Hormones and the cycle of change – Part of a woman’s recovery that’s rarely talked about

Most people in recovery have heard Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change, but what about the monthly cycle. I have spoken to many women whose periods stopped during their using but came back with a vengeance when they started their recovery journey. “I mean as if us women don’t have enough emotional shit to deal with.”

Let me take you back to before the drugs – My periods and mood swings have plagued me for years and had gotten notably worse after having kids, but I’d learned to live with them. My emotions and body could fluctuate like a frigging swinging pendulum. One minute I could be calm, collective, rational and feel great. I’m in a mental place where I am happy to accept my body, stretchmarks, and all the wobbly bits. The next minute, I could be an emotional wreck, I would mentally tear strips of myself. The self-hatred and self-loathing thoughts were made worse with the fluctuating weight gain, which left me feeling like a fat fucking Umper Lumper.

 

A plus sides of using – is that I didn’t suffer any of the emotional crap that came with the dreaded monthly cycle, let alone everything else that was going off for me. Using had become my coping strategy. It helped to numb my feelings. I was a hollow shell. I didn’t care about myself, let alone anyone else – well, that’s what I’d told myself. I now realise that behind the face of every addict, is in fact, someone who cares deeply but doesn’t know how to cope with their feelings.

 

A downside of recovery – There was one particular day. I remember the day well like it was yesterday.

 

I was in the psychiatric unit and into the second day into withdrawing from amphet when I came on my period. All was going well; I felt the usual sense of physical relief enveloped me like it had every month for the past few years. I felt that good. I even wondered if the doctors might have misdiagnosed me and wondered if I had been suffering from a “VERY BAD time of the month” instead of drug-induced psychosis!

 

Earlier that day, I’d been on the phone with my ex earlier and asked him to send some Tampax with mum when she visited later that day. I’d been frustrated during the call because all he was concerned about was when I was coming home. I vividly remember reminding him, and he “promised” not to forget before replacing the phone.

 

I was in a good place, much to the relief of Mum when she arrived. (the poor cow was still coming to terms that she had to visit her daughter in a psychiatric unit) So, when I asked after the Tampax and realised he’d forgotten, I totally lost my shit.

 

And I mean, I literally lost my shit…

 

I was kicking chairs in the canteen area and was about to throw one of them before a staff member came to try and calm me down. The emotions were overwhelming. I was shaking with rage; I couldn’t control myself; it took me ages to try and calm down. The staff suggested Mum should leave. I could tell she was shocked, scared and worried. I couldn’t blame her; I mean, who reacts like that over a Tampax!

 

“Me that’s who”

 

Looking back, I now realise that it wasn’t the Tampax, but that at that time, the last thing I needed to deal with was my hormones. My head was already fucked from withdrawing from the drugs, my life was a mess, and I was already emotionally raw.

 

It’s been years since that incident happened, yet I still remember it like it was yesterday. I have worked in the recovery field for over 25+ years. In all that time, I have hardily heard a professional have conversations that took into account women’s hormones, especially in recovery.

 

Emerging research suggests that some hormones may enhance the likelihood that some people will become addicted to a substance or behaviour or will struggle more with addiction in general. In particular, the hormones a woman produces during her menstrual cycle may make women more vulnerable to addiction and relapse than men. – That’s not an excuse to use every month, by the way…

 

Over the years, as well as having to deal with all the cause and effect of my using, I have had to learn to understand and come to terms and try managing ‘That time of the month’, and it has not been easy. I am not ashamed to say that I have to take Prozac, I have done for years to help manage my symptoms. I just wish more people talked about periods, peri-menopause/menopause, hence why I am sharing this. 

There is an old saying in the recovery community.

‘The best thing about recovery is you get your feelings back, and the worst thing about recovery is you get your feelings back.’

So, to all you women out there, who are smashing recovery, please remember that as well as being kind to yourself every day be, extra kind to yourself especially at “that time of the month

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!

Love Fordy

 

 

 

 

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

If life was a cake, what would you be?

On the inside I would be made up of colourful layers, laced with buttercream and covered in marzipan and a royal icing layer.

 

We aren’t born anxious, scared or consumed with self-doubt, this is learned behaviour, reactions to past traumatic events.  The ingredients in my cake contain acts, and scenarios that have festered in my psyche and accumulated over time. 

 

If life was a cake, I could divide my life into slices, some parts have been delicious  and I have savoured them whereas others slices have made me sick and emotionally, mentally unwell.

 

My childhood, for instance, I mean I didn’t have a bad childhood; fuck me, I know people out there that have had far worst. But there were things in my childhood that happened, or that I witnessed that impacted how I coped and reacted in social situations. Sometimes my behaviour was out of control, family, friends, saw me as being unruly. I could be aggressive and used my fist and words to push people away. At times, my attitude stank, which was often  put down to being a hormonal teenager or simply not caring. – which wasn’t the case, in fact far from it. At the time; I was quite simply unable to recognise how I was thinking or feeling, let alone process them. – I was confused as fuck

 

Unhappy, Unhealthy Relationship. –within months of leaving school, I fell into a relationship I wasn’t emotionally ready or prepared for, and I certainly wasn’t emotionally/mentally prepared for being a mother. I knew the difference between a healthy, loving relationship and an unhealthy one. I’d fallen into the trap thinking that I had been lucky, that I had found my healthy. But I was wrong, it was a one-way relationship, its foundations based on coercion and control and when the cracks started to show, it was too late, and I couldn’t find a way out. That is until I found drugs.

