Recovery

BE CAREFUL

Positive affirmation, wishful thinking, call it what you will, but the idea that one creates their own reality has been around for yonks. It’s something that my mother always taught me and certainly her mother before that. The age-old idiom ‘be careful what you wish for’ has stuck around for a reason.

The 2006 best-seller, ‘The Secret’, by Rhonda Byrne brought home the proverbial bacon, but one could argue it was heavily influenced by the 1910 Wallace Wattles book, ‘The Science of Getting Rich’; which was based upon ancient philosophies (don’t also forget Brian Griffin’s ‘Wish It, Want It, Do It’). You see where I am going here?

A recent example in my own life springs to mind. I was moaning how I didn’t want lining paper on the walls for my new flat; being a perfectionist I desired a super-smooth finish. When it came to stripping of the delightful textured wallpaper that clung on with dear life, half the walls and ceilings also came off.  Cue complete re-rendering. I got what I wanted – but at a price.

Looking back retrospectively, I can recall countless examples of when I really, truly wanted something, it came my way. That’s not coming from a bratty point of view (at least some of the time), but the more I think about it, the more I am inclined to believe that there is wisdom in those old words.

Now there’s not to say there will always be a catch, sometimes things do just happen because we truly want them to. So today I will practise positivity. Do the next right thing, make the next right choice and stick by my principles.

Here’s hoping that diamond-encrusted crown turns up on my doorstep any time now…

style over substances logo in black in by Amy Kev
Fashion, Recovery

NEW

It’s taken some time and a whole lot of thinking, but I finally bit the bullet and went for a new look for the blog. Well, what do you think? I didn’t want to change the aesthetic too much, as I love the white space, so just the odd tweak here and there. Hopefully you like it as much as I do.

One of my favourite parts is the logo, designed by the wonderfully talented Amy Kev. She’s an insanely talented artist who I really admire and I am proud to have her work on my blog. You know how picky I am… My only frustration is I am yet to fathom out how to make the logo more prominent on the front page. Maybe the theme just doesn’t permit it, but then again I have no clue when it comes to internet design. Holler if you have any tips.

So now comes the point where I ask your feedback. What are your favourite posts so far? Is there anything you would like to see more (or less) of? What floats your blogging boat? I want to hear it.

new years eve flatlay of white shirt with cartier ring in box hermes cuff and dior black satin bow tie
Fashion, Recovery

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Here’s wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2015 – may it be filled with love and light.

I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your love, support and kind words. You guys are the best.

Stay tuned for a refreshed Style Over Substances – new year, new look. Same old Samuel though.

Recovery

#BUSY

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you will no doubt have seen how busy I have been lately. I’ve been hopping on planes left right and centre, I’ve attempted to keep my blog and Instagram alive and kicking, my sleep has been all over the place and I’ve hardly had any time to myself. Not to mention the fact that Christmas is creeping constantly closer… But rather than bitch and moan, which I may have done a teensy little bit (progress not perfection remember Samuel), I should cast my mind back a couple of years.

Prior to coming into recovery I would have used every excuse under the sun to avoid doing anything; cancel plans, called in sick for work, lie to friends and say I was busy when I really wasn’t. All the usual tricks to isolate myself and attempt to block the rest of the world out. Not a good place or situation to be in.

However I can now see being busy as a positive thing. People trust me with things now, they can rely on me turning up when I say I will, people actually want to spend time with the real me, but there’s more. By doing the right thing it genuinely makes you feel better about yourself, which in turn spurs you on to do the next right thing. When you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense. Turns out I’m not such a wretched soul like my mind would have me believe.

So just for today, I am grateful for having a hectic schedule, for friends and family who love and care for my well-being, for owning my own flat (despite all the work it needs), thankful for travelling from San Francisco to Heathrow to London to Brighton all in the space of one day – all whilst remaining compos mentis. More importantly I am grateful that I can see myself changing, for the better.

hand signed and numbered benfrostisdead life print
Art, Recovery

LIFE

Since discovering Australian born artist Ben Frost, I had dreamt of owning some of his work. I have always loved and appreciated Pop Art since my student days, but it’s more than just that. His art is a clever take on modern society and all the problems and paradoxes it contains.

After seeing his piece “LIFE – 100 Tablets” I knew I had to have one, but with such a small run of 100 signed and numbered screenprints (clever attention to detail Ben) I didn’t hold out much hope. But life, or my Higher Power, clearly had other plans for me. A little online stalking research lead me to the No Walls gallery – in Brighton of all places – and I was finally able to acquire a piece of my very own.

Ben’s description of the screenprint is as follows:

“In this image, I’ve evolved my previous work with pharmaceutical packaging and reduced the concept into its most basic elements.

The melancholy character exists within a pre-packaged and controlled pharmaceutical regime: ‘life’ (registered of course). She further contemplates the span of her ‘life’ to be of 100 tablets (the ‘as advertised’ human age limit).

The horizontal pink bar in the background, which is a common design element on drug packaging, mimics liquid – such that she is only just ‘keeping her head above water’ as the progression of ‘life’ slowly fills the page to consume her.”

Now comes the heavy soul-baring part. So many years of my life were consumed by addiction; I too felt that I was surviving by keeping my head above just above water. Not a good situation to be in, for anyone.

