12 Weeks- In Need of Some Stimulation Man!

First things first. Tomorrow marks 12 weeks of being Alcohol Free, 3 months sober; now officially the longest I have been without a drink since I was about 17. So it’s a significant event for me. How do I feel? Proud, surprised, curious and appreciative of all the benefits particularly this; being awake on a Saturday morning without a fuzzy head, full of energy ready to take on the day. And yet…. There’s always a but with me I know. Being honest with myself I feel the tiniest bit bored!

On the face of it, everything’s fine. Moved a year ago, got the house sorted, started a little therapy business, that’s doing well, enjoying my activities such as table tennis league, volunteering, packing my days with useful, noble activities and intent and I am deeply appreciative of what I have but I do miss a bit of stimulation, of things being unexpected and out of the ordinary, of excitement.

Writing this I feel a bit childish and immature, excitement at your age Jim, get a grip I want to respond but it’s what I feel and I would always say to clients, recognise and acknowledge your feelings, so I need to do the same for myself. I think this is clearly linked to the removal of alcohol from my life. Alcohol often made life seem exciting. When I went drinking with friends say at the end of term when I was a teacher we would all drink far too much and something always happened. One person might blurt out something that had been unsaid for years, someone would make a pass at someone else, there might be an impromptu song and no one quite knew where the night would take us, who we might meet, where we would go or how we would get home.

In reality, drunken nights out are just that, there’s no real excitement or change just the sensation of it and then a terrible hangover lasting days fed by greasy food and sweet pastries. I’m glad I’m out of that but at least there was a suggestion of something different when drinking and that is something that is a little bit missing now. Life is more measured and predictable but I miss the craziness and looseness one gets when drinking. Seeking those states is why I ended up drinking too much, I became a stimulation junkie ironically using a substance that is a depressant.

Not sure where this reflection is taking me. I think what I’m trying to say is in order to get some of the buzz and fizz back I need to find alternative ways to get some excitement and unpredictability back in my life. Knowing my past, that slightly worries me, I know where the search for stimulation can take me. Sitting in my garden being mindful of nature is great but it’s not going to provide that missing “je ne sais quoi”. Maybe I need to start rock climbing or buy a motorbike, take a year out and do some travelling? Oh god, am I having my second post mid life crisis? It needs some thought. I know playing music gives me a buzz and I no longer do any drama which I really enjoyed so there are avenues to explore. Either way after 12 weeks I need to find real stimulation after having escaped the illusory excitement of alcohol. All part of this journey I suppose.

Have a good, sober weekend folks but do something a little bit crazy.

Jim x

48 thoughts on “12 Weeks- In Need of Some Stimulation Man!

  1. clairei47

    Hey Jim
    I know that I am going to have exactly the same issue once I get past the initial ‘newness’ of sobriety. I crave excitement which also hasn’t always helped me make very sensible choices. When I had counselling it was apparent I needed to find more positive avenues to get the buzz and I’m hoping that without alcohol to cloud my judgement I’ll be able to do that. I’ve been flirting with the idea of piano lessons and volunteering at a small theatre in town because I love all things drama (not always in a good way!!). Haven’t had the courage to do either but maybe we can help each other to find new avenues.

    I don’t think it’s negative to want some excitement and stimulation. Predictability can be dull. I guess it’s identifying what can give you that without risking what you have achieved so far.

    Claire x

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Interesting. There was me thinking it was just me! In some ways I’m realising alcohol stopped me doing really exciting things and the buzz was really just people getting drunk and doing stupid things! I certainly did!

