April – How to be Happy

*Features adult language and themes.*

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.”
– Kurt Vonnegut


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This is the fourth feature in our monthly series from self-help guru Kurt Sampson.


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I have said many times in this series that the path to happiness becomes easier the further you travel along it. It’s not always that simple. In fact now is a very tricky time.

You will be feeling great, things are turning around for you. You’re beginning to see the world anew. Now is the time that dangers lurk on the side of your path and try to lure you away. You might leave the road, get turned around and be lost. You will have to retrace your steps and rejoin the path further back.

How can you prepare yourself to resist these temptations? The truth is simple.

We will always be presented with challenges in life. There will always be negative situations. Finding true happiness doesn’t banish the perils that occur in our everyday lives. Finding true happiness means we are prepared to face anything that comes our way.

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March – Kurt

*Features adult language and themes.*

The whiskey burned his throat as he swallowed. It was one of his favourite sensations.

I can understand why people get whipped by pretty girls in Soho. If the pain is anywhere near as pleasurable as that burn down my oesophagus.

“Don’t you think you should slow down Kurt?”

“No Alan, I don’t. You’re here to discuss my career, not my diet.” Kurt waved his hand for the waiter to come over, he held up the empty glass and waggled it in the air.

“When your diet starts affecting your career, it is something I have to discuss with you.”

“I love how we’ve started talking in code. It’s like we’re teenage girls. Let me try to figure out your clever cipher.”

“Come on Kurt, there’s no need to be facetious.”



“I had no idea your vocabulary extended so far. Facetious? Have you got one of those word of the day calendars?”

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March – Simone

*Features adult language and themes.*

“Hi, Dad. How have you been keeping?”

“Simone? Is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me.” Simone bent down to hug her father where he sat. He was in his comfy chair. It was next to the bed positioned at a slight angle away from the room so he could see out of the window. The room itself was homely, it always surprised her. It didn’t look like the sort of room you imagined when you thought of a ‘residential caring facility.’ It was decorated tastefully and furnished comfortably. Over the years he had lived there her sisters had bought a lot of his personal possessions to soften the institutional edges. Photos of his wife, children and grandchildren dominated every even surface in a wide variety of frames.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at school? Asked her Dad.

It doesn’t really matter what the room’s like or the amount of memories that are crowbarred into it. He doesn’t know where he is most of the time anymore. “No it’s Saturday. No school today.”

He looked a little confused for a moment. “Have you said hello to your Mother? She’s in the kitchen.”

“Yeah. I saw her earlier.” Simone sat down on the bed next to her father and held his hand. Mum’s been dead for 6 years. “So, how are you feeling today?”

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March – Jon

*Features adult language and themes.*

The snot refused to budge. It didn’t matter how hard he blew his nose, or how he poked and podded it with his finger, it simply wouldn’t stay clear for more than a few seconds.

He was so congested that he could feel a tight squeezing pressure inside his head. His vision was ponderous and he didn’t have the ability to say his ‘v’s’ without them turning into ‘b’s’.

Evie had given him the chance to skip dinner. In fact she had been quite insistent. If it hadn’t been for Robbie’s swift recovery Jon would have given in and stayed in bed. For a split second he had been tempted to tell Evie to take Robbie over on her own, but he wasn’t that sadistic.

Jon tried to clear his nose one last time, without success, before leaving the bathroom. His parent’s place was a big three bedroom detached house; a long walking distance from the town centre, beyond the park. The neighbourhood was full of similar houses. Timber frame elements were preserved on most but surrounded by modern refurbishments giving each building a strange mixture of old and new.

It was the sort of house Jon and Evie dreamed about. The sort of place they couldn’t hope to afford. Jon often wondered if the reason Evie didn’t like visiting his parents was just down to her dislike for his mother, or that it showed her a lifestyle that was out of reach. Either way Evie was always reluctant to go and see them. Continue reading

March – Evie

*Features adult language and themes.*

I don’t know why, but when I read the new Kurt Sampson article each month he seems to be talking about my life in a very specific way. It’s a little disturbing. I said this to Jon the other day and, of course, he dismissed it with a derisory wave and a chuckle.

“He writes those articles like an astrologer. He picks up on generalities that could be applied to anyone’s life. It’s written in such a way that anybody can relate to it.”

He might be right, but that doesn’t stop me reading.

I think HTBH is helping me make some changes.

Last month I decided to try and open up to Jon a bit more. Let him see behind the curtain, as it were, and glimpse the craziness that I hide from him on a daily basis. It took a lot of courage for me to do that. I felt like I was going out on a limb.

It started on Valentine’s day. I got a little drunk and jumped in with both feet.

I just looked back through my diary to see what I wrote the next day. I think it bears repeating:


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Last night I finally confronted Jon with the question that has been bugging for the best part of two years. I worked myself up into such a state of tension that I finally burst in the middle of the restaurant while we were eating.

“Have you ever thought about having an affair or leaving me?” I asked.

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March – Daisy

*Features adult language and themes.*

“So, Daisy. How are you today?”


“I’m sorry to hear that. Is there anything in particular bothering you?”

“What do you think?”

The counsellor looked down at the folder in front of her. “We’ve seen each other every day for the past week. You haven’t really told me anything about yourself.” She closed the folder and looked Daisy in the eye. “If this process is going to work for you, you’ll have to open up to me at some point.”

Daisy took another deep drag from her cigarette.

The best thing about these sessions is I can smoke indoors. I guess they relax the laws in this case. They prefer me smoking tobacco to meth.

Daisy looked back at her with steely eyes and refused to say another word.

“I don’t want to pressure you Daisy but I must remind you that you agreed to participate in this process of your own accord. You told the judge that you wanted an opportunity to get off drugs.”

“I didn’t have a lot of choice, did I? It was this or jail.”

“So you don’t want to break your habit?”

Course I don’t. “Course I do, but I don’t see how talking about it is going to help me.”

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March – Charlie

*Features adult language and themes.*

Her lips moved down to his neck, they were soft. Her tongue slipped out from behind her teeth and lightly traced a line over his skin. Charlie felt a thrill run through him as his body registered the unfamiliar sensation.

Chloe touched his hand, gripping it softly and moving it down to her thigh. He instinctively began to stroke along her leg. The pace of her breathing quickened.

This is going rather well.

In fact it had been going well for a while. Since their first date Charlie had spoken to Chloe every day. They still, predominately, made contact online. But the regularity of phone conversations and seeing each other in person had increased as the time had rolled on. Charlie had taken the trip to Chelmsford a few times but Chloe preferred to come to him. She said it was easier as he had his own place. She didn’t seem all that keen to take him back to where she was living with her parents. She’d spent the night at his a few times. They’d shared a bed but nothing had ‘happened.’

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