 

My recovery was mainly about discovering myself – It was time to get honest, but it wasn’t always easy. Trying to  work through past events and emotions, sometimes felt like I was in the middle of one fucked up jigsaw puzzle. But I was lucky to have people around me help search for some of the missing pieces which helped me put myself back together again. I learned to tame the anger, understand the hurt and process it differently which gave me a whole new perspective, outlook on life, I talk about it here 

 

Losing my father to addiction – I worked in the addiction field, which looking back made it more challenging at times, especially when I was surrounded by people who were doing well in their recovery. I often wondered what I must be doing wrong. I can still have flashbacks, which take me back to a time when I felt powerless. To a time where I naively thought that because I had found myself, I though i could help my Dad do the same. But alcohol won. It still hurts now to this day, when I hear about someone, I knew who died due to their addiction. Even worse, I feel for the families, the ones left behind. – This is where the passion to write a book about it comes from

 

Trauma doesn’t have to be physical; there are so many different trauma layers; sometimes, we don’t know how to recognise them.

 

Our past can still haunt us, but it doesn’t have to continue hurting us.

 

So try practicing some compassionate refection

By undertaking some compassionate reflection, I have come to understand and more importantly accept that more often than not, how I’m feeling or reacting, is just an enactment of something that happened in the past. Talking helps, finding your tribe, people who have been in similar situations. I am in a better place to understand that whilst the past can still haunt us, but it doesn’t have to continue hurting us. – my writing helps me with this.

 

Try not to spend too much time in the past. I know! I know, I have been harping on about the past, but seriously make some time for the future, for the unknown. Take all those lessons you have learned from your past to help you navigate yourself through your future. Learn a new subject, read a new book. Go walking, take new routes, venture places you would never consider before.

 

Spend more time in the present – Feast on the here and now and

try practising some mindfulness, or as I like to refer to it as #Haveawordwitheesen. What are you doing today? Write a list of all the things to do and DO em!  When was the last time you did something YOU enjoyed? Feeling low, Bang on some music to lift you up.

 

Make some new friends.

We might be in the middle of a pandemic, but there is still the internet, there loads of amazing people out there who can help inspire you. There are now more than even online support groups and free training. Try sometime new, be open to meeting new people. You might never know how that one person could change your life’s direction. – Just stay away from the shitty news and social media

 

But most important of all – BE YOU

Remind yourself daily that there is nothing wrong with you and that you are still working/figuring yourself out, so give yourself a fucking break OR better still go bake a cake! 

 

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

Much Love 

Fordy x

Letting go of Anger…

Haruki Murakami was quoted as saying that “once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive…But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in”

This quote resonates with me, but what Haruki doesn’t mention or talk about is some of us walking out of the storm are still a little battered and still piss wet through and that we still need time to dry out. For some of us, there will be feelings and emotions during the storm that have left memories. Some still painful, unresolved that we haven’t had a chance to put then to bed and finally allow then to lay to rest.

I wish I could walk away from some of my storms without knowing or questioning how I made it through or how I managed to survive, but I can’t.

One of the best things for me that has come out of my addiction experience has been the recovery process. I have enjoyed the discovery of recovery, learning new things about myself. Understanding where my triggers and cravings came from, which was usually driven by an unmet emotional need. The best and most challenging parts have been learning to love me and accept my flaws, which has helped me draw a line in the past and carve a future path.

Writing has really helped with this process, being able to extract and dump all my thoughts onto paper has become a coping strategy. And up until recently, writing the book has been cathartic. So much so, I no longer suffer the torturous nightmares I used to have about Dad since I started writing the book.

But I hit a wall, writer’s block they call it. I fell out of love with writing, I found it hard to find the right words or articulate how I was feeling, I tried to write, but it wouldn’t come. At first, I put it down to hormones, COVID, being stuck in a rut, too much time spent alone, working from home, overthinking, I thought I was going fucking mad. But after a lot and I mean ‘A lot’ of soul searching, I realised it wasn’t any of these. You see I was stuck at a particular chapter, a part of my past, something I thought I had dealt with, put to bed, but then I realised that there was a wound that it hadn’t yet healed properly.

Now I have dealt with many emotions over the years, sadness, worthlessness, loneliness, shame, guilt you name it, the list goes on. I will spare you the specific details about the chapter as the details don’t really matter. What matters more was understanding why it still hurt so much.

I’m generally not a romancer I am a pragmatist at heart. Still, this memory had me romancing memories, stolen memories laced with regrets. For the past week, my days have been consumed recreating memories. Memories that I had missed out on because I was too wrapped up in meeting another man’s needs and demands. But this time something was different and after a lot of soul searching and patience, I finally realised what it was, it hit me, it was ANGER.

It took me totally unaware; I hadn’t realised just how angry I had been, I’d been blinded by it. I felt angry at myself, foolish even that I allowed myself to be manipulated, used, and no amount of self-compassion seemed to help. For some reason, I just couldn’t let it go.

