Normally on November 25th I go out and see my father’s final resting place, followed by a beer or two. Not today. Today I will not be drinking a beer for my father. Nor will I share any stories about him. Instead, I’d like to tell you that I hit a personal milestone that I’m genuinely proud of.
I’ve been sober for three months today. I may not have seemed like an alcoholic to most people. Looking at my posts on Instagram and the fact that I have a category called “Alcohol” in my blog- I thought I was just having normal fun- with booze.
I was a social drinker. Hanging out until last call, stopping for “a beer” with friends. Joking that “It only takes me one beer to get me drunk, I’m just not sure if it’s the fifth one or the sixth one.” It’s also one thing to have my friends looking to me as the person who is always ready for a drink.
I would often come home from work and drink a few beers. On my days off I’d drink at least twice as much each day and then finishing whatever alcohol I could find once the beers ran out. Its in my genetics to go way overboard when I do drink. However when my heart is racing after a few beers and my kids are calling me out and telling me I drink too much- I needed to reassess my life.
What started as Sober September this year has escalated into a three month win. A huge victory that I am proud of. The pilgrimage I set upon was only spoken of with those who were close to me. Talking about the burden of alcoholism isn’t easy.
If I could pat myself on the back, I am going to do it here publicly. The next month will probably be the most difficult for me to get through. I always took pride in setting up my “First Christmas Tree” of the season- the booze dispenser. My coffee would be spiked, and the eggnog as well. Not this year. This year is the new me attempting to emerge and conquer the world.
I needed to share this three month milestone. As embarrassing as it seems to be at times. Alcoholism is something I’ve lived with all my life. I have been drinking pretty regularly since I was 17. Making a fool of myself on many occasions and not knowing when or where the limit was. Alcoholism was destroying my health and my bank account. I also had a few negative memories that I left for my children. From stupidity to anger to embarrassment- I was easily losing “Father of the Year” chances more and more frequently.
Thank you for reading. I am trying to live the rest of my life the best way I can. If I falter, I hope to get back up and work towards being a better me.
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.
Today was spent relaxing at home, aka: Castle Havelka. I made some pretzel bites and a couple of the kids helped clean the homestead. It felt good.
In the afternoon a friend of mine stopped by. He brought over a case of beer and we were shooting the breeze while our sons played some video games. My buddy and I had a great evening just hanging out.
It was nice to be a couple of guys hanging out. No talk of work. A bit about family. But mostly just being us. A few good cracks at one another, and a lot of memories over a case of Dragon’s Lair Beer.
We took on the Dragon and killed it. And it was tasty. I will definitely Storm the dragon’s lair again.
My wife and I have enjoyed traveling around British Columbia and collecting beer growlers along the way. I like the majority of the artwork that accompanies the Craft Breweries- along with the beers. We have gathered quite the collection of growlers over the years.
Today I finally made a growler carrier. I wanted to get one ages ago, but most only carry two growlers at a time. I wanted a larger one that can carry three of these 1.89ml (64oz) bottles. That makes it easier to transport them around.
There was a couple of old cupboard doors in our storage made of tongue and groove cedar wood. Easy to cut and put back together in a new shape. I also had an old closet dowel rod for the handle.
It took me a couple of hours to pull apart the doors and put everything back together. Here’s a secret- I only cut the two sides a bit shorter as the rest fit nicely together. The two doors had boards holding them together that I cut in half and made spacers for the growlers. A bit of sanding, some wood glue and a nail gun finished off my project. Because the dowel was so long, I decided to trim it down on one end to hold 4 small beer glasses. I figure that if I don’t like that part, I can always cut it off.
Now I’m ready to take this out for BBQs and camping! Plus it’ll be easier to get the growlers filled each time, as they won’t roll around my car anymore.
I love making stuff and repurposing items that would normally be disposed of. My holder may not be perfect, but it does the job it needs to do- carry my beers.
Today is Canada Day! I am proud to be Canadian. So much so that I work for Canadian National Railway. Just kidding, I work for the railroad because I love trains. Man, I cannot say that with a straight face. I work for CN because I enjoy making money to live.
Growing up, I remember my father always drinking Molson Canadian Beer. When I turned legal drinking age, Molson was my go-to beer for many years. Mostly because I’d buy a $20 t-shirt and get a free case of beer. (At least that’s what I told myself, but clearly it was the opposite).
