too, but then made a substantially higher offer than the one he made a month ago. I asked for 24 hours to give him a decision, but now that it is likely I will be able to pay out my siblings and keep the house, I am going to have to decline his kind offer...at least, for the time being.
September 7, 2023 at 4:25am
September 7, 2023 at 4:25am
#1055287
Again...in baseball terms...This kid is really making things happen out there. Batter steps up to the plate...here's the pitch and he's going, and what a jump he's got. He's trying for third, he's in the dirt...safe at third...holy cow, stolen base. He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher glances over, winds up and it's bunted down the third base line...the suicide squeeze is on. Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close. Here's the throw, here's the play at the plate...holy cow, I think he's gonna make it...(Thanks again, Meatloaf RIP)

Stop right there...they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But today, I would have preferred to use a 12-gauge.

I attended my appointment with the specialist orthopedic surgeon earlier today, the application for early release of my 401k in hand. And, almost as soon as I sat down, he told me he wouldn't be filling out any paperwork. When I questioned why, he looked at me like I was an imbecile. I noticed that when he spoke, he did it slowly, I guess just in case I had trouble understanding what he was trying to relay to me. He explained that if I was covered by medical insurance, he would examine me and offer the insurer a quote to (attempt to) fix my knee. This, he said, even if they chose not to go down that path, would set them back 3.5k, and in hindsight, I wish I had asked him how much it would take for him to sign my papers if I paid in cash.

The only solace I took from the situation was when I resigned myself that I was back to square two and that arrogance IS such a great equaliser. Once I realised I had wasted my time, which, funnily enough, was about two minutes after he realised I had wasted his time, when he saw me walking towards him, papers in hand, and knowing I had zero chance of convincing him otherwise (I knew tears were not going to affect this one), he became just another wanker from my past.

There's still a glimmer of hope. Tomorrow I have an appointment to see another GP, who my administrator has assured me, if I can convince him to sign, will be enough to lodge the application. And if not, I have another plan, after all, failure is simply a stepping stone to eventual success.
September 6, 2023 at 3:37am
September 6, 2023 at 3:37am
#1055236
Without drugs in my life, everything is so much easier (ahhh, durrrr). But here's something that most people wouldn't take into account. It goes back to the old, positive vs negative effect, and there always being some of both in every situation.

You see, while I am using meth, it's like I am quite literally dragging a weight behind me...emotionally, mentally and physically. Now, this extra burden, whilst having an extremely negative effect when I am using, once I stop, it's like the weight is suddenly removed and all aspects of my life become so much easier. I cope better with stress, train with determination and have energy to burn. I'm also more content and accepting of things I have no control over.

I hope I will realise all of this when my thoughts go back to the high...remembering the weight that if I decide to take on, will drag me down yet again.

At the group meeting last night, I felt something I rarely do these days...anger. God (or whoever it was that entrusted us with emotions) gave us this useful emotion for fight or flight situations. I like to imagine one of my forefathers being confronted by a crisis where his offspring are being threatened by a Sabre Toothed Tiger, and instead of fear, anger took over and he successfully defended his children. Because if instead, he had run away, perhaps I may never have been born.

Anger doesn't have as glorious a place in modern society as when my ancestor put his life on the line for me to have a chance to exist. But that doesn't mean it is completely redundant. Many years ago, I did a better men's course (a domestic violence course). There, over twelve weeks, I learned how to be assertive, and not passive-aggressive as I had been before. It would be nice to think we can negotiate our way through life, without having to get angry. But, no matter how civilised we become, there will always be a time when negotiation fails, and we must make a stand...fight or flight. You will not find anyone more against war than I am, but unless we are willing to stand up to tyranny, we will eventually all become slaves to a regime.

In the meeting last night, two guys arrived late. One had attended the week before for the first time, the other was a newbie. Katie allows the group a certain amount of freedom for banter (a little too much, in my opinion), but we all take turns to speak and it usually works out quite fair in the end. The latecomers looked high, and even though there is no way to prove it either way, I have a fair amount of experience on the subject. I have to confess, their lack of punctuality did nothing to win me over, and then, while one of the group regulars was speaking, the newbie interrupted and took over by telling us all his story.