I hated feeling this way, continually feeling unsettled, unsure about myself. Usually, an optimist I found myself being pessimistic about everything. I felt physically lethargic, I could feel myself withdrawing, and I needed to find a way out and quick, the only problem was I didn’t know-how.

But then the penny dropped – I needed to let go of the anger.

This revelation came to me at my weekly Monday Morning Writers group. I love this group, but that morning on the 1st Feb 2021 had been the first time since I joined that I didn’t want to be there, I had nothing to say, I hadn’t made any progress. I was stuck.

As usual, I was greeted by familiar faces, people I have grown to trust. I tried to be positive and my usual upbeat self, but instead I withdrew after saying my usual “hello’s”. I muted myself waiting for the session to start.

January had been a tough month for everyone for many reasons, so our writing prompt was to think about all the potential positives that February could bring. I took pen to paper, nothing came, looked up, and sat busy writing, they seem to have a lot to say, but I was stuck. Trying not to overthink I let my words flow…

I don’t want to think,

I don’t want to write.

I just want to board a plane and jump on the next flight.

I feel like I’m on the brink.

Life fucking stinks

Nowhere to run

Life’s stopped being fun.

I need to have a word.

Gi me head a wobble

I know thinking this way will only get me into trouble.

I need to find a way to pop this fucking self-pity bubble.

Fuck it I don’t know how!

It was time to feedback – At first, I was reluctant to share, everyone else’s seemed so positive and upbeat, and I didn’t want to bring the mood down, but I had to be honest.

‘I’m sorry folks I’m feeling like a Mardy Bastard today, and I’m not sure if I want to share.’

After a little encouragement, I shared what I’d written, I felt compelled to share the root of my anger, I continued to share the part of the story that was causing so much pain. I stopped sharing conscious I was taking too much time of the group, mindful that others hadn’t shared yet. Bev spoke first

‘It’s bound to be hard to write parts of this book because you’re taking yourself back to difficult places. You need to look after yourself while you’re writing it.’

‘You don’t have to be positive all the time,’ said another member of the group. ‘Thanks for being vulnerable.’

‘You have to remind yourself, as well as writing this book you have an emotionally demanding job too’ said someone else.

‘What might help here?’ asked Bev.

It didn’t take me long to respond ‘Well, for starters a baseball bat (to his head) might help or a small dose of COVID?’ I laughed, but deep down I meant i

‘No seriously, joking aside, I know I need to just let this anger go, I know I can’t change it, I know this’ – Just whilst as I said those words, I could feel a weight lift from my shoulders, but also in my heart.

DA Scottish guy who always makes me smile, laughed warmly ‘Tracey, we all struggle at some point and let’s face it, you aren’t writing a fictional story, this is real life’. And I knew he was right!

You see, I preach on about practising self-compassion and yet for the past week I hadn’t done any on myself. In fact, all I had done is berate myself. For the past week, I had allowed myself to live in the past. Worst still I hadn’t even really shared with anyone how I’d been feeling, let alone thinking. Well, not until that morning. It was no fucking wonder I felt like I was going to self-combust.

The session ended, and I was so happy that I’d made the decision to go along, despite my initial misgivings. And after a day of work-related meetings, I headed out for my evening walk or should I say stomp! As I gathered speed, instead of taking my usual turning up Birley Lane, I continued walking, heading for the narrow path on White Lane towards Ford. I turned on the torch on my phone to help navigate the narrow and uneven path, the roads were quieter than usual, and I was grateful for that. Every so often I stopped and took in the sky, every time I stopped, the clouds’ sequence seemed to have changed and the colours too. The further I walked the lighter I felt. with each step I was mentally letting go of a part of my past was just that ‘The past’. When I got back home, I went straight back to my room and revisited the words I’d written that morning and turned it into something else

I cried today 

But that’s ok

You see, my past caught me out.

I thought I’d moved on.

Always assuming I was strong.

Turns out I was wrong

I went back in time when I felt vulnerable and weak.

Back to a place when life seemed so dark and bleak

could choose to not revisit the past.

could leave it where it belongs.

But something inside me needs to rewrite all the wrongs.

A need to make sense of a past

For me to clear a way forward

But I’m working out this isn’t always fucking straightforward.

I know thinking this way will get me into trouble.

So, every so often I have to give me head a wobble and pop the self-pity bubble.

I know deep down that once I’ve drawn that line in the past.

I will be able to stay in the present, which feels a lot more fucking pleasant.

I’m learning that to continue

I need to practice some more self-compassion

Something that of late feels like it’s gone out of fashion

It was time to have a word wi me sen.

So, I gave me sen a big mental cuddle.

Told me sen that I’ll be alright

And reminded me sen of others who are going through worst plights.

I have just strayed off course.

And on reflection, life could be worse.

I’ve come so far and I ain’t going back.

Just for today, I made a promise to give me sen some slack.

I took some time out.

I had a word wi me sen

And finally found some of me lost yen

I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week, and that’s “Whilst our past can haunt us, they don’t have to continue to hurt us” That is only if we let them. Me writing and sharing this the final part of me letting go and leaving the past in the past, where it fucking belongs –

A special thanks to my Daughters, Danielle and Lauren and to all the guys in the Monday Morning Motivation Writing group.

