More than 30,000 hits on my blog and Literary agent very interested but Mr Right has got lost in Antarctica.

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Day 1. Disastrous date as having spent an hour getting ready and hours getting there when I saw him I realised he’d put up an old photo and was now, unfortunately, bald. As I love thick dark hair on men this meant that the date was a waste of time. He also didn’t have the scintillating intellect I was looking for. He obviously liked me and tried to kiss me as we said goodbye but I evaded his advances. Having only fancied one man I’ve met online this date was a turning point. Never again, I resolved, would I go on a date with someone before I was sure what they looked like now. I would insist on Skyping them first. This would not only weed out those who’d put up a super flattering photograph but also stop me getting so wildly excited by the photographs that I’d married them, had their children and planned the entire education of the child before we’d even met.

Day 2. I put this plan into action. A man I was due to meet the following day had only put up one photograph on the dating website. I texted him to say I was reluctant to meet based on one photograph and wanted to Skype instead. He said he didn’t like Skype but would send me some extra photographs. A flurry of photographs followed but when I looked at them I wasn’t sure I fancied him at all. Mr Dangerous and Unavailable (former drug dealer) was at my Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous meeting that night looking suitably dark and hot. I told him he couldn’t move in with me as a lodger as I fancied him too much. His response was “I’m unavailable.”

Day 3. I didn’t get back to the non-Skype online man till the following morning saying I wanted to meet by which time he’d changed his mind and pulled out of the date because he said I was giving “mixed messages.” I had been slightly put off by the fact that he had been texting me every day as I thought this was too keen. Also he didn’t sound as intelligent on the phone as Mr Right (now after he’s dumped me Mr Unavailable) from Britain Stronger in Europe. But as this new guy was now unavailable and had rejected me I was therefore desperate to meet him. It is clear that I am threatened by the prospect of a relationship with a man who is actually available. Having had over 30,000 hits on the blog, which I’ve now turned into a memoir, on WordPress and a US addiction website,  I had received an exciting full manuscript request from an agent. So instead of going on the date sat at home finishing the memoir instead. The first half of the memoir is already with a top publisher so I should know within the next two weeks whether it has commercial potential.

Day 4. More work on the memoir as I ruminated over my never ending attraction to men who are dangerous or unavailable. As I have recovered from OCD, bulimia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, clinical depression and drug and alcohol addiction this is my only remaining mental health problem. I resolved I would throw my weight towards breaking this barrier which was keeping me alone and would hurl my entire recovery tool box at it.

Day 5. I went to an all day “dating workshop” organised by dating website Guardian Soulmates. Of course I hoped that this would give me an opportunity for face to face contact with hot men on their website. Maybe I would meet an available Mr Right who I was actually interested in. When I got there there were 500 women and 3 men.  But the men were very attractive, tall and dark and I wondered if I would be able to fight through the throngs of women to speak to them. The dating guru who took the workshop said it was vital to “create opportunities” by going up to people you fancied in public places and trying to get their phone number. Of course I’d been able to do this very successfully when I was working for Britain Stronger in Europe as I had the excuse of asking them to “help with my campaign.” I resolved I would put this advice into action and approached two men I fancied in the interval. One gave me his phone number but spent the entire conversation eyeing up a busty blonde and the other said “I’m not looking at the moment.”  Clearly my unavailable men antennae were fully functioning. I learned a lot from the workshop in particular the earth shattering news that it was necessary to “give” to a man. My primary interest in men before had been what they can do for me. I left the workshop resolved to put this new giving into action.

Day 6. I decided that every day I would do at least one nice thing for someone else. As I was already looking after my friend Susanna’s hamster for the summer (which was easy as it had become confused in my house and gone into hibernation) this meant at least one other thing per day. I posted this on Facebook specifying that it did not mean sleeping with various random men who hassle me on Facebook. Since the referendum when I felt I was positively influencing the future of the country, albeit unsuccessfully, I have decided I want to “make a difference” in the area of mental health.  I have come up with an idea for a “mental health survival kit” which could help everyone who goes into a doctor’s surgery with a mental health or addiction problem get extra support and strengthen their recovery.  My local NHS trust and my doctor think it is a very good idea. And I recently had my first job interview for my entire 11 year recovery, to discuss the project.  Unlike my job interviews at the BBC I was on time and didn’t have to invent any imaginary bombs on the tube to explain my delayed arrival.

Day 7. I went to a pro-European meeting trying to unite all the various groups that had split off from Britain Stronger in Europe since the Referendum campaign. I was of course interested in what these groups had to say but also thought it would be an ideal opportunity to meet a politically compatible Mr Right. There were two men I fancied there who I did speak to despite or perhaps because of their youth. But one of them I had met previously and not fancied as he was too white. As he didn’t look like the type who would be keen on winter sunbeds I thought I would give it a miss. The White Man Apocalypse seems to be on me in full force and I only find dark men attractive.

Day 7. Things were hotting up on Elite Singles and I was getting multiple messages every day. This accelerated sharply after I actually started logging on after ignoring the website for 3 months. I resolved to put my new plan in action and insist on Skyping first. The reaction to this from many of the men was extremely hostile telling me to fuck off. But after a while I realised there was a particular way to phrase it that would make them more keen on Skype. I also decided I would wear my bikini for the conversations.

