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Living Sober Sucks!
But your life doesn't have to suck
My name is Mark Tuschel. I'm not embarrassed to tell you my full name. My family and friends are proud of what I've done---I sobered up on my own. No rehab, no program, no regular meetings. I did attend AA meetings AFTER I had sobered up, with hope of learning how to handle my new sober dilemmas - those meetings didn't help me understand my new dilemmas, and often I felt like drinking again after a meeting. But that's how it was for me. This is why I undertook writing alternative strategies and techniques for sobriety. I wanted to develop my own personalized plan to aid me in making the best out of my own sobriety.
As you read through the site you'll discover that I'm NOT anti-alcohol, I am NOT anti-AA. I am NOT aniti-religion. I do not follow or believe in any religion but that doesn't mean I'm an atheist. I voice my opinions openly and honestly. I hope that my style arouses emotions within YOU and gets YOU to do some thinking on your own and come to your own conclusions.
I recently passed 7 years, 11 months sober, and for me living sober sucks. I would like to be drinking beer or Scotch right now but I know that it wouldn't be good for me or improve my life.
I enjoyed the activity of drinking and I loved getting drunk. But eventually my reliance on getting drunk got the best of me; mentally, physically and financially. I'm honest with myself about my feelings and I accept responsibility for my own behaviors, which are key parts of my philosophies. I may have enjoyed drinking - but I will stay sober - no one can ever take that away from me, only I can take that away from myself.
This site is dedicated to those who want to stop drinking and live a normal life - sober. I don't have all the answers. Maybe you will completely disagree with my techniques? That's okay, at least you're thinking about your own sobriety.
Be forewarned, I am profane, I say a lot of crude things. I have a wild sense of humor but I do take sobriety very seriously. And I truly care about other drunks. I am far from politically correct. I'm sure I will offend some people. If you are offended by this site I invite you to click the little "x" in the upper right hand corner. You are not forced to read this.
I walk along an unconventional path with my sobriety. Others prefer a traditional path. I'm sure we are both after the same goal: To be sober and happy in life.
Please check out my blog to get a better idea of my personality, my philosophies and to read much more material. It's all FREE.
This is nothing new!
The act of getting drunk hasn’t changed much in the past 4,000 years. However, over the past 80+ years there have been many programs and systems devised and presented as new or groundbreaking. My concepts aren’t new and I’m not brilliant. I won’t even claim to be in the upper percentile of smart. All I have done is organized and restated complicated thoughts with uncomplicated words.
I realized that if I’m not going to drink then I needed to decide what I want to do with my time and money. With the strategies I have laid out I try to appease all of my normal human desires which are; my emotions, my spirituality, my intellect, materialistic desires, relationship and physical health desires. I seek happiness and pleasure just like anyone else. I’ve combined quantitative strategies for rewarding myself (starting a Sobriety Savings Account for instance), with qualitative strategies (emotional rewards, expanding personal knowledge base, sober time with family and friends), to make the best out of sobriety.
I have written these strategies for my own benefit, but I feel that they can be of benefit to other people as well. But that’s only if the other person is interested in reading about them. I make no claim that my strategies are right for YOU. I don’t have to live your life and it’s unreasonable to tell you how you should live your life or what you must do. I do not use bullying and threats that you will fail if you don’t follow my system. I don’t have a universal system. Sobriety is personal, handled and performed by YOU within your own skin.
For me, being sober isn’t a matter of “not being drunk.” It means total abstinence, no alcohol whatsoever in my bloodstream. That truly is the simple answer to alcohol misuse. Don’t put it into your own bloodstream. I have never found a program or step system that can answer my unique situation and questions about making the best out of my sobriety. Yes, I am well-read on the 12-step system and have participated in it. It is not rewarding for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be rewarding for you. And I don’t claim that my strategies will answer all or any of your problems. But if I can inspire YOU to think, then we both win. In the end, we are both seeking the same goals: to stay sober, be happy and feel contentment within our lives’.
Life itself (drunk or sober) can be complex because many conditions and occurrences overlap and are intertwined. When looked at individually, many of these conditions and occurrences can become uncomplicated elements. But each element is unique to every one of us. I may not desire spiritual or religious enlightenment, but YOU might. You may not have domestic problems, but I might. Standardized programs or systems serve a purpose—in the general sense. But you and your situation are far different from mine. About the only thing we can agree that we have in common is that when we drink we do it in excess. Stop the alcohol from getting into our bloodstream and we have remedied only one of our issues. The other unique issues will be easier to address with a sober mind. They may not be any more fun or pleasant nor turn out how we would like, but they will be done with a sober mind.
I’m not trying to get you to join my cult—I don’t have one. I don’t need you to like me or even agree with me. You might think I’m a complete idiot, but if reading this causes you to ignite your desire to follow a path to sobriety then I have achieved my purpose. I don’t receive any materialistic gain if you decide to live sober and stay sober because of something I said or wrote. I don’t receive a royalty if your life improves. If you buy one of my books I may earn .70 cents. If you make a donation to my site it will help me defray the costs. I do this because it is my own self-expression and self-definition.
