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Health 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
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Tokyo Joe Away
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Post: #2101
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge
It’s been a while, my Wagon-riding and Wagon-watching friends. We have picked up some serious new fellow-travellers over the past several months. It’s good to see. Welcome, welcome aboard! Wait, I’ll slide over a bit -- take a seat. Although much has been said, still much remains to be made clear. My 365th forum post is as fitting a time as any to tell a few stories and share what's on my mind.

***
First, the genius of the Wagon is that you feel the sting in every season.

You'll feel the sting in the depths of winter, some January night that’s so cold the moisture has frozen right out of the air, and the moon is its classic wind-sharpened blade. You hit the cobblestone streets in the genteel Azabu area, on your way to meet a couple of old friends. Stepping into the izakaya, a throw-back to the 1960s, the warmth and the aroma hits you smack in the face; you take a corner seat at the counter encircling the open cooking area, watching the hunched old man at the grill and the juicy-tight, impossibly young waitresses and the relaxed/excited diners. Your buddies arrive, a couple of good heads, and immediately they are hoisting those enormous glass mugs of sub-zero Asahi, making you wince at each gulp. When they switch to little cups of sake, you briefly consider killing yourself, before settling down and hard-mindedly numbing yourself to the stings insulting you from all sides.

Come spring, you’ll feel the sting. Some crisp early afternoon when March is halfway from lion to lamb, you may decide to check out your neighborhood’s new Italian café, perched on the edge of the bridge overlooking an ancient stone-walled river in the heart of Tokyo. Sure, it’s one of those insane Japanese places that is *more Italian* than the genuine article in Milan, and even though you’ve come for an after-lunch espresso, your attention is consumed entirely by the long polished wooden bar, the perfectly heighted bar stools, the shining brass beer-taps, the sparkling glassware, and the screaming array of liquor bottles. And the sickest thing -- from your seat at the bar you have the perfect view through the window out onto the bridge and the river and the street and, indeed, all of Creation. For two decades nothing made you happier than staring at the world, framed by a bar window, and you want to feel that ecstasy one more time. But you can’t have it and it stings like hell. (Of course, when that first year is up this will be the very place you choose to break your wagon.)

You will feel the sting on a hot, sickly humid summer afternoon. Coming back from an hour at the gym, you are running late so instead of the customary languid walk home you’ve hopped into a cab. The moment you cruise by the familiar restaurant with the outside wooden deck, you turn and see two old Japanese men with their glasses of beer raised high in a flawless toast. The color is drained entirely from that image like the blood from a corpse: the bright red bricks of the building, the overflowing green leaves of the potted plants, the gaudy shop sign -- they are all as pallid and grey as the two old men. Only the beer is shining gold, and it stings in your bones and you curse out loud.

And you better fucking believe you’ll feel that sting in the Fall, the best season not only for drinking, but the year’s pinnacle in every way. If you hopped on the Wagon the previous Fall, by this late time of year the merest passing glimpse through a bar door or window, or a sidelong glance at a floridly labelled 1.8-liter bottle of sake or shochu, stings harder than the meanest yellow jacket of October.

***
Those were all unforgettable stinging moments from the first (October 2015 to October 2016) of my recent wagon years. Yes, you do feel the sting in every season, but with time and patience the stings lessen in frequency and intensity.

The dull truth is, I did not take that first wagon year in the right frame of mind. As I wrote about here, beginning at a point well short of the six-month mark, I wasted a great deal of time both day-dreaming about my post-Wagon drinks -- my coming revenge, as it were -- and also reminiscing about bygone drinking exploits. This may very well be only natural, because I believe that deep down men tend to fundamentally live in the past and in the future, but all too rarely in the present. It is really only in those fleeting moments when a man is fighting for his life, or properly fucking a hot bitch, or drinking deeply of his cups, that he is truly *in the here-and-now*. That’s a topic for another time, but suffice it to say: Part of the hard work of the Wagon consists in turning and opening your mind to the present at hand, rather than some misty past or improbable future.

After three weeks of farewell drinks and a celebration of the T victory, I went back on the Wagon in November 2016, and quickly realized I couldn’t repeat the big mistake of the preceding year -- not only would I be miserable, but I would likely not be able to sustain the wagon year after year for at least eight years, as I knew I needed to do this time.

Here is the tack I took: Whenever I would catch myself sliding into a reverie about drinking, past or future, I mentally brought a gavel down and intoned to myself, “Dismissed.” That is all. And I would turn my thoughts to something else -- if possible, something of everyday life, as it truly is, with its unsurpassable, great beauties. And this trick worked: After many long weeks, I found my mind wandering ever more rarely to the tired day-dreams of drinking. And when it did, I summarily dismissed them from my mind and turned away.

