Friday, 6 December 2013

Are you talking to me?



I have been told I need counselling.  I will accept advice from those whom I respect but to endure the ramblings of a touchy feely stranger alarms me somewhat.  I come from an old school where people sorted themselves out, the kind who tried not to whine about personal issues.  I realize I have mentioned my fondness for distilled grain a few times in passing but I have never really banged on about it or tried to make any excuses.  There are no excuses.  I may have grown up in a hard drinking environment, I may have seen and done some horrible things but it was me that poured the whisky down my throat, no one forced me.  Besides, I really liked both the taste and the buzz. 

Now, of course, I wish I had never started.  My paternal grandfather drank himself to death, I only ever met him once in 1964, and they do say that alcoholism is a genetic trait.  Chris, my younger brother has always been teetotal and Micky is a perfectly civilized social drinker and can do without the stuff for months on end.  My father liked a glass of scotch of an evening but that was it.

One of Clausewitz’s principles of war was ‘concentration of effort’.  It is no use going off half-cocked at an enemy who will whittle you down; hit him with everything you have.  So I decided in order to deal with the alcohol issue, I needed to be not only determined, but battle fit.  So I have ordered a rowing machine from UK.  Being physically active reduces both the desire and opportunity to drink and increases appetite.  As a heavy smoker, if I want to train without occasioning a third myocardial infarction, I had best stop smoking as well.  To effect this aim, I would order E Cigarettes.  Now all I needed was something to reduce the craving for alcohol.  Rather like a General committing his troops to battle, I wanted Infantry, Armour and Air Support in my Battle Group.

There is a new drug on the market, available on the NHS (UK National Health Service) called Nalmafene. 


It has been proven to reduce the consumption of alcoholics by an average of 60%.  60%?  That’s bloody wonderful!  Instead of the woeful and impossible choice of abstention or death faced by most alcoholics, here was a means to significantly reduce the desire for alcohol.  I rushed out to buy it.  You can buy anything on the internet. 

Sadly, not Nalmafene.  It is still not licensed in most countries.  Not even in Australia.  They’ve never heard of it.  I know because I checked.  Since Australia is a nation of alcoholics, I thought it would be the first place you could buy this drug off the shelf.

In UK, it can only be prescribed if the patient signs up for counselling while they are taking the drug.  Well that’s a bit of a bastard for me because I live in Angola and it is jolly inconvenient to nip four thousand miles once a week to sit in some git’s office while he asks how I felt.  Knackered perhaps?  But the rules are really strict.  No counselling, no Nalmafene.  Besides, would counselling really work for me?

I recall, not entirely but one scene in particular, a film starring the late great Walther Matthau.  Matthau was playing an aged and increasingly cranky old man whose son wanted to consign him to a care home.   As part of the process, the old man was required to be assessed by a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist sat the obviously very reluctant man in a chair and then showed him a blob of ink on a page.

‘What do you see?’ asked the shrink.

‘I see a Rorschach Inkblot Test,’ replied Matthau.

Before I could become a Bomb Disposal Officer I had to go through psychometric testing.  The death rate amongst Bomb Disposal operators was truly horrific back then and there can be no question that psychometric testing of candidates along with improvements in training and equipment ultimately made an enormous difference.  Back then, though, I could not take my test seriously.

I had to fill out loads of either or answers.  Did I like to watch railway lines disappear into the distance.  Yes or No?  I don’t know, I’ve never made a habit of standing on railway lines, it is quite dangerous apparently.  Do you like the feel of soft, furry slippers?  Yes or No?  Again, I don’t know, lend me yours and I’ll tell you.  Do you like young children, Yes or No?  Of course I like young children but if I answer yes, does that mean I am a pervert?  Half way through the test I just gave up and randomly ticked the boxes.  They had told us before we started the test that as soon as we had finished, we could leave the room for a smoke.  After all that shit I definitely needed to drag on a stogie.  I was the first one out but having led by example, I wasn’t alone for long.

