Gut Rumbles

November 15, 2005

For The Blog: FREEDOM!

I got my release date today. I exit the morning of November 28, five weeks and two days after I came reeling in here. I think I'm getting some time off for good behavior. They told me six weeks minimum when I checked in.

This is day 21, and I must admit - I do not look like the same person I was 21 days ago. That's an encouraging sign because I don't want to be that person ever again.

I've gained some weight (I still need to add another 30 pounds or so to fill out my frame decently), I have a good appitite and I'm sleeping well. In another 18 days, I may resemble my old self again.

Of course that's where the difficult part begins. It's easy to be clean and sober, in a rehab facility - I don't have any choice. But the outside world is full of temptation, and I am an alcoholic. Alcoholics don't think the way normal people do. If we ever take that first drink, we cannot stop. And if I ever start drinking again, I'll be dead very shortly.

You'd think that fact would be enough to convince me never to drink again. Hell, it would be for ANY sane, rational person.

But I'm not a sane, rational person. I am an alcoholic. I will be an alcoholic for the rest of my life. No cure exists for this cunning, baffling, powerful disease. The very best I can hope for if to keep the disease in remission by practicing complete abstinence. No drinking. None. Nada. Never.

That's all a tall order - A lot taller than what most "earth people" (non-alcoholics) can ever understand. It ain't like turning off a light switch. It ain't a question of self-disipline. It's a complete change in behavior and thinking.

I'm scared shitless. I don't know if I can do it.


Hang in there man!. I know you can do it!

Posted by: DavidB on November 15, 2005 08:00 PM

you can and will do ifs or ands or will do it.thats my 2 cents

Posted by: j on November 15, 2005 08:27 PM

"I can do this!"

Repeat that to yourself every chance you get, and remember to take it all day-by-day.

I will all work out.

Take care.

Posted by: jmflynny on November 15, 2005 08:32 PM

Acidman: Your right -- you can't do it. That's where your higher power comes in. One day at a time man.

Posted by: Chris on November 15, 2005 08:34 PM

NO! This isnt the stubborn, powerful man i know and love! YOu WILL DO IT!

Posted by: Peter on November 15, 2005 09:10 PM

Feb 1 will mark 5yrs of sobriety for me.

I didn't mark down the original date, because I wasn't sure I had was actually sometime in Jan.

I won't tell you it was a bed of roses, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

In fact I'm thinkin of going to the place I had my last drink (The Freebird Cafe) and see the Outlaws (the band, not the bikers), perform live for their 30th anniversary tour.

I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that even a year ago...that's how much things change..Best of Luck Friend :-D

Posted by: Mrite on November 15, 2005 09:27 PM

A-man, you got a ton of "sponsors" out here to help you out if you get wound too tight.

Just ask. I bet you get yourself "acid-bathed" with willing help.

Take care cracker. I'll write again soon.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on November 15, 2005 09:52 PM

Take up pot smoking.

Posted by: rightisright on November 15, 2005 10:26 PM

Hi Rob,

We're all pulling for you. I can only imagine how you may be tempted once you're back in the real world. I've watched my dad battle his alcoholism for years. He's never gone for help - he's too proud!?!

Stay as strong as we all know you can be!

And, by the way, how did MaryKay react to her snail-mail-valanche! Did she enjoy all the kind words we all sent?

Posted by: Karen in Australia on November 15, 2005 10:35 PM

Rob --

My brother has done it for more than 20 years, and he's not nearly as stubbborn as you are. You CAN do it. Question is, do you WANT to do it? If you do, it's one minute, one hour and one day at a time.

Being sober doesn't change who you are. It just changes what you choose to do.

I believe in you. Just hold on.


Posted by: Omnibus Driver on November 15, 2005 10:43 PM

You must hang in there, Rob.
I suggest a hobby to keep you occupied.
Volunteer; do something that takes you out of the house regularly; work on finding your passion that takes up your time (I'm still working on finding mine, and it's not knitting :)

P.S. Hey, hope ya liked the "funny munny". I wish it were actual currency ;-)
A colleague jokingly handed the "Monica 8" bill to a cashier at the local McDonald's a couple years ago, and the cashier started to give him change, when he said, "Whoa, whoa! That's not real, you know." The cashier called his supervisor over to *have a laugh* about it .
Hopefully, said boss kept an eye on the employee from then on. Sheesh!

