COVID one year on


 Facebook had just asked me – What’s on your mind, so i had a think about it…


As I flicked through my memories, I realise such much has changed

Its been a long xxcking year and yet, i’m still here

Only eight years ago, Sheffield was covered in snow

The year before I was stuffing my face at the Bay of Bengal

Four years ago, I’d challenged myself to a full day of No SWEARING

But it didn’t last long and by the end of the day I’d past xxcking caring

The year after that, I was complaining of being fat!


On this day a year ago COVID was all over the news

I was heading into work only to be sent back home

It’s now 2021

Where the xxck has the last year gone?


I could never have predicted what the future had in store

In the early days I felt restricted and conflicted

At first it was strange, being forced to change

Isolated from family and friends

But it was a means to an end


We all needed to do our part, even though at times it broke my heart

We were all in a global pandemic, where nobody could hide

And in the blink of an eye another year has passed by

Each lockdown has been hard

I found myself having to dig deeper inside


Often the fear of the unknown left me feeling isolated and alone

I would allow myself to wallow for a while consumed with self-pity

But it just wasn’t me AND it certainly wasn’t xxcking pretty

I had to have regular words wi me sen

And reasoned that Instead of moping, I needed to find some better ways of coping


I used my time wisely to focus on shit I’d been neglecting to make time for reconnecting

I started by staying away from the TV, which gave me more time to focus on me

I’d take long walks alone to contemplate life – a perfect opportunity to switch off from all the xxxxing strife


I picked up my pen and started to write, each new word offered up a new insight

I learned to accept that whilst change can make us feel vulnerable, that change is also inevitable.

This year I have been constantly reminded, that we have two choices in life

We can either bury our heads in the sand or we can make a stand


I chose the latter, to take the rough with the smooth

I mean I’ve got xxck all else to do or to lose

For me COVID has been another stark reminder

None of us knows what’s around the corner


I hope that one year from now

I’ll have figured life out, some way, somehow

But just for today

I will focus on the here and now


Love Tracey

Growing up on the Valley

Did this for the Valley Kids Facebook Group, reminiscing about back in the day when a bag a SPICE were a ten penny mix…

Growing up on the Valley

I was brought up on the Valley

Back in the day when I was a scally

Sheffield born n bred

I’ve tried to not let life get to me head

I’m proud of mi grassroots

And life on the estates

That’s the place I met some true mates

Back in the day when we fought wi our fists

But we’d soon make up wi a big sloppy kiss

When no-one would dream of picking up a knife

Cos, back then we valued life

Hedging hopping neighbours gardens

Or playing knock a door run

God, I miss those days, they were so much friggin fun

Once a year the circus came

N all the animals appeared to be tame

More than once a year the fair would arrive

Attracting other kids, bringing the Valley alive

The estate was surrounded by woods

In those days our highs didn’t come from drugs

Cos back then, none of us were mugs

Back in the day when life didn’t get in the way

And you could say what you wanted to say

Without fear of offending

There were none of that pretending

But then we all had to grow up

Some went their separate ways

Others stayed

Some say it’s rough

But I’d say it made me tough

I’m all grown up now, Christ knows how

I’ve made some mistakes

But life’s given me some breaks

Some mates are no longer here

But in our hearts, they will never disappear

My heart will always be in the valley

And in my head, I will always be a scally

Cos some of the best days of my life were made in a place called Gleadless Valley

Love Fordy x

Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to receive post as soon as they are written CLICK HERE – I promise i will NEVER send you any spam, i’m not into all that shit, i just like to write!

 Oh, and If you liked this post please share it on social media and with friends – and if you didn’t like it then do nothing that’s ok too

Taming & unchaining shame

It’s been with me for years, I could best describe shame as being unable to say what I really wanted to say, suffocated by other people’s opinions or expectations. Sometimes my mind felt it felt like I was a contortionist, my thoughts and emotions were permanently being twisted into what I now understand to be unnatural positions. I wanted to share my most recent poem it’s called

Taming & unchaining shame

He’s there

Mr shame dangling the key

For years I thought I would never be free

Always secretly wanting more

But too afraid to tell

Because if I blew my cover

My life will be hell

So, I would continue to conform, to societies norm

Like a contortionist trying to fit in

But it never seemed to work

And I could never seem to win

I could not find my place

I had accepted my fate

I continued taking the blows

I shelved my desires

But in reality, my life was a show

Each time I gave in

I lost part of my soul

And wondered if I’ll ever feel whole

I wasn’t a bad person

I was just too eager to please

But this got me into trouble because I’d neglected my own needs

But over time I started to question

Mulling over my past, the years of rejection

And realised it was time for some honest reflection

I started listening to my heart

It was time for a fresh start

I learned the peace that I’d been yearning had always been there

All I had to do was take a step back and practice some self-care

The more I truly listened

The more I heard

And I finally found the courage to break free from the herd

I took back the key, from my jailer called shame

And for the first time in my life

I feel like I’m part of life’s game



Remember you hold the key

Maybe its time to get honest

It’s time to face your reality


Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too 


Life after caring – The void


Writing is my therapy, it’s my escape, a place to think, without interruption. Particularly lately what with the incessant negative news and views about society, COVID, BLM the economy, sometimes it’s easy to forget that amongst all these issues is that there are still millions of people who are afflicted by addiction, but that doesn’t make good news does it?

