Big brother and how to spot an alcoholic
Have you ever met a guy across the room or you click on the phone? Yes or maybe I’m sure we’ve all done it. First date is soo exciting, nervous, hot and cold and then again exciting.
You go to a restaurant, which is cosy and awesome with soft gentle lighting. That first glass of wine you have on your date, sipping and hoping you don’t miss your lip and if you do, all you can do is laugh. Whilst talking, eating and canoodling into ones eyes, and hoping he is Mr Right and no doubt he’s hoping the same. But, as the night goes on you and your date consumed more than a bottle. You think nothing of it because you’re excited and you live for the moment.
But… When you see him again, you feel as if it’s your honeymoon period, and you don’t spot the obvious…. Any way time goes on, before you know it, you’re on holiday together in Spain and having great sex, more sex and having sex on the beach from the ceiling, everywhere. But, I did notice whilst drinking wine, a bottle between us I thought was enough. Dare I say it, I was told if a man drinks too much it might affect their performance or even for a woman. Its known if a woman drinks too much she’ll fall asleep and doesn’t look great to wake up to. Call me selfish but, its been a long time for me, in that department. Whilst I was on my second or third glass, he would have been on the second or third bottle.
Several months go by and we’d planed to go to Venice, I must say Venice is beautiful the surroundings are very picturesque. The restaurants and buildings built on water. I didn’t know that the population was less than 100,000; it’s one of the most famous places in Italy. Venice is also famous for its canals. Very romantic, the food was wonderful and we had a great time. But, mornings at breakfast sitting at table again on my own, can be lonely sometimes, especially if you didn’t plan it, I guess I got to a point when it was boring having breakfast on my own. My boyfriend couldn’t get up for breakfast because he had consumed too much alcohol the night before. But, in my heart, I kind of knew something wasn’t right.
Again, it did and didn’t bother me because it’s early days and I was still kind of excited. Time went by and before you know it a year and so had gone. I took him to my favourite restaurant in Chalk Farm called Marine Ices. I knew the family who owned it. It’s an Italian restaurant which has been in the family for many many years going back from 1931 over eighty years to now. The food is amazing; you sometimes have to book in advance because it gets so busy. The ice cream is to die for and I’m not an ice cream person. But, their ice cream is a must.
Months down the line I was invited to my girlfriend called Barbra and her husband called Gaetano surprised fiftieth birthday party she threw for him. So I took my boyfriend. The party was absolutely amazing with lovely people with a fantastic canopy with plenty of food and wine and great music which was not too loud, great balance where you could have a conversation with people. Quality was amazing. Well what would you expect? They’re Italians!
But, just when we were getting into singing happy birthday, my boyfriend wanted to go. And, I refused because I wanted to enjoy the celebration, I was a bit concerned because he was sweating I thought maybe he’s got a temperature. Anyway as you do, I stayed until we sang happy birthday and made my excuses and left. I felt mixed emotions because I was having such a good time; introducing my boyfriend to people I hadn’t seen for along time.
Anyway we said our goodbyes and left. I felt so bad because those people are unique. They’re my friends I knew their sons called Gianfranco and Luca, I knew the family; a wonderful loving caring family. I never did get round to apologising, truth was I was very embarrassed. We got into his car and he drove to his place. But, he drove like he was Michael Schumacher. And at that point I was wondering maybe he’s not well. When we got to his place he had came to life, no longer sweating, offered me a glass of wine and helped himself to four pints of beer followed by two bottles of wine. Again, I was stupid not be concerned. Further down the line this seemed to be the norm, only I asked him if he had a problem with alcohol; of course he dismissed it. It’s silly really; it’s like asking a drug addict if he is in possession of drugs.
As time went on, we talked – we even went to relationship counselling to see if things could improve with our relationship. Well that was a waste of time. I walked out in frustration. Sounds crazy but things just happened so quickly.
But, things had not changed much; the honeymoon was kind of over. But on a lighter note, I wanted to make some money and promote myself as a photographer and the Big Brother audition was looking at me. He mentioned that his sister was moving back to England from America we had planned with his family to give her a surprise party I made my excuse and said I can’t come I’m going to church to find myself.
That morning he left my house in London, and he left me in my pyjamas. When he left, I jumped into the shower and put on my red tight catsuit and a burka and wore my 6-inch black silhouette shoes. I tell you something, it felt so good that I could see you, but you couldn’t really see me. I felt like Michael Jackson, (bless his soul) behind the musk gave me heaps of confidence.
