Thursday, 20 September 2012

No, no buts about it . . . It's still progress!

I finally got to do some writing this afternoon. I'd been rooting through some old pictures, looking for something specific the other night and went off at a tangent. This led me to Google the village where I lived for a few years in France. . . . Which led me to a Blog written and photographed by one of the villagers on many aspects of village life . . . I was there till 3am! So little has changed there in Twenty-five years, it was amazing to see so many faces I recognised, the Pizzeria where I worked, every single fountain, the folklore festivals, the traditional music, the Chamois and the Marmots up in the mountains, the Edelweiss . . . Each and every little detail. Needless to say, it brought back many memories and whilst my head was in France, I retraced my past back through Nice to the day I arrived in France after crossing the border with "nice eyes", in  Eliza escapes (part two)
(for new readers, that post is the 9th and latest in my story on the Flashes from the Archives page)
So, after almost two months, the next episode will be here soon. I do wish I could write as and when the mood takes me, without interruptions. Maybe one day . . . well, like today really.

It's been a busy week again, nothing exciting; the usual keeping afloat stuff; washing, cooking, cleaning, shopping . . . contemplating decorating. Yes, contemplating . . . I do know, from experience, that once I start the decorating, there'll be no stopping me. No cooked dinners during those days, washing will pile up, shopping will have to wait. When I start on a room, it's rather like doing a drawing; I have to work straight through until it's completed. I'd stop to make a sandwich for the kids or take them to school, the absolute necessities . . . hopefully, not long enough to lose the mood. If I did, the room would have that suddenly abandoned style. Anyway, I'm not sure when it will happen, but I know it will.

Now then, I noticed that it's almost a year since I started this Blog . . . Nearly a year!!  I don't really want to examine the changes that I've made this year, quite likely because I feel there are too few  . . . But that depends on which areas I examine. There has been progress, maybe not as much as I would've liked . . . then again . . .  I'm not really sure at all am I? Maybe I should take a closer look.


Hamper G is in school, even happily settled in school. A year ago I was still fighting to get her a place in the local school. Protesting that I could never walk four miles a day . . , Now I'm grateful that I have no choice but to walk those four miles a day. It does me so much good and there's no way I would have the discipline to make myself do this walk . . . every day, even in the winter.

So, I'm walking four to five miles per day, fast, approx 6 miles per hour. Hamper G either scoots or cycles to school now . . .  so we're fast. I've improved my lung function for sure. I could do with re-introducing the weights and skipping, as they increased both my stamina and strength. More of that can't be a bad thing.

From 72kg I've got my weight down to 62kg, only 2kg off my original target of 60kg, yeah, you noticed the addition of "original" . . . Well, I'm thinking I could go for 57g now, this would take me to my pre-Hamper G weight, and pre-menopause weight.

Hey yeah, there's another one! Hamper G is cycling without stabilisers now. That's huge progress. A great achievement for us both, really.

I kept half a garden this year and although it wont be long before the flowers are over, it's been a pleasure to maintain and admire, mostly . . . Sometimes a pain in the arse to water, but the benefits far outweighed the occasional inconvenience.

Right, now I'm scraping the barrel, let's get to the one that I'm obviously avoiding, like the main goal in all of this, number Six (?) on the list (!) Well, that about says it all, doesn't it?  Not that this is in order of importance, but it was my main goal, I mean, it took priority over planting some flowers.

OK . . . being in the middle of a prolonged lapse, doesn't negate the fact that there have been many clean days this year. In fact, the most days I've had clean/sober in any year out of the last 34  . . . Yes, 34! So, even if I was to say, on average, there were only three to four days clean out of every week between February and August this year, which would equal roughly 80 days in 6 months  . . . they'd be the first 80 days in 34 years . . . That has to count for something. Progress. And I don't intend to stop fighting either.

I won't carry on with that subject as I feel totally schizophrenic about it all. Like, if I think, or write, something positive, I immediately hear the other voice contradicting me. Likewise, if I say, or think, a negative, the other voice defends me . . . So, as you can imagine, the conversation becomes tediously single minded, for a person in two minds . . . .

OK, more progression;

Stropster is still in the same trainee mechanic job/apprenticeship that he began when he left school. That's a year, bless him, earning approximately a third of the minimum wage, oh yes, that's why employers are keen to get apprentices on board  . . . £2.50 per hour for the first year and he works hard there. Fortunately, he has the sense to look at the bigger picture, the future.
He's doing good on the guitar and can strum a few good tunes now. He's booked his driving theory test for next Tuesday . . . The practical exam will follow if he passes the theory. Bro's gonna get him a small car and help out with the insurance. All good then. Progress for sure.

