Broken Glass, Nuns v Cops, Accidental Holidays and the Idiocy of Alcohol


I was going to get plastic sheeting to cover my windows, to make sure – if there are more attacks on my flat – the glass wouldn’t shatter.

Unfortunately, that could mean, if there were a fire, I’d have serious problems breaking through two panes of coated glass.

I have indoor cameras, after my window was shot (for fuck’s sake?) early last year, but found out I was pointing them* illegally.

(* Most of the time, the cats were pointing them at inside their mouths, while chewing them.)

So, the plan now is to get two outside CCTV cameras installed.

They’re not going to stop people smashing my window, but hopefully they’ll act as a deterrent..?

Thing is… what can the police do with these malicious, malignant scum?

I am really not afraid of anyone. I have a very different perspective of life than I did six years ago, before my Mum died.

My worry is one of these nutters will harm or kill my kitties. Where the window was smashed, they usually sit there, above the radiator.

If I’m not ‘permitted’ to live in peace; if this continues;. if my cats are hurt? If the police are toothless or out of budget to take this stuff seriously?

My greatest fear is my reaction to another attack, because I’m at my limits of restraint.

How does one react when one of your family members becomes ‘collateral damage’ in an alcohol-fuelled attack? My cats are my family. I love them as much as any human.

Would you let a drunken murderer wobble away from your door and instead call the police?

Or, theoretically, would you outrun them, use a shard of shattered window to cut their spinal cord at just the right height so they’d spend the rest of their lives unable to feel their genitals, then jump off a bridge before the police finally acted determinedly to solve a crime?

This is a complex situation, but really has nothing to do with me. It’s to do with people who can’t handle their drink, looking to blame an outside source for their own life issues.

Awful thing is – from my experience of meeting them, fleetingly, in the past – they’re lovely people when they’re sober.

They’re the people who told me my wonderful upstairs neighbour and friend, John, had died. They were great. I felt like I was going to collapse in the street – it was such an awful shock – and they stayed with me a little while to make sure I was okay.

Alcohol is a demon.

One of the best things I’ve ever done is stop drinking alcohol. Tougher than it may sound to people with perfect lives, but I did it, after many years of abusing the stuff in an attempt to escape from this mind of mine.

I’m not preaching, but really… if everyone came off that poison, the world would be a much, much better place.

How many women and men are battered by their partners when they’re drinking? How many severe injuries or deaths happen directly because people are pissed out of their minds? How many innocents have drunk drivers slaughtered? How many racist or ‘phobic’ attacks have drink as a contributing factor? How many children have been/are being sexually abused by adults who have chosen to drink alcohol, likely plying the kid with it, too, to make their vile crime all the easier for them?

If alcohol was a new thing, it would be illegal.

Yet, many DO drink responsibly.

I guess it’s like knives. Most use them for chopping vegetables and preparing food, but a minority prefer to stab people to death with theirs.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies says:

“According to the 2014/15 CSEW [Crime Survey for England and Wales], there were 592,000 violent incidents where the victim believed the offender(s) to be under the influence of alcohol, accounting for 47% of violent offences committed that year.”

What do we do?

As someone who spent literally decades drinking heavily, with long periods of what would be termed as ‘chronic alcoholism’ – possibly ‘end-stage alcoholism’ – I don’t buy that alcoholism is a disease.

It’s a choice. It’s an escape. You have to willfully lift that glass of beer or mug of red wine and imbibe it.

I think it’s an insult to class alcoholism in the same category as cancer, heart failure and other genuine diseases that aren’t invited into our bodies consciously.

I saw my brother, Paul, literally being cut to pieces to fight against kidney disorders and the end-stage medical plate spinning problems in his body that conspired to overwhelm his incredible bravery. I had to watch this portly, jolly man who buoyed himself with constant laughter, turn into something that looked like one of the bodies piled on carts when Belsen was liberated: skin and bones; his left leg amputated to the knee; most of the toes on his right foot gone. And damn, he fought so fucking hard, all his adult life, to reach the grand age of 49, when he wasn’t expected to live to 30.

THAT is disease.

I take a little pill each day, or every other day, called Disulfiram/Antabuse. If I were to have even small glass of beer, it would cause a terrible reaction, physiologically – it would begin with crimson flushes around my face and neck and quickly bring on a massive, pounding headache with horrible nausea. If I drank two pints of beer, quickly, with a few double JDs as chasers – before the Antabuse began to react against the alcohol – I would need to go to hospital, because there’s a very clearly stated risk of heart attack or stroke, and I wouldn’t be able to stand after 30 minutes.

Thing is. I don’t get those reactions because I don’t drink. I take this ‘Bodyguard Pill’ that’s with me 24/7, standing by me and making sure I don’t lose my way again or find myself mangled at the bottom of a bridge, accidentally tetraplegic rather than melting into the afterlife.

There are times, now, when I forget to take the tablets for weeks, and I would be able to drink as much as I wanted without any adverse reactions – except for the adverse reactions that almost invariably come from being pissed – but what I do then is take a moment to move into conscious awareness, remember alcohol is a fucking dickhead and turns me into a fucking dickhead, then take the fucking pill!

