30 days of abstinence

Today is the 19th of May. It is also kind of day 30 of my month of abstinence. I say kind of, because I failed.

This challenge was hard though, the hardest one I’ve done so far. I decided, on a bit of a whim, to stop drinking, smoking and masturbating for 30 days.

Before I go any further, I’ll explain there was one stipulation to this challenge. I could still have sex. I just couldn’t do anything by myself.

Now some people probably wouldn’t see the challenge in this, or very little challenge. Some people don’t drink, and wouldn’t notice a month without it. Some people don’t smoke, so that wouldn’t bother them either. Then, there’s the wankers. If you’re in a relationship with someone, then you might never have a need to masturbate. If you’re single though, then there’s a high chance you masturbate. There are people out there who don’t masturbate, or who would find a month of no release not that great of a challenge.

I’m not one of those people.

For me, 30 days ago, all 3 of these things took up a large part of my lifestyle. Maybe not a great deal of time, but I partook in them frequently. I smoked every day. I drank almost every day. I jacked off a few times a week, regardless of if I was in a relationship or not.

I then stopped the lot of it, in one go, cold turkey.

Like previous months, most of the reactions I got from people was incredulous. I got the expected comments like “You are going to go crazy”, “that’s impossible” and “I do not want to be around you for the next 30 days”. Most surprising to me was people’s reactions to not masturbating. It was deemed “stupid”, “pointless” and “unnecessary”, among other things.

The whole challenge was stupid, pointless and unnecessary. But that’s the point; it’s a challenge. At times I felt foolish for doing it, as it’s self imposed. It’s not like someone said “I bet you can’t do this” and had put up some cash, which would have given it “credibility”. Instead, it was just another challenge I’d set myself.

I think people have gotten my idea of a challenge confused with self improvement goals. A friend said to me one week in “but what do you gain from this and why are you still doing it?”. We were about to play a gig, and instead of having a beer or a smoke to calm down a bit, I was facing our first proper pub gig dead cold sober in a state of mild withdrawal, with quite a lot of pre-stage anxiety. The easy thing, would have been to make an exception for this one night. That’s a slippery slope though.

A challenge doesn’t have to help your life. You don’t need a reward, sometimes it’s good to do things just to see if you can do them. My best strategy to get through this one, was to focus on something else. I spent a lot of this month working on The Electric i video.

Here’s a screen shot.

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I wrote this at the end of week one.

“If I stop this challenge, I’m cheating no one but myself. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stupid idea. It doesn’t matter if in this particular moment it seems like I’m wasting an opportunity. If I cheat, I’m cheating myself.”

25 days in, I forgot this, and in doing so lost the challenge.

 

Week 1.

Day 1 Wednesday 20th April 

Thing I missed the most: Smoking

So I’m on day one. It’s 11 PM. I’m on a break at work.

This challenge sucks. But it’s not impossible. I’ve just got to embrace the challenge.

I had my last beer and smoke around 2 AM. I was sat in the backyard with my book reading, drinking and smoking. I then crawled into bed around 2 and planned on reading just for a bit, but read till 5 am. I then felt a bit of a stirring and decided I’d have one last bat before going to sleep.

That was my last hurrah. It’s been 21 hours since that last smoke and drink.

Today has been alright really. I’m already trying to find ways to trick myself into stopping this challenge though. My resolve feels so weak sometimes! I’m working with a smoker tonight and I’m already thinking “I could just smoke at work only” or “Well, there’s an hour until midnight, you could always start tomorrow”. And I’ll be honest, that second thought has been harder to silence throughout the day. It’s so easy to go with the logic that I haven’t even stopped for one day, so I may as well start the challenge tomorrow. But that’s all part of it, there’s always a reason to justify putting something off for a day.

I know this challenge isn’t a challenge for a lot of people. Well, maybe adding the masturbation part gets a couple more than just the smoking and drinking. But fuck, this is a challenge for me.

So far it’s just the smokes. The urge to smoke wasn’t too bad in the morning. Then I had something to eat and I saw my smokes sitting there and it was a nice sunny day and I’ve got this book I’m reading and I could just sit out in the sunshine and…. Fuck! Unless you are a smoker or have been a smoker, you probably don’t understand this feeling. It’s this urge, this almost insatiable desire to just fucking smoke. I could still sit outside in the sunshine and read my book. But the moment doesn’t feel complete, there’s something lacking and I trick myself into imagining that I can’t fully enjoy it.

