Post by downdude on Mar 26, 2020 8:53:31 GMT -5
What a trip. Started on TSM second time about this time last year. (First time around few years ago I followed doctor's orders and took nal in the mornings - did not work.) There was also a health scare with blood in bowels, trip with my son to a remote wilderness location, bushfires which resulted in a cancellation of a major birthday celebration and family reunion, a roadtrip to a wedding, and now the latest, the pandemic.
Pre-TSM I would typically drink a bottle of red wine or equivalent most nights - and more sometimes. The saving grace for my liver was that I managed to abstain when my youngsters came over every other weekend. The drinking had been going on for best part of ten years - I distinctly remember giving myself permission to drink instead of trying to fight it about the time of the family breakdown. There was also depression and physical injury in there as well, as in, unable to work. I lived out of my station wagon for best part of two years (the climate in this part of Australia is not that harsh, but I was a bit of a recluse, bordering on paranoid). Once I lost my licence for a month for drink-driving - the reading was the exact minimum for 'consequences'. The magistrate was very lenient...
The following gives my weekly reports (if anyone is interest in going through it) without the commentary - which was immensely appreciated and helpful. Thank you everyone who helped. The full version is still on the progress thread as Weekly report from Downdude.
In order of importance:
1) stay compliant - always nal up before drinking.
2) track your drinks
3) learn some mindfulness skills
4) post on this amazing forum, learn from and support others
ok, maybe 3 and 4 are in shared third place.
Exercise is also good.
If you are reading this as a newbie to TSM, I sincerely wish that you will find some sort of encouragement and hope in there.
week 1: approx. 25 Australian standard drinks (ASD - 1 drink = 10 ml of alc.). 2 AF days (was out of cash for a few days, otherwise probably more). 1 x 1/2 hour run.
week 2: approx. 23 ASD. 2 x 1/2 hour runs. 3 AF days - only because kids visiting.
very encouraged by OSL members. spent maybe one and half hours reading posts.
week 3: approx. 39. ASD. 9 km walk, no runs as such, other activities outside. 1 AF day.
- bit of an uptick, but I am not concerned, au contraire: I am encouraged by having *liquid* left in the house when I had finished. Twice, in fact. First time in a long while.
Week 4: approx. 29 ASD, 2 x AF (kids as discussed), one run, one bike ride. Interesting: one day bought of wine (10 ASD) thinking it might last me two nights. It lasted one night. Then, two days later, had a piccolo (like you get on flights)(2 ASD) of shiraz - it was all I needed.
Tentative conclusion: buy less, drink less. Hang the cost-effectiveness of larger quantities if I drink it all in one go.
week 5: approx. 41 ASD, 1 x AF without the kids around. Hiking on two days. Drank more beer this week and it just seems to go straight down the throat. Red wine, for some reason, is easier to quit drinking while I still have some left. Not concerned about the uptick this week.
Week 6: approx. 30 ASD. 3 x AF!! all of them without kids! 2 x run/vigorous walk. That's the good news. The other news is that the other nights were a bit bingey. Buy less, drink less. - Not concerned, just making observations. Am happy with the 3 x AF days, especially without the kids around. Yay!
week 7: 34 ASD, 2 AF (1 NK), 2x run/bushwalk, as before - a bit bingey when drinking
week 8: 28 ASD, 3 AF (1 NK), 2 X run/bushwalk. Observation - looked at bottle the other night - kept drinking out of sheer habit, I'm sure. More mindfulness coming. Right now finishing a piccolo (=2ASD) just because extinction training.
Two months in - too early to expect any major number shifting, but more - and easier - AF days and as mentioned above, the awareness of habit is increasing. Plodding along.
week 9: 22 ASD, 2 AF ( 1 NK, NX!) (NX - no exercise ie. endorphins from exercise), 2 x R/W.
-Good quality icecream and a good movie seems to work as distraction if not exercising. Felt like a 'normal person' . -The strategy of buying less seems to work. I get the slight 'meh' feeling at 4 ASD and stay relatively sober, no hangovers, sleeping better, blood pressure has come back to where it should be.