For these psychoanalysts the written test was just a warmer into the bank.  We still had the face to face interview with the Army’s top psychiatrist.  We were terrified of even the simplest question.  If they asked us our names we checked our dog tags.  Don’t forget, even though the death rate was so high, we really wanted to be Bomb Disposal Officers.  Of course we needed our heads examining.

In the corner of the room sat a WRAC Senior Non Commissioned Officer clearly adept at shorthand as every time I opened my mouth, she scribbled away.  In front of me sat the top shrink the Army had on their ration return.

‘What do you think of your mother?’ was the first question he asked me.

Shit.  This guy was a Brigadier and had definitely enjoyed a classical education, so was he trying to trap me with the old Oedipus complex ploy?

‘She’s a bloody good cook,’ I replied, ‘You really should try her Kassler with Rotkohl’

‘Do you have any brothers or sisters?’ he asked me in a manner inviting a lengthy and chatty response.

‘Yes,’ I replied.

‘When you wake up in the morning, do you leap out of bed or linger a while?’

‘Depends how much I drank the night before.  If I’d had a curry as well I’d generally leap straight out of bed and sprint to the bog’

‘Do you have a drink problem?’  Man, these guys leap on everything you say.

‘Never spill a drop’

‘Can you try to give me a sensible answer?’

‘Can you try to give me a sensible question?

And so it went on.

I hope it was as hard going for him as it was for me but I obviously passed.   I still have no idea what they were looking for in us.  I rather suspect he was so incensed with the lack of respect I showed for his profession he deliberately passed me confident he would be reading of my early demise over breakfast.  Instead I came top of the course and, interestingly enough, thirteen of us passed out on Friday the thirteenth.  As far as I know, every single one of us is still alive so we can chuck superstition into the dustbin along with religion and tamp them down hard on top of the psychoanalysts.  Besides, as a Catholic, it was a sin for me to be superstitious.

Boris Johnson, the eccentric but immensely likeable Mayor of London was recently ambushed by a stupid question on his live Ask Boris phone in show on LBC.  Not so long ago he had rashly suggested that most of the population were thick by saying that 16% of "our species" had an IQ of less than 85 and just 2% over 130 before adding "the harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”   I really like Boris Johnson but his Nanny must have been shaking his cornflake packet really vigorously for this particular flake to end up as Mayor of London and make a comparison between IQ, success and cornflakes but his point is unarguable, the higher your IQ, the more likely you are to succeed.  Some things are obvious, but better left unsaid.

They tried to ask him three questions, maybe there were more on their notepads but clearly becoming bored and irritated with his co-host, Boris stopped playing and refused to answer the third question.  The first question was:

A man builds a house with four sides of rectangular construction each having a Southern exposure.  A big bear walks by.  What is the colour of the bear?

To the delight of the giggling school girl like co-presenter asking the question, Boris said ‘Brown’.  You see, this is where word association comes in.  Boris wasn’t thinking about why some lunatic would build a house on the North Pole and the likely colour of any passing bear, he was thinking about what he would like to do to his tormentor.  So when Boris heard the word ‘bear’, he immediately thought ‘brown bear, brown bread, dead’.  The remarkable thing for any psychiatrist is not that Boris apparently gave the wrong answer, (the correct answer being white for a polar bear, the most likely Ursidae one might, under very exceptional circumstances see rooting through the bins of a house erected on the North Pole), but that Boris subconsciously indicated a desire to murder his co-host.  Shouldn’t the shrinks employed by Social Services busy themselves obtaining a restraining order and section Boris?  I mean, if Boris, clearly off his rocker, suddenly gives vent to his self-confessed homicidal tendencies, surely there will be an enquiry to apportion blame?  Why, with all this evidence, did nobody stop him?  When it comes to accepting responsibility though, with shoulders like greased milk bottles, I am sure Social Services have that one covered.

Had I been asked the question, I would almost instantly have realized the house must be on the North Pole but would then have spent an appreciable amount of time considering why anyone would want to build a house on the North Pole.  There’s no cable TV and the pizzas would be stone cold when delivered.  Besides, if the chap is barking enough to build a house where he did, maybe he took his brown bear along as a pet. Or a panda.  If he belonged to Green Peace, that would make the whole scenario suddenly plausible and explain why the Chinese were exporting bamboo shoots to the Arctic.

