2 months--no drugs or alcohol

Hello everyone,

Today is my last day of major intoxication. For the next 2 months after today, I plan on complete, total, and utter sobriety. That means no drugs, no alcohol, and no caffeine. Today is the business Christmas party… so I have to get drunk today… but after that, no substances for me for 2 months (that includes my birthday and New Years Eve).

Why do you care? Well, you don’t have to care. This thread is not for you, it’s for me. It happens to be a fact about human psychology that one can stick to a commitment more tenaciously if one announces it to as many people as possible. I figured broadcasting this to all ILP members would surely do the trick.

But that’s not the only reason. I also want this to be therapeutic. I’ve found in the last year or so that ILP has not only been a great place for me to do philosophy with like minded people, but also be very therapeutic and spiritual for myself (the more so if we discuss depth philosophy as opposed to insight philosophy). So I want to make this announcement and see where this goes.

Why only 2 month? Why not forever? Well, because going cold turkey forever is too much for me right now. I want to do this in phases. What I’m trying to give myself is a series of hands-on experiences with sobriety. This is another fact about human psychology: one can believe in things with more conviction when those beliefs are grounded on real-life, concrete experience. And I know the experience of sobriety has a lot to offer in this department. I know because I’ve done it before–in particular, when abstaining from caffeine. I’m a caffeine addict who tries his best to do caffeine only once per week (usually Fridays), but on occasion, I will try going for a 2 week stretch. The thing I find during these 2 week stretches is that usually by the second week, I get my natural energy levels back. I’m thinking more clearly, not as moody, more alert, more energetic, can stay awake for longer in the day, thinking a bit more quickly. I mean, it’s nothing like the buzz I get off 3 cups of coffee on my Fridays, but it’s noticeably better than the aftermath through the weekend and early parts of the week after those Fridays (and that aftermath has a lot to do with the alcohol that usually follows the caffeine high, but more on that below). This is what I need. I need these empirical results. I need to actually feel the effects of sobriety–the positive effects, the ones that will tell me “you know, Gibran, sobriety does have its perks.” I mean, getting high, drunk, or stoned obviously has its perks, but they’re more immediate and short lived, whereas the thought of feeling good, feeling better about myself (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) all the time, even if not as intensely, certainly is appealing, and works well as a motivator. But the catch is that it can only work as a motivator if I give myself these hands-on experiences. So that’s what I’m doing.

Now, I just realized, of course, this doesn’t answer the question: Why only 2 months? Why not forever.

Well, the answer is, I have a 5 year plan. I plan, over the next 5 years, to do a whole series of 2 month stretches. I need this to be experimental. I need to treat it scientifically. That’s the only way I’m going to get these hands-on, concrete experiences, and the only way those experiences are going to be reliable. For this first 2 month stretch, I’m going to be abstaining from all substances. And for every subsequent stretch, I’m going to try different combinations. These combinations consist of 3 drug types: caffeine, alcohol, and cannabinoids (the last of which doesn’t include marijuana alone, but a whole bunch of chemicals that have the same effects as THC, so I kind of class them all together). So, for example, the next 2 month stretch might be one in which I abstain from caffeine and alcohol, but not the cannabinoids. This way, I can become more precise in my decision about what I want to cut out of my life and what I don’t.

Ultimately, the one drug that I think I really need to cut out is the caffeine. This may sound ironic, but out all three drug types, I think it’s the caffeine that’s killing me. But, Gib, isn’t alcohol and illegal substances like pot more dangerous? Not for me. No, I don’t mean that I’m special in any way; what I mean is that caffeine is the one drug which is the root source of the problems in my life. The alcohol, though much more hazardous to my health, is dependent on the caffeine for its damaging effects. I call myself a conditional alcoholic because my alcoholism is highly depend on when I’m jacked up on caffeine. No caffeine, no uncontrollable urges to drink. That’s not to say I’d never have a drink without the caffeine, but that when I drink, it wouldn’t be any more out of control than it would be for the next person. I’d drink socially and I’d know when to cut myself off. I say this not just as a prediction but from past experience. On my non-caffeine days, I really don’t have a strong urge to drink, but if the occasion calls for it (ex. we’re having drinks after work), I partake in a couple beers. But really, I often don’t want to drink on my non-caffeine days–I know all it will do is make me tired; sure, it’ll give me a buzz for maybe an hour or two, but then I’ll want to crash on a nice, comfy sofa or bed–and this will not do if I’ve got things to do. So the urge isn’t really there. Add caffeine to the mix, however, and I know I can have a reeeally good time getting drunk. I won’t get tired for hours–and this is especially true if I keep my caffeine tolerance low (which is why I drink coffee only once a week).

