Mental Health Ward Narcotics Anonymous Meeting

Bloody awesome. Feel real good right now. Meetings are meant to last one hour, but I got there a little late after a big day meditating on car parts.

Had decided to go rip out some seriously heavy (90kg) parts from the back of a wagon out the Hutt. Had a busy morning. Took a few old bikes to the free bike workshop place in town, took some scrap metal to the recyclers. Beautiful sunny day in Wellington.

You can’t beat Wellington on a good day.

The tattooist guy wanted to borrow the 1999 Ford wagon to go pick his kids up for the holidays. So I decided he could help me remove these parts. Having done these parts myself half a dozen times before, I know damn well how hard it is and how heavy they are.

Thank f ck he is a tattooist.. He did well enough, he has big hands, and is no slouch in the melon department, but thank f ck he is a tattoist. Not a mechanic. 

I was the one who had to crawl under the car cracking nuts and bolts. I am not that strong, but can surprise you when needs arise. It’s more a willpower thing than an actual strength thing. Here is a photo of my bath. I took my dirty clothes off and threw them in the bath whilst I had a shower. I don’t think his clothes would have made the water in the least opaque.


We never fail to have a really loud laugh when we’re together. Sometimes even it is me who gets us laughing. Told him he was being paid $50 to help me for a few hours. Then, once he had helped, told him I was charging him $60 for borrowing the car. Turns out he’s a big softy, didn’t punch me at all. Cares for, and has empathy for everyone and everything. But you’d never get him anywhere near the mental health meeting.

No fucken way.

But who does go to the meeting is fast turning into my favourite person met through N.A. Astute, well read and keeps an open mind to learning stuff. We have little differences, mainly due to what we have read stating conflicting arguments, but if I was her I would listen to me. If I am me (and I am) I would listen to her. And I do. This is good. A kind of mutual respect thing which I am still trying to work out if it’s one sided. She may be just humouring me. She has more to do with Sam “I put my penis in my dyson all the time and have no time for addicts” McBride than I ever have. Have a sneaky suspicion that he is not top of the pops on her Christmas card list.

That is where we are different. He is top of the list on mine. He will get the Christmas card full of sloppy dog poo mind you.

Honesty. Is it the best policy?

Not all the time goddamit. 

So, this ward meeting. Same two mental health ward victims as were there last time.

Bloody brilliant. Not a brilliant N.A meeting as such, if you consider it against a perfect model N.A meeting. However, was brilliant. In the sense that I feel good, others feel good, and the message that N.A helps is getting out there.

I got asked to share by the “boss”. As she read out the rules of the meeting I / we decided to write up a user friendly introduction to the ward meeting that can be printed out and given to the staff and left on the ward for patients to peruse at their leisure. Every meeting we spend a number of minutes trying to clarify how the meetings are supposed to work. This works fine with older people, or the less insane, but in the world of short attention spans that is Ward 27 it is a stretch to get the point(s) through.

Our subject today (as it has been three out of four times at mental health meetings) was “anger”. I think I made sense. Somewhat. (Cheesy grin)

Then one person told us their story and the other listened politely (as well as possible given the circumstances of being in a locked ward and current levels of reality)… Was very good to hear a story. So similar to me. Everyone is similar. I really need to get funding for my own studies. Once I get through this summer and learn to sit still long enough to finish things I start……..

Interruptions at a “normal” N.A meeting are a severe breach of protocol, punishable by institution, jail or death. At Ward 27 interruptions are normal. They are to be expected. Discouraged somewhat perhaps. But expected, tolerated and dealt with on a case by case basis.

What can you do? We are there to share our experiences and hope. I am still working on the sharing of wisdom. I am better with answering questions. In short bursts at that.

Much better to encourage open dialogue than shut people down.

Towards end of meeting I see the nurse looking in taking notes. The nurse must be doing the “obs”. They keep a close track on these back at the Ward HQ. They can, more than likely, decide your fate under the mental health act based upon these observation reports of your behaviour. “Seen a lot with that punk rocker who reeks of alcohol” is probably an observation to avoid on your chart. You may be better off sitting in an N.A meeting talking relatively coherently. I just wish the nurses could hear some of what goes on. Damn good stuff.

I was running a little late and got a text message when at the top of the ramp leading to the doom. Had parked in Newtown earlier at supermarket to avoid the city parking wardens and walked to meeting. The text read “where the fuck are you?”. Well, honestly, it didn’t say that. But if she was me, that’s what it would have said.

Me, being a twit, replied “thought I had sent a text” which was true. I had started writing a text ten minutes ago saying “I am a bit late… Sorry” but didn’t send it as got sidetracked.

I knew she would get this text and be confused. I also knew she would be sitting in the seats in the foyer waiting.

I was correct on both counts.

Soon after seeing her I decided to be less ambiguous with texting from now on. Sorry for any harm, emotional or otherwise, caused by my misdeeds. 

We make amends to all those we have harmed….

Other than Sam McBride. He can frame the sloppy dog turd I am sending him on December 25th.


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