I wish you great success in whatever you decide about living sober and I hope you gain something from my website. Mark
Does Living Sober Really Suck?
For me, the answer is YES. Does my life suck? NO. Please allow me to expand on these answers.
I liked getting drunk, smoking pot, doing narcotics and taking the occasional pill. I liked getting high. Knowing that I will never catch a buzz again sucks. Knowing that I will never drink again sucks.
At over 7 years 11 months sober, I can honestly say that many areas of my life are far better and I dont ever want to go back to drinking. I respect myself and my body more. I respect my mind and my willpower more. I have closer friendships. I don't have unnecessary debt and unnecessary drama in my life.
The areas of my life that still suck are things like: frustration at self-imposed limitations, loneliness, boredom or depression. These thoughts and feelings are often a result of thinking that drinking would make me popular, have no limitations and take away the boredom and loneliness. I see others drink socially and they appear to have what I desire. My thoughts like to tempt me into drinking again. But I know that drinking will not fix my problems, cure my depression or relieve self-pity. It would just make things worse.
Not ever being able to get high, buzzed or drunk again sucks, however, the rest of my life doesnt suck. This is a very strange position to be in.
I'm touching on this subject because I have been asked this question by quite a few people.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of people I have met through this site. I have discovered that there are a lot of brilliant, intelligent and wise drunks in the world. They are smart, caring people who just drink too much for their own good. These people have confirmed my belief that: All drunks are not jerks. Some are actually pretty damn smart.
Why the title
Living Sober Sucks?
Regardless of whether youve been drinking for only a short time or for years, it is going to suck when you first sober up. Many things will improve in your life but some will not. There will be added challenges and struggles that you will have to face - and you will have to face them sober. This is not to say that it isn't worth doing. I believe that your chances of maintaining sobriety and learning to enjoy living sober are heightened by accepting certain realities.
Here's how its going to suck: If you have been using alcohol as a crutch to avoid or alleviate stress, drinking for the pursuit of pleasure, or misusing alcohol to free yourself of inhibitions, it is really going to suck when you eliminate this crutch from your life. You are going to have to handle stress, seek pleasure and face social situations completely sober. That can be scary, tough and it will suck.
Reality is the enemy of drunkenness. Living sober will improve your chances of enjoying a happier, healthier and more engaged life.
I am not anti AA
Some people are under the impression that I'm anti AA. Absolutely not. If you are serious about sobering up, then I suggest that you attend some meetings and read the materials. I also recommend that you go to a few different locations. You might find a perfect group for you and find that AA is just the right thing for you.
As for me, attending AA meetings helped me realize that this is an antiquated system. Because of AA, I discovered that the only way I could stay sober and lead a normal life, in our more modern society, was if I did it myself.
During my first year of sobriety I attended 100+ meetings at 4 different locations. AA only depressed me. I heard the same stories of desolation over and over again. I was constantly being reminded that I am weak, flawed, filled with defects, I'm a despicable person. I heard the same stories again and again and was never allowed to ask questions or question the program in general (cross-talk isn't allowed). Other attendees belittled me, threatened and assured me of failure if I didn't follow their way, work the steps, accept a higher power and give my power over to a god. I don't like being bullied.
It was not the organization of AA authorizing this type of treatment, it was the people attending who were saying this to me and to others. The philosophy behind AA is altruistic.
Ironically, I felt more like drinking after I left a meeting than before I got there.
So I credit AA with being my catalyst to developing my own plan and using my own willpower to stay sober (without a single relapse) for more than 7-1/2 years.
As society changes (electronic social media) and our own personal level of understanding and absorbing new knowledge improves, many of the old, unquestioned belief systems must improve and change. Throughout history people have believed crazy things, but knowledge and information changed many of those beliefs. For thousands of years nobody considered or believed that the heart pumped blood, but now its common knowledge and seems only logical.
Too many systems and programs are antiquated. I will agree that there is some validity in the core of the ideals, but they were started at a time when people were not so socially connected. They also happened to be started by white, Christian, males.
That may not work for everyone today. Today we have the opportunity to connect up with other individuals who are in similar situations as we are. We can connect and learn from reading their writing, chatting online or just following their examples. Read, learn, educate yourself and discover what will be best for you, because only YOU will live your life. Your sponsor, your group, your HP will not. I wish you the best in whatever you decide.
Recovery is the accepted or recognized term for us drunks, as in: Im in recovery; Im a recovering alcoholic, Recovery Program, etc. For simplicity and to avoid confusion, I use the word recovery in my books. But this term makes me uncomfortable.
Someone recovers after surgery, an accident or from a hangover.
I wasnt recovering from any of those things during my sobering up process, I was reinventing myself.
This is why I prefer to say that I'm Reinvented, because I've had to reinvent myself as a sober person. I had to discover ways to live without alcohol, uncover lost feelings and deep desires. I found new passions, activities and rewards. I had to radically change my view regarding how I respect alcohol, other people and how I approach social dealings.
The only thing I am recovering from is my own mistakes. And just because I no longer drink doesn't mean I don't make mistakes. I still fuck-up plenty of things, but at least I'm sober when I make those mistakes.
