Sober September Number 3

This is my third year going for “Sober September”. In fact I am already starting it early because last year I slipped and had a beer part way through the month. I won’t let that happen again this year.

If all goes well, I’m going to push for an Alcohol-Free Autumn. I’m not sure if my wife will try and join me this year. She doesn’t possess the same internal struggle as I when it comes to having a vice. In general I have more of those evil addiction traits than her.

Most of my year has had me in pictures with various beers at a variety of places. I appear to be touting the joy of drinking like an old magazine advertisement. As if drinking and fun go hand-in-hand. But seeing the last image of myself in front of my favorite watering hole, I realized I don’t look as healthy as once was. I have put on some unhealthy weight and a fake smile that I really do not like.

So wish me luck in my journey of Sober September 3. Each year gets harder than the last to let the drinking go. That is a sobering statement in and of itself.

Irn-Bru

My favorite drink In The World is Irn-Bru. It’s a Scottish soft drink with a unique flavor. What is the flavor of Irn-Bru? I like to describe it as an orange cream soda.

I first had some in Scotland back in 1995 when I was 19. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. My favorite part about traveling in Scotland was buying Vodka and Irn-Bru at almost every pub. I brought some bottles home to share with friends. The soda didn’t last long as everyone enjoyed it. It took me a few years to find it here in Canada.

When I did find it for sale- boy was I excited! I bought it every chance I got because of the scarcity of it. Oh, and the cost was a bit ridiculous for a soda, so I limited my purchases. Paying $10 for 2 liters is a bit much or $4 for a small bottle. The problem now is that I introduced my kids to the drink, and they love it too!

Today I found a neat looking bottle of vodka that I had to own. And what better way to enjoy the vodka with than some Irn-Bru? Tonight I’m enjoying a vodka and Irn-Bru. It brought back some great memories. Perhaps one day I’ll share with my kids some vodka and Irn-Bru. Until then, this is my treat.

Bailey’s Blues

I’m going to start this off by saying, I’m not an alcoholic. Now for some background into that statement.

Yes, I do enjoy having beer, wine and other spirits. I have shared plenty of stories of my journeys to a variety of breweries and distilleries. I also go long periods without a drop. I don’t tend to buy a lot of hard liquor or flavored liqueurs. Most often is around Christmas time to share with family and friends.

I pick up a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream every year. For the past few years it has been coming with a free mug that we have been gifting to our daughter- and she loves them. In fact, she gets upset if anyone else uses one. So her brother and sister know to stay clear of those mugs, as do my wife and I. I look at it as buying a $20 mug and getting a free bottle of Bailey’s.

This year, for whatever reason, my best friend has been gifting me a bottle of Bailey’s every time he comes out. And every time he comes over- the bottle keep getting bigger. We received one in July, one in October and another in December. Plus the one we pick up in order to get the mug- that adds up to a ton of Irish Cream. Basically the large one he brought us last week and the one I picked up are still full.

If I keep adding it to my morning coffee, I’m going to become immune to the effects and start increasing the doses until there’s no more coffee in my mug. How do I ask my friend to stop bringing me such a tasty beverage without sounding ungrateful?

Or rather, how do I convince him that next time he should bring Kahlua?

Staff Christmas Party

Last night my wife and I attended my work Christmas Party at my boss’s home. After a long day of watching our son at Speed Skating, it was nice to get out and socialize. And my coworkers enjoy socializing!

I’m the kind of person who generally gets things going at various events- be it a wedding or party. I don’t mean getting out of hand and crazy. I mean I’m usually the first one at the food table gathering nun-nums and starting the conversation of what foods I tried. Last night was no exception. I also tend to place myself down in a good spot that many people “stop by” and strike up conversations.

As the evening progressed, everyone let loose a bit more. A couple coworkers cleared off the dining room table for a beer pong tournament, while others shared some of their more fancier alcohols. Music, jokes and great conversations were happening. I had to cut my evening short about three hours in. It was already a long day, plus I had to be up early for work. My coworkers were getting up to some shenanigans and I’m sure some fun stories will be shared at the water cooler this week.

Working with a hangover is for the young these days. I haven’t wanted to push my limits lately as there are already plenty of stories of my insobriety out there. Even my kids have a few.