It was all I could do not to lose it. I questioned them both about how long it had been since they last used drugs and of course, it was a few drinks the night before. As a mark of respect to Katie, and as hard as it was for me to do, I let it go. But, what I couldn't let go of was the anger that continued to boil inside of me. If it had been me on my own and someone insulted me, I would likely laugh and try to calm the situation, rather than escalate it. But, insult someone I care about, and I become a completely different animal. It got to the point where I had to leave the room to try and calm myself down. All of my thoughts were focused on them, and not on why I was there...to work on myself. After ten minutes of being outside, I returned feeling a little less hot under the collar.

But the whole thing bothered me, and today, I wrote Katie an email explaining how I felt. I said that she shouldn't have allowed the fellow to act so rudely, and if they showed up again next week in the same state and with a similar attitude, then she had better take the bull by the horns because as much as I am a gentle soul, I have no problem with teaching respect when required. I told her she has our full support and that no matter the situation, we will stand by her if required.
September 5, 2023 at 8:10am
September 5, 2023 at 8:10am
#1055197
Or in baseball terms...Ok, here we go we got a real pressure cooker going here...two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth. There's the wind-up and there it is a line shot up the middle...look at him go, this boy can really fly. He's rounding first and really turning it on now. He's not letting up at all he's gonna try for second. The ball is bobbled out in centre and here comes the throw and what a throw. He's gonna slide in head first...he's out. No wait, safe at second base...(Thanks, Meatloaf. RIP).

I saw my GP today hoping to get him to sign off on the form declaring to the administrators of my 401k that I am permanently incapacitated and unable to work in the job I am trained for (heavy truck driver). I didn't foresee a problem, but as is the way, my doctor didn't agree with my assertion that it was unlikely I would ever be employed as a truck driver in the future.

I couldn't understand his issue, after all, in twelve months, I can claim my money anyway. The problem is my siblings are unlikely to be willing to wait a year for their payout. I have to admit, in the moment, whilst my doctor and I went back and forth arguing our points, I became desperate. There was a lot at stake and I did what I had to do.

Addiction teaches a person many things, and how to manipulate a situation becomes at times, a survival skill. I didn't lie to my doctor about my situation, but I made sure he was acutely aware of what might happen if he decided not to sign the form. He has been my and my mother's doctor for many years, so he knows how close Mom and I were. When he baulked, I told him that my Mom wanted me to be secure and that was one of the reasons she left me the house. I also told him that if I couldn't access my super, there was a very real possibility I might become homeless...and how that would make my Mom feel if it were to happen.

But, it appeared my pleading wasn't moving him, so I went next level and began to cry. He was completely unaware of any recent drug use, and as I broke down, I admitted to him that I had relapsed. The tears were genuine, as was the story, but the truth is I was using the facts in order to try and get what I wanted/needed from him. I could see in his eyes that he was beginning to shift his position, but he still refused to sign until he had time to review my records and make a final decision. At that point, I thought it was a 50/50 shot, but then, two hours later, I got the call to come into his office and pick up the signed paperwork.

I'm only halfway there though, and have another appointment on Thursday morning with a specialist, to try and get the second opinion that I need. I think this will be easier because doctors are, in general, reluctant to contradict each other. This, and the fact that I am paying him $220 for the consultation...and we all know that money talks, I hope will swing his decision in my direction.

Assuming he agrees with his fellow MD and signs off, then it's just a matter of posting the application to the administrator and then praying that the trustee grants the approval to release the funds and I will become a homeowner with no mortgage.
September 4, 2023 at 6:58am
September 4, 2023 at 6:58am
#1055125
I just finished watching, not one of, but the most harrowing documentary I have ever seen. It is not for the faint-hearted or anyone who would prefer not to know the truth about the future of human civilisation. I think, deep down, most of us already understand what is at stake, but each and every one of us will also hold onto hope that we can see our way through this predicament...as I did, at least, until today.

