Category Archives: humour

3 Months AF – YIPPEE!

Unbelievable . Who would have thought it? In two days time it will be three months since I last had a life. I think back to how I was back in early March and it seems a lifetime ago- wasting my life hiking, meeting people, singing in close proximity to others and having, what I thought at the time, was the time of my life. – what a jerk. How deluded can one be. Now after three months being AF (Allthethingsthatmakelifeworthliving Free) I can honestly say I feel a completely different person. My life has genuinely been transformed. Being AF has brought so many advantages, I just wish I had discovered the AF lifestyle years ago. For those looking to take the plunge here I some of the things that I can now “enjoy” in my new AF life:

Ain't life a scream!
Ain’t life a Scream!
  • I now can now relate to other people via a fuzzy computer screen and don’t have to put up with their nasty body odour
  • I’ve saved a fortune not going into restaurants and cinemas
  • Family gatherings where you had to think of an excuse to leave early are a distant memory
  • I finally don’t have to say to people “give me some space”
  • FOMO has completely dissipated. There’s no longer anything to miss out on
  • My hair and beard can grow luxuriously for once
  • Supermarket shopping is a pleasant, ordered experience not crammed to rafters
  • Being jostled at gigs and trying to see bands over the heads of others is a thing of the past
  • I wake up each day and don’t have a clue which day it is or what I should be doing
  • There is absolutely no point planning anything anymore

So with all those benefits, have I any words of advice to others who want to experience the joys of being AF? Well, Yes, try and create your very own pandemic for a start. Maybe destroy large areas of natural habitat and start eating animals that previously were not part of the food chain. Create huge areas of humanity crammed into small places with not much money and you’ll soon get your AF life up and running. Even better, elect an incompetent set of leaders and then you can just settle back and watch your new AF life unfold before your very eyes without you having to do anything. Oh, there will be some tough times ahead, there are some downsides. The AF lifestyle isn’t plain sailing. You may have to witness some nasty scenes on television and watch the disadvantaged suffering disproportionately , but then again, we should all be used to that by now. As for the nasty images on the telly why not switch off the news, do a jigsaw, watch a cartoon or do a family zoom quiz.

Yes sir, 3 months AF. Who would have thought it? That’s a landmark well worth noting.

Anyone seen my mask? Hello, is anyone there?

Jim X

The Bloody, Sodding Liebster Award

Winning this coveted award is, without doubt, one of the greatest achievements in my already glittering career and life . Let me start by thanking the nuns at the maternity hospital who delivered me on that sunny day back in….- Oh sorry-what? No, that can’t be. What are you saying? I’ve not actually won yet? You’re kidding! Only a nominee? Ridiculous. And I have to do various tasks? It’s an affront. But, for the sake of those that nominated me I shall complete the process with an open heart,and with the attitude that such an award deserves.

Here are the so-called Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
    • As the clear favourite to win this Oscar of the blogging world, I’d like to point out that I was nominated by not just one BUT TWO bloggers- Anne at nomorebeard and Claire at ditchingthewhininghabit. Thanks guys- they’ll be payback believe me
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
    • Claire took the trouble to write these, Anne just lazily reused them
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
    • Believe them they will be true
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
    • fat chance- I want less not more competition
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
    • Sorry but I have washing up that needs doing
  • Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.
    • Ha!

Answers to Claire’s/ Anne’s questions:

  1. If you could have had any job/career what would it have been?  At the age of 11 I went to a chocolate factory with my school and up to the age of thirty I dreamed of being chief chocolate taster at Cadbury’s . Sadly it wasn’t to be. I had to settle on just being a UN ambassador and bringing world peace to troubled regions of the world.
  2. If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you choose to have with you?  My Liebster Award , a mirror and a rubber chicken
  3. What the thing you like most about yourself? My inexhaustable humility
  4. If you could relive one day again, exactly as it was before, what day would it be and why? the day fairly recently when I was first nominated for the Liebster Award. My life changed forever on that momentous day.
  5. If you could only see one more band/singer live, who would it be? The Wurzles singing their classic hit- I’ve got a brand new combine harvester
  6. What is your biggest achievement in your life so far? Winning the Liebster Award
  7. What’s your favourite way to relax (keep it clean please!)? Cleaning
  8. You can have a superpower for a year. Which one would you choose? The power to defeat all known viruses and to go back in time and kiss Susan, the prettiest girl in my primary class.
  9. What’s your favourite time of day and why? That lovely 24hr spell between midnight and midnight. No other part of the day quite lives up to this.
  10. What are you most afraid of?  losing my reading glasses
  11. What are your ‘words to live by?’ “sausages used to be meatier in the 1960s” and “do you have any other AF beers besides Becks Blue”

11Facts about Me:

  1. I identify as male most of the time
  2. I wear size 9 shoes
  3. I have white hair
  4. I used to have a flat mate that drank more than me
  5. I have been married 3 times
  6. I have been divorced three times
  7. Marriage is a tricky business
  8. Divorce is expensive
  9. Im getting older with each year
  10. I hate writing lists
  11. I like it when lists end

My nominees :

  • Please God, this has to end somewhere or everyone will eventually be a nominee!

