Alcohol and Pain Management – Day 609

It’s been 609 days since my last drink.

In retrospect, I look back not because I feel myself tempted, but to understand why and how I unwittingly used alcohol. And I realize that I occasionally used it as a means of dealing with pain.

My life is no different than anyone else and I’ve gone through some of life’s difficulties. But, I’ve had to ask myself, “did alcohol ever really help?”

I recall spraining an ankle and spending an evening with the guys hanging out and getting trashed. That was a rum and coke night. They were pouring and got amused as I slurred and struggled to stay balanced with my crutch. I remember single leg hopping to the rest room and struggling to get to bed. Next day I conveniently forgot the hang over.

Then of course are the other pains.

There was the pain of my 24th birthday. I was in the Navy, in the shipyards, working Monday through Friday with twelve hour shifts overlaid on top of that covering all seven days, with one rotational day off. The luck of the draw meant I had the day after my birthday off so I took advantage of it.

I was at a low point. I was finishing a divorce from my first wife wondering if I would ever have a chance at love again. (Clearly the naive viewpoint of youth). It had been more than a year since I saw family. And I was feeling the oppression of ‘Dogs and sailors keep off the grass’ from the Navy town atmosphere and felt really isolated. And the work regimen was such that you really didn’t have much opportunity to connect or befriend anyone outside of work. So I pulled up a stool at the enlisted club with one goal in mind. Drink to drown it all out.

One high point out of that. I was joined by a shipmate just by chance and I proceeded to get pie-faced. Completely blotto. I don’t remember how I got back to my room.. I think he helped, but it’s lost on me now.

The next morning (surprise duty) I was roused from my bunk. The guy that woke me had to jump back from my breath. Surprise, they changed the schedule, I had to go in and I was to lead a training session on something that was very detailed, intricate and involved in front of about 45 of my peers. I gave everyone fair warning that since this was unplanned it was anyone’s guess how this would go. An hour later, when it was done, I got a lot of compliments on how well it went. It became obvious that someone had heard about my night before and thought they would mess with me. Fortunately, I was still a bit buzzed while presenting so any pretense of nervousness in front of a crowd was gone, I knew the information cold and the presentation flowed comfortably. I even fielded a few questions intended as gotchas, but I crushed it.

As I look back, this was one of those moments that made me think drinking was something easy to handle. That it might actually have some positive impacts. How silly that was.

I’ve used alcohol for pain suppression through surgeries, broken bones, sprains, strains, worries over kids and family, health scares, heart aches for break ups, divorces, loneliness, funerals, jealousy, work stress just to name a few. I’ve also used it to fit in with the crowd socializing and ease my own nerves. And in every sense of the word, it would bring a momentary relief only to frequently have the pain redoubled or complicated by the symptoms of a hang over.

Fast forward to 2016 and it’s very obvious that I was using it to deal with so many little minor things that were ‘pains’ that there were few things I could look at positively.

In fact, I’ve realized that many of the ‘pains’ that I was drinking to deal with turned out to be conditions complicated by the drinking.

In the past 609 days I can honestly say I’ve never been truly ‘sick’, where before it was a matter of weeks between bouts of severe diarrhea or sinus issues that would make me useless. And I know longer suffer ‘mysterious’ joint swelling or pain. Any joint pain I suffer now is because I did something strenuous.

Am I pain free? No. I’m in my upper 50’s with normal aches and pains.

At the end of the day, when I’m sitting around with the wife, we will look at each other, a knowing look will pass between us. Almost without speaking we acknowledge that our lives are so much better without the fuzz, haze and side affects of alcohol. It’s so much easier without it now.



Google Feed Rant & What to Do

I became determined to remove Google Feed

Have you ever spent a little time checking out the Google Feed on your Android phone? That additional screen that appears when you side swipe from your home screens? I did. I thought it was a great idea to provide a source of information that I could curate and customize for what was important to me. I spent some time giving it a chance. I worked with customizing it, thinking I could boil things down to what I was actually interested in.

It was a disappointment, repeatedly. Yes, it was nice to see my teams scores, weather and Continue reading “Google Feed Rant & What to Do”

OnePlus One – Still like it

It was a recent day on a cool brisk evening. I was out with our ten year old walking the dog after dark and, as he sometimes does, he started asking me about the stars because they were out brightly that night. So I whip out the phone and downloaded Sky Map hoping to show the relative position of the far off planets in our constellation, but it was a flop. Apparently I didn’t have a built in compass.

Then I was at a runners event with nothing but my cell phone after a run and there were stands with merchandise I wanted to buy. No plastic, no cash, no purchase. I realized I didn’t have a built in NFC chip on my phone.

And the light bulb went off, I have a phone with those features sitting in a box at home.  Continue reading “OnePlus One – Still like it”

5K a Month for a Year

In early 2017, realizing the positive health progress I was making with sobriety, I decided to set goals. I needed something to strive for. I’m not sure if everyone is like this, but I’ve come to recognize that I appreciate things more when I’m challenged. Something that comes too easily is just not very rewarding and can easily be taken for granted. Continue reading “5K a Month for a Year”

Guilt from 1983

This is personally a hard post. I’ve started this numerous times. In 1979 I signed up for the U.S. Navy. That’s how, as a scrawny 6 foot tall awkward fairly athletic young man, I found myself deployed off the coast of Beirut on board the USS Virginia in 1983 with 550 other guys. As I understood it the Russians, Iranians and Cubans were working together to incite civil war in Lebanon. Our ship and others were intended to provide necessary support if called upon. Little did we know what was to come.  Continue reading “Guilt from 1983”

U.S. Economy Realism

Let us all keep things in perspective.

Too many people in the United States credit the Oval Office with some form of omniscient control over the direction of the U.S. and world economy. As though their hand is on the throttle of a precision racing machine and, if he keeps it fueled and maintained, we’ll all have a great ride.

The fact is, the presidency can only marginally influence the economy. Capitalism and world markets have a life of their own and can throw potholes, fallen branches, bad road maintenance, have missing guard rails and the list goes on. The warning signs might be there, but they can be obscured by branches or ignored like any distracted or narrow focused driver.

Yes, the presidency can influence the economy through policies. But, like any roller coaster relationship, the president can’t control how the vast economic engine outside of his circle of influence will react to any one thing. The world market economies have a whole lot more going on than our corner of the world. War, famine, natural disasters, bad actors, electronic trading, etc. are far beyond the scope of any one government, much less any one person or world leader, to control.

The larger world reaction to anything can undermine the principals of any policy the presidency puts out.

The presidency and their administration regardless of party are playing a high stakes guessing game. Their crystal ball is more informed, but no more prescient than anyone else.

So when someone credits any one president at any time in history with the feast or famine in the markets whether transient or long lasting, take it with a serious grain of skepticism.

Rescuing PS4 DualShock Controllers

You’re racing down the hall ways of the Death Star and the Empire’s troops are closing in. You hear blaster fire and explosions echoing through the halls, but you press on because you’re mission is to help the rebellion and lives hang in the balance. The sounds are getting closer, you’re perspiring as you press forward in spite of the growing din of destruction. You rush in with your weapon raised high and…

You freeze. Literally frozen. The PS4 tells you that the DualShock controller has disconnected and you are slaughtered by multiple bad guys.

That was my grandson’s situation. And yes, he yelled frustration at the console as he scrambled for his cord to reconnect and rejoin the game.

Having a sensitive side for his frustrated little geek streak, I decided to start a project to improve the battery life and performance one way or the other. So off to search the web. Continue reading “Rescuing PS4 DualShock Controllers”