I will continue to use the term recovery because it's accepted and less confusing. But in reality, I have reinvented myself. That's all I did.
If you are in the early stages of sobriety or are just starting to think about quitting drinking, then you are a "Newbie" and I want to welcome you to the hilarious world of sobriety. Youre going to learn all sorts of fun new terms and experience all sorts of fun new sensations during your first 90 days sober.
I do a lot of one-on-one and group recovery work. I have to hold back from laughing out loud when dealing with "newbies." They tell me how wonderful everything is, how great they feel and they wonder why they didn't do this sooner -they're so excited about this new found sobriety. Then I ask, "So how long have you been sober?" "Im going on four days, this is great!"
Ya, well fuckin' wait... By next week you wont be able to sleep. You'll probably lose your appetite and you'll have headaches. Let's not forget that you might get the shits because your digestive system isn't used to eating good food. Then in about a month when your car won't start, your kids mouth-off, your boss insults you, your spouse gets angry at you, the toilet backs up and your friends want to go out drinking - then tell me how fuckin great it is. Because I guarantee that at some point, your mettle will be tested.
But when you make it through some of those tests and your body starts feeling good again, you'll be so proud of yourself and you'll know that the early struggles were well worth it. I'm not trying to talk you out of living sober. I would rather be honest, that way you know what to expect and you won't get disenchanted. This will help you take control of your urges and reduce your chances of relapse. You think living sober sucks? Relapsing and starting over again sucks a lot more.
All I can do is hope that in some way, the sharing of my experiences will help and someone else's life will be better than they ever imagined.
Quitting drinking doesnt guarantee shit! There is no guarantee that your marriage, relationship or friendships will be rekindled. No guarantee that your kids will love or respect you again. No guarantee that you will become happy, wealthy and find true bliss.
But don't be discouraged by my words, life can improve and it can be better than you ever imagined. But YOU have to be an active participant in your sobriety.
The first thing I ask people is, "What do you want to accomplish with your sober life?"
Most answer with, "Well, I want to stay sober." That's a great answer, but it doesn't help with your future growth and it doesn't eliminate the possibility of relapse. If you don't visualize how you want your life to be, how you will act, what you will do, what you want out of living sober, you will just stay stuck. You must be able to answer that question in graphic detail of what you desire, or you will simply be sober. And then at some point, one, two or three years later, you will become disenchanted wondering, What was the point?
That's why I present the concept of Marks Reward System in my book. I give examples of how to expand your creativity and how to see yourself as a sober person. Reward yourself and others, for the effort you put forth at living sober.
Okay,,, so maybe I can guarantee two things about sobriety:
#1 It will be different.
#2 You can't get arrested for drunk driving.
Just a few words:
A scientific study regarding the effects of alcohol on speech has been released by M.I.T. - Milwaukee Institute of Teachin. As B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) increases, the following words become more difficult to say.
Words that are DIFFICULT to say at .05-.09 B.A.C.:
Words that areVERY DIFFICULT to say at .10-.16 B.A.C.:
Words that are IMPOSSIBLE to say at .17-.25 B.A.C. (DRUNK):
1. No thanks, no more booze for me, I have to drive.
2. Sorry you're not my type.
3. No I can't,,, I'm married.
4. Good evening officer. Isn't it a lovely night for driving?
5. Sorry I'm not interested in fighting with you.
6. No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
7. Thank you for asking, but I won't make any attempt to dance as I have no coordination and I'd hate to make a fool of myself.
8. No thanks, I'm not hungry.
9. I must be going home now, as I have to work in the morning.
Okay, so this is a joke. We drunks have to laugh at oureslve's once in a while.
Alcoholism ISN'T a disease it's a choice
I interviewed a Defense Attorney for this article. My question to him was, "Can alcoholism be used as a defense in court?" His answer, Ha ha. "Now thats funny! Of course it can't, could you imagine how many millions of cases that would be thrown out of court or would have to be reopened?"
Now keep in mind that this is a Defense Attorney talking - the person who would use ANY excuse they could to get you out of being responsible for a crime.
"Using alcoholism as a defense for ones own actions doesn't work. You cannot use the disease of alcoholism to benefit you in any way for being responsible for committing a crime. It (alcohol and alcoholism) can be considered as an element in the commission of committing a crime, but you are still responsible for your own reckless actions. In fact, depending upon the egregiousness of the crime, alcohol may make matters worse. For instance, if you run over and kill a pedestrian with your car you will be charged with reckless driving and then wrongful death in a civil case. But if you are drunk when this occurs, you are going to be charged with a criminal offense; homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle."
"Claiming to be an alcoholic or being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the occurrence of a crime may be a mitigating factor in sentencing or a restating of charges. Such as First degree intentional homicide lowered to Involuntary Manslaughter."
"The law does not see alcoholism as something that you can't control. You made the decision to drink and regardless of whether you were drunk (or an alcoholic) when committing an offense, YOU are still responsible for your own actions and of course your own decision to drink in the first place."