      You should do things like piano lessons and volunteer at the theatre. You should find you’ll soon have more energy as you get more into the AF lifestyle. Thanks for your comment and good luck.
      Jim x

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  2. sobrietytree

    Omg I so relate to this. Perfectly expressed!!!! yes I feel the same. My feelings around blogging have become the new drinking-style drama, though, haha . But I long for a motorbike. Will likely wait till my kids are all adults. We’ll see. :)))
    Great post, Jim. xoxo

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      1. Jim Simmonds Post author

        Yes we bought some at the school I worked at after trying them on a residential trip. Really good fun. Kids used to complain that I was too competitive. Release the inner child I say!😉

        Liked by 2 people

      2. limetwiste

        Sit down in a quiet place and brainstorm 25 things you’d like to do. Think big. Bigger.
        Think even bigger.
        Now list them in order of “Hell Yes.”
        Circle the top 5.
        Cross out the rest.
        Begin.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Nadine, I wasn’t expecting this post to resonate for others, that was a surprise . I’ll have to give this some more thought, are we a subset of drinkers seeking excitement and excess? Could be. I used to ride motorbikes but gave them up in my late thirties when I went through my sensible family man phase. Maybe a Harley and road trip round Europe could be a source of excitement and adventure.?😀

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  3. Untipsyteacher

    Yes, Jim. I can also relate.
    I too, thought I had a bit of a boring life, but then I realized I had become an excitement, drama, junkie.
    That said, our brains love novelty. So I look for that in my life.
    I forced myself out to do really different things now and then.
    Traveling is a great way, and in fact, when I started to go visit some sober twitter friends I had never met, I opened up a new world for myself.
    Of course, that takes money, lol.
    Then I look for novelty in my day to day life. Sounds silly, but when Mr. UT and I go for a walk in a different park, I call it an adventure. Or even when we follow off path on deer trails, I get excited.
    I look at gong to a different coffee shop in a part of the city I’ve never visited an adventure.
    So I plan big adventures once in awhile, and at the same time, look for novelty in my daily life!

    Big Hugs!
    Wendy

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Wendy, I think you make a good point. In some ways, looking back, I think the alcohol disguised the lack of adventure . I used alcohol to provide the buzz but actually it was just preventing me really exploring life. Feel like I’m getting some fascinating insights here.
      Jim x

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  4. Dwight Hyde

    Here’s one for you Jim. Buy an old van, convert into a camper, and head out on some adventures. Just don’t get one that’s to old. I failed miserably a couple of years ago with this endeavor, but being sober now and a bit smarter from the experience I think I’m ready to give it another shot. All the best to you. ✌️

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Ah Dwight, camper van is one of my dreams. I’d love to do that.I’m under pressure to go for a caravan but love the idea of the freedom that a camper van gives you. You got me thinking!🙂

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      1. clairei47

        We have a caravan … little clapped out old thing but I love it. My only issue now is I used to really enjoy sitting outside it, reading, with a large glass of wine in hand and the bottle nearby. I’ll have to change that habit now!! 😏
        Camper van or caravan … both would be so much fun.
        Claire x

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      2. clairei47

        Nope, although possibly a much better alternative to hearing me sing songs. I do not own a great singing voice. I was once only allowed in the school choir because I was the only girl not in it and on the proviso I mimed!!! I’ve never got over it 🥺

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      3. Jim Simmonds Post author

        That’s the kind of experience that could scar someone, cruel! having to mime and the only girl, how do people survive school. Find your voice, everyone bar a very few who are genuinely tone deaf can sing. Would Bob Dylan have got into the choir? No. Stand outside those school gates and sing loud girl!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. clairei47

        So Jim, following your advice I have Alexa on high volume and I am singing loud and proud!! I’m even dancing (slightly) 🎤 💃
        It feels fab 👍😁

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  5. Nelson

    I suggest you do absolutely nothing about this, Jim. You’re bumping up against the most fundamental enigma’s of life known to mankind – our universal angst, which fuels our search for meaning and purpose. To avoid and fill that void we have become expert at creating a multitude of divertissements and distractions – like all of the above suggestions, including your own, and, of course, drinking. Sit with this unease for a while and see how it speaks to you. You may find the source of your drinking and many other things, if you can let go and let it be for a time. Ya never know. Good luck! 🙏

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks for the comment Nelson. Our universal angst and search for meaning, I can see you’re on an existential plain today Nelson, nicely put. With that level of lucidity I’m guessing you’re not drinking at the moment? Love to see you getting off that treadmill, you’ve got a lot to offer.👍🏻
      Jim x