In reality of course these awards are superfluous. Who needs them? All these sobriety blogs have different and distinctive voices. They all contribute to a thriving community that provides amazing support and encouragement to others dealing with related issues. In my book they are all already winners. I thank you.

Jim X

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

I Have Failed.Sorry.

There, I’ve said it. Failed. Not succeeded. A miserable excuse for a human being. I can no longer consider myself a true member of the sobriety club. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m still not drinking. I haven’t touched a drop in 5 months and yet I still consider myself a failure. Why?

Well, and I feel able to share this in this supportive blogging community, I can’t do yoga. No not just I can’t do yoga, I won’t do yoga. Contrary to what other bloggers say yoga for me is an anxiety producing activity and brings back yoga based PTSD.

So there’s my failure. I haven’t incorporated yoga into my sobriety and that makes me feel deficient. I look around at the other sober bloggers and it seems they are all doing a swan, or lotus or communing together on some retreat whilst I do the “slump” or the “piggy” watching some Netflix box set. The other sober bloggers are just so wholesome and in touch with their feelings and their bodies and I’m still trapped in a viscous circle of sausages, sitting on my arse and reading juvenile comics.

The caring amongst you will,I know, say, “Come on Jim, you too can do yoga, give it a try. Yoga people are inclusive, welcoming and non judgemental.”

The thing is I know that’s not true. You see I HAVE tried yoga and that’s where the trauma kicks in. Just the word, YOGA, brings me out in an anxious sweat. I went to a yoga class 20 years ago. They sat crossed legged and I couldn’t do that. The teacher vindictively singled me out and offered me a cushion for me bum. She seemed ostensibly to be concerned for me but her true purpose was humiliation. I knew they were all laughing at me, inside. I continued. I struggled with each position but I persevered. I looked for too long at one woman and received a withering look. Oh God I was now seen as the creepy voyeur. Could it get any worse. Yes. I lay on my front and had to do something strange with my legs. They parted and I farted. Not gently and softly but loudly. There were titters. My heart rate went through the roof.The teacher smiled and said that happens a lot. And this was meant to be relaxing! I was in pieces. I left that hall and never went back.

So yes I have failed because unlike all you sober bloggers I can never go back to yoga and each time one of you speaks about the wonders of yoga it brings back so much pain. It hurts.

Here’s me doing some moves outside on my own. Just to prove I can do it. I look pretty good for 64 right? 😉

This has not been an easy post, sharing such trauma, but I know you will understand. Thanks for listening.

Jim x

I HATE DRY JANUARY

Ok I’m getting on, I can’t deny it or fight it.  I’m 64 just like the Beatles song laments. 64! It’s not the new 44 it’s bloody 64. With age should come wisdom and some maturity and yet at the age of 64 I have just had what can only be described as a childish temper tantrum. I have thrown my toys out the proverbial pram.  I want to stamp my feet and scream,”It’s not fair!”.  This time it’s not the impending disaster of Brexit, the new virus about to engulf us or global warming, it’s DRY JANUARY.

You think I’d be happy.  I’ve stopped drinking, I’m a Soberista.  I am part of a new movement, part of a paradigm shifting change of consciousness. Sober is cool.  Trouble is it’s only cool when there’s a few of you doing it.  Cool is shunning convention, taking an alternative path.  For the last 5 months I’ve been cool, the sober one, the man of mystery and intrigue, “Did you know Jim’s not drinking, he’s a different man, I think he now hangs out with cool people, engages in 5 hour tantric sex sessions, he’s so unconventional, oh Jim you are just so fucking special.” There that’s it

I WAS THE NON DRINKER- THE SPECIAL ONE

NOW, well now it’s Dry sodding January and suddenly everyone is a non drinker. They stop for one measly little month and act like the big I AM. Makes me sick, more than that it makes me, well, just like everyone else.