I believe that his answer supports my own personal position that alcoholism is a choice. It is your choice to introduce that first drink into your body. What happens after that first drink is in your bloodstream is anybodies guess. For the person who has no control over how much alcohol they drink once they start, abstinence is your best course of action (or would it be inaction?).
If the law doesn't allow the excuse of, "I couldn't help it, I'm an alcoholic" or "I didn't know what I was doing, I was drunk at the time," why should it be any different when it comes to inappropriate actions, abhorrent or reprehensible behaviors towards other people? Drunk or not, you are still solely responsible for things that occur in your own personal life and relationships.
The temptation and desire to drink may exist, but it is ultimately your choice whether to drink or not drink. There are ways to beat these temptations and reward yourself for the choice to live sober. They are detailed in the book Living Sober Sucks (notice my not so subtle sales pitch?).
Disclaimer: This is not to be construed as legal advice. As with any legal opinion, it is up to the interpretation of the court in a given situation, depending on crime and circumstances.
To Be or Not To Be
Excerpted from the book Living Sober Sucks:
ALCOHOLIC- what a wonderful title to hold. For us problem drinkers, being an alcoholic is a badge of honor. It gives us a sense of being part of an elite group or club. Other drunks welcome us in with open arms. Then, if we stop drinking, our new title allows us membership into another exclusive group - the recovering alcoholics. We're special, not everyone can be a member of either of these groups but I have been a member of both.
When I was actively drinking, I wasn't embarrassed to admit to other drunks that I was an alcoholic. After I quit, I had to deal with the stigma of, He's a recovering alcoholic, and people treated me differently. But now, I'm just someone who doesn't drink. However that stigma keeps some people from being willing to share their struggles. They are worried about the embarrassment that their friends, family or partner will have to endure. Well, chances are good that your friends, family or partner is already aware that drinking is causing problems in your life. And which is worse? The stigma of being a recovering alcoholic or letting alcohol run your life?
I believe that the title "Alcoholic" is overused as well as misused. Someone does not have to be clinically deemed an alcoholic to have problems in their life due to drinking. Sometimes people want to belong to this exclusive group to gain sympathy or attention, so they call themselves an alcoholic. Or they like holding this title so others will show them compassion and forgive their behavior. Calling ones self an alcoholic also allows us the opportunity to offer an excuse for our behaviors such as, "Oh I know I'm such a fuck-up, but I can't help it... I'm an alcoholic." Or, "I can't quit drinking. I've tried but I'm an alcoholic." We often use the title "Alcoholic" so we don't have to accept responsibility for ourselves and our own decisions.
Its nice to be able to blame something else for our mistakes, indiscretions and failures. "I'm normally not like that, it was the alcohol," or "I was drunk, I didn't know what I was doing" and "I can't help it, I'm an alcoholic" are great excuses. And the nice part about using alcohol as an excuse, alcohol can't defend itself.
The harsh reality is that "I'm an alcoholic" is not a valid excuse and you don't have to be an alcoholic for drinking to adversely impact your life. (continued in book)
Reading books has helped keep my mind off of drinking, it has furthered my knowledge and has been helping me become a better person. Here's a list of some books that I suggest reading. They are not directly related to alcoholism or addiction but they have helped me to understand how to accept personal responsibility for my own thoughts and actions. Some are very thought provoking - some are just fun to read. I hope you enjoy them.
"Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)." -Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" - Dale Carnegie
"Blind Spots"-Madeleine L. Van Hecke
"Blink" - Malcolm Gladwell
"Outliers" - Malcolm Gladwell
"Why We Suck" - Denis Leary
"Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do Aout It" - Alan H. Cohen
If you think this website is useful and entertaining, wait until you read the book. Loaded with great ideas on how to live sober. Just by following one of my strategies in Chapter #13 (The Reward System) you will end up with $300 in the bank.
Living Sober Sucks Paperback
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I’m honored by the amount of emails I receive asking, “How come you haven’t updated your website in a while?” The answer is a simple: I have other responsibilities and jobs. I do this all by myself. I am often busy living a normal life. I believe that just living a normal life is the goal of being a non-drinker. Most of the writing and material on this website is still relevant to new visitors. HOWEVER, I do post fresh blog articles and podcasts on my Blog. The blog is FREE (just like this site) and you don’t have to register. Your privacy is respected. You won’t receive junk emails and there are no advertisers. Here are some excerpts from my latest articles. Just click on the links and a new window will open. You can listen to or download the podcasts. Please check out my blog if you're searching for my newest material. Thank you for visiting my site.
Mark A. Tuschel.
Recovery isn't just for the alcoholic.
Recovery isn't just for the alcoholic or the user. This article/podcast is more focused on and dedicated to those that do the helping than those that need or seek help. For simplicity in writing, I’ll be using certain words to describe either a person or the process. I’ll be using the word “recovery” to describe the process of first becoming clean or sober. I’ll utilize the word “user” when referring to the individual that has the substance issue. And I’ll be using the word “supporter” when referring to the individual or individuals who are trying to help or support the user.
