Jomtien 15th February, 2010 – not dry but not drunk.

I have put off writing my blog for several days, as I know that when I do I will be  judged as weak and lacking in moral fibre by of many of my readers. All of which is undoubtedly true, but being the alcoholic that I am, I am consumed with my own ego and I hate people to think badly of me.

So why, you may ask, do I write this blog if what I write is going to provoke hurtful criticisms which upset me?

The answer, amongst other things, is that I need these home truths rammed down my throat over and over again, if I am ever going to get this reckless selfishness under control.

I have seriously considered lying inn this blog about my drinking over the past few days, and also my involvement, yet again, with a lady of the night, as after all the undertakings I have made in my blog, even I feel guilty about reneging on my good intentions so easily.

So what has happened?

Well nothing too disastrous, in fact in some ways I feel pretty good about what has happened, but it certainly not what I intended to happen, and time will tell where it will all lead to.

As with most things in my life, it revolves around women and booze.

You may recall Toi of a week or so back – the one who I had great hopes for but became disillusioned when she reminded me one evening me that I had apparently forgotten to pay her that morning.

Well after five days absence I returned to her bar to see what was doing, and she was very friendly to me, and bore no grudges that I had supposedly ‘dumped’ her.

We struck up a conversation, and to cut a long story short, a couple of days later we resumed our relationship, and came to an ‘understanding’ about money.

I know, I swore I was going to stay away from bars and women of the night, but it seems to be in my blood – I just can’t seem to exist without it.

As reported before, Toi really is something special. She is very intelligent, computer literate in English and speaks incredible, ‘non-bar-girl’ English, considering she has never lived with a farang.

She is ethnic Khymer, which may account for her good command of English, as from my observations, the Kymers (at least those In have met in Cambodia), seem to pick up English with far greater alacrity than do their Thai ‘cousins’. Toi also speaks Cambodian (which is slightly different from Thai Khymer) and of course Issan (Lao).

She has a wonderful sense of humour and laughs at herself as well as always making jokes at my expense – something I cannot recall any Thai girl doing before. She seems to have me ‘taped’ and delights in getting me worked up about something, before I realise that she is ‘winding me up’ – only joking.

When I am with her I am happy; she makes me laugh and when she smiles and laughs, which is very often, she seems to light up the room.

She is the de facto manager of her bar, as her boss is the owner of several bars and only pops in for an hour or two every two to three days and she has great managerial skills.

She manages the girls and the bar staff with great tact and sensitivity, and she controls the stock and money and all the other related bar duties. She actually earns a pretty good salary, and I scan see why.

Yesterday, I took her to the market in the morning and she bought a lot of food with her own money and took it back to the bar and spent the afternoon in the bar kitchen cooking up a feast for all her staff to share in celebration of Valentines Day.

All in all a pretty impressive young lady

She hasn’t moved in with me and has no plans to do so. We both maintain our relative independence, and either can break off the relationship at any time.

So I will take it one day at a time, and see how things develop.

On the drinking front, it’s not that great, but not a disaster.

It goes without saying that since I resumed my relationship with Toi I have been spending a fair amount of time in her bar. Toi enjoys her beer, but never seems to get drunk. From my observations I would say that she is a million miles away from being an alcoholic. For the past few days I start off by ordering Coke or water, but after a while decide that a few beers won’t do me too much harm and I make the fateful switch to alcohol.

However, I have been drinking slowly and in relative moderation. I have rarely started on the beer before 10 p.m. and I stop when Toi and I go home. I am not sure how many beers I have been consuming in a typical evening but I doubt it is more than half a dozen small bottles. In the morning I feel a little rough when I wake up, but no real hangovers and I soon feel pretty good, except that my stomach is not appreciating the alcohol I have ingested and is causing me a few problems.

I am making no claim that I have finally succeeded in controlling my drinking. I very much doubt that this is the case as I know that I can drink in a controlled fashion for a while, but sooner or later I will revert and go on a real bender. It is only a matter of time.

So once again I must redouble my efforts to stop.

I am happy with Toi, but there is no need for me to spend inordinate amounts of time in her bar. I can pop in her see her, maybe have something to eat, buy her a couple of beers and then take off. If I can’t trust her to behave then there is no future in our relationship. I must stay out of the bars, and get back to the meetings. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I haven’t been to an AA meeting for a few days now.

So there it is folks – my humble confession. Make of it what you may.


