Looking back on your life ask yourself If you didn’t know any different, how are you supposed to know?

Over recent weeks I have met a number of people who are still suffering from issues, things in their past (particularly from childhood) that still affects them in the present day…

  • Angry with themselves for choices they made in the past
  • Carrying blame and shame from the choices they made in the past 
  • Angry at choices other people made that impacted on them from the past
  • Angry at how they were treated in the past

The list goes on

If I was to allow myself to  be scrutinised by some parts of society some might say that I have made a lot of mistakes in the past, many bad life choices, and I would totally agree. But I would always argue that many of my decision I made in life, (Informed or ill-informed)  had been based on what I knew, at that time, based my environment, my understanding of the environment.

We can only make informed decisions with the knowledge, understanding that we have at any given time! 

I witnessed the fall out from complex relationships seen love and abuse used at the same time, it didn’t make sense. As a kid I would act up, lash out, hurting those close to me, it was never my intention to hurt anyone if I did it was because I was hurting and confused myself. 

But I can look back now and see it for what it was, I was just a kid, confused, unsure, I saw life through many lenses, I saw injustice, experienced stigma, even imposed shame based on others moral code, There was a time where I blamed almost all the adults and everyone around me for my unhappiness, I never once questioned theirs, or what circumstances, information, choices or options that they had at that time. 

How long do you hold onto sad memories, resentments? What purpose does it serve you now, where you are today? I reasoned if I am going to afford myself some slack, why shouldn’t I afford them the same? 

There have been times as a parent, I have often questioned how my life choices may have impacted on my children, after all, I made some ill-informed life choices, and It can sometimes hurt if I dwell on it too much to know that my choices had an impact on them further in life, but I cannot change the decisions/life choices I made at that time, because at that time, I didn’t know any different, I did what I thought was best, at that time. 

In our society sensitivity is frequently seen as a detriment rather than a strength, BULLSHIT, we are all complex beings and Its ok to be passionate, upset or angry, hurt, that’s the sensitive side of us, its normal to experience these emotions. The key is what we do with them that counts.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we can look back and see things for what they were, but we do have a choices, we can either repeat the same mistakes drag our resentments around with us for a lifetime or we can try to make sense of our past, learn from them, now that’s where the magic of discovery in recovery takes place.

For years I would carry these resentments around like a dark cloud, I had the biggest chip on my shoulder, I didn’t realise that I could actually let go of a lot of them? 

One of the saddest parts was when I came to realise that the very same people I held resentment or hatred towards, were mostly oblivious  about my resentments towards them, it didn’t affect them as they did me, I wasn’t hurting them, the only person I was hurting was myself. 

Holding onto the past isn’t healthy for your future, I found that by holding on and blaming others kept me paralysed and any decision I made was stained with resentments. 

If there is one thing I am certain of, is that we are all always learning, 

I realise that the older I get, the less I know. I am always learning, learning about myself, learning and understanding my past, learning from others. 

My recovery has been an insightful discovery being able to untangle unresolved issues from the past. Understanding my own learning about my own past, also played a big part in affording those I held resentments against the same understanding? Now I am not suggesting that we forgive everything or everyone but being able to understand, acknowledge and accept – The best part is you have a choice to let it go… 

Be mindful of what you are thinking, how we talk to ourselves and our thoughts can have a  big impact on how we see a situation. Not every thought you think is a fact, and you have a choice to challenge or understand what, why and how you think. – more often than not if you rationally work through your thinking you will undoubtedly find a limiting belief formed from an unresolved past experience, that has probably been lying dormant in your unconscious for years. 

My advice to anyone who is still hurting from issues from the past, carrying resentments or carrying guilt is to try and understand your past, look at it from other angles perhaps, see it for what it was and LET GO after all the only person that you are hurting is you, and potentially others around you. 

Ask yourself is it time to break the cycle, is it time to stop blaming others for who you are and start working on you because after all, that’s the only person who does count.

I say #FUCKTHEPAST it’s gone, you can’t bring it back, you cannot go back and change it, but you can look forward, forgive yourself and those ill-informed decisions you made in the past and leave them there where they belong.

Make peace with your past and live for the future, after all, you only get one shot at this thing we call life – go fucking live it

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

 

Its not just the addict that needs help and support

Unless you have ever had a loved one entrenched in addiction, with no desire or will to pull themselves out of their misery, you can simply never understand the conflicting guilt, physical and anger that a loved one of the addict goes through. Living with emotions, like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to another, rarely settling in the middle.

You worry about them constantly — you can’t sleep, you can’t focus, and your heart stops every time the phone rings. The fear of losing them consumes you, and your focus becomes doing anything and everything you can to help them get better. 

Now I am not suggesting that dealing with a loved one’s addiction is easy but keeping the following things in mind can help you better address your loved one’s alcohol and drug abuse.

Letting go of control 

While you may be tempted to make it your mission to save your loved one from themselves, this will only leave you exhausted, hurt, and maybe even resentful. You may feel as if you are not doing enough to help your loved one, but you need to understand that no matter how hard you try, you cannot control their addiction. No amount of begging, pleading, threatening, or ultimatums will make your loved one stop drinking or using. 

Whether you realize it or not, your loved one’s addiction is taking a toll on your life. And you need to start making yourself a priority. Working on letting go of trying to control their addiction, you must come to accept that you are only in control of your life, you also have a life, away from the addict and embark on your journey of healing and recovery.

Letting go of blame

You probably never imagined that addiction would become a part of your life, but it has you may be wondering if you were responsible for your loved ones use. Did you not love them enough? Too much? Was it something you said? Did? Didn’t do? The questions are endless, and they can drive you mad, but the truth is that you didn’t cause your loved one to drink or use — even if they blame you for it.