There was a commercial years ago put out by Molson that I enjoyed. I Am Canadian aka Joe Rant. It felt like the commercial was made for me specifically. I rewatch it every year. I also share it every year. I am a proud Canadian and love this country with all of its amazing landscapes and diverse culture.
Today I really wanted to make full sized soft pretzels. I decided to make them a part of our dinner. Besides mustard, what could I make with dinner? I remembered back to Oktoberfest 2018 at Trading Post. I didn’t make a cheese dip, I went with something else.
I took some Italian Sausage and squeezed the meat out of the casings. I fried the meat in a cast iron pan before adding two cans of tomato soup. I then added some sour cream and Dijon mustard. I served the soup as a side for the pretzels. We also had some sweet potato fries as our vegetable. Although deep frying them probably negates any health benefit.
I chose to have a Czech Pilsner with dinner. Having finally figured out how to play Spotify throughout the house the other day, I put on some Polka music. Because, why not? The family devoured dinner and we had a great time enjoying the music. I’m not sure we will ever get to Oktoberfest in Germany. But who knows. Maybe one day.
Today was another day spent at home. I will say though, I’m really enjoying the fact that our house is feeling like a home once more. The family has pulled together and been a great help over the past few weeks.
We’ve done tons of cleaning inside already. The weather was beautiful today, so it was spent gardening. The kids helped tremendously today. I’m really satisfied with the results.
As we were working, my favorite brewery delivered some beers to our home. Within an hour of my order, they were at my door with a much desired beer for the weekend. Big thanks to Trading Post for the backyard beers!
For a break afterwards, the kids had some free time to do what they wanted. What they wanted to do was surprising to me. Our son played trumpet outside on the tree deck. Our oldest daughter did some painting on her canvases and our youngest read a book. Afterwards the four of us worked together and baked an apple pie. So amazing!
I’m not one for going out on St. Patrick’s Day as it is, which is fine. It’s a fun type of celebration for many though. From plastic leprechaun hats to green beers- people love to have a raucous of a time today.
With today being St. Patrick’s Day, it would normally be filled with people going out and having a good time. But due to the recent pandemic, it is recommended that people stay away from large gatherings. Sadly this may mean no green beers in the pub. The world needs a touch of good luck, but we seem to have a No Leaf Clover kind of day. Hopefully things get better before they get worse.
If you are still going to celebrate with some beer- do it safely from the comfort of your own home. Maybe Skype or FaceTime some friends instead. Practice that new buzz term- Social Distancing. As I’ve gotten older, I enjoy Social Distancing already. So, here’s my virtual clinking of a glass to you-
Last year I went to Trading Post in Langley to celebrate Three Years of Beers. The year before I enjoyed Two Years of Beers. I was also there for the Grand Opening when they first started up. I have been a loyal customer and beer connoisseur of what the Trading Post has to offer. I have visited their three locations and will continue to do so.
The other day I received a message from a person whom I met up with last year at the anniversary. He was hoping to meet up again this year. Our friendship was formed over a mutual friend… and beers. I also met with a couple former coworkers from various past employments of mine.
As the afternoon went on, we had some good talks and loads of laughs. It was great to meet with everyone who makes life a bit more enjoyable. It’s all about networking, right? Or just enjoying life.
Now, I have a nice collection of specialty glasses each celebrating the various anniversaries from Trading Post. I also have a great collection of friendships that I have accumulated over the years. Taking the time to enjoy people’s company over a beer or two makes me happy.
Anniversaries are a great way to keep in contact with others. An anniversary of a brewery is even better.
As I have mentioned numerous times before- I love to shop local and support small businesses. If you live in Langley, BC I recommend you follow Tourism Langley on Instagram. They are always out there sharing great moments in our little neck of the Fraser Valley.
Yesterday they shared this picture. Langley grew over the past year adding four more breweries to their name. Previously it was only Dead Frog and Trading Post that graced us with craft beers.
I was excited to hear about the other breweries that opened This Year, that I went out and filled some growlers to share tonight. We have a few friends and coworkers stopping by for the Winter Solstice. And what goes great with food and friends? Sharing beers. I picked up samples from Dead Frog, Trading Post, 5 Roads, and Farm Country. I’m excited to try them and share with everyone.
Hopefully the beers I grabbed taste as good as their names sounded. We shall find out tonight.
