1 Year Drinking Wagon Challenge for 2014

NoMoreTO

Pelican
I'm on month 8. Got some bad news today and had a little vision of a brown liquid in a glass with some rocks in it.

But nothing in my apartment to drink, and it didn't feel at all like a solution to any problem.

So all in all good news, Christmas season should be interesting, but I don't really get tempted, I know I can drink when March rolls around, if I want to. I'll consider my options then.
 

SeaFM

Kingfisher
Well I blew past my 1 year about 2 weeks ago, so I made it. Continuing on the sober path for now.

It’s hard to believe how easy it was to go an entire year. I mean I struggled to go a few days without drinking for a long time.

My circumstances and priorities have changed dramatically in the past year, and I really can’t imagine if I’d had to battle through the daily grind of being a heavy drinker through all of it.

Life is just better. Can’t argue that.
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
SeaFM said:
Well I blew past my 1 year about 2 weeks ago, so I made it. Continuing on the sober path for now.

It’s hard to believe how easy it was to go an entire year. I mean I struggled to go a few days without drinking for a long time.

My circumstances and priorities have changed dramatically in the past year, and I really can’t imagine if I’d had to battle through the daily grind of being a heavy drinker through all of it.

Life is just better. Can’t argue that.
SeaFM, congrats on completing the 1 year wagon, and +1 rep point from me.

If you would like to sign on for another year, please post your start date here, and I will be happy to welcome you back aboard.
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
Horus said:
My new wagon begins on November 24th 2019.
Horus, I noticed that you also posted the same date on the "no fap" thread. While I do not wish to comment here on that very different endeavor and all that it entails, I will say that -- especially as a veteran of past wagons -- you should think of your commitment to a 1 year wagon with a particular kind of modest and realistic solemnity that has less than nothing to do with any burst of generic virtue enthusiasm. The latter are a dime a dozen, and have all the evanescence of a butterfly with none of its grace; but a 1 year wagon sustained from beginning to end is a serious thing, as you should well know. I hope you undertake it in that spirit.

Welcome aboard as of November 24, 2019 and I look forward to hearing more from you on this thread as time goes on.
 

NoMoreTO

Pelican
I began my one year Wagon Challenge on March 15th.

I gave up weed, cigarettes at the same time, but it was separate from my one year wagon challenge.

As it stands I am almost 9 months into my Wagon Challenge. I have slipped on the weed, and the odd cigarette is back which I will handle soon. I'm also working on the no Fap more recently. But this is disconnected. I would argue these things all go together, but should be kept separate, and yes, maybe a primacy to the Wagon Challenge.

I don't have much temptation to drink at all at this point. The thought barely crosses my mind. Christmas season might be the last serious challenge. But at this point I'm not too worried.
 

musashi

Sparrow
I'm closing in on 4 years come January 1st, 2020. I will share my perspective on this challenge soon. Thanks @ The Lizard of OZ for introducing this challenge into my life. I have completely changed my entire perspective on the world.
 

JayR

Woodpecker
Greetings Wagoners...

The year really flew by! I described the benefits I was experiencing after 1 month on the wagon here, but now I find myself only 10 days away from completing the challenge, so I thought I would post another update.

Still feeling great. So happy to be FREE from the anxiety and constant worry over self-inflicted sickness from alcohol poisoning. No more nagging thoughts "am I going to feel like shit tomorrow because there's a big box of wine in the cupboard?" "When am I going to get my shit together and get out of this rut?" So dumb, I know, but I suffered like this for over 15 years.

I posted before that I felt better immediately in the initial weeks after quitting, but here are a few more improvements I noted since my last update:

"Brain Zaps" -- Gone! Here's the story: The painted wooden headboard of my bed is peppered with dings from me punching it involuntarily while wearing my wedding band. As I lie on my stomach, I would experience a "brain zap" just as I was falling asleep. The "zap" was accompanied by a full-body convulsion that would cause me to involuntarily but violently punch my headboard with my left hand. My wedding band punching the wooden headboard would shatter the night with a loud "CRACK!" -- like slamming a metal door knocker really hard.