The next question was really daft.

‘If you took two apples from three apples, how many apples would you have?’

Well the answer is bloody obvious isn’t?  It’s six.  Any London mugger, no matter how low his IQ, knows that if you roll three grannies and score two quid each time, you come away with six quid.

Boris, being a politician looked at it the other way.  His answer was one apple.  From his perspective, he was perfectly correct.  Once you take those two apples, they are consumed, off the books, they are gone.  All that is left is one apple.  The lonely apple may not exactly belong to him but since when has such a minor technicality prevented a government from digging ever deeper into the pockets of their electorate?  Boris clearly has a very high IQ, he’s looking outside the box.

If you have absolutely no imagination whatsoever and consider the ‘correct’ answer to that question as two, you are by clinical definition ideally suited to a repetitive job on a production line.

The third question, the one Boris, by now so frantic his eyes were hunting for any object in the studio sharp enough to slash his own wrists, refused to answer, really demonstrates how far behind reality the people are who set these questions and how low the IQ’s of the people who think they are clever by asking them.

‘I went to bed at eight o’clock in the evening and wound my clock to set the alarm for nine o’clock in the morning.  How many hours sleep did I get?’

Asked this I would stare at my interlocutor firmly convinced I was sitting in front of one of Boris’ 16% of the population who he considers morons.  The answer these blithering idiots are looking for as a sign of the intelligence that clearly escaped them all their lives is, one hour.

(Dammit, I have just been stung by a bee!  Magic.  Where there’s bees, there’s wild honey.  I’ll get my own back tomorrow)

Who nowadays has even seen an old mechanical 12 hour alarm clock let alone owns one?  Anyone clinging to such nostalgia will have done so for some considerable time so would know there would be no sense setting the alarm if one wanted more than twelve hours sleep.  I have just checked my alarm clock.  I can set it to go off at nine on the morning of the dawn of the next century.  It would be really nice if it also had the power to wake me so far into the future.  I was born in the fifties but I am techno-savvy enough to know that if I set my digital alarm at eight in the evening for nine the following morning, I will get thirteen hours sleep but anyone who has children will know that thirteen hours sleep, unless you are in a coma, is impossible anyway making the original question irrelevant.

Only a young and very stupid man could have asked that question.  Most of us middle aged and beyond have a built in alarm clock.  It’s called a dodgy prostrate linked to a full bladder.  Thirteen hours uninterrupted sleep, I wish.

No wonder Boris was irritated.

I am irritated.  There is a new drug out there that just could help me crack the alcohol problem but because some git with a Doctorate in the Conditioned Behavioural Reflexes of Hamsters Under Stress has decided that we can only have this drug if we spend hours of time and money lying on a blasted couch answering stupid bloody questions or being forced to happy clap and hug complete strangers having spent hours learning how to knit yoghurt, I can’t get my hands on it.

I can’t believe how the State prevents individuals from just sorting themselves out.  Why should I end up a burden on the NHS?  How could anyone with an IQ vastly inferior to mine (I come in Boris’ top 2% yet still managed to make an enormous fuck up of my life) counsel me?

It’s the doctors who get me.  They say if I don’t stop drinking, I will die.  Fair enough.  If I just stopped, however, they say I would die sooner scrabbling under the bed chasing little green monsters unless I had counselling and loads of drugs.  But unless I abandon my business and my family to their then uncertain future and consign myself to dependency on the state, I can’t get counselling. 

So how about letting me have a crack at it by myself?  I would rather my family witnessed me die trying hard to resolve a problem than see me die miserably because of it.

I close with this:

Q is to O as Cat is to?

This was one of the questions on the IQ test given to potential officer candidates at the Regular Commissions Board in 1983.  Einstein would not have been able to answer this.  No American could.  Asians are brilliant mathematicians but they’d have been stumped as well.  I was the only candidate who answered this question correctly but I ask you, is the fact I raced motorcycles on this island and therefore had picked up enough local knowledge in the pub to divine the answer any measure of my intelligence, or suitability to lead men into battle for that matter?