This pill is available to everyone in the UK who has a problem with alcohol.

All they have to do is go to their local drug and alcohol treatment centre and ask for help.

If your life is adversely affected by alcohol, because you choose to drink alcohol, and you continue to drink alcohol rather than seek help… if you have a cure right there for your ‘disease’ and you choose not to take it?

To those of you who are, frankly, terrified of the prospect of not drinking, I can tell you that life on the other side of alcohol is so much better. By Odin’s beard… just the lack of hangovers makes it all so worth it!

Once you banish the self-deceit and acknowledge things need to change… that little white pill is there for you, to help you with your resolve to live your life free from that mind-warping poison.

Or perhaps you’re like one of those (annoying) people who gave up smoking on a whim and can cut alcohol completely out of your life without the need for meds?

If you are drinking alcohol and it is causing problems in your life (and, for many, it’s not a problem and I’m not suggesting here that everyone stop, because I say so), then that is your choice.

If the problems continue when you are aware of them, because you keep drinking alcohol, then that is your choice.

If you wake up in a prison cell and can’t remember the night before, then find out you’ve been charged with manslaughter after punching someone out and they hit their head on the curb? It was your choice.

If you wake up with a frightened, bruised, tearful spouse and tell them it’ll never happen again, then… maybe a few weeks later… perhaps the World Cup’s on… invite alcohol into your system once more, and wake up with your swollen-faced spouse standing over you, her three brothers glaring down… and her Dad, with a roll of Gorilla Tape and a cordless drill? It’s your fucking choice.

One of the last times I drank alcohol, I ended up, in the Witching Hour, at my old house – the only home I’ve ever known, which my brother kicked me out of, blah, blah, blah – and would have booted the door in if it weren’t so excellently crafted. I ended up getting detained by two policemen, while I was standing in the grounds of the Catholic Church in my old village (where I was Confirmed, when I was a kid – Confirmation name is Bernard, after my uncle… Leslie Brian Bernard Floyd, at your service!) and I was pleading with two Nigerian Nuns to give me sanctuary at the altar of the Church (seriously, the police were really freaked out by the sanctuary thing and the lovely Nuns really pleaded with them to let me go). The heathen cops then detained me for my own protection, and I woke up stuck to a blue, plastic mattress, with a hangover so bad I suspected the Russians had caught up with me at last.

Read that paragraph again?

That sort of crap doesn’t happen to sober people.

(Damn, though? Nigerian Nuns v Heathen Police Officers? Nuns v Cops? As a writer, that’s such a golden nugget!)

That whole ridiculous situation was due to me taking alcohol. I could try to use it as an excuse, but it was my choice. I may not have intended to cause a face-off between Nuns and Cops, but I invited alcohol into my system knowing fine well that sometimes I totally lose the plot and do idiotic things, or write idiotic things*

(* I’m not writing this drunk, even if you think it’s idiotic. It would have had more spelling mistakes if I were pissed, and alcohol hates the Grammar Police.)

Oh… as well… when I was 20, I went to a nightclub in Carlisle, The Front Page (wonderful, wonderful happy, friendly nightclub – best place ever… gone forever) and was quite merry before I got there, then I got a bit drunker… then, some guy in a uniform shook my shoulder and I woke up; my cheek stuck to a window… and to my absolute horror, I saw a sign out there that said ‘Euston’.

“End of the line,” said the guy.

I dazed up the platform to the concourse, checking my pockets and I found a one-way ticket (a return ticket cost about £5 more), plus about 43p and seven Regal King Size. I was 300 miles away from home, because I chose to drink too much.

(My gosh, though… it was the beginning of quite an excellent adventure! Living in an actual YMCA; a very scary bomb scare on the 11th floor of a tower block; losing my virginity and finding out the shoe size thing was actually true; working as a security guard for a dodgy Indian guy and fending off armed Russians as we took bags of money to safer places; oh, then 28 days in prison for an unpaid fine… and when they released me, they offered me a train ticket! I could have went back to Carlisle! But no… even without alcohol, I was an idiot, and I chose Plymouth. I’d never been there. I had no idea what would happen, but that was my choice. And after six months in Plymouth, working in an Italian Restaurant, I got drunk and was thrown off a train to Carlisle… in Taunton, which I’ve always thought is an excellent name, because it sounds like Tauntaun, the llama things from The Empire Strikes Back. Jedburgh is also one of my favourite Scottish place names. My stars… Taunton was AMAZING. A couple of blogs right there.)

I digress…

If you’re an idiot with alcohol, and you know that, and you keep drinking… then you’re an idiot.

If you are physically abusive to people when you drink alcohol, and you know that, and you keep drinking… don’t defend yourself by saying you have a disease when the truth is that your fuckwittery was at the seat of that angry fire.

If you get so drunk that you occasionally wake up in strange city or town and have no idea what to do… and you don’t go about punching people when you’re pissed… then, meh… carry on!

Finally, stay away from my fucking windows, yo?