Today I have been sober for 13 days.
Some of you have been kind enough to offer advice following my recent relapse which was triggered by my ongoing disastrous relationships and attempted relationships with bar girls.
I really appreciate everything that has been said, and would like to publish here some of the recent comments, along with my responses.
Andy, on January 30th, 2010 at 8:01 am Said:
I won’t dwell too much on the drink driving as it is just unacceptable and you know it is. Were it only you who could be injured then so be it but it is not fair on innocent others and I have shopped friends to the authorities for doing this, so strongly do I detest it. Enough on that, you know what you have to do.
Can I suggest that you investigate hired transport? The rip off Pattaya taxis are a rip off but if you could come to an accommodation over fees with them, or even some baht bus drivers or mini cab drivers who ply streets at night, then you would at least have someone to pick you up and take you to where you wanted to go and also to take you back, though as you know, transport back is hardly the problem. It was something I did when living in Pattaya.
As to the drinking, I concede you are an alcoholic but apart from the driving, is it really so bad? Remove the vehicle and have you solved most of the problem?
Of course your relationships have been largely disastrous or ended up that way. No matter how great my wealth, I would never have build a Bt20m mansion and virtually invited my Thai partner, my ex hooker Thai partner in your case, the opportunity to do anything, safe in the knowledge that Thai law states that she should get half upon divorce.
I get the feeling that you don’t have many friends and console yourself in the company of hookers as they will trade temporary friendship for drinks, gifts and cash. Yet I also know that most friends in Pattaya concentrate themselves around the bars, which you see as the greater problem.
I don’t think you are in the right living environment. I lived very near you in very similar accommodation and unless you wanted to stare at 4 walls you went out. That introduces the issue of the car again.
Would a better solution not to be around one of the sois off Sukhumvit as they have bars and some eating places or even to be in a condo in town. Why ? well you either have fellow expats in the village or you are in town and don’t need to drive.
Would a time lock safe be an idea? lock your car key in when sober and then you could not get them out when drunk later on ? Radical but?
No, I think you should think more about your immediate environment. I’m sorry but I don’t see not drinking as a permanent solution and perhaps I don’t see a need to try to manage the problem in that way. I’ve also been around booze enough to know more than a little about what I am saying. Permanent abstinence may work for some but if the alternative is off the booze then benders and then off again, perhaps taking away some of the problems you get into when drunk could be the answer.
You will undoubtedly disagree with me and you may well be right.
Of course, you have to deal with the last Mrs Mobi. Until that is dealt with any drinking will lead to you telephoning her and crying in your beer. You know it is not somewhere you can return to and you need to close that chapter ASAP.
I feel that if you could get her out of your life then you might be able to move on but I see her as the main reason why you jump from abstinence to bender when there may be a middle ground for a more mentally stable Mobi.
Were I around, I’d happily have a beer or a coffee with you . Maybe some day.
mobi, on February 2nd, 2010 at 9:52 am Said:
Andy, thank you for your long comment.
There is no argument about the drink driving. I will do my very best to ensure that I never go back to it.
I believe you are wrong about my drinking. Trying to drink smaller amounts on a regular basis simply does not for people like me – alcoholics. It can work for those who are known as “heavy drinkers” but not for fully fledged alcoholics.
I was trying to do that for years before I finally realised that it would never happen. Alcoholism is a progressive disease; it gradually gets worse, and the person gradually loses more and more control of his/her drinking. Blackouts occur ever more frequently, and he will reach rock bottom, quit, or kill himself. It is a very well documented path.
Many heavy drinkers – and I know quite a few, have trouble understanding why a person can’t decide that he’s had enough and quit for the night. An alcoholic can only quit when he is incapable of taking another drink, and he has absolutely no control over his intake.
If I tried to do what you suggested, I would be on a binge every day of the week, except on those days when I was too sick to drink. This is the alcoholic.
I have met so many like me at AA meetings.
If you are still in doubt, try attending one of the AA open meetings and hear the stories – then you would understand the disease.