Still, every now and again the sting will sneak up and hit me out of nowhere. A saw a picture the other day of Sinatra and Martin dressed to the nines, sitting at a cluttered banquet table, Sammy Davis standing between them, hunched over conspiratorially; Frank is pouring himself a Jack Daniels on the rocks, and Dean is feeling his breast pocket for a Marlboro. I saw that, and was stung in the pit of my stomach. The feeling soon passed, but for a moment I yearned to be back in that whole world of drinking, and damn I wanted a slug of Jack really badly.

***
Something else that has not been said strongly enough here, but needs to be understood by all drinking men: If you remain a serious drinker past a certain age (different for everyone, but anywhere from the early- or mid-thirties to early-forties), you are very likely to wind up with a terrible case of what I privately call Permanent Fallen Fuckface.

Now, I do not know the exact underlying mechanisms here, but roughly what happens is something along these lines: Heavy drinking has a weird way of relaxing and laming the muscles of the face. You can see this in the mugs of drinkers at the tail-end of a long night of carousing, when a guy will suffer from Temporary Fallen Fuckface. Up to a certain age, a man’s face has the capacity to naturally bounce back to its original shape, but if he goes to the well too deeply and too often past that age, the Temporary Fallen Fuckface will settle into a truly horrible permanence. Where once he had a rock-hewn Rushmore, the man now has an Amazonian mudslide for a face. I’ve seen it a hundred times and it is one of the cruelest wages paid by the bitter drinker who refuses to quit while he is ahead. It would be funny if it were not so disgusting a sight to behold in people you once loved and respected.

***
While I’m at it, as an aside -- have others here noticed that past-their-prime drinkers seem to always be pathetically babbling about the grand plans they have and the great things they are going to accomplish, but they never actually get around to doing them? Reminds me of the sad sack who visited Japan way back when, and was very rightly floored by the people, the landscapes, the language, the cuisine -- by everything. He swore then that he would start studying Japanese in earnest, take control of his career, and figure out a way to move to the country long-term. Well over a year passes, and he comes back for another visit -- and once again he is blown away by the unchanged otherworldly majesty of Japan. Sure, he hadn’t done a thing in the long interval since the last trip to make his righteous dream come true, but again he vows to make it happen, somehow. But smart money is on nothing at all happening, because loser drunks never make it happen in the end. Again, it is always about some vague future that is never realized, due to his own fault.

***
Finally, and most importantly, the deepest possible reason to not hold on to drinking past the point of its innocence and wholesomeness in youth is this: Drinking amounts to aiding and abetting the Enemy in the only war that really counts -- the war between human being and the materials that surround and embody us. Someday this war’s gonna end -- damn right it will, Col. Kilgore -- when the new human being stands victorious, in total control of the material world and in his rightful place as God, which after all was always nothing more than a very fine metaphor for what men always knew they must eventually become.

Until that final triumph, which admittedly many of us old human beings may not live to see, we are locked in a death struggle with the world of unthinking materials. If you are a hard drinker who isn’t exactly young any longer, by continuing to drink you are openly conspiring with the material world to destroy you. It is a fundamentally nihilistic urge -- the noble attempt to suicide in the face of certain death -- and one that most serious drinkers find hard to resist. But if you want to live a long, healthy, and prosperous life and have even the slightest chance of someday seeing the world transformed utterly and unimaginably by the dawn of the new human being, then you have to let the poison go, and yesterday. Nothing more needs to be said.

I wish the best to all of you here, whether you are just embarking on your Wagon journey, have been hanging on for months, years or decades, or are considering climbing aboard. You know what you need to do. Be well.

***
P.S. Lizard: Thanks for your response up-thread about my pot-smoking loser friend, who continues to circle the fucking drain. I’ve had my doubts about marijuana for a long time and am seeing more and more so-called Wagoneers replace one human being-destroying drug with another. For the record, all you f'ing potheads are not on my Wagon: You can walk as far as I'm concerned. A couple cups of coffee per day can be tolerated, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

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03-08-2018 04:50 AM
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Post: #2102
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
'Loser drunks never make it in the end.'

That's a perfect phrase for so many people that I've left behind.
03-08-2018 06:46 AM
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Post: #2103
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Christ. That was fucking poetry TJ.

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03-08-2018 04:20 PM
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Post: #2104
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-08-2018 04:50 AM)Tokyo Joe Wrote:  snip

Post Of The Day

Especially the part about feeling the sting in every season.

The way you described those scenes was so beautiful it came to life right before my eyes.
03-08-2018 09:23 PM
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Post: #2105
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
TJ, what an intense and beautiful post. I've read it several times already, both this morning and tonight, and I'm drawn to re-read it again.

It is a post suffused with the Technicolor palette and moisture of the young wagon. I treasured it -- but I would also say that there are long stretches ahead when the wagon takes on a duller sheen, and one must be content to let it merely trundle along. It is true to say that this post was full of poetry; it is also true that, as time goes on, the wagon must be allowed to age into prose. It is that prose that safeguards the innermost youth and poetry of the spirit.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
03-08-2018 09:56 PM
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Gmac Offline
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Post: #2106
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Tokyo Joe upping the quality on this board as usual... you inspire me!