MOBI VIGNETTES

AZZY – MY LOVE (Part 4)


The journey from Lagos to Port Harcourt, in the company of  Daniel Ito, an Ibo, in a battered old station wagon loaded with files and supplies, was one that I will never forget.

Secession of hostilities in a bloody and brutal civil war, had only taken place a few weeks previously which meant that conditions in the secessionist, war-ravaged. Eastern region were pretty diabolical.

At first, it seemed like any other journey I had made out of Lagos, usually to our outpost in Warri in the mid west: numerous road blocks, pot-holed ,badly maintained single track roads, and so on. But once we had left Lagos behind and started to approach what until quite recently, had been a ‘war zone’, we were unprepared for what lay ahead.

The roads were littered with huge bomb craters and bombed out, burnt military vehicles. Along the the sides of the roads were endless columns of refugees, dressed in tatters, going who knows where in search of sustenance; there a very high military presence everywhere, with drunken, menacing looking soldiers waving guns at the refugee columns and even at the few vehicles that were attempting to traverse the obstacle course of a road.

Progress was very slow, and if it hadn’t been for Daniel, I suspect we would never have made it. We were stopped continuously by marauding soldiers, but on each occasion Daniel would talk to them in their native language – usually Yuruba – and whatever he told them must have  persuaded them to let us proceed, unmolested. I dread to think what may have happened if any of these soldiers were to find out that Daniel was an Ibo – one of the hated enemy.

It must have been late afternoon by the time we finally made it to the banks of the Niger River,where the huge bridge that had once spanned the waterway had been blown up up and was unusable.

Daniel told me to drive down a rough, mud track which led down very steep incline to the water’s edge itself

There, on the western bank of the Niger river was a sight indeed. There must have been thousands of desperate Nigerians in threadbare garments, milling around amongst the military who were pushing at them and screaming abuse and insults. Lined up alongside the crowd was a rag tag collection of dozens of dilapidated vehicles, all inching towards the river’s edge, where a a motorised, military landing craft was moored.

We joined the back of what seemed to be a semblance of a vehicle queue, and I grimly realised that it would be hours, if not days before we reached the front of the queue, as the precarious  craft looked as though it could only accommodate about four vehicles at a time.

Daniel alighted from our car and disappeared into the swarming, screaming crowd. I sat alone for what what seemed like an eternity. It was extremely hot and  humid, the vehicle had no air conditioning, and the sun was blazing down unremittingly. To top it all I suddenly I developed a terrible migraine.

I was seriously considering the distinct possibility that some ‘accident’ had befallen Daniel, and wondering what the hell I was going to do without him, when mercifully he re-appeared, together with two high ranking military gentlemen.

Daniel gave me no time to cross examine him on his long absence, and told me to start the car, while in the meantime the two officers started barking orders at the vehicles in front of me in an effort to clear the way to let me through.

It took quite a while,and a lot of screaming and cajoling before I eventually made my way through to the front of the queue, the entire multitude was forlornly waiting to cross the river, courtesy of the army.

The landing craft already had several vehicles on board, and I thought that there was no more room, but the officers beckoned me to drive up the steep, wooden planks that traversed the craft and the bank.

I was terrified. The planks looked very flimsy and the gap between them looked dangerous. If I mis-navigated by only a few inches the me and my car could quite easily end up in the murky, swirling torrent, several meters below.

The officers kept screaming at me, so I had no choice but to proceed. I gingerly throttled the car up the planks, trying desperately to keep the vehicle in a straight line. I was over-revving the engine and nervously feathering the clutch in my panic, when suddenly, true calamity struck.

A burning smell was emanating from the floor of the vehicle, and I slammed on the foot brake as the car ceased it’s progress forward and the engine revved out of control. I was half way up the rickety ramp to the craft and I had burnt out the clutch. The car wouldn’t move. I was stranded!

The soldiers on the pontoon and those on the bank were shouting louder than ever, screaming at me to finish my journey up the ramp and onto the landing craft. Daniel scrambled up the planks and asked me why I had stopped. I told him.

He went back down to the bank and shouted at a group of civilians who were watching the proceedings. They then ran up the ramp to the back of my car and started pushing. I slowly released the hand brake, terrified that I would go backwards and send the assembled gang into the brink, but there so many of them that they succeeded in inching me forward, and eventually onto the deck of the pontoon.

Daniel joined me on board, and I asked him what we were going to do when we reached the other side? He looked at me, and for once, he seemed at a loss for words.

