Archive for September, 2008

Plea From A Cat Named Virtue

September 29, 2008

I am being chased.

 

I keep having this same dream, and it was only when I was half awake/half asleep on Sunday morning, having this dream again, that I realised its significance. I’m fairly certain I’ve had this same dream 3 or 4 times now.

 

Do you all know what ‘users dreams’ are? It’s basically when you dream about doing something you’ve given up, and the dream is so real that you wake up having experienced all the same feelings you did when you were a ‘user’. I get them about once every 3 or 4 months, and they normally involve me being around people doing drugs, and I wake up sweating with my heart beating so hard, I could swear it might burst out of my chest.

 

So I cannot decide if this dream I keep having is a variant on a ‘users dream’, or just some residual post-process feelings – perhaps to do with my dark side, or missing that depressive cloud.

 

The dream involves me feeling threatened, like something is chasing me or is coming – in my head, it is always a monster of some sort, of a catastrophic event. I find myself panicking and looking for a place to hide, and normally find solace in a bush, a group of trees, or something to that effect. It’s quite a short, but very powerful dream, and in the times I have had it – probably all within the last month or so – I have woken up physically scared.

 

I just can’t decide what it is my unconscious mind is scared of.

 

After (regrettably) missing Friday night’s Hoffman support meeting, Saturday was ‘Go Ape!’ day.

 

 

The day began with a drive down to Thames Ditton to pick up Dom, (and have a quick chat with Marcus) before making my way to Bracknell. (Is there a more English name for a town than that?)

 

After throwing some food down me – I was starving – we were strapped into harnesses, and given half an hour’s instruction on being constantly secured to posts, how to make all the drops were to endure, and how to generally finish the park’s 5 courses without killing ourselves – which kind of drove home the enormity of what were about to do.

 

The first, practice course, wasn’t too bad. Climb a rope ladder, walk across something, quick swing onto a rope net and then slide down a long rope until you hit some woodchips, hopefully landing feet first so you don’t get them all down your jeans, pants, and whatever else– which wasn’t so bad. (PS – I’m probably getting this all wrong)

 

Second course, much the same, bit more dangerous. Third course was when I kind of realised I’d done for the day. Part of the course was negotiating your way through a series of horseshoes, hanging by a piece of string. It took unbelievable patience, upper body strength, and sheer will to make it across – and I did the short version! By the time I got to the bottom of the course, having once again landed on my feet, and not in the woodchips, I was done. Perhaps I’m just too much of a city boy, but I was satisfied that I had ‘roughed it’ enough at that point, and the prospect of more climbing, swinging, dirt, sweat, and possible injury wasn’t really what I was looking for.

 

After watching the rest of the group make their way round the course, we settled for a quick bite to eat, and made our ways home – mine taking nearly 4 hours after getting caught in two lots of traffic. Tired and having seen enough of my car for one day, I made myself something to eat, and fell asleep at some absurdly early hour.

 

I must be tired, because today’s entry is RUBBISH! At least I get a longer sleep tomorrow, as it is Jewish New Year, and, as such, I am taking the day off. I may or may not write something, depends how much time I get.

 

So to you, readers, I wish you a good day. Tomorrow or Wednesday will bring a better-written blog, I promise you. Neil gets antsy if I don’t get these things up early…

 

Lots of love as always,

Closed Box

 

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Addicted To Ape Rockaoke

September 26, 2008

Let me give you an insight into addiction.

 

Has everyone reading had either that conversation or mental thought process that starts ‘what would you do if you won the lottery?’ Yes? Everyone? Good, so I’ll continue.

 

Yesterday, we had one of these ridiculous conversations in my office, and everyone is going around talking about houses and cars and everything else. As far as I remember, the last time I did any sort of drugs was either 2001 or 2002. So a good six years, either way.