Needless to say, it was quite annoying waking myself (and my wife) nearly every night by involuntarily punching my bed frame and being reminded that something was very wrong with my brain. Well, no more. The "zaps" went away after a couple months on the wagon and never returned. Alcohol was clearly messing with my neurotransmitters. I can refinish the headboard, but hopefully the damage to my brain is not permanent.

[Edit: "Why didn't you just take off the ring before bed?" It's too snug to come off easily, which is how I prefer it (I'd lose it otherwise).]

Sense of Well-Being -- OP has pointed out that this is one of the most important rewards of the wagon, and I agree. It was subtle for me, but it was extremely gratifying as many of JayR's better traits gradually returned as the influence of alcohol faded away.

For example, I already noted in my earlier update that my running frequency jumped back up to ~6 days per week once freed from hangovers. But it was when I caught myself singing along to the tunes in my headphones during the run that I knew something had changed. I remember thinking "Wow, how long has it been since I sang along like a dork while running?" and realizing that something long-dead had been resuscitated -- truly feeling good and achieving the "runners high" I'd often enjoyed in the past, but had been missing for so long.

I also noticed that my goofy sense of humor has returned -- sharing dumb puns and jokes with my wife, laughing at stuff on TV -- healthy bantering that used to characterize our relationship, but was blunted for years because I felt sick all the time. Like others here have noted, I feel more patient and kind to others than I've been recently, but I remember this was always my nature before alcohol took over. I'm just a better person overall when I'm not sick and tired all the time.

Negatives of the wagon? Perhaps I have avoided some social events that I might have otherwise attended if I was still drinking. I'm a huge music fan, and have been to hundreds of rock shows since my first in 1982 (Queen!). But since starting the wagon, I've mostly lost interest, because getting hammered for the show was such an integral part of the experience for me. I haven't completely stopped -- I got to a few shows this year, but I usually left early. But really, should dudes in their 50s be hanging out at rock concerts drinking PBR?

Alan Carr advises in his book to not change your regular habits when you eliminate alcohol, but I think I did avoid some alcohol-centric social situations I might have otherwise participated in were I not on the wagon. "Superbowl at the sports bar? Meh. Why hang out with a bunch of drunks when I can watch it at home on my flat-screen." Stuff like that. As an older married guy, this wasn't a huge loss for me.

Anyway, I could probably write a (boring) book about this journey, but I should wrap this up...

355 days ago, I was terrified of taking this challenge. Before that day, attempts to white-knuckle my way through a "dry January," or even a week without booze, would trigger anxiety (about navigating life sober), and guilt (for somehow letting myself become a pathetic alcoholic).

Another benefit of the wagon is the pride you'll feel for rising to the challenge. I'm tremendously proud of myself for finally finding the balls to commit to doing this for myself and seeing it through. And if I can do it, my RVF brother, so can you.

If you're struggling, then read this thread for encouragement. Get the Alan Carr book (which I thought was BS initially, but cannot deny now that it helped). Pick a day to quit, post it here, and get back to living the good life.

Thanks again to LoZ for starting this thread and all those who shared their experiences here. I was definitely ready to do a reset and quit after so many years of feeling like crap, but I really don't know if I would have/could have done this without the inspiration found here.

PS -- I posted earlier that I was going to measure my testosterone and SHBG levels at the beginning of the year and again after a year without alcohol. I still need to set up the appointment for my end-of-the-wagon lab work, but I'll post it here when I get that done.
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
JayR, thank you for this great post. It was bracing to see the number 15 years -- even though it's hardly an unusual one for drinkers that have it bad like you did. To see that number; and then to realize that a sickness of the body and mind that lasted for all those years can be cured in just one year, and only by doing -- or not doing -- one simple thing, a cure available at any time to anyone suffering from the same affliction. What can be more beautiful than to see the heart of a man who is no longer young brought back to life by a simple, single, modest discipline steadfastly followed through a year's succession of days and seasons.

It should go without saying -- but is always worth saying anyway -- that you should renew your commitment for a second year if you want to see these life-giving changes preserved and deepened. I will look forward in less than 10 days to your post announcing the completion of your 1 year wagon and -- I sincerely hope -- its extension for year number 2.
 

filio

Pigeon
5 years today! I'm signing up for another year.

