About time I wrote a running update for your eyeholes to read. After completing my first 5K Park Run with the ‘grown up’ runners I’ve been trying to up my distances. I improved my time at my second Park Run and felt a little more confident. Since then (two weeks ago) I’ve been gradually upping my distances and running every other day. The best run was on Sunday when I managed a full 4.25 miles. Very pleased with that! My dodgy ankle has also been behaving just about.
However, this week that big ball of hot stuff in the sky has scuppered my plans somewhat. Lovely as it is I didn’t realise how a rise in temperature could make such a difference. After a sleepless night on Monday night my attempts to run in the sun on Tuesday proved difficult and for the first time I had to give in. I tend to be quite hot blooded anyway and I’ve already found getting too hot a problem above any other even in cooler weather. I tried again yesterday morning and went out earlier. It was still quite warm and I just did 5K. I’m going to do my third Park Run at Brueton park in the morning and then (weather pending) just keep working on my endurance and getting that distance closer to the 10K mark. I have one month until my Race for Life. Eeek.
The good news is that yesterday I won a competition on Twitter via AXA PPP Healthcare. Just the boost I needed. I won an online running course from this great website Up and Running who you can also follow on Twitter @runningonline
They have all sorts of courses to help runners and I’m looking forward to getting some more inspiration and keeping my motivation levels high.
I’ll keep you posted.
Follow me @StaceInspire
I said I’d do this to write more often for the April writing challenge but only did a couple so here’s them all, written on one day in May!
1) Five ways to win my heart?! Well if you won my heart I would be dead. What sort of a competition is it??
2) I feel strongly about…having a heart that cannot be won in some sort of sick competition.
3) A book I love… Time Traveller’s Wife
4 ) Bullet my whole day…
Sunday (so far)
- Woke up man with a cup of tea
- Spoke to my cousin on the phone
- Popped to Tesco with man
- Ate pancakes made by man
- Made bread
- Spoke to my Mom on the phone
- Watched man cutting wood and banging making our new wardrobes
- Ate aforementioned bread with naughty cheese
- Sat in bed revamping blog whilst watching man work hard as above
- Wrote this post
5) Things I want to say to an ex... I quite like you because you score me 8 but Zs and Qs are better.
6) My views on mainstream music. I wrote this a few weeks ago but it’s still in my drafts. If I have published it it will be here. If not I haven’t yet.
7) Five pet peeves… Dogs that poo, dog owners that let their dogs poo, dogs that jump up on me, dogs that bark too loudly, dogs that slobber. I don’t mind other pets ; )
8) What I ate today… See here, I actually did that one.
9) How important is education? Srsly lyk sooooo important. Lol. Lmfao.
10) Put your music player on shuffle and write the first songs that play I did this too! Look here.
11) My family… consist of people who are related to one another and they are all ACE.
12) Five guys I find attractive Guys? What a funny word G U Y S. You know when you look at a word and it looks weird? Guys. Anyway. I don’t know many Guys. Guy Pearce used to be Mike in Neighbours although I preferred Brad.
13) My opinion on my body and how comfortable I am with it … My body is a temple. I am very comfortable with it as I am in bed and bed is comfortable.
14) What I wore today… Jeans, Stone Sour hoodie, knickers, socks. No bra because it is against my religion to wear one on a Sunday.
15) My zodiac/horoscope and whether it fits my personality… I am Leo. Apparently this means I am a lion. I have hair like a lion. So it must be true.
16) Something that I always think ‘what if’ about …What if i win the lottery?! I could go on this Mayhem festival cruise, that’s what! It WILL happen.
18) A problem I have had… Once I couldn’t decide whether to have a Mint Aero or a Crunchie. Tough times.
19) Five items that I lust after… Design your own Converse, RIP tickets to Download festival, tickets to Mayhem festival cruise, a new projector, a new laptop.
20) My fears…The usual, anyone I love going to heaven.
21) How I hope my future will be… happy and healthy.
22) My academics… How boring. I did GCSEs and A Levels. I didn’t go to Uni because I liked home and I worked hard in my chosen field instead of writing essays about it.
23) Something that I miss…School
25) Something I’m currently worrying about… getting this post finished before Silent Witness.
26) Things I like and dislike about myself I like my general loveliness and I dislike my teeth.
