Sobriety (off topic or not)?


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Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
May 31, 2013 - 03:16pm PT
wrapping up a critical work push,
i got 6k in the mail.

now it is friday, heading into a holiday weekend.
i turned in my work a day early,
so i begin my celebration bender at 5:40 am.

i gently ease into it,
out in my woodshed with a fire going,
the relics album from pink floyd on the turntable,
and me sharpening my saws,
dulling my senses.

my children wake up at 6:30 to playful
tickles from daddy,
and we build our morning nicely.
i make them breakfast, pack their lunches,
kiss the wife
(she looks at me with that side-winder stink-eye!)

and i see everyone off to their work / school.

it's 7:30 am, i've a home and a forest to myself,
and a 30 pack of bud.

it is lightly raining so i spark some huge
burn piles, putting a bruise in my fire danger.

i set my can down to stoke a blaze,
and the ants move onto and into my beer.
tons of them.

so i run up and grab the brand new camera and
photo document me drinking a piss-ant covered
piss beer. the two actually accentuated each other.

so this was mistake #1.
i left the camera hanging on a tree,
too near the rowdy phase change.
f*#ked it up beyond function.

then i write up a couple of stoopid threads
on your turf,
then peel out of the abode and head into town.

just prior i make a couple of drunk-purchases
on the internet:
70 meter haul line, at 260,
and a slew of logging gear at 300.

mistake # 2.

i get to town and head into the alley behind main street
so my dog can swim in the creek,
and i can drink beer in the privacy of my own sun.

after a few i walk back out of the alley,
still drinking a beer,
and literally run into an african american
with huge dreads and a kind demeanor.

sadly, he stuck out in our ignorant little hick town.
so i strike up conversation with him,
and he asks me if i care to grab a beer.

i got errands, i tell him, but i lead him to our sole-bar.
before i leave him, i gently warn him that he might receive
some hard looks from the locals, but to just ignore them.

he told me that he's cool, coming from new york on his sales tour.

so i leave him and go buy my wife a dozen blood red roses,
at 100 buck with the tip i gave the cutie behind the counter.

i stole some cash and put it on her card:

"the taste of love is sweet,
when hearts like ours meet."

then i have these and the card delivered to my hard-working wife
(mind you im in no trouble with the wife at this point, because she doesn't yet know of the busted camera, and the 600 dollars worth of climbing gear i purchased)

mistake # 3. more careless spending.

leaving the florist, im floored.
i'll go check on "t" (that was the name the african fella told me.)
i muse.

so i go into the bar, and sure enough "t" is sitting among quiet and uncomfortable stares from the denizens.

so i bar-stool next to him,
and get a beer.
we chat and he ends up selling me 240 dollars worth of
concentrated citrus cleaner (enough to make 340 gallons
of usuable agent!)

i give him my credit card, he makes a call,
and we run out into the alley to meet his connection.
sure enough, it's legit and im carring like 40 pounds
of scented product.

mistake #4.

so i meet the family in strawberry,
the wife is elated with my gesture on the flowers.
slowly my story unfolds, and she is irate, understandably.

she's had it.
after a heated verbal exchange and
some tears down her cheek,
i realize (again) that i cant drink, anymore.

so we put away the bad habit, and move
timidly forward, quaking in our wedding rings.

that was a week ago.
now that im sober again,
im tearing down the to-do list with reckless devotion.

the pressure of my own creation is building in my heart,
im not sleeping again;
all the clients are praising me,
the pay is sweet,

and i find myself needing a downer of sorts.
to unrev, you know.
i hate accomplishing so much, so frequently.
it is exhausting.
i got to go have a beer, and f*#king chill.

so im honest with you and me,
i can't drink,
and i can't not drink.

your first-world fool.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
May 31, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
Amen weeg. Yer a stubborn fuk. Welcome to the club.

The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
May 31, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Some have the ability to moderate their consumption be it beer, hootch, thin hand cracks, run out face, jam sessions, careers or relationships.
For others, moderation is impossible and it's all or nothing, hair straight back, zero to one hundred right now with little or no concern for the consequences.
How either group arrive at such predispositions can be either obvious, a mystery or both.
Just past the half century mark, the evidence seems to indicate that like many of my friends and heroes (some provide inspiration here), I'm part of the second group.
Not sure what the answer is but moderation doesn't seem to be an option so far.
It's been almost 32 months (this time; and yes, I'm counting) and it seemed like an easy choice with little in the way of white knuckling, so far.
(Maybe the habits just finally seemed too costly and unsustainable).

Never's a long time and I'm not making any promises so I tell my friends it's a beer and hootch sabbatical, one day at a time.
I check in on this thread now and then because it's like a 24/7 cyber meeting without the cigarette smoke, bad coffee, narrow catechisms and hackneyed monologues.
I don't have to say anything and I can leave when I want.