The underlying cause for their addiction may not be clear to you. They may be dealing with trauma that you’re unaware of or having difficulty managing their emotions. Regardless of what’s behind their addiction, remember that you are not responsible, and allowing unwarranted guilt to consume you will only end up hurting you and your loved one.

But remember you are not alone, research estimates that in the UK YouGov that almost 1 in 3 adults in the UK have been negatively affected by the substance use of someone they know.

Don’t let their addiction become your addiction

It is normal for your loved one’s addiction to have an impact on your life. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to allow it to consume your every moment. As challenging as it may be, you will need to set boundaries. Whether it’s not giving them any more money, refusing to engage with them when they’re under the influence, or establishing a curfew or boundaries can help you and your loved one know what is and isn’t acceptable.

Remember though, it may take a few tries, there is no right or wrong, just try to find a balance between helping your loved one and taking care of yourself. Remind yourself that you should never feel guilty for doing what is right for you, even if it upsets your loved one. Just be sure that your decisions come from a place of love rather than anger or fear.

Don’t lose hope

Watching your loved one tackle addiction day after day is incredibly taxing. It can be a particularly hard pill to swallow if your loved one has tried to get clean before but continues to relapse. I know, I get it! it is like you are on the roller coaster with them. But it’s important to hold on to hope no matter how many setbacks you’re loved one experiences.

It may seem counter-intuitive to put yourself first, make time for you, but trust me, focusing on you, your needs, making time for your own maintenance or recovery is essential.

Here are some of the things that families often find helpful:

  • Carving out a small slot in the week to do something just ‘for you’. Re-read a favourite book, take a walk in the park, curl up with a magazine, take a bath, paint your nails, re-discover a long lost hobby.
  • Mindfulness. There are now many apps and local classes to help us practice mindfulness which is scientifically proven to improve wellbeing and reduce stress.
  • Re-connect with old friends. Families affected by drugs and alcohol often become isolated from previous social networks.
  • Get some exercise. A brisk walk, a cycle or a favourite class has many health and wellbeing benefits, not least that it will release endorphins that improve your mood.
  • Buy a diary, offload your thoughts, clear your mind
  • Take a break. Many family members of those who use drugs or alcohol feel unable to get away because of the unpredictability of their loved one’s behaviour. But a change of scene, even for a weekend, can make a huge difference to the rest of the family.
  • Find a local support group or an online forum where you can speak openly and offload how YOU are feeling

A word from the author

My dad died with as much dignity as an addict could, he wasn’t found on a street, out in the cold, he was at home surrounded by his daughters, he died knowing he was loved. I learned that dad was more than his addiction and in a bizarre kinda way we had a unique relationship, one that I will cherish If I am guilty of cooking meals, doing laundry, running errands then sue me? 

My dad’s addiction and ultimate death took my on a journey at the time I wasn’t ready or prepared for, but as I look back, I am no longer left with regrets or sadness, I am left with memories that will stay with me for a lifetime. Learning to let go of the guilt, the anger has helped me see beyond myself and see the past for what it was, a series of events that took place. I am a stronger version of who I once was and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Shithappens whether we like it or not, its how we deal with the shit that counts, so on that note.

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

 

 

Statistics suggest that someone in addiction can have the best chance of recovery when their families are educated and in recovery too, but be warned there are no guarantees. 

 

When dad came back into my life I could have never foreseen or predicted the journey I was about to take, I thought my addiction took me to dark places within myself, but dads addiction opened a new door to new fucking stratosphere of sadness and pain, but this time the option to turn to substance to help self medicate wasn’t there.

Trying to reason with someone who is permanently intoxicated is near on impossible, sometimes there would be a glimmer of hope, he would be hospitalised which gave him some clean time, I would get drawn into a false sense of security and hope, the promises of stopping drinking and sometimes he would stay clean for a time, but he would soon crave, kick-starting the cycle of madness all over again. – again It wasn’t easy.

Loving an addict is like grieving the loss of someone who is still alive, coming to terms with the hurt when you realize that the drug is more important than you. The sadness can be all-consuming and it used to come in waves, often I would push to one side my needs or the needs of others prioritising the needs of my dads. 

I found I had become addicted to dad, every waking moment, one moment I had hope, the next I would be waiting for the dreaded phone call to arrive. I was on a parallel journey with the addicted side of dad whilst he became obsessed with his drug of choice, I become obsessed with him.

My friends and family became sick of my incessant obsession with dad, I would turn down opportunities to socialise, soon the invites stopped coming. 

I knew first hand when I was entrenched in my addition I couldn’t see or acknowledge the damage I was doing to myself, let alone the damage and pain I caused my loved ones around me, that’s not to say I didn’t care, but I was so self-obsessed with myself I didn’t have the capacity to see. So I would try my dammed best to not take dads refusal of help personally, but the rejection and denial still hurt.

It seems counter-intuitive and is often greeted with confusion when someone suggests to a family member of an addict that they should seek help for themselves, after all its the addict who is ill, their rationale is “if the addict gets clean, then everything will go back to normal.” But the thing is, life will never go back to normal “Whatever the fuck normal means” 

I started to come to terms and to accept that whilst the opportunities to get clean might be there for dad if choice nor will isn’t there then I could never force him into recovery. Accepting he was on his own journey was hard, I had a choice whether or not I walked his journey with him, or walked away. In my case, I stayed, but I accepted I needed support.

Accepting help can take you on a journey, a healthier journey, helping you to become a more resilient version of yourself, you become more self-aware, your mind becomes less consumed with the addict. One of the biggest learning curves was accepting that I wasn’t responsible for dad’s addiction, the same as my mother or father wasn’t responsible for mine. 

The anger I felt, at the time was indescribable, resentments which I had bottled up from the past and anger around dad coming back into my life ate me alive inside. Then came the guilt, I would be ashamed of some of the thoughts that consumed my mind. I couldn’t talk to family, they were sick I hearing about my wows, I could see colleagues eyes roll at the very mention of dad. 

