I’m scared. I don’t know if writing will help, but I’ll do it anyway. I’m not sure if I’ll even publish this, but hey, it might help just to write.

So we’re at another cliff-hangery milestone in our lives and I have a horrible butterfly feeling that our mortgage application is going to be turned down. In fact, it already has been, but we’re appealing, at least the mortgage adviser is appealing on our behalf.

Stream of Consciousness

I went to bed at 8:30 last night, mainly to hide because I could feel the blackness coming. So now I find myself awake at 5:30 a.m. with my head full of thoughts. A lot of it is really just about what I need to do. The main work-related things are to complete Judy’s website proposal and my employee contracts. With Tracy’s leaving, I now have to be available to serve on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. This is to save money. So I can’t dedicate myself to doing much of anything on those mornings. I suppose this is all just minutae, so I could let it go and stop worrying about it.

I would also like to read some bible since it’s Holy Week and that’s what Gillean suggested doing this week. Then there’s the dog to take out: not really a priority, but still, it would be enjoyable. I also didn’t practice last night for tonight’s gig, but I suppose it’ll be all right. There’s no time to practice before, as I’ll be rehearsing at Donal’s for the Easter Sunday gig.

And there’s the MacBook Pro to consider. The one I ordered a fortnight ago has come in, only it’s a glossy screen instead of an anti-glare screen. So the leasing company is offering a free accessory to take the glossy screen, or another 2+ week wait for the anti-glare. I’ve got no chance of looking at one to compare, so I don’t really know what to do.

Psalm 139

Music that fits my mood…

Gillean came round last night and we talked for a couple of hours. She helped me a lot. It has been a remarkable few days and I feel that I have grown. I wanted to know how to pray and it was great to have Gillean there to help. My good friend Michael also helped a lot on Monday night. And stupid me thought on Sunday that Michael wouldn’t be able to help. That’s what can happen when I’m spiralling down.

Gillean sent me a Psalm to help me pray and find a quiet moment:

Psalm 139

Lord you search me and you know me
you know everything I do
from far away you understand all my thoughts
you see me whether I am working or resting
you know all my actions
Even before I speak
you already know what I will say
you are all around me on every side
you protect me with your power
your knowledge of me is too deep
it is beyond my understanding.

Double anniversary

Lorraine and I were married on 9 October 2002 and I had my last drink of alcohol on 9 October 2005. If I had not stopped drinking, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be married 7 years!

It’s been a great day. We got each other a woolly jumper from the sheepskin shop as 7 years is apparently the wool anniversary. And we got wood delivered for the fire and sat home and watched Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers’ latest. it was very good indeed.

I also got to practice step 9 at work today (we continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it) on a customer who got me wound up. I apologised, unequivocally.

I also had a nice meringue cake made for me at last night’s AA meeting. They’re good people for sure.

So today I’m a grateful sober alcoholic and a happily married man. Oh, and I’m cosy and warm too!


It’s now four years since I got serious about stopping drinking. My last unintended drunken journey into oblivion was in September 2005. I’d fixed a friend’s printer and, as a thank you, he bought me a bottle of malt whisky. It sat in its box behind the kitchen door for a long time. As it was in a box, I was able to take swigs out of it without its being noticed, until eventually I’d have to buy a replacement bottle. It was always a fine line with drinking enough to get a buzz, but not too much that it would become obvious that I’d had more than we had agreed I would have. Of course, inevitably I’d hit black out. The time came when I hit one black out too many and got that close to losing Lorraine and Freya.

I did drink again, just the once, but not to blackout and I think I got away with it. It was enough for me to realise that the few weeks I’d been in the AA programme had already made their mark and that I really did not want to continue with that life.

I had a good meeting last Wednesday; one of those meetings that stays with you and changes you in some way for the better. I did the top table at that meeting and shared about how my life is right now, prompted by the first few pages of chapter 5 from the Big Book. I won’t go into it here — I’m not even sure why I’m feeling so comfortable now about airing my alcoholism in public. Maybe I’m at that stage of growth where I’m no longer afraid or ashamed and maybe I’m even a little proud of what I’ve achieved? I know about pride before a fall and all that, so I shall try to remain humble and grateful.

It really is amazing how much the 12-step progamme can help with day-to-day life. Yes, really. I am a grateful alcoholic. It’s rather strange to be saying that, but truly I sometimes wish that everyone, whether alcoholic or otherwise, had some sort of programme to follow; it really is that helpful.

