by Joichi Ito

I quit again too...

in Journal / Psychology

Mon, 22 Mar 2004, 22:15

Halley, funny that you mention it... I actually experimented a bit with drinking the last few weeks. I tried drinking a few glasses of wine with meals, tried drinking at a party and tried drinking by myself before bed.

Drinking with a meal didn't seem so bad, like you, I didn't feel very good afterwards, although I did indeed enjoy it. The end of the meal made it easy to stop the drinking then and I didn't have an urge to drink after the meal.

I had a few beers at a party and that was OK too, but I realized that I didn't really need it and drinking enough to make the drinking fun (if that makes any sense), would be more than enough and therefore too much.

The worst was drinking by myself before bed. I drank too much, felt like crap afterwards and didn't really enjoy it at all.

The worst thing that has happened since I started "experimenting" is that my sleep cycle has gone out of whack and I am having insomnia and feel tired all day. With all of my travel this sucks.

So on that note, I'm going to "quit again" with you Halley and apologize for not having disclosed this here earlier. I wanted to try to do a bit more "analysis" on these experiments before I blogged this...

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Mar 23, 2004 1:16:49 AM
1 - eric

i think you've hit on what the crux of it is for me, joi. "drinking enough to make the drinking fun" makes perfect sense to me now. at the time that i stopped it was less clear, because i can appreciate a perfect food-wine pairing as much as the next armchair sommelier, and just as many nights as not i could drink a few beers at a party and call it quits. but it was "controlled" drinking. in other words, i would more happily have drank to the point of, at the very least, a nice warm buzz. and getting a little drunk inevetibally led to being at least a little hungover.
i was reading a book about operating a tavern, after having just (drunkenly) invested a large sum of money in the bar/gallery which i now run, and it related that bar owners inevitably were either raging alcoholics, or sober. i laughed at that, thinking i would be the exception. a couple years later, i checked myself into rehab.
i still love most everything about drinking. i love the rituals associated with preparing the drinks, the customs involved in celebrating the drinks, the festive collective euphoria that a group gets as they polish off the third or fourth round. and of course, i stlll love the flavors that i cannot get from a glass of fruit juice.

the thing is, in the back of my mind, there is always going to be this voice saying, "well....maybe i could have just one more, that'll be fun, and i'll feel fine tomorrow". usually, i am kidding myself.
when i strip away all the other beautiful and fun and socially lubricating aspects of booze, i am left with the fact that i like the stuff because of its chemical effect, and it's ability to make me intoxicated. maybe a little bit tonight, too much tomorrow night. but the net effect is negative. the lost time, the heightened risk for illness and injury, the negative social impact when you have "lubricated" someone the wrong way....these are side-effects that are no longer worth it to me.

it'll be two years in april, and i have no real regrets about quitting. i have just as much fun, laugh more, and am more socially active and physically fit than i was before. i drink juice or non-alcoholic beer, and spend at least one or two hours a day "drinking" with my friends and customers. many still have no idea i do not drink. they just assume that because i am drinking something that looks like something, and seem to be having a great time, that i must be partaking.

and i also kick the crap out of my drinking friends on any number of video games, games of skill, and games of chance. and after all, winning is what it's all about. isn't it?

Mar 24, 2004 5:11:33 AM

Most of us have went through the whole "control" issue. We either recognize problems or we feel that there is something wrong, so we decide to control our drinking. We switch from Liquor to wine or beer. We try to limit it to so many over a given period of time, etc.

If we have to try and control it, maybe there is an underlieing chance that it might be possible for it to have control over us?

The average person who doesn't have a probelm usually doesn't need to try and control it.

Mar 24, 2004 5:36:39 PM

Joi = Thanks for this update. I've been talking with a friend who's sober for 20 odd years thanks to AA and he's been giving me a lot to think about. Looking at life square in the eye, sober, is not a whole helluva lot of fun sometimes. It's real, but often really painful too.

I find not drinking does put walls between me and others at parties or anywhere there is drinking, and I don't know what to do about that. The comment above by the bartender who drinks non-alcoholic beer, allowing others to think he's drinking is very interesting -- I might try it. I find it especially uncomfortable to be invited to St. Patrick's Day parties, New Year's Eve parties, any holidays that really revolve around drinking. People get drunk and want to linger late into the night, and I get bored and tired and ready to go home. It's like not being in on a private joke.