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 https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails.

 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

Much Love 

Fordy x

A Christmas Recovery Tale

This recovery journey started on 3rd of December 2015 when I received a private message via Facebook…

“Hi Tracey, its Adam Holmes, hope u don’t mind me massaging I just had my interview at Arc house yesterday been accepted just waiting to do my methadone detox on Burbidge I’ve been four weeks on Saturday off illicit drugs so I’m buzzing with that hope ur good take care, adam x”

I was well chuffed to hear from him I knew Adam way back in the day, 20 years when I was his first Keyworker at a day rehabilitation centre Kickstart. Since then, I have followed his journey, including the highs and lows, including being street homeless and spells in prison. This time though there was something different, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, it was still and still is one of my favourite and most inspiring recovery stories.

I’d spoken to him on the phone, and he was both excited and anxious about recovery worrying about whether or not he’d fail again, but I tried to remind him of all the times he’s succeeded too. At the time, Adam had been posting and updating his progress on Facebook before going into rehab. I still recall reading his daily post and was so inspired that I’d decided to collect them all and give it to him once he’d completed rehab to remind him of how far he’s come. Today, five years later, the original post popped up on my timeline. I’d mentioned it to Adam, who had since changed his Facebook profile, so I have pulled it together again, not just for him, but also for anyone else who it might help.

1st December

  • I’m in town later to pick my train tickets up later on to go Scarborough tomorrow at Arc House anyone wanna meet for a coffee or something to eat my appetite is back with a vengeance lol. it I’ll be wanting to lose my belly wen get too much weight on hahaha
  • Just been reading my just for today n the last bit so right, just for today I will keep my priorities in order, number one on the list is my recovery

2nd December

  • Just got on my train guys I missed one that was going straight through to Scarborough but I’m on my way now gonna av a good day nothing can put me on a downer today got my literature so a good read
  • I’m buzzing, just been to arc house they’re gonna get in touch with my social worker and offer me a place so just waiting to get into hospital now and to rehome mollie my dog bless her

4th December

  • Just been in cathedral said prayer n sat down for 10 min gives me some peace to my mind n soul

5th December

  • Morning everyone how’s everybody today our mollie is going crazy playing lol shopping day today I hate today payday. Oh, and I can’t forget it’s four weeks today clean off illicit drug buzzzzzzinnnnnn naturally

6th December

  • Just not long been out of bath had a rite soak n let all the stresses just float away smile I’m on ball today first time in years.
  • First day in along long time I’ve forgotten to take my meds wow
  • Just got back home from town I’ve never seen it as quiet nipped into cathedral and said a prayer to keep me safe and clean just for today it’s so peaceful in there give u time to think as well away from the madness lol
  • Bed for me guys see ya all Tuesday peace n love to you all and needed tonight’s meeting got some good old honesty it woz raw but needed it thanks for support

7th December

  • Morning everybody how’s people today I soo can’t wait till tomorrow’s meeting I can’t miss any till I go treatment not long now whoop whoooooop lol

11th December

  • Is chilling avin a coffee listening to some pink floyd before meeting it’s all good stuff

12th December

  • Just got to Addaction loads early n soaked through lol
  • Goodnight all and thanks for a great meeting see u all tomorrow smile emoticon peace n love

13th December

Thanks everyone for an awesome meeting always enjoy the fellowship some great friends love n peace, Adam

14th December

  • Just started my step one didn’t know I cud write that quickly without thinking about it powerful stuff step 1 hope to c u all tomorrow nite nite all early one for me
  • Soooooo bored today can’t wait for meeting tomorrow

15th December

  • Morning everyone just on way to see my social worker for last time before I go in Burbidge on Monday can’t wait n also cut my meds down again today, I’ve never been more ready as I am now
  • Awesome meeting tonight I’ve never seen it as busy roll on tomorrow but for now nitey nite everyone sleep well

16th December

  • Complacency is the enemy of members with substantial clean time. If we remain complacent for long, the recovery process ceases.” Basic Text p. 80 Recognising complacency in our recovery is like seeing smoke in a room. The “smoke” thickens when our meeting attendance drops, contact with newcomers decreases, or relations with our sponsor aren’t maintained. With continued complacency; we won’t be able to see through the smoke to find our way out. Only our immediate response will prevent an inferno. We must learn to recognize the smoke of complacency. In NA, we have all the help we need to do that. We need to spend time with other recovering addicts because they may detect our complacency before we do. Newcomers will remind us of how painful active addiction can be. Our sponsor will help us remain focused, and recovery literature kept in easy reach can be used to extinguish the small flare-ups that happen from time to time. Regular participation in our recovery will surely enable us to see that wisp of smoke long before it becomes a major inferno. Just for today: I will participate in the full range of my recovery; my commitment to NA is just as strong today as it was in the beginning of my recovery.