We duly made the slow trip across the mighty Niger on what was a very precarious craft and as we neared the far bank, I could see an even larger crowd  than that we had encountered on the western shore. There seemed to be thousands milling around.

There were indeed many more people – mainly starving refugees, desperate to get out of the war ravaged region and travel to other parts of the country, mainly Lagos, where they may have friends or relatives who could help them. But there was this massive bottle neck at the Niger river, and the only way across was by courtesy of the army, and of course a fee would have to be paid, and many days wait.

When we arrived and the rickety planks were once more thrown down to form the ramp to the river’s edge, I saw to my horror that on the far side of the river bank there was a very steep and very long track that presumably led up to the road beyond. How on earth would I ever be able to get the car up to the road? There was no way on God’s earth that any amount of manual labour would be able to push the heavily laden car up such a long and incredibly steep slope.

I was wrong. Once more Daniel went to work, and with a generous supply of Nigerian coins, he assembled a huge gang of “pushers’. I Have no idea how many there were, but it was certainly several dozen – possible fifty or more.

To start with, a few of them came on board and gently pushed the vehicle, with Mobi at the wheel, off the pontoon and onto the shore.

Then the whole gang surrounded the car and they started to push me up the hill. Progress was slow, and I am not sure if the gang put more energy into shouting at each other or pushing the car. At one point, the car started to slide backwards, and I feared the worst, but with an even shriller timbre of screeching, they managed to arrest the slide, and slowly but surely we progressed onwards and upwards to the top of the slope, and eventually to the road itself.

It was surely a miracle, but we had made it to the road in one piece.

Now what to do? We were still a very long way from our destination.

Once again Daniel performed his disappearing trick, and I was left guarding the car, surrounded by hundreds of starving refugees, who could have attacked me at any moment.

Thankfully I remained unmolested when Daniel eventually returned, sitting in the front cab of a very battered, ancient truck.

The driver and his mate also jumped out and proceeded to apply a tow rope to the front of my car.

Daniel told me that he had negotiated with the driver to tow me to Enugu, the capital of the former Biafra, but would not be able to make the remainder of the journey to Port Harcourt, as he feared marauding, blood thirsty soldiers and locals on the final leg of the journey.

So I asked Daniel what were we to do when we arrived at Enugu, as there would still be well over a hundred miles to go to our destination.

He then informed me that he would not be going with me to Enugu, and that I would be travelling alone. He said that he would take alternative, faster transport directly to Port Harcourt and see if he could find a tow truck there that could come back out to Enugu and tow me on the final leg. He said that the driver had been instructed to find somewhere for me to sleep overnight in Enugu, and that Daniel would make contact with me on the following day.

I protested that I wouldn’t be safe travelling alone, but Daniel was adamant that his plan was the best way forward. He said that we were now in former rebel territory, and the entire local population consisted of the hated Ibos. He informed me that no Ibo would dare travel to Port Harcourt, as the rebels had formerly controlled the town and had ruled it with an iron fist.

The threat of retribution from the indigenous population, who had suffered at the hands of the Ibos, was very real

I was still very young and naïve so I wasn’t particularly bothered about travelling alone in an almost lawless area that had just come out of  losing a bloody civil war, and where most of the local population was starving and extremely impoverished. They had after all been starved into defeat, and as yet few supplies had reached the region to alleviate their hunger. It all seemed like a great adventure.

Also, at that time it never occurred to me how brave Daniel was. He was an Ibo and was totally loyal to the company.

When the war was at it’s height he had stayed in Port Harcourt and done his best to protect the company’s property from the worst excesses of the rebels when they started robbing and looting thousands of houses and other properties which had been abandoned at the start of the war.

Later, when Port Harcourt fell to government forces and the rebels retreated, Daniel managed to keep clear of the military and escaped to Lagos with dozens of vital company documents, having previously made arrangements to protect company’s property by employing a squad of private security guards.

Now Daniel was back in the east, unafraid to negotiate with Ibo hating federal soldiers, and about to make the journey back to Port Harcourt, where anyone from the Ibo tribe was liable to be lynched, if identified as such.

And here was innocent, naïve Mobi, about to embark on a highly dangerous journey; much of which would be undertaken at night, into the heart of the ex rebel area, all by himself, save for two local truck drivers, both of whom must have resorted to many acts of violence during the past few years just to remain alive.