On Friday I was at a concert. Cafe style set up, bring your own food and drink.  There’s me with my AF beer, expensive Seedlip and tonic, thinking that’ll impress this crowd of boozers but when I look round and I see a sea of Non alcoholic drinks.  Everyone has apparently gone alcohol free.  Then it dawned on me, it’s dry January.  Great! Suddenly I’m not special. I’m just part of the crowd.  I nearly went out and bought a bottle of Absinthe just to be different.  “Get a grip Jim,” I said to myself.  I survived the night even though no-one came up to me to tell me how wonderful I was for not drinking.  That was tough as my new cravings are validation and praise for being self denying and inspirational.  It passed though. I didn’t even make a scene.  I wanted to scream out, ” You fair weather soberistas make me sick, you think 4 weeks of not drinking makes you my equal, well think again, you’re pathetic.  This time next week you’ll all be drinking again after indulging in a sober porn wank fest.” I realised I was in danger of losing my mind. My care worker took my hand as she could see I was agitated.  We left early.

I hate Dry January.

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

El Soberista v Los Barrachos – A linguine western

Tuesday 26 November. Jim’s first attempt at drinking at a pub with his heavy drinking football playing compadres. His first major showdown. Would he survive…………


It was a cold, dark evening. Jim knew this was a showdown. One man, armed only with a bottle of AF beer was taking on the the fearsome 9 man posse known as “Los BARRACHOS” or “ The drunkards” as they were known is this part of wild Essex (cue Sergio Leone soundtrack).

It wasn’t going to end well for one party and Jim knew the odds were stacked against him. Los Barrachos we’re heavily armed; lager, bitter and most sneakily of all, Jim’s former friend, Gintonic. There they were, lined up on the table mocking Jim’s feeble looking excuse for a beer.

The 9 men appeared to be friendly but Jim was on his guard. He knew that when he wasn’t looking one of them might try and slip him a beer. Jim stayed alert. He entered the bar and a hush descended across the room. Jim heard a whisper, “Apparently Jim’s not drinking, do you think he’s gone a bit funny in the head?”

Jim swung round , “That’s right amigos I’m not drinking alcohol, and it will be a brave hombre that tries to buy me some!” One of the Barrachos reached for his glass. “Not so quick, my friend,” and with that Jim grabbed his AF beer and lifted it to his lips. He gulped the golden liquid, wiped his lips. First blood to Jim. One of the Barrachos stood up.

“Bloody hell guys he means it, Jim’s not drinking real beer!” Immediately two of the posse fainted on the spot, two reached for their beers and drunk their entire pints in one long swig. Another, one of Jim’s former drinking compadres had tears in his eyes.

“But Jim, you were our leader, you showed us how to really drink. You were the first to say stupid things, the first to inappropriately chat up the bar maid, your hangovers were the stuff of legend, what’s to become of us now, oh Jim please just have a fucking drink!”

Jim was unmoved. He surveyed the bar. The two men were still flat out on the floor from shock, there were looks of disbelief, lots of tears and some anger.

It was carnage.

Jim stood still and proud. He’d won. He was resolute. Jim didn’t want the glory or to gloat in his victory. One the Barrachos gave a knowing smile, the look one man gives another when conceding defeat. He reached out his hand to Jim. Jim looked him in the eye, acknowledged the gesture and shook hands. It was over. No blood was spilt and Jim had found a way to co exist with Los Barrachos on their own turf. One man. One AF beer. A show down to defy belief. This was a day that would be talked about for a few minutes. Jim knew he had to mark the ocassion.

“Anyone fancy some crisps?”

(Fade music with a lingering shot on Jim’s slightly smug face)

 

Newsflash – Angry Al Hacks Jim’s Blog!

Hello blog tarts or whatever you readers of blogs call yourself. I’m bloody angry. That Jim, he’s a bastard and a coward. I knew he would make off as soon as I came round. What a shifty two faced shit bag he is. This is his blog I suppose? “Life Beyond Booze” indeed. What a joke. The man has lost all sense and reason, and, he’s a snivelling traitor I’ll tell you that. You know he didn’t even have the courage to tell me face to face that our friendship was over. I heard about it on another “blog.” 45 years I’ve known Jim, stood by him, been with him through thick and thin and this is how he treats me, discarded like, well like an old beer can. That’s not how you treat your friends is it?