Now when it comes to other drugs, like the cannabinoids, that too is highly addictive, but I don’t think it’s causing any real problems in my life. The main objective in this 5 year plan is to see whether I can (and should) rid my life of caffeine, mainly, and to see if the “ism” can be dropped from my “alcoholism” as a result of that. (as John Searle is known for saying: “That’s a prediction, not a promise!”). The cannabinoids, however, I’m not sure I even want to give up. The only real problem I see it causing in my life is it distracts me from getting things done. Like, if the wife takes the kids out for a couple hours, I might smoke up and during the next hour at least, I’ll get nothing done except listen to my music and surf ILP looking for some trippy shit to read. But other than that, it actually makes me feel very peaceful and zenny (you know, zen-like, in a state of zen). It has always been a great source of moral and spiritual insight, inspiring me to make improvements to myself and for my family (after the initial emotional roller-coaster ride, that is ← but even that can be a rush).

But supposing I even give that up after a while. I still want to experiment with certain psychedelics, but it would only be occasionally and never more than 4 or 5 times during a certain period in my life (like over 3 or 4 months). After that, I’ll dump it (I could even give it to my wife and she can keep track of how often I’ve asked for it, and get her to promise to flush it after the fifth use). The reason why I want to stick with this practice is because it is the one function I find in psychedelics (and other drugs I suppose) that really serves my spiritual purposes. My whole philosophy, on which my spirituality is based, is about experiences–especially foreign, unfamiliar experiences that the human brain simply cannot have in its normal states. To me, using psychedelics for this purpose is like a scientist wanting to experiment in order to learn from nature, or a Christian wanting to go to church in order to get closer to God.

You know, it took me a while to realize I was abusing drugs. I had always told myself that this was the whole reason I did psychedelics–the explore alternate states of consciousness, to see what the human mind (or mind in general) was capable of experiencing–and I even told my wife this after we got into a few heated arguments over the matter. But after hearing myself put this argument forward, I soon realized it wasn’t true–it wasn’t the reason I was doing drugs (at least, the cannabinoids). If it were true, the experience of getting high off cannabinoids would still be new to me–but it wasn’t. I had been doing cannabinoids for years at that time, and it was the same old experience every time. It was wild, it was fun, wrestling with demons, and yes, I could get new and interesting insights every time (btw, 90% of insights you get on cannabinoids really seem deep and intelligent at the time, but turn out to be major flops after sobering up–which is why I never post on ILP while stoned), but the experience had definitely been worn thin by then. So I couldn’t use the excuse that I was exploring different mind state; instead I had to own up to the fact that I had become addicted to the buzz. I get board on a Friday night, and after the wife and kids have gone to bed (and I’m still awake because it’s a caffeine day), I smoke up and feel good.

So that’s it. I want to feel better. I want to have more energy. I feel physically sluggish most of the time, sometimes needing to go to bed before the kids. And I can be somewhat irritable (like grumpy cat) in the mornings, near the beginning of the week, even depressed sometimes. When I’ve over done the caffeine (not overdosed), like drinking several cups of coffee three days in a row, I can’t think straight and I get edgy. I know from my past experiences with the occasional 2 week stretch, I can feel better, I can regain my energy and positive mood (although I know I will always miss the Friday buzz). So we’ll do this and see what happens.


Good luck with your plan. If you can pull it off, you’ll be better for it.

Some tips that helped me -

If you need an energy boost, there’s lots of foods you can eat instead of resorting to caffeine.
Fruit, nuts, yogurts, eggs etc. Google it for more info.

Regular exercise. If you do that, you’ll have more energy, metabolism will increase, you’ll sleep better, feel happier.

As for stress (assuming that’s why you drink), find activities and methods that calm you. Something you enjoy or value that doesn’t demand anything great of you. Also, exercise is a great stress relief.