Thank you all for keeping this thread alive, I find myself drifting away more and more from social media and online forums, even this one.
I consider it a good thing, I have more time for my hobbies and friends, even though most still rely on social media a lot as part of their daily routine.

Sugar is still a big problem for me, but all things considered life is incomparably better than before.

I'm going to call a friend today who helped me get sober and express my gratitude.

I hope everyone in this thread has had the chance to enjoy Christmas with the people that matter and I wish you all a Happy New Year!
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
filio said:
5 years today! I'm signing up for another year.

Thank you all for keeping this thread alive, I find myself drifting away more and more from social media and online forums, even this one.
I consider it a good thing, I have more time for my hobbies and friends, even though most still rely on social media a lot as part of their daily routine.

Sugar is still a big problem for me, but all things considered life is incomparably better than before.

I'm going to call a friend today who helped me get sober and express my gratitude.

I hope everyone in this thread has had the chance to enjoy Christmas with the people that matter and I wish you all a Happy New Year!
That is so great to hear, filio. Every year I look forward to your update around this time, and it never fails to give me pleasure. I love how the good years, the wagon years, are adding up.

Welcome back aboard for year 6 as of December 25, 2019 and I look forward to hearing more from you here as time goes on.
 

Speculation

Kingfisher
Speculation said:
Well I completed my full year without drinking. I definitely made progress towards my life goals, saved a lot of money and found that I can navigate the majority of social situations fine without a drink in my hand.

That said, while I expect I will severely cut down on my drinking compared to what I did before my year off, I'm not going to eliminate it entirely. The social opportunity cost is high.

I'll closely watch myself and if I find that drinking impacts my goals or relationships in a significant way I will abstain again.

I'd like to thank everyone here for their support and wish you all well with your own abstentions.
Well its been a year since I completed my first full year abstention and I find myself back here again.

The reasons for quitting are the same as last time; ill defined anxiety, lack of drive and other subtle disruptions which have been documented by others time and again. I'm moving forward in my life after a recent personal milestone and I don't have any tolerance for anchors like this holding me back even slightly. The 'social opportunity cost' pales in comparison to the benefits of full abstention. Nothing of value will be lost.

I decided to abstain again for a year (with plans to extend indefinitely, but a year works for now). I stopped New Years Eve, so my start date is January 1 (just like last time I did it), but its taken me a couple of days for me to check in here.

The stories here are really heartening, especially the motivating ones by others who have seen many benefits in their lives after making it through their year. Hopefully that will be me in a years time.
 

NoMoreTO

Pelican
I see some action on this thread as the New Year 2020 hit home. My first year will be complete in March. This makes me think about the little dry journey I have been on, and if, or how I should bring alcohol back into the picture.

I am wondering about how guys on this thread have:
(1) positively integrated drinking back into their life after the challenge.
- do guys feel that they had a new default of 'not drinking' that put away that weekend warrior attitude?
- is it easy to slip right back into those habits after being away a whole full year, has anyone practiced other forms of restriction successfully?
(2) made the decision to continue alcohol free.
- I notice a lot of guys signing up year by year, perhaps people have found the renewal of the wagon challenge easier than saying "I quit for good?

Thanks,
 

Teedub

Crow
Gold Member
Sign me up as of 5th of January 2020.

I'll go into more detail at a later date. As a quick note though, I dislike the "wagon" notion as it implies you're giving something up that has actual benefits and you're making a genuine sacrifice. Alcohol is just a legalised yet powerful drug that ultimately, has no benefits whatsoever. The benefits you think it offers are a result of societal conditioning and marketing, and the drug itself. Being "on the wagon" seems as if one is depriving themselves of something good. And yes, before someone asks, I'm in the Allen Carr school of thinking when it comes to addictive behaviour.

Edit: I apologise if I have come across as evangelical or judgmental about alcohol. Those on the forum who know me in real life will understand why I said what I did.
 