Since this is my first wagon, it was refreshing and invigorating to read through your post, and to know that others here have had quite similar, vivid experiences of their own.

For a few long years, I had become broken, lost, and increasingly bitter. I was careful to hide this part of myself from the world. A great actor who'd even managed to fool myself.

Not long ago, an enormous, shadowy cloud loomed over me. My mind, my body, and my spirit had all grown lazy and complacent. My pursuits were fleeting. I felt myself getting older, dumber, and had begun to resent even myself. I had become so reliant on a poisonous cesspool of substance and surrounded myself with people who did not make me happy. Or worse in some cases, by distancing myself from all others entirely. And yet every night I would dive right back into that miserable dark place, and pay the price yet again for those temporary fixations. I never learned, would not, refused to even.

That was then.

I'm currently on day 49, a very young wagon compared to some of yours, and have have experienced a few "drop the hammer" periods of my own that were necessary to drive me from my stupor. We drudge along, but the powerful temptations all around us are constant. Worse, our own minds attempt to play tricks and deceive us, screaming to make us stray. The fear of missing out, the flavor, all those good ol' times. *BAM*

Once again the curse is broken... dismissed and fluttering away as quickly as the thoughts crept in. The sting is tough. For we are the marked ones, struggling and suffering endlessly. This is our burden. And yet, every day I compel myself to take a step forward through the right door. I feel the bright light shining on me... I am alive once again.

My mind is quickly becoming a steeled fortress, stronger and more resilient than it ever was before. I have dropped numerous bad habits and time-wasters. Positive routines, including the right amount of exercise, are coming back into my life again. I'm reading books (the kind with pages that you actually hold in your hand), and am inspired like a child to learn more about this world. My wits and senses are sharpened. Motivation and creativity flow through me, fueled by present ambition and hope for a better future. I have meaning and purpose. Even in my darkest hours, I will not let myself down ever again. Good luck breaking in.

Vice-Captain - #TeamWaitAndSee
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2018 07:37 AM by Gmac.)
03-10-2018 07:25 AM
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sexonhexen Offline
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Post: #2107
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Excellent thread and posts - thanks everybody here who's contributing.

It's actually this thread which inspired me to start posting here after having made an account a while back.

It's time for me to take up this challenge and get my life back on track.

I've been living like a student too long, and not treating the world too seriously, all while wanting to aim high and achieve many things in life; creating a constant downward spiral of frustration and a 'lol, fuck it' attitude. The drink is pretty much the root cause of all this, and I'm glad that I can post this somewhere, and start taking this shit seriously. And to be honest, drinking has stopped becoming fun.

But yeah, continuing my stream of thought right now would just be a repost of what's been written above many times. Time to start doing, rather than writing!
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2018 09:37 AM by sexonhexen.)
03-10-2018 09:37 AM
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Georges89 Offline
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Post: #2108
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-10-2018 07:25 AM)Gmac Wrote:  Tokyo Joe upping the quality on this board as usual... you inspire me!

Since this is my first wagon, it was refreshing and invigorating to read through your post, and to know that others here have had quite similar, vivid experiences of their own.

For a few long years, I had become broken, lost, and increasingly bitter. I was careful to hide this part of myself from the world. A great actor who'd even managed to fool myself.

Not long ago, an enormous, shadowy cloud loomed over me. My mind, my body, and my spirit had all grown lazy and complacent. My pursuits were fleeting. I felt myself getting older, dumber, and had begun to resent even myself. I had become so reliant on a poisonous cesspool of substance and surrounded myself with people who did not make me happy. Or worse in some cases, by distancing myself from all others entirely. And yet every night I would dive right back into that miserable dark place, and pay the price yet again for those temporary fixations. I never learned, would not, refused to even.

I really resonate with that part I bolded in dark. My motivation for joining the wagon was quite similar. I wanted to get away from that darkness in my life, and I really have now. It's as if, loosely speaking, I was always thinking about what I could be doing with my life, wishing away days, months and years. Alcohol and other drugs were a part of that illusion and that false comfort that I had created to suppress my urges to really do something with my life.

It's only since I've stopped, that this light has shined forth and outwards from me. And all of a sudden, I look back and realise that I'm finally doing all the things that I was upset I wasn't doing. I'm studying fine art, breaking into freelance work and carving out a new career..All of that extra time, energy and money seems to create a formula for getting shit done, or at least started.

Life hasn't been easier though and in some ways its been harder because I have less 'hiding places' now. Sure, I have the internet, netflix, and I can eat junk food. But its getting harder to hide, and by default that means I've begun to face the things you were running from, which in it's purest, most unadulterated form is life itself. You get on top of that monster, and you take it by the fucking horns and control it. Before, I was scared of really living in some ways. Where as now, I'm beginning to take control and write my own destiny. Nothing is by chance but by design.