For me this is not just a visually beautiful picture, or a sound investment. It’s a reminder of my past and where addiction can (and will) take me; but more importantly it gives me the hope and inspiration to live life on it’s own terms. A wonderful and honest life.

Recovery

TESTING

I know I previously posted about getting my foot on the property ladder, but what I didn’t mention was how bloody long a process and how utterly frustrating it was. Due to England’s burgeoning house prices a lot of people simply cannot afford to own their own home, so I was elated to secure a mortgage ‘agreement in principle’. Then came the property search; surprisingly difficult in Brighton as properties are being snapped up lickety-split. The buy-to-let boom is officially on. That said after a few months of hunting and several grey hairs later, I secured an offer on a flat in my dream location. The prayers and patience paid off.

When it came to actually issuing the mortgage the problems really began. The lender declined the mortgage, which begged the question why agree to lend in the first place only to decline the funds at a later date? To say I was stressed was an understatement. Nothing in my 33 years has ever been this stressful, yet I didn’t pick up. Recovery  has taught me patience and acceptance – two of the most powerful tools in my artillery. Through sharing with my friends and asking for help when I needed it, I was able to keep my head above water.

Eventually the mortgage sorted itself out, with a little bit of help from my higher power (not to mention a lot of nail biting and pulling out handfuls of my rapidly greying hair). Sadly the problems didn’t end there. Paperwork from the solicitors seemed to move at a snail’s pace, with things needing to be checked or signed every couple of days and hurdle after hurdle kept coming my way. All this with the seller’s solicitor chasing and an horrendously busy work schedule. Still clean and sober – snaps for Samuel.

On the day the vendor and I were due to exchange contracts another box needed ticking which meant a whole day of dashing around and we were unable to complete. I was devastated. After six months of living on a knife edge and testing the patience of everyone in my radius, I was ready to give up. Up until this point I had always thought I had accepted the situation, but only when I completely surrendered and put complete faith in the god of my understanding the sale went through. Thank fuck. It’s easy to talk the talk in recovery, but with patience and faith, I was able to walk the walk.

So after the most trying half a year of my life I am now a very proud and truly grateful homeowner. Staying clean is testament to my hard work and how much the programme works; no matter what life throws at you, we are only given what we can handle.

Recovery

ON THE LADDER

Today was a special day. A very special day indeed – I picked up the keys to my very own flat. After years of searching for ‘the one’, I started to think that this day would never come. Sure it may be a little small and in need of complete refurbishment, but as they say it’s all about the location. Five minutes from Brighton town centre and ten minutes walk to the beach, Kirsty and Phil would be thrilled. Best thing is, it’s all mine.

Casting my mind back eighteen months, newly in recovery, I could barely face leaving the house; so to be the oh-so-proud owner of a Regency property is testament to how far I have come. With the budget stretched and my patience pushed to the max, I can kick off my proverbial heels and give myself a pat on the back. It really does work if you work it.

Since swapping Esquire for Elle Deco, I now get excited about parquet floors and ceiling roses. I’ve even slowed down the spending, well, for clothes at least. Who’d have thought? That said, I do have my eye on a particularly snazzy Balmain blazer, but I guess some things never change…

Recovery

PATIENCE

Patience can be defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”. It’s always something I have had very little of, but since coming into recovery it’s grown somewhat and I now know it’s something I have to work at on a daily basis.

My plans for the past few days have been well and truly scuppered due to circumstances beyond my control and rather than choosing to forget everything and run (if you read my post on fear this will make sense), I have practising patience and living life on it’s own terms. It’s actually quite liberating, as when one accepts that they cannot control everything, what is there to fret over? Sure I may not have been able to dash around a different city and get a few good blog posts from doing so, but is it really that bad? Is my life over? No it is not.

So just for today I will continue to practise patience and accept whatever life throws at me.

 

Recovery

FEAR

Rewind to yesterday. I had been invited to a rather glamorous party and I was super excited at first, but then came the fear. It may sound like an odd choice of words, but fear has always been a hinderance in my life. I was even afraid of what to write in this post. That probably sounds hideously dramatic to the average person, but for me it’s something I know I continually have to work on.

The dictionary defines the word fear as, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat”. So what was there to be afraid of at a cocktail party? Well, socialising can be difficult at the best of times. Awkward small talk, what to wear, throw in some booze and you have a recipe for disaster; but recovery has taught me that isolation is dangerous. I need to get back into the swing of things and re-learn how to socialise normally, or end up like some socially retarded weirdo. Recovery is a bridge to normal life remember.

Thankfully the drink isn’t something I have to worry about, just for today, but it’s the people that I was afraid of. What are they going to think of me? Am I wearing the correct outfit? What will I talk about? I know it’s all related to me and that’s the problem; chronic self-obsession. You see fear doesn’t have to be being physically afraid of something tangible, it crops up in a number of ways each having the possibility to cause me pain.

After accepting my choice of clothes and having the back up of my wingman – or wing-woman, I was ready. After all that worrying, it was a wonderful night. People actually complimented me on my sartorial choices, I was able to engage with people; I was able to enjoy the (non-alcoholic) cocktails and oh-so-delicious canapés. It now sounds rather silly that I was even afraid in the first place.

I now know I can deal with fear in two ways: forget everything and run, or face everything and recover.