Before Xmas the delightfully delicious Jane Kabey spoke of doing a dry January for Mind. I agreed, she thought I was saying “Yeah Yeah”, I was in fact saying “Yeah.” and meaning it. Eventually getting her to accept that I was being honest I readied myself for a hard month.
My drinking has ruined my marriage, destroyed my relationships, broken my friendships, lost me my jobs, and changed my health both physical and mental beyond recognition.
I do not drink in the morning, nor do I shake in need of a drink, I do shake in pain after a session of drinking, the pain in my neck and head is excrutiating, the hidden memories of what I’ve done are in other people’s stories of ‘crazy Carl’.
I have been arrested, charged and let free before I’ve sobered up. I have fought strangers, hurt girlfriends, come to; at home, in strangers flats (dressed and naked), in the company of police, on the street, in clubs and pubs without any idea how I’d got there, inside, underneath and on top of lovers and strangers, I have soiled many pairs of underwear to the point of no return. I’ve spent, stolen, lost, borrowed more money than I’ve earned.
99% of my problems with police stem from drinking.
On the 7th January I went to court to try to get a stay of eviction, arrears came due to the bedroom tax, I knew this was happening but couldn’t face any truths because of what happened after my Uncle’s funeral, I don’t know what happened apart from I had been drinking from the afternoon, I came round in an Indian restaurant with my cousin asking me to pay my part of the bill and leave. From that moment until the 7th I had hidden, from my family, most of my friends and my problems.
Things happened around me, through me but not to me. I wasn’t there or here. I was ashamed of my reflection, even though I didn’t know what I’d done.
Changes were going to happen, it didn’t matter.
Jane decided, for good reasons, to do her sober month on her own and I became part of team ‘Cheeky Half’ .
Meantime life came and grabbed me enough to do the stay of eviction, the judge dismissed my case out of hand. I asked my housing officer what I could do to keep my flat, he said I needed to pay 75% of my arrears. I borrowed the necessary amount from my Mum and a friend, the Housing Officer then said I needed to get the other 25%! Waves of pain hit me. My brother came to the rescue.
The housing officer promised that the money would be returned to my mum, friend and brother if I was evicted on that day.
The next day I was told that I had lost my tenancy and would have to downsize and join another Housing Association.
The housing officer had promised that I wouldn’t be evicted. That lie still burns me now. There were a lot of arrears. They offered me a flat in the arse end of Rotherhithe that didn’t have enough room for my fridge in the kitchen never mind any other furniture, I refused to accept it that afternoon, stating that I needed to sort my head out.
I was reminded that if I didn’t accept it I would be evicted.
I couldn’t believe they could legally do that to someone, let alone someone as close to the edge of suicide as me.
I searched the internet, spoke to friends, solicitors. 08 numbers aren’t acceptable on my payg phone, my heart was black.
They said I had until the 31st of Jan to make a decision and then move on Feb 3rd. Two days later they rang to say I had until the 31st jan to move out. The pressure was building. I would have lost most of my furniture, living nowhere near anyone I knew.
‘They were doing me a favour.’ ‘I could have been evicted’.’ They were letting me stay at their discretion.’
I visited a friend who knows more than most on Sunday. On Monday I began following their advice but my resolve was dissolving as I contacted the agencies to find that because they had offered me this place they couldn’t help.
Then out of the blue, the housing association phoned again, they had another place for me to look at.
I knew that something had happened to the chain and that I had a chance to finish my search for help. I said I’d ring back within an hour.
Gathering what little resolve I had, I phoned, stating that I’d love to view it.
The kitchen was 3 times the size of the other place, there was a garden that I would have sole use of, most of my furniture would fit or I could store it in the garden…
Without Jane’s initial desire to raise money for Mind, I’d be homeless.
Without my Mother’s ‘death’ money, I’d be homeless.
Without my Brother’s help and support, I’d be homeless.
Without Sarah’s help, I would have been very ill and would now be homeless.
I have a chance to make a new start because of strong women who I have hurt and the unconditional love of my brother.
Without agencies like Mind, Calm, The Samaritans and others many people would be homeless.
Without my family and friends I would have been homeless or dead.
For now please donate to this:
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I shall be putting on a show soon for Shelter.