Fact- Being Sober Doesn’t Improve Common Sense

This is a tough one. A laying bare of the soul, an admission of fallibility. Six months sober and there are many pros; improved sleep, lower blood pressure, clearer head in the morning, you know the list. I had also hoped being sober would also improve my powers of common sense, help me make sensible decisions, make other men envious of my day to day problem solving capabilities but alas I have to confess that that has not been the case. To put it bluntly I still do very stupid things that would indicate to some people that my brain has failed to make the necessary synaptic connections necessary for daily survival.

Knowing this blogging community is so caring as well as sharing, I will expose my recent example of crass naivety, stupidity, lack of common sense or whatever you choose to all it. I know you will be kind not cruel.

I’m on holiday in the Peak District and I chose yesterday to go walking up Kinder Scout, which is the highest point in the peaks.I’m a Londoner now living in a flat area of the UK and not used to hill walking. My first proper walk therefore was to walk the most difficult of hill walks in the Peak District. You can already see where this is going!

I have a guide book that says don’t attempt this by yourself(I did), take a whistle in case you get lost (I didn’t) and don’t attempt to go off course to reach the high point marker(I did). It also said if inexperienced don’t try the walk in winter as the weather can really turn (I ignored that).At the car parking I secretly scoffed at other walkers with their poles (it’s not Everest I smirked to myself, and left mine in the car.)

I set off and within 200 yards realised I’d already gone wrong going the wrong way on this circular walk. Oh well I thought I won’t turn back I’ll just read the guidance backwards, silly old Jim. Let’s cut to the chase. First part of the walk was great, lovely scenery, a few houses, sheep. This is easy. I then had to climb a path and as I ascended it all changed. There was snow and ice on the ground, the temperature dropped and there was no longer a recognisable path. There were one or two walkers however and some rocky outcrops mentioned in the guide so it was all ok.

Then it changed again, hail started coming down, there were peat bogs, it was getting colder and there was nothing that looked like a path. I ended up walking across snowy drifts and falling over. My feet disappeared into peat bogs and the other walkers were nowhere to be seen. That’s ok, I thought, I’ll use google maps. Great idea Jim, you’re on a barren hill side miles from anywhere and expect a signal?

At this point I wanted to cry and be cuddled by a mother figure. I wanted to escape into mindless eating of my sandwiches. Who, I thought, is going to fix this. Then out of the snow I saw a walker. He said I needed to go down hill about 100 yards and I’d find the path. I did , but lost it again soon after. I realised that I’m rubbish at hill walking. I fell again and kept walking into rocky blind alleys. I found a waterfall. That was in the guide book. I started to walk up the waterfall thinking the rocks in the stream were the path. A young couple came along and started shouting at me. They had that look on their faces that suggested concern and maybe incredulity. The look said,”what the fuck are you doing!” But they said, “get out of there, it’s dangerous” and then told me where to pick up the path. I carried on and again, over heathland, the path disappeared. I had a map that had I looked at would have shown me that going back down to the river would bring me to where I had parked my car. But of course I didn’t bother with the map. Instead I walked over another hill and when I could get google maps realised I’d gone an additional 3 miles out of my way and had to do the last 2 miles walking on narrow country roads.

My 6 mile 3 hour walk had turned into a 10 mile 5 hour walk. I had exhibited mind blowing stupidity and a complete lack of common sense. Before I reached my car I saw a pub. I was not tempted. If I can be this stupid without a drink I thought, what would I have been like with a few inside me.

Hopefully, yesterday was a lesson or two learnt. On the positives, I got lots of exercise, I’m alive and the scenery was heavenly!

Here are some pics from my walk of shame! Jim x

Be kind in your comments. My self esteem has taken a battering!