14 thoughts on “Jomtien 15th February, 2010 – not dry but not drunk.”

  1. Just a quick question … given that your blog is totally open and not password protected in anyway … Do your kids read your blog?

    You lead a fascinating, if somewhat charmed life. I guess that much of your readership will not have achieved half of what you have done.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself ,,, everything in moderation and you’ll be fine … and as for the bar girls well if it FLYs, FLOATs or F*CKs then in the long run you’re better off renting by the hour / day / night in any case .. so no more wives eh?

    1. Yes, my blog is open for everyone to read, but apart from a few folk in Pattaya and some trusted friends on the net, no one is aware of my identity.

      When I started my blog in July last year, I did tell my family about it, but they have never told me that they are reading it, and I frankly doubt if they are. If my daughters are reading it, then so be it.

      My, and their identities have not been revealed, and I have said nothing derogatory, or particularly personal, about them.

      I have written very frankly about their mother, but I doubt they would have any problem with that.

  2. As you will see from my reply to James, my daughters are indeed aware of my alcoholism. However, you are correct to the extent that they only became aware of this last year when I was in the process of leaving my wife, and I wrote and told the whole family what had been going on in my life.

    Prior to that – yes I was pretty much putting on a brave face and no one knew of the traumas and the alcoholism that had been wrecking my life for so long. When they came to visit, I prayed that I would be able to keep the worst excesses of my lifestyle away from them, and in general terms succeeded.

    When I wrote to my family last year, I didn’t really get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of my condition; I just told them that I had a ‘problem’ with alcohol and depression and was trying to deal with it.

    I received some supportive, understanding letters in return, but I doubt they appreciated the depths of my problems.

    When my daughters were young, we were very close, and I think I was regarded as the strong, silent Dad that tried to protect them from their domineering mother. It is inevitable that since I have been in Thailand we have grown away from each other. They are young women trying to make their own way in life, and I am on the other side of the world doing my own, somewhat disreputable ‘thing’.

    I have always been the strong one as far as they were concerned, and I doubt that they feel that they can be supportive in the kind of way that you suggest, particularly since we have become sort of ‘estranged’ due to the long periods of separation.

    They still regard me as the strong, silent provider who always had the answers and I suspect they are struggling to come to terms with my personal failings of recent years, and feel reluctant and unable to become involved.

  3. Mobi, despite his choice of words, James touches on something I’ve thought of as well when reading your posts – the role of your children in your life. Of course, an intervention to bring you back to the UK is obviously extreme and I doubt that he meant that he is suggesting that your children should tie you up and ship you back to the UK against your own will.

    But are they aware of your battle with alcoholism? And if so, are they supportive of your attempt to recover? Or do you keep them in the dark by putting on a brave face when you see them to give the impression all is fine and well with Mobi? Parents do not want to show any sign of weakness in front of their children or cause them to worry (at least Western parents) , but as you have admitted, you have a disease and thus you need all the help you can get. At this point in your life, can you claim that you are simply living a “chosen life style” (to use your words)?

    I know from your own background with your own father that your view of the parent/child relationship is much different from mine (perhaps that is the basis of your comment that a child should have “the common sense to leave well enough alone”), but it is so very comforting to know that someone out there is concerned with your well being. if you have kept this a secret from your children in order to present a brave face, then you will never have this comfort. It would be interesting to know what AA says concerning what to expect from your family members.

    Having said that, maybe you feel that your children aren’t capable of providing such comfort, and thus you’ve “written them off” in terms of any emotional support you might benefit from. I recall from an earlier post that your daughter observed a fight between you and your wife (or maybe your girlfriend at the time) while you were all on a boat trip, and she thought it was hilarious. such a reaction seems to indicate she doesn’t have the empathy to provide you with any emotional support?

    sorry for ranting and playing armchair psychologist, mobi – i hope you don’t find my observations and questions offensive, as i have no intention to offend you or cast aspersions on your children.

  4. Apologies if I offended you. My words were perhaps not well chosen. What I mean to convey is that I do not think you are living in a very good place given your problems.

    By the way, you are wrong to suggest I don’t approve of you. I actually found your life story to be quite incredible.

  5. Please excuse the personal nature of this question but what’s your relationship with your children like at the moment? You don’t really talk about them much in your life story after you retire to Thailand. My parents are about your age and if I thought my dad was leading this kind of lifestyle I would probably be planning an intervention to bring him back to the UK.