I’ll tell you something else, Jim won’t last 10 minutes without me. Nope. In fact he’s nothing without me and wouldn’t be the man he is today without my guiding influence. For one thing I reckon he’d still be a virgin but for me. I remember him as a shy, insecure nerd incapable of getting off with girls. Once I came along he’s suddenly Mr, “Hello there what’s your name,”rubbish lines, but said with a conviction and confidence. He actually got laid unbelievably but only because of me.

Maybe my new advertising campaign?

And I suppose he’s forgotten all the good times we had together. mad nights singing in the streets, telling rude jokes at fancy dinner parties, dancing as though he was a chicken on steroids. All down to me. Now he’s suddenly come over all self righteous and thinks he is going to improve his life and his health. What a joke. With me people laugh more, relax more, enjoy life more. That’s got to help people lead a longer life hasn’t it? What could be better for your health than gallons of wine. I tell you I am a gift from God, I’m loved around the world, you’ll see me on every street corner so why on earth would he throw all that away.

I blame you lot out there. Yes you, you smug bloggers, putting foolish ideas into Jim’s head. He’s going to end up throwing away the best friend he’s ever had. Girls have come and gone, friends have moved away , some have died. The only real constant in his life has beenme and now he wants to throw it all away. You’ve twisted his thinking. Well I hope you lot are happy separating a man from his best friend.

You know what though? I’m not going to go away. I know Jim must have been led astray. There’s no way he would suddenly reject me after all these years without someone, and yes, I mean you again, influencing, nay brainwashing him. Sober = Boring and Jim is going to find that out. I’ll stick around. I am calming down a bit now. I’ll stay on the sidelines, I won’t say anything but I’ll be there, always just in sight. he won’t be able to avoid me, always hovering with my tempting array of wines, beers and spirits. Eventually he will come to his senses, he won’t be the first to try and life without me and he won’t be the last. I’ll just bide my time and when the moment is right, I’ll plonk myself right at his side and offer him the comfort and pleasure that only I can provide. Then you lot will see who’s boss.

Yes, that’s it, I didn’t need to get so agitated. I’ll let Jim get this sobriety nonsense out of his system and he will come running back to me begging for forgiveness. You wait and see. If you see Jim, you can tell him I popped by. If you don’t no worries, I’m pretty sure he’ll be knocking on my door pretty soon anyway.

Cheers and salut

Al Cahole

(The man to see for some deadly serious fun!)

Man About to Give Up Alcohol- Exclusive Interview

Our correspondent, Yura Kiddinme, talks to a slightly confused Jim Simmonds about his upcoming challenge and his new Blog, “former drinker”

YK: Good morning Jim, thanks for doing this interview. I’d like to talk to you today about your new blog entitled “former drinker.”

JS: Hi Yura, yes I’m very excited about the blog and glad to talk about it with you.

YK: Great! so Jim the new blog is all about giving up alcohol.

JS: that’s absolutely right Yura a brand-new blog all about giving up alcohol.

YK: Jim I’m going to ask you straight, forgive the directness: are you an alcoholic?

JS: Great question Yura. The answer is a resounding “no”. Sure, I drink very heavily, can’t seem to moderate how much I drink, I also obsess about alcohol whenever I have to go into social situations and it’s beginning to affect my health and well-being. Other than that though I’ve got it completely under control.

 YK: Yeah okay Jim. Maybe when we finish this interview you might want to look up the term denial. Anyway let’s press on.

J S: Absolutely

YK: I guess it’s early days but how’s it going Jim with this “giving up alcohol?”

JS: Ah, well you see I haven’t actually started giving up yet, that is still a few days away.

YK: But Jim, you’ve called your blog “former drinker,” how does that work if you’ve not actually given up drinking yet?

JS: That’s an excellent question. You see I will be a former drinker but that will be in a couple of weeks time. In the meantime I’m gearing up to being a former drinker. It’s all about the preparation.

YK: Right so you’re still drinking, not strictly speaking a former drinker then are you? At least I suppose you’re using this time before stopping drinking to wind down your alcohol intake, is that right?

JS: To be honest if anything my alcohol consumption has been ramping up these last few weeks. In fact I’m probably drinking more now than I’ve had in ages.

YK: Jim I’m not getting a good feeling about all of this; so you’re telling me that in the run-up to not drinking you’re actually drinking more than ever before? That hardly inspires confidence that you can I give up. So why the increase in alcohol consumption?

JS: Yes I can see you’re a bit confused, it’s a bit counterintuitive. Reality is I like drinking…

YK: Woah…let’s stop there Jim. You’re about to give up alcohol and yet you’re telling me that you love drinking. Jim are you an idiot?