Before the walk
This is easy!
Ooh that’s interesting so the weather changes as you go higher?
Snow, wasn’t expecting that!
Where are all the people and houses
Ok it’s lovely but where’s the path!
I reach the summit but I wonder why the sky is that colour?
I try walking up a stream- frantic walkers tell me that’s not the way
Help! It’s snowing and I’m lost!
At last! Signs I’m heading in the right direction

53 thoughts on “Fact- Being Sober Doesn’t Improve Common Sense

  1. Dwight Hyde

    Oh, this brought back some memories and a few chuckles. I once had a similar experience on an early spring hike up Pikes Peak. Apparently it was way to early to be summiting. Dressed in shorts I also ran into all the seasons in one hike. Rain, hail, snow, thunderbolts and lightning very very frightening…oh yah. You could hear the sizzling from the lightening when it hit a metal mile marker. We ended up off the trail too. Not to smart, but it makes for a very entertaining story now. And oh have I learned from it. I’m definitely much more prepared. Us men aren’t so smart sometimes and often “life/god” likes to make the point crystal clear so we learn are lesson😀. Glad you could walk past the pub after that ordeal – now that was smart👍

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Ha, great stuff Dwight, I suddenly don’t feel so alone- so is this level of stupidity a purely male thing?
      Mind you your story sounds way dafter than mine- at least I wasn’t wearing shorts!
      Jim x

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  2. sobrietytree

    😂😂😂This was the best thing I’ve read all day — and I’ve been on a blog-bender in between some other things I’m finally getting done.
    Damn frantic walkers – I hate when people like that interfere, just when things start to get exciting! ;))

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. sobrietytree

        Are you kidding me? I know you could’ve handled anything. 😉Those people stopped you from achieving something amazing!!! Maybe the discovery of a magical hidden synthehol pub, in a top-of-the-waterfall circle of stones! 😜

        Liked by 1 person

      2. sobrietytree

        In retrospect I think the humour throughout your post caused me to disregard the seriousness of the ordeal too much… I have done something similar, and remember the feeling of literally being face-down crying for my mother. I’m super glad you’re okay. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jim Simmonds Post author

        It’s interesting, I met a local chap yesterday and he was saying what happened to me was very common in the area I was walking. That made me feel a little bit better. Going for a walk around a reservoir today, can’t really go wrong with that hopefully. X

        Liked by 1 person

      4. sobrietytree

        I remember that – for me too, it was a feeling of shame and failure. It’s all coming back to me now – and more often than not it is just a common-occurring thing that would happen to most. You sure know how to write it entertainingly though! Hope it went well today. :))

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      5. Jim Simmonds Post author

        It is common and I also blame guide books! Today I went on a different walk and nearly went wrong again but there was no mention of the path splitting into two. Luckily I spotted a guy fell running and I asked. So that’s something else I’ve learned- if in doubt ask, as long as someone else is around. It was a lovely walk, I’ve fallen in love with hills. X

        Liked by 1 person

      6. sobrietytree

        Ask for help when we need it – what a novel idea. In my books at least. ;)) And yes, hills are great practice for mountains. Nice when we can appreciate the beauty of nature, and also nice when we briefly meet a fellow traveller or two, along the way. :))

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      7. Jim Simmonds Post author

        I’m terrible at asking for help and thought that was just a bloke thing! The great thing was I asked for help with directions and that led to a 15 minute chat about football, regional differences, politics and pubs. Engaging with fellow travelers, indispensable. 😀Jim x

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      8. sobrietytree

        I’m good at asking for directions – I do think that is mostly a bloke issue ;)) – but help, when I’m truly suffering, not so much. Issues!!
        Love that the asking of the running man went so well. Progress!! Inspiring. :))

        Like

  3. clairei47

    Boys, boys, boys …. when will you ever learn? I never trust a man that tells me ‘it’ll be fine’ because that generally means ‘I’m winging this and in reality we’ll be stuck at the top of a mountain, miles from anywhere in treacherous conditions’. You, my friend, have proved my point. I might be caring to all other bloggers but you need tough love. One word … numpty!
    I am glad you made it back safe and sound and I hope you had a relaxing evening to make up for the trauma and excitement of the day!
    Claire xx

    Liked by 3 people

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  4. Jim Simmonds Post author

    Well so much for the compassion of fellow bloggers!
    Actually I did indulge myself in some favourite things later to help me process the trauma. Thanks for your heartfelt, genuine concern Jim x

    Liked by 2 people

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  5. drgettingsober

    Love the pictures Jim! You survived that’s the main thing and had an adventure! Had similar experiences on walks – husband and dog lying down hoping to be rescued when lovely sunshine has turned to gales and driving rain after I persuaded him it wasn’t much further when he wanted to go back a couple of hours earlier! Can’t trust the weather in uk – you’ll be all prepared next time and won’t lose the path! 💞💞

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Yes, all the joking aside it was an adventure and I love the wildness of the high Peak District. Up in those hills I feel happier than on some sunny beach, there is a peace in that open solitude. Jim x

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      Reply
  6. Untipsyteacher

    Jim!
    Lolol!
    We walked up to the top of one of the Grand Tetons, off path, ended up hiding under a rock at the top with a thunderstorm! Marmots stared at us from over the rock. My legs were shot. Mr. UT had to half carry me down, I half slid on the snow, and how we made it down I’ll never know!