Some mood swings, though... whatever, it's just brain chemistry adjusting. Meditating most days, I 'm sure it helps.
Over and out.
week 10 : 23 ASD, 3 AF. Kids were over a bit more than usual.
-Couple of AFs coming up as tomorrow is the day of the 15 km fundraising walk with my youngest www.kokodachallenge.com/ , early start so she and her sister are coming over tonight and staying until Sunday (the boys are on hunting trip for nine days). -Their maternal grandfather (yes, the generations stretched out a bit there) was part of the RAAF airdrop supply operation in support of the diggers.
- Might have to sign up for some other walk or run to keep the activity level up. Half-marathon, maybe?
Previous observations hold true: stay mindful, buy less, drink less. Wine rather than beer. Exercise. Repeat. All good.
Week 11: 26 ASD, 2 AF. No real exercise stuff happening - bit of a recovery after the hike for a few days and then other things took my focus away. Plodding along.
Last week was a bit of downer emotionally - family member's pending divorce announced, weather unseasonably cold and cloudy - usually I get energised when it gets cooler. -the direction and plan is good, though.
Week 12: get this: 16 ASD! 3 AF! (one of which NK). I took Joe's idea of pushing back and seeing what gives way. Last week was last week... All better now.
Found a language learning app which I am using to get my Spanish learning under a systematic approach - about time, after several^ half-hearted attempts over the years.
Set a relatively modest goal of 20 km/week of running for which I am also using a new-found app to track.
Of course, I have the World Cup to contend with, messes up my sleep patterns a bit. Go the Matildas!*
^how we used to say 'many' before 'multiple' took over, trying to sound fancy
*Our nickname for our team
Breaking news: Last night. Wow. 2 - I say again - two - ASD. Wh...?
I guess the other changes I am making are starting to tell. I hve started learning Spanish and watched a Spanish TV series episode last night. World Cup is on and I suppose that's a distraction too. -I am not complaining, any way I can reduce lizard juice in my life is good. Nalling on!
PS. Italy defeats Jamaica 5-0 and secures a spot in the 16. Game still on for Australia.
wk 12: 24 ASD, 1 AF/NK, exercise. - Two days with only 2 ASD! - An old back injury has flared up a bit and my exercise of choice for now is swimming rather running/walking. Did manage a trail run/walk today followed by a short swim, just for rehab rather than more punishment.
World cup news: Australia defeated Jamaica 4-1, secures 2nd spot in group and goes on to the knock-out stage. Next match against Norway on Saturday in Nice (French time).
Now tired. Will catch up with you all maybe tomorrow.
week 13: 24 ASD, 2 AF, one of which NK. Last two weeks have seen an unprecedented 5 days of 3 or 2 ASD days. While the overall consumption per week seems to be on a plateau, there are more downdips within each week.
The numbers are useful but seldom tell the whole story. Mentally I have been a lot better even just a few weeks ago. I allow external circumstances get to me easily and then I beat myself up for that . Yeah, I know.
Of course exercise helps, the healthy active outdoors and sunshine (it's been really cloudy and rainy lately) (see what I did there - I did not call the weather miserable etc.) and again, I know better. (I should listen to Jocko Willink again. 'You have a problem? -Hit the gym! Get after it! Do something!)
Of course, being in Eeyore mode, I am less likely to frequent these threads. Double whammy.
Oh well, it's just life. 'This, also, shall pass.'
Nal on, my friends.
Week 14: 25 ASD, I AF - interesting week, bit of a roller coaster ride. One night had a very much like a pre-TSM night when I Just. Wanted. To. Drink. Specifically, beer. So I did. Complete with mindless movie and salt+fat -type dry crunchy food, which may or may not have some relation to potatoes at some earlier lifestage.
Then, on the other hand, I had what is probably the first proper 'meh'-night.