 

I answered some rubbish about giving some away to charity and then using it as a platform to do some good in the world, but honestly, the first thought that came into my mind was something altogether less wholesome. Since yesterday, I haven’t been able to get the idea of drugs out of my mind. Mountains of the stuff. Absolute mountains. I don’t want to do any, nor do I really feel that much of an urge, but something in my subconscious mind has had a switch ‘flicked’, and is remembering what it can of the ‘old days’.

 

This probably isn’t helped by reading ‘A Million Little Pieces’ on the way home. For those that don’t know it is a sometime fictional, sometime factual account of a man’s journey through addiction and recovery.

 

Because that’s the way addiction works. Much like The Hoffman Process, it trains your mind to think a certain way – in this case, regardless of the ridiculous logic – and you associate it with a feeling, a way of life, or an image of yourself. It has been six years since I gave up the mountain of chemical dependence in my life, and yet, for the last twelve hours or so, I have thought of little else.

 

This may sound awfully depressing, and I suppose outwardly, I can see why. But actually, the last twelve hours have provided me with great strength. Every time things like this come up, and I fight against them, I am reminded of why I stopped in the first place, what I was doing to myself and to others, and how much better off I am in the world.

 

 

If anyone ever asks me how I know I will keep up with what has happened on The Hoffman Process out in the ‘real world’, I always repeat that mantra ‘why I stopped in the first place, what I was doing to myself and to others, and how much better off I am in the world,’ but to myself, I give a knowing smile. I’ve been here before.

 

Before that conversation came up, I was having a lovely day. I am feeling particularly brave at the moment, so I have decided to organise something for my birthday for the first time in absolutely AGES. Though I am firmly of the belief that it is the company, not the venue which make the day, it’s still nice to have somewhere fun to go, so I’ll be throwing it at Punk, a club in the Soho area of London. (http://www.punksoho.co.uk/) It’s a typical club sort of venue, but with one particular difference that night. Instead of a DJ, they have a live band called ‘Rockaoke’ (www.rockaoke.co.uk) playing – a live karaoke experience, where instead of music playing, you have a band, and whoever gets up on stage is the singer. It’s going to be so much fun!

 

The weekend is (thankfully) upon us. Work is boring me shitless at the moment, and the thought of coming in here tomorrow would probably push me over the edge. Tonight, sadly, I am missing a support group meeting with my Hoffman group, and I could probably do with going to be honest. Still, family commitments must come first.

 

Quick respite from regret will come on Saturday, though, as I, with my group, attend something called ‘Go Ape’ – http://www.goape.co.uk/ – a theme park in the trees. I really can’t explain it, so I’ve copied and pasted this from the site:

 

Go Ape is an award-winning high wire forest adventure course of rope bridges, Tarzan swings and zip slides… all set high up in the tree tops.

Providing a fun day out with friends, families or colleagues, you’ll be fitted with a climbing harness and given instruction before trekking from tree to tree high above the forest floor.  Split into a number of different sections, the experience takes approximately 2.5-3 hours to complete but may vary depending on how many people are up in the trees.

 

It either sounds horrendous, or great fun. I guess it depends what sort of person you are. Me… I’m looking forward to it. Perhaps I’ll knock up a picture of two for Monday’s blog.

 

But that’s me done for today – I wish you all a great weekend.

 

Lots of love,

Closed Box

Let’s Get Political

September 25, 2008

I don’t normally get into politics here, as it’s what I talk about all day, and I like to get some respite every now and then. But someone emailed me yesterday, asking me why I had a ‘go’ at the Labour Conference, and decided to lecture me on how much of a moron I was because I didn’t agree with his views.

 

Sir, I am not a Labour Party hater. Nor am I a Labour Party supporter and that goes for all the other parties, too. If you blindly follow one particular party, regardless of the leader, policies or performance, then you are a complete fucking idiot.

 

The reason why I am currently most certainly not a Labour Party supporter is because this country is currently in the financial shit, and a vast majority of it is the responsibility of our government. And I don’t even need to mention the supposed financial-genius and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, now Prime Minister, selling off this country’s gold reserves for a fraction of what they are currently worth. And I am most certainly not getting into how much he constantly ignores the wishes of the public (by signing the EU Constitution despite almost the entire country being against it) and how he wasn’t even elected in the first place.

