Craft water update

I didn’t ride my bike yesterday, I didn’t ride my bike today, I’m not going to ride it tomorrow or Thursday, and Friday is looking iffy. You’d be amazed at how hard it is to make stuff up in the absence of facts.

Instead, I thought I would do a little “craft water update” to share my perspective on what the last couple of beer-free months have been like.

  1. Has it helped my bike racing? No.
  2. Has it helped me lose weight? In the beginning, yes, because beer seems to spawn pizzas and cheese nachos, along with wings and fries. But beer also helps you lose weight because you drink so much you pass out, and it’s hard to get fat when you’re unconscious. In the short term I dropped about ten pounds, but now the net loss is only about four.
  3. Is my life better? It’s different. With beer my life was fun. Raging, awesome fun. Every waking hour was a fun opportunity, even 10:00 AM on a weekday. Nothing is as fun as being drunk. So my life is a lot less fun now because the best evening spent reading a good book doesn’t begin to compare with shouting and carrying on like a fool in a noisy bar with a bunch of equally drunken friends. Or strangers.
  4. Are you happier? No. But I’m a lot less miserable. In fact, I’m not miserable at all. With beer I was super happy until the non-beer moments kicked in. Then I was sad. And there were a ton more non-beer moments than beer moments, even though I tried hard to max out the beer ones.
  5. Are the people around you happier? Big 10-4 on that, good buddy. It’s amazing how happy Mrs. WM is at not having to carry me out of family restaurants.
  6. Is your work better? Off the charts. Got my mojo back on that shit.
  7. Do you sleep better? Technically, yes, but practically, no, because now even though I sleep deeply, since I’m not drunk I’m easily awakened by the chainsaw sleeping next to me in bed sawing down an old-growth forest every ten seconds.
  8. Do you crave beer? Yes. Each day is about 16-17 waking hours locked in the crave cave.
  9. Have your friends and family supported you? Yes. Without them I’d be back in the gutter.
  10. What’s the biggest change? Not ever being able to shut off the switch and having to just fuggin’ cope with the torrent.
  11. What was the biggest shock? Physical withdrawal followed by six weeks of profound depression. If I ever doubted that I was an alcoholic, I don’t doubt it now.
  12. What was the most pleasant surprise? That those two things ended. And when they did, the following day felt like one of those mornings when you wake up and there’s been a big rain. Everything is so fresh and clean and pure. Until I wanted a Racer 5 ten seconds later.
  13. How have people reacted? Overwhelmingly supportive, a handful not so much. But what has blown me away the most is finding out how many people are also hopeless drunks battling for their emotional and physical lives every single day. They’re all around me. Some have reached out because they’re sober and want to help, but more incredibly, some have reached out to me for help. I would do anything for them, although it’s pretty much like the blind leading the blind.
  14. Are you in AA? No and yes. I’ve never been to a meeting, but I benefit all the time from the wisdom and support of fellow alcoholics. And I’m in AA in this sense — I’ve vowed to myself that the next time alcohol crosses my lips, I’m headed straight there. And if that fails, I’m checking into rehab.
  15. Better sex life? You’ll have to check in with Mrs. WM on that one. On second thought, don’t.
  16. How many days since your last drink? I don’t know and don’t fuggin’ care. This isn’t a hitting streak, it’s an attempt not to be drinking at this moment. That’s all that matters to me.
  17. Any tips? Best way to start stopping is to announce it, even if it’s just to the person who talks back to you in the mirror every morning.
  18. And staying stopped? No idea. Maybe check to see if there’s a drink in your hand, and if there is, toss it?
  19. Do you see drinking and drinkers differently? Yes. I used to be one of them. Now I’m just green with envy.
  20. Is it hard being around alcohol? Yup.
  21. Has it been worth it? Saved my marriage. Saved my family. Saved my job. Saved my life. So if I could add to that another win in a bike race, the answer would be a resounding “Probably.”

END

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40 thoughts on “Craft water update”

  1. I’m incredibly glad for you Seth! And very impressed with the strategy you’re employing. Very wise and effective. Congrats on another day!

  2. Sr Geezer Johan

    +100

    Cool. Working your way up front staying glued to that water wheel one day at a time. Hmmm…OK. It’s not quite as exciting as the chum weave, bob and dodge or asphalt butt surfing going on behind – but now you have a chance of victory every day.

    Cheers! Oops.