Also quite a few nights of only 2 ASD - which reminds me of another story. So, I am in this liquor store, aisles and aisles of the stuff from all over the world. I noticed myself getting into the 'let's browse '-mindset and somehow decided 'not good' and immediately went for the 2 ASD piccolo of red wine and out the store.
All sorts of interesting stuff.
9 Jul 2019: breaking news: my first 'one-and-done' last night. no special occasion, just...'meh'
week 15: 14 ASD, 2 AF (w/ kids). Verry interesting... - Next week will also probably have low numbers - if for no other reason than pecuniary pressures. (pecuniary - from the Latin 'pecus'- cattle. As in 'portable wealth')
15 Jul 2019: Tooth extracted today - it was FUBAR - old root canal, then it had split all the way down the root and to cap it off a big chunk of tooth just fell off. Dentist said: '..and no alcohol for 72 hours...' I don't think I'll have a problem with the first 60 or so. Sheesh - three AFs in a row - has not happened for a long time!
Week 16: Is it really week 16 already? -No real ache, tooth already dead. managed the three AFs surprisingly easily. Deserves another 'breaking news' headline.
14 ASD, 3 afore-mentioned AF days. Not complaining. Had a two-and-done little piccolo ( but I repeat myself) of red toight- the thought of going for fourth AF freaked me out a bit -'what if have a major binge on the fifth day?' -sort of thing.
so here we are again, folks, ho-hum:
Week 17: 23 ASD, 4 AF. Says something about the quantities consumed on the three drinking days. The piccolo strategy works when I work it. Still hard to leave something in the bottle for another day.
Week 18: 29 ASD, 1 AF (NK) .
Nothing new going on, just have been feeling flat and melancholy for a while. Comes and goes - let's put it down to low-amplitude and long-wavelength manic-depressive cycle. Still Naling on.
OK peeps - I am back. Technician fixed line fault. Bit of catching up to do:
week 18: 31 ASD, 3 AF. The numbers tell the story - a bit bingey. As admitted was feeling flat and (technical term coming up) anhedonic.
week 19, just finished: 22 ASD, 2 AF. My eldest forgot to bring some quality scotch for the trip- just as well as I had no NAL on me. Note to self: ALWAYS take the nal EVERYWHERE. Great trip. Am happy that my company is appreciated and desired by my progeny. (sniff)
I shall take now time to peruse a few progress reports and maybe say hi to some new folks.
20 Aug 2019 at 10:49
One and done last night. Did not open the other bottle. yay!
Week 20: 24 ASD, 2 AF, and introducing a new tracking category: the one -or two - and dones; 2
managed to change the breakpads in the old bicycle. What I have been missing is wind on my face (not much hair left - and we are supposed to war a helmet while cycling! Welcome to the nanny-state...).
26 Aug 2019: -Having AF night! Wind in my ha... face earlier today. Sipping Earl Grey tea, nibbling on chokkie bikkies (that's Strine for 'chocolate biscuits') and having an altogether civilised (sic) night.
weekly report number 21: 16 ASD, 2 AF, 2 (1,2 -done)
Couple of bike rides, nothing taxing, more just to get out
tonight's 1-n-done was a light beer - the rest of the pack are in the garage.
Good week. Funk seems to be lifting.
Weekly report 22:
17.5x ASD, 2x AF, 2x 1,2-D
I nearly started beating myself over the head for yesterday's slightly bingy result, but no. Two sub-20 weeks in a row!
health scares still being investigated, so not much point in fretting. That would be my inner zen speaking.
36.5 (!) ASD, 1 x AF, 1 x (1,2)D
thank you all.
I remain your fincere fervant
Averted a major funk/depression, it seems. More meditation required - lack of it seems to be linked. Yes, I know that correlation is not the same as causation, but at this stage I am not going to run clinical double-blind trials on myself...
The actual numbers:
30 ASD, 1 x AF, 1 x (1,2)D
There seems to be a tapering down after a bingey high for a few weeks. Still less than pre-TSM.
I remind myself: this is a marathon. I am in good spirits. You know. Positive. Life-affirming. Not vodka or scotch...
