The “Home” page is my daily blog. The remaining tabs contain previously blogged, episodic ‘stories’, which are now re-published in chronological order.
I am not sober, but neither am I drunk.
As indicated in my last blog, Wan has come to see me from Roi Et. She had been in a bus all night, and arrived in Pattaya at 7.30 this morning.
She will stay until Wednesday, and i have yet to decide whether I will drive her back home.
Wan has been very tired today so we have not talked much.
I will write more about this, and the other events that have been occurring in my exciting life sometime soon, but unlikely to be tomorrow as I have a busy schedule.
As my regular readers are aware, from time to time I post a comment from one of my readers and reply to it on the face of the blog.
Here is one such comment, that I received today:
From: “UnsolicitedAdvice”, 8/08/10
‘Mobi quoted: “Please don’t go down the road of believing that AA is the be all and end all for the treatment of alcoholics, for it quite clearly isn’t, not that I doubt that it is among the leading success stories with this particular illness”
Just one question (you might need to take a look at exactly what your write from time to time)
If AA is among the leading success stories in Alcoholism, what ARE some other “leading success stories”.
You should note I really DO READ everything you write,
Don’t try to fool another alcoholic mate. I know the game real well and have 18 years sober.
You might find that if you take the 12 steps thoroughly and care of your alcoholism permanently (instead of buying friends you call therapists) the depression will lift.
Depression is really just extreme self centeredness IMHO. I’m not going to discourage you from taking phsych meds as they may help in early recovery (they didn’t for me but maybe for you)
My experience with anxiety and depression (which Doctors were more than happy to take my money to help me with in early recovery ) is that once I treated my alcoholism by working hard at taking the 12 steps (which you have obviously not done) all the symptoms of untreated alcoholism (which you are experiencing ) went away.
Your blog is a written account of your self centeredness. Rationalizations abound for your behaviour concerning your constant poor choice of women, being victimized by them. All your behaviour including writing this blog is all about Mobi isn’t it? When will it be about helping a few people, helping others? Once you wake up and see that the answer is SELFLESSNESS brought about by seeking a spiritual experience I wholly believe you will continue to be plagued by alcoholism.
Why not really TRY AA Mobi? Obviously you have never really tried AA (honestly worked at taking the 12 steps) If you had, you would not continue to drink.
In Mobi speak. I urge you to not go down the road of saying AA doesn’t work for you. You never really tried the AA program, you just went to some meetings and talked some.
Reminder. Doing AA is not going to a few meetings. Doing AA is working the 12 steps. Really doing a 4th step. Really making Amends to all you have harmed. Really helping new alcoholics.’
Below is my response to “unsolicitedAdvice”:
I have been a great supporter and defender of AA and its 12 step programme for quite a while now and have even become involved in some quite acrimonious debates with certain people who continue to insist that AA is a quasi- religious organisation that just sucks people in and tries to brain wash them without curing them.
Additionally, I have always acknowledged that most of the alternative addiction programmes use some form of the 12 step programme as the basis for their treatment. Furthermore, many learned doctors, throughout the last 100 years, have acknowledged that it is virtually impossible for a true alcoholic to become free of his addiction unless he embraces some form of spirituality.
Many of the Eastern religions, including Buddhism, and most mystical and spiritual teachers all embrace much of what Bill has written in his compelling “Big Book”.
But the one problem I have with all of you AA ‘evangelists’ is that you categorically rule out any of the alternative forms of treatment, much of which is almost identical to the AA 12 step programme, and by doing this you are doing the AA a huge disservice.
Instead of acknowledging that “one size will never fit all” and that some of these other treatments can work, (given that they are mainly based on AA principals anyway), you try to debunk them and castigate alcoholics who may espouse them.
Don’t you realise that by doing this, you are actually closing the door, to not only those alternative treatments but also membership of the AA, as your arrogant attitudes and insistence that the “AA way is the only way” will drive people like me even quicker back to the bottle.
This is exactly the attitude that has frequently put me off returning to AA – the patronising, arrogant and condemning attitude of so many of its members.
In your above published comment, you say :
“My experience with anxiety and depression (which Doctors were more than happy to take my money to help me with in early recovery ) is that once I treated my alcoholism by working hard at taking the 12 steps (which you have obviously not done) all the symptoms of untreated alcoholism (which you are experiencing ) went away”
You will have to excuse my mirth. Your comment is so ignorant of established medical reality that doesn’t warrant much of a reply.