We travelled for nine hours to get to Prince George, BC. I did the majority of the drive. The only time my wife did the driving, she was stopped by the police for enjoying the speed of the car. Which unfortunately was within the first couple hours.
We made a pit stop in Quesnel just prior to arriving at our destination. There’s a small brewery that we liked back in the summer, so we made sure to stop once more for some lunch and beers. With a little over an hour remaining to get to the destination, it was a nice way to enjoy the afternoon.
We checked into our hotel- The Pomeroy- and they had upgraded us to a full kitchen suite at no extra cost. That meant we could go to the local grocery store and make a quick dinner instead of spending money unnecessarily at a restaurant! Bonus since we have a small fine to pay from earlier…
I took our son downstairs to do a workout before dinner. He hit up the elliptical, bike and treadmill for about ten minutes each. It was a great way to get his leg muscles active after such a long journey in the car. I even got my heart rate going on the bike and treadmill.
Our daughter has been enjoying writing during the road trip. She has a journal titled “Plans For World Domination“. I’m pretty sure she is secretly trying to take over the world by being obvious. Only time will tell.
I spent some time after dinner enjoying the newly updated pool and hot tub that the hotel had to offer. I’d like to say I was alone, but since there are a couple of waterslides- there were a few kids around. I still got a couple of laps in though and felt relaxed afterwards.
Now it’s time to encourage Theory in his Speed Skating. I mean, he is the reason we came up here!
My wife and I had a fairly successful Sober September. I faltered once and had a beer at the airport in Winnipeg. As September ended and October began, I wasn’t eagerly waiting for the month to end in order to “Hit the sauce” so to speak.
On Thursday we went out with some friends for a dinner. Originally we were going to go to Trading Post in Abbotsford- a place with great food and atmosphere. I would’ve likely had my favorite beer there- the 1828 Helles Lager. But they were closed for a private event. So we ended up at The Canadian Brewhouse instead.
Their beer special was Budweiser. A beer I don’t overly enjoy. So I had a ginger ale instead and I felt good about it. I know we’re only five days into October, but I’ve been enjoying a variety of teas and sodas in lieu of alcohol. The only thing I’m noticing is that I am craving sweets more often. Hence the sodas.
As Autumn progresses, I’ll probably enjoy a drink or two at some point. I’m just not actively going out to buy beers or planning nights with friends at breweries as I have in the past.
Maybe I can find an elegant tea house nearby and invite you out for a social date.
I’m going for year two of Sober September. The end of summer had me enjoying my vacation with quite a few beers this year. As much as I want to sport the beer gut and “Dad Bod” I also want to be healthy. Taking a break from the hops and barley will help.
We also have quite the collection of Growlers from the breweries we’ve visited. It’s time to let them gather dust for a bit. Generally if I liked a beer, I bought a growler. But the artwork on the bottles is also important. I guess it’s kind of like spoon collecting?
Anyways, it’s September 1st. Time to get on the path of Sober September. I’m glad I did it last year and was eager to do it again this year. My wife has said she is going to join me this month as well. That’s the kind of awesome support that I appreciate.
We are in Fort St. John for a Speed Skating camp that our two youngest are attending. My wife and I are free for the whole day while the kids workout and train. Which now begs the question- “What does one do while in Fort St. John, BC?”
For starters I took a nap while my wife played video games. Not too shabby a start.
Seriously though. The city’s slogan is “The Energetic City” so there best be something behind this. Only… I think the slogan isn’t about the nightlife. We decided to do the “Number 3 Tourist Attraction” which I found in Google.
We ended up at the Site C Dam visiting a lovely chainlink fence. Actually the telescopes opened up the ability to see more of the construction going on. There were plenty of information kiosks in the parking lot explaining the history of the land and the plans to keep the project environmentally friendly.
Afterwards we stopped at Beards Brewing for some of the best beer I’ve tried in quite some time. This stop is a must if you end up in Fort St. John.
We are hoping that today the weather clears up after raining all night. We brought our kayaks and are looking forward to exploring some local waters.
We left our home early in the morning and drove six hours up to Revelstoke, BC. It wasn’t really the destination we were pushing for. But it was just a stop along the way during our journey towards Alberta. So we decided to make it as much fun as possible!
We booked a cabin with a private hot tub for our overnight accommodations. Ballin’! I mean, honestly- a Mountain backdrop and our own hot tub in a cabin? Totally spoiled ourselves- on a budget… Check out Glacier House Resort for your own cabin if you find yourself wandering through Revelstoke.