27) A quote I try to live by… A simple quote I’ve recently heard. Never give up, there’s always a way.
28) Somewhere I’d like to visit… Hampton Court Palace
29) Five weird things that I like… Scabs, peely sunburn, smooth surfaces, pygmy goats, the DALEK man on last night’s Britain’s Got Talent.
30) One thing that I am excited for… getting our new living room carpet next week.
That was a big ‘un!
Thanks for reading.
Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire
Thinking back to the panel on Stigma and Discrimination at the National Drug Conference in Dublin this month it was highlighted that we never read good stories in the papers. Bad news sells. Users get all the bad press but rarely do we hear of the success stories. Maybe we can’t change the newspapers or society’s hunger for bad news but the more positive messages we can get out there the better. Twitter gives me an opportunity to engage with some interesting people and this is the story of one of my Twitter friends. I thought it would be nice for Johnny to get his experiences heard.
When Johnny was 16 his grandfather passed way and soon after his grandmother. He had little understanding of how to deal with grief and death and began drinking a lot. One night he tried Heroin for the first time.
“It was my miracle answer; it took all the pain I was feeling away”.
He admits his understanding of addiction back then was that it was all in the head, a choice people made that could be controlled. His use increased to every Friday, then every Friday and Saturday and it wasn’t long before he was using every day. In the early stages off his addiction when he worked he remembers particularly bad times. One of these was when he was talking to a guy at work and found out one of his friend’s had died from an overdose. Again grief affected his use.
“I was convinced something would happen and the penny would drop but then I accepted that I was going to die an addict. I wrote a suicide note explaining to my friends and family how they would be better off if I was dead.”
Luckily before it got too far an unlikely source helped him…
“It was a policeman who came to tell me I was being watched on the town’s CCTV. He noticed my low mood and asked what’s up? I’d wanted someone to listen so I showed him the suicide note explaining how life would be better with me dead!!”
That was how Johnny was first directed to help and got into rehab which began a cycle.
“Every time I got into rehab I always seemed to have it in my head that I would still have to use again.”
He eventually began a relationship with his lifelong friend and it was made clear that drugs couldn’t be a part of it. Although he initially struggled with this, with her love and support he got his life back. Johnny also has high praise for Methadone.
“The reality is that Methadone allowed me to have stability, a fiancé and a life. I think it’s more addictive than Heroin but it gave me a chance to see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel”.
When I asked Johnny what he thinks would’ve helped him more along the way he simply said.
“Reassurance. No one had ever said to me how you are feeling is OK, normal, part of the process. You can do it Johnny”.
Johnny who used Heroin and other drugs for over 15 years is now 31, 8 months Heroin free and engaged to Hazel. They live in Ballymena, Northern Ireland with their ‘son’, their dog Marley. He is looking forward to getting married and getting back into work. He would also like to be able to help others recovering from dependency like him. He would like to say big thank you to all the people that helped him along the way especially Hazel and his big mate Jim.
This is a poem Johnny wrote for Hazel….
While I was looking for a perfect verse, so happy I was fit to burst
Acceptance, just 1 word. Cos u accepted me as I was, a junkie chasing a buzz
This is pure n simple truth, u welcomed me under your roof
At 25 you got ur own place, while i was still gettin off my face
When I was a teen I wanted to sell drugs, cos then id be one of the cool thugs.
How could I be such a fool, for flip sake I was still at school
I love you with all my heart and life would be bad if we were apart
There’s just one dream id like to come true, no more gear-just me, marley n you
I hate it when you cry cos youre my love and thats what gets me by
So, no more tears except for joy, me, you n our doggy boy!
No more madness cos thats the reason for ur sadness
I love u forever. xoxox
Ballymena, Northern Ireland
You can follow Johnny on Twitter @wjc80
I was lucky enough to be invited back to Dublin again to help at this year’s National Drugs Conference. I flew with Nigel Brunsdon Injecting Advice and now HIT Community Manager and we met Kevin Cundy of Frontier Medical Group at the airport.
It was held as previously at the Radisson hotel (great showers!). Tim Bingham of the INEF again pulled off the organisation of this big event and didn’t seem to stand still for three days but his efforts are very much appreciated. The conference consisted of plenary speaker sessions and break off workshops for delegates to attend.
The full programme of speakers can be seen on the INEF website.