First I want to talk to the current users or those of you who are recently clean and sober. Getting clean or sober is a dramatic change in lifestyle and emotions. These changes will be a challenge for all parties involved. Not just spouses and partners, but with family members, friends, with your job and with people you work with. It may even impact where you work or what you do as a career field. Everyone around you will have to deal with and get accustomed to the new and evolving YOU. You might think everything is great, but you don’t have to deal with you. Just as when you were a drunk, you thought you were fine because you never had to deal with you. But there will be changes and those who support you are going to have to put up with your changes.
10 days can be a bigger deal than 10 years. (10/12/15)
As of this date (10/12/15), I have officially been sober for 10 years. I have not had a sip, stumble or taste of alcohol since the day I stopped drinking. 10 years may be a fantastic anniversary, but to me it’s just another day of living as a non-drinker. But this article isn’t a celebration of me and my accomplishment. Yes, I want to point out that a drunken, drug-addled goofball like myself has been able to stay clean and sober for this long. And that’s something that I hope will be of inspiration and motivation for other people. But this article is about YOU. I want to acknowledge YOU and your efforts.
But briefly, I want to touch on my own sober evolution to help motivate you and get you thinking about your own life. When I first stopped drinking I couldn’t fathom the thought of making it 10 years. In fact, at that time, I didn’t want to even think about it. All I wanted to do was make it 30 days without a drink. I figured if I could make it 30 days I would be able to prove the point that I had strong enough willpower to do it. I also figured that after 30 days I could ease my way back into drinking again. But something strange happened to me on about my 20th day sober. My mind realized (and forced my body to accept), that I will never drink again. That’s when all hell broke loose and heartbreaking events began happening. Literally every aspect of my life (as I had known it up until then), began falling apart. I had no idea of how dramatically my life was about to change.
The Entrepreneur and the Drunk.
Most of us like to hear stories of “Rags to Riches. Zero to Hero. Poor kid finally makes good.” Most of us like reading about and studying about “average people” who have stuck to their belief in themselves, persevered and then risen to the top of the success charts. This is evidenced by how many “success” books, websites, articles, movies and motivational seminars that people pay for, read or attend. Every motivational speaker says the same thing, “When you get kicked in the gut and you’re on the mat, get back up and fight again.” All motivational speakers (or writers) remind us of the same common principles: (Please click here to read the rest of this article and listen to the podcast.)
Sobriety: 50 shades of every color EXCEPT grey. (09/08/15)
Life has very few grey areas. There are distinct colors and hues to life. Colors are often used to describe recovery stages and life moods in general. For example you hear people say, “I’m feeling blue. Her future looks bright. There are dark clouds brewing, “or “She’s on a pink cloud.”
Some things in life do fall into a grey area, but most things don’t. Pregnancy isn’t a grey area. You can’t be “kind of” pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. Your pregnancy can make you happy or sad or both at the same time and at different times. You can’t be “kind of” married. Either you are or you aren’t. Being married can be a joy or a burden and often it flips back and forth between the two. You can’t be “kind of” sober. Either you are or you aren’t. Sobriety can be great for you or it can be a suffering or it can go back and forth. And there is no guarantee that sobriety (pregnancy or marriage), will bring only bright colors into your life. The emotions and life conditions of sobriety don’t come in one single color. Living life sober is not always bright or dark; it’s not even grey. In sobriety, some things are brilliant white, some are the darkest of black, some are varying hues of happy pink and others are an unappealing shade of monkey vomit green. At least that’s how sobriety is for me. (Please click here to read the rest of this article and listen to the podcast.)
I spent $109,520.00 creating piss!
I performed a financial study of my past drinking behaviors. I reviewed the frequency of my drinking, how much beer, wine and alcohol I had purchased for myself—this did not include what I had purchased for friends, spouse, guests or on drugs. I came to a very conservative conclusion: I spent $109,520.00 on the creation of piss. I had a lot of fun during the process of creating this much piss, but that’s all I produced and was rewarded with during my drinking career—piss—and debt.
I reflect back on this amount of money spent but I don’t cry and whine about it or berate myself for it. I’m sure I would have spent that same amount of money on something else. What this mathematical exercise has done for me was to help open my eyes to the harsh realities behind the cost of drinking.
Now that I no longer drink, I ask myself, “Where are you going to put that money that you used to spend on drinking? The money obviously exists, so where is it going now?”
Money is migratory; it goes somewhere, but where? Unless we pay attention and account for it, money that was once used for drinking, drugs or any other habit that we stop doing---that money just disappears.
If you used to spend $100 on a weekend of partying and have stopped, where are YOU putting that money? What are you using it for? Why not create a tangible way of saving it, tracking it and then rewarding yourself, your family, your children, or your lover with your hard work? Maybe you just want to have a savings account for emergencies so you’re not always worried about having enough to pay bills.
Sobriety and life isn’t just about money. But being a drunk or an addict requires a lot of money. You might discover that by living sober you don’t need as much money to survive and make ends meet.
9-1/2 years ago when I stopped drinking I decided to follow my own advice and started a “Sobriety Savings Account.” I would go to my bank and deposit $10 a day into that savings account. After I had accumulated over $1,000—in less than 4 months—I transferred that into a Mutual Fund. I continue to deposit $300 a month into that fund ($10 a day).