I found talking, and being able to offload the hurt and pain with like-minded people acted like a pressure valve slowly being released, it helped me lighten my thoughts, patterns of thinking, it helped me get back in touch with my own emotions, focusing less on the dad, what he said, what he did, or worse didn’t do

Support gave me a new perspective, the ability to see things differently. 

In my case eventually, dad’s alcoholism did kill him, I still live with regrets, I am not the person I was before dad and his addiction, but I am certainly a stronger version of who I was. Nothing in life is easy, but with the right support and willingness to accept support, it can help ease the burden. 

We only have one shot at this thing we call life but what I learned so far is that above everything that I have been through, is that the most important person in this world is ourselves. 

So for those still living on their wit’s end 

Please don’t forget you 

There is no denying you will still feel like crying 

Addiction is a heavy burden to bear

But try not to despair 

Remember“Deep down they know you care”

Make a pledge to yourself 

Be the best version of you

That’s all you can do

Your life is not over

Make time to mourn 

But be the best version you can

And continue to learn

Appreciate what you have got

We are not here long

Live one day at a time

Continue to be strong

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too.

Love Fordy x

My Addiction was the best thing that ever happened to me

I knew deep down that my drug use couldn’t go on forever, I just never knew when or what would make it stop, I was praying for someone, something any intervention to make all the pain go away. This period of my life was like being in a real-life nightmare, I knew my drug use was causing me harm, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but still, I felt compelled to use it. 

I can still vividly recall the many time’s I would look at my gear before ingesting it, knowing deep down it wasn’t good for me, I could stare at it for a while but could see no other alternatives so just went into “Fuck it” mode and would down the lot.

My thinking became so distorted I truly believed that the drugs were giving me some relief from life at that time, I had developed a warped sense of reality, I no longer trusted anyone, apart from one person, my dealer. 

We would spend hours talking shit, I felt like he was the only person who knew me, got me, understood me, turns out this was just a part of my delusions, psychosis brought on by my dependency on the drugs. 

I loved my job, It was my only place of sanctuary away from home, I love the customers the camaraderie but I could also sense that, that was also spiraling out of control, people started to treat me differently (or so I thought, I never considered it might be me) I was becoming less reliable and then one day I was given pay packet and asked to not come back. 

I was a walking paradox, I was a fake, everything about me was a lie, to the outside world all was good, life was good, but on the inside, I was screaming and crying to be helped, but the words would never come. 

I tried to hide my raging habit from friends and especially family fearing what might happen if people did find out, Oh god the shame I would bring on the family I couldn’t tell people that my parters job was dealing drugs and I was his joey, but they knew something wasn’t right.

Family and friends questioned my ever decreasing weight loss, I would shrug it off and blame work or being forever busy and always on the go, or worse I would interpret their questioning as being envious for not being able to lose weight themselves.

I became a master manipulator, I could twist people’s concerns and make them about them and not me. My mom had tried to seek help and had me assessed by professionals, on one occasion she even called the police, but would always deny that I had a problem and of course the offers of support.

All this did was isolate me even more which was more soul-destroying. I couldn’t go on like this forever, I knew something had to give and it eventually did, I snapped. 

https://www.shithappens.me.uk/2019/08/09/understanding-my-own-recovery-journey/ 

I gave up, I didn’t care anymore, I had no more fight left me, I realised I didn’t care what my partner said anymore, his words just bounced off me, they no longer perpetrated me as they had done before, I no longer gave a fuck about anything including myself! 

I can look back now and say hand on my heart that my addiction was the best thing that ever happened to me and I wouldn’t change a thing, the lessons learned have been life-changing, and any old or new ambitions I ever had have been realised in my recovery.

My drug addiction took me to dark places within myself I never knew existed, in early recovery I was still in that dark place, but I was brave enough to switch a light on when i did I started to see myself differently. My recovery was and has been slow, painful and many a time has been extremely hard, the struggle was real, but then when I compare it to how I was when using, there is no comparison.

In my early recovery whilst I still felt isolated, physically and mentally, I knew I had to step away from old associates and take a risk on trying to find out who I was. Ironically I started to feel more comfortable with being alone, not depending on or someone being dependant on me offered some light relief, it was a different kind of isolation.

I had always ways been incredibly resourceful, so a large part of my recovery was about honing these skills to better use. This meant focusing on me, putting myself first instead of everyone else, even when at the time this felt selfish and self-indulgent, I knew deep down it was the right thing to do. 

I started to learn and assess the healthy and unhealthy ways that I was using my energy and learned to identify my positive and negative behaviour patterns.

The relationships that count have been restored and the new friendships that I used to desperately seek out are now present and a constant in my life. 

I am now longer afraid of my feelings, including the negative ones, I now realise that this is part of who we all are, we all will experience pain, whether self-inflicted or by another, it one part of being human. 

Before I felt constantly suffocated by my thoughts too afraid to say what I thought, now I will tell you what I think, no longer afraid to share my views out of fear of being laughed at or brushed off.

I am better able to accept that change is inevitable, I come to accept that time and other peoples actions are out of my control, the only thing I have control over is how I respond to change. I am willing to take a risk and have learned to trust that success always out weights the failures.

Life feels less frightening I am less afraid of failure I welcome failure, we all need failure, it helps us learn, failure isn’t a bad thing it is healthy, its character building and improves our sense of resilience.

Rather than bottling up what’s happening for me, I will now confide with people who I trust, people who are able and willing to accept me for who I am and who will tell me the things I might not like to hear.

Hand on my heart I truly believe that had it not been for my brush with addiction, I wouldn’t be who I am today, if you are in dark place, I encourage you to never give up on yourself, you are more than you think or feel you are, find the courage to switch the light on within yourself to find your way out

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x

 

I promise you this, The more you learn about yourself the closer to will get to accepting yourself

 

Every single one of us craves the feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves. By nature, we are tribal, and back in our caveman days, tribal culture was necessary for survival.