You are spot on as far as the future ex Mrs Mobi is concerned. I have seen her once, briefly since I left her last October, and it was OK-ish, but she didn’t miss the opportunity to get on my case a bit. We have also spoken on the phone a few times and she is very keen to remove the intermediary and deal with me directly. I know what she is up to; she thinks that once she deals with me alone, she will find ways to manipulate me. So I am resisting a change in the arrangements.
She is also being very stubborn about the sale price, which is far too high in the present market, and also refused to consider renting, which while not ideal, I think is a very viable interim solution.
So until things are all sown up with Dang, my life will continue to be in a bit of turmoil.
As for friends, well I think it is me refusing to embrace them rather than the other way round. I do have a few very good friends and should use them more for companionship and comfort, but I am not very good with friends. For much of the time I prefer to be alone – it is all part of my disease. Of course in this country, I have learned to my cost that many so-called friends are not all they appear to be, and this is another reason that I exercise caution when embarking on new friendships.
Some of the kindest and most genuine people I have met are members of AA. There is no shortage of good folk there if I chose to let any of them into my life.
I think it is all down to me – as ever.
Mobi, I don’t mean to oversimplify a problem i have no experience with, but it seems that once you are able to become emotionally detached from these girls you meet in Pattaya then you’ve contained the demon. For every girl you meet in a bar, do not give them the benefit of the doubt, do not trust them, do not care about them. Perhaps it sounds harsh, but it really seems to be the best approach. Otherwise, your emotions seem to drive you to drink. Console yourself with their short term company for a fee. you have other things to do to occupy your time (such as music and AA). Trying to develop a relationship with any bargirl will be your undoing – have limited fun with them and then move on. Sorry if it sounds like I’m lecturing – it just seems to be a “common sense” approach to living in Pattaya as a single alcoholic
mobi, on February 2nd, 2010 at 6:24 pm Said:
Big Skippy, you are not oversimplifying the problem, and you are not lecturing.
I appreciate your comments.
It is difficult but I will try to follow your advice.
Your relationships with the bar girls reminds me of an old story you may have heard before (or variants of it).
On old man was walking home in the dead of winter and saw a snake’s apparently lifeless carcass alongside the path. It was one of God’s creatures after all and he took pity on the poor reptile which was defenceless in the frigid temperatures.
The old man took the snake to his home and put it on a rug in front of his fireplace in hope of a miracle revival and went to bed.
The next morning the old man got out of bed and hurried to the rug by the fireplace.
Much to his surprise, the snake was curled up near the fire happily flicking its tongue in and out, none worse for the wear.
Pleased with himself for his good deed, the man approached the snake to share the joyous miracle.
In an instant, the snake coiled and delivered a fatal bite deep into the man’s leg, the fangs leaving two small red marks in his calf.
Just before the stricken man lost consciousness, he said, “snake, I don’t understand! Why did you bite me, you knew it would kill me. I saved your life last night.
Through his fixed, grinning mouth, the serpent replied, “But you knew i was a snake all along!”
I don’t intend to be critical, but do you think Nong really cared when you called her a liar or said that you will never trust her again? I’ll bet she slept well that night anyway.
I got vexed by my now ex-wife for 12 years and I still struggle with that. I find the Thai bar girl thing liberating in the clarity of the “deal” as opposed to a long term relationship, such as marriage.
mobi, on February 2nd, 2010 at 9:26 am Said
Thank you for the parable.
Of course Nong didn’t care – except that it might have messed up a regular source of income. I know that.
My problem is I too like the clarity of the deal, but I have still have problems to avoid becoming emotionally involved.
I will continue to work on it.
AZZY – MY LOVE (Part 3)
That morning, when Bisi calmly informed me that she was my General Manger’s regular girl friend, a chill went down my spine. I was so naïve that I dreaded what may happen to me if he ever found out – if she told him – that I had slept with her. I might even lose my job!
As it turned out, several months later, it wasn’t me that needed to be concerned about the situation, (yes, I had spent a few more ‘nights’ with Bisi during in the intervening period), but Gerry Robbins himself.
Gerry was married, and his wife was living in Lagos with him, and out of the blue, one day in the office, Gerry called me to one side and said:
“Mobi, I know I can rely on you to be discreet about my relationship with Bisi?”