On the Thursday morning we had a manic time registering everyone and it was good to see some familiar faces both from the real world and Twitter.
As always I tend to go to the sessions of my friends or people I know. Roweena Russell who was a big help with the recent tender I wrote delivered a session on how the website Hiwecanhelp has developed and can benefit organisations all across the UK. Check out their funky new homepage.
I also went to see the seriously inspirational Annemarie Ward who really got the delegates engaged. You can read all about the work of the UKRF and their principles are well worth checking out. They (Annemarie and Alistair Sinclair) are doing great work changing the face of recovery to bring everyone together to encourage choices in treatment and developing supportive recovery networks across the UK. See my previous post on the UKRF conference here.
It was good to see the HIT O’ Hare’s again and I’m looking forward to the fundraiser in Liverpool later this month. I also met Stephen Malloy (Scottish Drug Forum) and Julia Elspeth who were formerly just little thumbnails on my Twitter screen.
Of particular interest was a panel discussion on Drugs, Stigma and the Media. The panel consisted of:
Erin O’Mara, editor of Black Poppy, a UK-based health and lifestyle magazine produced by and for people who use drugs.
We were carrrying around this idea that we were wastes, wastes of spaces. . . when you go and seek treatment and you know they are treating you badly you think well I’m a junkie….it gets ingrained and it drives a big wedge and silences people.
Rick Lines, Harm Reduction International
Maureen Brosnahan, a veteran national reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
We need to be conscious of the language we use, junkie versus user, hooker versus sex worker, addiction versus dependency…
Kitty Holland, The Irish Times
Keelin Shanley, RTE
You can see the video of it below.
Good news is unfortunately not news. We are more likely to hear the stories of stereotypical users committing crime than the positive stories of people in recovery who have managed to get through difficult times. People who are stuck in their Daily Mail regurgitating views want the stories that perpetuate what they prefer to believe. They rarely look for what the real story is, the reasons why people may use problematically, attempt to understand dependency, happily keep the ‘us and them’ mentality while quaffing their own drug of choice, usually Alcohol and not recognising the irony or their hypocrisy. Ooh sorry, nearly a rant there.
Anyway, it was a brilliant couple of days and thanks to all involved both during the conference and socialising in the evenings too.
Thanks for reading.
My new idea to get me blogging more frequently is to blog about any random trending topic on Twitter.
Resisting the urge to blog about the eloquently hashtagged #10twitterpeopleIwouldbang which is currently trending I decided on…
So today is the 1st November. I got a bit excited earlier whilst I was on the phone to my Mom as it was 11.11 on the 1/11/11. I shouted…
which she repeated to her office.
I have an interesting November coming up, I’m off to Dublin tomorrow to the National Drug Conference of Ireland and will get to see a lot of my real and Twittery what I call ‘drug friends’. You can follow my tweets from it @StaceInspire and @InspireHandM if you are so inclined and the conference hashtag is #NDCI11.
I’m also looking forward to going to The Cavern in Liverpool on the 17th for the HIT Fundraiser in aid of The Roy Castle Foundation and Release. As I’ve got to get a hotel anyway to make the most of it I’m taking my man Ban with me too. If you want to come too (the fundraiser, not our hotel room!) then click on the ticket above.
At the end of November it’s my Mom’s birthday which means we can do nice faaaaamily things like eat and play games. We’re also going to go on a makeover day at some point in November. Neither of us are particularly girlie but I thought it might be a nice thing to do and we’ll look ace of course.
Bring it on.
I will only mention the ‘C’ word in December.
I felt the need to have a bit of a rant after hearing the news about Amy Winehouse. Now I wasn’t a particular fan but of course have followed her life over the last few years as we all have as she batttled her addictions.
Here comes the rant. Having logged onto Twitter and (and Facebook briefly but really, I knew that would be even more ignorant) there are varying comments being made. A lot saying how sad it is, some how it was inevitable but also some that she deserved it.
After the news yesterday about the mostly young lives lost in Norway then of course one death is not as big but the fact is Amy’s death is more relevant to us in this country and she’s a celeb. Celeb stories alway pull in the crowds rightly or wrongly.
