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Fiery Jack

How Late It Was, How Late: Fiery Jack's Summer Sojourn In Rehab

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Dear Best Unbeaten Brothers,


Minutes to midnight here running out, so that's that for another year. Another birthday, I mean, Another one down. 52 now? Amazed (perhaps almost as much as those of you who know or know of me and my, ahem, shenanigans and knockabout antics well must be) (but truly glad) to still be here. I have had so many good years. I will treasure them like stolen gold. :hug:


As I recall (and always have, though I may be mistaken) my father died exactly one week before what would have been his 52nd birthday. So 52 has always held a special significance for me: a number I was scared of and perhaps (not subconsciously, for I was acutely aware of it) regarded as unreachable. Never thought I'd get here. But I did. And here I am. :clown:


'Here' on this not unhappy birthday is in a detox 'n' rehab clinic in Eastern Japan that specialises in Mental Healthcare and Alcohol Rehabilitation (reputedly the best in Japan, trivia fans). For, ladies and gents, this year, my birthday present to myself is the overdue chance properly to sort out my head and my life and my failings, once and for all and forever. :shakehead


Let me explain. A month ago, I got into a dark depression again - loneliness, feeling useless and unloved and unlovable, scared of getting old... just the usual shit that's been more than well chronicled on here in my own fair poetic hand. I stopped taking care of myself, reached for the bottle (and the interesting pills) big style and crash bang wallop and it's ready, steady, go, bob's your uncle top 'o the morning to you yifter the shifter you're a better man than I am gungha din and here we go again. Fuck, fuck, fuck, I don't know why this happens to me, but it does, and I need to know why so I can stop it happening. Hence I am here. :confused:


I won't claim to be an expert in psychiatric diagnoses but I will claim to be a seasoned expert on 'Being Me', :drunk: and I consequently suspect/surmise/hypothesize that my sporadic but severe bouts of drinking and depression (which have always been a modus operandi of mine but which dramatically escalated in severity after my wife's death six years ago) have much to do with the relationship between a feared (imagined) stimulus (for me, feeling unloved and inadequate and worthless) and an avoidance response (for me, sudden pernicious bouts of binge drinking), resulting in a conditioned reaction (for me, darkest despair and physical shutdown), like Pavlov's yapping fucking dogs. :doah:


So presumably it's fundamentally mental. (My body is fine. (Weekends preferred, ladies. Can travel or accommodate.) My blood/liver/pancreas/kitchen sink tests and scans and whatnot all came out okay, no worries. I am told I have the heart of a 30-year-old and the liver (and here's the shocker) of a 'normal' drinker. Maybe they got my tests mixed up with some other poor cunt's. He'll have got a one-way ticket.) :ohmy:


Mental. Well, that's what I think (the bonkers Pavlovian attraction to wailing and ale) but I need some professional medical help to confirm/refute my hypothesis and tell me what the hell to do. We're working on that here from now on. My beleaguered despairing employers, gracious and generous as ever and sensing the urgency of my predicament, accepted my desperate request for immediate sick leave to come here and get myself sorted out. Full engine and body MOT, daily counselling and study sessions. I'll be here for 90 days. Today is day 9.) :mellow:


In the clinic I write this from, my wobbly shipmates in some choppy seas of shite and shame include the following fellow strugglers:


A naval officer

An orthopaedic surgeon

A famous comedian

A yakuza guy who did jail time for shooting someone

A chartered accountant who almost killed someone whilst driving drugged and drunk

A gambler who lost his house and life's savings in a card game and his wife and baby daughter in a taxi back to her mother's shortly after

Another yakuza guy who is covered neck to ankle in tattoos but who is gentle as a lamb

A former florist who owned a successful chain of flower shops ten years ago but discovered tequila and cocaine one night and is now bankrupt and homeless

An ex professional baseball player...