The reason why I was dressed like that was because he’s a photographer’s editor and worked in the media. I thought because of his position that the people who are under him will report back to him and that they saw me queuing for the audition for BB. So I thought what a good way to dress, no one would ever imagine me in a thousand years under a burka. But then the doorbell rang; I thought it might be the post or something. It was my boyfriend; he forgot something. He looked at me; he’d looked really shocked and quite confused. He had asked me if I had lost the plot and have I gone mad? I said I’m fine I’m going to the mosque to get to know myself and could you drop me to Finchley road station please.
He did but I could see he wasn’t too happy, I got the train from Finchley Road to Wembley Park, but I could tell you I felt like a million dollars. In a strange way, I wanted to punch the air. I felt full of excitement! I felt like I was on top of the moon. I arrived at Wembley stadium for the audition. Wow, I was getting hot under the burka and I had a quick cigarette and burnt the burka because I forget I had it on. But the burn wasn’t that noticeable, I knew it wasn’t right to wear a burka and I wasn’t trying to take the piss out of Muslim belief, I have Muslim friends, Jewish friends. In fact I’m friends with most religions; but dressing up in a burka was so I couldn’t be spotted by the photographer’s who worked under him. Which was something I managed to accomplish!
The audition was bizarre but fun. They got me to do word games an example; they tell you and a handful of people to join a group. You can’t speak but you have to get into groups and position them and yourself into a task you’ve been given. Position themselves as an S and H for Stonehenge. Everything is planned to every movement. Everything and every chore you do, is assessed.
Another task would be asking intimate questions and so on. Must say the people who organised this are remarkable. Nice people spot on, so to speak. Anyway if you get through the audition – you get a stamp on the palm of your hands. Then they call you back to see if you could past the psychological test, basically to see if you could handle being under stress or how well you could cope under stress.
It’s very well planned out, they don’t just take anyone – obviously, they take on people who would make good viewing. The whole event of BB to the end has involved professional people i.e. focus groups, group thinking, doctors, nurses and psychologists But; I think you tend to appreciate the format when you attend the actual audition. Even down to the entrance greeted by handsome security guards and the warmth from the reception area the staff, the girls, were stunning.
Even the contestants entering the BB house were so kind, everyone was wishing everyone good luck. It’s so remarkable how strangers come together with no hidden agendas. People even offered you some of their sandwiches, because it was such a long day. The only thing missing at the BB audition was a sandwich bar or machine.
Back then the company used to hire a hundred and fifty camera’s HD quality and underwater camera’s for the big brother house. The reason why I know this is because it was my friend’s company, who used to supply camera equipment.
Anyway, I got a BB stamp, which means you’ve got a chance to enter, there was so much paperwork about eighty pages signing your life away. Gosh they ask about everything! From Income to, have you had sex behind your partners back? Have you slept with the same sex? How many times a week have you had sex? Would you sleep with someone for money? If you liked someone in the BB house would you have sex with that person? Have you ever had a sexual transmitted disease? Have you portrayed your family, if you had a choice between your daughter/son and mother or father to live, whom would you pick? What are your fears i.e. spiders/snakes? Those questions are structured to access the individual person; again, the whole plan for BB is well-planned out. And your commitments, I guess, in a nutshell, it’s a legally binding contract is to protect both party’s. I felt shattered because I was there from 1 o clock in the afternoon till 11 o clock at night.
The second time really gets interesting; you are in a circle with a group of people. You are asked a question and that everyone gets to voice his or her own opinion. I was asked if I was a Muslim and why was I dressed like that. My answer was yes almost and yes I want to be a Muslim and I’m still learning. But, when I was asked a question that I found difficult to answer, I knelt down pretended I was praying because I couldn’t answer the question – a bit out of my vocabulary.
I made sure I was facing the east, which would be Plymouth. But, not all Muslims pray to the east, again, Muslims simply pray towards the direction of the Kaa’ba, which is in Mecca. The direction you pray simply depends on where you live. I know this because I was studying the Koran to be convincing for BB. It was quite interesting watching other people get heated up and the odd one who walked out. Must say, the whole experience was fun. The people behind the show i.e. staff producers, directors the whole shooting match; a lot of thought and teamwork went into it.
Anyway I was told I was in, but I had to explain that to my boyfriend. That didn’t go down very well. But I had nothing to lose, the relationship wasn’t working. It was time for me to move on anyway. Maybe not BB but it felt right to move on at least for my sanity!
