Interlude – keeping time

Today is one month smoke free for me, and it feels pretty good. It is nice not to be this guy anymore…

Smokey Fatty - Doha 12/18/04
Smokey Fatty – Doha 12/18/04

And it is nice to be about 40 pounds lighter than this guy…

El Capitan and a large hairy guy - 03/18/09
El Capitan and a large hairy guy – 03/18/09

I made it through two hurdles in this first month. I thought about it a lot while planning and on the drive up to Harper’s Ferry, but i did not stop anywhere to buy smokes before my recent hiking trip, not even a bag of Bugler for roll-your-owns. In the prep phases, thinking about having a smoke at the end of the day in the woods sounded super in my head. But i made it through just fine and had a great time in the woods without smoking. It was so cold that i did not even want to have my hands out of my sleeping bag far enough to hold a book – why on earth would i want to have to deal with the cold just to smoke? My folks went out of town for about week around Thanksgiving and i stayed home alone. This was not as great a challenge for me as it was with the drinking, but still, i survived a week alone without going back to the smokes.

What does any of this have to do with keeping time? Early milestones in abstinence are tricky to track in a way. The first time i ever sought abstinence, i attended Narcotics Anonymous. I was a young dude (two years clean and sober before i turned 21) and the lessons i learned there stayed with me (well some of the lessons, some of the time). The recommended path for newcomers to NA or AA (and probably the rest of the As) is to do 90 in 90 – attend 90 meetings in 90 days – and i did. The early days can be so difficult there are more anniversaries celebrated early on the path to abstinence. Your first day, or first 24 hours clean, sober, whatever, is a milestone. Your next anniversary is 30 days, then 60, then 90. It varies from group to group, but after 90 days, there is usually only an acknowledgement of 6 months and then annual clean time.

I have that system hardwired into my brain when it comes to tracking clean time. I am also a tech guy and love the digital calendar. This presented a stumbling block when i went to set-up the frequency reminders for my sober date and my quit smoking date. At first, without other thought, i entered custom and 30 days on the recurrence. Only later, looking at the calendar and thinking about announcing some milestones did i recognize that the world at large might be confused by my timekeeping when i celebrate 1 month at 30 days instead of the calendar month. Probably folks would not notice or think about this stuff, but the thought still bugged me. I went back into the calendar event, canceled the custom setting and switched to monthly. After one year, i will switch it to annual.

No great insights for today. I just wanted to share the happy news that i am one month smoke free and share some thoughts about keeping time. While we are here i will also set the record straight. I have talked with a very small handful of my tiny readership about this, but on the topic of anniversaries, this is as good a place as any to do it.

I did drink some about two months ago. No crisis set things off. No terrible events occurred as a result. I have even found a way to view this in a positive light. After being sober for about 8 months, i thought i might enjoy the beverage again, and thought i might have better perspective and control. I re-learned several things. I did really hate it. From the first taste of the whiskey and beer, i hated it. I also re-learned that it is not about perspective or control for me. I repeat, i hated it, but i still drank for several days in a row on this mini binge before snapping out of it. I was not afraid to tell you guys, i just didn’t want to talk about it. I was disappointed with myself and it took a little while to even out again afterwards. The most positive thing about the experience is this – i don’t need to repeat that experiment anymore. I believe that the results are in – i am still an alcoholic and have a much better time not drinking than i do drinking.

I was thinking about time and anniversaries and the fact that without the stumble, January would have made it one year sober. I don’t expect or need any of you guys to be keeping track, but you never know. Anyway – one month smoke free, coming up on two months sober (again).

To end on a more positive note – i have started exercising again. I have not yet hit the groove and made it part of a regular schedule as in the past, but i am doing my stretches and floor exercises a few times a week. Two of my favorite real life and digital friends, Kelly and Karen, are both runners and their consistency and dedication is helping me to get back into the running as well. I went out for a one mile run last night about 10:45 and knocked out 2 miles instead. Not back to my desired pace of under 8 minute miles, but having not jogged in months, 9:20 is not a bad pace.

PA - 12/4/13
PA – 12/4/13

Anyway, i wish you luck and offer support in reaching your goals. Tyler Durden said that self improvement is masturbation. He said it like that’s a bad thing. He also got Bob killed and blew up buildings. A lesson i am learning far too late in life, you gotta pick your heroes carefully. I will end with one of my favorite quotes. Sadly, despite the warning, i have lived both sides of this one. If you can identify this one without using the googles you get digital props.

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

PS: back to the hiking and gear stuff next.

PPS: I did buy a groovy domain name for myself and am still planning on moving this blog. There will be warnings and notice and such. WordPress just started showing me placeholders where they may have ads on my blog. I don’t want that. I also hope you are using Ad Blockers so that you would not see that stuff anyway.

Rock On!