 

I really didn’t want to get into politics on here, but I will say this; in my opinion, people of a country will generally, either consciously or unconsciously through economic means, follow their government. For reasons of PR, or to cover their own poor decisions and inability to actually govern, our government has spent the last ten years throwing money at every single problem we have faced, and, as we have got further and further into debt, we have had to encourage more consumerism to maintain a healthy economy. Unfortunately, a combination of trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and ease of borrowing (also tying into an explosion in ‘celebrity culture’ which is too long to explore here) has created a giant black hole for the general public, as it has done for our government.

 

The Labour Conference is a fucking joke – dear reader if you’re reading – because, having somewhat of an inside track, and spending my life wading through confidential government information, it makes me fucking sick to watch these people slap themselves on the back, and try and convince us that they’ve done such a great job when we are so completely and utterly fucked thanks to those selfish, self-serving fucking hypocrites.

 

Hope this clears things up. Dick.

 

Hi everyone (else)!

 

I am pleased to report that after yesterdays post, I seem to have got rather a lot off of my chest, and silence and calm have once again returned to my life.

 

This morning, for the first time I don’t know how long, I have travelled sans-iPod (‘sans’ being derived from the Latin for ‘without’, you uneducated swines) to work, feeling no need to fill my life with sound. I have decided to re-read ‘A Million Little Pieces’ by James Frey again – yes, I know it’s a fake, but it’s still a masterful piece of work. (If you click the bits written in blue, it’ll take you to some info about the book – it’s quite a remarkable scandal)

 

This return of silence to my life, while seemingly insignificant, is, in fact, anything but. I have become very conscious of noise, post-process – having had, during the course, a real moment of ‘oh yeah’ when it was suggested that actually, we spend our lives filling our lives with the sound of the television, radio, or anything else, to block out the noises in our heads.

 

Ultimately, these past couple of months have been wonderful – I honestly am still coming to grips with how happy and different I feel, and how much I have changed inside myself – but the last couple of weeks, perhaps I have also felt… unsettled. There is, as I suggested yesterday, a great wave of change of an external nature in my life right now, and rather than cope with the notion of thinking, I think I have been doing my best to block it out.

 

A typical distraction for me when I don’t want to think has been my laptop. I find it very easy to lose myself in it for an entire evening when nothing else is going on. But yesterday, for the first time in about a week, I felt no need to retreat this way, and instead spent the evening watching some football, and relaxing. I have a feeling yesterday’s blog had a really cathartic effect on my subconscious.

 

There’s a few things I’m saving for tomorrow’s entry, so I’m going to sign off now. I hope your day to come is filled with happiness. Do something today that makes you smile – buy a cupcake or poke your tongue out at someone… I tend to do the latter quite a lot.

 

Until tomorrow,

Closed Box

The Not Happening

September 24, 2008

My apologies for the lack of entry yesterday – ever get those days when you’re just not in the mood for anything? Well, that’s kinda how I felt all day yesterday. I did give a go, though, but just couldn’t muster anything worth publishing…

 

Perhaps I was still recovering from seeing ‘The Happening’, a movie by one of my favourite directors, M. Night Shyamalan, who is perhaps better known as the director of ‘The Sixth Sense’ or ‘Signs’. Anyway, any movie where the twist is ‘the plants did it’ can only be complete and utter bullshit. And it was.

 

Today, I am in a better mood, possibly because I have just found out that one of my favourite films, American Psycho, is about to be turned into a stage musical. I’ll be first in the queue for that one.

 

I’ve been wrestling with a decision these last few weeks, and I think the time has come to pour my heart out here, and see if it helps me come to a conclusion.

 

I have to plan for the next four years. Yes, that may sound ultra-organised, but being that I have had to slightly modify my original plan of going off to run a charity, my plan to be working until such a time when I have completed my degree in Psychology has to be modified somewhat.

