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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:35 pm
Posts: 1429
Wolfie,

It sounds like you are doing great. I would have to say that I usually drink more when I am traveling, for I sleep so much better after a few...well, maybe not true sleep, but at least sleep. I have a hard time sleeping in a strange bed!

I have never been to Iceland, so how was it? Would you go back to visit or was it just a one time thing? Just curious, for outside of a few countries in Europe I haven't been to too many place outside of the US, and would love to explore others.

Keep posting,

Jaba


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 3:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:15 pm
Posts: 529
Location: usa
yes! tell us about iceland!

_________________
Pre-TSM 30-50 drinks per week (US drinks, not units!)
started 4/16/15
months 1-6: avg 17/ 1 AF/wk
months 7-12: avg 13/2 AF/wk
months 13-18: avg 11/3 AF/wk


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:33 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:52 pm
Posts: 35
Since some of you asked...

Iceland was a blast. Magical country with amazing natural wonders all around.

I was born on my dad's 30th birthday, and this year he is celebrating his 70th while I'm turning 40. So this was a father son trip to celebrate together. My brother came along as well. All 3 of us love hiking and my dad is an avid birder. So Iceland was a perfect destination.

My dad hasn't drank in decades. He stopped in his late 30s after he sensed he was drinking too much. In fact he credits a young me for pointing out once, "why are you taking so much vodka on our family camping trip?" He's a pretty type-A buttoned up ex-marine who probably sensed he was becoming dependent and losing control. So he quit on his own without ever exhibiting major problems, at least that I could see.

My brother is a hippie who is in perfect shape and does tai chi and was vegetarian for a while. He never liked to drink himself, even though he probably has the addiction gene like me, and applied it to his spiritual growth plus diet and exercise... but who knows.

So they both have no idea I've struggled with problems in my later 30s. I have never drank too much at family affairs or embarrassed myself so they just assume I'm a normal beer drinkin' bro.

Anyway, we all got along great on this trip. I drank only on a few nights. And had 2 beers max. I was tempted to try and explain this TSM journey but it never came up. Maybe one day after I'm more confident I know how all this will shake out, I'll share with loved ones and friends...

So, I loved not having a hangover while traveling. I'm used to being in faraway places trying local beers, downing glasses of wine at dinners, and generally giving myself a "pass" to drink a bunch because I'm on vacation dammit!

So instead, I woke up with no headache, rarin' to go and explore this beautiful country. Waterfalls. Thermal features and geysers. Amazing lava formations and volcanic structures. Glaciers. And really friends people. Plus a really rich history. (Vikings were pretty bad ass explorers and conquerors!) They actually didn't have a big drinking culture over there like some places in Europe.

Here's just a sample of some of our photos...
Image

I took my Nal each time I drank as usual. So great to be "done" after just 2 beers, and not having the feeling of "just getting started" -- and that feeling of, "I gotta get more of this in me ASAP!" Now, it's just a feeling of slight tipsyness being enough and time to think about winding down for bed soon...

I'd highly recommend going to Iceland, and if anyone wants more details, feel free to ask!


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:28 pm
Posts: 1646
Wow! Those are some amazing shots, Wolfie!

So glad to hear you guys had such a great time in such a wonderful place! Congrats to both the birthday boys!


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:35 pm
Posts: 1429
Thanks for sharing Wolfie! I will definitely put Iceland on my bucket list, for those pics do look amazing. The only thing I think I will have an issue with is the flight, for I hate being in a tin can for any length of time. You are very lucky to have a good relationship with your brother and dad. It sounds like your dad is a very healthy 70 year old! Very lucky indeed!


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:15 pm
Posts: 529
Location: usa
thanks for sharing. I'll never make it there, but I can live through others!

_________________
Pre-TSM 30-50 drinks per week (US drinks, not units!)
started 4/16/15
months 1-6: avg 17/ 1 AF/wk
months 7-12: avg 13/2 AF/wk
months 13-18: avg 11/3 AF/wk


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:52 pm
Posts: 35
Update:

- More, steady progress reducing drinking.
- Read the book, This Naked Mind where something kind of "clicked" with regard to my relationship with alcohol.
- I've lost 18 lbs!

Week 33: 15 (adjusted)
Week 34: 8
Week 35: 8.5
Week 36: 16
Week 37: 4
Week 38: 3
Week 39: 3

Here's a graph of my weekly drinks since starting TSM:
Image

Things are very good drinking-wise.

