Sometime around the age of 40 I was working really hard at drinking and smoking myself to death; the whiskey, Guinness and cigarettes were doing a great job of numbing past pains of an abusive childhood and justifying the fiercely chauvinistic character I had evolved into as an adult.

Why should I change? Being a chauvinistic, sexist, bigoted pig was my culture; my right of passage in being accepted by my peers in Geordieland; and if I was good enough for them then I should be good enough for my wife and three daughters right?

That I’m still here speaks volumes, although for years I felt like a jigsaw with some of it’s pieces missing. My jigsaw still isn’t complete yet although many of those lost pieces have been found and with every recovered piece a part of me heals and a bit more of that chauvinistic, sexist, bigoted pig is consigned to the bin.

This is my personal space. It’s where bit by bit I’m putting my jigsaw together. It isn’t going to happen overnight but it is happening, slowly; and you’re very welcome here.

Alan x

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