Climate change is not the only problem we face, and this doco shows the graphic reality of what the future holds. I must admit, it was hard to watch, pretty much throughout, and, if you do decide to watch it, it will be hard for you to. That is unless you can find a way to deny the story it tells and hold onto hope.

Spoiler alert...unlike most Hollywood productions, there is no happy ending. In fact, the ending is the most difficult thing to see. You can put your head in the sand and pretend that things are not going to get as bad as this doco claims it might...and I wouldn't blame you one little bit if you did.

In some ways, I wish I hadn't watched it either. But, I don't believe in avoiding the truth, and as I said, most people will already see the writing is on the wall.

The inevitable outcomes that our lifestyles create, by taking without thought the unsustainable resources this planet cannot continue to provide...and yet, we still expect that it will go on forever.

https://youtu.be/Zk11vI-7czE?si=2WMB9NJLJ6iPj3dZ

This is the link for an interview with Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore, once the shit hit the fan.

https://youtu.be/Bop8x24G_o0?si=oZ7FTCK9kBGhveTC
September 4, 2023 at 3:10am
September 4, 2023 at 3:10am
#1055115
Facing our fears only to discover they weren't as frightening as we thought...

Achieving our goals, but continuing to look upwards...

Performing random acts of kindness where no one knows but us...

Waking up in the morning and taking that first breath...

Embracing the fact that one day, we will no longer be here...

Watching children play and hearing their laughter...

Giving generously...

Receiving graciously...

Being honest with one's self, even if that may cause us pain...

Being honest with others, even if that may cause them pain...

Maintaining integrity as a core value...

A healthy body and mind...

Meeting new people, and the moment we realise we are having a positive effect on their life...

Listening to music...

Learning about and discovering new things that we didn't know about yesterday...

Loving each and every person for who they are, rather than judging them on how we might perceive them to be...

Forgiving to the best of our ability, no matter how hard that may be...

Travelling to new places and immersing ourselves in everything that culture has to offer...

Falling in love...

Being in love...

Love...

Being true to your own beliefs...

Helping those who are unable to help themselves...

Looking for the positives in every situation...

Sleeping in fresh sheets when they haven't been changed in months...

Expressing that which is in our souls through the medium of writing...

Caring about others, even if we feel they don't deserve it...

Being selfless...

Having the wisdom to understand the difference between taking what we need and being selfish...

Living for today...

Humility...

Listening to and hearing what others have to say...

Being assertive, even if it risks losing those closest to us...

The quiet times...

Being with people...

Being on our own...

Resisting the urge to speak...

Overcoming our demons...

Giving ourselves credit when it's due...

Saying and meaning yes or no without hesitation...

Finding the courage to make a stand when we didn't know we could...

Smiling at people and seeing them smile back...

Accepting we can only control our own actions...

Crying without shame...

And so much more.



September 3, 2023 at 1:25am
September 3, 2023 at 1:25am
#1055061
I love quotes. I came across this on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/live/SrJgN72Ugww?si=9DO_9ZDVAJVdw3Bo

It has hundreds of quotes by Gandhi, Churchill, Bonaparte, Franklin, Hemmingway, Carnegie, Kant, Camus, Huxley, Twain, Freud, Plato, Tesla, Maurois, Marx, Buddha, Einstein, Rockefeller, Confucius, Bismark, Aristotle, Kipling, Newton, Tzu, Russell and many more.

Some of my favourites are...

In literature, as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others...Andre Maurois

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short...Andre Maurois

If you want the last word in an argument, tell him, "Perhaps you are right."...Winston Churchill

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowed in prayer...Gandhi

Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions...Charles Darwin

If youth knew...if age could...Sigmund Freud

It is easy to fall in love...the hard part is finding someone to catch you...Bertrand Russell

The self-assured believer is a greater sinner in the eyes of God than the troubled dis-believer...Soren Kierkegaard

Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world...and I should know, I've done it a thousand times...Mark Twain

Change is inevitable...but the direction of those changes starts with us, the individuals in every community, and not with the masses...whom we are so eager to blame for it all being so wrong...Yours Truly

End quotes...