I won’t lie though, withdrawals aren’t the hardest thing in the world. It’s just fucking desire. It’s just an urge. Stopping smoking is just a series of small battles, where you always choose not to smoke, even if it does make a moment seem incomplete or you feel agitated and irritable.

Today, I just focussed on past times when I’ve wanted to have a smoke and couldn’t, like when I was on an airplane or I was at work and we were flat out so I couldn’t smoke. Sure, I want to smoke. But I’ve done it before, every smoker in the modern day has been in the situation where they have had to refrain from smoking for some stupid, shitty reason. We have to be outdoors now. Wait no, we have to now be outdoors and also not under cover.  Wait, now we can’t smoke near people eating food. All of this shit.

I’ve felt the “overwhelming” urge to smoke during my days off, relaxing at the pub. This makes no sense doesn’t it. I’m telling you that during my everyday life, when I’m not in a challenge or stuck at work or something like that, I’ve had withdrawals from cigarettes, or more precisely, nicotine. I’ve sat in a pub, having a few beers at one of these inane places where you can either sit inside and drink or stand outside and smoke, but not both. I’ve bought a beer with the intention of enjoying it with a smoke and then been told I have to make the choice. Now that feeling of being deprived what you want, that is the feeling of withdrawal.

Choosing to drink beer instead of going outside to smoke, is an example of a battle.

These feelings have been coming and going throughout the day, some easier to ignore than others. It’s quite compulsive, and I found myself trying to rationalise just one more day of smoking.

It’s sticking around too, just 5 minutes ago I thought how I could nick out for one with my co-worker and start the challenge bang on midnight. But I’ve already not smoked all day, so every past battle I’ve won today was for nothing, just so I could have one more hit of nicotine. Insidious.

In summary, drinking and wanking hasn’t bothered me, but I’ve thought about smoking on and off all day.

Day 2 Thursday 21/4

Thing I missed the most: Smoking

I worked a nightshift again and smoking was the main thing that bothered me. Not all the time, but there’s been like 3 or 4 really strong cravings here at work. But when they come they are almost all consuming. Here’s an example.

I’m content. I’m reading a book, I’m not hungry, I’m not thirsty, I’m happy. But then when I decide I wouldn’t mind a smoke, it becomes… it becomes like I’m not complete. I feel this real need to smoke. Suddenly the things I’m doing aren’t as enjoyable. The book is good, but it would be better if I was exhaling smoke as I turned a page. Literally nothing has changed about the scene, except for my attitude towards it. So I don’t smoke. I ignore the feeling, remember other times when I haven’t smoked and remind myself I’m doing a challenge.

In some ways I am unsure what I’m going to do at the end of this challenge. The smart thing to do would be to just stop smoking. Instead, I’m thinking of it like a break, and I’m finding the cravings aren’t so bad. Craving a smoke? Oh don’t worry, in 28 days I can fix that. I’m thinking of the challenge as one really long period of withdrawal.

But I’m not focussing on that day as being the day I can smoke and straight away do it, I’m more thinking of it as that’s when I have the option to. Like if I was at a funeral and mid service I wanted to smoke. I have to hold off, I’m in a church. Service ends and we walk outside. I start talking to someone and forget about the strong urge, or decide I’ll just wait a little longer as I don’t want to blow smoke into this person’s face. Suddenly I’ve had the option to smoke for an hour, as I’m outdoors or whatever, but the urge has decreased and been forgotten.

As for drinking, what with work and that, I don’t miss it. I did come home and have a small coke this morning after work, like a reward for working. I looked at the beers and was tempted but I knew I couldn’t. Brad said about catching up for a beer sometime and I was instantly keen on a few beers. Then I remembered I can’t. That sucked. But that’s as far as any cravings went. It just sucked a bit realising I couldn’t have any beers.

Wanking, yeah this actually sucks. I woke up today feeling pretty damn rigid and knew I had to go back to sleep. But I had to just fucking ignore it. All day in bed there was moments but I had to ignore them. I’ll be honest though, I was at mum and dads house in the spare bed. So as much as I could have, it’s still a bit whack to whack, and I’ve ignored it when I’m in this situation in the past. When I get home to Melbourne and have the house to myself though, that’s when the real challenge will come.