I've been a little "blah" in life lately, but I don't think it has to do with my drinking journey. I can only imagine I'd be more than mildly depressed had I been drinking 40-70 drinks per week. I'm in a bit of a 7 year itch / mid-life crisis lately. I'm turning 40 this Fall. I'm between jobs and it's been a hot Summer with less inspiration and creativity than I'd like. Plus my beloved dog has terminal cancer and I'm honestly really sad about losing him soon. These are the ups and downs of life, but I just want to emphasize how grateful I am to NOT have the dark shadow of drinking hanging over me every day.

So, I wanted to write a little about a book I read this Summer called This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. This book has been talked about a lot on Reddit, so I picked it up to read on my family beach vacation. I read it in week 36, and since then have only had a handful of drinks mostly out of social habit.

It's basically the case against alcohol. I highly recommend it. It seems to have the effect on people to sort of wake them up about how they feel about drinking. Essentially Grace points out how we are trained all our lives to value drinking yet it's a poisonous, addictive substance. There is no logical reason to ever consume booze yet we "confabulate" all kinds of reasons to do so.

She points out how the buzz we get is actually from relief not pleasure. And our brain's endorphins get released well before the alcohol is even absorbed in our stomach. It's ALL mental, and we are all tricked. It debunks a lot of the dated thinking about addictive personalities- which I thought I had. It goes on to show just how harmful this chemical ethanol is to our bodies and especially our brains.

I think reading this book is helping me change from the mentality "I don't get to drink" to "I don't have to drink."

I encourage you to read this book with a totally open mind. Read it like a judge hearing a case from a lawyer. This is the case against alcohol. Don't read it like the lawyer from the opposition, constantly rebutting points like "well I do like socially drinking..." etc. Read it like you NEED to take this point of view. Because you do. It will really help set your thinking free.

A few lines have really stood out. She points out that beer and wine is (the fermented liquid I've loved for years) is literally ethanol, the same stuff that powers our cars. Yet ads, friends, movies, slogans, parties, and other messages are all around us in our formative years to fall in love with this poison. Early in life, we don't think anything is odd about drinking because it's so normal. Yet it's the only drug that you have to justify NOT using in today's society.

It's really weird how much drinking is a part of human culture. If you landed on an alien planet and the intelligent life there was all snorting purple "flürm dust" every day which was highly addictive and made them sick and act stupid. You'd wonder what the **** was going on there. They'd explain how flürm dust was part of their culture, was a ton of fun to ingest, interesting to learn about, and tasted great. At sunset you'd see all the aliens murmer, "mmm some flürm sounds nice right about now!" You'd see a huge population of them dying from it, going to rehab to quit it, and generally how bad it made these aliens feel. You'd easily be able to tell they were being fooled and making up reasons to explain their silly addiction. It would be utterly clear to you that these sweet beings would be 100% better off without flürm.

That's really how stupid alcohol is. This book slowly and methodically points out how we have been fooled. Read it and let the case wash over you. She says once you shift your perspective of how you think about alcohol, your subconscious will lower it's cravings. This seems really true for me. Just in the past 3-5 weeks I've almost completely elimated any desire to drink. (A sniff of wine even made me gag recently.) Even after all this TSM chemistry reversing my brain's incentive and reward systems. I realize just how much brainwashing and bad thinking was in my mind.

I used to say "I don't trust someone who doesn't drink." This actually makes no sense at all. The opposite is actually true. Should we trust people who are so easily fooled to drink!? Drinking is addictive and harmful to our health. It's pleasure we claim it to be giving us is actually something else entirely- more a relief from the physical and psychological dependance we've built up from years of abuse. In fact, wanting vs liking are two totally different chemical activities in the brain. Seems like alcohol is only the former when you pay really close attention. They say to like without wanting is heaven and wanting without liking is hell.

Most of my life I've been a hardcore skeptic, taking a special liking to pointing out how dumb cults are. How can scientologists think Xenu is real? Why did the morons in Heaven's Gate think there was a UFO behind the Hale Bopp comet? Well, my thinking around alcohol is starting to sound a lot like a cult member apologist, justifying their weird beliefs. Maybe I really don't like what this substance does for me. Maybe I've been tricked all this time.

Naltrexone has been working on rewiring my chemical reward system. This Naked Mind seems to be reworking my psychological belief system. Maybe this one-two combination is the final knock-out punch against my opponent: drinking.


TSM was like being in a self driving car. I took Nal and trusted it to steer me in the right direction, which it generally has. But maybe I'm not really the one doing the deciding and I somehow still felt a little sad about not drinking. This new perspective change has actually started to make me energized by choosing not to drink and look forward to not doing it. Grace talks about how when you have this "cognitive dissonance" it build up stress. When the subconscious and conscious thinking conflict it creates a major tension in your psyche. Reading this book has helped my realize how much bad thinking my conscious brain was drumming up, trying to make sense out of drinking, even after TSM had started to work. These mental gymnastics over time make me confused and ill-at-ease. I feel like I'm coming out of a trance in a way.