I'm around six months into the wagon and recently I've had these 'stories'. Essentially, insecurities mainly around dating. I start to wonder whether a woman will think I'm boring, or too fussy, or that there's something wrong with me because I'm not drinking. I know these are my own projections, yet I'm struggling a little but to let go of these ideas that I believe may 'get in the way' of my dating life. Again, the insecurities without alcohol were always there - its probably that I'm simply more aware of the insecurities I was carrying around..

Likewise, I also have stories about sex. Will the sex be boring, or will women be put off because they usually associate alcohol with sex and building intimacy? I really feel quite naked in that sense, and I'm still looking to build my sense of power in that respect. That actually, I will own the fuck out of my decision not too drink. That it will be a source of attraction, as opposed to something to be ashamed off. Because, as sad as it is, I may have been carrying that vibe with girls recently. 'Yeah, sorry I don't drink, its just because of X and Y, and yada yada..' - Not exactly in those words, but the point remains. I want to begin to own it better and affirm my decision. Because that affirmation and that owning your lifestyle is what is truly attractive, compared to the old me who has a vibe of 'I'm doing this, but I'm not completely comfortable about it.'

It's perhaps a little harder in the dating world because its a dog eat dog world. Certainly online dating. I've been quite conscious of the fact that I'm probably one of a few non drinkers online. Anyway, I digress.
(This post was last modified: 03-10-2018 01:37 PM by Georges89.)
03-10-2018 01:26 PM
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Post: #2109
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Georges89 I can definitely relate to a lot of things you described in your post, even after a mere 2 months on the wagon.

(03-10-2018 01:26 PM)Georges89 Wrote:  It's as if, loosely speaking, I was always thinking about what I could be doing with my life, wishing away days, months and years. Alcohol and other drugs were a part of that illusion and that false comfort that I had created to suppress my urges to really do something with my life.

It's only since I've stopped, that this light has shined forth and outwards from me. And all of a sudden, I look back and realise that I'm finally doing all the things that I was upset I wasn't doing. I'm studying fine art, breaking into freelance work and carving out a new career..All of that extra time, energy and money seems to create a formula for getting shit done, or at least started.

During my drinking days I used to have a habit of writing down, in great detail, what I was going to do with my life and exactly how I was going to do it. Detailed work out plans, grand plans to start a new business and conquer the world with it, travel plans, etc.

Except, most of these were written down when drunk. We all know what happens with drunk plans: they don't happen.

Now, it's as if a shadow is slowly making way for a brighter path. I don't plan anymore; I do.


Quote:Likewise, I also have stories about sex. Will the sex be boring, or will women be put off because they usually associate alcohol with sex and building intimacy? I really feel quite naked in that sense, and I'm still looking to build my sense of power in that respect. That actually, I will own the fuck out of my decision not too drink. That it will be a source of attraction, as opposed to something to be ashamed off. Because, as sad as it is, I may have been carrying that vibe with girls recently. 'Yeah, sorry I don't drink, its just because of X and Y, and yada yada..' - Not exactly in those words, but the point remains. I want to begin to own it better and affirm my decision. Because that affirmation and that owning your lifestyle is what is truly attractive, compared to the old me who has a vibe of 'I'm doing this, but I'm not completely comfortable about it.'

It's perhaps a little harder in the dating world because its a dog eat dog world. Certainly online dating. I've been quite conscious of the fact that I'm probably one of a few non drinkers online. Anyway, I digress.

Owning it is the way to go man.

So far, I find that perhaps the best and most rewarding part of being on the wagon is to seduce a new girl, taking her to your place and having animalistic sex with her. All completely sober.

Especially when they come back for more and it's not just a drunken one night stand.

For me it's been extremely eye-opening to realize that I can do that sober. It skyrockets my confidence and opens up a completely new world of possibilities.
03-10-2018 11:26 PM
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Post: #2110
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-10-2018 11:26 PM)Winston Wolfe Wrote:  Owning it is the way to go man.

So far, I find that perhaps the best and most rewarding part of being on the wagon is to seduce a new girl, taking her to your place and having animalistic sex with her. All completely sober.

Especially when they come back for more and it's not just a drunken one night stand.

For me it's been extremely eye-opening to realize that I can do that sober. It skyrockets my confidence and opens up a completely new world of possibilities.

Yeah Winston, that's so true. I guess what I'm discovering about myself is that I always used alcohol to build intimacy, and without it, I'm not so confident. I suppose, I have my own issues about intimicy, about getting closer to a girl. And drinking definitely made that easier, where as sober, I feel this huge fear of rejection...baby steps and all.

Developing natural confidence is surely the key.

My last girlfriend didn't drink alcohol, she was a friend for almost a year until we ended up sleeping together for the first time at my house. We got close and it just happened. In that case, it was very natural for it to occur. What I find harder is 'dating' because there is something unnatural about it, when you are trying to get intimate in a much faster time rate.