I don’t know what doctors you were paying your money to, but let me assure you that the above comment flies in the face of all established medical knowledge. You clearly have no idea about depression and its causes and treatments.
I dare say you are happy to accept Carl Jung’s conclusion that an alcoholic can never truly recover without immersing himself in some form of spirituality, yet you have difficulty accepting that there is such a thing as depression – a condition recognised by all established mental professionals throughout the world, and that it can be treated successfully with medication.
Another quote from our learned, anonymous commentator:
“Your blog is a written account of your self -centeredness. Rationalizations abound for your behavior concerning your constant poor choice of women, being victimized by them. All your behaviour including writing this blog is all about Mobi isn’t it?”
I laughed out loud when I read this. You claim to have read everything I have written. I would seem that you haven’t even read my daily page title.
“The life and times of a much wedded, Pattaya based, carousing drunk….”
“The life and times of a reformed alcoholic who lives a wonderful, selfless enlightened existence and now wishes to reach out to other less fortunate alcoholics”
(I doubt if the above title would garnish much of a readership.)
Furthermore I might suggest that you must be suffering from memory loss. I have written at least two times about the purpose of this blog and I believe I have made it absolutely clear that of course the Blog is about: MOBI – ME!! I have never claimed otherwise.
I have already blogged that if my experiences, good and bad, warts an’all may provide some warnings to those who may be following in my alcoholic footsteps, then all well and good.
You seem to be accusing me of not using my blog for the general well being of my readers, or maybe you think I have to change my life in such a way that my example can be a benefit to my readers.
Well all those ideals are very admirable, but I am afraid, my anonymous friend, that is not what my blog is about- nor will it ever be.
If you feel so strongly about this, why don’t you start your own blog and we can all benefit from your own, exemplary life standards.
Here is another excerpt from your well meaning comments:
“Reminder. Doing AA is not going to a few meetings. Doing AA is working the 12 steps. Really doing a 4th step. Really making Amends to all you have harmed. Really helping new alcoholics.
I have been going to AA meetings on and off for over two years now and I have far from given up on them.
However, I have met a quite a few ‘arseholes’, a larger number of ‘also runs’ that seem to contribute little or nothing, and a few – very few, wonderful, caring people.
People, who genuinely want to help and will welcome me back into their fold no matter how many times I lapse, and no matter what I think of AA and its’ 12 step programme.
Such a person was my sponsor, who sadly passed away last Monday. He never gave up on me, and it is quite possible that if it wasn’t for him, I could well have passed on before his own sad demise earlier this week.
I will write about him some more in today’s blog.
So, my anonymous, condemnatory friend, I have never given up on the AA programme, but unlike you, this doesn’t mean I will stubbornly close my mind to other, similar programmes that also claim some degree of success.
You have no idea of my earlier commitment to AA and the fact that I have conscientiously worked the steps up to step 4, which I have also done a great deal of work on.
At my most diligent I was attending up to 3 meetings a day for many months and I have read the Big book from cover to cover three times and I have also bought and read a great deal of AA published literature.
In the end, what led me to stay away more and more, were people like yourself with their overzealous attitudes. Also, frankly, I am still struggling with the spirituality issues.
It is the spiritual side of AA which has led me to reading spiritual writers like Eckhard Tolle and also to start to practise mediation as well as discussing these issues with medical experts. Ultimately, my acceptance of the spiritual side of life may well lead me back into the arms of AA, condemnatory people like you notwithstanding.
You have absolute no clue as to my level of commitment to the AA programme, and frankly I feel insulted that you should ‘write me off’ in such a summary fashion.
By the way, most sensible alcoholics couldn’t give a monkey’s arse about the number of years they have been sober, or the number of years they have attended AA.
Until the day they die, it will always be one day at a time – that is all that counts.
So, my anonymous friend, you can take your 18 years and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
What was it you said?
Really helping new alcoholics……
I wonder, do you really think you are really helping me? Or do you get a perverse pleasure from goading me and trying to make me pick up a drink.
Either way, it hasn’t worked.
Go in peace my ‘unsolicited advice’ friend and stay happy, joyous and sober.
Now to my story of Hank, which I have just posted on Hank’s ‘in memoriam’ website:
Hank (Maui Hank – Henry Antonious)
As far as I can recall from my alcohol- befuddled memory, I first met Hank in January, 2009 so I have known him less than 2 years.