I can understand the reluctance of Doctors to break the rules, fearful as they are of today’s litigious society but if there is an honest bloke, intelligent enough to realize what he is up against, surely an exception could be made?  After all, I’m going to die anyway.

I would be forever grateful to anyone who could find me a source of Nalmafene and, as I row away on my rowing machine puffing on my E-Cigarettes thinking more about dinner than alcohol, I would be singing their praises.


55 comments:

  1. Great post...I think I love you, but I have had a bottle of wine!, I did the IQ test. It was in the DailyMail today. I got 22per cent which was the bottom mark for being super brilliant


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  3. Q is to O as Cat is to? No relation at all as far as I am concerned. But then I am no genius and quite likely wrong..
    My father was a psychiatrist and flight surgeon during the 2nd world war. His job was to interview prospective bomber pilots to see if they had what it takes to do their job. I found all his interview and classified Army Air corps papers.. He saved everything. On his passing, I shredded all his clients papers (I resisted the urge to start a no doubt successful black mail business), but held onto the USAAC stuff for future perusal or possible historical value. Most if not all of those guys are no longer with us.

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    1. I'll bet it was interesting reading, and sobering knowing a third of them never survived their tours.

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  4. You may have a high IQ but you are fooling yourself if you think there is a chemical substitute for simple willpower. That's how you are going to overcome your addictions. You don't need anything else Tom. It all depends on how much you want it. Groaning about your inability to access Nalmafene is a way of maintaining the addiction.

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    1. I'm sure he's gnashing his teeth at you YP. Personally, coming from an Irish Canadian family with a healthy percentage of drunks, the willpower disappears when the bottles come out.

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    2. I think you are misguided YP I used chemical substitute to give up smoking and it was painless, 5yrs and counting. Although I must admit I do dream of smoking again, and I wake up so disappointed until I realise it was only a dream!! Good on you Hippo for trying it's not easy

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    3. I see nothing wrong with a chemical boost to the willpower, YP. I evidently cannot do it on my own.

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  5. Like the Y Pudding guy said...It's all about willpower. I did it, although it took me some 40 years to get around to it. I would advise against those E-cigarettes. Puffing on those is too much like smoking a real cigarette and you may backslide. My son tried them with that result.. I used the gum, although I don't know if it is available there. There is probably nothing more addictive than cigarettes due to the constant and easy availability.

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    1. I tried the gum but it isn't the same as smoking. I was given a go on an e cig and it was surprisingly good. I am just waiting for mine to arrive.

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  6. You know I'm one of your biggest fans, although I scarcely know you...I googled the drug and read this

    http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2010/12/31/83937/437

    As a fellow serious drinker from similar bloodlines, I don't have good advice to offer - but I cheer your efforts to restrain over consumption, however you get there.

    Norman

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    1. This was very interesting, I am even more determined to get hold of a supply now.

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  7. Oh, and...

    http://www.amazingsuperpowers.com/2013/11/no-smoking/

    Norman

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  8. Firstly, don't buy medicines from the net. Those scoundrels would happily empty a jar of Viagra into a jar marked 'Nalmafene', and you'd be none the wiser.

    I went for lunch, yesterday, to a very smart restaurant and didn't drink one drop of wine; of course I made up for it later. I have an unopened bottle of single malt which I threatened to broach about two days ago; Lady M refused to allow me, saying that it was a 'slippery slope'. I reluctantly left it unopened.

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    1. p.s. I followed the Scottish method, to give up smoking. I just didn't buy any. It worked from day 1, and I've never craved another. I smoked untipped Gauloises for about 50 years.

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    2. I have heard of forty a day guys and bottle a day guys just stopping like that. Good on them but I just can't seem to manage it.

      Avoid temptation, just send me the malt!