So thanks for sharing your story honestly here, and good luck with stopping again. Thanks for your encouragement, I'll need it.

Halley

Mar 28, 2004 4:22:29 PM
4 - Gabrielle

I'm back here again. I felt ashamed to come before because, well ,yes I was drinking. Not getting drunk - oh no - but still dealing with the awful aftermath of those two or three glasses of chardonnay. I have quit again. I can go easily days without....but as yet I have not made it months...Yesterday I drank some wine because well, my partner really upset me and of course the wine was going to help me to become calmer and cheered up. I think it also made my friends feel better to help "cheer me up" with a glass of chardy. When I got home to an empty house I cried more than I would have without the drink....SO, I have quit again and now I am also trying to figure out how to quit my addiction to emotionally abusive people. Is there a site for that anywhere's that you guys know of?

Mar 28, 2004 7:16:18 PM

Joi, I hope my comments at SXSW weren't devilish temptation. I'm functional even when I'm out of control, paradoxically, so I may seem healthier than I am. Maybe it's okay for all of us to drink when we're 80 years old and living at the Home for Geriatric Geeks. Otherwise we should probably drink only Dr. Pepper and distilled water.

Mar 29, 2004 6:23:20 AM

Jon. No your comments were fine.

I did have a great moment last night at dinner as my jet lag was kicking in. My mind started getting that "running low on batteries" feeling. I realized that if I had been having wine, I would not have been able to continue the incredibly exciting discussion I was having. Yay brain cells!

Mar 30, 2004 7:02:08 AM
7 - Mike B

"... drinking enough to make the drinking fun... would be more than enough and therefore too much"

Joi, you nailed it. I've just come off of a few weeks of unsuccessful experimentation myself. In what I believe to be a desperate attempt to fight the inevitable, I even came up with a sophisticated limit system to make sure I would "drink like other people". It started with some fudging of my previous conviction that I was better off not drinking, that I was unable to set and maintain healthy limits.

After a few weeks of not drinking (and feeling much better), I had the epiphany that I actually _was_ successfully limiting my drinking. Zero is, after all, just a limit that's one less than one or two, I thought. So I came up with a system I called “1-2-4” (had to be base two, of course) consisting of zero or one drinks on weekday nights, two drinks on weekend nights, and four drinks on special weekend occasions. I'm sure many of you know how the story ends. For me, I maintained the one drink limit during the week, met an associate on Friday to talk business over "a few beers" and went straight to making a new rule - six drinks on very special occasions (it was business after all).

The next day I, of course, felt like crap. So it only made sense to punish myself for blowing the system by continuing to blow the system. A week later the insomnia hits me and I wake up at 3:30 a.m. to a quiet house and some time to think -- about the utter and complete insanity of games I've been playing with myself.

It's so simple (but my how I complicate it!). I don't need to drink alcohol to live. When I don't, I feel like I'm in charge of my life and am making to most of it. When I do, I feel like the world is always a step or two ahead of me - especially in the morning.

And so I now have now added another experience to the pile of evidence that always points in the same direction – that drinking just isn't fun for me unless I can get to that pleasant “fuzzy place”. And that once there my thinking changes and my best intentions are thrown to the wind. So there is no sense in having or two, getting to the sweet spot means three or four, and three or four alters my thinking to the degree I can’t reliably limit myself further.

So I'm back to total abstinence. I’m not disappointed, more like resigned. I look forward to seeing the sun rise again, having better quality time with my daughters, getting back to that clean, untainted feeling I got from several weeks of sobriety. Besides, there are much worse things besides simply not being able to drink. I'm grateful to have only this as my major demon to conquer.

How long will it last? Who knows - but I don’t think I’ll drink today.

Mike

Apr 1, 2004 9:45:02 AM
8 - Green Lanter

Hello all, I am new to the site. I have made many unsuccessful attempts to quit drinking, but having recently quit chewing tobacco, I am determined to quit drinking also. I started drinking in jr. high. By my junior year in high school I was drinking a lot. I was the guy who hosted to kegger every weekend. My core group of drunk friends and I would drink the leftover keg during lunches the following week. Sometimes we would drink in the morning before school. I even remember going into my first period english class with a 7-11 Big Gulp full of beer. In college I was a stellar binge drinker. I would drink Thursday night, Friday night, drink all day while tailgating on Saturday and drink until 4:00 a.m on Sunday morning. I would go out monday for cheap Jaeger shots and 32 oz. beers. Tuesday and Wednesday I would rest up for Thursday. I always got good grades, never got a DUI (miracle), but I was arrested once for drunk & disorderly. I woke up in jail and had no idea why.