I have always been a daydreamer, as a kid, I would fantasize a lot,  I was trapped in a fantasy world wishing and hoping for something or someone to make me feel loved and content, it became a form of escapism.

Growing up I spent much of my life tiptoeing around my desire to find a group of people among whom I could be accepted, I always felt on the outside, I felt like everyone had someone and I had no one. I would adapt like a chameleon to fit into a group that felt safe and secure from the outside. I was on a continual search but my tribe the people who I belonged to kept on eluding me. 

In my teens I became a young mom, in a new relationship, I was caught up in a new identity and I gave up on my longing to fit in, my new mission was to deal with the cards I had dealt myself and get on with life. But there was always something missing, that longing for something, I still didn’t know what, but it was still there. I turned to drugs to drown out the dull ache, the empty feeling of loss, I would seek out others who I assumed would make me feel perfect, happy or content. – that clearly didn’t work

It wasn’t until I turned (or should I say was forced) to turn the spotlight on myself that I realised that the stories about what was normal and what I thought was perfection I’d been telling myself simply wasn’t true and the tribe or persons I was looking for, didn’t exist. 

I learned that the something I was searching for was already there, in me 

I realised I had been trying to cover the inner void with appearances, acting in ways that were socially acceptable but in doing that I wasn’t actually investing any time or attention on me, I was constantly avoiding me.

According to Byron Katie “We have 20/20 vision about others, but not about ourselves.” I have learned and am still learning a lot about how not to be the victim and started taking personal responsibility for what happens to myself, rather than blaming everybody else.

As a society we have a skewed image of normal, we perceive that normal becomes having the ideal relationship — or a relationship — a solid emotional self, a healthy life, plenty of money, drive and motivation, clear objectives, and an established sense of purpose. The implication is, that without these things, you’re not normal, I realised that normal doesn’t exist and if it does I would much rather be abnormal thank you very much.

We live in a society where individuals don’t know how to be truthful and how to come clean with each other, in a society that worships an idea of perfection and is neither open nor tolerant of difficulty or even difference.

But life is about challenge and doubt. We cannot escape it but we can restore balance when the balance isn’t present but to understand this requires you being connected with yourself to even begin to acknowledge it.

I learned that honesty had become a dirty word and that many people are scared, to tell the truth, out of fear of rejection, myself included.

I learned to realise that instead of trying to be part of a tribe that already existed, I would need to create my own. I now realise that there were people who I had, overlooked on my quest to find my “perfect tribe”. I had missed/overlooked them because they might have looked different to me or didn’t have anything in common with. 

I learned to be more open, take some risks and let people in, turns out that some of those people I let in have become my most unlikely friendships will last a lifetime.

Connection doesn’t necessarily involve knowing all the answers — but at least knowing what the questions helps? It’s ok to have issues, and experience challenges. It is ok to know some things and not know others, to navigate something, or handling a type of experience or feeling. Fear is normal. Anxiety is normal. Insecurity is normal.

I have learned the hard way and that being honest with yourself is not the easiest thing to do. Looking after everyone else, putting their need first, while your needs are put on the back burner doesn’t work. 

The weight of responsibility can feel like a heavy burden at times, it can also feel lonely, but the bottom line is that “this is your life to fix and shape as you see fit.” Healing takes time and distance to pick up the pieces that were broken, there are NO QUICK FIXES. 

We live in a society where it feels like technology is taking over, how we communicate is very different than it used to be, (I”m not saying its all bad) but it will not and cannot replace being able to sit opposite someone in person, look each other in the eyes, and have meaningful, genuine conversations about what truly, deeply matters to you. 

Something or someone can never fix the relationship that we have with ourselves, because the reality is, that the only thing or person that can do that for us, is ourselves. 

Do yourself a favor 

Make time for you, even if it’s 5 minutes a day

Remind yourself that you are enough, even when you might not feel like you are enough

Ask yourself “how are you feeling?” Answer yourself honestly 

Start to get to know who you really are, question everything, including your own thoughts!

And most of all, try not to be afraid 

Take risks

Learn from your mistakes 

I promise this – The more you learn about yourself the closer to will get to accepting yourself.

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x

 

Lessons learned from one persons recovery

 

When I entered the mental hospital, I genuinely had nothing left, no feelings, no emotions, I mind was blank, my body completely numb, there was no resilience left in the tank. After a few sessions with the shrinks they concluded that I had had a couple if mini mental breakdowns in the run-up to the finale which saw me running around the streets in a drug-induced psychosis thinking I was John the Baptist who was being stalked by the devil himself, they also concluded that of course the speed wasn’t helping and was a contributing factor. 

Upon being discharged I returned to a toxic relationship that had contributed to my mental health breakdown in the first place.  I assumed after my short respite in the hospital, as did my family that I was fixed and that if I abstained from drugs that life would go back to normal “whatever the fuck that means”. But one afternoon two months of being back in the family home, the penny dropped, something inside of me changed and I decided there and then, that if I stayed there any longer I would be back to square one. That I would get sucked back into all the charade of deceit, manipulation and coercion disguised as a relationship all over again. 

The hardest part of my early recovery journey apart from being a single parent on benefits, with no means of going back to work I had lost sense of my identity I was a shell of the person I used to be, the home I was given was also a shell, no furniture no home comforts,. I recall my sister insisting that I go back to the family home and take what was mine, but I didn’t have the energy to fight over something that was also being used as a bargaining tool to entice me back.   I also knew no amount of materialism could fix what was broken everything that I thought I knew and believed had been sucked out of me, I had to start again. 

