In my last post I started writing about my own addiction and what personality traits I felt had contributed towards my becoming an addict. I wrote about greed, avoidance of problems, instant gratification and laziness. I’ve been thinking about this and there are a few more which seem relevant:
- Self obsession – this manifested in a number of ways of which extreme self-consciousness is the most obvious. I was always hyper-aware of what people thought of me and how people saw me – my ears stuck out, my hair was too fine – and, as a result of this, I developed a real phobia about people watching me doing things, particularly things involving using my hands. It started when I was about 16 and working in Heysham Village Co-op (long gone) at a time when, after serving a customer, you had to write out a little slip of paper showing what they had spent which they saved up to earn dividend (at that time 9d – about 4p in the pound). One day I became very self-conscious about a customer watching me do this and my hands began to shake. I made an excuse and went in the back of the shop to write the slip. This led to a long period where I tried to avoid situations where someone could watch me doing something with my hands – eating and drinking in cafes, writing etc. It was then that I discovered that drinking alcohol would reduce these difficulties. A couple of years later I was on the dole and had to sign on regularly at Morecambe unemployment office where, of course, I had to sign my name. Somehow I realised that if I bought a quarter bottle of vodka (and some mints) before signing on and drank it in one of the shelters on Morecambe prom, I could then go and sign on without any problem. Of course this is also an example of finding ways to avoid dealing with a problem, something which, in the end, leads to more and more problems.
My name is Kevin and I am an addict. There! It’s said.
Alright, it’s not the most up to date photo. But it is me. The interesting question is, was I an addict even then, before I had even heard of alcohol and drugs, never mind tried them? And am I an addict now, even though it is over 30 years since I had a drink of alcohol or chewed up a few valium (I used to chew them because I thought they might work faster)?
Are addicts born? Or made? Once an addict always an addict? Does addiction even exist, or is it just the excuse people make when they continue to take too much?
For the last 15 or so years (I’m retired now) I was a drug and alcohol trainer with the NHS, training nurses, doctors, teachers and others about drugs and alcohol – what they are, what they do, their relative harmfulness, how to tell if someone is using drugs, how to assess drug and alcohol use and what to do with people who have problems with them. I still do some work in this area but, as I am now in my late sixties, this has reduced over the last couple of years. But I still don’t have definitive answers to those questions. Does anybody? Continue reading
I had thought this album was released earlier than 1969 as it was around this time that I first encountered cannabis. Ah well.
There used to be a hall on China Street in Lancaster. I think it was called Priory Hall but I’m not sure. if I ask Steve, he’ll know. Anyway, it was there that we (Steve and I) went to watch Liverpool Scene. They were a group of poets with musical accompaniment. The best known member was Adrian Henri, a poet from Liverpool who had already become fairly well known from two poetry books, ‘The Mersey Sound’ (1967)and ‘It’s World that Makes the Love Go Round, (1968)I don’t know who did the cover for this book, but it certainly fits the times.
So we went to the concert. It was good. Before Liverpool Scene we had what seemed like several hours of Jeff Nuttall reading from his book ‘Bomb Culture’. Then came Liverpool Scene.