I got married right after college and didn't go out as much; however, I kept drinking. I would drink about 3 nights during the week and drank a lot on Friday and Saturday night. I am now 32 and still drinking. 5-6 nights a week I drink 8-16 ozs. of straight vodka. It is irrelevant whether it is a weeekend or weeknight, I just love to drink. I feel like crap in the morning and workout to get rid of that feeling. I tell myself that I won't drink today, but by 7:00 p.m. my addictive voice has talked me into drinking again. It is absolutely stupid.

I quit 2 years ago for 90 days. I attended a few AA meetings (not for me) and saw a couselor one on one. I now realize that just like quitting tobacco, I need to have a genuine desire to quit and the will power to follow through on it. So today, I quit.

There is a website call quitsmokeless.org that helped me tremendously in quitting chewing tobacco. One of the things they do is have a quit group each month. They have one forum for each quit group for people to post there thoughts, feelings, etc. The best part is they have a rollcall, where everyday people in the quit group post how many days they have quit. It is excellent for accountability. Something like that here would be excellent.

Apr 25, 2004 7:58:49 PM
9 - mike hubert

Green, I am also new to site. I have been sober for 6 years. Your story is very similiar to mine. Let me tell you from your age I got a DUI and two failed marriages. I ended up in the hospital in ICU with a bleeding ulcer.Thats when I made my decision. I encourage your efforts. As they say the elevator stops at all floors, you can get off wherever you want. Mike

May 9, 2004 7:21:06 AM
10 - gabrielle

Last night I argued with someone close to me and in a reactive way went out and bought a couple of cans of scotch and cola. I drank them both (alone) and felt like crap afterwards. I also bought a pack of cigarettes because I fully intended to completely indulge. The packet remains unopened, and whilst I drank the two scotches I didn't want anymore. So I quit again. Each time I quit I think I am practising to quit for good. I haven't smoked for over three months now. And the times between drinks are increasing in length. I feel stronger. I feel more able to deal with crap. And I still feel really out of my depth at times too.

May 20, 2004 8:31:15 AM
11 - Fred

If I look back, I wish I didn't indulge so much in driking in my life because now I know there is no coming back. I am only 30 but I will never have a normal relation with any kind of drink and my fight (with victories and failures) against it will never abandon me.
I went trough all the stages, from drinking occasionally and socially at parties, to spending time just with friends who drunk heavily (guess why...), to drinking on my own and finally to being unable to stop drinking for 3 days in the row from the evening when I got "started"...Now I resist usually one month (no need to convince me that I am better without it, I realized that some time ago and I do usually go out socially and no drinking), then I "fall" for 3 days and then I quit and again and again...And after I have just quitted I feel depressed for a week and then I feel fine but when I feel fine I sort of "forget" why I quitted and so sooner or later I drink again...That's it.
Before I drunk less but much more often, but I wasn't completely aware that drinking "throws life down river", now I know it, I drink less often but when I do I drink my self to a crazy pont which I, absolutely I, after a month of sobrety cannot resist to reach (while I did manage to quit smoking after 12 years...and now it's been 2 years without any cigarette, I really thought quit drinking would have been much easier, wrong!) .
What to do? Juts keep on fighting and see how this awful "thing" that I (we) have will evolve...If you can, just don't go down that cold and dirty path. If you are trying to stop walking on it like me, good luck!

May 23, 2004 8:33:56 PM
12 - Debby

I'm really glad to have found this site. I've been going through years of secret drinking that I can't seem to stop. I find that a few vodka & tonics make it a lot easier to come home after a full day of work and wash dishes, make dinner, do laundry, wash dishes again and generally deal with everything at home. It's not that my life is awful - it isn't at all. I have a wonderful husband, two great kids, a nice house...there's really nothing wrong at all except I like that feeling of a few drinks in the evening. It relaxes me, but of course I have found over the years that it takes a few more to give me the proper buzz and that buzz results in a fuzzy feeling the next day, nevermind the constant guilt. My feeble attempts to quit have been ridiculously short-lived. I always have some excuse to postpone the inevitable- it's a holiday, life is too stressful at the moment, it's my birthday or somebody else's birthday, I've had a disappointment, etc. You know all too well. Anyway, I will be reading these postings closely to help myself get out of this stupid cycle. I wonder how people do it "one day at a time." I find myself thinking about all of those other days to get through ahead of me, and I find it overwhelming, so I continue to drink, postponing that first "one day". Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Oct 18, 2004 1:35:32 PM
13 - just me