10.8 ASD, 3 x AF, 1 X (1 or 2)
Good week when adding up decimals. No night was more than 3.6 ASD. Settling in for marathon. Anything human fluctuates...
week 26: 34 ASD, 1 AF. Half-year mark. Time for reflection. Right after I finish this beer.
25 ASD, 2 AF.
Bit of reflection: numbers def'ly below TSM levels and it also shows in the expenses column.
My thought patterns regarding alcohol and drinking are changing.
I am more active physically and socially, although not where I want to be -yet.
Altogether outlook on life in general more positive.
Have started learning about exercise hacks on a MOOC run by Coursera here
in the hope that my activity level will
2) become more efficient for overall health and fitness
OK, sun is shining after rain, time to go outside.
25.6 ASD, 2 x L-A (that's the new short hand for a day with less than 2 ASD - 'Low-Alcohol')
-Bit of heavy night with a bottle of red in there somewhere. Beer suits me better at the moment - smaller portions, more filling, less alcohol content - easier to say 'done'.
-Glad to hear so many others doing the MOOC on exercise. Do something!
14 ASD, 3 AF, in a row, too. Kids over for 2 of the AFs, managed to keep the drinking nights at low figures.
Soccer (the walking variety) again tomorrow. Bought some shin pads today. Prob'ly not absoloodely required, but I like to stay safe. Dug out the elbow guards from my rollerblading days for extra injury prevention for goal keeping duty. Improvised some gloves as well - mechanic's gloves with some silicone drops for extra grip.
-Nautilius Pompilius playing. Saw them live in 1992 in Tuapse. How time flies when you are .... drinking...?
18.2 ASD, 2 x AF
not the lowest number, but last fortnight is the lowest (32.2 ASD) and the highest AF (5)
Six months ago I would have the current fortnight's number of ASD in a week, so I am not complaining, not at all. Go the TSM Team!
14 ASD, 2 AF.
Current strategy: Buy alcohol. Place alcohol in locker in garage. Take that day's anticipated dose inside and place in fridge. Drink as required.
Downfall: If alcohol not in fridge early in the day, there is a very real possibility that the whole package of alcohol goes in fridge later in the afternoon/early evening. In that case, the daily dose may be unregulated by strategy outlined above.
It also seems that I am back to AFs only when the kids are around, or on soccer nights.
Watch: let's put that idea on hold. I absolutely do not need a watch. -I recently finished a book on how to get the biggest bang for your charitable giving buck. I am slightly inspired to donate to an organisation which provides mosquito nets in areas where malaria is a real killer. Even when malaria does not kill, the economic and educational downtime due to illness is a drag on developing the human potential of those areas. Not as 'sexy' as cancer research or similar, but the evidence speaks for itself. Prevention is better than the cure, right?
mid week report _ bit of a blow out last two nights. Not beating myself up, it its what it is. Today: AF - son finished high school and tonight is the formal dinner. I'll be taking youngsters back to their homes later tonight.
-Now that I opened my mouth I suppose I should send a few bucks to a mosquito net mob...
26.5 ASD, 2 AF, 1 L(ow) A(lcohol) day. Soccer was a killer ton ight - four a side instead of the usual 5. A lot more - nearly said 'running' - walking around. Nights are warming up too, so hydration is important.
I feel like I was here this time last year. Last night I scrounged around some loose change and managed to find enough to get a night's worth of lizard juice and drunk it all. Is this the spike before the end? I have not had that many AFs per week recently to justify my hope. Could be the hot weather and concurrent low air quality due to raging bush fires in the southern part of the state keeping me inside - uptick in drinking as a symptom of cabin fever? -Air seems to have cleared up today after some pretty hazy days (picture indicative of conditions).
