Whistler’s turn around the sun

I am thrilled, honored… even tickled to announce this guest post by a commenter you may know as Whistler. I’ve always been struck by the strength, hope, and humor in his words. For such a limited format, his comments felt powerful and left me wanting to hear more of his story. Alas, he has no blog of his own. 

Thanks to a gentle nudge from Christy (in where else but the comments…it’s like a fun after-party, minus all the drugs!), Whistler sent the post below, which shares a glimpse of his experience, strength and hope. 

I hope it brightens your day too and please join me in congratulating Whistler on his one year sober. 

Went to see the doctor the other day for my yearly physical. Please understand, this doc and I go way back. Also understand, up until a year ago I had been drinking for 30 something years. If I wasn’t a blue ribbon drunk, I’m certain I was at least a prize winning drunk.

And just so you know, alcohol doesn’t immediately evaporate when we drink it, which means my doc is accustomed to seeing my weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and all those other body parts and functions at unhealthy highs and/or levels. By the way, you know he never once asked me about my drinking? Not once. Of course I never brought it up either. Would you, ignorance being bliss? He’s a good experienced doctor so I know he must have known.

Of course when I think about it, I suppose most everyone must have at least suspected. It’s hard to camouflage a drunk, but drinkers tend to walk around like we’re wearing the cloak of invisibility. I went the recluse route, but even little kids and dogs know something’s off kilter when they see it. Denial is strong stuff and a drunk in denial is particularity obstinate.

Anyhow, I have to do a yearly physical with this doc or he won’t continue to order my prescriptions (blood pressure and cholesterol, go figure). Plus every few years (next month) I have to have a flight physical from a different but specially qualified doctor. Yes, I used the word flight but please relax, I am not a commercial pilot and I never drank when flying or flew drunk but… how do you separate daily drinking from daily living? I mean, can one completely separate the influence and consequence of alcohol from that which is a practicing and over-indulging daily drinker?

There’s more to drinking than just being drunk and then hung over. Some of you fellow former drinkers know what I mean. The foggy overall mindset of a drinker combined with the mental race to the next beer can oblige some mighty stupid tricks.

But back to passing flight physicals. It is not that tough if you schedule it on an early Monday morning with your last beer the previous Saturday night, drinking gallons of water, and concentrating like crazy. And it takes great concentration. Like the time I got pulled over by the Highway Patrol and they gave me the eye test finger following thing because I smelled like a brewery. But of course the best way for a consistently heavy drinker to pass a flight physical is to know the Flight Physical Doctor (this doc died last year so don’t go looking for him) for dozens of years and he’s a buddy of your retired commercial pilot step dad who doesn’t drink at all. Remember when it comes to objectives like that, it’s not what you know, it’s definitely who.

So, my doc was happily surprised this year when he saw my lighter weight, my exceptionally normal blood pressure, and my green with envy cholesterol levels. I suspect he thinks these results were an outcome of his good doctoring and suggestions but in truth, it was the simple product of sobriety. No joke, without booze I feel better, look better, think better, live better. Now I almost look like I know what I’m doing some days. My doc probably thinks better late than never.

Oh, and that horizontal gaze nystagmus sobriety test conducted on the roadside by the Highway Patrol? He had me dead to rights but he let me slide. Gave me a warning for failed license plate lights. That was the last time I drove drunk. It was one of the last times I drank. It was one of the reasons I stopped drinking. I framed the warning; it’s on my workshop desk. He will probably never know what a true good he did for me. God, please bless Officer Brooks.

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40 thoughts on “Whistler’s turn around the sun

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  1. I cringe when I think about what daily drinking did to my body. During those times when I wonder if I could ever drink “normally” again, I think about the extra calories and my bloated liver and know it’s not worth it. Great post Whistler!

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  2. A long time ago, my doctor looked in my eyes and said, “if you keep drinking like that, you’re going to die.” completely casually, then went back to what he was filling out on my chart.
    That was the last time I drank to excess regularly.
    Well done, Officer Brooks!