Most people today think smoking cigarettes is gross and stupid, even those addicted to them. But everyone agrees drinking is normal and totally OK, and that it's just that we problem drinkers can't drink b/c we are special and not like the "normies." There are clearly some mental gymnastics going on with this reasoning. This is called confabulation-- where the brain tries to make sense out of opposing view points with illogical arguments. This mental disagreement between our conscious and unconscious can build up a great amount of anxiety in us.

Believing that drinking makes sense, but we problem drinkers are cursed with DNA that makes us drink too much. That we are weak-willed. We make bad decisions and are selfish. This type of reasoning is totally wrong. Alcohol is poisonous and addictive and everyone who drinks it is on the continuum of its trap. Some of us got addicted and are doing things like rehab or TSM to get unhooked. But somehow a part of us mourns the loss of this fun part of our lives. Misses the supposed charms that drinking gave us. Is this true? Is there a reason for this sadness?

Read this book and pretend you have just joined the legal team making this case against alcohol. You need to get on board with all these points even though your core instincts may initially disagree with them logically at first. Read it and pretend you need to make this exact argument in front of the supreme court soon. Let it sink in. I've seen many people online talk about having an "Aha moment" while reading it, and I can say I have too.

Buy it on Amazon here:
https://www.amazon.com/This-Naked-Mind- ... this+naked


Last edited by wolfie on Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:02 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:39 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:28 pm
Posts: 1646
Good work, Wolfie! I've heard of others that have gotten something out of that book, Smootie for one.


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:27 pm
Posts: 28
Just bought the book, Wolfie. Excellent info in your posts that I relate to. Wish you continued success.

_________________
Before TSM- 105 drinks/week

Week 1- 8/26 to 9/1, 2016- 27.5 drinks/week

Week 2- 9/2- 9/8 2016- 35.5

Week 3- 33.5

Week 4- 33

Week 5- 41

Week 6-68.5

Week 7- 15

Week 8- 8

Week 9- Sat, 7, Sun, 20, m, 12, t, 0, w, 0


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 Post subject: Re: Wolfie's progress and thoughts...
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:52 pm
Posts: 35
Here's an update at 48 weeks in.

Going very well these days. I'm continuing to get used to the normalcy of no desire to drink. Popping a nal if a drinking occasion is there.

When I'm home alone or traveling I do not care or think about alcohol at all. Not a single bit. There are cold beers in the fridge and good wine chilled and ready to open if I wanted it, but I 100% do not want to drink it.

However if there's a social situation where friends are around, I'm fine with having 2-3 drinks over the course of a night. Just making sure I take my naltrexone one hour before. The drinks taste fine and I sometimes find and I enjoy the camaraderie. I especially like not having to be "that guy" who doesn't drink anything. It wouldn't be a totally big deal to abstain but not having to face the awkwardness and stigma of being a 0.0 drinker constantly refusing or having to explain why I'm not partaking is... nice. I'm very happy to indulge in a glass of wine or two with everyone and folks just see me as a normal participant. I'm even well on the sober side of average and DD a lot now.

I told two close guy friends about this whole journey too. Which was nice to explain from scratch. They were curious and supportive and very cool about it. The basic story is:
    - About a year ago I was getting very mindful about my life and noticing how much my days were ruled by drinking and hangovers.
    - I researched moderation techniques and found very little helpful stuff online, and was intimidated when considering how to slow my drinking and had a deep sense that I was addicted and was going to have a hard time winning the willpower game.
    - I found some posts about TSM online and voraciously read everything I could about it... and thought it made sense and decided to give it a shot.
    - The rest is history and my chart tells the story quite well.

Here is my weekly intake graph at almost a year in:
Image

Here are my recent weekly totals:
(week #) (drink count)
40 8.5
41 7
42 8.5
43 0
44 7
45 9.5
46 5.5
47 5.5
48 4

I feel great about TSM. I still read a lot of posts on reddit from the stop drinking forum and alcoholism forums. I still get sad and frustrated when I hear people clearly struggling and fighting to stay sober. It must be so hard if not impossible for some to just try to not drink every day. To be haunted by the lurking demon of craving. That if you ended up having 2 beers, you'd have 20.

I've tried posting some advice about TSM but it just seems to fall on deaf ears. The AA community just pushes meetings and willpower. Meetings and willpower. Ugh. I continue to affirm my belief this is not a deciding problem, this is a brain association problem. We can rewire our neurons to remove cravings. I did it and know it works. Alcohol doesn't rule my days at all anymore. It plays a part in my life about as much as pizza does. I enjoy it sometimes but it I hardly ever think about it.

-Wolfie


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