Thanks to Hank and everyone else with the courage to be honest, it helps.


May 31, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
Well said, Perry.
I, too, check in here regularly, mostly when I'm getting too smug and complacent in life and need to remember that many folks are on run-out ground on a daily basis for one reason or another and that it couldn't hurt to send some good vibes their way.

Props to all kicking back at the darkness.

Trad climber
Jun 1, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
Sorry for your predicament, Norwegian. I've seen the same in dozens others. I wish you what you wouldn't wish for your worst enemy - sobriety.

Because without it, you are pretty clearly going to lose your wife(you have had 2 strikes documented here on ST in the last few weeks). Because without it you are a drunk driver on the road. Because without it your liver is being slowly poisoned to death, as is you mind.

If nothing else matters to you, might it bother you to lose that romantic way with words you enjoy? If nothing else, isn't your creative self worth the sacrifice of alcohol?

Jun 1, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
I also am alcoholic and drug addicted. Sober now about 5 maybe 6 years? Did one other 7 year sober stint and a few 1-3 years stints. Fifteen was my first AA meeting. Although i do not do AA my childhood neighbor getting me to a meeting that early in life was instrumental in me being sober today. She planted a seed that it took years for me to germinate.

Maybe you should consider the pain inflicted upon those whom you love those whom have no choice "your children" maybe if you can stop for a short enough time for them you will find a way or reason to stop long term for yourself. You are hurting them and hurting them bad. Some of those wounds will never ever heal.

I have gone back and forth with addiction my whole life. I also come from a family of addicts. Once you get beyond some months and years it does get much much more easy. The desire does subside a bit and life is more manageable if for no other reason than you are not making it harder than it has to be. Life is still hard, very hard do not get me wrong. However it is not that kind of hard. That kind of hard is brutal!!

Life is by far 120% easier sober than not sober. I understand when you have been addicted since early childhood it is hard to imagine/comprehend that you have the capacity to cope any other way. I am not sure how long you have had this struggle but just a few years is enough to bring a man to his knees imop. If this is a life long thing it can seem impossible.

You can be sober you just have to find a way to want to be sober bad enough. I know for me it means walking away from everything i know so i can have some time to focus on me and only me when i relapse. When you are addicted you are a very very broken soul broken beyond even your own understanding. Sometimes you just can not see the forest through the trees. The only way out is hard hard work and 120% commitment to the cause. It can be done!!!

It could even mean leaving your family as the stress of home being a father and husband maybe be triggers and too much for you in the initial stages of getting sober. A hard reality i know but i would go as far as saying that your family is better off with out for a time while you get your sh#t together than they are suffering a lifetime of you addicted.

I wish you the best as i do all those suffering from addiction. behind every person is a story and in most cases behind every addict is a long chain of addicts. It is sad but up to you and only you to break that cycle.

Best wishes. If you have not try kicking heroine booze and speed and benzos all the same time that hurts! Booze hurts but it is can be done. Get help if you need it..


Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Jun 5, 2013 - 06:32am PT
sweet coz,
insanity can be construed accurately as talent.

no sane man accomplishes what i do.

im finding sobriety is a crimper,
and innebriation a jug.

ascending realities sober is akin to ground-up, onsight;
where limping thru days constantly f*#ked up,
is like pulling on gear.

not that that's bad.
somedays i place a cam and yard higher,
but these days im sketching thru and thru,
just me scraping my hope against my despair;
though i realize that the summit im chasing
is lower than my basecamp.

f*#k it, ascent, descent.
as long as im sending.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jun 5, 2013 - 11:21am PT
I'm with coz here

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jun 5, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
Jebus H Bomz

Peavine Basecamp
Jun 5, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
Because without it your liver is being slowly poisoned to death, as is you mind.

If you drink enough, you can be drunk for the rest of your life without drinking. And yellow. Quite the deal. An ugly f*#king deal, but one nonetheless.

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Jun 6, 2013 - 08:09am PT
mcfly my story is littered with
self-inflicted hardship.
my whole life,
i've had every opportunity gently handed to me,
and i want to have to chase that shite.
so i create handicaps for myself.

i want life to be hard.
i have such strong convictions
to assign each of my goals,
that they always fall, easily.
life ain't hard enough, when im sober.

it is looking, though,
like life may take some ugly turns
unless i ease up on the abuse.

so i will.
so i am.
it is fine again.

yesterday i blew up a deadline
that defied logic.

i sent a drawing package to my client
and, literally, their jaw dropped.

i ran about (4) fourteen hour
shifts back to back to accomplish the insane,
and the lack of sleep coupled with
the mental duress resulted in a
euphoric type mental state,
that i kinda enjoyed.

i was seeing sheit that weren't there.

so i can give up booze,
though i'll just find another way to bludgeon my mind.
we have this mutual distaste for
peace and clarity, me and my mind do.

so we constantly war with one another.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Jun 6, 2013 - 09:42am PT
I try to be kind to myself. I used to be judgmental and the one I judged the hardest was me. I am disciplined and once a course is set I stick to it till the end. There is balance Norwegian. Find the sweet spot. Enjoy the life we have and if you are healthy that's a lot to be thankful for.

