Lazy and Complacent- Almost!

Two weeks!

I’ve not posted in over two weeks, not really read other blogs or made comments. I feel so ashamed it has made me even more reluctant to come on here. But now I have to face up to my dereliction of duty. I hid my head in shame until an angel showed me the light.

Claire (ditching the wine) recently emailed me a spoof Jim blog to spur me into action. I was touched.  Someone cared.  She wrote, pretending to be me:

“I know, I know. You are such a caring, lovely bunch, your first thoughts are bound to be ‘Why? Is he ill? Is he on a bender? Has he struck up a recording deal and is now planning his world tour?’ Nope! Afraid not. Basically he’s just become very complacent. This also translates as being a lazy arse. He can’t be bothered with his blog any longer. He’s sober now. Moving on. He’s leaving all your bloggers behind. He might ‘pop’ in from time to time, to keep the fans happy but otherwise he doesn’t need it. “

Now I know Claire was/is being ironic. She is a nice, caring and compassionate person as are all the lovely sober bloggers and yet….  there was an uncomfortable accusation within. Could there be a germ of truth in what she had to say? Sure, I could make excuses and to be fair, they are pretty good excuses; work, commitments, planned big events,  relationships etc but these affect everyone.  I carved out time before, so what’s happened? What’s different? I think Claire hit the nail on the head; COMPLACENCY!

20 weeks sober, Christmas and new year successfully navigated, cravings and urges to drink very intermittent; yes I suppose there has been a bit of complacency kicking in.

Claire continued to write;

We all know this isn’t about what we write, or whether we are 5 days, 5 months or 5 years sober. This is about community, support and connection. We all need help it at different times, and when we feel strong that’s the time to help others that don’t. Jim will learn. He’ll see it eventually.

She’s right of course (God it’s so hard to admit that!), giving up booze and the boozing way of life is not a static thing it’s an ongoing process and I only got to where I am thanks to those who are further on the journey but looked back down the path shouting their support and encouragement.

So thanks Claire.  I needed that proverbial kick up the pants.

Complacency? Yes a little and that can be a bad thing.  Last week I played a table tennis match and met a new player on the scene.  He was very defensive in the warm up.  No attacking shots.  “This will be easy,”I thought to myself. “Just attack and he’ll fall to pieces.” Except he didn’t.  He returned every shot, did so with unexpected amouts of backspin and wore me down into a frustrated mess. I underestimated him. HE BEAT ME! How dare he! I was supposed to win.

Pride and complacency, right before a massive fall.  It happened in table tennis, it could happen with alcohol. I can almost hear that voice,” You’ve done brilliantly Jim, you have shown you can master alcohol, you are the Uberfuhrer of Soberistas.  With that amount of control you’d be fine at just allowing yourself the odd glass of Merolt/Shiraz/Malbec.Go on man, live a little, you deserve it, sod all this denial.” Get thee behind me Bacchus!

Yep the little voices are still there, tempting me so no room for complacency.

Then there’s the need to reciprocate.  I have benefitted massively from the likes of untipsy teacher and others who have been sober for years.  They continue because it’s not just about one journey, not just about them, it’s about supporting others; it’s about community. I need to do my bit. I still need the support or may need it.  I need to try and support others as well in whatever way I can. So  thanks Claire, for prodding, poking fun, bullying in a nice way and cajoling.   I needed that.

Now I just need to think what to post!

Jim x

 

 

Finally – Being Sober Trumps Drinking Booze! (No Contest)

To anyone reading this who is doing dry January or is just a few weeks into going alcohol free, I know what you’re going through! It feels like denial, it’s difficult, you’re giving up something you like, is it worth it you think. These are the things probably going through your mind.

After 4 months and after experiencing many of those same mental tortures I can say this; it does get easier, you will feel the benefits, the cravings lessen, even though the pressures do not, but something else then happens. Or at least it did for me and I know for many others that have stopped drinking.

Something magical happens. A turning point, a revelation if you like. You start to see giving up alcohol as preferable to drinking it. Sounds simple but it’s actually monumental. What started as denial and giving up becomes like receiving something wonderful and it feels liberating.

I’ve had a few experiences like that in the last month but yesterday was something else. I had a day out in London where not only did I not drink, I didn’t at any point want a drink , I was pleased to be sober. No doubts no qualms. It felt quite simply great. Best day out in years.

It started by the simple act of driving to the station. Normally a day out in London in the past meant lots of alcohol so no car to station but asking for lifts or ordering a taxi. First act of liberation. I then arrived in London and had arranged to meet a small group of fellow Soberistas; a small group of people that I’d never met before but who shared the same goal of giving up booze. No difficult moments or questions with this bunch. None of us drank alcohol. That in itself was liberating. Straight into the nearest pub for a coffee. Then on to one of this great little cafes you can still find tucked away in the less fashionable parts of Covent Garden. Poached eggs, sausages, bacon, beans, sourdough, a brilliant full breakfast all for just £6.50. All the time, laughter, great conversation, more coffees, fruit juices. We were having a great time. Why did I ever believe you need alcohol to feel at ease with new people? Within a couple of hours it was as if we’d known each other for years. Simply liberating.