Ultimately, perhaps my mind is making up this big story about how different it is. It's not that different. You go out a few times, have fun (hopefully), get to know each other better, hopefully kiss for the first time, and if all being good and well things should just move on from there. Of course, alcohol suppresses all that mental chatter when you're in the moment.

I figure doing really fun things, like bowling for example, dancing, stuff where you forget yourself and helps break the ice would be a good thing to look at. Because I find just talking in a bar a bit formulaic sometimes. You're having to do all the work to generate the sense of fun. Where as you go do a fun activity, and it's way more natural in a sense.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2018 05:58 AM by Georges89.)
03-11-2018 05:56 AM
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Post: #2111
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-10-2018 07:25 AM)Gmac Wrote:  Once again the curse is broken... dismissed and fluttering away as quickly as the thoughts crept in. The sting is tough. For we are the marked ones, struggling and suffering endlessly. This is our burden. And yet, every day I compel myself to take a step forward through the right door. I feel the bright light shining on me... I am alive once again.

My mind is quickly becoming a steeled fortress, stronger and more resilient than it ever was before. I have dropped numerous bad habits and time-wasters. Positive routines, including the right amount of exercise, are coming back into my life again. I'm reading books (the kind with pages that you actually hold in your hand), and am inspired like a child to learn more about this world. My wits and senses are sharpened. Motivation and creativity flow through me, fueled by present ambition and hope for a better future. I have meaning and purpose. Even in my darkest hours, I will not let myself down ever again. Good luck breaking in.

Gmac, this is all very excessive. A man who has drunk too hard for too long may have to deal with the occasional temptation or craving, but that does not single him out as a "marked one"; nor does the need to dismiss such cravings amount to "struggling and suffering endlessly", or indeed anything close to it. There is certainly some unpleasantness involved in mastering these urges, and occasionally some real effort -- but excepting the most serious cases of the truly far gone alcoholic, nothing that ranks very high on the scale of human struggle and suffering.

One of the most vicious traits of the hard drinking type is an unthinking selfishness that expresses itself in varieties of self-involvement, self-indulgence, and self-aggrandizement. The hard drinker loves to dress up both his failures and his successes; to justify clinging to the sauce, he overvalues his increasingly rote ecstasies -- but let him put away the bottle for the merest minute, and he is already impatient to claim every triumph of the will as his own. He does not know how to bide his time, because he has spent too many hours in reliably vouchsafed obliteration, wearing the same selfish, dreaming mug.

The wagon is a very great teacher, and what it teaches above all is a degree of patience, modesty, and realism. But the lesson takes a long time -- the wagon needs to go on and on, weeks and months and seasons and, dreadfully, years; and it's only after being slapped again and again with the realization that there is no celebratory drink at the end of any of the rainbows that the hard drinker's slack and frenetic chatter -- which both he and others too often mistake for profundity -- finally falls away and is perhaps replaced by something else. Now there is something to look forward to.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
03-11-2018 04:08 PM
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Post: #2112
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
TJ fantastic post.

Here I am only a couple months away from the 3 year mark. I was on a flight to Vegas, order a coffee with cream. Receive it and set it on the tray while I continue to read my book. A few minutes later, I take a decent swig of it. Hmmm, that tastes real funny. Did they use a flavored creamer or something? Take the lid off and sniff it, nope it's booze. Baileys most likely. Walk back to the flight attendant and hand her the cup and let her know that someone is missing their Baileys and coffee and get a fresh regular coffee. Back at my seat, I'm sitting there thinking... well fuck, I already took a drink, albeit accidentally. I might as well just drink it up in Vegas. That was the first serious drinking thought in at least a year! Passed quickly but sure was sinister for a minute. No problems the rest of the time with wanting to drink. Amazing how easy it was to try to justify jumping off the wagon.
03-12-2018 09:11 AM
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Post: #2113
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Damn I can't remember the last day I didn't have a drink. This pit is a deep one. If I can get through one day without it I feel so good the next day. Need to break this streak today.
03-13-2018 05:10 PM
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Winston Wolfe Offline
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Post: #2114
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-11-2018 05:56 AM)Georges89 Wrote:  I figure doing really fun things, like bowling for example, dancing, stuff where you forget yourself and helps break the ice would be a good thing to look at. Because I find just talking in a bar a bit formulaic sometimes. You're having to do all the work to generate the sense of fun. Where as you go do a fun activity, and it's way more natural in a sense.

Fun activities really do help. And it doesn't even really have to be something fancy or even expensive.

Here's what I try to do now that I'm sober:

I suggest to pick the girl up on my motorbike and take her to a coffee shop or a bar, depending on if it's a day time date or night time date.

Just the fact that she's letting me pick her up at her place and she trusts my driving skills already tells me I managed to comfort her over text or when we first met (if I met her online, I usually video call upfront as well).

Having her on the back of your bike is also a great way to initiate kino right from the start. I always rest my hand on her leg when talking to her at a traffic light for example.