17th December

  • Had a great meeting n brought quite a bit to share but I really needed it off to bed after my coffee getting rite nervous n everything else for Monday. But I can’t wait just to get there
  • In library working on my step one I needed the peace n quiet to concentrate it’s proper head mashing but issues I need to work through just done question three wow about been obsessed with something believe I’m like a cd stuck on repeat n play lol
  • Everything that occurs in the course of NA service must be motivated by the desire to more successfully carry the message of recovery to the addict who still suffers.” Basic Text p. xvi Our motives are often a surprise to us. In our early days of recovery, they were almost always a surprise! We’ve learned to check our motives through prayer, meditation, the steps, and talking to our sponsor or other addicts. When we find ourselves with an especially strong urge to do or have something, it’s particularly important to check our motives to find out what we really want. In early recovery, many of us throw ourselves into service with great fervor before we have started the regular practice of motive-checking. It takes a while before we become aware of the real reasons for our zeal. We may want to impress others, show off our talents, or be recognized and important. Now, these desires may not be harmful in another setting, expressed through another outlet. In NA service, however, they can do serious damage. When we decide to serve NA, we make a decision to help addicts find and maintain recovery. We have to carefully check our motives in service, remembering that it’s much easier to frighten away using addicts than to convince them to stay. When we show them game-playing, manipulation, or pomposity, we present an unattractive picture of recovery; however, the unselfish desire to serve others creates an atmosphere that is attractive to the addict who still suffers. Just for today: I will check my motives for the true spirit of service.

18th December

  • Good morning everyone wot a brilliant day to be clean still shocked the fact it’s first one since I was 14 can’t believe it wow lol
  • Just read just for today I love it “just for today I will share my recovery in an N.A meeting”
  • I think that’s brilliant to share your journey with other addicts n friends just to be able to throw everything out ya mouth n leave it in that room
  • Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes I’ve never been as popular in one day hahahaha

19th December

  • Anyone want to meet in town for a coffee my dog is going in foster today not an happy chappy but I know I’ve got to, get myself better but doesn’t mean to say it’s done my head in n been paid today
  • Just bought myself my birthday present buzzing blue addidas bottoms n blue trainers I love buying clothes wouldn’t of dreamt of it two month ago lol
  • Thought meeting woz at 7:30 just been told it 5:30 so I’m walking like a nutter on a mission lol

20th December

  • Well, that’s my bags packed n done just waiting for our mollie to go into foster care
  • I best set a reminder to turn my electric off in morning or wen I’m back in six months I’ll av a rite electric bill lol
  • Took my last bottle of medication today – my journey begins

21st December

  • Morning everyone I’m ready to go Burbidge just waiting on foster carer to ring for mollie now just took her out for last walk.
  • Mollie just gone never thought it cud hurt so much wow
  • I wanted to get to hospital early but come on a hour n three quarters early wow eager beaver lol that’s how much I can’t wait to get in there
  • I’ve never eaten so much pie chips n peas n had seconds now I’m on my pudding I’m gonna come out of ere a rite pie muncher lol its all good
  • They just done my medical on ward wen they wired me up to ecg machine that many wires I woz getting weary thinking is this an electric chair lol
  • Visiting times are half four till eight and on weekends n xmas, boxing days is 10 til 8:30 it’s just that got asked
  • I’m rite happy now thank u Raff Latif for coming n seeing me that’s just made my day wow I’ve never had visitors ere n it just makes it a lot easier bloody hell got tears
  • I can’t believe they av messed my medication up already just gone to get my lefexadine it woz on computer earlier now there is, no meds wot so ever down for me how incompetent r they?
  • I’ve got my card put up where I can see it what all of my new family signed thank u all

22nd December

  • Morning everyone doing great so far
  • I know I’ve got it all to come so taking advantage of being well at the minute eating loads it’s the first time in ages I’ve had three meals in 1 day I’ll put weight on in ere I know that much, they are sorting my meds out this morning I cut down to 15ml today 10ml tomorrow then 5ml day after then none Im gonna be raw as f##k lol won’t be laughing then lol
  • Just had my dinner and also cherry pie with custard I’m that stuffed gonna av an hour or two while I still can n still feel ok lol talk to ya all later, also I got chance to hospital chapel earlier got given a bible and a cross my higher power is watching over me and keeping me well and healthy peace n love to you all take care

23rd December

  • Thank u soooooo much Bradley it woz great seeing u my brother and passed on loads of time we had a rite good chat cheers mate and sending all my love out to everyone of my friends and my n.a family av a great meeting tonight, love n peace, adam
  • Just had my first lefexadine tablet I woz riding it out best a cud but I don’t need to I’ll be glad wen all the meds av stopped I can’t wait but it like that saying don’t run before ya can walk I just get to eager n wanna get things done remember adam just for today n.a has taught me soooooo much which I’m glad for I’m ready to surrender myself and start from ground n work my way up I’ve got that much to learn everything I’ve missed from age 14 to 43 wow.

24th December

  • Its late morning and I’ve slept all way through I had awesome sleep mind u that woz with meds but it worked lol I cut to 10ml today 10ml in two days wow but I start my lefexadine today
  • I’m soooooo shocked of how many people are giving me support it feels great n it’s the rite time for me as well I’ll never forget what ya all av done for me by just been there or just a few words, that can change how u feel from sad to happy n it makes a world of difference I will always be ere to give the same help and support for everyone if needed all my love peace from my heart.

This is as far as I got, but fast forward to 2020. I can tell you Adam never used the train tickets to get to Scarborough a few of his recovery Buddies Mick, Raff and Lee had offered to drive him directly to rehab in case he tried absconding or tried scoring for the last time.

