Sobriety (off topic or not)?


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Trad climber
Left Hand, CO
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 12, 2010 - 01:36pm PT
Tomorrow night, good lord willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be at a month. I did 2 years and 2 months with no problems, until I relapsed. F*#k has it been hard this time around.

I'm the Hankster, I'm supposed to climb sick sh#t and the hit the pub and get faced for ever. At 40 years old, this style is just not that glamorous anymore. All the cool pictures on the Taco have everyone holding a beer. I can't be one of them and it kills me.

I've been climbing hard for 27 years and drinking was always apart of the scene, when did it all change? No DUI's, No job loss, just shame at unacceptable behavior. F*#k.

I'm going to pick up my chip Sunday morning for 1 month, it just feels so empty somehow. I mean, once you get to 1 month, who friggin cares? Not looking for sympathy, it's my deal. I just needed to get this off my back.

Now back to politics and religion!


Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Feb 12, 2010 - 01:42pm PT
Hank, you've already proven that you are a fear-fighting monster on rock and jumping off of rocks, buildings, etc....

Now you're taking it to the next level and facing that primal fear of letting go of an identity that has helped you survive in the past (or at least it seemed like it helped) but now it doesn't serve your needs. Keep charging. You'll win as long as you keep getting up when you fall down!

Everyone who thinks you are cool because you fit a certain image is not your friend. They won't be there for you when you are old and unglamorous and in need. You have the chance now to find out who your real friends are, and appreciate them for who and what they are. Consider the best part of your life still ahead of you. The part where you can authentically connect to people around you without wearing a mask, where your sense of self is a rock-solid anchor based on what is inside of you, and not blowing in the wind of people's whimsical adorations. Thus speaketh nutjob, internet mask-wearer learning every day how to have less of a mask in real life.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Feb 12, 2010 - 01:45pm PT
Hang in there Hank, it's worth it.

I really like the fancy coins that you can buy for yourself.

I figured, hey I'm saving a few hundred a month on booze, why not treat myself to a 22 dollar coin?


Trad climber
Beautiful BC
Feb 12, 2010 - 01:47pm PT
Booze is for animals ...

Evolution includes forgiving oneself.

A long way from where I started
Feb 12, 2010 - 01:53pm PT
Someone (maybe BVB? Not sure) a while back posted a note similar to yours, but said that one upside of the whole deal was that after a relatively short time off the sauce, his climbing improved significantly.

Sexual appetite and performance supposedly increase as well. But we'll wait to hear from you on that one.

Take it a day at a time, and hang in there.

Feb 12, 2010 - 02:01pm PT
My wife is a therapist in a substance treatment facility at a nearby hospital, and has witnessed and experienced first hand the challenges you are facing. The physical impacts of alcohol are tough, but perhaps the hardest part is the re-establishing of one's identity without alchohol, and dealing with constant social challenges of being around people you have known for years while being sober, and without alcohol as common denominator.

Best of luck to you, Hank- you are on a most difficult path, but you are sure to have the skills and strength to navigate it.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:01pm PT
booze is not the glue of climbing and base, find that other thing that is the glue for you, and that will be your focus.

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:04pm PT
at this point in my life: father of two sweet young lassies, workafukin-holic, sporadic nomad, bill payer, home maker,
and just generally confused,

booze gets me from point a to infinity in manner just skewed.

and i like it.

at 35 im holdin up well thus far.
skandanavian genes god bless them!

good luck with your trip hank.
Park Rat

Social climber
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:05pm PT

Warren Harding did not want to be an alcoholic, he felt powerless to stop drinking.

Late in life he said.

"Mommas, donít let your babies grow up to be winos."

You can make it, hang in there! There is a lot of support here.

All my best to you.


Tucson, AZ
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:05pm PT
IF you say it sucks then it does. So don't say it sucks and it won't.

Big Wall climber
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:07pm PT
Good Luck Caylor. I have seen so many lives destroyed by Alcohol. You are on the right path and I will pray for you.


Trad climber
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
You can do it hank! Just focus on the reasons for quiteing and forget about all the rest. Proud of you thus far.

Trad climber
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
You post some very cool pictures Hank, as well as very interesting thoughts.

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:10pm PT
It's not true that the cool photos show people with beer/alcohol in their hands. Go back and look again. Show yourself that such photos are rare. Much more photos showing fun without beer/alcohol in hand.

Congrats on the one month. It's something to be proud of.

I think you look way damn cool without the beer.