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  6. drgettingsober

    Great post Jim – the excitement of drinking which in reality stops us doing really interesting and exciting things. I feel bored and boring sometimes now I don’t drink, but I can’t go back because I know now and it just wouldn’t work anymore. I think Nelson is right – it’s all masking the angst about why we are here – I’ve spent a lot of my 7 months without alcohol questioning the point of this life! 😂

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Dr, after yesterday’s post I also realised I need to counterpoint that with sedation and calming effect of alcohol , the other reason why I used to drink. Nothing to calm me, nothing to excite me, oh God what’s it all about😩
      Of course in reality I know the answer, it’s to have a few laughs along the way, be nice to people sing a few songs and play table tennis. There, sorted. And interesting comment by Nelson, I’m currently reading a book by Irvin Yalom (existential psychotherapy- a nice light Sunday morning read that) and his views on how the death anxiety underpins so many of our issues and concerns and often prevents us living life fully has been a real revelation. Quite the day for existential thought and reflection, who says the internet is dumbing us down😉

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  7. functioningguzzler

    Congratulations on the three months sober today 🙂 well done you. Have to agree with the others I went through a patch were I was bored, bored, bored but I rode it through and ended up finding interests that I had let slide so I could focus on my drinking. Oh I also found new interests along with ones I thought I enjoyed but seriously now find lame, I think I only enjoyed them because they were easy and didn’t take any effort on my part. xox

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Addy, Can any of those match the excitement I get from table tennis? But seriously thanks for the suggestions, I really like the idea of the campervan, that’s definitely growing on me, not the actual van growing on me, the idea. Ok I’ll stop now!

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  8. nomorebeer2019

    Whassuuuuup Jim ! So good to read you as we hit our 3 month mark. Before diving into the “life is so boring – oh no – what are we going to do” part, I want to acknowledge how HUGE it is that you/we have come this far. Same as you: this is the longest I’ve gone without a drink since I was, I think, 17, and we can be really proud that we did this UNPREDICTABLE thing and are still doing it. NOW, onto the “how to fix boredom” part. Yep – how to integrate the unknown into a sober life? It takes resources and creativity for sure!!! Acknowledging your feelings like you tell your clients to is definitely step 1, I 100% agree with you. Then, I want to think that there definitely is a way (many ways) to feel that rush of “what’s going to happen next?” while sober, provided one is ready to go beyond one’s confort zone and face a couple of fears (maybe those were some of the fears that drinking helped us forget?). The drama and travelling ideas sound AWESOME to me. They are two ways of injecting large doses of radical novelty and unpredictability into one’s life and I am sure you would be super super good at the former (I am having images of you doing stand up comedy!!!) and super super enriched by the latter. (I am planning on taking a trip to Mexico or Uruguay in January for my birthday and doing that sober feels like an insane adventure already). Looking forward to reading your posts again and finding out how you figured out your self-stimulation conundrum (HAHAHA YES THAT SOUNDED AWFUL AND ‘TWAS ON PURPOSE!) xxx Anne

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Good to hear from you Anne- yes haven’t we done well- a deserved pat on the back to both of us. Three months seems significant- others see it now as more than a passing fad. My son of 34 was asking me tonight if I was drinking over Xmas and he seemed surprised and a little sad that our drinking days appear to be over when I told him Im not drinking for the foreseeable future. Good points you make about the boredom thing and your trip in January sounds amazing. Self stimulation- I refuse to be drawn on that one other than to say there are some surprising benefits to not drinking that never seem to be mentioned on the blogs! 😉

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      1. nomorebeer2019

        hahahaha I guess there’s a separate special kind of blog for that stuff 🙂 I am dreading telling my mother that I’m not drinking for Xmas, we’ll see how it goes. I hope your son can eventually treasure spending time with his father sober as opposed to only bonding over drinks 🙂 Maybe this year Xmas will be about finding new ways to bond ??? we’ll see !!!

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  9. Jim Simmonds Post author

    I’m sure it will. I shall be insisting that everyone DOES something; table tennis, quizzes, scrabble etc. No relaxing Christmas getting pissed at my place this year😉

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