Posted by: MoK on November 15, 2005 11:05 PM

If my husband can do it for the past 16 years you can. Hell, he's married to me and thats' enough to make any sane man drink! LOL
Hang in there Rob, I know you can do it!

Posted by: Maeve on November 16, 2005 12:17 AM

You're gonna outlive us all you old bastid. Good luck and get well soon.

Posted by: steve on November 16, 2005 01:13 AM

Rob, you're right to be scared shitless. Be afraid, very afraid, if you don't or can't get it right.
I've been battling this thing for 30 years, in & out of AA, and once got nearly 6 years sober. The most recent run was 10 months sober. I got up in my head & neglected to put the most important thing first, sobriety. I let emotions rule my thinking. And I got a ton of shit going on in life that spawn emotions. That's not good. I haven't learned to deal with them.
I heard in a meeting a while back, "Feelings aren't facts".
I remember that comment, but didn't take it to heart.
Feelings, mostly anger, got me flat on the mat, and I forgot that.
Feelings (emotions) will possibly trigger the old shit, since I've been reading you for years & I think you & I think alot alike.
It sure triggers me, and my thinker is broke.
I have, yet again, about 2 weeks, and am starting all over again.
At least 2 weeks sober is better than 2 weeks mostly unconcious.
I still would rather take the unconcious. I've yet to figure out why.
But at 51 I'm pushing it. 20 more years at best before Alzheimer's or something (knock wood) and it's in the 4th quarter and the score ain't in my favor.
Maybe it is in yours.
I hope you have the capacity to follow suggestions. I'm so hard-headed I wonder if I'll ever get it right.

But I "keep coming back". Someday maybe the light bulb will come on.
I'm a frequent poster but for obvious reasons have chosen a pseudonym.
Sam, if you still send this stuff to your Dad, please include this. I'm not a snail-mail letter writer. Mostly because I forget to.

Posted by: Anonymous Old Goat on November 16, 2005 01:17 AM

Hey! Who fucked up the archives? I finally wrote a snail-mail but Rob's address is nowhere to be found, nor the lady who lost her son if I remember right. Where did it all go?

Posted by: Anonymous Old Goat on November 16, 2005 02:01 AM

C/O Willingway Hospital
311 Jones Mill Road
Statesboro, GA 30458

Substitute Rob Smith for letters to Acidman.

JMFlynn - "I can do this" was my mantra during the period when I finally told my ex I wanted had literally taken me years because I was immoblized by fear. That mantra got me through, and I still pull it out and dust it off now and then.

Posted by: Trish on November 16, 2005 02:33 AM

this sounds like "Early Graduation" . *I say, if you need the full course, take it ALL, --- to get *extra* re-inforcement of this life-saving message. --Don't let them hustle you out _before_ you are ready. ask for all the help you need. then step out.... Tanned, rested, and ready.

Posted by: adele on November 16, 2005 02:34 AM

You can do it if you WANT to do it.

it is that simple.

here is another simple truth:
Learn to forgive yourself and others.

No need to get bogged down in stinkin' thinkin'. That will lead you down the wrong road.

Watch out for the 90 day and 9 month mark.

they can be treacherous.

The 8 year mark seems tricky too.

Lotta people seem to fall off the wagon around then. Most who do, die.

get a list of phone numbers of people who understand and who you can call at anytime day or night. You will need that support sooner or later.

Disregard the advice to smoke pot. That will weaken your resolve.

Be careful with cold medicines like nyquil too.

You have heard the promise.

I can testify that it is true. But you have to want it and work on it. You have a long road ahead and it won't be easy and you are right to be scared . But it does get better.