After about an hour of drinking coffee and talking, I suggest a roadtrip, which to her comes across as a spontaneous thing but for me it's ofcourse already planned in my mind. They love the adventure and it gives me a venue change opportunity.

Now if at any point during the date they make a comment about me not ordering alcohol, I either deflect the situation:

"You wouldn't want your bike driver to get drunk now would you?"

Or I straight up tell them:

"Oh I don't drink, but no worries, not judging you" (said in a playful way).

If you just say it confidently and own it, I find that they will actually become more curious instead of thinking you're strange.

Almost every new person I've met since I'm on the wagon (both girls and guys) has at some point started expressing interest and wanting to know more about my decision. This usually happens when they notice it doesn't seem to bother me in the slightest (it does at times, but don't show this). The only people who really continue to give me shit and resistance for it are people I've already known for a long time.

Another rule I have is to never bring this sobriety thing up unsolicited. Only talk about it if someone else asks first. If you feel the need to mention it out of the blue, it shows you are insecure about it and need validation.
(This post was last modified: 03-13-2018 09:07 PM by Winston Wolfe.)
03-13-2018 09:05 PM
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Georges89 Offline
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Post: #2115
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-13-2018 09:05 PM)Winston Wolfe Wrote:  Another rule I have is to never bring this sobriety thing up unsolicited. Only talk about it if someone else asks first. If you feel the need to mention it out of the blue, it shows you are insecure about it and need validation.

Hi WW, that sounds like a great date idea, although I can't drive a motorbike, but the point being that having real fun on dates is probably the best idea, which should be a no brainer really, but when you think about it, mainstream dating seems so artificial and centred around going to a bar.

As for what you mentioned about bringing it up, you really hit the nail on the head here. I had an epiphany myself recently, where I realised I was asking for validation about my sobriety alongside other issues to this girl without even realising it.

I realised what I was doing after I got friend-zoned and it hit me. I was coming across to her as insecure and seeking her validation in what I was saying which must have been a complete turn-off for her. She actually told me I came across as lacking in confidence, when I asked her what happened. Which gave me an obvious clue as to what went wrong.

On a new date, I changed my game completely. I stopped talking about my worries and concerns and didn't even raise that I didn't drink. I think I represented myself much better as more confident, outgoing guy, and didn't say anything validation seeking. I've been 'studying' game for a long time but perhaps only recently have I upped my game by learning about the importance of maintaining frame.

I guess sometimes experience is the best teacher, and it was only through the earlier girl telling me what turned her off that helped me to suddenly realise. The penny dropped in a big way. I feel like it's been a big growth moment for me. I guess sometimes we 'know' stuff but changing out behaviour can take much longer unless we have a big penny drop moment.
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2018 05:02 AM by Georges89.)
03-14-2018 04:48 AM
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Seadog Offline
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Post: #2116
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(01-29-2018 10:25 AM)The Lizard of Oz Wrote:  Seadog, I wanted to respond to this (with some delay). First, thank you for that excellent post which I greatly enjoyed. Your one year is coming up soon enough, and I very much look forward to what you will have to say then. I hope you are strongly considering an extension.

As far as the wagon rules on consumption of foods and beverages with small amounts of alcohol, the conclusion you reached yourself is exactly right. The rules are:

1. Trace or incidental amounts of alcohol in foods (like a dessert or soy sauce) are generally fine.

2. "Near-beers" or so-called "non-alcoholic beers" and similar are out. They contain more alcohol than people realize and should be avoided.

I guess my point was more about that those are minor points in the greater scheme, and if a formally hard drinker substitutes the occasional .5 beer, or a professional wine sommelier continues doing tastings, or a hard core religious type continues drinking sacramental wine, in place of multi day binges, I would still credit them with a successful wagon. The wagon is a bit of a personal thing, done for personal reasons, and if you want to say you're on the wagon while guzzling pints of sacramental wine or smoking weed every day, as the old adage goes, you're only cheating yourself. As TJ pointed out in his brilliant post, the line must be drawn somewhere and for many people it's not as simple as alcohol=no, anything else=ok.

More to the point however, happy to report as of March 6th, I made it the full 365 days without drinking.

Major positives included losing about 25 lbs, being more active, better sleep, better focus.

Biggest negative was the social aspect. Being a bit of a natural introvert, going out drinking was always a good excuse to be social, and meet guys and girls. I've almost become a bit of a recluse.

Up till then, and since I've been contemplating how to move forward. Like many others I'm leaning towards a break, and although I haven't jumped back on the booze train yet, I'll reserve committing to another wagon at this point. The main reason is being curious to look back at it from the perspective of someone who's gone without for a year "Is this what I remember it being? Is it so great?"