Adam came out of rehab in July 2016, and whilst it hasn’t always been easy, he is still clean to this day. He went into supported accommodation when he returned to Sheffield and now has his place on the Manor. Adam had previously had periods of separation from his only daughter, Leah Jade, but since he started his recovery journey, their relationship has gone from strength to strength. He was beaming the other day about her going to university and how he couldn’t be prouder.

An ambassador for recovery he helped support Sheffield Recovery Community to help raise awareness about addiction and recovery by sharing his story (read here/what here) He’d also completed the Sheffield Ambassador scheme and volunteered for a while with Kickback Recovery before starting as a volunteer coach at De hood. Earlier this year, he helped set a new recovery support group up there.  

I know Christmas is literally around the corner but significant dates don’t count in recovery what counts is that one more day clean. I have put some links below, some sources of support, but in the meantime i just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and lets SMASH 2021.

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 subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails.

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

 

Adams story is just one of many recovery stories, proof that we can recover – to read some more go to https://sheffielddact.org.uk/drugs-alcohol/help-and-support/success-stories/

If you are struggling over the festive period, please don’t suffer alone, reach out https://sheffielddact.org.uk/drugs-alcohol/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/12/online-recovery-V5.pdf

 

Book & Life Update

 

Well, it’s been a fucking crazy year hasn’t it? who would have thought this time last year, some of us would be having to self-isolate at home and especially over Christmas. I however, have found myself embracing the change if I’m honest, COVID has provided me with some much needed ‘time to think’ and has made me realise more than I did before just what’s really important in life.

During COVID I got involved in helping to set up an online support group for families, there are a few of us, who are volunteering to help facilitate the group, being involved has helped remind me about how important it is to recognise the support needs of families and friends affected by addiction.

Best of all the time that would normally have been spent travelling into work on the bus had been replaced with writing time and with the help of the ‘Monday morning Motivation’ writing group run by Beverly Ward  and weekly coaching sessions I finally feel like I am making some progress.

I am nearly halfway through the book, it hasn’t always been easy, but I HAVE found it therapeutic, I am still amazed about how much more there is to learn about myself and how I approach life in general. The book is about two peoples journeys of addiction, mine and my Dads

I thought I would share with you the part of the story. I am at the part of the story when I am starting to really realise that Dad has got a problem with the drink and it’s the start of a journey, I never thought I would be embarking on. I wanted to pay homage in this post to all the families and friends affected by addiction and to also encourage others who find themselves in similar situations to reach out for help, I have also included a link to the video that was made. *Please note this is a draft and will go through another edit*

Continue reading “Book & Life Update”

Christmas is coming… Check yourself before you wreck yourself

People look forward or dread Christmas day for many reasons, it  can  be an opportunity for relaxing or relapsing – you decide

A Christmas Poem – By Fordy

The pressure of family expectations.

The awkward conversations with family members you speak to only once a year,

Worrying about money, the money you haven’t got.

A chance to compete with the neighbours

Check out who’s lights are the most outrageous.

To pretend that Father Christmas existed.

Time for Santa’s elves to get mischievous

For some, it’s to celebrate Jesus.

An excuse for the stretchy pants and to get ready to stuff their faces

To attend midnight mass.

To reflect on Christmas past.

Remember a loved one whose been laid to rest.

Or to put Jamie Oliver’s recipe to the test.

To get pissed and forget about life.

Take a day off from the worry and strife.

A chance to wallow in self-pity

Tell a joke from the Christmas cracker and pretend to be witty.

A chance to tell someone you love that you care

Or a time to envy others and compare

The time of year to get everyone together

Moan about the weather

The lack of snow, ya remember all that white stuff we used to get years ago.

For some, it’s a much-needed day off work.

For others, it’s just another money-making machine.

Or the shops have closed a chance to save some cash.

Then there are ones who get up early in preparation for the boxing day money saving dash

However, you see Christmas day, regardless of previous rituals that have been encouraged over your lifetime, remember Christmas can be about anything you want it to be

CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF

You decide if your previous Christmas revolved around any of the above. You didn’t like them – this is your chance to make Christmas about whatever YOU want it to be – I’m not suggesting you take the fun out of Christmas, but it’s also not an excuse to say ‘fuck it’ this time only comes around once a year and give yourself a day off. It’s another day, how you interpret it will dictate and shape whether or not this year will be a negative or a positive experience.

There is no right or wrong, but you do get to decide.

Happy Fucking Christmas

Love Fordy

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 https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails. Oh and If you liked the post please share it with others – and if you don’t then do nothing that’s ok too 

Is giving up simply an excuse for not trying hard enough?

 

 

This has just popped up on my memories, I came across it four years ago Alcoholic, 41, given a lethal injection because he saw death as his only option. I still remember how the article unsettled me at the time, I even shared the post posting ‘I’m on the fence with this one’. However, after hours and hours of writing since first coming across the article, I now know why it unsettled me so much – So here is me pushing my ass off the fence.

 

Mark Langedijk’s life had become ‘a hopeless cocktail of pain, drink, loneliness and sorrow’ His sister Linda talked in the article about how after multiple attempts to get clean, his brother had, had enough. He had given up.