Amy had a lot of problems and she did access rehab and help on several occasions but it just shows the power and control that drugs (legal and illegal) had on her that she lost her life due to it. The thing that gets me is that people fail to realise that all sorts of addictions can lead to death. OK so we’re not all dying suddenly like she has but people do die from making unheathy choices in life be it smoking, toking, drinking, snorting, injecting, overeating or engaging in other risky but fun behaviours. In fact how many deaths are really 100% blame free? If someone dies of cancer because of an addiction to legal drug Nicotine should we all not be sad and dismiss it because they ‘deserved’ it. If someone dies of heart disease because they enjoy eating junk food should we not give a shit?? If someone doesn’t wake up on a night out after too much legal beer and vodka do they deserve it? If a young person snorts a few lines too many on a Friday night and their heart gives out should we all hoorah??
I hope Amy is at peace wherever she is and I hope all the people who are making despicable comments do not lose anyone they love because of a natural human compulsion to eat things, drink things or take things that make them feel better.
Peace, love, EMPATHY!!
NCIDU 2010 Day Two – October 8th 2010
Chair: Roweena Russell, Developer and Manager, Hiwecanhelp
Presented by my Twitter friends Nigel and Allison I didn’t really need to go to this as it was more around convincing other drug workers why Twitter is a good idea for networking within the field. Most people listening in were not yet on Twitter so it was good for them to be thinking about how it may help them.
I think Twitter is actually underused in the Drugs & Alcohol field and so this was a welcome addition to the conference agenda and I hope it is something that will take off on a larger scale. Information sharing is so important especially for harm reduction messages and encouraging discussion. Twitter makes it easy!
See their brilliant Prezi presentation here.
Martin Barnes delivered the afternoon’s opening session focusing on the impact the new coalition Government will have on the future of drug services. He initially gave an overview of Drugscope’s work and how they play a part in influencing policy and the importance of accurate information in the media. He reiterated the message that the impending national cuts will certainly effect drug services and then gave a history of the various Government appointments which will also affect future policy. A mention was given to the impending abolishment of the NTA and their new stance on Methadone maintenance to ‘champion abstinence focused treatment’. Whilst none of this was new news as such his tone suggested a call to arms in a sense, for us all to be prepared for the changes ahead whilst also encouraging that if people are unable to receive the treatment that they require to speak up.
See his presentation here.
Thanks to winning the Hiwecanhelp competition I had the opportunity to attend the National Conference on Injecting Drug Use (NCIDU) at The Sage, Gateshead, Newcastle. The venue itself is pretty impressive.
I was kindly put up for two days by Roweena, Managing Director of Hiwecanhelp who was exhibiting at the conference as well as chairing day two. As I was staying with Roweena it was nice to have a base at the Hiwecanhelp stand also with the lovely Barbara. On Day One I made the mistake of wearing my high heeled boots as I hadn’t realised The Sage was on three levels with a crazy amount of stairs. My buttocks certainly got a workout! My Skecher’s were a better alternative on Day Two despite them making me look like a bit of a short arse next to Nigel (see below!).
I’ll be writing separate posts about some of the presentations I attended and found the most useful and interesting to share.
It was great to be able to meet some of the Drug peeps I have known for a while through Twitter such as Nigel Brunsdon of Injecting Advice fame, Allison, a harm reduction worker who works with Nigel on the brilliant Hooked podcasts, Tony Lee, and Maddie O Hare from HIT.
Being the social butterfly that I am I enjoyed walking around and chatting with the services that had stalls there which included HIT, Lifeline, Concateno, NNEF and loads more. I was also interested to see that South London has an addictions clinic specifically aimed at users of party drugs.
Throughout the conference as well as the plenary sessions in the main conference hall there was a choice of different presentations to attend. This made it more flexible and I found that I was able to concentrate much better on the information as I could pick and choose the sessions that were most relevant to me.
Staying with Roweena and Ruth (rather than being lonely in an overpriced hotel!).
Meeting my Twittery folk.
Viewing the new Lifeline animation ‘The Tale of The Two Charlies’.
The presentations on Drug Purity.
Seeing how chuffed Tony Lee was at getting thought his very first conference presentation. (Well done!)
Nigel and Allison’s Twitter presentation – despite the fact they had tweets up on the big screen including mine, one of which was: -
Watch this space for more info on the content of the days, I’ll plough through my notes and get things blogged in my very own special Stacey way over the next few days : )