I was completely taken aback. What had Bisi told him? But I soon regained my composure, and assured Gerry that I would be the epitome of discretion and he need have no concerns on that front.
The subject was never brought up again.
I started to settle in to life in Lagos.
Initially my boss, Steve, used to pick me up from the hotel and take me to the office with him, dropping me back at the hotel at night, but after a few weeks, I was allowed to use one of the company pool cars and started driving myself. This gave me much more freedom to get out and about and explore Lagos.
After a week or so, I ‘discovered’ my hotel’s outdoor bar, where many expats would gather after work and on weekends.
I soon fell in with the drinking crowd, who started to educate me in the ways of Lagos, and in particular the women of Lagos.
In the evenings apart from the odd expat escorting his ‘live-in’ lady to the bar, it was pretty much an all male domain. However, Sunday afternoons were party time. In addition to the single expat men at the bar, many expat families gathered in the hotel garden which surrounded the bar and enjoyed an afternoon of eating and drinking, to the accompaniment of the Police band who would set up on the garden stage. Even the expats who had children would bring them along to the garden and let them run around and play.
On my first Sunday there, I was also surprised to notice a fair sprinkling of ‘single Nigerian girls’ who also came along to enjoy the afternoon’s festivities, and theye would seat themselves at separate tables, a little apart from the rest of the diners.
Occasionally one of the girls would walk over the perimeter of the bar and greet one of the drinking men who would be sitting and drinking there with his friends.
As dusk fell, the families would slowly depart back to their homes and some of single men would move away from the bar and make their way to the tables where the girls were drinking. Then a few of the girls would come and sit at the bar. Everyone seemed to know each other and I felt a bit out of it.
One of my new found drinking friends, a young Englishman a few years senior to myself – Ian by name – called out to several of the girls by name, and they returned the compliment.
Addressing him, they shouted back: “Ee-yan, hello Ee-yan!”
“How come you know all these girls?” I asked Ian.
“Oh they are all the regulars from the clubs across town”. It doesn’t take long to get to know most of them.
This was a new revelation to me. I had no idea that there were clubs across town where ladies like this could be found.
“So where exactly are these clubs?” I asked.
“You mean to tell me that you haven’t been out yet?”
“No- not really. Only to my boss’s house for dinner. Most of the time I’ve been either at the office or the hotel.”
“Well, we’ll have to do something about that. Tell you what, how about meeting me at the lobby tomorrow night, around seven p.m. and I’ll take you on a tour of the night spots.”
I agreed, with burgeoning enthusiasm.
And so began my new adventure with the bars, clubs and whores of Nigeria.
I duly met Ian the following evening, and we started off in the place that was become my ‘second home’. It was a well known, popular club, owned and run by a very portly Lebanese man by the name of Tiger and was situated in the heart of downtown Lagos, about twenty minutes drive from my hotel. This was The Tavern.
The Tavern buzzed seven days a week, and it was easy to see why. It was a large, well decorated place that had a wall to wall bar, a large dining area, a stage for live musicians and a decent sized dance floor. Music was played by a very lively band very night, the Lebanese-managed restaurant served excellent food, and last but not least, it had by far the largest selection of beautiful, nubile, young Nigerian ladies who thronged to the bar every night in search of customers.
It was a life that I was to immerse myself in for the entire time I stayed in Nigeria. I loved the happy-go- lucky atmosphere; I loved the wonderful rhythmic, uninhibited music – a mixture of soul, juju, ‘Highlife ‘and Afro-Pop, Most of all I loved and lusted after the gorgeous women.
On that first night, Ian took me to a number of other night clubs, most of them further afield than the Cavern, and not as well patronised.
One club, which I was later to regards as my ‘third home’ was a little way out of the downtown area, and was call ‘Cabana Bamboo’ – for that was what it was, a very large Cabana, made of bamboo. It had a small complement of young ladies, the music was more subdued than the music dished out at the Tavern, and there was a scattering of western patrons.
However I liked the ambience of the place, and I quite liked the cut of the girls there, even though although they were less of them than at Then Tavern.