Posted by: BT on November 16, 2005 06:45 AM

Rob, of course you can do it. I can't imagine you ever backing down from a challenge without a fight honey ;)

ANd I'm not trying to push my site here, but a comment that someone left today had me ROFLMFAO!
Check out the one from Steve here: :)

Posted by: Misty on November 16, 2005 07:06 AM

Beats dying.

Posted by: robert on November 16, 2005 07:13 AM

.. we're pulling for you, Rob.. you can do anything you want to.... you just have to want to...

Posted by: Eric on November 16, 2005 07:54 AM

I'll be praying for you, Rob, and all the others here fighting this demon.

Posted by: Jane on November 16, 2005 08:09 AM

Stevie, paint your toe nails red............

Posted by: Maeve on November 16, 2005 09:01 AM

You've made two negative statements in that letter, honey.

"I am not a sane, rational person, I am an alcoholic."

Yes, you are an alcoholic...but only a sane, rational person could admit that.

"I don't know if I can do it."

Yes, you CAN do it. The choice is YOURS. I believe you have the strength to DO IT!

If the moment ever comes that you take a glass in your hand again, look down at it. Then smash it into little pieces by throwing it against the wall...just like the Russians do in old movies. Toast your own life.

You live the life YOU MAKE. Make it a great have more cheerleaders out here than you will ever know.

Make your new mantra "I know I can, I know I can."

Posted by: Maggie on November 16, 2005 09:25 AM

Drinking is now something you used to do. You don't do it any more. Good luck!

Posted by: Florida Bill on November 16, 2005 09:44 AM

You can do it Rob, I know you can.
And the narcissit in you will love being the perfect example for others.
We have faith in you, now have faith in yourself.

Posted by: livey on November 16, 2005 10:22 AM

That's where your higher power comes in. One day at a time man.

Chris is right -- and Rob, this thread shows how powerful your higher power is.

As for this from Robert:

Beats dying.

It does. And a thrashed-out drunk does not leave a good-looking corpse.

Posted by: McGehee on November 16, 2005 11:05 AM

One day at a time, Rob, one day at a time is how it's done.

Posted by: Ernie G on November 16, 2005 11:06 AM

One day at a time, A-Man.

You can do it. We'll all be out here pulling for you.

As they told me, "Fake it 'till you make it".

Posted by: Zarba on November 16, 2005 11:09 AM

it's a hell of a disease with a horrible relapse rate, that's just the truth of it. i had just over two years sober, then for a year i was binge drinking off and on. i'm sober again and trying hard. you nailed it when you said you can't take that first drink. it's like a switch goes off in your brain. it sounds like you're in a really good program. i understand how scary it is to think of being on your own -- the important thing is not to be on your own. go to meetings. find someone you can talk to, write down what you're feeling -- whatever you think will work.

Posted by: Sarah on November 16, 2005 11:09 AM

My older brother is a recovering alcoholic. Twelve years ago at age 35, he decided he either had to die or dry out. It's been incredible to watch him make up for the time he lost while drinking, over the last 12 years. He remarried after he quit drinking and his new wife kept one of those big-assed wine boxes in the fridge. It kinda made me mad. I don't have a weakness for drink, but I do have one for sweets, and I know how pissed I'd be if my wife insisted on keeping a bag of oreos in the house when I was dieting knowing that I couldn't have one. I asked my brother one day if it didn't piss him off having alcohol in the house, when he new that one slip up might send him spiralling back into hell. He told me that it didn't bother him at all, cause that box of wine, to him, was like a rattlesnake. He was no more tempted to sneak a drink of wine from the box then he would have been to fuck with a rattlesnake. Evidently life and death decisions get to be a little easier after you sober up. I don't know that any of this helps you in your struggle or not, but I hope it does. Change is a process, not an event.

Posted by: Sticky B on November 16, 2005 11:12 AM

Rob, you have to do this not only for yourself but for your son. It hurts everyone, especially the kids, when a father cannot control his drinking. It hurts a lot..and a lifetime. Do your best.