 

I could empathise with Marks story and his sister Linda, and it saddened me that Mark felt that euthanasia was his only way out. But what angered me the most was the quote from the MP Fiona Bruce, co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, who said ‘This news is deeply concerning and yet another reason why assisted suicide and euthanasia must never be introduced into the UK. What someone suffering from alcoholism needs is support and treatment to get better from their addiction – which can be provided and should not be euthanised. 

 

‘What someone suffering from alcoholism needs is support and treatment to get better from their addiction.’

 

I re-read it and re-read it, for me that line implies that there is always a solution or that Alcoholism can alway’s be fixed and I was incensed. My Dad was already committing slow suicide, we knew it, and towards the end, he did too, and I’m sure if he had the option, he might have taken the same route. He would often remark ‘they wouldn’t let an animal suffer like this’ every time he was released from another hospital admission. His wasn’t a life. It had become a constant cycle of being admitted into a hospital, going through painful supervised detox’s, only for him to be released, each time his body becoming frailer. He was a quarter of the man he was two years earlier; trust me this wasn’t a life. 

 

Drinking is like playing Russian roulette, and nobody ‘really’ knows where that often invisible ‘fine line’ is. I don’t know when things changed for Dad. Who once used to enjoy a social drink to swapping his usual morning mug of builder’s tea to drinking a mouthful of Jack Daniels from his tumbler which would often make him wince, especially when his lips were cracked from dehydration?

 

I cannot pinpoint the time when there seemed to be no turning back for Dad? I’d overcome my addiction demons; I’d been working in the substance misuse field for over 15 years. Some amazing recovery stories surrounded me, people who had overcome some past severe trauma and overcome, why couldn’t Dad be like them?

 

She mentions treatment and support, Christ. It wasn’t like we didn’t try; I’d tried and failed on endless occasions to get Dad to services. I had wanted to get him to meet other people who had suffered from addiction and were now coping, hoping that it would help inspire him, show him that there was more to life than the bottle of fucking Jack Daniels. But he would point blank refuse, claiming he wasn’t an alcoholic. This is the same guy who wouldn’t take paracetamol because it wasn’t good for his Liver, whilst at the same time drinking his beloved poison.

 

Only the other day, my sister and I had been reminiscing about just how bad Alcohol had taken over Dad. We also talked about someone else we both knew who had recently lost custody of her kids all because of her drinking. She was deemed incapable of caring for her kids because of her alcohol-induced actions, which was sad because we both know that she loves her kids dearly. Some people would say she must love to drink more than her kids? I know I often wondered the same about Dad? Did he love to drink more than he loved us? Or if he really loved us, he would stop putting us through this endless pain. But the sad part was he’d fallen out of love with himself? I have often wondered if he ever loved himself.

 

I know the cycle of change well, pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and finally maintenance. Fuck me I’d been around the loop me sen a few times and so had Dad. Still, at some point, after endless relapses, he stayed stuck there. He got stuck at what uncommonly known as End-stage Alcoholism.  This is the point where the Alcoholic is experiences severe health and mental issues and a higher risk of death. I never gave up on Dad, I held onto the only slither of what hope I had right up until the end, but the reality was that Dad had given up on himself and there wasn’t fuck all I could do about it.

 

I am an eternal optimist, always have been and always will be, I firmly believe that there is still hope, but I also believe that we don’t always get what we want #Shithappens and sometimes we have to learn to accept #Shithappens and let go.

 

Now before anyone gets this twisted, I am NOT advocating that we should be encouraging euthanasia NOR am I saying we should NEVER give up on ourselves or our loved ones suffering from addiction. But what I am saying is we should never judge another person’s personal decision everyone regardless of who they are has the right to choose how and when they decide enough is enough.

 

RIP Mark Langedijk

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 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 

How’s your resilience bank account looking

I always had a voice and an opinion, but I rarely voiced it, you see I grew up at a time surrounded with messages such as “kids should be seen and not heard” or “ya made ya bed now in it”. Emotions and feelings were either black or white, there was no room for any shadiness. Another phrase that would particularly piss me off was “you should always respect your elders” like their age was the only thing that qualified them as being wiser or more knowledgeable, which was bullshit!

  • Years ago, I used drugs to numb my emotions because I was so scared of how they made me feel.
  • I would avoid trying something new out of fear that I might fail.
  • I would say and do what others expected of me out of fear of being rejected. I would bottle all my thoughts in my head, afraid to share them just in case someone thought I was mad or worse insane – fuck me that worked out well!
  • I was consumed with self-doubt, I never gave myself a chance, so I didn’t need anyone else to put me down, nah fuck that I did a pretty good job of that mi sen.

For years I tried my best to conform, to ‘Shut up and put up” but none of it made me happy, I always felt discontent and disillusioned by life to the point that I nearly gave up. I was emotionally bankrupt  and I didn’t have a fucking bank account, let alone a metaphorical one.

“So what changed” I hear you ask?

I’d been brought up to always be considerate of others, ‘It was the right thing to do” I was never inclined to consider myself. Thinking about oneself was deemed selfish. But that started to change, I started taking notice, and when I say taking notice, I don’t mean taking notice of everything going off around me, I started taking notice of me and instead of questioning everything and getting fuck all back, I started looking for some answers, my of which only i could answer.