The other big thing, and actually a huge point of contention with the easy way to stop drinking book, was how he reiterated over and over that drinking has absolutely zero positives. That's horse shit. For many people here, myself included, the positives certainly start to get outweighed by the negatives, but I take issue with saying no positives, full stop. Socially I've taken quite a hit this year. So ease of socialization, and dealing with/ gaming women, are both decent positives I've missed out on. As others have said it's certainly better and more honest to be able to do all that sober and not need that crutch but unfortunately I'm not there yet.
03-14-2018 10:03 AM
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Soothesayer Offline
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Post: #2117
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
After being on the wagon for a week (and falling off when I temporarily lost $2000 at an ABM here in Canada), I've decided to kick it up a notch and go on this so-called wonder drug called Antabuse. If anyone has any advice on which foods to avoid, I'd appreciate the intel. I know cologne and Scope are big no-nos (does Scope still have alcohol? I know Stephen King used to down the stuff like water at one point). Also would like to know how long do I have to wait after my last drink before taking down Antabuse. Two days? A week?

I actually heard about Antabuse first from reading a biography on Art Carney of Honeymooners fame.

"Way back when, we would go on, do five or six shows. No responsibilities, no remorse. I was an alcoholic even then. It’s hereditary in my family. I don’t say that my father was an alcoholic, but he would have been better off if he hadn’t done any drinking. Most of us boys are nonsmokers, but drinkers, yes. When they go on the wagon most alcoholics find that barbiturates and amphetamines are great substitutes, and there’s nothing on the breath. I used to like the big ones, three grains. Withdrawal from any of those is rougher than heroin. Enter Antabuse. Antabuse is the only thing that worked for me. I take my Antabuse every day and there’s no effect—it’s just a reminder.”
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2018 12:31 PM by Soothesayer.)
03-14-2018 12:16 PM
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The Lizard of Oz Offline
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Post: #2118
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-14-2018 10:03 AM)Seadog Wrote:  
(01-29-2018 10:25 AM)The Lizard of Oz Wrote:  Seadog, I wanted to respond to this (with some delay). First, thank you for that excellent post which I greatly enjoyed. Your one year is coming up soon enough, and I very much look forward to what you will have to say then. I hope you are strongly considering an extension.

As far as the wagon rules on consumption of foods and beverages with small amounts of alcohol, the conclusion you reached yourself is exactly right. The rules are:

1. Trace or incidental amounts of alcohol in foods (like a dessert or soy sauce) are generally fine.

2. "Near-beers" or so-called "non-alcoholic beers" and similar are out. They contain more alcohol than people realize and should be avoided.

I guess my point was more about that those are minor points in the greater scheme, and if a formally hard drinker substitutes the occasional .5 beer, or a professional wine sommelier continues doing tastings, or a hard core religious type continues drinking sacramental wine, in place of multi day binges, I would still credit them with a successful wagon. The wagon is a bit of a personal thing, done for personal reasons, and if you want to say you're on the wagon while guzzling pints of sacramental wine or smoking weed every day, as the old adage goes, you're only cheating yourself. As TJ pointed out in his brilliant post, the line must be drawn somewhere and for many people it's not as simple as alcohol=no, anything else=ok.

More to the point however, happy to report as of March 6th, I made it the full 365 days without drinking.

Major positives included losing about 25 lbs, being more active, better sleep, better focus.

Biggest negative was the social aspect. Being a bit of a natural introvert, going out drinking was always a good excuse to be social, and meet guys and girls. I've almost become a bit of a recluse.

Up till then, and since I've been contemplating how to move forward. Like many others I'm leaning towards a break, and although I haven't jumped back on the booze train yet, I'll reserve committing to another wagon at this point. The main reason is being curious to look back at it from the perspective of someone who's gone without for a year "Is this what I remember it being? Is it so great?"

The other big thing, and actually a huge point of contention with the easy way to stop drinking book, was how he reiterated over and over that drinking has absolutely zero positives. That's horse shit. For many people here, myself included, the positives certainly start to get outweighed by the negatives, but I take issue with saying no positives, full stop. Socially I've taken quite a hit this year. So ease of socialization, and dealing with/ gaming women, are both decent positives I've missed out on. As others have said it's certainly better and more honest to be able to do all that sober and not need that crutch but unfortunately I'm not there yet.

Seadog,

First and foremost, congrats on completing the 1 year wagon. It's a real achievement, and I hope you were able to reflect on it and to take pride in what you've accomplished. +1 rep point from me.

Now I would like to make a few comments on the rest of your post.

The meaning of the wagon is clear: not one drink, for any reason or on any occasion, for a full year, 365/24/7. No exceptions. It is not something that is "personal" or subject to any interpretation. A man who only drinks "sacramental wine" or a sommelier doing wine tastings may be doing perfectly well for themselves, but they are NOT on the wagon and under no circumstances would they be "credited" with it. This is not something that is up for discussion, it's just how it is.

Next. It is, of course, your decision to make, but I believe that you should strongly consider reupping for another year. The reason for this is not the (absurd) idea that there is "nothing good" about drinking; it is rather, that for a man who has drunk hard enough for long enough, it takes years to reverse both the obvious and the subtler damages caused by hard drinking and to achieve a truly different life. You are not there after a year, indeed you've only just begun. The second year is pivotal and all-important for consolidating the still fragile gains made in the first.