I knew that I couldn’t go back to being who I was before, I was no longer good old “Fordy” who would drop everything in return for feeling accepted or for an easy life. Something had changed, I had changed, I was no longer a passenger in this reality we call life, I was now the driver, albeit with L plates. As I look back I was still very vulnerable and still mentally unwell for a while, I had taken myself out of a toxic relationship and environment, but I still had more work to do on myself. 

I learned to distinguish who my real friends were and trust me apart from family there was no one, well no one that was good for me. The people I would once call friends were just actually transactional associates who didn’t have my best interest at heart. 

I learned this the hard way from a relapse, I had been clean for over 4 months, I bumped into an old associate (who was also an old dealer) with the offer of selling some stolen goods to make some quick cash, I agreed and started making a little on the side, one day I was offered some speed, despite this person being fully aware of my past history, and at the time I naively thought, “it won’t hurt” but as the drug started taking a hold, my body shook and I thought that my head might explode, I couldn’t think straight, it was like I had been teleported back to a very dark place. It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting, but then again, I wasn’t the same person, I knew that drugs weren’t the answer. 

The ability to be honest with yourself is not the easiest thing to do knowing that you need to nurture some love for ourselves. Looking after everyone else, putting their needs first, while your needs are put on the back burner doesn’t work. 

The weight of responsibility recovery comes with the knowledge that this is your life to fix and shape as you see fit and it can feel like the loneliest place on earth. Healing takes time and distance to pick up the pieces that were broken, there are NO QUICK FIXES This is one of the main things I learned since walking out of those doors of Middlewood hospital twenty plus years ago, I have also learned…

I have learned that my drug use was a very poor solution for fixing problems within myself, that only I could change. 

I have learned to accept that shit things happen and that not all of it is my fault or within my control – but this takes time a patience. 

I have learned to accept that I cannot change others into someone I want them to be because this is simply impossible – however you do have a choice, you have either accept them, tolerate them or walk away. 

I have learned to become brave, trying new things, meeting new people opening doors to something different.

I have learned to accept that I will fail at something and that failure isn’t a weakness, its part of life. 

I have learned that sometimes in order to gains some perspective, we need to step away and make time for self-reflection – this is a biggy and where peer support can come in handy

I have learned to love myself and put myself first – without feeling selfish or that I am letting others down

I have learned that you can create beautiful amazing things from sadness.

Other lessons learned from a loved one’s addiction

All this learning also helped when my father was catapulted back into my life 10 years later. Dad has always had a woman on his arm, I realised he had a new mistress and I was shocked when I realised his new mistress, was alcohol. Everything I had ever learned about my own addiction took on a whole new twist, I was now on the receiving end of a loved one’s addiction. I was forced into developing a whole new set of coping strategies.

I had to make a decision “did I stay or walk away?” I had every reason to walk away, I mean I didn’t owe this man anything, but knowing what I knew about my own addiction helped me to understand his and over the three years of caring for dad, I was able to see, that dad was no different to me, he shared memories that haunted taunted him, memories he was unable to forgive himself for.

I knew deep down that despite all the help, offers of support not just from the family but from professionals that the only person that could say goodbye and walk away from his relationship with alcohol was himself, sadly he never could and sadly he died from it.

Fast forward

Years ago I had never heard of AA or NA before, but now there is so much more on offer and with over 49 different support groups operating in the city, there is much to chose from. Over the years, as more people speak out, as more peer-led support groups, online forums develop there is more than ever someone out there who can help you find yourself again. But don’t be duped or fooled into thinking that a support group or someone else alone can cure you, but they can help you cure yourself but more importantly love and accept yourself.

As a recovery community, we don’t look down on relapse we see this as being an opportunity to learn and accept that relapse is part of the journey to finding and loving yourself. all we can do is help and guide others, by sharing our own experiences we can demonstrate that using substances to fix something that is or may seem to be broken isn’t a solution and by offering, encouragement, support, and guidance hopefully, we can inspire and show that anything is possible. 

 

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too

Love Fordy x

 

The insomnia witch, bitch paid a visit last night

But it’s not all bad, I woke early this morning inspired to write, a new spring in my step, a new theme for the book…

To say the past few weeks have been pretty hectic would be an understatement,  with so much going on with work, family, life… I have found it difficult to find not only the urge but also the inspiration, confidence to write.

The writing comes in waves and I never know what direction the next wave will take me in, but I am learning to ride whatever wave hits me and go with the flow and more importantly “trust the process”, it can be hard, but I reason with myself that not everything in life is easy and most of what happens is out of our control, the only control we do have is how we deal with those crashing waves when they arrive.

Constantly coming into contact with other people. other human beings who have and still are coming to terms or who are still riding the wave of this thing we call “life” can be both draining but inspiring all at the same time. the worst part is despite all this personal insight, I still struggle, I am human just like the next person.

And despite all the misery, doom, and fucking gloom, I find myself constantly inspired and amazed by the resilience of the people who I have the pleasure of coming into contact with in my day to day life…

The women who have lost their sense of identity, who have lost themselves in unhealthy relationships, but yet are still sitting around a table sharing their stories in order to help the next woman OR man.

The people who have been entrenched in addiction, who have lost everything, their possessions, their health, relationships, who have found themselves on the streets, with only the pitiful stares or glares from strangers, passers-by who are now reclaiming their lives and taking back control.

To all the people who work selflessly to help others, without recognition because it is the right thing to do, who don’t crave adulation or praise to feed their starving egos.

I am reminded that I want to surround myself with people and have relationships and friendships that are collaborative opposed to being competitive. I haven’t got the time, energy or will to engage with people riddled with their own insecurity who are prone to making frequent lies and exaggerations (about themselves and others), in order to elevate their own egos by putting others down.