Posted by: Just Like Louie Anderson on November 16, 2005 12:14 PM

You CAN quit drinking! I too am an alkie. I quit on March 20, 1976. I heard somewhere that an alcoholic who has truly quit knows the exact date they quit. If they don't know the date, then they haven't quit.

I did find at the time that I had to change some of my friends and my routines. I couldn't keep hanging around with my "old drinking buddies" (in my early 20s then) because THEY couldn't accept the fact that I wasn't drinking alcohol any more. They would continue to try to buy me drinks when we would go to bars to listen to bands (& meet women). So I had to stop hanging with them, and stopped going to bars.

Now some folks who drink can't understand why some of us don't drink at all, and they probably think we tea-totalers don't have any fun. The fact is, I/we non-inbibers have plenty of fun, and the best part is that by being sober we can remember the fun times now! I did stuff back when I was drunk that I absolutely NO recollection of, and some of that was scary, like driving in circles when I thought I had just made a simple U-turn.

Rob, you need to play even more music, which I find is very therapeutic. Just try not to do it in bars for a while, OK?

Posted by: Garry K on November 16, 2005 12:55 PM

McGehee, you're ABSOLUTELY right about that. When I was little I had one uncle I was extremely close to (I'd lost my father as an infant, and he'd basically lost his small daughter as a result of drinking/divorce). He was the only brother left of 4 (the others were all killed by alcohol one way or another). He and I were sort of surrogate father and daughter, even though he did always smell like whiskey. His liver finally gave out in his mid-40s. When I went to the funeral and saw him in that casket (I was about 13) I lost it! THAT was not my uncle! His skin was this horrible color, and there was this huge goiter [sp?] on his neck.... [shudder]. For me it was another reason to be scared - very scared - of alcohol.

Posted by: McGehee on November 16, 2005 12:57 PM

Woops. That was Jane posting, not McGehee. : /

Posted by: Jane on November 16, 2005 12:58 PM

Good luck Rob. You're in my prayers man.

There's so many wonderful things to do and see in this life, make the most of the time we have. It's a cup of coffee and than we're outta here. Set yourself a goal(I'm very goal orientated), learn to SCUBA, go to Kurdistan, something like that. You'll be proud of yourself when you've done what you've set out to do.

Posted by: MM on November 16, 2005 01:18 PM

I don't drink...but I used to. Heck, I was getting drunk as a 7th grader. Find some idiot to buy me the booze and I was good time Charlie. I come from a family of alcoholics....most of my Dad's brothers drink to "get drunk". I love everyone of them...but they are the most obnoxious, crude, and rude people when they drink. I stopped and looked around one day...and realized that THAT IS WHERE I WAS HEADED. A smart man learns from his own mistakes...a wise man learns from others mistakes.

I have my a family now....and I avoid the family reunions. Why? Because of my Uncles's not something I want to expose my children to.

I wish you well sir...I pray you reach that higher power. God Bless.

Posted by: No Mo on November 16, 2005 03:32 PM

Congrats to you for being strong enough to make it this far. My Dad was an alcoholic and he licked it. I know you can too. Good luck. Peace.

Posted by: Lori on November 16, 2005 04:05 PM

Send me the proper address and I'll mail you a pie!

Posted by: sulizano on November 16, 2005 04:40 PM


Posted by: Juliette on November 16, 2005 04:51 PM

You can do it. I am going on 23 years now. Every time you go to take a drink, remember what a great time you had going through rehab and what you felt like when you started it. That's what I do and it works for me.

After while you will realize that some of those good times you thought were so much fun really weren't funny at all.

It will be worth it, though. Just think, no hangovers!!