And, you know what, they're all great guys (even the shooter), just cracked and confused, busted and messed up like me, soaked and striving to get back out of the storm to some sort of dry isthmus of calm stability. We were talking one night and one of the guys said: 'Everyone here has lost something. But you mustn't lose yourself.' I am here in rehab to relocate the good bits of me (bits I will be in danger of losing if I don't do this and do it now), and, I hope, find a reliable way of finally ditching the demons.


Of course, this will necessitate as complete as possible (but you know what I'm like, :drinking: so don't hold your breath...) abstinence from now on, which will be tough if not impossible (and might mean I never hear from some of you lucky safe-tippling jokers again, alas) but that's okay. I've had enough. I'm sick of it (literally, it makes me sick: I drown now where I used to dance). As Billy Connolly said about booze: 'I didn't realise it was meant to last you a lifetime. I drank all mine in one go...'. Yup. Cheers. Game over. Finished. :nono:


Probably. :drunk:


Or maybe I just need time. Outside my room here is a mulberry bush. The mulberries are ripe and sweet. I can see the sea from my window too and, today the sun is shining. I feel safe here. I'm will get well. I should have done this years ago. :hmmm:


I will fix this. :chinaman:


Jack :help: xxx


PS. If any of you are smirking and thinking, 'Stop being a weakling, soft lad, and get a grip, you self-indulgent idiot...', that's okay too. I could almost envy you. But I can't do it without help, and I need to do it properly and not temporarily but for the rest of my days. And I need to do it now. Getting a grip on my life is the reason I have chosen to do this. :up:




PPS. Disclaimer: this was actually written earlier this year. I've waited till now to post it because I'm a coward and I wanted to see how things sliced out before I pulled the trigger. I feel brave enough to post it now. SPOILER ALERT: it ended happily. I'll let you know. :hug:

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Glad you're still around. The world needs more Fiery Jacks, instead of the wankers who are running it. :)


Nothing wrong with getting old, I did it ages ago. The only down side is that you aren't young any more, but it's been so long since I was young that I've forgotten what it's like.


Flashermac, on the dark side of 70 now. :surprised:

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on the very rare occasion I met you 6 or more years ago, you was firmly on the wagon, unlike Old hippie, I couldn't shove you off it, and found the encounter pretty boring.


I hope you find life more interesting


When your drinking, shattered and shit face, let me know, would be good to catch up I hope.

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Never have met, but recognize a good bit of myself in your records of antics and self-prescribed damage. I've been - mainly - sober the past year or so, it's a good feeling being up in the morning, less shame, fewer lies. Don't know how it will work out for me (and I've still carved out an exception to the rule of my sobriety: between the entry and exit stamps of a Thai visit, all bets are off... I know, not the best plan, but one I can work with for the moment, and if 48 weeks of the year I'm sober and four weeks I'm not, well hell, that's better than before... and who knows, maybe some day I'll still be sober six hours after arriving in Suvarnabhumi...)


I did a short stint in rehab in... 1991? Not by choice, and nothing stuck, not at all - and hell, I had even discovered the good stuff yet! Was in last year again, this time by choice - but tumbled straight out again after an embarrassingly brief time, I just wasn't ready for the full-on in-house 12-step drill at the time, don't know that I'll ever be. But I did do a few months of daily meetings and tried to get some of it to rub off on me at least. (12 step - is that how they do it in Japan? I suppose it is - maybe AA-type stuff doesn't work very well, as the critics like to point out, but it works a lot better than nothing, and it's free, self-driven, and community-based - all of which are good things on their own.)


I'm staying sober while working overseas these days - it's easier to do when you're cooped up in employer-provided housing and surrounded by peers who know what you're trying to do! Also, when around my family - just glad their still sticking with me. Just those Thai spaces in between left now...


Hope it continues to go well for you - and that you are reaping the benefits of the hangover-free, reduced-shame lifestyle. Good for you. Keep on.

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(At least they let you keep those animated emoticons when they dried you out - who knows for how long, but right now? You got them on your side.)

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