 

Unfortunately, this decision needs to be made sooner rather than later, as my current work contract runs out in April 2009, with no chance of renewal – the government agency I work for is being closed, rather than me being a shitty worker.

 

The question I am throwing around in my mind is this – do I use this time to explore something I love, or do I take the money and run? To explain a little better, my conundrum is this: for the next four years, should I press ahead with my original plan, which was to work for a charity, or do I do a job ‘just for the money’?

 

I have done the ‘just for the money’ thing before, and ended up hating it and myself pretty quickly; but this is a new David, a  more resilient David, and one perhaps more conditioned to separating the ideas of the workplace from the other areas of his life.

 

I am about to enter into a massive challenge – that of four years of dedicated education, a realisation of myself, and something I am massively nervous about. I have never been able to study before, always totally afraid of any sort of judgement – success OR failure – but I have decided myself to do this, based on the vision I have of my future life. Finally, I can see who I am, and what I want.

 

But to combine that with the stress of doing a job I would more than likely have no interest in… well, while I recognise that it is probably the smart option, is the smart option for me? Could I cope with both? Could I cope with the failure of both? Could I cope with the possible success of both? Am I just nervous because of the great levels of change? That old pattern of wanting to remain ‘in my comfort zone’, maybe that is the dominant one right now. There are, after all, a number of changes going on right now – with work, with my living situation, with my studies, and still, within me.

 

Right now, I just don’t know. And the clock is ticking.

 

On the plus side, yesterday, I had a real moment of true enlightenment. Worried about all these things at the end of yet another crappy work day, – damn you, Labour conference! – I realised that there was a light still inside of me, and that it burned brightly, with truth and purity. I am of this light, and it is this hope, this truth, which is mine to turn to in times such as these. It just came to me – in no moment of real reflection or anything – it just snuck up on me when I got off the tube, and was walking to my car.

 

I am in the light, and of the light. Repeat ad nauseum.

 

On the flip side, I could view all this change as a chance, and, as I told someone yesterday in the strongest of terms, your true desires become apparent when opportunity strikes.

 

Maybe, these feelings of confusion are my old dark side propping up, telling me that actually, I quite like ‘swimming in the shit’, as our old friend Simon would say, and should remain forever treading the waters of the status quo. I need to overcome this reluctance and embrace the possibilities in front of me. I need to break free of these chains of apathy.

 

The path to true self love is a difficult one. When you have spent us much time as I have running from the truth, lying to yourself, or plain acting out a character, even the most pedestrian of emotions – happiness, sadness, confusion, and even true attraction and the enjoyment of sex – become brand new experiences. Outwardly, we know what they are, and have seen enough of it to know how to act like we’re doing it, but really experiencing it can be confusing, and worse, scary.

 

And so, readers, I am making choices, and for the first time, they are based in a true connection with myself. For the first time, I can answer ‘David, who are you?’, and it is time for the window dressing to reflect that.

 

I hope your days are filled with light,

Closed Box

…And We Got As High As Shit

September 22, 2008

Good Morning all!

 

Today’s blog is a Sunday/Monday combo effort – I started writing yesterday, lost my mojo, and wrote quite a lot of bullshit, so I’m tidying it up this morning, and then adding whatever comes to mind. Maybe something about a Unicorn, or maybe that they’ve brought back Monster Munch in the bigger sizes which = happy David. Even though it means I have to take up eating crisps again, which I think I probably gave up about the time Monster Munch went small. (Circa 1988) What are Monster Munch you say? Well, click here and it’ll tell you all about them.

 

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I’m in the sort of mood where I waffle today. So that might make for an extensive blog. Let’s find out, eh?

 

Oh – and today is the first day where it is less than a month until my birthday! I realise that at 29 I should either (a) be worried about getting old, (b) lying about my age, or (c) losing my hair, but I’m doing none of the above, and am really rather excited! Like I said, I’m going to throw myself a party at some point – I’m just going to have to work out what to do.