-I think this should end up on a more positive note, as in an expedition leader's journal: 'I will keep my doubts to myself. The men are in good spirits, even though we had to shoot the horses and the mules for lack of water. Tomorrow we press on.' Metaphorically speaking pauline
Week 33: 23.6 ASD, 2 AF, 2 LA. Bit of a spike followd by two (2!) one-and-dones. Tried something new - non-alcoholic beer. Confession: previously had the mindset that said: 'N/A beer? What's the point?' -Found a N/A variety of a beer that I knew like, bought some - and was very pleasantly surprised. Maybe the previous N/A beers I tried in the past were just not to my taste .
13.0 ASD, 1 AF, 2 LA. The thing with the actually-drinkable non-alcoholic beer seems to be working - for now, anyway. I try to start with the non-alc (after the nal hour) so the first alc beer is actually the second beer. Alternate as required.
15.6 ASD, 3 AF. Overall good result for the week, but would like to reduce the 'bingeiness' of when I do drink. The alternate alc/non-alc beer strategy is good when I work it. Maybe I should try what taz 's coach suggested and just drink a bit everyday?
mid-week: so far low days this week. Alternating full-strength and n/a beers. I am ok with that for now. I am sure more AFs will creep in.
Kids over later this week, couple of AFs right there coming up.
14.3 ASD, 1 x AF, 1 x LA
'Ho-hum', while allowing nal to work. Not even my son's mental health issues triggered me to drink more. Steady as she goes...
mid-week: 18 Dec 2019 This week is not shaping as low as a few previous, but looking at my numbers, I cracked the elusive less-than-30-ASD -fortnight last week - came in at 29.9!
22.5 ASD, 2 AF. so- a bit bingey. Focus required.
weekly report numero 38:
18.7, 3 AF.
One of those AFs just kinda snuck in with no real effort. Rest of the time - well, spread 18.7 ASD over 4 days (one of which was almost a LA day)and 'bingey' emerges again.
-Not complaining, heck no, still far better than pre-TSM, only analysing numbers and progress.
weekly report 39:
16.8 ASD, 1 AF, 2 LA
Instead of full-strength beer alternating with N/A beer I have a with mid-strength (3.5% by volume) beer and alternate that with some very low (0.5% by vol.) beer (it was on special and since I am still drinking might as well do it a bit cheaper). I seem to be in a stage where I can seriously start looking at the habit-side of the drinking.
- Definition of Low Alcohol days now changed to days with less than 2.3 ASD - I can have 2 mid-strengths and count it as a LA day. It's my report, I can do whatever I want!
week 40: 14.5 ASD, 1 AF, 3 LA
I am also happy with the progress. Bear in mind this in the middle of summer when the cold drink just goes down so smoothly... Fortunately -for me- the summer has been unseasonably dry* so the humidity factor is low.
*You may have heard of the Australian bushfires - my mother's (round figures) birthday party was postponed indefinitely as the family cannot get to where she is - road closures. (She is in a safe spot, just the access is hard.)
I found myself using the phrase 'much better than this last year' in response to the casual 'how are you' -greeting. Indeed, I am. It's good to note where one was in the past and celebrate the progress.
Something else I noticed: I have not been drunk for weeks!
early week post a propos last night- took my empties to the bin: four bottles for a grand total of two (2) ASD. I think this TSM thing is working...
18 ASD, 2 AD, 1 LA
Did some nerdy maths stuff - for the last four weeks the mean is 3.4 ASD and the median is 3.25 ASD - this is based on the days when I do drink. Shows that I tend to drink more on a few days, which bumps up the mean. Max was 7.5, min was 0.9.
I am getting a bit excited. I am focussing on staying focussed on a certain task right now so only a quick mid-week update:
3.5 ASD, 2 AF. That's for four days. Yay!
6.0 ASD, 3 AF, 3 LA
pre-TSM typically anywhere between 35-50 ASD, depending on whether I had kids over and sometimes I was broke and had to have a few AFs because of that. Any guesses why I would have been broke? (Always paid my bills first and had food in the house.)
Look, you know this thing works - I have just committed to the TSM and eventually started trying different things to help it along. But thanks anyway. Nal on, as we say...
