I've been watching When A Man Loves A Woman lately. It's a darn good movie. The speech at the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the end would make just about anyone cry, I think, and the fact that Michael loses his wife in the end, despite having done nothing wrong, makes it a good "Real Life" movie, where things aren't always fair.

What really hits home are the couple of scenes where Alice is seen sneaking a drink, right from the bottle. I watch that and I wonder how a person could do that; nobody just plain likes the taste of alcohol that much, do they? And so I say, well, okay, she's addicted. And yet I can't understand how that drink helps her. Would a Diet Coke do just as well?

But then I compare it to my behavior, substituting food for liquor — even down to the one particular action that Alice takes, of throwing away a bottle of vodka because she's disgusted with her behavior, but then turning around and taking one more swig. I've been known to do the exact same thing: I've got a box of cookies in my lap, half gone in one sitting, that I throw away in shame. Then later, I go back and haul it out of the trashcan and eat some more.

Somtimes, what goes through my mind when I'm binging is Screw it, go ahead and balloon up to 400 pounds. I never understand why I would want that, either at the time or later on looking back at it in disgust. Despite the depression that I'm in during those episodes, I know my problems wouldn't go away and I'd just gain a host of new ones if I actually carried through on that plan.

Do alcoholics think similar thoughts when they're hitting the bottle? I don't know, I've never been much of a drinker[1] and do so only in social situations. Can anyone out there share their experiences with me?

[1] Once upon a time, after watching Leaving Las Vegas, I decided to drink a lot just to see what it was like. I'd never had a hangover, I'd never been drunk. I sat on the floor at home and drank pre-made margaritas and scotch for a while. It was odd, it did nothing for me, it gave me no emotional satisfaction even in the Take that, world! sense.I didn't go past that night, and have never done that again.

As some of you already know, I was in court yesterday facing a charge of criminal damage, as a result of protests and actions at Lakenheath (an American controlled air force base in Suffolk, which holds 30 B61 free-fall nuclear bombs*). Nine of us were arrested inside the base.

The case has been postponed for four weeks, to prepare documentation and evidence, and we are back in court on 6 November for our pre-trial. Because we are involved in court proceedings, I can’t give too much information about things at the moment, but here’s the most recent press release.

10 October 2003
Five local peace activists appeared at the Bury St. Edmunds Magistrates Court yesterday, following Monday’s action at USAF Lakenheath. Four women were jointly charged with criminal damage, for cutting the perimeter fence of the base. They have indicated that they will be pleading not guilty, and the case has been postponed until 6 November when they will appear before the court in Mildenhall. The fifth woman, from the Lakenheath Action Group, was arrested outside the fence, and will be representing herself in court on the same day.

Mel Harrison, one of the locals who entered the base, a youth worker from Bungay, said: "We feel that it is not us breaking the law, but the US at Lakenheath, for holding these illegal weapons of mass destruction with a stated first strike policy against non-nuclear states. Nuclear weapons and their aftermath are indiscriminate and illegal under international law. This base should be reclaimed for peaceful purposes"

Katie Cooke, from Botesdale, explained that “We took this action to observe the operations of USAF Lakenheath (a base which contains nuclear weapons in contravention of international laws and treaty agreements) because we believe that it is our right and our duty to insist that Britain holds itself to the standards it expects from other nations, namely the removal of all weapons of mass destruction.”

When inside the base, the group planted wildflowers as a symbol of reclaiming the base for peaceful purposes, and used flour to demonstrate to base personnel the indiscriminate nature of fall out, one of the reasons nuclear weapons are illegal.

A second group were also arrested inside the base--a team of five Citizen’s Weapons Inspectors from across Europe. These non-violent actions followed a day of protest by over 100 peace activists, which included a silent march outside the base.

In court yesterday, the group of four agreed that they would comply with their bail conditions--remaining at least six feet from any MoD property in the United Kingdom, if they were provided with a complete list of properties so that they did not accidentally violate their terms. Unsurprisingly, the terms were changed. Under their new bail conditions, they are prohibited from going within six feet of, or obstructing the entrances of the bases at Lakenheath or Mildenhall. (ends)

* The Ministry of Defence has stated that they can “neither confirm nor deny” that the weapons are there.

Jack is about two has the blue eyes of that woman from Afghanistan on the cover of that National Geographic. His cheeks are round and his coarse blonde hair starts in a swirl from the top of his head. Today, as I was opening the gate of my daughter's Montessori school to leave, Jack looked up at me in utter desperation. He was crying because his mom was loading car seats into a school bus to take the kids on a field trip, and he just plain wanted her. He was having a tough morning. He tried to make a run for it, but I picked him up instead. He was really crying, mind you, to where he was doing that gaspy, coughing cry. He instantly molded his little body to mine; legs wrapped tight, chubby arms around the neck, little head on my shoulder.

Now Jack, for some reason, maybe because he's so precocious and talkative, maybe because of that dirty blond hair, maybe the way his solid little body felt against mine took me to a place that seems an eternity away.

A mother can tell she is holding her own baby, even if she were blind, just by the shape and the weight of him. My son, now ten, angsty, lanky and observant, was once very much like Jack. Just for a while, maybe fifteen minutes or so, Jack and I held on for dear life; a mother and a son who didn't really belong together, except for just those few moments.

Even though Jack's mom was effusively thankful upon her return, I was near speechless as I handed him back to his mother. He smiled sheepishly over his mother's shoulder as I waved goodbye and he opened and closed his chubby fist in return.

I don't often have the good fortune to persuade my son, all legs and arms and angles now to cram himself on my lap and snuggle these days, but when I told him our story, he acquiesced.

Thanks, Jack. I think you helped me more than I helped you.

This has been a most atypical week.


  • Boss agrees to my request to begin working full time
  • Angry students turn against hated professor; demand he reviews confusing topic until it is understood by all
  • Package arrives from someone, but is held at post office until I can pick it up
Tuesday Wednesday
  • Homework returned by hated professor. Surprisingly, grade does not suck
  • Doctor calls; wants to see me tomorrow for post-surgery news
  • In order to go to the doctor I must cancel afternoon events, thereby requiring me to be in two places at once all morning
  • I must be at work, but I must also track down three professors to turn in assignments; professors do not adhere to their own office hours
  • When I return from tracking people down, I find the boss has already left for a meeting I was supposed to go to. Boss is still in parking lot, so I run to catch up. Boss is already leaving parking lot; somehow I manage to run and catch up to the car. This is my first time running since surgery in May.
  • After work I must track down remaining professors
  • En route to the doctor in the afternoon I eat first fast food since surgery in May.
  • Arrive at doctor's office two hours early; must wait three hours in waiting room. Also turns out that doctor didn't really call for me; someone in the appointment department was mistaken. Bill of good health given, told to come back in one year, no charge for today.
  • Another package arrives from someone, but is held at apartment office until I can pick it up.

I can't wait to see what happens next week.

So, I finally have myself a proper, working Acorn machine of my very own - an A4000. Lovely machine. 4Mb of RAM to play with, and a massive 80Mb hard drive - luxury!

Of course, this would all be fine and dandy if the wretched thing would actually work properly. This machine was liberated from my school, which means that the usual security precautions have been taken - can't have students 'accidentally' editing the !Boot, can we - leaving me with a hard drive which cannot be altered.

I don't want educational software. And, as wonderful as it may be, I don't need to revise GCSE Biology any more.

I just want to play Lemmings, damn it.

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