Geekster, well Geekster just sails through school being Geekster, top marks with no effort whatsoever. Good for him. He has a very scientific mind. An enquiring mind, a thinker . . . and an eccentric. He progresses by just being.

So all in all, I reckon there's a fair amount of progress (Shut up you, I ain't listening to your negative chat)
Yeah, but . . .
No, no buts about it,  I'm not listening, I didn't say it was perfect, I said it was progress . . . I know there's room for plenty more!

Progress not perfection

Right on that note, I'll away. I'll probably be in France tomorrow evening . . .

Hey, let's not forget the progression of the actual Bloggery itself. The relationships that we've built. The struggles and triumphs that we've shared . . .The community here, your Blogs, the lives of you people that I get to read about, think about, even worry about!  Folk I've come to know, to trust, and consider to be my friends. I had no idea that this could even happen when I started a Blog. It certainly wasn't a goal, as it wasn't a possibility in my mind. That's more than progress  . . . That's a massive, wonderful, unexpected, shining bonus!

Thanks to anyone, everyone who's here reading now . . . You're very much appreciated. Really.
Much love x

O Wow, it's almost 2 am! I need to quickly play the part of the tooth fairy, then I'm off to bed x


  1. Congratulations on all that progress! And it is massive for you. We all take two steps forward and stumble back a few every so often, so I see your life journey as going forward on the whole. Don't beat yourself up over the relapses, just focus on the future. Remember your trip to N. Z. and our road trip!!! I am so happy I stumbled across your blog, keep them coming my friend. I will have a wine for you tonight and toast your progress.
    Much love and best wishes from Kiwigirl xxx (A.K.A. Laura!)

    1. Hi Laura! (I did wonder)
      I won't forget our road trip, no way!
      I'm glad I wrote this post, as I'd been feeling as though I was getting no where, so it was good to look at the bigger picture.
      Saying that, I do feel a little stagnant and need to push for the next two (or three) steps forward.
      So! Off to school now to pick up Hamper G, in the rain.
      Thanks for being here Laura, I'm glag you stumbled across my Blog too. I hope all is good in your life, much love x x x

  2. Hiya mate, it's good to hear you sounding positive(ish)!
    I would say the fact that you know you can go more than one day without gear & have actually done it is wonderful progress !
    But I've got to ask, Is the gear really worth doing where you are ? Where I am it's absolute shite. Even if I was inclined to check it out I know that it wouldn't touch me, there's definitely gear in it because people are testing positive & maintaining habits, I reckon it's about 5%. Plus everyone is testing positive for benzoes which means either the tests are faulty or it's in the gear because I know everyone doesn't take benzoes.

    Congratulations on your progress.
    Take care my friend X

    1. Hi Karl, It's taken me so long to get round to replies. We have some kind of virus here, like a cold with aches and sore throats, Yuk.
      Anyway no, the gear is pretty shit. Sometimes way to dark like cocoa powder with a distinctive bitter back tast of "sleepers", hence the benzos positive tests . . . And other days very red, almost see-through 90% bash and 10% questionable, no fishy taste and no swirly-dotty patterns on foil, just plain lines . . . Not good. But of course the addict perseveres in it's stupidity, thinking "It might be better today" . . Yeah, really?
      O well, I just need to somehow get back to staying clean for a few days, or even one day! I'm standing in my own way.
      Well done you Karl, I'm still nicely surprised when I think about how you finally got clean, take care x x x

  3. "Progress not perfection" that is the ticket... that is a little phrase from Alcoholics Anonymous Chapter 5 - just after all the steps have been introduced - then says "we seek spiritual progress not perfection"... I clung to that like a life-raft for some time

    Planning the decoration takes a lot of time... when I blitzed our place (we have a large open plan lounge into the dining room, stairs and landing) two years ago Mrs F was moaning about when was I going to start - once I did I worked solidly for a month with only two days off I think to get it all finished!

    1. Yes, I'm clinging to it like a life raft too at the monent. I'm planning to go to the city N/A on Wednesday, but we've all had a mixture of colds, aches and sore throats for the last two days, so I'm hoping I'll feel better by Wednesday.
      I've actually done the worst bit in the room where I need to start; I've prepared the walls, sized them and papered the ceiling . . . I've even bought all the paper and paint that I need . . . I'm just waiting for the right "mood" and it seems to be a long time coming.
      Ah well, on we go. Have a good weekend x

  4. Yay. Happy wobbly dances and cheering from here. You know I think this is the first post in a while where you haven't been beating yourself up. A huge achievement. And a post where you are acknowledging both the positives and that you are human. And there have been some huge steps for you all. Congratulations. I am so, so happy for you.