As we left, I thanked our hosts for the hospitality. My boss’s wife is quite amazing at cooking and baking it seems. There was a lovely spread of appetizers and treats laid out. As we were leaving, I asked for her recipe on how she made the doughnuts. She mentioned that it’s on her blog in which I follow. Honestly, I didn’t know that I followed her specifically, because I enjoy a variety of blogs. But there she was, and her first blog post- Doughnuts! I may have to try my hand at deep frying something beyond savory goodies one day.

Just a friendly reminder- If you are out at holiday parties please make sure you have a safe ride home. As embarrassing as being a bit tipsy may be the next day, having a “next day” is more important.

Sinatra as a Mentor?

Today I feel as if Frank Sinatra was an unbeknownst mentor. Not because I can sing- in fact far from it. But his lifestyle of sorts. I decided to do some quick research on him. Turns out some of his quotes resonate with me.

Having an intelligent woman in my life makes me feel like there is more substance in my relationship. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not just smart but pretty as well. I can make her light up the room when I get her to smile. We also have in-depth conversations where I often learn from her knowledge of various subjects.

The other side of Sinatra is his attitude towards drinking. He makes it seem refined and elegant. As if to be suave one needs to have a drink in hand.

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t look at him as a mentor. I enjoy my alcohol; perhaps a bit more than the next person. Drinking has been a part of my adult life for as long as I can remember. Which is hitting nearly a quarter century now. Not every day, but nearly every day off I enjoy a drink. It has become a part of my lifestyle. Sometimes in a negative way. A way that makes me unimpressed with myself.

Sinatra lived to be 83. That’s about forty years further than I am at this moment. I don’t know if I want to do forty more years of having alcohol as a vice. That’s a long time to keep putting booze into me.

But if Ol’ Blue Eyes could do it…

Expanding My Tastes

I do enjoy going for beers at almost any Craft Brewery. I have written about these adventures on numerous occasions. But at home I rarely buy good beer. I go for the cheapest cans and don’t care about the quality.

I also enjoy having a drink or two of some flavored liquors. At Christmas, I love having my Booze Tree up. It warms my insides.

Last weekend I discovered my favorite booze at the local liquor store that just opened. I had first found this during our visit to Shelter Point Distillery back in August 2017. I loved “Barrel of Sunshine” so much, I bought home three bottles of it. Boy does it go down smooth, let me tell you. In fact, I actually get myself stumbling off of it. Anyone who has had some with me knows of this fact. I’m holding off on cracking this bottle until my birthday in a few weeks.

In the mean time, I have found a tasty way to make a White Russian. I got inspired while watching “Russian Doll” on Netflix. I figured it’d be a good drink to have while binging tv. We have had a bottle of Van Gogh Espresso Vodka in our freezer for a few years and rarely sipped on it. It was a lovely little kick added to the coffee flavor from the Kahlúa. Plus it meant I didn’t need ice because it was already chilled.

I’m on the lookout now for a drink called “After Shock”. It’s a cinnamon Liqueur, but at the bottom of the bottle is sugar crystals that absorb the alcohol and make for a sweet, boozy snack once the bottle is done. Mmmmm boozy sugar…

Any special drinks you enjoy? Or can you find After Shock for me?

One Month Sober

I successfully went the entire month of September not being abducted by aliens not drinking. I’m not gonna lie, I feel goram good about it. (That’s my Firefly reference for the year btw). it was a personal goal that I successfully met. Like when I quit smoking cold turkey 13 years ago.

Being that the limitations I set out a month ago were personal ones, there was nothing stopping me from giving up and having just one drink last month. No one else would’ve cared. But it mattered to me. A couple times I really wanted a beer to just “feel normal” after a tough day. I contemplated whether drinking makes me normal or if my indulgences make me more like Rick Sanchez. Thus making drinking a part of who I am.

Will I have a drink on “Day One” after my month of sobriety?

Not likely.

Will I refrain from ever drinking again? Doubtful. I’m just not planning on partaking in alcohol any time soon.

Previously I would look forward to my days off or vacation time by planning my drinking schedule. WOW that sounds bad. But when I’ve been drinking for 25 years, that’s kinda how I plan my life- it just became normal. What’s strange about that observation is that many people live like this. Planning to the end of the work week or the next social drink. This is totally acceptable.