And yes, I really do need AA. I’m still an alcoholic and that will never change. Going to meetings regularly is essential for me to stay well and improve. I missed meetings for about a month before last week’s Wednesday meeting and I was getting close to climbing the walls. And it’s weird how I felt well the entire time until I got desperate. It’s the little things, like getting resentful at customers coming in to the Post Office when I’m busy with something else. If I didn’t have customers, I wouldn’t have a business. I need to remember how much Luxembourg’s shopkeepers pissed me off with their rudeness. I’m sure you’ll find one or two blog posts about that very topic if you look back through my catalogue of posts. And not being nice to the most important woman in my life, the woman with whom I have chosen to spend my life. Why can’t I just be nice to her? I was talking to another alky about that tonight and he understood where I was coming from and mentioned a quote from Martin Sheen, something along the lines of his being mean to his wife to drive her away and validate his self hatred. Could that be it? I don’t think so, but I suppose I shouldn’t rule that out. And I was sharing about how I have so many opportunities during my working day and in my home life to work the programme, to change my first response from the selfish to the selfless. And that’s hard my friends, so very hard.

Cams’ beliefs

Things are afoot. I’m in a pretty good place. It’s the music and the location. Arran has always been a place of magic for me; I always think back to the night when I finished reading London Fields that night in Hamilton Terrace. The magic and peace were are strong as I’ve ever felt that night. And now I sit looking out at the wind blowing the trees and it’s all still there.

I got down for a long time about the music. I wasn’t playing much at all. Too much too do; too tired; too busy. But now I’m in a bluegrass band with a bunch of great people and we just had our first gig and it was great.

And I’m off the Tramadol. I’m saying a lot of prayers these days, real proper prayers for guidance and help with tolerance, patience and acceptance. It seems to be working and I know that the more I do it the more it works. I feel like getting off to bed now for a prayer and to listen to some music.

Missing Vox

Since moving to the Isle of Arran and staring our new lives here, my techo life has changed dramatically. I used to spend hours reading blogs, reviewing hardware, doing Photoshop courses, etc. Now I’m having to run a Post Office and shop and I just don’t have time any more for any of that good stuff. I’ve played guitar for probably no more than a couple of hours in total since getting here three months ago.

But that’s the way it has to be.

It’s been tremendously hard and it continues to be that way. We used to be fairly well off, with savings in the bank and enough disposable income to satisfy my impulse buys of hardware and gadgets. Now the savings are gone, the bills are piling up and I’m having to make do with the old CRT TV that came with the house we’re renting (not that I have time to watch it much anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter really).

This is us about to get on the ferry last month for a trip to Ikea to buy some display cabinets for the shop.

But having said all that, I was walking along the main street in the village and people were saying hello and how are you and I really felt like I belong here in a way that I haven’t felt since leaving home a long time ago. We were never particularly happy living overseas, I especially, and so although it’s so hard sometimes that I feel like we’re not going to make it, deep down I’m happier than I’ve been in years. I love the challenge of taking on this new thing that’s so overwhelming at times and the job side of things is starting to get easier. I think I’m a decent boss, at least I try to be, and we’re slowly making the business our own. Lorraine has done brilliantly well ordering stock and we now have two display cabinets in the window with a decent range of teddies (from cheap-n-cheerful to designer) and a range of Island Porcelain (locally made hand-crafted wildlife in porcelain). I’ve also got a display cabinet full of guitar strings but the word has yet to spread as I’ve not yet managed to get out and play. There’s quite a vibrant folk scene on the island and nowhere to buy strings. Just got to get out and play some and meet some players. Soon, Camuel, soon.

But yes, I do miss my blog time, my hobby time, hell, just the chance to veg out for an hour. Now it’s home at 8 or 9 then into doing the books, the wages, the orders, or whatever else needs doing. Some nights I get home at 7 and wind up in bed at 8 with the kids.

Both the kids are happy here and are growing, oh how they grow. We forced ourselves to take half an hour out last Sunday and do the 2-minute walk to the beach (yes, I should count that particular blessing every day) where I got a few shots of the family.

I remember how I used to feel the need to make sure that I was caught up with my RSS feeds every morning and enjoyed doing that when I was supposed to be doing other things like work *cough*. Now I actually am having to work really hard  and I haven’t logged on to Google reader in months. I guess it’s history for the time being, as is Vox pretty much, which is a shame as I often find myself wondering how my ‘hood is getting on. Perhaps it’ll even out in a few months’ time, once I’ve got into the rhythm and can afford a bit more time out, so if y’all just bear with me and hopefully I’ll be back Voxing a bit more often again.

@ontheprowl – not sure if you’re reading this but I’m still digging your mixes
@stevebetz & greywolf – my book chums. Still not listened to the fourth GRRM and probably won’t bother until all books are released. I hate to wait and forget too easily.
@venus – hope you’re keeping up with the weight loss. Sorry I’ve not been keeping up.
@cat – hope you’re hellish nightmare is getting less hellish and less nightmarish.

Parking ticket

I’m so profoundly sad today. It really makes it hit home how much my wife means to me. Without her, my life has no meaning; no context. Is there a reason that this had to happen. According to what I’ve learned in AA, there is: it’s God’s plan; it’s a test; I don’t have to drink.