    1. The Elephant's Child, :-) I have to smile here, as when I re-read this post the next day, I felt almost fraudulent for allowing myself to be so positive, whilst still using, and out came the stick!
      But!! . . . I threw the stick away and focused on the fact that, yes, there have been some huge steps for us all and many clean days.
      As I said in the post, I could argue the fors and againsts all day with myself . . . pointless. I need to find the strength to take some more steps forwards.
      Thanks for being here and for caring, I hope you're both enjoying the spring. Have a good weekend, with love x x

    2. I am beyond thrilled that you threw that rotten stick away. It belongs with the lies that addiction tells you. Neither of them are good for you, but sometimes they succeed. You are right - you have made some very, very big steps. Have a great weekend. It is Saturday night here and I did way too much in the garden today. I will pay.

  5. Replies
    1. Again, I'm smiling. As I wrote in the above reply, the next day when I re-read the post, I felt as though I was almost ignoring the fact that I was still using by focusing on the clean days that are almost two months behind me now . . . Very confusing.
      I'm praying and hoping to find a way of staying clean "Just for today" again . . . real soon, like today.
      Thanks for being here Lou x

  6. :D Everything is comming together nicely.Progressing along and your right to silence those voices which confuse everything.Very good.I give u and A+.
    Ill be thinking of you in France.This reminds me when I was in foster care and my mom says where will I meet you to night?I told her where I wanted to be in my dream and she said I will be there waiting for you.Sweet right? to reassure me we will be together.
    The 4 mile walk must be a blessing.If you will never have planned it but it just presented itself to get Hamper G to school.He works very mysteriously.
    Peace and happiness & all good things to you & family

    1. Thanks Bev, for my A+ and for being here.
      I do try to silence those voices, but I'm not always successful, as sometimes, I am that voice . . .
      The more I read about your foster parents, the more I like them and am happy that you lived four years with these loving folk.
      He does work mysteriously indeed!
      I'm sorry I've not commented this week Bev, I've been going to bed by 10pm, sometimes 9pm, as we all seem to have a virus of some kind, sore throats and aching limbs, yukky stuff.
      All good things to you too Bev, have a good weekend and thanks for being here, much love x

  7. You got lots and lots to be proud of, Lovey!!! Since I've been visiting you, I've seen you progress and meet and exceed goals you established. You've learned not to kick yourself when you stumble but to pick yourself back up and begin again. Your writing and your honesty and beautiful - just like you! xoxoxo

    1. Thanks Lovey. I seem to be in two minds about it all. I think that's due to this relapse going on for so long . . . I just have to keep on trying and believing that something will make a difference soon, real soon.
      If I'm well enough on Wednesday (we all have colds at the minute) I will take the train to the city N/A, I think that could be my next positive move. Until then I will try "Just for today".
      I hope you're recovering well, and having a good weekend. Thanks for being here, take care x x x

    2. I'm always here for you, Lovey and I'm always just an email away too. I mean it.


  8. I think you've made wonderful progress! Definitely don't listen to the negative chatter. There is so much more that's good about you. It's obvious you love your kids and you are caring for them - a good Mom - and that's the most important. And close to that - you are trying to be better to yourself (so you can keep being that good Mom and have a good life to look forward to). You have had so many adventures in your life - a free spirit - which you might see as what got you into your addiction but I see as being so brave - even if there was that side effect. You can beat that and still have your stories to tell. You are amazing.

    1. Jeannie, I was worrying about you on Thursday and was about to come over to your Blog when I saw your comment. I'm sorry it's taken so long to reply, we're all a bit under the weather here, with colds and the like.
      Thanks for such lovely encouraging words. I suppose as we are defined by society as being addicts, we tend to, wrongly, define ourselves as such. You're right, there is more to me than this addiction and although I do have to keep focused on the addiction to try and rid myself of it, I should (and will) try and keep my mind on the other positive aspects too.
      Thanks for that reminder Jeannie, and thanks for being here. Much love sent to you x x x

  9. It doesn't feel like a year!!

    Hey has the Furry Wanderer finally returned yet?... The pingpongball-sized swineling!

    Hey you know why they have those white eyebrows? It's so they can look REALLY REALLY SURPRISED when you catch them and dump them back home.

    Do your robos do "kiss kiss" on both cheeks, French-style whenever they meet? Mine did. It was kind of a cross between that and Eskimo nose-rubbing... Very cute though :-)

    1. Gledwood, It doesn't feel like a year to me either. I was surprised when I noticed.
      I haven't seen the furry wanderer for two nights now. Maybe he has made a home in the kitchen where there is usually a bit of hamster food scattered around. I did hear scratching underneath the piano a couple of nights ago, but no sightings . . . I will keep you updated.
      Yeah, they do that "kiss kiss" thing. In one cage I have the water bottle set a bit higher (not too high) just so they stand up to drink. Each time they drink they go in pairs, stand facing each other holding onto one anothers "shoulders" and drink together, clever little swinelings.
      I will try and video some more of their antics soon, they are fun to watch ;-)
      I've just noticed some comments from you on the previous post that I haven't read yet. I'll go back there now and read them.
      Thanks for reading Gledwood, I'm not surprised that mental hospital upsets you, it would me. Have a good weekend, with love x x x

    2. RE THE ESCAPEE: I hope that pignpongball-sized swine turns up soon... maybe it is time to start putting food or water out. Or a trap, with a kind of ramp scattered thinly with seeds leading to a drop into a box where loads of fruit, vegetables and water etc lie and then hopefully the robo-sense of smell will be powerful enough to provoke a furry leap of faith...(?)