A few days ago I was like a child who was learning to ride a bike (the bike being a metaphor for my life)...a child whose father had let go and allowed to ride freely and unassisted. And in those moments after the dealer called, my bike began to wobble. It's like I am watching myself now as I ride down that hill, gaining speed in sheer panic as I hurtle along. It was only once I got to the bottom of that hill unscathed, in the now, that I looked back and breathed a sigh of relief.

During those moments of panic, I saw the faces of those I would have let down, and now, in retrospect, I see everyone who has shown me support...the metaphorical fathers in this story, who watched in fear, but then in pride as I lost, but then regained control.

Today, no one is happier about that than I am. But it is comforting to know there are those who are proud of me. And that will hopefully make another wobble less likely, but if it does happen, far less scary.

September 2, 2023 at 4:40am
September 2, 2023 at 4:40am
#1055008
I love irony, even (or especially) when it affects me.

I have a friend who moved away quite a few years ago. He met a girl and they lived in Tasmania until recently moving back to Queensland. My friend and I haven't always seen eye to eye, and since his return, the few times we have had conversations, it's become apparent that things haven't changed that much. I don't believe friendship should be solely based on similar viewpoints. In fact, different opinions can be a healthy thing, so long as both parties can accept the rule of when to agree to disagree.

An example came a while ago whilst he was up visiting his parents and we were discussing his and his partner's want to start a family. My friend smokes pot...a lot of pot actually, and when he brought up the fact that after several years of trying, they still hadn't fallen pregnant, I asked him (quite literally) a somewhat sticky question...had he been tested to check his sperm count? This obvious, yet obviously not very comfortable question, brought an immediate response that there was nothing wrong with his swimmers. His argument was that he had fathered a child some eighteen years ago, and this provided him with his ticket to sperm OKness.

Now, I must admit that I do, at times, have difficulty when it comes to social pretence. I lack tact and find it hard to pretend when there is an elephant in the room...I mean, it's a fucking elephant for God's sake. I also struggle to define the line between what is, and what is not my business. And upon reflection, this might have caused somewhat of a rift between my friend and me when I stated what was obvious to me, that if he was serious about starting a family, then he should just get his sperm tested for the sake of his partner and to rule himself out of the equation of why she wasn't falling pregnant.

It seems that was more of a problem than I realised. Now, when I had a vasectomy in 2005, the doctor ordered me not to have unprotected sex with my then-wife, but to ejaculate as many times as possible in the two weeks post-procedure, before getting the all-clear (excuse the pun). I thought all my Christmases had come (literally) at once. I followed the doctor's orders, regardless of whether my wife was actually present or not. After all, it was my gift to her and I was going to enjoy the benefits while I could.

Anyway, I think I mistook the reason my friend had reservations about delivering the 'stuff' I thought nothing of doing years before. I suspect he was afraid there may have been talk of his pot-smoking habit, and that was a subject he was not going to risk being on anyone's table for discussion.

When I separated from my wife, one of the first things I committed to was being treated for HepC. I thought no one would want me given I carried a blood-borne virus, and the fear of having to reveal this deep dark shame made seeking treatment a priority. The irony came when after one failed attempt and then on the second treatment finally getting the news that I no longer carried the virus, I thought everything in my life would change. There was this anticipation that I would suddenly become this other person, and when I realised the only thing that changed was when I got a blood test, all it showed was antibodies, but no virus, I had a feeling of disappointment. This lack of change was something I struggled with for some time.

There were, however, some positives other than I was no longer contagious and had a lot less chance of dying from liver disease. Before treatment, I stopped smoking pot, so I had the best chance of success. Being high on THC didn't feel like it did when I was younger anyway, and it was beginning to cause me to feel anxious, so giving up pot was a win-win for me.

