Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Actually, I guess the technical term is, "yo duuuude."

Well maybe those days are over, but there's one thing for sure - Joi will have a drink - again.  Maybe on New Year's Eve - maybe 20 years from now - but once an addict, always an addict.  I mean that in a nice way.

We can try and intellectualize our way out of our problems, manipulating our actions and behavior to suit our health - mental, physcial or economic - but you'll always go back to being - just you. 

I would beg to differ on this point Marc. Since I announced that I would stop drinking, I've been contacted by a lot of people who have chosen to stop drinking and that was the end of that. I realize that it's quite difficult and you can't go back to NOT being addicted, but that doesn't mean you have to end up drinking again or that you don't have a choice.

As for:

Marc Canter
So as Joi dumbs down his persona, going for only the lowest denominator, he'll still pick his battles, stand his ground and make his point on all the right issues.  But he'll be doing that less and less.
I'm not sure I'd use the phrase "dumb down"... I'm not dumbing myself down for my blog, just performing for a more public audience. It's not about "smart/dumb". In fact, I'd suggest that I'm having to be a lot smarter in some ways and am filtering crap that only my close friends would let me get a way with.

Anyway, I know you didn't mean any disrespect Marc. I just want to clarify my position on these two points.


I quit drinking "for a while" almost nine years ago. I can't say that I'll never have a drink again - that would just be putting un-necessary pressure on myself. I don't, however, see myself taking a drink in the near future, as i can't really see how it would make my life any better, and I can see how it would make me unhappy. Isn't that what its all about - quality of life and being happy? Keep up the good work, Joi, and focus on WHAT and WHY you are making this change, rather than on the act itself....

I did the same thing with cigarettes last year, and I haven't had one since then. And I got lots of coaching from people that boiled down to this -- if you take another cigarette, you'll take another, then a pack, then a carton, and then you're back where you were. I'm sure it's the same for drinking. I will always be a cigarette smoker, but one who chooses not to smoke. You don't lose the habit. But the cravings subside, it gets much easier. Another thing I'm sure you've heard but it bears constant repetition (like every day): one day at a time. Also look for friends who support your being a non-drinking drinker. Watch out for people who support your drinking. Gravitate to people who support your non-drinking. End of coaching session.

Just lost everything I had typed. Long story short:

-- I quite smokeless tobacco 4 years ago.
-- After the first year or so, I no longer _wanted_ to use tobacco.
-- The first year or so, I was like "I'd really like some skoal, but I can't have it".
-- Now, I'm like "I don't ever want to give in to that stuff again".

Expect to encounter a *lot* of people who don't understand what you're doing and going through.
No matter what label people try to give you, be it alcoholic or addict or drunk, it's still up to you to live your own life and make your own decisions. Decisions you live with and decisions that ultimately may make you happier.
Knowing that you could have a drink at any time may make the prospect of drinking less appealing - I once knew a man who kept an unopened pack of Camels in his shirt pocket. He hadn't smoked since the late 60's, but kept this pack handy to avoid the "2AM freakout", as he called it. After a while, this pack became a kind of talisman for him.
Of course you won't get much support from detractors, but also be prepared for when your *friends* are insensitive and unsupportive. They often don't know the difference between "I quit drinking" and "I'm trying to drink less". Be prepared for that. Others will never understand and you may have to write them off.
In the time since I quit drinking, I've bailed out of several social situations where I would normally drink (too much) and where I didn't trust myself yet. I'm glad I did and I know my friends will understand. If they don't, fuck 'em.
Know that there will be times when you physically crave it - your body has gotten used to it and will sometimes prompt you to have a drink - those twinges tend to pass pretty quickly, though. Take a deep breath and acknowledge and understand what's happening.
Be sure to also acknowledge and enjoy the benefits of not drinking - better sleep, heightened awareness, more energy, less guilt.

Joi, there's a hell of a lot of people pulling for you - don't let a few negative comments get you down.

Joi = So true that many people are pulling for you, don't forget it. At any time, night or day (esp when you're on the other side of the world) you can call on us, IM us, IRC us and talk about how much you you might be tempted to drink and we'll help you figure out why and help you get through it. Cheers, tears, no beers -- H

I know what you are going through. I gave up smoking quite a while back, and I have been meaning to take it up again now for some years. But the time never seems right. There's always some reason not to start again, whether it's price increases or smoking bans or whatever. However, I have to follow through on my resolution, and I now plan to start smoking again next year.

Re: "Others will never understand and you may have to write them off."

Sad but true. You don't get to keep many friends when you quit drinking, or smoking, or drugs, or when you go through any kind of drastic lifestyle change. I had no idea all my friends smoked until I quit. I was lucky: I got to keep one friend, and my parents eventually forgave me for lying to them all those years.

Good luck.

Thanks for your support and coaching everyone. I never thought that I would get so much support for quiting my drinking from other bloggers. Yet another amazing facet of this community.

There's a high you get from kicking nicotine that's like a stimulant rush. It comes and goes in the early days, but I learned, eventually, to wait for it.
Alcohol has dropped away from my life in an almost accidental way, along with herb, the combination of which two I used to ride pretty frequently. The main thing I notice about their absence is the lengthening of thought processes. Longer thoughts, more cohesion. I value that a lot.
Breaking the chains of a bad habit is a very rewarding action.
Good luck to you.

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