Day 3 Friday 22/4

Thing I missed the most: Wanking

The challenges haven’t been too bad, worst one was wanking. There was a really hot chick on last night at work. Well, I thought she was hot, she was from Africa and yeah. I’m not saying I would have whipped it out at work or anything, but there’s a chance I would have gone home and gotten onto a 4chan thread for black chicks or just done some internet searching. Maybe a memory bank wank, but most likely that would have just led to me thinking about my ex. And I did get some memories float into my mind. But that’s all they are, memories. I need to make new memories.

I slept after the nightshift and woke up with morning wood. I fell back asleep and woke up with morning wood again. I ignored it and instead got up and drove back home to Melbourne. Knowing that when I got home I couldn’t do anything was a bit frustrating, but the drive distracted me.

Here is where I got lucky. When I got home, I saw La, the girl I’ve been seeing a bit. And it was awesome to see her, the awesome went everywhere.

I did kind of want to have a beer late in the day when I was back at home chilling in the backyard. But it wasn’t that much of an urge, and it passed when the sun went down. I hardly thought about smoking. I wanted one when I knocked off work, but that was the only major craving really.

Day 4 Saturday 23/4

Thing I missed the most: Drinking

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Change is constant.

Today was a relatively easy day. I spent it with La, driving around filming stuff for an upcoming video I’m making for The Electric i. It was a pancakes kind of morning, (Humanity Fuck Yeah!). Actually, I think it was this morning that La and I spoke and decided that we were a couple. We were lying in bed and it kind of came up. I met her 2 months ago on the bucks night exploit during the Tinder challenge. I don’t understand all the lingo people use to describe new relationships. The idea of calling something like that dating exclusively but not a couple, it’s either on or off in my eyes, so I had to act on my morals and say yes.

Craving wise, I didn’t really crave anything too badly. I wanted to have a smoke a couple of times during the day. When we went to Huxtaburger for dinner, I really wanted a smoke as we sat out the back. I also really wanted a beer. But these feelings passed pretty quickly. I can smell smokers now too, it’s almost like a new ability.

Day 5 Sunday 24/4

Thing I missed the most: Drinking/smoking

Today I had to work in the afternoon. I had moments when I wanted to smoke, but they were all relatively minor. I went outside with the smokers, but I didn’t partake myself. I wasn’t even tempted to ask for one, I just accepted that I wasn’t smoking

I was just ready for a drink by the time work finished though. Matty had messaged me during the afternoon to say he was up for a drink, the next day was ANZAC day so he didn’t have to work, and it was a nice night. I had to knock him back, but I didn’t want to. I could have just caught up with him, but he would have been well drunk by the time I got there. I did get some lemon cordial and tonic water though, so I could sit back and sip that when I got home. It’s got a bit of a harsh taste and I felt like I’d “earnt” that when I got home. Strange concept I’ve got in my head with drinking.

The biggest craving for a smoke was actually in the car driving home, and the prospect of sitting at home when I got there and not smoking. I was trying to justify skipping the booze and drinking tonic water instead, but allowing myself to smoke as I read my book. I was trying to rationalise it for a good 20 minutes, like this repeating thought that came on and off during the hour long drive. I almost wanted to try and find a vaporisor just so I had something to draw back on and get the lung hit.

Instead, I did nothing and the feeling passed.

The same thing happened with jerking off. I wanted to, as it had been a couple of days. But I held out and ignored it and the mood eventually passed.

Interestingly, when I went to the supermarket, there was some crew floating around who were drunk. Normally, that’s me. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve gone 5 days without a drink. If not months, then years. The thing that struck me about these drunk crew though was the air of violence I perceived emanating from them. Do I give off those kind of vibes when I’m drunk? They just seemed unpredictable.

Day 6 Monday 25/4

Thing I missed the most: Drinking/wanking

I spent the day with La. It was ANZAC day so we drove out to Mt Macedon and filmed stuff for the video. Stupidly, we went to a place called Woodend. Now I’d been there in the past, but couldn’t remember much about it except for that there was a bookshop that was awesome. When I saw the sign I said let’s go and check it out.

Well, it turns out the Holgate Brewhouse is there. That’s where the make Holgate beer. Holgate make one of the most delicious chocolate stouts I’ve ever tasted. Naturally, we went there for lunch.