I met him when I was taken to my very first AA meeting by two friends who were visiting Pattaya from Cambodia.
Hank was there, in his customary corner chair of the Highlander’s ‘green’ room, in Soi Skaw, the location for the AA morning Group’s meeting .
It was a while before I really got to know Hank as I was deeply immersed in my own alcohol related problems which were exacerbated by serious marital problems.
But even in those early days, Hank was one of those larger than life characters that you couldn’t help but notice.
His presence was always felt by all in that room.
I soon came to regard Hank as a genial, down to earth “Yank” who always had a few, shrewd, pertinent words of advice for one and all, when it came to his turn to “share”.
And of course his profile rose sharply when at the end of each meeting, he would break into his daily reprise of : “Zippity Do Dah, Zippity Day….”
A true character for sure and not one I could easily dismiss or forget.
I well recall my early AA days, when Hank would issue his open invitation to anyone interested to join him and other AA members at Starbucks, down the road for a coffee and have a chinwag at the close of each meeting.
I took this to be mainly an invitation to those members who hailed from the USA, and studiously ignore his exhortations to join him for a number of months.
I was in my early days of recovery and quite frankly, I wasn’t very friendly to anyone, especially to a group of ‘loud- mouthed Yanks’ who would undoubtedly be arguing at the tops of their voices. At the time I felt that it would be more than my tender ego could cope with.
Yet within a few months I was an integral part of that “loud mouthed group’ – my mouth being one of the loudest and most argumentative.
How did that come about?
Hank was one of the kindest and considerate men I have ever come across in my life. I didn’t give him much attention, but he was obviously very aware of me and he seemed to have an uncanny instinct of being there to give me support, particularly at times when I was feeling vulnerable.
In those first few months of my AA attendance I made some pretty traumatic ‘sharings’, mostly to do with my marital problems and the mental and physical abuse I was suffering at the hands of my philandering wife.
At the close of such meetings, after I had made a particularly emotional sharing, Hank would come over to me, gently pat me on the back and in his own inimitable way, discuss my problems with me, and generally make me feel a bit better about it all.
Then there were the days when I would come to the meeting early.
I was so inhibited and self-conscious, that I would always find a table by myself and effectively ignore the group who were all chatting noisily at another table.
At first Hank would smile and welcome me, and after a while he would encourage me to sit down with the rest of them. He would always have a smile on his face, always caring and always with a few thoughtful words of advice and encouragement.
I started to take to this crazy little pot- bellied Yank, who along with his joking and ragging, insisted in bursting into song at the close of every meeting.
His good humour, joyful countenance and genuine concern for his fellow men was infectious and he succeeded in making me smile for the first time in many months. I could see that he also had a similar effect on others.
I used to go to the morning meetings just to see Hank and listen to his ‘home spun’, AA based wisdom.
Then one day, he wasn’t there.
I soon learned that he had been rushed into hospital and was apparently suffering from pneumonia.
I lacked the confidence with the group to enquire on the precise details, but listening to the talk, I soon realized that Hank was far from a healthy man and had severe heart disease. Hank was on a pace-maker.
To everyone’s relief, Hank made a good recovery and to my own selfish joy, he was soon back amongst us.
I believe that it was after Hank had made his first return from death that I allowed myself to be persuaded to accompany him to Starbucks for my first ‘meeting after the meeting’.
It was a funny old affair. Hank was always welcomed by all and sundry and he sort of held court as the participants in this “after the meeting Starbucks club” came and went.
Sometimes there would only be 3 or 4 of us there, and on other occasions there would be many more. But for most of the time Hank was the stalwart of these get-togethers and he was invariably collared by one or two recovering alcoholics to get the old man’s advice on everything, from how to save a floundering business, to advice on property investment, to where to by a larger size of condom and so on.
Hank always had an answer or a solution to the problem under discussion, and it was always a very wise, well considered solution.
Whether the recipient of Hanks’ sage advice took it, is a matter for conjecture, but that didn’t matter. Hank gave his opinion without fear or favour and it didn’t matter to him whether his advice was appreciated or not. He didn’t care.
One of his most oft used phrases was that he was “happy, joyous and free” and he was determined to enjoy every day of his life to the full.
He was a sick man, by his own admittance and he fully accepted that he might not have long to live – but however long the Good Lord gave him, he would be forever grateful and he always made sure that he lived his life ‘to the full’.