    3. Hi Gledwood,
      I've put his tank on the kitchen floor with a ladder leading to the top and plenty of treats on display, but no show. Then again, there have been many hours when the front door or back door have been open so he might have gone beyond return . . .
      I must video your lot before I separate them, they're definitely adolescents now, promiscuous ones at that. So funny ;-)
      Hope all is well chez toi, have you bought Lenor yet?
      Have a good week, with love x

    4. Still no sign of the escapee?


  10. Hey bugerlugs, it's so great to read your positive words. You're being kind to yourself and i think that's such a major step because our addict voice is always berating and comparing and putting us down.

    You have come so far and achieved a lot. You've got plans and goals and you're achieving them. Great stuff!

    Hope you're getting a bit of sunshine today. Make the most of it while it lasts!

    Imo xoxo

    1. Hi Imogen, I'd just checked your blog as I don't get notified (?) when you update and I was concerned that I hadn't "seen" you, and here you are! I hope you're OK?
      I seem to go from being kind to myself to being hard on myself and round and round, on and on.
      O well, I'm hoping to get over to the city N/A this week and looking to find a way of taking two, much needed, steps forward . . .
      We did get some Sun yesterday, we went to the fair. Hamper G loved it and managed to save half her money (sensible girl)so we could go again today! O joy!
      Hope you're well Imogen and I'll keep checking for a post ;-)
      Thanks for being here, love sent to you x

  11. I hope you all get a chance for some rest.I hope your feeling well asap.Hugs to you and chicken soup.I wish I could bring it right here to your blog Huney bunyXoXo

    1. Ah Thanks Bev, Bless your heart. The kids seem almost over it, apart from blocked noses. I'm still aching some, but just praying it doesn't go to my chest . . . I'll eat my "virtual" Chicken soup right now, thanks Bev, you are kind, much love sent to you, have a good week x x x

  12. Progression is good. That's an impressive weight loss. Keep it up.
    It's so nice to see the kids develop.

    1. Twisted Scottish Bastard, Yeah, slow but good (the progress, not the weight loss). I wish I could lose this habit as fast as the weight. I'll keep on trying, for sure.
      Hamper G brought her first reading book home this evening and spent an hour learning to read the words in it (12 in total), so she could read the whole book. She was so amazed at herself, that she was actually reading! It was a proud moment :-)

  13. Hope everything is O.K., and you are recovering from the colds and flu. Did you make it ti NA., or manage a couple of steps forward this week? Thinking of you as always. And looking forward to your next instalment.

    Kiwigirl xxx

    1. Hey Laura! I've been saying to myself for the last three nights, I'll write tonight . . . Then by the time I get settled and the kids are in bed, say 10ish (although Stropster is still up now), I'm always so tired and not thinking too sharply . . .
      I had planned for N/A tomorrow, the City one meets Wednesday at 1pm, but then noticed I had Dr appt at 2pm so that'll be next week now . . .
      Steps forward? . . . hmmmm, not in that area, no. I really do still feel stuck with no fight at the minute . . . I can't even work out what was so different earlier in the year, that made it possible. I so want to rewind, or fast forward even, just to change something . . . But I know that I have to make those changes, somehow. Just to make a start of one day would change how I feel the next morning, give me enough distance to see it more clearly . . .
      OK, Im off to bed, to pray and hope for tomorrow. Thanks for being here and for caring, it means a lot to me. Here's to a better day tommorrow! Love sent to you x x x

    2. Ps Laura . . That's how tired I am, I got so distracted by my own misery, I forgot to say, I hope all is well and good for you and Kiwiboy ;-) x x x

  14. All is good for me and my Kiwiguy at the moment. We are going away together for 6 whole nights on our own, so that will be an indicator for me, whether we can make this relationship work. No distractions, like my family and his 7 yr. old.
    Hey, I have my big 50 party this weekend, I will think of you, and hope you find the strength to stay clean for just one day. Praying that when your big 50 comes around that you will have found an inner peace and serenity that will empower you to achieve all you are dreaming of. Kia Kaha girlfriend!
    Laura xx