On the wagon: 禁酒中

Yeah, it’s true that I wrote drinking was a way of life in Japan. And that I didn’t drink anymore than your average dude (or chick). I still think this is true.

But a bender on April 1 and the ensuing fight with my significant other after barely making it home without being hauled off by the cops had me making a promise to both her and myself.

That was a promise not to drink. It wasn’t really an open-ended promise, either. No more drinking. Full stop.

And so, here I am, around 100 days later, still on the wagon.

Going out with friends has been kind of rough, but nowhere near impossible. I usually am able to get by with the non-alcohol stuff, which has actually grown on me. But as we venture deeper into the scorching heat of a setsuden summer, I’m finding myself more and more tempted to have a beer with the boys.

Beer gardens beckon me. Yakatabune lights seem to spell my name in neon. And ice-cold tall boys pull my attention from the ocha in conbini freezers.

This is gonna be tough. I doubt I’ll make it through without having something.

I wish I could figure out a way to find balance.


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2 Responses to On the wagon: 禁酒中

  1. Chris B says:

    February will be 3 years.
    I got tired of waking up with bloody hands and apologizing to everyone again and again.
    Good luck!!

  2. Roger says:

    Well……..I can only offer encouragement. So many of us are afflicted by alcoholism. So many of us are unwilling to entertain or accept the notion that we have a drinking problem, because, in my experience, here, the binge-drinking is generally a Friday and Sat. hobby. I can tell you, mate your note alone. Be strong. Don’t give in to the substance if it’s causing perceptible, (sometimes) irreparable harm. Until DNA stem-cell research is more firmly ensconced, treat your liver with respect. It’s responsible for bile production, detoxification, synthesis of red blood cells, and one other thing that escapes me just now. Too many of our (in my case, I’d say 90%) of our relationships are predicated upon alcohol. Wanna go for a drink? Wanna come over for a beer? Drinking with colleagues. Frequenting hideous places like Roppongi, that reputedly has one of the largest economies in the world(!) with respect to (particularly) weekend revenues, is well…….a tacky, unrewarding, wallet lightening, often futile, pathetic effort to find sex with a vacuous partner with great extensions, and a tight ass. It, fueled by booze, lends itself to violence, reckless behaviour, infidelity (a common dubious honour associated with alcohol consumption, drunk driving, vomiting, and wolf-like hedonistic conquest. Some of us shouldn’t be allowed in public when we drink. Others simply should do, as you are doing, strong sir (and my encouragement is not just gratuitous praise, but genuine respect), and NOT drink. Ever. Full stop. Save money. Save your liver, with the hope that stem-cell research will give you a replacement liver eventually, save your relationships, save yourself from cloudy, poor judgement-rooted actions (like fidelity, arguing, fighting, expensive taxi rides, morning trains, crushing/debilitating hangovers, job endangerment, ulcers, a red bulbous nose, and, if you’re still partnered up, the wrath and/or lost of respect of your better half. Ironically, as I write this, I’ve had several glasses of wine, some beer, and quite a few tequila shooters. It might be a long-winded diatribe, but I’m coming from a position of understanding. Maintain the path. Don’t give in to peer pressure, or those enticing chu-hais in the conveni. Recognize the problem. Avoid it. By full abstenance, if necessary. And above all, understand how much richer (on multiple levels) you are without alcohol in your life. It’s any societies greatest evil. It’s also sanctioned by society – esp. Japanese society. Stay the course. Learn to play the guitar. Write poetry. Write a novel. Go hiking. Study a martial art. Go to the gym. Drink tonic water at the local pub. Nobody will know. If you return to your post, and read this (and I don’t pretend to be so clever or have all the answers) I hope that you’ll get some measure of encouragement and support from my words. Don’t drink. You don’t need it. You’re will is strong. You clearly have the volition to stop. Don’t be satisfied with 100 days. Make it 2 years, or more. That would be impressive, and extremely beneficial, both as an exercise in restraint/willpower, and an acknowledgement of some of the above, and, obviously your own, more personal perception of the detriments of alcohol. Good luck brother. I hope you make it to 365 or 730 days without falling off the wagon. Just say no…..more. Complacency is a dangerous thing. And when that complacency involves drinking, recklessness, crazy spending, and the ultimately non-lucid state we enter when we drink (when the true Buddhist seeks constant awareness, if Buddhism floats your boat), it may be time for us to make certain admissions, engage in more critical self-evaluation, and travel onward ho, soberly, against all odds. Be strong. Be strict. Be healthier. Become a sober note in a rather fucked up, avant-garde jazzy song that stretches out in incomprehensible ways. Sobriety. Ahhhhh. It’s a noble, worthwhile pursuit. God’s speed!

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