Strangely or coincidentally the PR company was in the same building as his, in fact the next desk. Ironically, Richard Desmond, two years later bought the rights to Big Brother. I think it’s fair to say, haha on him fair play!
Going back to his drinking issues, I felt that he had many good qualities in fact wonderful qualities, very caring sometimes but his love was the bottle. There’s no future with drinkers they make excuses, they can be very selfish, and they’re very argumentative and their best friend or their love is the bottle. They hide behind the bottle and your no longer known to the person you’re with. Alcoholic people are not bad people; remember it’s an illness.
I decided to go to a few AA meetings hoping I could get answers and a bigger picture and an understanding. Because I needed to understand why do people fall into this possessed trap. I needed to understand how do they do a 9 to 5 job and not get noticed. Are we living in a society, where we ignore the person who is crying for help! And yet people would gossip about his drinking habits, and even his family members would make excuses and ignore the obvious. I needed to find answers and a closure. Going to these meetings did give me a closer look into the situation. I’m not qualified to take on an alcoholic in any form or shape. The only person who could help an alcoholic is the person who admits they have a problem and gets some help.
There are one million woman registered for AA, (age from 20 to 60) what I find concerning is the ones who are not. There are one million – half are men Registered for AA. Plus there are some people who are on benefits who get benefits because they are alcoholics. I don’t understand how that works, but that is the situation. Personally I think it gives them a licence to drink and drink.
But, I do sympathise with an alcoholic because this could affect any one of us. At AA meetings, you meet all sorts of people from ordinary people to professional people to judges, doctors, priests – gosh it’s a long list. And, although people go and get help, it just takes one glass to put that person back on the brink. One of the stories I heard was when this guy stopped drinking for five years. He had met this girl and although he didn’t drink, he offered her a glass of wine and poured himself a glass. Unfortunately, that glass of wine was the devil. He was clean for five years and had to start all over again. Although, I didn’t know this guy I felt saddened by that.
There was another story when this woman was the head of publishing, and had a drink problem. She explained she had a drinking bout for a couple of days. She said she just lost her way. I’d say she’s about middle fifties. This woman was stunning although she had that drink look about her. That look, when she had that kind of broken veins on her face. This woman was very educated and spoke softly, but very well.
When she went to pick up her kids from school, social services took her daughter and son away. When she was explaining this, I must say it bought tears to eyes.
Then there was a guy who had come out of prison for armed robbery; he explained his frustrations that he can’t get a job. But, housed and on benefits. He explained he just needed a job and wants to turn his life around. And, has applied for so many jobs and having a criminal record didn’t help, he started drinking. I’d say he was about mid forties.
Then there was a priest who turned up drunk, he didn’t say much. But, what little he said was very strong. He said or muttered on that he didn’t see himself out of this situation and was told to step down from his position. He also went on to say that he was housed by the church temporarily and is going to be homeless.
Than there was a policeman, only in his twenties, going though a divorce and he explained that his only comfort has been drinking. He even admitted that he has drank alcohol and driven and he’s worried about losing his job if he gets found out.
Then there was a doctor, I couldn’t quite work out if he was private or NHS, but I guess it doesn’t make a difference. He lost his wife three years ago, drank ever since.
I have purposely not mentioned the location of AA meetings. Because those people are obviously hoping and looking for help. And I hope to god they get it! What I found remarkable was that there are all sorts of people and nobody judges anyone. You know when you go somewhere and people look at you and you can feel it. No, it wasn’t like that at all. In fact there’s always be someone to say, ‘Would you like a cup of tea or coffee?’. Maybe because they all feel the same pain and want the same thing. Help!
Those people weren’t a walk in as a one-off. They have been going to the meeting for weeks. How I know is because some get chores to do. As an example you write down on paper how many times you think of drinking, but, it depends on what week you’re on. Another one would be writing down the things, that make you happy and why do you want to live. It sounds simple but I guess it’s the AA structure. I guess week 1 would be admitting that you have a drink problem and want to do something about it.
There are so many heartfelt stories, but because I had a partner who was like that, and although I don’t think he’s not like that now. I would never, ever put myself into a position with someone who has that illness, even if they changed. Call me selfish, that situation is not my bag. But, I think the government needs to recognise this, as an illness. Make awareness of the consequences of alcohol. And, bring this into education in the early years indeed brought into schools and colleges before it’s too late. I think it’s fair to say it should be compulsory!