Day 8. I tested this out with my first online Skype interview. Although the picture was fuzzy I could immediately see that he had put up an incredibly flattering photo on the website that didn’t really look like him. I also recoiled at his anti-European Union views. I have pretty much decided I cannot date someone who is pro-Brexit.

Day 9. I went to Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous where I revealed my intensive plan to combat my attraction to men who are dangerous and unavailable. I would, as recommended by the dating guru at the workshop, do breathing exercises with positive affirmations around dating and relationships as well as self-esteem. Although I might not believe them at first if I repeat  “I will not turn into a clingy two year old who calls my boyfriend mummy” often enough it might actually sink in.  I would also pray, I’m not sure to what as I don’t know whether I believe in God, that my attraction to unavailable men be lifted and that my inner child’s desire to heal the relationship with my father who abandoned me be removed. It is this that is behind my incessant attraction to unavailable men. I would also go on a health blitz, cutting down on caffeine and trying to do yoga to help me sleep in an effort to cut down on my psychiatric medication.

Day 10. At a meeting with my new co-sponsor in Shagger and Lurve Addicts Anonymous I set out a series of positive actions I would try to do every day to get me out of the dating quagmire. One of these, which I’m totally unable to do due to Catholic indoctrination from my mother, is regular masturbation. She showed me a website which had a series of rather utilitarian looking vibrators which she promised would “wake me up.”  My sex drive is even more dormant than the hibernating hamster as its been bludgeoned on the head by all my psychiatric medication. I explained that I was terrified of waking my sex drive up, without a partner, as what would happen if I suddenly got out of control and had to shag someone? The reality is that not having a partner and being, as I now realise, chronically avoidant and sexually anorexic I love not having a sex drive.  She said I’d better try to find one pretty damn quickly if I wanted to have a relationship and should perhaps look into cutting down on my psychiatric medication.

Day 11. I tried to put my new yoga plan into action but alas after an hour and a half of yoga was bored shitless and practically fell asleep. This did give me the idea that I could do the yoga at night instead of a sleeping pill.   Disastrous date with the once evil now reformed Vicomte de Valmont, who I was previously obsessed with and have been avoiding for 5 years. I became very upset after he referred to a (white) friend of his as “wog” a derogatory term for black people. He then said “everyone is racist.”  I realised I was so upset as anyone posh and racist reminds me of my father who after he left my Jamaican mother would take the piss out of Jamaicans and say black people were “different” as they “had a different pelvis shape.”  I practically burst into tears and resolved I could not date him. This meant that every opportunity to date a man I actually know in real life was closed to me and only online was available.

Day 12. Wild excitement as I get an email from an agent (one hour after phone prayer session with hot Priest I wanted to marry) saying that he likes the memoir, which I’d sent him only three days before and that he wanted to see the novel. He sounded interested in taking me on and this is the closest I’ve got to an agent yet. Started reading the novel, whose two central characters are based on my ex-armed robber boyfriend and me,  which I hadn’t looked at for a year. Decided that the novel needed quite a bit more work and that I would edit it and send it in 10 days. Texted and emailed the Vicomte de Valmont, whose mother is a literary agent, and my therapist with the email I proposed to send to the agent. Was touched that Valmont took time out of his busy work schedule to read my email and text me his thoughts.

Day 13. As the Vicompte has looked after me have wild fantasies at the gym that he is my new “mummy.”  Quite how this squares with him freely admitting he is racist I don’t know. I really thought I had got over the desire to find a replacement mummy and confess this relapse to my therapist. Although he helps me again that afternoon with my email the wild fantasies about him being mummy seem to subside. I immerse myself in the novel, which needs a lot of work, hoping that the agent will think it has potential and take me on. The next time I write this blog I may be a professional writer!

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10 Tips to avoid relapse when you encounter alcohol or drugs in work or social settings

I celebrated 11 years of recovery from alcohol and drugs at the beginning of 2016 and have never relapsed since I came into recovery at the beginning of 2005 by following these tips Following these suggestions I have been in countless situations involving alcohol and drugs and have never relapsed in my eleven and a half year recovery.

  1. Always have a couple of people’s phone numbers in recovery you can call if you feel triggered.
  2. In a social situation, if you think you are going to pick up, leave.
  3. In a work situation, if you feel you are going to pick up and cannot go home, leave the room for 5 minutes, make a phone call, pray, meditate or do some deep breathing exercises.
  4. Carry a list with you of the worst things you did when you were drinking and using so you remind yourself how bad it could get if you relapsed.
  5. If your job involves constant client entertainment, where you are under pressure to drink alcohol, switch to another role in the company where you don’t have to do this or find another job.
  6. If your job involves regular contact with your drug of choice, consider changing your job.
  7. Avoid social situations where you know you will see drugs, particularly your drug of choice. If someone brings out your drug of choice in a social situation, leave.
  8. Explain to your partner/close friends/family members how bad your drinking/using was and how terrible it would be for everyone if you relapsed. Encourage one person not to drink at social events with you or if they accompany you to work events. Then you have a non-drinking buddy to hang out with.
  9. If your partner/family members/friends are not there, there is often one other person who is not drinking because they are driving or on medication. Sit near them or hang out with them if it’s a social setting so you feel less isolated.
  10. I was advised in rehab not to drink non-alcoholic beer or wine or soft drinks out of wine glasses. Both can trigger a craving and you can end up picking up the wrong bottle or glass that actually has alcohol in it.Sign up for updates on this blog

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