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  9. Good luck with your endeavours. I have no advice to proffer that isn't stating the bleeding obvious. However, recognising you have a problem is the first and biggest step, so bravo on that. Exercising is also a very good antidote to overindulgence. Since we stopped "working" a number of years ago, it would have been fairly easy to slide into a habit of drinking to a point where it overtook our lives. However, I've always found having a structured routine, including very simple and obvious things like getting up in the mornings, (OK I know not as early as you), and being ready and dressed before the maid arrives each day, and taking a serious amount of physical exercise that can only be undertaken when one is more than reasonably fit, have ensured that whilst we may overindulge occasionally, a hair of the dog is never the answer. Days and sometimes many days of abstinence are the solution. Also I hate the effect of a hangover, but I'm glad of them because it reminds me that I'm literally pouring poison into my body, (as in "what's your poison?"). I recommend Allen Carr's "Easy Way to Control Alcohol", (and his "Easy Way to Stop Smoking", although ironically he died of lung cancer quite recently, the result of second hand smoke from patients to his consultancy.) Giving up these addictions is like dieting; it's not a short term fix, but a change in lifestyle; once you get your head around that, it makes more sense.

    I did say I wasn't going to give you advice, didn't I?

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    1. The best non advice I have had to date!

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  11. I take exception to your comment about Australia being a nation of alcoholics.!!!!

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    1. They have a reputation as hard drinkers, though!

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  12. 1) I think you get plenty of free advice from your readers
    2) if we had lived your life and were stuck in Angola, we would probably drink as hard as you too Hippo.

    Australia a nation of alcoholics? Interesting stereotype.

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    1. 1. Not all of it what I want to hear!
      2. It's still no excuse.

      What about the Aboriginals, they're Australians aren't they?

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  13. Just been chatting to our 78 year old Irish neighbour (ex-army). He reckons that he has NEVER ever drunk any alcohol, ever! In Irishman who has never had a pint of guinness. I drink whisky but only on a Saturday night. With a bar of chocolate. Good luck with your endeavours, it won't be easy but try and stick with it.

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    1. He must be an interesting bloke!

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  14. I am not aware of nalmafene but there is a drug (disulfiram) you can take which makes you vomit and feel very ill if you try to drink while on it. I don't think you need to have counselling or to hug trees with that one. I agree with other comments that willpower is the only real alternative. If the threat of death or losing your family can't motivate you, then nothing else is likely to work, as I know only too well.

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    1. I will hang out for the Nalmafene and use it in conjunction with a training regime.

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  15. I do not doubt the prowess of your IQ, Tom. However, I find myself amused at how many people I know who - when the subject comes up - find themselves, by their own modest admission, in the top 2 %. Must be awfully crowded up there.

    And I am sorry, Tom, you thinking you outfoxed that psychiatrist is a little naive. Your being obnoxious will have told him all there is to know, probably marking you as supremely suitable to defuse bombs. After all, you don't want someone accommodating, do you, when faced with a bomb.

    As laudable as your three pronged attack is please do not delude yourself that you can give up drinking and smoking at the same time. What do you want your poor brain to do? Combust? You might start kicking the dog.

    As to buying drugs over the internet: No doubt just a momentary IQ malfunction but your trust - considering your training and experiences - in the good of the bad boys out there is touching. My best advice would be to find yourself a UK citizen who is prepared to sacrifice himself on your altar, lie to his doctor, go to counselling on your behalf, doesn't mind that he'll never get life insurance again - other than at exorbitant prices, and is happy to post your little booze busters to Angola. It'll cost you. Big time. But, I dare say, it can be done. Just find someone desperate enough for the dosh. Preferably a fellow alcoholic (in case they do a liver function test and a scan - and they will) who has no intention to give up. Don't say I don't have a gift for solving problems.

    U

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  16. Q is O as...Cat is to Manx cat? Right??

    And btw, best wishes to you. I love reading your stories, hope you're able to stick around for many years yet.

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    1. Congratulations! Now, get your kit together and report for the January intake to Sandhurst.

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    2. Brilliant!
      That one was bothering me all day.

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    3. But my point was, how can this be a measure of intelligence? Surely me getting the question right was more a miracle that after a day of motorcycle racing (which is quite exhausting) followed by a night on the piss, I could remember a passing comment from a local explaining that anything to do with the Isle of Man was referred to as Manx and (this being the relevant bit) they even had Manx cats, the only cats without a tail.