The place was packed out. It was ANZAC day after all. I told La she had to taste the beer for me, as I couldn’t drink, but I knew it was awesome. We got some lunch and I was sitting there for close to an hour, in a pub, surrounded by people drinking. Normally when I can’t drink I’ll smoke instead. I couldn’t even do that, and instead had to sit on a comfortable chair with a nice chilled drink (ginger beer) whilst the sun streamed through the window as I ate nachos. I was kind of proud of myself afterwards for “surviving the test”. A sly taste of La’s beer could have been so easy to do, but that would be breaking the challenge, regardless of if I wrote about it here or not.

It’s really not that bad of a challenge in some ways. That’s today mind set. Other days its fucking torture. As we were doing physical stuff like walking through a pine forrest or climbing hanging rock, the urge to smoke wasn’t there. It’s the sitting around “relaxing” smoke that gets me, not the “I’ve just climbed a mountain so I’ll smoke” smoke.

The day with La was nice. But it wasn’t nice like a sexy nice, it was nice just spending time together, like a friend. It began to turn over in my mind that maybe La and I shouldn’t be a couple, and we would be better off as friends, as the fact that was all that was going to happen today wasn’t a bad feeling. I didn’t want to say anything rash though and regret it, so I left the comment unsaid.

I dropped La off at home and went back to my place. I was really tired and crashed out around 9. I woke up at 12 and by god did I want to have a bat. The same thinking happened again. I could just get one in, it’s only been a week. Maybe I can stop everything but still wank once a week. No one has to know, I could just do it and pretend like it never happened.

We all lie, to some degree. It’s just how aware we are that we are lying. If you recount a story it’s through your memory, so you are sure to get something muddled up. That’s when you’ve deceived yourself. But to knowingly do something and then cover it up, that’s not me. That’s not how I want to be. So I spent a couple of hours thinking about what I could do on and off, (aka edging) before ignoring it and going to sleep.

Day 7 Tuesday 26/4 

Thing I missed the most: All 3

Well it’s 11:30 at night now. I played a gig a couple of hours ago with Dronehell. It was kind of late notice, I thought we might have a gig in a couple of weeks but we got like 2 days notice. We didn’t practice or anything, and I couldn’t smoke or drink leading into it. It was also our first gig actually at a pub. We did pretty well though, but fuck was I hanging.

Drinking before a gig is almost a given. I haven’t played a lot of gigs, but I always have at least one to three beers. It just helps steady the nerves a bit and gives me something to focus on in the lead up to stage time. The other thing I do is smoke. I smoke and drink until it’s time to go onstage. And then, when it’s done, I go back to smoking and drinking as a way to relax once I’ve finished.

Tonight, I did the entire thing without my usual crutch. I was quite proud of myself at the end of the night too.

During the day, the cravings to drink and smoke weren’t too bad. But the urge to wank, fuck that came out of nowhere. I think it was opportunity as much as anything, I had the house to myself and an internet connection and it had been a while since I’d been able to have some fun with La. Then again after the gig, when I was back at home. I was on reddit and 4 chan and the urge to bat was strong, really fucking strong. It fucking sucked, I was so close to giving in.

 

Week 2

Wednesday 27/4 – Tuesday 3/5 

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The Amazing Sloth Ryder (make a thing 4).

The second week was a lot easier in some ways, but not to start off with. See, I broke up with La on the Wednesday night. Two days into us being a couple, and I realised I didn’t want a girlfriend. A big part of it was timing and my own shit. The way I explained it to La was that I was selfish and didn’t want to change my lifestyle for anyone, and as such I couldn’t have a girlfriend because I wouldn’t be treating her right.

I’ve realised this retro-actively, but 24/4 was a year to the date that I had broken up with my long-term ex. I remember I was thinking about her a lot and was in a self reflective state of mind over that ANZAC weekend, the journal entries were clocking in at 1,500 words each day. As much as I was enjoying spending time with La, it wasn’t fair to string her along as a partner when I was thinking about my ex and how I destroyed that relationship. I didn’t want my ex back, but I now realise maybe I hadn’t moved on as much as I thought I had.

So I did the “right” thing, and broke up with her. Foolish wasn’t it? I could have waited until the challenge finished so I at least had someone I could have had sex with for the next 3 weeks. That was part of the rules, no masturbating but sex was fine. I think that’s part of the reason I wasn’t too fazed going into the challenge, I figured I pretty much had a girlfriend, so I had that covered. Not now though. Despite what people might think though, I don’t feel right if I string someone along like that.