    (He’s still trying to figure out the line that will get me to stop smoking.)

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      1. Hey Rachael! Good to see you here. I was stuck on those Commit lozenges too, for nearly seven years. Better than smoking, but those dang things wreaked havoc on my stomach and my teeth. They’ll totally erode your enamel after a while–which they oddly fail to mention on the box–so just be careful and get off them as soon as you can. -christy

        >

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  3. BBB, thank you so much for sharing Whistler’s post!

    Dear Whistler, CONGRATULATIONS on ONE year sober!! And thank you so much for writing this story for us to read, you are a brilliant writer and this text left me as well wanting to “hear” more of your story.

    Reading this made me smile and warmed my heart, I am so happy that you are sober – it makes my heart weep thinking of any wonderful human being, being hijacked by alcohol. We are at our worst when drinking, and it will never cease to amaze me to see the miraculous beautifulness that takes shape after an alkie has embraced sobriety.

    Take care, the both of you and enjoy a great weekend! HUGS

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  4. Reblogged this on Running On Sober and commented:
    It’s not to often we get to witness the courage of a long-time reader/commenter swallow their fear and take the giant leap into guest-posting. Even rarer when that someone is celebrating one year of sobriety.

    Join me in congratulating Whistler on his sobriety, his health, and his inspirational display of courage.

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  5. Congrats on one year, Whistler! Important to have those checkups, and I know what it’s like to leave there knowing that things are well – everything on the level, so to speak.

    Great post…thanks for sharing it!

    Paul

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  6. Sometime last year I made a guesstimated tally of my alcohol related lifetime spendings. A few “high”lights:

    Number of hours spent boozing – 35,000
    Number of beers drunk – 80,000
    Money spent on boozing – $250,000
    Number of times drove drunk for 15 miles or more – 3,000

    What a waste. Of course the real cost was not in health, money, or time. It was the waste of living and all that life is. Some of that was wrecked beyond repair. But I’m a lucky man. That was then, this is now. Eyes forward and a glance in the rear view mirror gonna keep getting on down the road. Sober, of course.

    Thanks Kristen and Christy, sweet trusting souls. Strong heartfelt feelings to all of you bloggers and commentors, you make a world of difference. Thank you, thank you.

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  7. Whistler (& BBB) Thank you for this wonderful post. I love the lighter side of life. (I tend to be serious). Congratulations of your one year of sobriety. It’s a huge deal for all of us because we all share in your accomplishment. We really do help each other in unimaginable ways. Thanks for the sweet reminder of all the physical benefits of no more booze. How quickly I can forget from whence I came. Quick question: How did you come upon the avatar “whistler?” There must be a story in there somewhere. Enjoy your day.. Lisa

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  8. Whistler,

    1. Congratulations on one year sober… huge, HUGE accomplishment!
    2. You need to start a blog… immediately, if not sooner! You are so well-written, and I hung on every word!

    Kristen (and Christy), thanks for sharing this awesome post, it brightened an otherwise hum drum evening!

    Kristen, still need to sync up calendars, I just need to get through a huge yard sale scheduled for 10/4, but I’m thinking the following weekend, I’ll email you!

    Thanks again, Whistler. Oh, and bonus, now you’ve gotten me thinking about physicals, and the last time I’ve had one (the answer: so long ago I can’t remember). Thanks for putting it on my radar!

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  9. I really like this.. it’s so hard to articulate or even understand why daily drinking isn’t just about the hours when the alcohol is in your body.. but all of the other hours as well. “The foggy overall mindset of a drinker combined with the mental race to the next beer” I like this a lot. It takes over all of your day, all of your days.. I couldn’t understand why at first, when I took away the wine, I was so affected differently all the time. I thought ‘but it’s not like I was drinking from morning till night so why do I feel so different even at 9am’.. this is a great post. Fabulous and thanks for sharing Whistler! xxxx

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    1. Yeah, never understood why or how or even if alcohol continued to affect us in our “sober” hours. After I’d quit awhile, I just accepted that it did. It had a powerful hold over me, and continues to at times, lest I forget. Great comment Mrs D.