      In my case me getting the answer correct was less to do with IQ and more to do with alcohol tolerance and an ability to chat with the locals.

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  17. This reminded me of a Jim Davidson joke. He said that he spent tens of thousands of pounds on women, drink and gambling. The rest he wasted.

    You don't live longer if you give up booze and good food. It just feels like it. Good luck and enjoy.

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  18. I realize your little pavlovian experiment here. You bring up alcohol (stimulus), and everybody tells you how to end your addiction (response).

    Coming from a large family with many an addict, I can only say that I pray for you and your kids, think nicely of you, and hope you make the best of it. I've lost too many people to alcohol and drug addiction, and wouldn't want one more, but I also know that there's no one magic bullet, not drugs, nor willpower, nor psychotherapy.

    It's just damned difficult.

    Good luck

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    1. Fucking hell, there's nothing like a bit of encouragement for a bloke, is there?

      I hope all is well with you and yours. When are you going to start posting again?

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    2. My wife calls me a marsh wiggle (see CS Lewis for reference). I see the light, but only through the glass darkly, for now.

      We are well. I've been thinking about posting, but you can't read thoughts, now, can you? My Uncle passed away three weeks ago, and Madiba yesterday, so I may be dark in my thoughts right now, too. There may be something to write about in that, but I've never been the black sweater and scarf, wire-rimmed glasses type person, so it probably won't come out readable.

      Anyhoo, I can tell that you are on the mend, as you have become more prolific in your posts. It's good to see.

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    3. I used to dress in a black cashmere jacket with a black roll neck pullover and a forest green silk scarf and I wore wire rimmed spectacles. I was a motorcycle dealer in Germany at the time.

      I hope you feel up to getting on line again soon.

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  19. My brother used grapefruit juice to give up smoking. there is something in it that after a mouthful cigarettes taste really bad. And he stopped drinking coffee as he had a routine of having a cigarette whilst the kettle boiled and then one when sitting down to drink it...

    I have no other words of wisdom about smoking or drinking.

    But what I will say is that everyone who reads here will be right behind you. Cheering you on from all around the world. (Maybe write down how many you smoke or drink a day, as you drink or light up. This helped me when trying to lose weight. it stopped me from eating crap. Food is an addiction to.)

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    1. Thanks, this kind of support is the therapy and boost I need.

      Grapefruit juice, eh? And it is healthy. For a while I managed to really cut down by drinking a juice made from fresh ginger root. It is a bit of a pain to make but I would scrub and peel the ginger root, mash it in a blender, add water, strain it into mineral water bottles and then drink that. Once the liquid had settled out, it was rose water coloured and had a kick like a mule. Sadly, we have not been able to get hold of decent ginger for a long time but it did work. Yes, alcohol is addictive but excessive consumption is as much to do with habit. If someone could come up with a potable drink with a big kick, it, in conjunction with other therapies would really help reduce alcohol consumption.

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  20. Chilled carbonated water (club soda or seltzer) and cider vinegar.. Looks like a scotch and soda, has the fizz of dry champagne and quenches thirst. Give it a go.

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    1. I will try that, thanks John. Not sure cider vinegar is available here, though. I will ask Marcia to check. Maybe a combination of cider vinegar, ginger juice, caffeine and carbonation reinforced with Thiamine and Riboflavin could be the drink I am looking for?

      Keep this recipe to yourself though, mate!

      I believe the Red Bull empire started with a couple of people mixing up various brews in their kitchen.

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    2. White vinegar ought to be the same.. That should look like Gin and tonic :-)

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    3. I'll try red wine vinegar just to give it a bit of colour.

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  21. So I guess the trade of a bottle of single malt for a signed of your book (when you get around to it) is out?

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    1. Depends if you trust me or not, Send me the whisky now before I start my treatment and I promise to send the book when it is finished...