I've just stumbled upon this website doing some research about non-alcholic beers and read a few of the entries and saw my life reflected in many of them. I have recently begun to think that I may have a problem with drinking and should likely "nip it in the bud." Alcoholism is present in my family, both maternally & paternally, and I know I should not drink at all due to my family history and my addictive personality. One of the comments said more or less "if you have to consciously limit your drinking you likely have some sort of problem already." That really hit home. This realization is compounded by the fact that I'm actually drinking a beer now, alone at 4:30 in the afternoon. Hmmm....

Feb 13, 2005 9:30:10 AM
14 - Brenda

Hello. I have just been enjoying poking around on this blog. I have made a decision not to drink-unfortunately I keep making the same decision, day after day, without actually DOING anything about it. This blog gives me some encouragement-when I get the next urge, I think I will pay you a visit, instead of the liquor store! Thanks

Apr 26, 2005 7:35:44 PM
15 - Andrew

Over the last five or six years I have steadily increased my drinking habits. I drink nearly every night, sometimes I take a Sunday off because the liquor stores in Minnesota are closed. For the most part, I don't miss a day. I have made a few attempts at quitting. I have gone two weeks at a time without a drop, but as I begin to feel better I seem to want to supplement it with a beer, because I feel I deserve it. When I do quit I have an unbelievable amount of positive energy. Sometimes I feel that I don't have an output for this energy, so to tether it, I want a beer. Then that beer turns into six beers and from there, it just keeps going up. I have never been to an AA meeting, but have thought seriously about going. It gets old really fast when you wake up at 8:00am every morning feeling like absoulte crap. Then I work all day and feel like crap when I get home. So I grab a twelve pack on my way home and sit in front of the computer or TV and drink in an attempt to feel better. Then in the morning the cycle begins again. I think I have some guilt in my life. Big expectations put forth by my parents stifled my growth emotionally. Both my grandfather on my dad's side and my grandmother on my Mom's side were alcoholics. I think my Mom has a drinking problem, though she would never admit it. My problem is that once I start drinking I rarely stop before I'm drunk. I act fine when I drink. I've never had a DWI and I don't have a criminal record. But that doesn't mean that because my energy is so low when I drink that I haven't strained relationships with a lot of good family and friends. Im just sapped of all of my energy. I would really like to quit for good. I'm pretty sure that I'll never be able to just have a beer and stop. It just doesn't work with my mental/physical being. Is it worth it to go to an AA meeting? I just don't like the religous undercurrent that is associated with the organization. I don't want to surrender myself to a "higher power" to stop drinking. I want to be able to make the logical and well thought decision to stop on my own. I know it can be done, but I still need an outlet for discussion and I think this is a good forum for discussion. I have enjoyed reading all of your posts. Good luck to all of you.

Apr 28, 2005 5:31:15 AM
16 - Kristine

Andrew, you have so many insights about what drinking is doing to you. Have you heard about the Rational Recovery program?

www.recovery.org

I wasn't all that interested in AA either, although I know it helps many, many people. But Rational Recovery really got through to me. I did the free crash course and I have almost 5 months sober now!

There is also a message board link on the upper left. Lots of support and discussion there!

Apr 28, 2005 5:32:42 AM
17 - Kristine

Sorry, wrong link!!! It should be....

http://www.rational.org/

May 11, 2005 12:49:02 PM
18 - Violet

Hi,
I ran across this site looking for info. My best friend is an alcoholic also she's married to one. She's one of my dearest friends and I'm concerned for her. Her husband has just stopped taking medication to control alcohol and started drinking right up. She tried not to drink but she told me she has only drank three times since he started. My concern is she assures me that she will be able to control her drinking but I've always heard that alcoholics arent to even take one drink. I didn't say anything to her. I just want to be there for her. I attended a meeting with her as she's been going to them for years. Is she right? Will she be able to control it? And should I say something to her about my concern?

Feb 12, 2008 4:55:41 AM


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