Hope something there’s useful to you.

Again, good luck and stay strong! :slight_smile:

Short term plan: Make it till 5 PM.

Long term plan: String together a whole bunch of short term plans.

Good luck with your plan, gib, I myself have been a periodic user for years and years, and when I can not stand reality any longer and have time to be totally free, then I will binge, but only with the thought that it is temporary.

 I agree with your plan and I feel your aim is coming from one of recurrent usage.  2 months would be too long for me, the max I can bear is 1 month.

 As far as strong psychedelics is concerned, I must ask you if you had ever taken them, if so I would be careful.  I had a very dreadful, near death experience, with an unsupervised very high dosage. I have had recurrent flashbacks since the 60's.

 Good luck!

Eeeugh… sobriety sucks. :smiley:

Thanks everyone for your well wishes.

That’s actually really good advice. Thanks.

Too late :laughing:

Strong, as in acid and mushrooms? Yes, but not very many times, and mostly way in my past, and only mild doses (2 tabs of acid at a rave was the most I’ve done and that was kind of an “alarming” trip to put it one way).

I went three months without tea once it was hell I am English after all but gz OP. Kick that rabbit.

Gib, you’re insane / masochistic. Anyone who wants MY drugs and alcohol can count on removing them from my cold, dead hands.

I have a feeling that this might be you after the two months are up 8-[



I don’t get it.

Drink on tap, minus the Taliban costume of course #-o I can just imagine you all kitted out like that :laughing:

The 2nd image being you after your abstinence, but in human not cat form :slight_smile:

You got it made in the shade gib, 3/4 of the battle is mindset. Don’t let life break it.

A celebratory self-congratulations party? You know I’m planning it :wink:.

I’m predicting that by Feb. 14th (woaw, Valentine’s day :astonished: ), I will have collected enough music to put together my next mix. You see, I have this tradition of collecting music, and every 3 or 4 months or so, I usually get enough to put together a mix and I will listen to it highly caffeinated, drunk, and stoned. Put a headset on that guy in the pic and that just might be me in 2 months. :laughing:


1 month of complete sobriety!

Well? How do you feel comparatively?

I quit with the caffeine several months ago and have noticed that I actually feel better without it, both physically and mentally.

This thread…well…you guys probably know how I feel about all this.

What about us, who have to make up our chemical mixes as we go along to get it just right? The ones who are a tad concerned about whether our philosophy would be enhanced or degraded as a consequence of not getting it just right?

Congratulations! !!

Thanks Kris!

I do feel better, but not as much as I thought I would.

I remember from my various 2 week stretches that within the second week, I got my energy back. This has happened, but I was expecting it to be a bit more steady. I’m finding that it’s a bit more hit and miss. I’m not fully alert and full of energy throughout the whole day. I’m finding that on some days, still need a nap in the afternoon–not as bad, mind you, and not for as long–but it still happens. I’m finding that I’m usually at my energy peek late in the evening. I remember this from my teenage-hood. I would often stay up 'til 1 or 2 in the morning–I just wasn’t tired. I got hooked on caffein in the summer of 98 (I remember because I remember who it was who introduced me to caffein pills), so that would make me 22 at the time. I’m finding that pattern has returned. But it’s a mixed blessing. It’s not so good on a work night when I need to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Even if I go to bed, I tend to lie there awake thinking about shit until 2 or 3 in the morning. Then I’m dead tired for the rest of the day afterwards.

Why, oh, why could I not have this energy throughout the day?! :laughing:

As for the moodiness, I’m not really as grumpy in the morning–not really grumpy at all, in fact–but I’ve found I haven’t really become any less prone to depression ← it’s not much of a surprise that this is more psychological than physiological.

Yes, smears, we all know how you feel about topics like this :wink:

But don’t you worry–you’re invited up to Canada on Feb. 15th to celebrate with me my success at 2 months of sobriety, and we’ll get sloshed and stoned (but you have to abstain from caffein for at least a week–otherwise, you’ll never keep up with me :laughing:).

What about you? I need the same thing, except for me it’s a matter of intensity and frequency. Usually the few days after a serious binge, I just don’t feel like posting at all (although I do feel compelled to respond to my own threads).

I would totally come up there but I’m gonna be in Florida that week.

What part of Canada?