JS: That’s  interesting and you’re not the first person to ask me that question. But let me explain. I love drinking but I can’t carry on drinking.

YK: you love drinking but you can’t carry on? What is going on here Jim? 

JS: Look, I drink heavily, I like my drinking but it’s got to the point where I cannot be moderate in my drinking so what’s happened is I’m spending too long thinking about it and planning around it, it’s affecting my health, my sleep, my weight. I love it but I also hate it and it’s time for the alcohol to go.

YK: okay I think we’re getting somewhere now Jim. It’s harmful, you can’t moderate so you are giving up. So why not just give up now, why the delay?

J S: Will two main reasons I suppose. Firstly if I’m going to give up alcohol and it’s something I like then I want to enjoy a few days where I can drink before I finally put it behind me. Secondly I think I want to drink excessively so I actually remember what it’s like to feel sick of drinking, to wake up with a hangover, to feel nauseous, to experience bad sleep, excess weight.  To remember  those things, I think, will help me in the future.

YK: Jim this seems a very unique approach to abstinence. Are you sure you’re not just mad?

JS: look you got to do what’s right for you. In my mind this approach makes sense, it feels right therefore that’s what I’m going to do.

YK: I can respect that Jim if it’s an approach that brings results, then why not go for it. I’m guessing that you’ve experienced other success using this simple approach in other areas of your life Jim?

JS: actually no, not really. For example I’ve been trying to lose weight for several years now using my own individual approach. In fact this year I managed to lose nearly a stone in weight believe it or not.

YK: that’s brilliant Jim and how’s the diet now.

J S: well I’ve actually put it all on in the last couple of months and in fact got even heavier than I was at the start of trying to lose weight.

YK: so could we say that’s been a little short of success?

JS: no I think we can call it an abject failure.

YK: Jim again this is not exactly creating a feeling of confidence in your new venture. Why do you think this giving up of alcohol will be successful when you’ve experienced so many failures in trying to change in the past?

JS: I’ll tell you why. Because earlier this year I vowed to give up alcohol for three months and I succeeded and so I now think I’ll give up for a year and I know I can follow that through.

YK: and how was it giving up to 3 months, did you find it difficult?

JS: sure it was difficult but I found that it was socially and psychologically more difficult then it was physiologically. So staying at home during the week and not drinking was not too bad but as soon as Friday came along I could feel that old association of “it’s the weekend’ treat yourself’ let your hair down, have a drink.” When I went out to a restaurant I could suddenly feel that craving because of the association that every time I go out for a meal I drink alcohol. Every time I socialise with friends in the evening I drink alcohol so it was the associations that created the real cravings and that I found interesting.

YK: and Jim you say you’re going to do a year. Why not just give up completely and be done with it?

JS: When I gave up to 3 months,part of the reason I could do it was that I knew that it wasn’t a once and for all decision. I knew That I could go back to it after three months if I wanted to which is what I did. But there was also part of me wanting to not go back to drink.I think if I said never again when I next had those real cravings I’d give in as I couldn’t imagine dealing with those cravings for the rest of my life.  Having a craving but only having to deal with it for weeks is easier. So if I say one year I I can imagine that, I can imagine a year without drinking knowing that if it was an awful experience if I felt I was missing out socially and in other ways I could go back to it but what I’m hoping for is that with one year under my belt, feeling physically better and being  more productive,I’m hoping that I will say no way am I going back to drinking. That will be the point when I can truly think of myself as a former drinker.

YK: okay Jim well you certainly have a very individual approach to this and I’m guessing once you get into not drinking you are going to become something of Crusader, waging war against the evil drink?

JS: no, not at all. Believe me, if I could drink moderately and sensibly like many of my friends I would carry on drinking. My problem is for lots of different reasons I’m rubbish at moderating my intake and that’s not just alcohol. I’ma bit excessive all round. So no, those people who enjoy a little drink, fine no problem. But I know there are plenty of people like me and worse where drinking has really messed up aspects of their life. Now if one of those persons rethinks their relationship with regard to alcohol that would be a bonus.

YK: okay well thanks Jim that was very informative. I hope, against the odds, that you’ll be successful in your campaign to stop drinking. I shall follow your progress keenly by reading your blog. I wish you well.

JS: Thanks. I’ll drink to that. Well for the next week and a bit anyway.

RIP David Berman so sad that he took his life last week. Loved his music with the Silver Jews. Just listened to the purple mountains stuff he was about to tour with- “all my happiness is gone” track that says it all – not able to overcome those demons- the music lives on!