 

This weekend I have been going through my old familiar pattern of wanting to be a writer. I don’t know why it comes up every so often – perhaps it is rooted in a desire to wish to appear authentic or ‘real’.

 

Perhaps it’s because I have been thinking about love. Sunday morning, I watched a really rather lovely movie called ‘Purple Violets’, written and directed by one of my favourite people who do that – Ed Burns, which probably made it worse. (Info here and some more here) It’s certainly made me feel… longing this morning.

 

I have had a number of story ideas that I revisit every so often; I slightly modify the storyline or characters or settings, but ultimately, in my mind, I have been writing about 6 books for about 10 years.

 

I am sure, since I find them almost impossible to put onto paper or laptop, that they are just constructs of my subconscious; something to let me know by way of metaphor what is happening in my upstairs department. Every so often, I’ll give them a stab – in fact, about 2 months before I began my Hoffman Process, I had a wall absolutely covered in post-it notes, each describing a scene, a name, or perhaps a line I was going to use to deliberately manipulate the reader into feeling emotion. One I had on my wall from a story I was thinking about writing was ‘if you want to fall in love with my dad, that’s ok,’ to be said by a wise-beyond-her-years 8 year old girl. Anyway, things like that.

 

Maybe I’ll write the beginnings of one of my stories at some point today, and post it up here as an example, for your judgement and possible validation. In fact… yeah, that’s just what I’ll do. If you’re reading this, and there is nothing above it, come back later, and hopefully I’ll have something for you.

 

Aside from telling you all that I have had a rather short haircut, I’d like to tell you all about last night.

 

In my continuing quest of reconnection, last night, I met up with an old friend – but this one was slightly different. Oli and I go back a long, long way – for oh so many reasons.

 

Once upon a time – think black and white film, and jaunty piano soundtracks – I was friends with three other guys and Oli. I guess Oli and I were the rebels, and it’s no surprise that come the year 2008, those three guys are either married, with kids, or about to take that step, and Oli and I are still playing a grown up game called ‘Man Child’. In times past, we would all go clubbing together, or on holiday together – Magaluf 1997 represent! –  And it was generally Oli and I who would be the ones getting into trouble.

 

Anyway, long story short, before I lost it a bit and went off by myself into some pretty dark spaces, it was Oli with whom I started to do drugs. I (sort of) remember one night in particular. It was the night after (I think, my timeline around this period is blurred to say the least) I got back from 9 months of travelling, and Oli and I went out to celebrate. I think we went to Ministry of Sound, and basically, the two of us got as high as shit. And they served drinks in florescent glasses. That’s the sum total of my memories of that night.

 

So when Oli texted me out of clear blue sky recently, I was nervous to meet him again, but willing nonetheless.

 

If ‘Guns ‘n’ Roses’ has sung about ‘Pattern City’ rather than ‘Paradise’, it would have been the soundtrack to yesterday. I was a mess. I couldn’t even look at Oli, let alone talk to him about anything of substance. I was a ball of completely nervous energy – and very much like the pre-process David. I even had a beer. I know, shocker, but for me that’s a sign. Especially given my Manchester regret-a-thon a couple of weeks back.

 

Oli is a reformed guy, who now lives the clean life and, like me, is studying Psychology – although I haven’t officially started yet. In fact, we probably have just as much in common now as when our collective interests amounted to seeing how much we could stuff up our nose, but I felt totally ill at ease last night, and, actually, pretty upset. I guess, these days, I am just petrified about drugs, and the feeling I get from even the thought of them.

 

I am no hypocrite, and I will always admit that despite a couple of close brushes with death, that it was the enjoyment factor which a great contributor to my long (long) association with drugs. But if anyone ever asks me how I’m not going to go back to them, I tell them exactly that – I am absolutely fucking terrified of going back. Fucking terrified.

 

Right, so to review – drugs no, stories yes, and I have a short haircut.

 

Anyway, how were your weekends?

 

Closed Box