One of the best things about this thread is that posters can read what they wrote here in the past, both before they first started their wagon, when they started, and at various points during the wagon. I think you should take the time to read very closely some of your earlier posts in this thread and consider whether the reasons that applied then still apply now. Here are some of them:

This post from more than 3 years ago:

https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-30625...#pid898484

This post from March 5, 2017 declaring your 1 year wagon:

https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-30625...pid1522661

And lastly, this post from the 8 months mark:

https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-30625...pid1681438

Please read and re-read these posts with close and serious attention and consider all their implications as you make your decision.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
03-14-2018 09:57 PM
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Post: #2119
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-08-2018 04:50 AM)Tokyo Joe Wrote:  The dull truth is, I did not take that first wagon year in the right frame of mind. As I wrote about here, beginning at a point well short of the six-month mark, I wasted a great deal of time both day-dreaming about my post-Wagon drinks -- my coming revenge, as it were -- and also reminiscing about bygone drinking exploits. This may very well be only natural, because I believe that deep down men tend to fundamentally live in the past and in the future, but all too rarely in the present. It is really only in those fleeting moments when a man is fighting for his life, or properly fucking a hot bitch, or drinking deeply of his cups, that he is truly *in the here-and-now*. That’s a topic for another time, but suffice it to say: Part of the hard work of the Wagon consists in turning and opening your mind to the present at hand, rather than some misty past or improbable future.

This is what life, and life's struggle, is all about. To achieve this without the use of intoxicating substances or fake external stimulants is a rare experience, and far more meaningful than the second rate imitations that come from a bottle.

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.
03-15-2018 07:48 AM
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Charlemagne In Sweatpants
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Post: #2120
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
It's been a week since I've had anything to drink. Face is a lot less puffy. I'm pretty irritable though. Let's see how long i can last this time around...
03-19-2018 07:17 PM
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Post: #2121
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-19-2018 07:17 PM)Rhyme or Reason Wrote:  It's been a week since I've had anything to drink. Face is a lot less puffy. I'm pretty irritable though. Let's see how long i can last this time around...

You can last for exactly as long as you choose to -- no one will pour a drink down your throat, only you can do that.

You should make a decision, commit to it -- without hedging your bets or seemingly leaving it to fate -- and see it through.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
03-20-2018 07:56 AM
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Post: #2122
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Well I did it, I completed the one year wagon. I can't believe that it has already been a year. It's nice to know that I don't have to depend on alcohol to get me through the day. I feel great but the thing I regret the most is that I didn't start sooner, as I began this journey at 29. I recently completed an interviewing process for an electrician apprenticeship and I don't find out if I got in or not until July. I just want to thank everyone for the support and the words of encouragement, especially Lizard of Oz. By the the way I would love to sign up for a second year on the wagon.
03-28-2018 08:06 AM
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Post: #2123
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
(03-28-2018 08:06 AM)PrimeTime32 Wrote:  Well I did it, I completed the one year wagon. I can't believe that it has already been a year. It's nice to know that I don't have to depend on alcohol to get me through the day. I feel great but the thing I regret the most is that I didn't start sooner, as I began this journey at 29. I recently completed an interviewing process for an electrician apprenticeship and I don't find out if I got in or not until July. I just want to thank everyone for the support and the words of encouragement, especially Lizard of Oz. By the the way I would love to sign up for a second year on the wagon.

PrimeTime32, that's awesome, great news. For someone who has drunk so hard for so long like you have, that's a serious achievement and I hope you take the time to feel some real pride in what you've accomplished. Congrats, and +1 rep point from me.

And of course, you should just stay the course, there is nothing else to do and nothing better to do. The second year will be all important, it will consolidate and deepen all the gains made in the first. I'm genuinely excited for your second year. Welcome back aboard for year 2 as of March 28, 2018 and I look forward to hearing more from you here as time goes on.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
03-28-2018 07:34 PM
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Post: #2124
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
I have been using this app - Sober Time. I've found it useful to have this on my phone. It tracks your total sobriety time, and also gives a running tally of the estimated amount of money you have saved. 129 days for me so far and over $2000 saved.
(This post was last modified: 03-31-2018 02:02 PM by Horus.)
03-31-2018 01:59 PM
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Post: #2125
RE: 1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014
Congratulations to both SeaDog and PrimeTime for the one year!

SeaDog, the social aspect improves in a way. I found that although socializing sober still can be difficult in some circumstances, I do believe now that I have just gotten to a point to where I just don’t care what other people think of me if I am not drinking. If they have an issue with it then whatever, what can you do.

Prime time, good luck with the electrician apprenticeship. If you focus your energies on that instead of driving back into drinking and spending all your time looking at the clock, anticipating the next drink, I can promise that you will have great success and truly enjoy the work you are doing. I look forward to hearing how the apprenticeship goes for you!
03-31-2018 05:25 PM
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