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  22. My husband finally quit smoking when he got throat cancer. We sat in the full waiting area of MD Anderson Hospital in Houston watching the patients and their families. The Head and Neck Unit was full of disfigured patients; no noses, soft or hard palates gone, voice boxes removed and on and on. 85% of head and neck cancers are from smoking. I still had a young son at home, two daughters away at college. My husband had to shut down his private practice (he is a neuropsychologist that administers tests of all sort, including personality tests) and had to move 400 miles from home for chemo, radiation and disfiguring surgery. It tooks months before he got to come back home. He never started smoking again after that. What we learned from all of that was something you've heard time and again, but becomes a mantra when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. One day at a time. Simple, yes, but it is the only way and there are anti-depressants that help while you are trying to kick the habits. Best of luck.

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    1. Blimey. Makes me ashamed I ever whined about my minor issues in public. I hope it is all going well for you now.

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  23. You can get anything online from "Canadian Pharmacy" without a prescription. I got some low dose naltrexone there once, which was supposed to help with autoimmune disorders. It is similar to the stuff you're looking for. Canadian Pharmacy online is actually based in India, I think, and once you buy something from them you'll get email and phone calls all the time. I don't mind the phone calls, some days I neeeeeed someone to yell at.

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    1. You never had a career in telesales, did you? I'll hang on for the real stuff!

      Send me your telephone number. I'll call you reverse charges (collect) from Angola. That'll give you something to shout about!

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  24. I've had a quick look at the drug literature, Tom, and it looks like nalmefene is similar to naltrexone. Can you take the latter without psychiatri consult? Like nalmefene, it's an opiod agonist.

    When i tried quitting smoking, i felt the withdrawal pretty severely. I vomited a few times and shook, just like a junkie. I ultimately returned to smoking. I tried quitting about nine times in 18 months, and while i didn't always vomit, i nearly always got the shakes. Mentally, i could think of little else besides smoking.

    A friend of mine got hypnotised, and it worked for him. He was every bit as addicted to smoking as i was, so i went to the same hypnotherapist, and it worked for me, too. That was in 1989, and i haven't smoked since. As someone else mentioned, i do have smoking dreams from time to time. Even now. I don't know what the hypnotist did, but the severe physical cravings i had for cigarettes were suspended. He suggested i substitute a low calorie beverage for the hand-to-mouth habit smokers have and miss. I decided to drink water, and the first several weeks, i drank tonnes of water, Made frequent trips to the restroom with the same fervor as a pregnant woman.

    No matter what aid you use to help you quit smoking or drinking, i'm convinced that the part of you that wishes to stop has to be greater than the part of you that wishes to continue. On the day i last smoked a cigarette, 50.1% wanted to stop, 49.9% didn't. But it was the extra little bit that truly wanted to stop that made the difference.

    Because after the physical cravings passed (and as i mentioned, they were blessedly suspended after i got hypnotised), i had to work on creating nonsmoker habits. I hadn't lived as a nonsmoker and had to learn how to time everything differently, because as a smoker, everything was timed by my next cigarette.

    You may find the same to be true with your drinking as well as your smoking.

    To those who say, 'it's simply a matter of willpower', i can say that i'm more stubborn than most, yet i found my willpower needed some back-up when it came to kicking smokes. The gum, drugs, and e-cigarettes weren't yet on the market. The hypnosis was, and i decided to try it. If my smoking friend could do it, be smiling three weeks afterwards, which is when i first saw him after he stopped smoking, and he hadn't killed anyone in that time, then it could maybe work for me.

    One thing the hypnotist did was to give me a tape to listen to every day for six weeks. He said i needed to listen to it for at least that long, as it takes three weeks to make or break a habit. The first three weeks in listening to the tape, i was breaking my smoking habit. The second three weeks, i was creating my nonsmoking habit.

    I never cared about drinking, enjoy a drink now and again, but am nearly a teetotaler (a bottle of scotch lasts me nearly a year, longer if i don't share it with anyone), but i know that for some people suddenly stopping drinking does bring on the DTs. If there's a drug you can take to help abate the DTs, and that in turn would help you to refrain from drinking, i'm all for it.

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  25. I got my first electronic cigarette kit off of VaporFi, and I love it very much.

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