I never let alcohol interfere with work or the obligations to my family. But when you train your kids how to serve a drink or fetch a beer- is that the role model I really want to be? Haha, maybe… it’s cute in a bizarre way to have a two year old hand you a beer, right?

I’ve always become more socially fun after a few drinks. It doesn’t mean I don’t have fun when not drinking. It’s just a different “let loose” fun.

When I examine my lifestyle- Staying alcohol free may be the best plan for at least a little while longer. My bank account is feeling relief. My body is doing great- I’m napping less and my allergies are calmer. But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen that I never touch a drop again. I am in no rush to grab a beer over the next while that’s for sure.

But I am starting vacation soon… and there’s this margarita stand that I like…

Alcohol

I enjoy booze. I remember the first time I got drunk- I was 13. It was… unintentional?

My father had a few Czech friends who enjoyed drinking. One summer, my family went out for a party to celebrate one of my father’s friend’s birthday. There was spiked punch and they thought it amusing to see both me and my nine year old sister getting drunk. My mother didn’t know at the time until we were already tipsy.

These were the same friends of my father who got our elderly dog drunk on the day my sister was born. Those same folks drank a lot. All the time. I always saw them with a drink and cigarette in hand. Speaking in Czech. Laughing and enjoying life. A life that I was always looking in at from the outside. So I grew up. Sort of.

At age 17, I began to drink. I’d skip out every Friday from school and go drinking with friends. Not the smartest or most honorable moments in my life. But we were young and dumb. I always remember my father with a drink in hand. I wanted to be a man and grow up to rebel against the world. But instead I have become like most everyone else. About every twentieth photo I post on my Facebook wall is a picture of a drink.

I know now it’s not good to get drunk at work like I did when I was younger. But that was the boss buying beers for me. Funny little Asian man. Always sang songs about me as we drank on a Saturday. He didn’t seem to care that I was 17. That’s the only job I’ve ever been drinking at while working. There’s a part of me that knew it was wrong.

Maybe one day I will quit drinking. I’ve had a few bad nights or embarrassing moments I’d rather not relive. Not drinking can’t be that tough. The other night I hung out with a fellow who doesn’t drink. I totally respect that. In fact, I can see myself going cold turkey some day. Just like I did with smoking. I just need a different vice. When I quit smoking, I began chewing gum. A lot.

What I’d like to replace alcohol with is tea. That sounds more sophisticated and calm. I could be like Picard. He’s the coolest. He was my hero back when I was 13. Hmmm… that was before I got drunk for the first time…

Twofour- Six’ Eight”.

I used to really enjoy getting annihilated on my days off.  I was quite the sight to see some weekends.  Being a tall, skinny guy and drunk was like watching a birch tree swaying in a wind storm.  

In fact, one time I was given the nickname “He who dances with trees” by someone high on acid.  This was all while I was acting like a drunk goofball.  


A couple decades ago I went through a bottle of Bacardi 151 in one sitting.  75.5% alcohol.  This was the same night that a couch got lit on fire in the middle of a four lane road and a buddy of mine ended up in the hospital from alcohol poisoning.  Probably didn’t help that in our wisdom we decided to throw him in the bed of a truck to get him to the hospital and ditched him at the doors of the emergency room.  He was banged around pretty good back there as we drove.  

As amusing as it was, we were dumb.  Very dumb.  A level of stupid that in today’s society of video capable cellphones and instant social media access would probably have landed us in jail.  Being young and dumb without consequences was a way of life.  

Being pulled over by police on back country roads, only to have them find a bag of weed on a friend would not end the same today as it would have prior to cellphones.  We had the occasional officer tell us, “consider it flushed” and give an “A” for pipe design.  We may have been young, but we knew where it really went.


I’m not saying police are corrupt.  I’m saying that we were given many chances to go on with our lives and right the path we were heading down.  I’m glad that we were given the chances we were offered.  My life has turned out pretty darn good.  But pretty sure my life could have gone drastically wrong had a few intervening moments not occurred.

Maybe it’s because I was courteous and polite when questioned by police.  Maybe it was my positive outlook on life.  Maybe it was because the bottle ran dry.  Whatever the case may be, I’m glad to still be 6’8″ and goofy.