    I’m so glad your story had a happy ending!
    Beautiful photos!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. gr8ful_collette

    Sounds very male of you to ignore all of the suggestions in the guide book, but I don’t fault you for getting lost (again and again)….I don’t see a “path” in any of your photos, gorgeous as they are. It’ll be a great story for you, as we all know sometimes the best stories come out of being lost and finally finding our way! Glad you’re safe! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. Amy Helina

    I am totally with leafy here!! Hilarious, and yet terrifying! I’m so glad you are safe, and beautiful photos by the way. 😉 Also, I hope next time you don’t ignore the guide. Believe it or not, those are actually pretty important. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. Lovie Price

    pre- apology . yes, i laughed. I couldn’t help it as i have done many things like this many times. Contradictory to what many think, it isn’t just a man thing…haha. I have rebelled against reading and taking direction , as well as authority of any sort most of my life. And, of course this has resulted in many injuries, burnt food, ruined furniture projects, electrical malfunction, car problems and breaking down at the worst times, not to mention humiliation , sore body parts, and looks of exasperation from others. I am glad you made it , of course and i’ll tell you exactly what i have told myself afterwards each time ( once i got over the embarrassment) “So what..it was an adventure. And, i am a pirate, after all- what did anyone expect ?” LMAO…ps- i still do this things anyway…sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Addy

    Phew! Thank goodness you survived. It could have been such a different ending. Mother Nature has a way of keeping us aware she is in charge. I’m a townie, so would have probably made the exact same mistake. Don’t beat yourself up… you’ll know next time.

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  11. ceponatia

    I have a very similar story, so don’t feel bad! I once got lost in the woods only a mile from my house. It was after a heavy rain and the path through was flooded so I decided to cut through the thick to try to go around but it turns out in the ACTUAL FOREST, it’s pretty hard to go through… it’s not just trees evenly spaced apart like you see on TV!

    Darkness was rapidly approaching and my phone had died so I didn’t have a flashlight. I could hear the sound of cars so I knew roughly which direction to go in but I kept running into an impassable wall of thorns and branches. Then I started staggering through spider webs that were so thick I could only imagine the size and appetite of the spider that wove them. My mind leapt to the thought of snakes in the tall grass around me, the fact that there are bears in those woods, etc.

    Finally I just gathered my resolve and pushed my way through the wall of knives and emerged onto the road, covered in mud, blood, and spider spit. Walking through my neighborhood back to my house, I passed a couple walking their dog and the woman glanced at me, gasped, and hurriedly crossed the street.

    I must have been a sight.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Karla Kuriger

    Not asking for help, believing that the “rules” or “suggestions” are for other people. Yep. Typical for us alcoholic types, men AND women! I can completely relate to your struggle up the mountain, real and the metaphor. I hang with AA folks (I am clean and sober 15 years) who have taught me how (and why) to ask for help and to consider suggestions from those who have gone before me. Or I can, as one member said once,”Suffer, sucker.” Ouch! I have learned that words don’t teach, experiences do. Glad you made it out alive.

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. Dana

    Until we are gone from this earth, we will never make “perfect” decision, but we can learn from them, and look back and say “ahh”! The pictures are just gorgeous! Dana

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. Dana

        Things are all over the place! I was promoted beginning of January, a good thing; but am dealing with aging parents, and grown children coming back home from living in Germany, a challenging thing. As for drinking, well, I went back to moderation. For the most part, doing okay with it, but there have been a few times where I’ve pushed the limit. I am not angry at myself, disappointed about those few times, sure. I am in a good place. I don’t find myself drinking like the “old” days. But I still admire those that have stayed the course. One day.

        I so enjoy reading your post. You have done tremendously! Keep sharing. -Dana

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Jim Simmonds Post author

    Thanks Dana, if you can moderate and that works for you that’s great. Glad things are good for you at the moment despite the challenges. That’s good to know. I’ll keep on and blogging, that’s for sure. Jim x

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