Now instead of creating piss with my booze money I am building financial security. I have amassed over $40,000 in my “Sobriety Savings Account.” Yup, over $40,000 just for NOT DRINKING. (If you don't believe it's possible just do the math.) How much will YOU save for yourself by simply not drinking?
(This article is a brief summarization on this subject. I go into greater detail in my books. I also present worksheets for you to play around with so you can figure out your own spending history and then decide-for yourself-what YOU want to do with that money. Money and rewards are unique desires for each one of us. I wouldn’t dare tell you what you should do with your money or how you should reward yourself. But I do ask that you think about what is important to YOU in your life. Thinking is a taxing job, but isn’t your happiness and calm in sobriety worth it?)
Check out the latest book:
"Drunk Dad, Sober Dad."
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YOU are NOT awful just because you drink or were a drunk:
I realize that this is a bold statement for me to make. I don’t know YOU personally, so maybe you are an awful person even if you’re sober? And how do I know? Maybe some of the things that you’ve done while drunk may have been quite awful? But I have found that most alcohol abusers are NOT awful people, they just drink too much.
Let me be very clear here. This doesn’t mean that you get a free pass on any of the things you are responsible for doing or causing. My point is that if you keep telling yourself and thinking that you’re rotten, it will take longer to begin being a decent sober person. You may not enjoy your own sobriety and others may not be able to enjoy your sobriety with you if you live under the belief that you are weak, powerless, flawed, awful and rotten.
Your behavior and actions—NOW—will show what you are.
I never said this would be easy!
Is getting sober and staying sober easy? It wasn’t for me and it isn’t for a lot of people. But it truly is simple = DON’T DRINK!
I bring this up because I receive a fair amount of criticism from people who say, “How can you claim it’s as easy as ‘not picking up’ when thousands of people die from alcoholism and drugs every year?”
I NEVER said it was easy!
But seriously, it’s not complicated. If you don’t pour alcohol into your own mouth you can’t get drunk. Is that easy? Not always. Is that fun? Not for some of us. Is it a simple answer? Yes.
Undertaking and performing this simple answer will not always be easy or fun. But we’re all different, which means that some of you may find it simple, easy and fun. And what is easy or fun for YOU may not be easy or fun for me and vice versa.
I don’t expect you to follow my beliefs or my way of living sober. You may find it fun to become involved in a recovery group. I wouldn’t say that you’re wrong. It’s your life. Who am I to say what’s right or wrong for you? So please don’t call me wrong because I don’t subscribe to a certain system.
I have been completely sober (no relapses) for more than 7 years. My plan works for me. Sobriety and the various methods to sobriety are NOT a contest.
I presume that we are all striving for the same thing: “To be happy and content in our sobriety.” Tolerance and support of one another is true fellowship, and that just may help make it easier for all of us.
How do you become an alcoholic?
One drink at a time, over an extended period of time.
This isn’t intended to be the setup for a joke, that’s how it happens. The first drink you take in your life or the first time you get drunk doesn’t make you an alcoholic. It takes time and hundreds upon hundreds of drinks which follow that first one. Some substances are known to overtake a person the first time they use it. But alcohol, like tobacco, requires repeated usage for your mind, body and emotions to become dependent on them. The first puff of a cigarette doesn’t hook you and the first drink in your life doesn’t hook you. But once you ARE hooked, the first puff or drink of the day takes you right back to your dependency.
I admit that I liked the sensation the first time I got drunk (even though I threw up). I was a teenager at the time. But I didn’t wake up the next morning physically craving another drink. I did what many teenagers do, I got drunk whenever (and as often as) I could. It took me years to become dependent upon alcohol.
Does this mean that I was riddled with flaws and defects? I don’t believe so. I was pursuing a feeling of pleasure and getting drunk gave me the feeling of pleasure. However, a point came when the pleasure turned into a dependency, that’s when I became an alcoholic. I don’t recall the exact day, there probably isn’t an EXACT day – it took time – one drink at a time.
My point? Just as it takes time to become an alcoholic it takes time to become comfortable as a sober person (again). While sobriety begins when you stop drinking, re-invention is evolutionary and requires time. Maybe you will gain and regain all you desire faster than you imagine. But there are no guarantees. It will be up to you to make the best out of your sobriety.
Some people, possibly many people will disagree with me and say that alcoholism is a disease and one is hooked upon their first drink. I respect differing opinions on the root of alcoholism. However, I don’t believe that it’s horribly important how you got there; I believe that it’s more important how you stop and stay away from there. Follow whatever philosophy or system that works for you, so long as you bring no harm upon anyone else.
Drink up people. You're making me rich!
The more you drink the more money I make. Not because you’ll eventually buy one of my books (believe me I don’t make shit off a book sale), but every time you open a Budweiser, Coors or Miller product – I get paid! Every time you pour another glass of Yellow Tail wine, Crown, Cuervo, Bombay, Captain, virtually any alcohol – I get paid! Think about that the next time you drink – you’re giving your money to an asshole like me. The more you drink, the higher my dividends go. Every three months I get a check from you. Drink up! Thanks for the money.