Unfortunately, this caused a problem that I never anticipated. I must admit that after quitting pot, and getting the all-clear with HepC, I substituted smoking pot by using more and more meth. This had a knock-on effect, and I lost most of my friends. After all, I was a junkie, whereas all they did was smoke pot. And now that I no longer use drugs of any kind, I thought I would be welcomed back with open arms by my above-mentioned friend. But it wasn't to be. You see, I don't smoke pot. If a person who doesn't drink alcohol hangs out with those who do, it can make them feel a little uncomfortable. And I assume this might be the case for me not smoking pot because yesterday when I called in to visit him, he mentioned inviting another friend of ours over that night to hang out and, in his words, have a few hotties. But, I was conspicuously vacant from the invite list.

I had to laugh because the reality is that I don't particularly enjoy the company of those under the influence of drugs of any kind. I'm not a reformist and what others choose to do is their business, but I just think they aren't great company. Never mind, lucky for me I do enjoy my own company...and there is a lot to be said about that fact.
September 1, 2023 at 7:21am
September 1, 2023 at 7:21am
#1054942
In 2018, while I was visiting Thailand, I was shopping (as you do) and found the coolest pair of shorts. I had to have them and was hardly out of them the entire time I was there...even wearing them on the trip home. In the five years since then, drugs have consumed my life. In fact, on the plane on my way back to Oz, I was already planning to score, and within a few hours of arriving back, I was high.

That particular binge went on for a long time, and somewhere along the way, I forgot all about self-care, self-respect and pretty much everything except purchasing and using drugs. As a result, at some point in that journey of self-destruction, the shorts I thought were so cool, no longer fit me.

For the last five years, I've kept those shorts in my drawers, hoping against hope that one day, I would be able to wear them again. I must admit, there have been times when I thought about taking them to Vinnies, so at least someone got to enjoy them, as I had for that short period of time all those years ago.

But, in the back of my mind, there remained a sniff of hope. I knew that as long as I was using meth, there would be no way I could lose the weight that had gradually built up around my midsection. There are people who use amphetamines and lose weight, but for me, the opposite is the case. It was a cycle of while I was high, I wouldn't eat for days. Then followed by gorging on high-calorie foods like chocolate and processed foods, which my body demanded after the (assumed) famine came to an end.

Five months ago, when I decided to give quitting meth another try, I got those shorts out and tried to put them on. My guess is, I was at least three to four inches off doing them up. This then became my mission, and every month or so since, I have gotten them out to check my progress. And each time I did, I could see the transformation and the inches shrinking away right before my eyes.

Then today, as I was getting ready to go to my psyche session, I happened to think about those shorts. By this stage, with the number of times I had tried and still couldn't fit into them, I had no expectations of actually being able to wear them. But when I pulled them up over my knees, the realisation that it was going to be close filled me with hope.

When I relayed the story to my counsellors and then showed them the shorts I hadn't been able to wear in five years, a real sense of accomplishment must have beamed from my face.

Later, I reflected on what would have been if I had made a different choice the day before. I wouldn't have bothered to try those shorts on and who knows when the next binge would have ended. All I know for sure is that I like the life I am living now. I have achieved one goal (getting back into my shorts), but there are so many more to come. The reality is that each and every day is a success, as long as I don't allow addiction to take over and once again rule my life.

Ash and Tamara didn't train with me today, but I didn't allow that to be an excuse for me not to get out there and work my ass off. And as I completed my ride after weights, for some reason, I had the biggest smile on my face...in fact, it's been there all afternoon.
August 31, 2023 at 2:26am
August 31, 2023 at 2:26am
#1054889
I am thankful to a lot of people, both here at WdC and my life in general. There are too many to name right now, but I want to acknowledge some of those who have stood by me, supported me and have never given up on me...even in those moments when I had given up on myself.