How could such a good day turn so sour so quickly? And what is my part in it all? Yes, I was defensive. I was a stupid prick and shouldn’t have parked where I did. But I was late and you all know how I hate being late. I guess I can’t blame anyone for that (but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to). So I grabbed a space on a piece of rough ground, mine being one of many cars parked in such a way so as to make it look legitimately like parking spaces. The mig said it was a pavement but there was nothing to indicate that; as I said, rough ground. Plenty of room to walk past on the ‘pavement’; not blocking anything; the ground could not be used for any other purpose than parking a car there. But having said all that, I still knew that it wasn’t a parking space and decided that, rather than going even farther away to find a ‘proper’ space and pissing off the person who was waiting for me by being even more late, I’d take the chance. If I’d done that and got caught, well, fair enough. But I hadn’t got caught. I was standing directly across the road listing to my friend prattling on when I saw the police car drive by. “Best keep an eye out for them coming back”, I thought to myself, all the while wishing my friend would cease her prattling and let me get back to my car before they came back again. But she just kept on and on. Then those stealthy fuckers did come back, but not in their car and not from the direction I was expecting. They’d parked further up and walked down. I saw them at my car and ran across to explain that I was just leaving and was only talking to my friend across the road. But the fucker was a Luxembourgish fucker and obviously though I was some foreign prick trying to speak French when it should really be Luxembourgish and speaking his ‘language’ as I’m in his country. Well, that’s how I’d like to believe it was anyway. It was THAT that pissed me off and made me angry. It sent me into one of my downward spirals that’s so hard to get out of. My friend was like “never mind, you got the house and it doesn’t really matter and ya-di-ya-di-ya”. But AA speak just bounces right off me when I’m in the fog (just as any other kind of speak does, too for that matter).

I drove home slowly, listening to the Digital Story and trying to shake off the fog when all I really felt like doing was wallowing in it (why do I still do that?) I stopped in the chateau car park for 10 minutes before going home, breathing in the cool night air and trying to get some perspective and wondering whether to tell my wife about the ticket. I decided that I should and would.

I got home, let her know and got the expected reaction. Now I’m profoundly sad and I don’t know what to do about it. I guess, as AA says, this too shall pass (shouldn’t that be “will pass”?) Of course I reacted wrongly, defensively. I tried to “promptly admit it” but ended up making it worse. And that’s why I run away. When I’m still in the fog and perspective is warped, there’s just no point in trying to deal with it. Making me feel worse just, well, makes me feel worse. I’m not going to agree that I was wrong and I deserved it when all I can see in my mind’s eye is a nazi cop out to piss people off and not listen to reason. Of course I know that that’s not how it was, but that’s how it seems when I’m in the fog and I just can’t see it otherwise until everything gets back down to the right proportions. I was parked on waste ground for fuck’s sake, not harming anybody and was STOOD ACROSS THE FUCKING ROAD. See, even now it makes me want to shout and jump up and down at the injustice of it all and how unfair it all is. So, that’s the mood I’m in and you can imagine how it makes me feel to have my wife tell me that I shouldn’t have parked there and that the mig is just doing his job. DON’T YOU THINK I KNOW THAT? But I’m not about to admit it when I’m in the fog, am I? All I want is a hug and some love because I’m upset and angry, and mainly upset and angry at myself, but you do have to agree that there is some injustice there too, don’t you think?

Anyway, I have to stop thinking about it now or I’ll never get out of it. I’ve had fuck all sleep because of this playing in my mind and it’s really not that important. Why am I making into something important?

Craig Ferguson gets serious

I’ve watched a few of Craig’s clips on YouTube, but none like this. If he can speak about his alcohol problem on live telly, I guess I can mention it on my blog, even it it’s just in passing by way of offering the video of Craig via YouTube. It’s worth watching. He knows of what he speaks.

Ferguson Speaks From The Heart



Translation in the morning

I went to bed last night at 8.30; I was feeling kind of low and too tired really to concentrate on anything. I switched on the TV to watch some drivel and, as soon as I saw Laurence Llewelyn Bowen’s coupon on the screen, I knew the best thing to do would be to switch it off and go to bed. At least then I’d wake up early and be able to get some work done, rather than wasting time just because it was too early to go to bed.

But did I wake up early? Nope. I got up just after 8 a.m. and immediately started feeling glum about how I’d overslept and how much work I could have done.

But now I’m sitting at my desk and have translated a paragraph. I’ve got my 16 oz Starbucks cup filled with Scottish Breakfast tea from Taylor’s of Harrogate and the sun is just starting to peep through the skylight window (a big deal in the attic office as it’s usually dark enough to require lights on for most of the day). Having had plenty of sleep, I can see that my translation output is pretty good. My thought processes are working well and I should manage, if I can stop blogging for long enough, to get through my quota for today before the lunch-time rush starts. I can’t really work in the afternoon as I’m downstairs watching Hamish.

So, best foot forward and all that as I delve into today’s quota. Wish me luck!