I was inspired this morning, I was pulling together a recovery story from a lady called Debbie. I was reminded that amongst all the negativity that there is so much magic taking place, that often goes unseen or doesn’t make the headline news, I also wrote this… Its called the Void

The Void

There’s a void, I’m not sure how to fill it

Especially now that you are no longer in it

I have dreamt of this moment and now that it’s here

I’ve changed my mind

“Come back Dad, there’s nothing to fear”


I have finally been released

From fight or flight mode

You’d think I’d be relieved

But I find I’m at a new crossroad


I feel numb inside

There is nothing left

I need to refuel

I need to move on from your death


Your life has ended

But mine still goes on

I can continue to mourn

Or I can learn to move on


I have chosen the latter

I know that’s what you would have wanted

I wish it was that easy

There are times I still feel haunted


In my dreams, I tried to reach you

But you couldn’t see

Locked in your addiction

You just couldn’t find the key


I still bear the scars

They will never go away

But I have learned how to cope

In my own way


My pledge in your death

Is to continue to fight

I will continue to write


I will speak up for others

Including, all the mums, dads, brothers and sisters


The void is still there

I don’t think it will ever go away

But I now have the strength and the courage

To make it through another day

Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too 



Yeah I’m clean but my poetry’s not!


Emj is a talented artist and has come a long way from the very first time I met her at one of our recovery months, ride for recovery events, she was halfway through her detox and staying at Phoenix House.

The other day I caught up with her, she has been living independently now for nearly a year, has returned to college, chairs one of the local NA meetings and has just returned from a holiday of a lifetime in Lapland with her partner.

She has come along way from self-harming, prison and substance abuse and is slowly learning to live life on life’s terms. We talked about our love of swearing, inspired she wrote this

Dirty words. 

Yeah I’m clean but my poetry’s fucking not

I’m still cursing like I’m being chased by a cop

I have the right to remain obscene

Your nightmare was my fucking dream

Smiling on the outside

Inside I scream

I don’t swear for the hell of it

I swear to highlight this shit

I didn’t mess things up

I completely fucked things up

So why pretend

I’m sorry if I offend

But I refuse to minimise

My poems are my way to analyse

All my faults and lies 

My way of counting all the tears I’ve cried

My way of pointing out the fact 

I’ve been to hell and made it back

That’s where the fucking miracle is at

So can I get a fucking amen on that. 





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 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 won’t​ be silenced

I was pulled the other day about an opinion I had made recently at work, apparently, it wasn’t appropriate, basically, it wasn’t the right time or place to have shared my opinion. A wave of shame smothered me but being compliant, I took it on the chin and apologised.

But after the meeting, it didn’t sit right and after a lifetime of feeling misunderstood or unheard, the feeling of shame hung around me and I needed more time to process it.

I find it hard sometimes in the workplace, after all, I am well known for my honesty and for the most time, it is welcomed, refreshing even, I am often praised for it, I am normally the one brave enough in room to say what everyone else is thinking because they are too afraid to speak up, but when my opinion goes against the status quo, the party line, I am expected to stay silent.

"Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” 
― Barbara De Angelis

Whilst I recognise that life is all about compromise and everyone has the right to their own opinions, what I struggle the most with is comprising my voice, or feeling like I have to compromise my true thoughts out of fear of offending someone. Particularly those in authority, or who are on a higher grade than me.

Some people assume that me speaking my truth comes easily, it comes from a place of confidence, self-assurance, at to be fair most of the time it does, but for the other times, it can be scary and daunting.

After a lifetime of feeling misunderstood (mainly because I was unable to articulate how I felt because I didn’t either know or was more concerned about upsetting someone else), I now realise that the feeling of being misunderstood didn’t come from others, but came from a lack of understanding myself.

I have worked hard and I am still working hard on being happy in my own skin and being true to myself. This hasn’t and isn’t easy either, this has required me to work on reversing years of self-doubt, undoing limiting beliefs and assumptions that have held me back from being true to myself.

Asking me to be silent, is like asking me to go back to the person I was years ago, pretending to be a person I no longer recognise or relate too.