Today I am grateful.


Social climber
humboldt nation
Jun 6, 2013 - 10:28am PT
norwegian, your writing is always thoughtful and carries the reader into your journey. Thank you.
Just you tubed Joni Mitchell singing coyote in the last waltz and thought of your writing.

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
Jun 6, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
im finding sobriety is a crimper, and innebriation a jug

Too true.
Jebus H Bomz

Peavine Basecamp
Jun 6, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Hehehe, I've run into the "handicap" mentality too Weedge. Little hurdles we erect in a field of stumbling ecstasy. The mindset proved vacant for me, but maybe you're Addiction's love-child. Funny, thought I was for a minute though. Oh well, reality is a bitch when you mistake yourself.

Trad climber
Jun 6, 2013 - 01:21pm PT
If you drink enough, you can be drunk for the rest of your life without drinking.

Such a weird thing alcohol/ism is.

I have also heard some long-term drinkers tell of the day that they drank and...nothing. The alcohol has completely stopped working, no buzz whatsoever. Physically addicted, they NEEDED to drink. Mentally addicted, the drink offered no relief. They described the condition as a living hell.

I'm coming into the "home stretch" on another year sober. I have a ways to go until August 26th and 17 years(ow, that seems unreal!) without a drink, but this is the time of year when my bottom was becoming clear to me, even still in my drinking days.

I am very lucky that I got sober, because I was finding myself in social situations(if they could be called that) in which I could have been badly injured.

This time of year tends to have a bit of a morose quality to it for me, as I recall some of the things I was going through. This time it is compounded with a very difficult financial situation, but I am starting to feel I do have something left to offer the world again.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jun 6, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
This is maybe the second most stressful week of my life.

I'm usually pretty even keeled, but I'm about to melt down here to the point I've gone from clenched jaw to just laughing out loud. Workplace stress is off the charts. Bi-polar boss is throwing me under the bus, HQ is making last-minute mandatory requests for data, giving conflicting directions, and general insanity. I'd be pulling out my hair if there was any left.

But the upside? Despite feeling like I want to crawl into bed, pull the sheet over my head and hide, I feel no desire to drink. At all.

Sure could use a giant bowl of sour diesel right about now though. (sobriety as an end to itself was never part of my deal, dealing with alcohol addiction was/is)

Jebus H Bomz

Peavine Basecamp
Jun 9, 2013 - 11:48pm PT
I was thinking about it tonight, I don't do meetings for my addiction. I haven't done a rehab program. THIS is basically my meeting. YOU are part of my support system.

These words from a peer group of people whose experiences couldn't be more pertinent to mine has been huge to me. Let's face it, the climber culture is pretty centered around drinking, puffing a joint, so to have you all who I respect say otherwise means the world.

So, what if instead of a drink/drug-oriented fest we planned a meet-up of climbers committed to a sober lifestyle and for those who support this? I'm not a gatherings/rendezvous kinda person, so this is way outside my comfort zone, but I just wanted to put the idea out there and see if there is any excitement to participate in something like this. Maybe music? Sharing our experiences? A raffle with donations to a worthy, sober cause? JTree in Fall? Somewhere else?

Just putting the thought out there to gauge if this is even worth pursuing...

Jun 10, 2013 - 12:00am PT
I could be interested in that.

Always a pleasure to come across a climbing partner that is and has been 100% sober and or just does not have a substance abuse problem of any kind. In all honesty for me it has been rare and really limited my potential climbing partners as i really just do not enjoy climbing the same with someone that want to drink or smoke while climbing or it is the first thing they do when done.

I agree so many climbers climbing takes part around a bottle or joint in some way shape or form. Kinda sad if you ask me as being sober and out in nature life as pure as it can be completely content with every moment just as it is has go to be the best darn thing i have ever experienced. And i was one of those people for many years that you never could have told that a joint or beer or this or that didn't just make it better.


Trad climber
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
I'd be interested in a sober climbing meet-up in JTree if it was after mid November. Before then, the Gunks. I could host a small group at the place I live(but cannot provide Mohonk Preserve access passes). Quiet, wooded, campfire, one mile from climbing.
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