So I sat her down and begun the conversation that eventually led to us breaking up. Mid way through, I got a phone call to come into work, so I wrapped up the chat and bailed to work on probably not the best terms. It was the last thing I felt like doing, but I couldn’t say no to the shift. I remember thinking that all I wanted to do right then was have a beer. Or a smoke. Or lie in my bed and bury my head under a blanket. But instead, I got into my car and worked all night.

I worked 5 more night shifts in a row from that night on, and that distracted me from drinking as it included the weekend when theres people to socialise with. Smoking wasn’t as bad either. There were still periods where I wanted to smoke, but overall I got through it ok by glutting myself on work. As I have previously realised, I associate smoking with relaxing. The fact I was working so much meant I wasn’t sitting around reading books or things like that.

Wanking was the tough one this week. Like, really tough. Without being too descriptive, one of the last times I had hung out with La before the Wednesday night had resulted in blue balls. They didn’t actually turn blue, but there was lots of build up without any climax. That was 4 days before I split up with her. The next few days fucking sucked. I was now single, and whilst that technically meant I could go out and meet a random girl and have sex, I was working nightshifts. I’ve only had a couple of one night stands in my time, and they have always involved copious amounts of alcohol. The idea of getting on Tinder to try and meet a girl purely to have sex with, it just doesn’t sit well with me and feels predatory. Especially without any alcohol on board.

So the first few days of the week sucked. One good thing was that I was sleeping at my parents house a fair bit during the week as I’d been working in Geelong. It’s slightly easier to ignore sexytime urges when you’re 30 years old sleeping in your old childhood room. I’m not saying it was easy, but it wasn’t overly difficult. And I was fuck off tired. As the week progressed, the urge to wank lessoned as I came home to bed knackered and just wanted to sleep. Usually I find nights can really mess with my sleep routine, and the challenge had compounded this. By night 6, I was knackered and out like a light.

In between shifts, I was editing videos and music when I got the chance. I made a Facebook page and a Soundcloud page for The Amazing Sloth Ryder. My creative output was pretty good I think, considering I knocked out 60 hours of work.

Here’s a video I made.

Make a Thing 4: The Amazing Sloth Ryder

The only other major thing to note was that I realised I had a bucks party coming up on the 14/5 that I had forgotten about. Now I remember thinking at the start of the challenge how there was no such thing as a situation that I needed to drink. But, as the days crept closer, I decided that yes, a bucks party probably is such a situation.

This could be cultural. I know Australia has a culture of heavy drinking, especially at these kinds of events. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could make a concession. I could drink for one day. It didn’t mean I had to smoke or masturbate, but the idea of not drinking at a bucks was just too lame to consider. It didn’t feel right, to be sending off a friend without getting shit eyed with him.

The logic is terrible. But it was how my mind was thinking. I could always go an extra day to make up for it.

I think, from that moment on, I’d pretty much doomed myself to failure before the date had even arrived.

 

Week 3

Wednesday 4/5 – Tuesday 10/5

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Unused shot from “Mannequins” video for The Electric i.

Compared to week one, by week three the cravings to smoke barely registered. Unless I was with someone who I used to actively smoke a lot with, I didn’t even think about smoking. Sometimes an idle thought would come into my head, but it would leave pretty quickly without me feeling compelled to act on it.

Drinking, it too wasn’t so bad for most of the week. Friday and Saturday did suck though. I’m realising that drinking, for me, isn’t too hard to stop. The majority of the time. As much as I used to drink alone most nights, sometimes it was only a few beers or ports while I read a book. I wouldn’t consider myself an alcoholic, having now gone three weeks without drinking and having no serious withdrawals. But I drank more frequently than I wanted to before this. The biggest challenge for me isn’t choosing not to get into a drunken state. For an alcoholic trying to do this challenge, that’s the hard part. They don’t want to be sober, they want to be drunk. I do like being drunk too, but it’s not why I would sit out the back and have a few beers in the backyard. I do that for the taste, for I find myself these days quite liking the taste of beer and port.

Being drunk is enjoyable because it gives me a false sense of confidence, which I sometimes regret the next day. The term “drown your sorrows” also applies, as when something shit has happened to me, I’ll drink through it, revelling in the fucks I no longer have to give. I’m drunk and stumbling and slurring and I do not care what anyone thinks about me in that moment. Weeknight drinking hasn’t been too hard for me to stop, as I would say that in general my life is not shit so I don’t have a reason to try to block things out of it.