First of all, I want to thank Hummingbird...both in my personal life and online...without you, I would have been lost long ago.
Also, a huge thank you to WakeUpAndLive...a long time ago you took me under your wing and taught me so much...you were the one who encouraged me to start blogging and gave me the name...for that and your unending support, I am eternally grateful.
JustLeJenD...you are my rock when things aren't going so well...thank you for always being there.
Thank you also Dog, Shadow Prowler, Stik's on a Boat, Wordsmitty, Kare Enga, Sumojo, QPdoll, ruwth, Lilli, Schnujo, Hard Bop Macaroni and Benjamin Black (even if we no longer talk regularly), Prosperous Snow and Naomi (for your generosity in reviewing my work) and everyone else who reads (and my Tuesday group, who don't) my blog...thank you.

It was WakeUpAnd Live who emphasised to me the importance of being accountable. At the time, I was struggling (and the fact of the matter is, I still am). I couldn't see then just how important the shield that accountability provides would end up being...that was until today.

I sometimes have premonitions. It's not like I can predict things that are going to happen, but at times, I get these feelings that either through universal knowledge or coincidence, come to be. Two days ago my blog post mentioned the doorbell ringing and my fear and anxiety of what I would have done if it was a dealer. I've blocked from my phone anyone who could bring me to temptation. The problem with that is, I still get a notification, and the message simply gets put into an easily accessible blocked file.

Today I got a message from a dealer asking me the question..."Did I want anything?"

I knew as soon as I saw 'blocked message' that it would be someone I didn't want to speak to. But we all know that is almost impossible to ignore, and in that instant, thoughts of using raced through my body. My mind screamed at me, "NO!" But a massive surge of adrenaline made any logical assessment of the reality of what I was considering, extremely difficult. My heart was racing, my palms began to sweat and for a few minutes, I held my phone in my hand in a state of virtual panic.

Several times, I went to message her back to arrange a meeting, but each time, something made me stop. The shield of accountability that everyone in my life, youself included, has placed over me in order to protect me and ward off relapse, worked. And now that the adrenaline has dissipated and logic has assumed its rightful position in my mind, I feel more relieved than proud. I know I should be proud of myself. I passed the test...be it a little shakily, but a pass is a pass. And when it comes down to the fact that if I had given in to temptation no one knows what might have come, even death, is why I am expressing so much gratitude to everyone who has been there in the past and are here today.

Because in those moments of terror, whilst holding that phone in hand, it was everyone who had shown me love and care that my thoughts went to. I don't want to say that I chose not to use drugs today BECAUSE of you, but you were there and as much as I didn't want to let myself down, I didn't want to let you down either. And who knows...you might have saved my life just by clicking and reading this blog. That is profound, and I hope you understand that is not some BS talk...that is a fact.

In group on Tuesday, I was asked by Katie to speak directly to the group about what I would have said if that doorbell chime wasn't Ash and Tamara, but was instead, a dealer. Two posts ago, my fantasy was to tell the dealer to fuck off and never set foot on my property again, and I think everyone would expect me to say something like that to the dealer who messaged me today. But the fact of the matter is, the person who messaged me today is not evil, and even though she would, if I allowed her, take advantage of my addiction, she herself is an addict and is no better or worse than I am.

And so, my reply to her message was simple. No thanks. She responded with, "No worries"...and then asked how I have been. I pondered this for a few moments before replying...and I quote (bar leaving her name out)...

"I've been really good. Before I saw you six weeks ago, I hadn't used in 3 months, and I haven't had anything since.
Except for that one week, I've trained every day. I'm still seeing my Counsellor, so everything is looking up for me. I own my own home now and don't owe a cent to anyone, so choosing to continue to do shit would be madness.
I hope all is well with you. I know that you are a good person and one day soon, you will make the same decision as I have.
Good luck with everything"...unquote.

Addiction still plagues me, so for me to judge, abuse or try to make others who are addicts feel bad is not helping anyone, not even me.

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