As I get older and perhaps a little wiser I am forever learning and reminding myself, that with all the worldly distractions that bombard us in our daily lives we must always remember to make time for ourselves…

Learning to love ourselves
Before anyone else
Learning to laugh at our imperfections
Or laugh at past mistakes
Taking on new challenges
Raising the stakes
Embracing change
Using our intuition as our compass
Or a map as our guide
Leaving the past behind us
Where we no longer need to hide
As we navigate new terrain
Accepting we count
We do have a voice
We can have a say
And a chance to make new friendships along the way

If you are reading this, thank you for your friendship and companionship on this journey we call life

Much love Fordy xxx

 

 

To give or not to give – A twentieth-century moral dilemma

 

 

Unless you shop in an indoor shopping center or physically blind it is near impossible to go about your daily business without seeing evidence of deprivation, the vulnerability that exists in today’s society. Individuals sat passively begging, sat with a cup in front of them, wrapped in a sleeping bag, small groups gathering up to no good, people openly under the influence no longer concerned about trying to disguise their drug use. SPICE also is known as the poor man’s drug is available on most street corners for as little as a quid a spliff. 

Seeing people beg who appear vulnerable makes us question and test our moral obligation to help that person in need and with more people sat or approaching people for money and with so much advice about what the right thing to do It has become even harder to decide which side of the fence you are going to sit on?

Recently after looking at my monthly bank statement online. There were rows and rows of charges to Greggs, I totted it up and I had spent shy of £60 in Greggs in the previous month and the only thing I ever buy for myself is a black tea. So I made a pact with myself, I wasn’t going to buy any more food or drinks for a month. (particularly when I also know that Greggs daily donate leftover food to all the local charities) I continued to buy a weekly copy of The Big Issue, I continued to sit and have a chat with the folks on the street and when I explained to one of the guys about my self-imposed pact, he agreed with me, “I mean where do you draw the line?” he said? just before I left him another member of the public came around the corner with his usual bacon and tom dip and a coffee from the local cafe. 

I work in the city center, I simply cannot afford to give to everyone who asks? I get angry at the thought of an unsuspecting shopper who has just come from the local food bank to feed her family or the guy who is barely surviving on his pension, who would love to help but are barely making ends meet themselves. Most will willingly accept your offer of food or a drink, whilst others will refuse preferring cash instead. 

What we are seeing is an increase of people hustling hiding behind the guise of being homeless, however, their actions serve only take advantage of the already disadvantaged and socially excluded using that other person’s homeless status to extort change from well-meaning members of the public. These are often the very same ones who will have access to a roof over their heads, access to benefits, their actions only serve to contribute to blurring the lines. 

The hustle has been going on for generations but it was mainly behind the scenes and hidden in close-knit communities, in local pubs, and between trusted neighbours, however, over the years, the hustle has started to flood into more public spaces. Once reserved for street homeless begging has become the new street hustle, this is evident in with the increase in people begging. There is no denying that homelessness is on the rise, but you cannot compare this figure based on people begging in the street. We live in a compassionate society it is human nature to want to help another human being in need, but how do you tell who is desperate and in most need – put quite simply you don’t.

My friend recently shared her experience going home on the bus 

“Three of Sheffield’s finest homeless sharing my bus ride home, counting out the days’ earnings. Interesting conversation about the general public taking the piss and they’ve earned £89 each. 2 pizzas for £10 and their suppers sorted.”

The majority that I know are people who are dealing with addiction and/or mental health problems are often connected with having had traumatizing upbringings that make them unable to face being alone with themselves without intoxication and whilst intoxication helps in the short term it is not sustainable in the longer term without causing irreversible emotional and physical damage. 

All people begging have a story to tell and how your cash donation will help towards supporting them, if you ask about the support they need they will tell you that there isn’t anything available, even though they may have been visited by outreach teams, PCSO’s or ambassadors before you arrived. 

The reality is that there are services who are out on the streets trying to befriend and offer support and lure people off the streets on a daily basis, because they all know that sitting or living outdoors in all weathers is not going to help or improve or help support their physical or mental wellbeing, or who know that begging mainly serves to fund their already unhealthy addictive and potentially deathly habits. 

There is an array or groups/agencies who go out onto the street to provide interim resources such as sleeping bags, hats gloves warm food/refreshments, dress open wounds or tend to pets veterinary needs because their owners are either not ready, able or willing to accept the support on offer.

Some may argue that the support that is on offer isn’t adequate or agencies aren’t doing enough and I might agree to a certain degree, but I would also argue that all the groups and agencies are doing the very best with what they have got but at least they are focusing and prioritising their efforts on the ones they know are in desperate need. Which is why public support for these local charities is needed more than ever. 

Whilst the signs of poverty are visible, what isn’t as visible are untold stories about how someone who has successfully transitioned from the streets with the right support from local services, that’s where awareness campaigns such as Help us Help help, sharing #Storiesfromthestreet trying to demonstrate that at the right time, with the right support people can live a life off the streets, stories such as Stuart who took part on the first Help us Help film Since being involved in the filming, Stuart has now stopped selling the Big Issue and is focusing on his own Recovery and was one of the Key volunteers who help to shape this years Recovery Months activities.

The Big Issue magazine was launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London, by offering people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income through selling a magazine to the public, this worked well for years but did you know that The Big Issue sales are on the decline?

Vendors on your local high street are not earning an hourly wage while they’re standing out there in all weathers. operating on a self-employed basis meaning they have outgoings and have to turn a profit just like any other enterprise out there.

Vendors buy their magazines from The Big Issue for £1.25 each and sell them to their customers for £2.50 a time. So it is heartbreaking to hear from a big issue seller that they sold 2 mags during the day, making a £2.50 profit only to see someone yards away, wrapped up in a sleeping bag being given fivers or twenties even.

The style of begging is changing, people are getting bolder and will now approach people walking in the streets for spare change “is it right or acceptable to approach and intimidate unsuspecting members of the public for spare change?” The increase of hustlers on the streets is only making it worse for the minority of those who are legitimately vulnerable. 