Feb 12, 2010 - 02:11pm PT
Hank, your post made me think of what Kevin Fosburg wrote here once in reference to Walt Shipley (not in ref to alcohol). It's one of the few things I've read on ST that I've kept in mind:

"There is another challenge though that I'm sure Walt would not hesitate to affirm if he were around, the challenge of coming down from that ineffable space and living our lives in a way that is of use to those we love. I think it's possible to use the kind of brave passion Walt so uniquely embodied and bring it to bear on our daily lives in a creative non-self-destructive way."

best of luck, and great work so far. I see the destructiveness of alcohol all the time in my work.

Trad climber
New York, NY
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:13pm PT
I have heard people say that their relapse really f*#ked with what some refer to as "the gift of sobriety."

I think it's possibly because the first time one gets sober, it can be like a real rollercoaster ride, amazing, frightening, if nothing else - intense. I remember at 90 days feeling as if I was LIVING on a tightrope; that was how precariously in balance my sober life was.... And of course, one day at a time that experience continues.

So long as you don't pick up.

From hearing what others who have gotten sober a second, third or however many times, it seems like the thing they had in common was an awareness that all the sh#t is right there, around the corner, waiting. One drink away. On stinking drink. And you're back at square one. F*#k.

And that takes some of the shine off that whole One Day At a Time idea.

Well - I don't know what to say. I did have a 1-year period of not drinking just before I moved to New York. But it wasn't a "sobriety" thing. I had stopped drinking, but didn't know anything else, hadn't gotten "the gift". So when I started drinking again, it wasn't any issue to me.

Then I got sober, and it has stuck. So far. I have heard enough people in your boat to know I had best do what I can to try to keep it up. I don't have much discipline....and it's not hard for me to imagine how dismal the outlook might be bouncing back and forth, or just staying drinking.

One thing to consider is that, in that time of sobriety that you had, you may not have "turned the corner" and seen what your life may be with real sobriety as a foundation. If that is the case, you CAN make that happen. The way to do that is through service. The coffee commitment, reaching out to the newcomer, early to the meeting and setting up the chairs. All that crap. There's a secret that gets shown in the service crap; sort of like an AA secret handshake. Nobody will tell you what this is - so don't bother asking. But you will know it when it happens...

Along with service, the suggestions I can make would be:
 Keep a good eye on what the hell it looks like to be drunk and what happens to drunks - because you AIN'T DRUNK RIGHT NOW and you want to stay that way. Go along with others to some of those institutions meetings(jails, mental hospitals, homeless shelters).
 To share at meetings about the "one month; no one cares after that" feeling.
 Go up to the "I'm so and so and this is my first meeting" people at each meeting. Stick out your hand and welcome them. They're scared, pissed off, confused, all sorts of things. And you know how they feel. They will appreciate your kindness. Even if it's just a gruff "Hey, welcome. Keep coming back. Do you have a meeting book yet?"
 Make the 90 Days a worthwhile goal to go for. Here in NY a person can qualify after 90 days. DAMNED RIGHT it is fun to make people listen to your blather(instead of having to listen to theirs!).

Dude - everything we searched for in drinking is there, available for us through the sacrifice of that very substance. And as corny or "f*#k you and your shiny sobriety, happiegrrrl" as it may sound, I absolutely promise you that this is the truth.

It's there - just down the road. Just ahead, around some corners. Sometimes a lot of corners...but it is there. I absolutely promise you this. But you have to keep walking TOWARD the light.

And while you're walking, hold the lantern up so the poor suckers behind you can see the path. They need your help.

Big Wall climber
Kalispell, Montanagonia
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:24pm PT
Hank, I do not know you, but I do know what ails you. I dare you to seek the small phrase and story in the literature that speaks of focus. Specifically on the problem and solution. Ask when you arrive early(hint), and then not only read it, live it and great things can result. I would also put a little time in listening to the one who knows where it is right off the top of their head.

Been there, done that. Man it was such a long time ago. Wouldn't change a thing either. It'll pass, just like it always does.


Trad climber
Placerville, California
Feb 12, 2010 - 02:37pm PT
my scandanavian gremlins got no complaints yet.
i still wrestle saplings outta the ground bare handed (6" tall or less).

my heart, though, is issuing unfamiliar sounds... something about questioning
whether those nectars are medicinal, or fluid illness.

i got no answers here. the whispers between your ears are not mine.
that's why we all dance so funny.

Trad climber
from the backseat of Jake& Elwood Blues car
Feb 12, 2010 - 03:00pm PT
Caylor...we all have our demons in all different forms...probs for recognizing it...and dealing with it. There are a lot of people that don't have the courage to do what you are doing, the easy sh^t is climbing. Life is too short to live it looking through the bottom of the bottle. Post anytime when you feel that urge.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 12, 2010 - 03:21pm PT
If your tempted to take that first drink, call me immediately, day or night. That's all you have to do for the moment - avoid that first drink. And go to meetings.

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