I turned my “Sobriety Savings” into an investment. I fully explain “Sobriety Savings” in my book: Okay, I quit. Now what? I decided to make alcohol pay me back – so I buy stock in all the booze companies. The fact is: People drink often and a LOT. I will not hide from or deny this fact. So why not make my sobriety work for me?
For the fiscal quarter ending Dec. 2011 / Budweiser PAID its stockholders = $3,088,000.00 in dividends. That’s just for a 3 month period. "Thanks Bud drinkers." (Don’t feel bad, Bud was my favorite domestic beer when I drank. I gave them plenty of money over the years.) Shall I go into the profits of SAB, Diagio and others? They’re publicly traded companies so all the financials are available.
Remember that the more you drink, the richer you will make someone else. Ask yourself: “Will drinking make me wealthy, healthy or smarter?” I’m sure you know the answer to that question.
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This is a place where you can comment, rant, vent and ask questions.
What do YOU want out of sobriety?
When you don't know what you want you are susceptible to accept anything that comes your way.
I want to ask you, What do YOU want out of sobriety? I had never been asked this question at a meeting. It was never discussed. It doesnt seem to fall in with any of the traditional 12-steps. Sure, your sponsor may tell you, "if you work the steps the steps will work and youll regain things that you have lost." But to me thats giving someone false hope and its far too vague. You need to know and see in concrete terminology and form EXACTLY what you want to gain, regain, have or do. None of the steps ask you to do this. So I would like you to humor me. I would like you to write out EXACTLY what you want and dont want out of sobriety. Knowing what you dont want is equally as important as knowing what you do want. In fact, knowing what you dont want may actually be more important to some of you. Its worth the effort to make both lists. Ill be giving you examples of actual lists shortly.
What you want out of sobriety and What you dont want out of sobriety are completely selfish questions and they will be the most important questions you will ask yourself in your Re-Invention. Once you have answered these questions in detail, you then have the core of what you will do after sobering up. It will also make staying sober a bit easier; in fact, it may make it fun. The previous sentence might come as a surprise to you, because as you may have already guessed, I am a hardened realist. I offer no false hopes that this is going to be either easy or fun. But when you know what you want, you have direction. You will establish values, desires and principles to fall back on when you are tempted to drink. When you dont know what you want you are susceptible to accept anything that comes your way.(continued in book)
(These two paragraphs are excerpted from my latest book: Okay, I quit. Now what? Chapter #2. Questions and worksheets at the end of each chapter.)
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Do what you want!
Look, I'm not going to try and talk you into quitting drinking. I don't care if you drink your nights, weekends or your life away - YOU have to care. If you're viewing this page it's because something inside of you said, "This aint working for me. I need to get this under control."
It's never too early to start. If you're waiting for just the right moment or the right sign, they're right in front of you, you're just not seeing them. I share a lot of information and ideas on this site. Go ahead and browse the pages, check out some of my podcasts. But the decision is yours. You are not powerless, unless you say that you are powerless (and keep repeating it to yourself), and then behave in a powerless fashion.
I wish I could tell you that everything will work out fine. I wish I could offer you a guarantee of sober happiness. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier with time, that the temptations go away, that the struggles disappear, that all memories fade. They don't, at least not for me they haven't - but maybe this will be easier for you.
I wish I could spare you some of the pain that you will go through. But you will have to walk this path in your own shoes. We can walk it together, you can lean on me and others, but you will have to make this walk yourself. (Read: The 1'st year sober)
My method doesnt work... for everyone.
My belief that alcoholism isn't a disease is not always popular. My philosophy and strategy for maintaining sobriety doesn't work for everyone. (Actually, no system works for everyone.) Some people function best under a regimented plan or step system. That doesn't mean they are weak; they just need a pre-established structure to follow. I suggest that anyone who is going to undertake a sober lifestyle spends the time to research all systems. I suggest that people DO attend some AA meetings. Discover on your own what is most rewarding for YOU.
Many of us can't afford rehab or don't have time to attend daily meetings. Some of us don't feel the need to relinquish our power over to an invisible god of our choosing. And is it constructive to constantly remind yourself that you are weak, flawed and despicable? All drunks are not worthless jerks. If you are an abusive drunken jerk, then do something about it.
If drinking is a problem in your life, then YOU will have to change YOUR drinking habits but you probably don't have to change who you are. Some of the changes you will undertake may not be fun - sorry. Many of the changes may not turn out how you plan or expect - sorry. But here's a crazy twist; some things may turn out better than you ever expected. But you won't know until you try.
You CAN have a 100% success rate - no matter what plan or program you follow - as long as you don't drink. So at least give sobriety a try. I assure you, it'll be different.
My dogs keep me sober!
New study reveals that drinking is linked to alcoholism:
A highly complicated scientific research study; funded by some branch of our government that felt it necessary to spend money profited by bailing out Citi Bank, has retained Dr. Sydney Winebladder, Professor Emeritus of M.I.T. (Milwaukee Institute of Teaching). This research was done over a real long period of time and conducted on a whole bunch of people.