The act of giving money to people on the streets only serves to reinforce the rationale and justification for those who are hustling that it is ok to beg. Now i am not encouraging people to be less charitable far from it, after all, we need as many people possible in our society to do their bit, but know this there are services, charities doing all they can to help those you see on the streets. If you want to practically help people on the streets, why not get involved with the charities, volunteer your time, work alongside those trying to help, if you haven’t got the time, then donate your cash to a local big issue vendor or a local charity. 

If you were after an answer, then I am sorry to disappoint as there is no right answer, the only person that can answer that million-dollar question “Should I give money to people who beg” is YOU nobody can tell you what to do, but before you hand over your spare change please base your decision on an informed one, go out, do your research ask your questions, then decide…

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too

 

A Thank you letter

So this week has been a busy one 

After a weekend of catching up and reminiscing about the good old days and the not so good old days with family from dad’s side. On Tuesday I attended my first Novel Slam! Call it a sort of X factor for budding writers a chance to pitch their novel in progress against some of Sheffield’s writing talent for the chance to read an extract to an audience and receive feedback from esteemed judges (all of whom I have never heard of before). Feeling like a fish out of water, I purposely made sure I was one of the last to arrive, only to find that I was half an hour early, people were mingling talking in pairs or small groups, welcoming each other they all seemed relaxed and reading for the slam, I wasn’t up for talking or really meeting people per say, I mean I had nothing to say I was there to take it all in, I knew only one person in the room a lady called Anne Grange  local writer from Sheffield who provides support around editing, proofreading I had met her the week before to discuss my book, she also offers a ghostwriting service which is very tempting I’ll tell thee, but I am determined to do this! 

This writing malarky is a personal challenge AND trust me! it fucking challenges me. I have no ambitions to become the best selling author, I am not looking for an agent I just want to write this friggin book, its like an itch that won’t go away, my confidence and resolution swings like a pendulum, one minute it comes easy the words flow easily the writing feels like it has a purpose but then it can switch in a nanosecond to an unrealistic burden I have placed on myself, where I question and doubt myself frequently – but being me  I am determined not to give up. 

I have worked late most nights chasing funding trying to justify the return on the measly offerings of investment to run this year help us Help Christmas Cabin campaign, so this week has certainly had its challenges.  

Last night I was well and truly spent! 5 O’clock came and I could have quite easily gone home, but I didn’t because I had committed to attend a charity event celebrating the 20th anniversary of a project that supports and advocates for young people in the LGBT+ community after the event I felt compelled to write a thank you letter to the Say It organization. 

So here is my thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you letter to Say it

To Steven and all the staff, volunteers, trustees and more importantly the young precipitants of the services provided by Say it charity I would just like to say a very very BIG thank you for last night’s event. Being a passionate advocator for societies judged, misjudged and misunderstood tonight, can I just say you were all truly inspirational and I feel compelled to explain why…

I nearly didn’t come tonight, I was tired, mentally drained, hormonal and quite frankly knackered I could have quite easily given tonights event a miss… 

“This isn’t political” But I work for Sheffield Drugs, Alcohol and Domestic Abuse team (DACT), who have the heavy burden of commissioning much needed, and high demand support services for people affected by substance misuse, domestic and sexual abuse. I say it’s a heavy burden because whilst budgets are being cut year in, year out, the demand for these invaluable services continues to rise. I have the utmost respect for my managers who have the responsibility for making sure that the less than adequate budgets are spent in the places where they are most needed when we all know that all services are needed and deserve investment. 

I am the user involvement lead for the DACT team and my role is essentially is to engage, consult and empower people who have either used or are currently using our commissioned services, this is the best part of my job, its the part I love the most, its what gets me out of bed every morning. Connecting and seeing people who have experienced sometimes, most times horrific forms of trauma and but have somehow found the courage and strength and the resilience to kick back never ceases to amaze me, working alongside them is an honor. – So thank you

For me user Involvement is all about coproduction, it is about people coming together to come up with fresh ideas and solutions, it’s about bringing people together who all have something in common, its about empowering those who have previously been disempowered, it is about finding a space where they have a voice, its about empowering them to find themselves, learn about who they really are, its about empowering them to overcome the limiting beliefs that have often held them back from achieving and being the best they can – Tonight I witnessed what true co-production looks like – Thank you

Being the Domestic abuse user involvement lead I have recently been involved with one of Say it’s projects, Call it out, which received funding from the DACT working with people from the LGBT+ community who have been affected by domestic abuse. I recall the first user involvement event I came along to, feeling nervous, frightened that I might offend someone inadvertently because of my lack of knowledge about the “right” language that should be used (and for those that know me I am renown for saying the wrong thing from time to time) within the LGBT+ community. I laid my cards out at the beginning of the session and shared that I am not an expert about issues within the LGBT+ community and acknowledge that I have still got a lot to learn, so it was reassuring when everyone in that room said that they felt the same too. -So thank you

A few months after this meeting I was privileged and humbled to see one of our service users go to speak at conference organised by Say it talking about their experience of domestic abuse and being part of the LGBT+ community, not normally one lost for words, the same as I was last night and that’s is why I am so thankful that I came along – Thank you 

I came away having learned a lot last night and from everyone involved with Say it

  • I heard about a lady called Sheena Amos who I have never heard or met before the speech written about her, brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms.
  • Again I heard about Noah Lomax, someone who I had never met or heard of, Noah committed suicide at just aged 15 and since his death his family have been fundraising to provide counseling for teens using SAYiTs services whilst listening to Noahs story I felt compelled and committed to doing some fundraising to keep his spirit alive (first though I have to try and keep the forget me not seeds alive in 2020)
  • I saw some amazing spoken word and performances by some very brave and inspiring individual’s 
  • You all reminded me that it is ok if you don’t understand everything as long as you are willing to listen and learn 
  • You all reminded me what real genuine compassion looks like 

I also learned that I think I am a straight version of Steve, But seriously steve last night you reminded me to never shy away from who I really am, even if that means offending some people along the way, because they might not agree with what I say, but under all the bravado and smiles what most people don’t see is that this can be hard at times. 