- I am heading out early tomorrow morning for a bit a drive (distance wise, think Seattle to San Fransisco, or Atlanta to Philadelphia)for a niece's wedding. I'll be back on Wed night. Three AFs right there. (My sons will help with the driving so that will take off the strain a bit.)
No bushfires forecast for the area, it will still be hot, and it will be good to catch up with family. My mother will be there too - remember the cancelled (round figures) birthday party planned for about a week ago? I am happy she could make it.
oh yeay, I just checked - I am not going to miss out on the SuperBowl after all. Usually it's on the last weekend of January, right?
So - until Operation There and Back accomplished, over and out. (*imitates two-way radio squelch sound*ll be hot, and it will be good to catch up with family. My mother will be there too - remember the cancelled (round figures) birthday party planned for about a week ago? I am happy she could make it.
6 ASD, 3 AF (mostly coz of roadtrip),4 LA.
Going out to meet strangers later tonight in an attempt to learn how to be social again. Non-alcoholic setting.
Funny thing happened on the way here: I looked at my LA beer with my specs on and realised that the 0.5 refers to Alc by Vol, not ASD! That really messes up my numbers for the last 6 weeks or so - but in a good way! I am not going back to recalculate.
So far, then: 3.6 ASD, no AF, 3 LA. Probably time to switch to sparkling mineral water or something cheaper...
I am going to be doing some fitness tests this week to establish benchmarks for the next ten years or so. My son has promised to make a progressive plan for me - he got top marks at high school for an assignment involving a fitness program.
Meanwhile, Nal on, friends!
5.3 ASD, no AF, 7 LA.
So I still habitually reach for a cool drink on a night - except now it is very LA and I only have 2-3 most nights. Much better than this time last year!
week 44: 9.5 ASD, 3 AF, 3 LA.
a bottle of wine (7.7 ASD) managed to sneak in one night while I was on the phone to a family member...
Having read russ 's post about several AF days in a row, I am motivated to try that. Wish me luck. Or something positive anyway...
23.6 ASD, 2 AF, 2 LA.
(The dreaded uptick before PE? I sure hope do. Drank with a sense of reckless abandon, almost with fury.)
Kids over this weekend so couple of AFs there. Did not even run for the last week and a bit. Time to start again. Nalling on...
15.8 ASD, 3 AF.
Had some full-strength beer left over and then had to go get some more. Now back on the very low-alc.
Methinks the main issue now is the habitual drinking. Some emotional triggers still seem to rear their ugly heads once in a while.
week 47 - I don't have my notebook right here and can't be bothered to look for it - it's in a pile of stuff somewhere on the kitchen bench, I am sure - I guess I have not used it much this week... in fact at all.
I did have, on two separate nights, one of those ultra L/A 'fermented malt drinks' I think they are called, not even beer, 0.2% alc so they don't even count, right? ok, let's put numbers on it: < 1 ASD, 5 AF, 2 LA
Out of habit. The nights are hot around here.
In other news, walking football (ie. 'soccer') starts again tomorrow night. Double yippee!
(ed. cancelled due to novel coronavirus.)
<1 ASD. it's been such a non-event drinking wise that I have not even been tracking. From memory probably 5 AF? Not even interested in anything stronger than the very-low-alcohol fermented malt beverage (probably not even proper beer, really) that I still have some of.
I think I am going to go for a few more weeks before I declare PE - just to mak siccar.
in other news, this may be useful.
My football club has closed down for the time being. Oh well, more running.
Stay healthy, everyone.
6 ASD, 5 AF. More in the way of an experiment under controlled circumstances. Had not been for the company, I probably would have left it.
Nothing to report. Ho-hum. In a totally good way. - I did notice a thought fly overhead last weekend - you know, practising this new-fangled isolation thing - 'this is boring. why don't I get a bottle of wine - time goes faster that way'. Did not even land. Just flew by. All good. Nal on, as required.
Week 50: Time to call it. Nil ASD, no craving, 7 AF, a non-issue. Totes.