What do you do when in Revelstoke, BC? Try the Mountain Pipe Coaster of course! Down a mountain at 42km/h without a helmet? Sign me up! It was a ton of fun. Plus we went up the gondola a few times for fun (that was included in the price of the Coaster). Check out the video my wife made (ignore her cursing , but enjoy her cackling!)
After the run down the mountain, my wife and I went to sample some beers at Mount Begbie Brewery. We found three that we enjoyed. The kids shared a snack with us of nachos. A perfect dinner snack before heading back to the cabin.
After filling our growlers, we went back to the cabin and watched the sunset as we relaxed in the hot tub. We popped a cheap sparkling wine and toasted one another for our 18 years of chaos- I mean marriage. Mixing booze and hot water after a day in the sun- my wife and I were done. Sleep was calling upon us. Our kids were also pooped.
It’s been a long week. I couldn’t race out the office door fast enough today. Not that I don’t like my coworkers or the job. It’s just time to take a mental recharge.
I don’t even have the time to finish writing today’s blog and my first beer is poured.
The crisp fizz hit my tongue and a rush of sensations came over me. Ah… simply refreshing. Memories of underage drinking of cheap beers to last year’s plane rides and cold ales after take off. There’s an idea that enjoying a cold beer just feels normal. Not drinking to get wasted. Just a sample of cold, liquified fermentation has become a part of my dietary desires.
Chilled, crisp and exactly what was needed to start my weekend. A small break from responsibilities. A mental vacation away from the hustle and bustle of moving trains.
Happy Friday to my Readership! This glass is raised to you!
Today we embarked on a 12 hour road trip from our home to Grande Prairie, Alberta. It started off with us being an hour behind schedule. No big deal- I was able to... ahem... make up the time while driving.
We whipped through Kamloops with a quick stop for gas. Then off to Jasper for a late lunch and of course- trains. Plus amazing beer and food! We had nachos and Wild Boar Steam Buns all at the Jasper Brewing. I highly recommend the Boar and “Jasper the Bear Ale”.
It was a beautiful day to drive through the mountains from British Columbia to Alberta. We watched the sun set and the sky change colours. Absolutely stunning.
Now it’s time to unwind in the hotel room and mentally prepare for the next couple of days. A quick dip in the pool and finish my blog is a great way to end a 12 hour drive.
As much as I thought I was going to do a whole lot of nothing yesterday, I was wrong. I ended up going out to my favorite watering hole to celebrate their third anniversary.
They were offering up a limited edition etched glass to the first 100 customers. Much like last year, I scored two glasses. Because it was so cold outside, they opened up early to let everyone in. I was the fifth person in line of about 40 people. I was only inside for about forty five minutes before having to leave for another appointment.
I also ended up seeing some people I had met over the years. So my interaction level had to go up. Good thing the beer was 8.7% and tasty. Seriously though, I had such a great time at the opening that I returned a few hours later to get a couple of growlers filled.
Something about the Trading Post Brewing that makes it feel warm and welcoming. No matter which location I attend. I love supporting local businesses as well. Thanks again to the brewmaster and servers for a great beer and celebration.
This evening I’m going out with a couple of friends. No kids or wives will be joining us. I rarely have a Saturday night like this. I have to plan these “play dates” well in advance. Mostly to prepare my family for the fact that I won’t be home.
I’m looking forward to tonight. But it won’t be like the days of yore. I won’t be getting crazy drunk or having a late night. Just a couple of hours spent in North Vancouver. Some tacos and a couple of beers are the extravagant plans. It’s the company that I will be with that shall make the evening enjoyable and memorable.
I may share a photo or two on social media, but I am hoping to not to pull out my phone at all. That is until I leave to come home. At which point, I’ll call my wife to let her know I’m on my way. Which is a courtesy that my wife and I have for one another when not together.
A call to say, “Hey! I’m on my way. Love ya.” Even a few hours away from her means I’ll still miss her company. She has become an extension of my personality. So have my kids. And as I make memories and experiences, I love them to be with me as often as possible.
But tonight is a “Guy’s Night” where we will talk about our families and work. This gents are similar to me in many ways- where they put their family’s needs first. These are the kind of guys I prefer to associate with.