And I have to be honest it has been tough of late, fighting, kicking back at negativity, stigma, shame, injustice in today’s society sometimes feel like I have been surrounded by mob of negativity vampires sucking the life and fight out of me, but tonight you helped me find my garlic, you armed me with an invisible stake to help warn and keep at bay the negative blood-sucking vampire mob at bay, the mob commonly refer to as today’s toxic society. Today you helped build and restore my sense of worth – Thank you 

Most of all you reminded me, you all inspired me to continue fighting the good fight…

So once again – Thank you

Peri meni & me

I have always kinda looked forward to the menopause, the final change that my body will go through. Looking forward to the day when the endless cycles of monthly periods fuck off, meaning in my head…

  • No more Tampax
  • No more worrying about pregnancy 
  • No more flooding 
  • No more carrying spare pants during the time of the month
  • No more planning holidays around my “time of the month” 
  • No more mood swings
  • No more PMT = no more prozac 
  • No more cramps 
  • No more “sorry I can’t I’m on” excuses – (I’m going to have to think of something else)

I mean which women in her right mind wouldn’t heh ? for years I had been biding my time waiting for the 12 consecutive months without the dreaded period which would tell me I have reached menopause, 

My mother hadn’t really experienced many of the hot flushes or dreaded sweats associated with it so I was hoping that I might be one of the lucky ones. I mean some women have even described going through the menopause as being the best thing that has happened to them, so I was more than ready for the change!

I’ll take you back when it all started (A year ago) – I hadn’t been myself mentally or physically for a while. Now I consider myself to be a pretty insightful person, I have my own understanding of my own spiritually, how to manage my self-esteem I have a deep understanding of what makes me tick! How to manage my emotions, my thoughts managing my own mental health has always been a priority for me since overcoming a dependency many years ago. It was about the same time that I started journalling and thank god I did because without the journalling I might have been suffering in silence for a lot longer and unnecessarily! 

Last year desperate I went to my doctors I explained all the symptoms I was experiencing, low mood, episodes of lethargy and fatigue, I was thinking I had ME or Chronic Fatigue, but he suggested that I might be Perimenopausal? Now don’t get me wrong I had heard of this before, but what I now realise is that I didn’t know or understand enough! So for those who are not in the know 

“Perimenopause refers to the time before menopause when the ovaries begin to decline in function and continues until menopause.” 

My three options at the time were I could

  • Go down the herbal route, but knew nothing about being peri, I wouldn’t know where to start and to be honest I didn’t have the patience to go down the trial and error route, hoping I find a miracle herbal cure. 
  • I could take HRT, that was a no goer, I had heard about the cancer scare associated with that. 
  • I could up my current dose of Prozac from 20 – 40 ml, 

I opted for the latter and for over a year it worked. I had been taking the increased dose of prozac and it appeared to be doing the trick, well it was until about 6-9 months ago (to be honest it could have been longer as the changes are often subtle) 

Nah neither did I? Well, all I can say is “I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this fucking penance!”

The silence angers me – Since my diagnosis, I cannot tell you how many women I have spoken in private or on a one to one who have or who are experiencing similar symptoms. I feel like I have stumbled on a new phenomenon and the more I learn about it, the more I read the stories on the closed private forums the more I am consumed with a mixture of shock and amazement that nobody talks about it and the silence angers me!

I have suffered from dark bouts of depression brought on by varying symptoms including, brain fog, Alcohol free hangovers, waking up swimming in sweat, feeling constantly knackered, despite trying my best to look after myself, swollen tits, swollen waistline one minute I feel like kate moss the next if feel like Jabba the Hutt, (I swear someone is inflating and deflating me just for the laguh) you name it I think I have gone through it over the past few months!

I have struggled to get my head around this peri shit, I am slowly learning and understanding that everyone is different and the symptoms will vary from woman to woman, which makes diagnosing, treating and managing the symptoms difficult or in my case very fucking challenging. It has taken a while and it is still sinking in that my body is going through some complex changes but knowing and understanding more about it, has helped a lot. 

So I wanted to share some of the things that I have done that have helped – I have talked about it, in fact, I think I have done a lot of peoples fucking head in, but to be perfectly honest it isn’t in my nature to keep my gob shut! 

I write I keep a journal, as well as being private and a chance to offload my shit? it has become invaluable in terms of understanding my symptoms and more importantly recording them, which is essential for me because i am all over the shop!

I am now learning to accept and validate my symptoms instead of hiding behind them, out of fear that no one will understand! becuase all the really matters is that “I know and I understand”

Go see your doctor!!!!!

I was invited to a closed Facebook group called Totes Merry Peri – this has been a lifeline, a chance to talk to over 122,000 other women all of whom appear to be going through similar experiences –

There is loads of information online – here are a few links I have found helpful 

https://www.menopauseandme.co.uk/en-gb/menopause-and-me/stages-and-symptoms-of-menopause/peri-menopause

https://www.medicinenet.com/perimenopause/article.htm

I am passionate about more people understanding addiction, I always have been and always will, I will openly talk about my own and fathers addiction, in the hope that it will help remind others that they are not alone and help shake the stigma and shame that clouds what is a serious issue in our society. And for those who know me, they know that it is hard to silence me, after all, it has taken years to “find my voice” and have the courage to speak up when others won’t or find they can’t.

Hence why I am sharing this post – It’s tough being a woman, let’s face it #shithappens and I firmly believe that by simply making and taking some time back to reflect #haveawordwiyasen or talk and confide with friends, family, connecting with people in a similar situation as yourself is a stark reminder that you are not alone…

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too

Love Fordy x