    1. The relationship with my daughters is fine, thank you.

      We correspond on a regular basis, and they have both been out to visit with me in slightly happier times, as I have with them back in England.

      They were due to come out together last year, but I put it on hold due to the breakup of my marriage.
      I have been open with them about my struggles with alcohol and the problems going on in my life, and they are very supportive.

      I find your comment: “if I thought my dad was leading this kind of lifestyle I would probably be planning an intervention to bring him back to the UK.” quite incredible.

      What would you do? Get a court order declaring me insane and then have me repatriated at gun point and then locked up in a mental asylum for the criminally insane?

      The mere idea that you could interfere in another adult’s chosen life style is mind boggling. You obviously don’t approve of me, but if you had a parent that behaved like me, then I would hope you would have the common sense to leave well alone. It is my choice as it would be his.

      By all means convey your opinion, and advise – but intervene??? My God!!!

      In any event, this isn’t the nineteenth century, and it would be quite impossible for you to intervene in any way in circumstances similar to mine.

  6. Mobi, I enjoy your blog and your very frank portrayal of your life as a (recovering) alcoholic. Others have given you advice in a manner more articulately than I can, and in fact you seem to know what is good and what is bad for you. You do seem to repeat the same mistakes, however, with women being the catalyst that leads to your drinking. The pattern is a familiar one: you meet a girl, you convince yourself she’s special, you try to develop a relationship, she disappoints you, you drink.

    As for the new girl, Toi, you mention:
    “If I can’t trust her to behave then there is no future in our relationship.”

    Please, Mobi, assume you cannot trust her to behave. View her as a hooker you enjoy spending time with. That is the extent of your relationship. She is not a diamond in the rough, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself of this. she wants your money, and she will gladly break your heart. don’t give her that power.

    If I can’t trust her to behave then there is no future in our relationship.

    1. Yes you are correct and I will treat her as such. She is my CH – “Contract Hooker”

      I doubt the relationship will last very long, and in the meantime it will help to curb the worst excesses of my behaviour.

  7. Mobi
    Please don’t use money as an excuse. You have an will continue to waste more han most have. How the BMW doing? Is the monthly check still coming in?
    Therapy is talking about your feelings. You can start at your AA meetings. That is why they work for you. Move. Find someone to talk to..even if its a non-smoking, non-drinking non-bar girl friend and start living a simpler and less wasteful life.

    1. Well I don’t get a monthly cheque; just have a portfolio of investments which are looking decidedly jaded and have shrunk incredibly in value over the past two years.

      I bought my BMW barely a few weeks before the markets took a crash.

      All that isn’t to say that I couldn’t afford a therapist if I curbed some of my other spending extravagances – but it won’t be cheap and I remain unconvinced that it is the only solution to my problems.

      I will soldier on with AA for a while and see how it goes.

  8. Mobi
    Ok this is how I see it. First let me apologize if i offend you but you want the truth so….
    You want to hear what we say because you like to be abused. By us , by woman by your father. Maybe you have it confused with love. It’s not your fault but this is where you are. You continually set yourself up to be abused by bar girls etc. You have a very low self esteem and believe you don’t deserve better. You tell us about it because you want us to abuse you.
    Mobi your real problem is you need lots of therapy. You must move away from Pattaya. Get away from the bar girls. Move to another part of Thailand and meet a nice girl that doesn’t drink and get help. It can be done….but i know you don’t want to…so be it. Continue down the path of your friend in Bangkok..Your just as stubborn as he is….in fact move in with him now and experience your certain future. Sorry! Oh yes one more thing. Your deluded. You are paying this girl to fuvk you. She is NOT your girl friend and your future with her would be the same as the others.

    1. I’m beginning to believe you may be right – I probably do need therapy.

      My behaviour is more extreme than it’s ever been. I’m getting worse.

      Maybe the years of my wife abusing me, both emotionally and physically, and me trying to fight it and deal with it, have taken a greater toll on my mental health than I had previously appreciated. Even for me, my behaviour seems to be increasingly bizarre.

      But I’m not sure that there is therapy is available here at a price that I can now afford to pay? My wife’s excesses and the stock market crashes have taken a heavy toll on my savings, and whilst not yet on the poverty line, I have to watch my outgoings. I would imagine that expatriate therapy in some high priced, fancy clinic would come at a pretty exorbitant price.

      So for the time being I will soldier on and see if I can’t pull my life around without resorting to therapy.

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