Posted by: dick on November 16, 2005 06:40 PM

You can do it Rob but it ain't going to be easy. First thing you do is hit anybody in the mouth that tells you to "take up pot smoking" or any other mood altering substance. I can tell you from experience (mine as well as people I have sponsored) that smoking pot instead of drinking will never work for an alcoholic. It will just lead you down a different path to the same misery. Go to alot of meetings. Make sober friends. Get a sponsor and be as active in your recovery as you can force yourself to be for at least the first 90 days after treatment. It took me a few times and a few white chips but I finally got sober and stayed that way. I just celebrated 18 years of sobriety. When I got out of treatment I didn't think I would last a day. I did what I was told and sought out people in the program with some decent sober time. I started hanging out with them and learned to live life in a different way. Many of my drinking and smoking buddies turned out not to be such good friends after all so I said fuck'em. The ones that were good friends were few and far between but they are still around today. You give this program a chance and you will learn to enjoy life beyond your wildest dreams in spite of yourself. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you back on your blog. Good luck. Hang in there.

Posted by: assrot on November 16, 2005 06:55 PM

You definitely pack the gear, Bro. It may be hard, but you've got grit. And if you run out of grit, you've got plenty of friends.

Posted by: Jim - PRS on November 16, 2005 10:03 PM

What Assrot said; esp the part about alternative substances. Scared? Just remember that if you drink again you start precisely where you left off. That should scare anyone!

And if anyone says "What's the antisocial?" when you turn down an offer, just tell them they haven't SEEN antisocial yet!
It's doable, but only if you want it!
"half measures availed us NOTHING" is an absolute truth.

Want to know who your real friends are after quitting? A real friend would NOT point a loaded gun at you.

Posted by: 20 years on November 17, 2005 11:44 AM

As someone who has lived with an alcholic parent (stepfather) I can tell you that your relationship with your children is going to be better. I could not believe the difference sobriety made in that man. You can do this and only a fool isn't afraid. Hang tough and stay the course.

Posted by: Rey on November 17, 2005 12:32 PM

A-Man, have a blow up made of the picture you sitting on that bed (cause you couldn't walk) and look at it every day. When I saw that I realized how ill you were. And Rey is right, your relationships will improve with the folks who really care, your kids and loved ones. You have a huge support group out here, I know prayer isn't your thing but we will pray for you.
Go different places with different people, ones that don't push alcohol. I am hopeful that you can create a new bond with Quentin, that would probably be the best thing of all.

You CAN do it, it just won't be easy.

Posted by: Library Lady on November 17, 2005 01:15 PM

You'll do it because you're stronger than you know.

Glad to hear that you're coming home soon. You've been missed.

Posted by: physics geek on November 17, 2005 02:21 PM

I know I'm going to piss off many of you, but I have never accepted the disease model of addiction, or addicition itself, which is less a medical than a stigmatizing term.

I believe alcoholism is bad behavior. That's all.

Posted by: Brett on November 17, 2005 05:32 PM

I am proud of you, like someone else said, one day at a time and keep saying that you CAN do this!

Posted by: Wild Thing on November 17, 2005 06:23 PM

Your career required you to be one disciplined sonovabitch and to make sure that others followed that same discipline.
As you pointed out this isn't something you walk away from and forget but you can fight it and we are sure you will.

Posted by: ibm on November 17, 2005 08:24 PM

What ever you do, don't substitute one mind-altering substance for another. I did. It didn't work worth a shit and I was off to nearly 10 more years of drinking before my last drink on October 26, 1986. Go to meetings. Get a sponsor. Read the Big Book. Work the program. Call your sponsor to explain why you need a drink before you take it. If you fuck that up, call him after you take it.

I know all you earth people mean well, but most of us drunks were proud, stubborn, willful, determined, hard-headed, etc, etc, etc while we were indulging our disease. So please don't be telling Rob that's why he'll make it.

Posted by: Larry on November 19, 2005 11:05 AM

Hell, 2000 I lost 150 2004 I lost another 125 pounds...The first was an easy choice. The second one was tougher on me...but I divorced her too.

A good man just doesn't give up. I didn't and you won't either.

Travel...come to Texas for a bit...record a song or 3...let Catfish use you for gator bait...have some good fun and enjoy your next's gonna be a good one, I'm sure of it!

Posted by: Marcus on November 19, 2005 07:30 PM

Not only can you do it, you are doing it.

Posted by: Fausta on November 20, 2005 09:05 AM
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