It was while we were having a beer at the bar that a couple – a local lady with an expat escort – walked in and sat at a nearby table. My attention was immediately drawn to the woman; she was the most striking lady I had seen since my arrival in the country. She had a classical African face and in my humble opinion she would have had no problem being employed as a fashion model. Her figure was perfect and she was showing it off to wonderful effect in tight fitting trousers with bell bottoms that were the fashion inn those days, and a low cut top.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“Who is she, Ian? Do you know her?”
“I have met her once or twice, her name is Taiwo”
“That guy she is with – is that her boyfriend?”
“Yes, Mobi, I’m afraid so. They’ve been together for quite a while now.”
I had trouble hiding my disappointment. She looked so incredibly lovely, but I guess that would be one lady who passed me by.
Over the next few months, I slipped into a regular schedule and lifestyle.
Work was not particular demanding as there wasn’t too much going on in the oil front. The Company’s main operations in the eastern region were out of action due to the ongoing civil war, and there was just a dribble of production out of Warri in the mid west region of the country. So I put in my required hours in the office and devoted all my main energies to enjoying myself when off work.
Early evenings would be spent at either the inside bar or the garden bar at the Federal Palace, and at some point of an evening, a few of us would grab a cab and go downtown to The cavern, and sometimes travel further afield to clubs like the Cabana Bamboo in search of new pleasures and new women.
I had finally moved out of the hotel and into an apartment that my company had leased for me downtown. I also had pretty much unlimited use of a company car.
My first ‘girl friend’; i.e. one who I dated most nights, and on many weekends would go and stay with her at her room in the suburbs, was a lively young lady named Julie. She was pert and very pretty. We had a lot of fun together, and she taught me a great deal about sexual pleasures.
But I wasn’t in love with Julie, and after a while my eyes started to wander to pastures new, and I resolved to dump her. It wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated and there was a fair amount of ‘palaver’ on the dance floor at The Cavern on the night that I broke the news to her, but in the end she got the message and that was that.
It was soon after I dumped Julie that I made my first journey out into the bush.
I had to travel to the company’s field offices at Warri in the mid west to sort out a few financial issues. The only way there was by road – very bad, potholed roads, and the journey had to be completed within the hours of daylight. There was a nation- wide night curfew outside of Lagos, and roadblocks were set up around each town so that no-one could come or go, once dusk had fallen.
If there was a serious hold up en route – an accident blocking the road, or a vehicle break down and so on – sometimes the oilfield workers never made it, and were forced to spend an uncomfortable and dangerous night in the jungle, where even in the Midwest, there was the possibility of rebel soldiers, or maverick, marauding gangs of government soldiers who would think little of robbing and killing white westerners stuck in a stationery vehicle in the jungle at night.
I set off at the crack of dawn, as soon as the daytime road blocks had been lifted, with my Nigerian clerk as a guide, and it was a mad-capped ride at break neck speed along the rutted bush roads to make it to Warri before sunset.
I never really considered the potential dangers involved, and upon reflection, neither my employers. That was simply the way it was in those days in the hard cut and thrust of exploring for oil in not so hospitable, far flung corners of the world.
We lived ‘on the edge’, and indeed some of us died on the edge; there had been a recent incident when two expatriates working for another Oil Company, who had been shot and killed at an army road block by drunken soldiers after the passengers had tried to complain about being stopped and searched.
For me it was an adventure, and I enjoyed driving the big old American station wagon, and merely regarded it as a challenge to drive to Warri and to make it to my journey’s end before the road barriers came down.
One of the keys to a successful journey was to make sure we had plenty of “dash” and cigarettes to give to the soldiers at the road blocks en route to ensure we weren’t held up too long – something our colleagues from the other oil company had failed to do, and paid with their lives.
So we made it with a good hour to spare and found our way to the company’s offices.
Warri was not too far away, across the delta from the secessionist Eastern region, and at that time it was pretty much a ‘wild west’ sort of a town. The power supply was intermittent at best and every major operation, hotels and expat housing had their own generators.
Most of the roads were pitted, mud tracks and crime was rife – especially after dark.
We met the local field manager who escorted us to our hotel – a roughly made, single storey construction with a dozen basic rooms at the back, and a large bar and reception area at the front.