Then later hopping on tubes, visiting the V and A , Hyde Park, swapping stories and experiences. A great day, getting to know new people and actually listening to each other not getting slowly pissed. After a wonderful day full of enriching, warm conversations and companionship we went our separate ways. I actually stayed awake on the train, drove myself home and was then able to spend my evening productively. It was so much better than getting drunk, talking garbage and falling asleep on the train, waiting to be picked up and the losing the rest of the evening and the next day to a hangover.

During my day out I never once felt denied or that I was missing out. If anything I look back at all my drunken trips and now realise how much I was missing out on those days. Lost opportunities. For me the penny finally dropped. Life was better sober.

I hope those in the early stages of not drinking stick it out. After the struggle really does come the liberation. Many say the same thing. I have come to see that life is better, brighter and more fulfilling sober. Yes it takes time but it’s worth it. Try it but give yourself time to get the conditioning and social pressure out of your system.

As a postscript I have to add that spending the day with other sober people really made the day extra special. Thanks, you know who you are! Just think, if we were still drinking we would never have met! Let’s do it again soon. There may be some who might want to join us! 😀

Jim x

Good Article by Jack Monroe – Well Worth Reading

Just a very quick post about a really interesting article I read in today’s Observer newspaper.It is written by Jack Munroe,who is a food writer and activist and who gave up alcohol around this time last year. Much of what she says resonates with many of the posts on our sober blogs and interestingly she talks about the absolute importance of having support.

Reading the article made me feel even more lucky and fortunate that I am part of this fantastic sober blogging community. Try and check out the article for yourselves it’s definitely worth a read. Jim X

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2019/dec/29/my-year-of-sobriety-jack-monroe

Thanks Claire for providing the link!

Piss Off Christmas

Thank God that’s over. Celebrating the birth of a dead Palestinian who talked about selflessness, living a simple life and love by stuffing our faces, getting pissed and using up precious world resources; do me a favour!

Anyway hope you all had a lovely time!

I feel sorry for Jesus having to see his name taken and twisted in the way it has been done. He would have been outraged. Presents? Yeh ok give something to the poor kids whose parents have to rely on foodbanks and can’t afford presents or who get themselves into debt trying to give their kids something. Food and drink? Well there’s plenty of people out there who would love a decent meal once in a while. Booze? Really!

Let’s face if Jesus were around now he’d be writing a sober blog on WordPress and joining protesters on the street.

I think next Christmas (is it too early to start planning?) I’m going to redefine Christmas. This year I had to do Christmas the way others think it should be done. No more. I don’t want to spend a week eating huge amounts of food and watching people get pissed and me feeling bored. Of course I want to be with family and friends but “being” can happen in better ways than this gross out binge fest we currently call Christmas. It needs some thought.

Others have commented how being sober is actually a form of rebellion in the same way that drinking used to be. I think that is spot on. The expectation in my culture is that you should drink, you need to drink, events and places are centred around drink but no more. To rebel means defying expectations, to create new forms and practices, to say that there are different alternative ways of being.

Sober rebellion, the irresistible rise of The Soberistas, that’s going to be my 2020. Bring it on baby!

Jim x

Guest Blogger for Christmas – E. Scrooge

Guest blogger indeed. No, it’s just that Jim couldn’t be bothered. He’s out somewhere struggling to get through another festive afternoon without alcohol. What a pathetic idiot. So anyway, he’s out the way so I thought I’d use this opportunity to tell a few home truths in his absence.

First things first. I know my name Scrooge has unfairly become synonymous with meanness and parsimony (this is where the yanks have to look up the long words in a dictionary ) but in truth I was a man before my time. I never give presents and I make my staff use things until they are worn through. Now everyone is doing “no presents” and recycling old stuff, things I was doing in my time, but it’s not called mean spirited now it’s called environmentally sound and even “cool”. It makes me sick!

And then there’s you bloggers. Ok credit where credits due, you’ve given up the drink and that’s saving you some money. Anyone spending less money is good in my books but that’s it as far as it goes in praising you. The reality is you all disgust me . When I look through the posts on here all I see is “well done” or “keep going” or the most sickening sentiment “we’re with you”. All this reaching out to others when you’d be better off trying to make some money or fiddling your tax returns.

The worst thing is from what I can see you’re not doing it just because it’s Christmas , you actually seem to care for each other. Excuse me while I vomit! No good will come from kind of behaviour believe me.

If you want to get on in the world look to the likes of dear Donald, now that’s a man after my own heart- selfish, self centered and not giving a fuck about anyone else; thank God not everyone is like you bloggers.

Anyway enough of this nonsense, there’s some Carol singers outside and I need to throw some kitchen waste at them. So I hope you lot choke on your Christmas dinners ( I bet some of you lot are even vegetarians!) don’t get the presents you were hoping for and all have a miserable Christmas. Oh and I don’t believe half of you… bet you sneak in a sly drink during the day. Bah Humbug to the lot of you!

