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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on November 30, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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I’ve been working hard the last few weeks in particular, with a degree of success, and some fine moments. After work was done today, three of us went to the pub (my suggestion) and we talked among other things about the benefits of the place. Checking in for a pint and chat at the end of the day, we observed over our various drinks of Guinness, ale, and pomegranate juice, that the pub provides a social support network, a place to reflect, and a context for drug taking which acts as harm reduction.

I got a call a couple of days ago from a dear old friend who I have not seen in months. He’s agoraphobic, alcoholic and living in a very bad, cold accomodation with fungus on the walls. He’s been tested recently too and we swapped tales. His results were unescapably awful. He has to quit drinking now or else either his pancreas and/or his liver will cease functioning. So, he’s on happy pills from the doctor (which, he told me with a chuckle, he never takes for long enough to work) in order to stay off the booze and counter his phobia, and attempting to allow his family close enough to help him move somewhere more healthy.

I love this man a lot, and it’s shocking, even after years of low life living and hedonism, how much of a toll drugs, in particular alcohol, have taken on his body by the age of 43 – and equally astonishing that he has kept his mind, his warmth, and his gentle, insightful humour. We used to play live gigs a lot, years back – he would often be wearing a long coat, whatever the weather – you can hide a bottle of vodka there no problem. There’s no moral here, he just did not cope with life in the same way as the rest of us, and found relief from loneliness and depression in the bottle. I stopped being judgemental years before he entered hospital for the first time, after which he dried out completely for a while. Not dealing with the issues that caused him to become alcoholic in the first place meant that as life’s stresses took their inevitable toll, he found his way back once again to cosy, deadly Uncle Beer.

Talking with D. O. F. I realised that we sixties/seventies kids are now of an age that we are beginning to reap what we have sown, dealing not just with our natural proclivities but with the choices we have made, the chances we have taken or missed, destinies that have found us or departed.

I’ve not had a drop to drink for a month now. In nine days, I return to the doctor, who said to me three weeks ago, “Live as normal.” It’s normal for me to stop from time to time, and especially when in mortal fear.

I have been taking extra notice of the various aches and pains of my body. My legs are still not looking great. I’ve noticed that the itchy redness and the bloodstains under my skin have diminished over the past five weeks, but tonight, getting out of a hot bath, the scary coastlines have re-appeared. I cannot tell if these are old marks returned to vividness by the bathwater, or else new ones. Maybe my ankles have come up redder in a couple of small new places. I should really photograph them, but I don’t want to become obsessive.

I had some dull aches in my neck and around my collarbone three weeks ago, but these seem to have gone – maybe that was just me sleeping badly. The ribcage injury I sustained from having an inadequate bass strap seems to be fixing. But I have felt Odd Pains down my left side, more so down under my ribcage, and round the back in the area of my left kidney. I’m going to take my notebook with me when I go back to the doc, and report the vagaries of my working body in detail.

Enter the geek, pursued by a beer.

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This thing has 5 Comments

  1. Laurie
    Posted 1 December, 2005 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    At this age, it’s hard to determine which pains and bumps and marks on our bodies we should be concerned about.

  2. Kate Ford
    Posted 1 December, 2005 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Aches, pains, red, rashy bits and other scary uncomfortable things… I can see that I will have to make a point of keeping up with your blog more closely. I wish you good health.

  3. Dee Rimbaud
    Posted 1 December, 2005 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Re: Blog-Link Exchange


    I’m a writer & artist who has developed a blogging compulsion (not yet quite an obsession, but going that way). I’m looking for blogging artists and writers to exchange links or blogroll with. My blog is at http://deerimbaud.blogspot.com/ Email me at dee@thunderburst.co.uk if you’re up for it.

    All the best

    Dee Rimbaud

    ps: If you are looking for markets for illustrations, short stories or poetry, check out The AA Independent Press Guide, which I host for free on my main website – http://www.thunderburst.co.uk It gives detailed listings of over 2,000 literary magazines and publishers. There are also links to over 700 internet magazines. I’m sure you’ll find it useful/ interesting… and I’d appreciate any help to spread the word. Give it a mention in your blog or something. Thanks.

  4. dave bones
    Posted 3 December, 2005 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Have to have a jam with you sometimes. The guy Mike has moved in with fixed a couple of my old pedals the other day. Can’t wait to try them out. Bong, plectrum, everything up to 11 and go!!

  5. Indigobusiness
    Posted 10 December, 2005 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Mike moved in with a pedal fixer?

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