Compared to the relative luxury of the Federal Palace in Lagos, this place was a huge let down. It was dirty, smelly, hot and humid. There was no air-conditioning, and only about half of the rusty fans seemed to work at all.
The staff were badly dressed and pretty surly.When one of them showed me my room, I complained about the filthy state of the bed sheet and pillows – but he just looked at me and walked away.
Back at the bar / restaurant area I homed in on the collection of unlikely looking females who were sitting around at tables at the far end of the building.
They were dressed appallingly and didn’t look very comely. I remember to this day that one of them was in a very advanced sate of pregnancy, but was still plying her trade with any hotel guests who might be interested in something a bit different.
I resolved to avoid any intimate contact with these very poor specimens of African womanhood and after a few beers, mercifully crashed alone on my unclean bed.
The next evening, my hormones were starting to rage again, and what I had written off as the most unattractive bunch of prostitutes I had ever seen on the previous evening, were now starting to take on a more tempting appearance. In particular, there was one lady who I spotted who I hadn’t seen on the previous night. Although no beauty, she was a decided cut above the others, in both dress and looks.
I went after her and bedded her. I repeated this on the following two nights.
On my fourth night in Warri I was in a blind panic. I was experiencing sharp pains when urinating, and I had detected a discharge. I knew little about venereal disease in those far off days, and although I realised that I had indeed contracted some form of VD, I had no idea what to do about it.
I was beside myself and highly embarrassed. Eventually I screwed up the courage to ask one of the oilfield hands – a Dutch ‘tool pusher’ who had been very friendly to me – for advice.
He was highly amused at my plight and wasted no time in laughing at me and telling all and sundry that Mobi had the clap!!
I was dismayed at this betrayal of confidence, but after a few beers started to see the funny side of it and ended up laughing with everyone else.
Some antibiotics were obtained from a local chemist and I was put on a heavy dosage, which resulted in me being clean and free of the disease by the time we made the hazardous return journey to Lagos, some ten days later.
I resolved never to take a girl from any of our more ‘remote’ locations, in the future.
I was back in Lagos for two days when I noticed that I was experiencing increased itchiness from my crotch area. That evening I took a bath and examined what was ‘going on’ down there.
I nearly jumped out of my skin. There were tiny little black creatures crawling around in my ‘nether regions”. I was disgusted and horrified. I had no idea what had happened or what these creature were. I tried to wash them out but it proved impossible.
It was a weekend, so I decided to drive over to the federal Palace and see if I could track down my friend Ian and ask him for advice.
Thankfully he was at the outdoor bar with a few of our mutual friends and I took him to one side and told him what I had found living in my body and that at that very moment, was itching like mad.
Like the tool pusher before him, Ian burst out in a peal of loud laughter and again wasted no time in announcing to the assembled group that Mobi had caught a crab!
Again I was upset and humiliated, but what could I do about it?
I asked the drinking group how I could get of these ‘crabs’ as they were driving me to distraction.
It seemed no one had a ready cure for crabs, but one guy did say that he had heard that mosquito spray should work.
A short while later I drove home, stopping on the way to buy a can of mosquito spray.
I sat on the bath edge and sprayed the delicate area of my skin.
Yes – I know – I wasn’t thinking too well. I nearly jumped through the roof, such was the pain I experienced. I was in agony and hopped around the bathroom for ten minutes until the pain started to subside, cursing the man who had told me to use the spray. I decided that he had been ‘winding me up’.
I took a look at the still tender area, and to my delight and surprise I discovered that the ‘crabs’ were falling out of the folds in my skin. They were indeed dead. I washed thoroughly and let out a huge sigh of relief when I determined that they had all been killed by the spray. I was now free of them.
I will never know if the guy was ‘winding me up’. The spray did indeed work, but in ‘taking the cure’ I had experienced one of the most painful ten minutes of my life.
It was a salutary lesson. I had contracted the ‘clap’ and ‘crabs’, both probably caught from my Warri lady. Up to that point I had been sleeping indiscriminately with all and sundry and I realised that I would have to clean up my act (literally), if I was to avoid future problems of a similar nature.
Maybe it was time to settle down, once again, with a regular girl friend.
But who and where would I find such a person?