Ebeneezer Scrooge

Reminder to Self about Why I Now Don’t Drink

Meals out, parties, even carol services; alcohol is ubiquitous, you can’t avoid it. When something is so widespread it can create the impresssion that it must be OK. Well it isn’t. When I grew up, smoking was everywhere, it must be OK, it wasn’t. The ubiquity of alcohol creates its own pressure to conform.

It’s everywhere, that means it must be OK, everyone uses it, don’t be a minority party pooper, join in have a drink, lighten up.

In the face of that, those of that have made a choice not to drink for whatever reason need to ocassionally shore up our defenses against the constant waves of alcohol consumption pressure. For me it’s the health aspects. I want to live a long, healthy life. I want to continue learning, loving and interacting, being physically active and energised. Alcohol works against all of these. It depletes, damages and diminishes.

Alcohol is a recognized toxin as are its byproducts. Acetaldehyde one of the by byproducts created after drinking alcohol is a known carcinogen so can anyone explain how a substance that causes cancer and shrinks the brain can also be recommended in moderation. It also damages the kidneys, liver and affects sleep adversely. Some research says moderate alcohol helps the heart. I think if we are looking for something that can help the heart, perhaps diet and exercise should be looked at.

When I now go to social events I see the initial euphoric effects of alcohol. The first drink and dopamine release occurs, the drinkers are momentarily relaxed, happy and I feel deprived. My AF beer does not cause dopamine release. But then I watch because hardly anyone stops at one (and they are still going to get the byproduct damage of Acetaldehyde) and at that point the depressant nature of alcohol kicks in. The conversation deteriorates, expressions change, potential hangovers develop like mini pregnancies and my dopamine levels start to rise as get the thrill of not needing this poison to enjoy myself.

So Jim, if you feel a bit left out this Christmas, re read this and remind yourself that you have given your brain, body, future self the best present you could possibly ever give. The gift of being alcohol free. That’s got to be worth celebrating……mine’s a Seedlip and tonic please!

El Soberista now takes on Los Bastardos

Last post was self congratulatory. I’m done with booze, I don’t need it.  I’d taken on the drunks and heavy boozers, the tipsy and sodden losers and I had won.  I had faced them fair and square and was pleased with my life alcohol free or LAFing as I now call it. But this weekend a new breed of drinker entered my domain… Yes, I came face to face with ………

LOS BASTARDOS
Now Los Bastardos are that breed of drinker that can enjoy one glass of wine and make it last 2 hours.  That’s who have been staying with me the last two days. Nice people, sophisticated people.  That’s what makes them bastards. It’s easy to dismiss and feel aloof about pissheads and drunkards but moderate, sensible drinkers project a calm self assurance and discipline that screams,”oh so you have a problem Jim, you can’t drink in moderation so now you’re missing out on this wine, brought to you direct from the wine god Bacchus, an elixir, life enhancing, so smooth and velvety , poor Jim, you weak, pathetic excuse for a human being.”

Anyway they arrive Friday night, conversation a little awkward.  They are quite formal people. I feel a bit anxious. I find it hard to speak, is there a speech therapist in the room! The booze would have helped, but I’m stranded.  I open the wine they brought; a really nice full bodied Rioja.  They also bought me some Trappist beers. This was turning into some kind of sadistic torture.  “Here we are Jim, really good examples of what used to be the centre of your life. Here they are, they’re yours.. But you can’t bloody have them!” Bastards!

As the evening wears on I feel more relaxed and don’t really miss the wine.  What intrigues me is how slowly they drink. With me, the first glass was a palate cleanser. Down in one, quick alcohol shot and now let’s enjoy the second, make it last, let’s see, about 10 minutes.  That’s how to drink. But they sat there, drinking slowly, enjoying, savouring it.  I knew they were doing it deliberately, taunting me; the bastards.  I wanted to reach for the Rioja and bludgeon both of them over the head with the bottle.  Death by Rioja. Everyone would be bemused, Netflix would make a documentary about it but I would know why they had to be dispatched.  Instead I smiled and poured them more wine.

Towards the end of the evening, the bottle was finished. 3 people, 3 hours, 1 bottle.  Who are these people? I knew as host I had to offer more booze.  All I had were a few bottles of very expensive Chinon given to me as part of a retirement present. “Oh yes please,” they exclaimed.  I opened it, my wine! I poured it, my present! They supped it, those bastards.

The bastards had a nice evening and in truth so did I.  I didn’t really miss the drink but the evening highlighted for me why I’ve embarked on this journey. I was not and I doubt I ever could be a moderate, one glass an evening guy. In truth I’m not sure I would want to be. Everything in excess isn’t that what they say? It was an interesting experience and all part of the journey and of course my guests were far from being bastards.  The only bastard was my resentful, bitter, selfish former self trying to raise his pathetic, drink loving head. Down Boy!

Onwards and Upwards my friends, keep LAFing!

Jim x