Social drinking though, that’s the tough one for me. I think that’s what a lot of people would struggle with too.

The wanking part had me a bit worried. The start of the second week had me feeling incredibly horny. Insatiable. Lustful. The third week, this dropped back a bit. It didn’t disapear, but I noticed a drop in my libido. I started to get worried, and found myself googling the use it or lose it principle. If it works with other parts of your life, then maybe it also effects your libido? I was tempted to check to make sure it all worked properly, but I recognised the thought for what it was, trying to rationalise cheating.

The two hard days were Friday and Saturday.

Friday was a nice sunny day. Matty was messaging me about coming to his place, he had knocked off for the day and had a slab of beer. I instead put my head down and worked on The Electric i video. I had been making this video since the start of the challenge, and I was getting to the end of it. I just needed a few bits of footage involving underwater dreaminess so I decided to use some old Gopro footage I had. As I began going through the footage though, I realised that my ex was scattered throughout all of it.

Here we were on holiday in Indonesia in 2014. Here’s us at the beach in 2013. Here’s us moving into a house together in 2012. Holding hands, kissing, swimming together, playing with kittens and dogs. I scroll back further, going pre Gopro days, forgetting about trying to find footage without her for this video but instead hoping I can find more of this, like emotional self-flagellation. Here we are house sitting in 2011. Here we are in Indonesia for new years eve in 2009, here’s us in Queensland in 2007. Giggling and laughing, flirting and in love, dressing up, acting the fool and making movies. Flickering images of skinnier, happier, healthier versions of us flash across the screen as I sank further into self pity and depression.

What a fucking stupid thing to do hey? After an hour or two I dragged myself back to reality. And that was when I wanted a drink. And I also knew that Matty wanted me to come and join him. I instead left my room and chatted to my Michael, my housemate, and then watched a movie with him. My resolve to not drink would have been quite easily broken at Matty’s place I think. Sunny days and glum memories, with an old friend and a slab between us. Avoiding a fight is still winning.

Saturday night was the other major challenging day. Actually, the day was fine. But that night I went with Mauro to Sam’s place for a party I wasn’t invited to. There were a lot of people who I didn’t know there, or the ones I had met I was in a pretty drunken state when I met them last. They also turned out to be the organisers of the Happy Wanderer festival, something I had applied for recently. I felt nervous and anxious in that situation. I don’t know why having a drink in my hand would have taken that feeling away, but I think it would have made a difference. There were some very pretty girls there too. One I got chatting to was also not drinking, and I found it really did help talking to someone else in the same situation.

I left the party early though, as I wanted to go to the pub and watch a band play. By the time I left, I was feeling comfortable around these people. To then go solo to a pub to watch a gig when you don’t know anyone and you don’t have your old crutches to fall back on, that’s intimidating.

I did ok though. I drank lemonade and watched the bands. I focussed on the music and it was great. In between sets was weird, as I would normally go to the bar and drink more and go out the back for a smoke, but I just found somewhere to sit and got on my phone. I did notice more girls than usual though, and it seemed like they were looking back at me. I don’t know though if this was because I wasn’t a drunk stumbling mess or if it was because I was so horny from not jacking off. Either way, I went home alone. I drove though which was a nice change.

There was a drunk guy there though hassling some of the chicks, and I tried to get in between him and them throughout the last set. Eventually I gave him a bit of a shove and he got the point, even more so when a bigger guy than me gave him an even bigger shove shortly afterwards. I’m noticing the link between alcohol and violence a lot more, although it could just be isolated incidents.

Sunday found me finishing up the video and eventually sending it to Mauro which you can find here > Mannequins by The Electric i

 

Week 4

Wednesday 11/5 – Thursday 19/5

As I said earlier, the bucks party had been in my mind for a couple of weeks. During the days leading up to Saturday, I went alright with the challenge. I did have some moments when I would have liked a smoke. Those were more situational and social times than anything. I was jamming with friends and we needed a break. Normally I would have a smoke with everyone, but instead I had to ignore that and do something different.

Drinking wasn’t too bad. There were a couple of times I wanted to have a beer with someone, but otherwise it wasn’t a big deal.