One day, in the AA meeting, I shared that I had ‘fired’ yet another sponsor and to my surprise, at the close of the meeting, Hank approached me and said that If I was willing, he would be prepared to be my ‘temporary sponsor, until I found a new one.
I was delighted to accept Hank’s offer, and he remained my “temporary” sponsor until he sadly left us, last Monday.
Unlike my previous sponsors, Hank was very gentle with me and seemed to understand that I was having enormous mental struggles with the concept of a “Higher Power”.
I believe that he had decided to leave me to find my own way for a while, and he simply made sure that I was still seeking the truth. In effect he was ‘leading me in the right direction’ by his own, faultless, personal example.
This he did most admirably and he was always there to advise and help me when the occasion demanded and he never failed to remind me of the need to let God into my life.
With my previous sponsor I had reached as far as the fourth step, and Hank offered to take me through the fourth step, whenever I was ready.
It was during the time that I regularly attended the ‘after meeting- meetings’ at Starbucks, that I had the pleasure of meeting Hank’s lady.
She worked in the tourist advice centre which was situated a stone’s throw from Starbucks, I finally realised why the wily old bird had selected this particular coffee House for his daily ‘get-togethers’.
I admit that I was very envious of the obvious ‘chemistry’ between Hank and his lady. They clearly loved each other so much and were so happy together, but there again who wouldn’t love Hank? I certainly did.
The old bugger even tried to set me up with a girl who worked with his lady. She was a very nice girl, but being the stupid ungrateful bastard that I am, I didn’t pursue it.
But Hank never pushed it, and never complained when I failed to follow up. It was so typical of him. He would do his best to help his fellowmen, without ever thinking of anything in return for himself. And if the help was rejected, he never bore resentment or rancour.
Then this year came the bombshell that Hank would be going to Hawaii for a few months.
I have behaved very badly in this last stage of Hank’s life and I shall forever regret my actions.
I ‘fell off the wagon’ big time, a few weeks before Hank’s departure so was not on hand to wish him well when he departed, knowing full well that there was a high degree of probability that he may never return to Thailand.
I told myself it was OK, because I could contact him by email and enquire how things were going.
But I never did that either. I was too busy drinking, getting myself into all manner of scrapes; pouring my money down the drain and going through more women than most people have had hot dinners.
Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and I truly lost all track of time.
Then a couple of weeks ago, for the first time in months, I dragged myself into a noon AA meeting at Jomtien.
I couldn’t believe it when I entered the room, for there, as large as life, was Hank!
I have seen Hank emotional on a few occasions, but only when he has been sharing. Yet on this day, at the close of the meeting, Hank came over to me and I could see the tears in his eyes.
He had never forgotten me or given up on me and within moments he embraced me in a bear hug that almost drove the breath out of me. I was crying too.
He told me that he would also be going to the evening meeting in Pattaya that day and I promised to see him there. I also promised to see him at the following morning meeting, when I hoped we could discuss long outstanding sponsorship issues.
I told him I wanted to resume work on my fourth step.
Hank looked me in the eyes and said:
“No! You are going to start again at Step One, and we are going to do it properly!”
He was sincere, loving and most of all, very serious. How could I refuse? I promptly agreed with him that we would start back at the beginning.
To my everlasting shame, I left that meeting and picked up a drink and never went to the evening meeting, never attended the morning meeting the next day or any other meeting from then on.
It was the last time I was to see Hank alive.
Last Tuesday I was talking to my therapist in Bangkok and he told me that I must go back to my sponsor and restart my 12 step programme with him.
So on Wednesday, finally sober, I was about to call Hank when a message popped up on my computer screen.
Hank had passed away. I couldn’t believe it. Surely it wasn’t true! Surely fate couldn’t hit me with such a cruel body blow.
But it had. Dear Hank was gone and I never got to say goodbye.
I didn’t know Hank very long and he was never what you might describe as a close friend; but in the past two years he has played an enormous influence in my life.
Hank has shown me that it is possible to be happy, joyous and free, even at an advanced age, wracked with a fatal illness.
He has shown me how little is required to be truly happy.
He has shown me how to live a life by one’s own standards and not to be influenced by anything other than a simple understanding of God and the moral code of AA
He has shown me how to love my fellowman.
Hank I loved you.
God Bless you in your next life.
Zippity Do Dah!