Bolly

Pelican
Oh man I never paid attention to this thread before. Probly in the past I've seen it and was like yeah right. But I'm giving up alcohol this year too, and tobacco. But not the firearms ;). I wrote about reasons why in another thread about 2019 insights. Long story short I've always been more concerned with going to the grave remembering the good times. But older Im getting the more I see need for bigger things. 2019 I feel like something in my head switched as i accelerate towards mid 30s. Bit of a good wolf vs bad wolf fight raging in me and alcohol don't help the good wolf. But I'm looking forward to see how my mind, body and life outlook feels after one year without this stuff and let my body heal. Sign me up as of January 1st 2020. So the story goes....which wolf wins in the end? The one you feed...

*There is a caveat to this though. I'll allow myself one night in 2020. If I can manage to go see Def Leppard, Poison and Motley Crue in concert I won't be able to hold out not having some joy juice. But that's it I swear on a stack o Bibles!
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
Speculation said:
Well its been a year since I completed my first full year abstention and I find myself back here again.

The reasons for quitting are the same as last time; ill defined anxiety, lack of drive and other subtle disruptions which have been documented by others time and again. I'm moving forward in my life after a recent personal milestone and I don't have any tolerance for anchors like this holding me back even slightly. The 'social opportunity cost' pales in comparison to the benefits of full abstention. Nothing of value will be lost.

I decided to abstain again for a year (with plans to extend indefinitely, but a year works for now). I stopped New Years Eve, so my start date is January 1 (just like last time I did it), but its taken me a couple of days for me to check in here.

The stories here are really heartening, especially the motivating ones by others who have seen many benefits in their lives after making it through their year. Hopefully that will be me in a years time.
Thank you for the post, Speculation. Yes, a year certainly works, and in truth works much better than "indefinitely", because there is nothing more definite than a year. And when it comes to making hard decisions, definite is what's best understood by the brain and what allows the necessary work of the wagon to happen.

Please do not go into the wagon with excessive expectations. One gets the feeling that your hopes and dreams are perhaps as "ill-defined" as the anxiety that reflects them; such vague hopes and vague anxiety often help flatter and sustain each other in a kind of vicious circle. The wagon will certainly help to keep any anxiety from getting worse, and alcohol is the last thing that you want against that background; but the other way it can help, given a chance, is to show you the value of unglamorous virtues like patience and modesty. Temper your expectations for it, and you might be rewarded beyond those expectations in ways that are surprising and, indeed, subtle.

Welcome aboard as of January 1, 2020, and I look forward to hearing more from you here over time.
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
NoMoreTO said:
- I notice a lot of guys signing up year by year, perhaps people have found the renewal of the wagon challenge easier than saying "I quit for good?
Please see my reply to Speculation above. The point is not that a year is easier than quitting "for good"; the point is that it's harder. Eternity is an abstraction to the brain, it means nothing; one can say that one has quit for good but since the brain cannot process those words, the cognitive work of the wagon does not really begin; and then, when enough time has elapsed, the idea of having quit becomes increasingly vague and dulled by time and will, quite often, simply slip away.

Whereas a year is something all too definite; it is something that the mind of a drinker quails before, but also something that it can encompass. One can look ahead a year, just about -- the full rotation of the seasons -- and recognize, with a gasp, what it would mean to not have a single drink through all these days, and weeks; and when one commits to a decision in spite of that gasp, the real work of the wagon can commence.
 

The Lizard of Oz

Crow
Gold Member
Teedub said:
Sign me up as of 5th of January 2020.

I'll go into more detail at a later date. As a quick note though, I dislike the "wagon" notion as it implies you're giving something up that has actual benefits and you're making a genuine sacrifice. Alcohol is just a legalised yet powerful drug that ultimately, has no benefits whatsoever. The benefits you think it offers are a result of societal conditioning and marketing, and the drug itself. Being "on the wagon" seems as if one is depriving themselves of something good. And yes, before someone asks, I'm in the Allen Carr school of thinking when it comes to addictive behaviour.

Edit: I apologise if I have come across as evangelical or judgmental about alcohol. Those on the forum who know me in real life will understand why I said what I did.
Teedub, it's good to see you here. I know that you are one of the true hard drinkers; truth be told, you're one of the guys I had in mind when I posted this thread a little over 6 years ago. It can take time for these things to come around, but that's to be expected.

Just to confirm, are you in for a full year as of January 5, 2020?
 
Top