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  10. Love the post Whistler. I just had my exam and the doc removed my BP meds. I’m off the heartburn med, the anti depressant, and the BP. Only thing I take is a multi vit, some fish oil, and a baby aspirin. Yeah me! And I just turned 60!

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  11. Hi, came over via ‘Running on Sober”. Congrats on your one year sobriety. Milestones are so important in any type of recovery.

    My perspective on alcohol comes as a child of alcoholic parents. Reading stories such as yours helps me get inside the alcoholics head. As a child, I always thought if they loved me enough they’d stop drinking.

    Thanks for sharing your story here…

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    1. Denise, thank you so much for visiting and commenting here. We all gain so much from others’ perspectives, and I can say without hesitation, your blog and your perspective help me stay sober by reminding me that drinking affects everyone in the family. Again, thanks for clicking over, your support is so appreciated!
      Love, Christy (RoS)

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  12. Wonderful post. Had over 12 years sober then relapsed for 2 years. Will have 8 months on the 2nd 🙂 My sponsor told me after only two weeks that I looked better. Gawd what we do to squash the pain. Oh, and my blood pressure went down too heh.
    Good tale. Thank you!

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  13. I’ve always appreciated Whistler’s comments as well! Nice to know there’s another (in addition to myself) 30+ year drinker in recovery here, and also nice to know he’ll be around for what sounds like a long time!

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      1. Thanks, Rachael, but just to be clear, i’ve “only” been sober since January 2011. i was commenting on Whistler’s comment that he’d been drinking for over 30 years, as did i. So often i meet people who caught on quickly that alcohol was the worst, but it took me a lot longer. As for my sobriety, i’m taking it a day at a time, but am happier each day so i’m looking forward to the joys long term sobriety can bring!

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    1. Hey Al, I’m in the 30+ club too. Nothing to brag about, but I’m glad we made it out. Whistler and I could be two peas in a pod. I never went to work drunk, but did I really think I was operating (literally) at the top of my game. I wasn’t fooling anyone, least of all myself. Way to go Whistler, Al, and all of us. P.S. Took my BP the other day, 100/60. It don’t get any better than that. WooHoo!

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  14. Great Blog post! CONGRATS Whistler on a whole YEAR being sober! When I became an addicted compulsive gambler, I would also indulge in a few Cocktails when I gambled. But never drank any other time. I had a same experience of being pulled over one night TIPSY, I too got lucky, he did have me get out and do the Finger to the Nose, and WALK THE LINE, but I had just turned onto my street I lived on, so he let me go with a warning. I never Drank and Drove again. Actually, I don’t drink at all, but the Gambling??? That is a whole other LONG Comment!!…LOL…I’ve been away from the BET and in recovery almost 7yrs come Jan 29th 2014…..Why Jan 29th 2007?……Because of gambling and the poor CHOICE to steal from someone to finance my gambling, this date is also my Court Sentencing date. It was the last time a placed a bet. I’m Humbled, Blessed, and worked hard in Recovery to get where I am Today!
    Thanks Whistler for sharing Your story with us. *Author, Catherine Lyon*

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    1. Hi Sheri, it’s so nice to see you over here! Thanks very much for showing your support to two of my favorite people, Kristen and Whistler. I know we all greatly appreciate it.
      Enjoy the rest of your week, my friend, and thanks again,
      Christy

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  15. This is my first post ever. I’ve been drinking for 34 years, and have been sober for three days. I hope to find courage and camaraderie in these posts – I have certainly found inspiration.

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    1. Welcome! I’m so glad you commented and hope you continue to find inspiration in this online community. I have found not only inspiration and support but some real friendships here. It is a wonderful tool we have here to share our experiences and what has worked or hasn’t. Certainly keeps me going.

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