Wanking was a struggle. The worst is when I have the house to myself and I’m horny. I found myself trawling Tinder a lot more, but only half arsing it. I wanted to meet a girl for no other reason than to have sex or get a handjob or something. I know that people use Tinder for this. I know it’s common to have one night stands. But unless I’m drinking, I’d feel really weird meeting up with someone purely for sex. I guess I don’t know how to approach the whole thing, and I imagine it would feel awkward and clinical.

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This is what failure looks like.

And so it came to pass, on the morning of the 14th of May, day 25, at about 4 AM, that I blew the challenge. I was going through my usual nightly struggle. It’s partly due to nightshift, partly due to the challenge, but either way I found myself awake after a couple of hours sleep and, whilst tired, unable to go back to sleep. I was horny, and foolish. For I started browsing 4chan. 4chan is a cesspit, it leads to so many things. It can begin innocently enough searching for memes to share with friends, but can culminate in webm’s. As it did this day.

I knew I was going to drink later that day for the bucks. I was thinking of not drinking, but I felt like it was rude to the buck. I didn’t know if I would smoke, but I knew I would have at least one beer. At 4 AM, I somehow convinced myself that if I was going to blow the challenge, I may as well have a wank. And so I did. And fuck, it was glorious. I almost wanted to film it, but then I realised that I had no one to show the footage to, nor was there anyone out there who probably wanted to see it. But trust me, it was a sight to behold. So much so that under 2 minutes later, I found myself doing it again.

Then, after a well earnt sleep, again.

When I finally roused myself to go down to the bucks party, I was kind of amped. 25 days of no drinking, and here I was. I got on it, intending to drink but not smoke.

I think I lasted 2 pints.

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Now I could have lasted longer. I could have held off smoking, it was just a matter of the old battle, don’t smoke. But sitting at the table with a beer, next to my mate Robbo who was smoking, made me want a smoke. One led to more, although I did pace it out a bit. That first one though, I got head spins, felt instantly drunker, and felt pins and needles running down both of my legs. I kind of felt like I might pass out for a moment, which was a truly unexpected reaction. I maintained though, and within a couple of hours I was smoking away like nothing had changed.

And that’s the unfortunate thing, nothing has.

Sure, after the bucks party I went back to challenge mode. I didn’t drink any more. I didn’t smoke any more. I couldn’t continue the no wanking though, it seemed pointless to jump back on that train. Mostly due to people’s attitudes I think, looking back. No one I spoke to seemed to see any benefit in the lack of masturbating, to the point where people were trying to talk me out of it.

So when I failed the challenge, and knowing how it was the most difficult thing to stop in a lot of ways, I continued jacking off. For 4 out of the 5 remaining days.

Drinking isn’t a challenge unless I’m in a social situation. Summer would be different, but in late autumn, when there’s not many nice days to sit back and enjoy, it’s not too hard to decline alcohol. Once you add in a person and the chance of some banter over a beer, that changes. But generally speaking, it’s ok.

Smoking too, I didn’t struggle with. I thought about it, but not too much. It was kind of like back to business as usual to be honest.

So that’s my story of failure. In some ways, I did well. I went 29 days without drinking or smoking, 25 days without wanking. But it’s not the 30 in a row that I was aiming for.

Apologies for the long post, I’m trying to condense a 25,000 word journal. Previous entries have been closer to 15,000. That in itself shows you how much more drive I had during the month when I took those 3 things away.

The book I was reading at the start was called bloodsong by Anthony Ryan. I highly recommend it.

 

Update 31/5

Well, I’m coming up to 2 weeks after the completion of this challenge. I’m back smoking. I’m back drinking. I was back wanking before I finished the fucking challenge.

To be honest, I started smoking and drinking the day the challenge stopped.

I didn’t plan it, but I also didn’t document it. But here’s my vague memory of how I fell so quickly back into smoking.

1. I hung out with old friends who smoke and drink.

2. I didn’t want to feel “left out” when they went for a smoke. I sat out for a couple, but folded.

3. Despite Scott saying don’t do it, I did. I felt like I had earnt it.

4. Despite considering the “I only smoke when I drink” option, I found myself having a morning coffee smoke the next day.

5. For close to a week afterwards I was only having 1 – 3 a day, most of those socially. I was smoking old tobacco I found in the cupboard or my friends smokes.

6. It was a week to the day when I bought a pouch.

7. I’m back to being a smoker again, having smoked 5 this morning before 9 AM, and probably another 10 up until now (5 PM).

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One thought on “30 days of abstinence

  1. Pingback: Writing a book in a month | Soundscrape

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