I have been going to the Trading Post Brewing for a couple of years now. I was there on opening day at their first location. I also attended their Two Year Anniversary last February as well as Oktoberfest in their Fort Langley location this past September. I continue to head out every couple weeks to one of these locations for refreshments.
I have grown accustomed to their service and atmosphere. It makes for a good time hanging out with my wife, family and friends.
On Saturday, my wife and I were in Abbotsford and decided to check out their third location that opened less than one month ago. We were not disappointed. The food and beer menu is the same as their Fort Langley location. This made it convenient for us as we only had about an hour to kill.
All three locations are unique in their own way. Their Brewery location is exactly that- a brewery. Large vats of beer and seating to enjoy said beers. Their Fort Langley location plays on the history of Fort Langley and the idea of a real Trading Post. Cozy atmosphere and good food. This newest location is completely different. Very modern looking and spacious. A great eatery in the heart of a growing section of Abbotsford.
I love supporting this local business. It helps them to thrive and expand. The owners of The Trading Post have a great product and service that makes for wonderful memories to be shared. If you are looking for a place to share good times- any one of their three locations would be ideal.
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 onedrink 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?
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…
Yesterday, our favorite Craft Brewery- Trading Post– was having a limited ticket engagement of Oktoberfest. My wife bought us some tickets back in August for the afternoon portion of the event. When we arrived, I saw some of my other friends there. Hugs and handshakes and well wishing for a fun day were passed out.
Upon arrival, we were each given a couple of drink tickets and a large 1 Liter glass to fill with beer. Since I was the Designated Driver I gave my drink tickets to my wife and picked up a sugar cane cola for myself.
There was a good selection of German Food and beers from a few craft breweries: the Trading Post, Field House and Steel & Oak. My wife sampled a variety of beers over the course of a few hours. We also picked up some food to help absorb the beers.
We shared a Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and deli mustard. As well as the Lagenbretzel, which was a large dough pretzel served with beer sausage cheese dip. The Trading Post also gave out snack Pretzel necklaces on a string which I thought was a genius idea and may just do that in the future for other events.
Since this was a busy event, we shared a table with some fantastic people. Next to us sat a wonderful couple that was a few years older than us who we related to quite well. We shared stories of other breweries and distilleries that we have visited, or now need to visit. Across from us sat a quartet of university students ready to get their Oktoberfest drink on!
By the end of the afternoon we had made some great friends and I had some fun memories. My wife enjoyed 72 ounces of beers- essentially she drank a six pack to herself in under four hours. This is not her usual Modus Operandi which made it that much more entertaining for me. I was glad to see her let loose!
In the end it was a great experience and made me yearn for a chance to visit Germany for a true Oktoberfest venue. I’m glad The Trading Post put on such a successful event. There was laughter and smiles all around.
I never realized that I had a routine. One that many of us fall victim to. An addiction.
Ugh. The word “Addiction” is so horrible sounding. I personally picture heroin junkies whenever the word is spoken. But that’s not the only thing I imagine-
I see myself. And that sucks.
The Oatmeal nails it.
Last month I took a Break From Social Media. It felt good. However, on September 1st, just after midnight, I spent the good portion of an hour catching up on Facebook and Instagram. The Fear Of Missing Out won me over after 31 days.
I’m still refusing to use the social media platforms unless I’m on WiFi. I’ve also tucked them away in a folder on my phone to keep them more out of sight. Gotta stop opening the apps when quiet takes over…
Perhaps I can one day push myself into the Joy Of Missing Out. Not all of it is important. Most of it isn’t. But what if it is…? Dammit- gotta stop second guessing myself.
I was about to leave work when my wife sent me a text:
My suggestions of fast food didn’t seem to sway her decision from still meeting me.
So instead of me driving home, after a long day at work, to vegetate before bed; I met up with my wife for a couple beers and a pub style dinner at a place called Mission Springs Brewery.
We were seated out on the patio at a deck couch. A flight of beers and some crazy delicious burgers were enjoyed. We felt youthful again as we giggled and flirted like we did when we had just begun dating. No one else was sitting on the patio, so we felt like we were being treated like celebrities- Off in a comfortable corner, but with people still able to see us from inside.
The evening had cooled off nicely. Our meal was enjoyed as we watched the sunset in peace. This was the evening my wife had wanted. –NOT KFC–
I’m glad I was able to accommodate. I enjoyed our spontaneous date.