I found that there were people and places where people were willing to listen to all the things I’d always thought, but never dared share or voice out loud. It was a relief to I realised that there were others like me! Many were on a journey and had similar destinations in mind.

It was like being accepted into a fucking “secret society” that I never even knew existed.

But unlike some other societies, you didn’t have to go through some dodgy ritual to gain membership or acceptance. Fuck that! most of the members had gone through enough dodgy shit, they didn’t need to go through anymore. There were no oaths, no pledges of allegiance the only oath you need to make was to yourself. That’s where I learned about something called resilience and best of all I learned I had some already, only I never knew it.

Resilience isn’t something you’re born with, tha can’t buy it online and it isn’t just for a select few neither. Most of us have our own bank accounts, right? I now have what I call my resilience bank account and trust me it far more valuable than whats in my Natwest account. Over the years I have come to realise the importance of having some time out, making time to #Haveawordwimisen  It’s the place where I bank my happy memories, I invest and deposit positive thoughts about myself daily.

(like now) to sit alone with my feelings and thoughts including the uncomfortable ones and let go of the ones that don’t serve me.

Every so often I will get a copy of my resilience bank statement to remind myself how far I have come and to make sure I’m not going into the red.

I have a special volt in my account, that’s for the crappy memories, parts of my past., there is only me who has a key. Occasionally I might pop it open have a look, but then I’ll put it back where it belongs in the past.

This hasn’t been easy Resilience isn’t about pushing through and accepting shit and it isn’t about taking control or carrying on regardless of how you feel. Resilience is about developing strategies that help you manage when facing situations, you find stressful instead of running away from them.

I know on the outside that some people think I have got this life malarky all sorted, but they couldn’t be more wrong. There are some days I have to work fucking hard, sometimes all it takes is looking at situations differently or considering a different perspective.

My resilience has developed and changed over the years, based on how I’ve responded to experiences, my environment at the time and all the social interactions. I have come to accept that I will be forever having to learn about myself and accept that #shithappens – it’s how I manage it that counts.

There are now loads of support groups freely available that can help develop your resilience. The best part is their doors are open to anyone who has a willingness to take ownership of their shit and a desire to change, to improve themselves on their terms.

So, stop feeling sorry for ya sen, get off ya ass and start investing in your resilience bank account – cos your worth it

Love Fordy

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 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 

Taking responsibility for our own thinking

I’m renown for coining the phase shit happens, it frequently rolls off my tongue, much to the annoyance of my kids. Or another personal favourite is, “It is what it is.” Now my kids do hate this one, I’m sure that sometimes they think I don’t care or I’m not listening but what I am trying to say is if you can’t change something, focus more on trying to accept it in its entirety, no ifs or buts, and move on. 

 

“Next…… ”

 

At the moment life can feel like a shower of shit what with COVID and the pressure to keep all social contact to a minimum, this is a particularly big ask when, much of our social interaction with family, friends and peer support groups is the only thing that helps keep them sane. 

 

This new way of living has forced many of us to rely less on others and focus on relying on ourselves. COVID has inadvertently forced many people to stop, think and reflect on what matters. But for some being afforded more time to think has been like being gifted a poisoned chalice and they cannot cope and miss the welcome distraction of work and their lives pre COVID. 

 

Over recent months, in particular, I have sat, listened and read people, who in my humble opinion are wasting precious energy and time thinking, fixating, rehashing, dwelling in things that have either happened in the past or even worse about what might happen in the future, which quite frankly is more insane considering none of us can predict the future, not even mystic fucking meg. 

 

This kind of thinking can be debilitating, there is sooo much shit that goes off in our lives that we cannot control and yet many still try. What concerns me more is the number of people who take their thinking for granted. Who don’t understand or recognise how what they think, or allow themselves to think can and does influence how they feel. And ultimately how they act OR React? or realise that if they focused on their mental health, how they can support and help their emotional health.

 

Now I’m not saying it’s easy, fuck me there are days when I spend far too much time being distracted by other people’s shit, thinking about different scenarios or things I cannot change, it’s like having squatters living rent-free in my head. But it does get easier and I promise the more you practice on focusing on the present and what you are thinking you will find yourself less distracted by thoughts from the past or the future for that matter. 

 

The more self-aware you become, the more you will start to notice when the piss-taking squatters have moved in and learn how to evict their sorry assess outta ya head. I often find that… 

 

Banging on some positive tunes normally does the trick, drowning squatters out with songs by M People, or my personal fave “Best thing that happened to me” by told Glady’s Night. 

 

Keep a Journal, it’s my safe space for putting my thoughts down on paper, I often re-read it back and wonder “What the fuck were you thinking” 

 

Think about what you are thinking – for example, are you thinking about your goals? Or are you thinking about the barriers to your goals?

 

Reach out – Call or facetime a friend or someone you can trust, I know it’s not the same as being with them, but it’s a good second best

 

Try different things – if there’s one thing I have learned it’s what might work for one person won’t for another there are loads of help out there that we can try to help ourselves – https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/your-mind-plan-quiz/ 

 

The last word – we cannot control everything in our lives, but we can control and take some responsibility about how we think about it and how we deal with it… after all, SHIT HAPPENS, always does and always will…

 

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 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