Shhhhhhhhh don't say that It will get you into trouble 

 Don't like what I say?
 Then look the other way
 Being mindful of what I say
 Just in case it is taken the wrong way
 I won't conform 
 To some of societies norms
 Don't worry about me
 I’ll carry the slack
 It’s ok I've got a strong back
 I won't change me
 I won't give me away 
 This is me, I am here to stay
 Finally happier in my skin
 I won't be silenced out of fear of not fitting in 
 Like me or not
 That is your choice
 But I will never be silenced 
 I will always have my voice

                                 Tracey Ford

Right, thats working on me sen for one day… I have got a life tha knows

Love Fordy x

The pursuit of happiness isn’t about perfection, its about understanding, accepting our imperfections and managing them to the best of our ability and that’s all we can do

For years I put the needs another man’s before my own. I lived in a deluded world where I thought that if I could make him happy, fix all their problems that I would be ok! Say what he wanted to hear, opposed to what I wanted to say, do what he wanted to do opposed to doing what I wanted soon became second nature and in the process I had learned to believe that thinking about my needs was selfish.

I’d changed, I doubted myself, been rewired, constantly doubting myself, allowing others to using guilt as a weapon to get their own way.

I had become an expert at using others as a distraction an excuse from asking myself “what do I want?” I had become afraid I who I was? But when in reality I didn’t have xxcking Scooby doo! Who I was? let alone what I wanted! So where the fuck do you start?

Being in that place was scary, appearing to be functioning on the outside, the “perfect life” but on the inside, I was a hollow shell, I had lost my identity. I had given it away without realising the long term damage that it would cause me. I have had to learn some hard life lessons, some things about myself I didn’t like, often very painful ones I am working on undoing all the learned thinking, and learning new ways of functioning as a whole being, not just a shell or a preprogrammed robot!

I now live with the constant battle of reminding myself that I’m ok, constantly reassuring myself that I matter, constantly reassuring myself that the actions I make will and are the right ones for me at that time, constantly reassuring myself that its ok to make mistakes, that’s not to say It’s easy, in fact far from it? but I reason that life was never easy before was it? But the doubt’s never really go away.

I now reason that the older version of me was learned thinking, so now I am working on undoing the learning and found that I started to learn things about myself that I never knew even existed? 

I am still the same person, but I am braver than i once thought, I trust my instincts more, and the more I learn about me, the more I realise that the pursuit of happiness isn’t about perfection, its about understanding, accepting our imperfections and managing them to the best of our ability and that’s all we can do. 

I am fortunate, I am no longer in a manipulative relationship in fact I haven’t been for many years, but the scars are still there, they act as a reminder, a reminder to make sure I don’t lose myself again and not to make the same mistakes.

Meeting the man of your dream’s

The ying to my yang 

This was all meant to be 

But it was just me

Making everything all right

Just to prevent a fight

Always wrong

Never right

Chipping away, at my soul

Not sure which way to go

Losing myself 

Chasing the needs of someone else 

Nothing in return

Just a one way street

Feeling weak and defeated 

I’m sick of being mistreated

Something has to change 

I don’t know where to start

This is the frightening part

I cannot continue, its breaking my heart

What if he was right?

What if I’m wrong?

Nah fuck that shit!

I need to stay strong 

I know I my heart

I made some crap choices 

Which cannot be undone

I need to accept them

I need to move on 

To find a new version

A new version of me

That person I once was 

The person I am meant to be 

You weren’t good for me

Now I finally can see

We were never meant to be

A light has been switched on

Time to look after number one 

My heart maybe weak

But my resolve is strong

No longer under your control

I’m done, I’ve let go

Its time to move on

I surround myself with people

The ones who really care

The ones who listen 

The ones who don’t scare

You have lost your control

I’m learning to trust in myself 

To know my own mind 

Starting to be kind

Your spell has been broken 

Give it your best shot

You pushed me to the brink

But I am stronger than you think

Its taken a while

But I can look back smile

No longer under your spell

Its time to get well

Enjoy your life

You are on your own

Don’t be fooled by what you see

Its been a tough week but it’s nearly over, I just wanted to say a BIG thank you to the following people you helped remind me that even if I am having a bad day, feeling low, uninspired that if I took my head out of my arse and looked around  there is always someone out there inspiring others, the best part is they don’t even realise it

Andy, the Big Issue Seller – Emj Morris, the recovery poet- Hayley, the mother who is overwhelmed – Dorothy, the Domestic Abuse Survivor/worrior

Don’t be fooled by what you see

When your heads up ya arse

And you don’t know why?

When you are feeling low 

Not sure where to go

When your stomach keeps churning 

And you heart is yearning 

Just wanna to hide, from those feelings inside

Hide from memories that haunt me, taunt me, stalk me in my sleep

The same memories that make me feel weak 

No-one can see it, only me 

Its hard to explain

Its like I’m going insane 

All I wanna do is stay indoors and hide

Hide from the feelings that churn my insides 

Its ok, I’m having a bad day

And I reason with myself “thats ok”

Life goes on and I walk through my front door

Head into work, to see what lays store

I take a risk, I go out doors 

I get on with my day 

Hoping the thoughts and feelings will eventually go away

I randomly bump into friends 

Friendly faces from the past

We smile, we chat we got some catching up to do

Little do they know how they helped pull me through

Their energy and spirit 

They have overcome so much

As I walk away I am reassured “I’m ok”

My spirits are lifted 

They will never know

How they helped restore my soul

Thank you