Prof. Winebladder tells us, "Case after case shows irrefutable proof that drinking causes drunkenness, which then appears to lead to alcoholism." Prof. Winebladder further went on to say; "Do you have any idea how much money was spent on this research? Because I dont."
Many people at the Stumble Inn Tavern who were interviewed appeared shaken (not stirred) by this revelation. Bar patron Jim Joblonski said, "What fuckin genius figured that out?" Another guest said, "No shit? When did that happen?" A random customer named Karl belched out, "Fuckin-A right doggie!"
Dawn Bryzckevich, a bartender said, "Ya, well they also say that cancer is linked to death... so what do they know?"
Finally, Frank Blutowski, owner of the Stumble Inn said, "Hey you asshole get the fuck outta here before I kick the shit out of you! You're scaring my customers away."
Results of this scientific study have a 40% (80 proof) accuracy rate, give or take a few. Prof. Winebladder could not be reached for further comment as he is currently in rehab.
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More on my Philosophy:
On this website I bare my soul to you. I share all of my feelings of depression, guilt, temptation and anger. However, if you were to meet me in person you would never know that I suffer from these feelings - and more important - you would never know that I don't drink. I share my private emotions and struggles with you here, on my website, because this is the place to do it. I talk openly about the difficulty of trying to live a sober life, and it can be a daily struggle.
I was under the foolish belief that once I stopped drinking I would be happy and everyone would love me more, especially the people that I love. WRONG! Life is not filled with flowers, fuzzy bunnies and the sun does not shine out of your ass just because you quit drinking.
When I first quit drinkingI attended a few "meetings" and listened to people say how much better my life will be if I follow the steps and find a higher power. What a crock of shit! Sobriety sucks. Listening to "read the book" rhetoric just doesn't work for me - that's not how real life is - especially if you enjoy drinking. Sobriety is NOT always fun and it's NOT always easy. Just try to live a normal life in America and not drink or be tempted to drink.
I have had to learn how to stay sober using my own willpower. I live a normal, fully engagedlife. I don't hide from the real world.I go to parties, concerts, sporting events, etc. - and I stay sober.
The hard part about sobriety is that you have to deal with life and other people as they really are, and you have to do this SOBER! When you're a sober man, huge ugly women stay huge and ugly all night. Its the same for sober women - fat, dumb drunk guys don't start looking good as the night goes on. Boring, stupid people get even more boring and stupid. (Continued on About me)
Little Eva (left) Dee Dee (standing) Berkley & Frau Greta (right)
By Mark Tuschel.
Everything doesnt always turn out for the best, but you can make the best of how things turn out.
A smart person learns from their mistakes, but a smarter person learns from everyone else's mistakes.
I don't think I was all that bad, but I didn't have to deal with me as a drunk... I was me!
This is fucked up!
Alcoholism isn't a disease, it's a choice.
I am paying the price today for what I did yesterday.
You never know how you look through someone else's eyes.
Let go and let gravity! - Some things fly, some don't.
The day I needed help from God, She called in sick.
If you think you have a problem, you probably do have a problem
As long as I do something, something will happen.
Sometimes life is fair and justice is served - be patient.
Life can get better, if you let it, and help it along a bit.
Hey, this may suck, but at least Im still sober!
I don't care what YOU want to put into YOUR body. I care about what I put into MY body.
I don't care if YOU want to drink or do drugs. I care whether I drink or do drugs.
I don't care how YOU treat people. I care how I treat people.
I don't care how YOU want to act or live your life. I care how I act and how I live my life.
I don't care about who YOU hang out with. I care about who I hang out with.
I don't care how many randoms YOU go home with. I care about who I give my love to.
I don't care what you might think or say about me. I care what I think and say about me.
It isn't that I don't care about people. In fact, I care deeply about the important people in my life and I care about YOU, but I can't care about what they do or what you do. I have to pay attention to what I do, what I say and how I react to others. If friends do things that I don't like or that aren't good for me or them, then I must decide if I want to hang out with them. All I can control is ME, and all you can control is YOU. I believe that this attutude will help you pay attention to your own sobriety.
People have done some pretty rotten things to me. I've been cheated on, tormented, humiliated, laughed at, belittled, emasculated, lied to, and emotionally hurt. I've had people die in front of me, had good friends die in my arms, been robbed, lost money, made money, had my ass kicked and kicked a few asses. I have been loved and hated. While I was a drunk I had probably done some of those same things to people that I love and I must live with that guilt, but that isn't an excuse or a reason for me to drink. It doesn't matter what you've been through or what anyone has ever done to you,,, no one forces you to drink but YOU! There are NO excuses, no good reasons, there is no rationalization! Im not superhuman and I'm nothing special,,,, Im just honest with myself and with you. Try living sober for a while. What's the worst that can happen?
Thank you to all of my family and friends that have stuck by me and helped me stay sober. Special thanks to my crazy friend Jhennifer.
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Copyright Mark Tuschel. All rights reserved.