  3. Dear Seth:
    Good one. I think you got it pretty much all in there, except the “money” part. Like body weight, that is self-adjusting, at least in my experience– just another “non-issue”, in short.

    Hey, I hope you didn’t get a saddle boil that’s keeping you off the bike here. It’s been a long time, but I remember, you bet. Nasty little buggers…

  4. I’m happy for you and to your family Seth. Hour by hour, minute by minute brother.

  5. Wanky,

    It’s great that you are taking this very seriously. Your kids will be much better off for it. It’s a good way to share, age appropriately, challenges in life and how to deal with them. It also gives them an opportunity to talk about your craft beer past and your craft water present with you. Caveat: age appropriate discussions are good. “Yeah son, I’m thinking about having a craft beer every 5 minutes.” is not constructive in the least. It’s not a secret in your family either, so don’t treat it like one.

    In one sense, it gets easier and you are already experiencing some of the benefits. For me, the success presented additional craft water challenges as it wasn’t something to which I was accustomed.

    Isn’t it interesting how many addicts are involved in endurance sports?

    Good luck.

    1. Lots and lots of cyclists who I know are in various phases of the same problem. But I think it’s just as common in the population at large.

  6. Glad you’re keeping on keeping on, my brother. Keep it up! And try some of that Ramlösa. As far as fancy water goes, it’s the wettest.

  7. Seth,
    Just talking about it openly and honestly is inspirational, and not just to other people who pine for adult beverages.
    Stuart

  8. You show fortitude and courage and those are two qualities you need to survive alcoholism. Hang in there Seth.

  9. I don’t remember when I stopped drinking as a sport but cycling definitely helped replace it for me. In my twenties, it seemed that every biker racer or triathlete was on a 12 step program trading one form of self imposed suffering for another. Now in my fifties I have an occasional( once a month max) drink that never turns into more than two. It just happens that way.

    If your riding your writing.

    Good Luck.

    1. Good for you, being able to hit the STOP button. Mine got left off on the production line.

  10. +1 on not counting the days since change. What matters is what’s in front of you. What helps is wondering if you’re going to live the rest of your life as the person before your change.

    Hopefully one day you can be around the scene before your change and not care. Then you know you made it!

    1. Thanks. I knew not to count when my youngest son said, “How many days has it been since you had a beer?” I was about to reflexively answer, “Ten years,” because that’s how long it felt. Then we figured that the best unit of measurement was in weeks, and only a few of them.

  11. Can’t get the saddle boil off my mind now.
    Seth, congratulations on all the good things your giving your self and your family and thanks for sharing it,I really appreciate it.

  12. I will ask and answer another question for you.
    “Has it affected your writing?” I would say not. I think you have written some of your best shit since you stopped. I think all that means is that the drink did not make you a writer, it just gave you some materials to work with.

    Keep up the good work.

  13. Pure Briliance Wanky. Although I did really prefer the Triple B program, I’m right behind you on this. And, although we are only vaguely acquainted, it’s kind of nice to know there’s someone else going through it at the same time.

  14. Re: “Has it helped my bike racing? No.” Hmmm. Didn’t you win a race recently? Post hoc ergo propter hoc….

  15. I noticed when I stopped drinking 10 years ago, I had so much more money. $7.00 beers, and $3.00 tips to the G-strings X 10.00 per 3-4 nights a weeks adds up!! No more of that!!

  16. So happy for you Seth! I have seen first hand what alchool will do to a family..my ex still is a raging alcoholic & my 15 year old daughter is tired of coming home to a hung over mother & pouring out vodka in the sink. Breaks my heart & makes me feel pretty useless as a father. You & your family are so much better off now & I can imagine how hard it is to stay on the craft water with alchool so easily accessible. I don’t know firsthand what it takes to stay sober but I know a good friend who put it into perspective for me. He said that when he first tried to quit he would drive past 2 liquor stores & be so proud of himself he would stop at a the third & buy himself a drink! Keep it going & know that if you ever need anything I am here to help.

    1. Thanks, Gus. I’ve always been a happy drunk. Now I’m just happy not to be drunk. Everyone has a story like this in their family, or multiples. People like reaching out has made the difference; been driving by a shit-ton of liquor stores and not even noticing. Of course that’s because I’m on my way to the hospital to have my herniated disc looked at, the one I got off-loading the 27 crates of craft water that came on a pallet.

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