Last Call program review (www.drinklessnow.com)

If you Google “stop drinking”, this is the first site that comes up.  I found it one morning, hung over and feeling guilty, and after checking it out on other sites (forums, user comments), thought it was a good product.  Pricey ($800+) but worth it if it works.  This will be my story, experience with the program, an unbiased review by a desperate alcoholic who does NOT want to go to AA or any other therapy.

(CONCLUSION: Bottom line, in case you don’t want to read the whole thing, is that the program DID work for me at first.  I was able to stay sober for 30 days or so, but I gradually started drinking again and now I’m back where I started.  I think the program gave me hope; maybe it’s a placebo, maybe it works on other people, maybe I’m just not meant to be anything but a stammering drunk.  I am slowly making progress, though, but it’s now been so long since my last dose that I can’t attribute it to the program.  Anyway, details diary-style are below…)

The package arrived in a plain brown box, with lots of little bottles in it:
Last Call package picture
Last Call package picture

You’re supposed to take 4 droppers full of the “Sobrexa”, 6 times a day (!) for the first week, and 4 droppers full of the “Kalmaro” 3 times a day “as needed”.  The Sobrexa is supposed to re-program your brain so you don’t have that alcohol craving; the Kalmaro is just some calming herbs.  How do they taste?  Something like a mix of honey, cough syrup and grass.  I found that squirting them in water makes it a little more palpable, maybe like semi-putrid, flat rootbeer.

Week 1: I’ve been taking the dosage, as perscribed, but so far no affect on my cravings. I still come home from work and want to drown out any memory of my life. The instructions say that it takes usually 3 weeks to kick in.  The Kalmaro works great; gives me a kind of relaxed feeling all over.  So, we’ll see…

I also decided since guilt is what’s driving me to drink, I’d better address that too (see my other post The Husband Drinks) so I just ordered a couple of books on dealing with guilt.  I have to say one thing, I’m impressed with the quality.  I’m extremely sensitive to vitamins and perscription medicine.  Most synthetic (read: cheap) vitamins make me feel “high” or they hype me up and then stop working after a week or two.  I don’t feel that way with this product at all.  Either it’s doing nothing at all, or it’s doing it gradually.  Like good (read: expensive) vitamins that don’t have mega-doses of a few ingredients, but include the whole complex, so your body doesn’t use up all of its trace mineral reserves, but builds everything up slowly, evenly.  That’s the feeling I get when I take this product.  And I’m getting used to the taste, too… putrid flat rootbeer is an aquired taste…

Week 2:I think this stuff is starting to kick in.  I’m a couple of days into week two.  Yesterday I felt on edge all day long; kept realizing I was all clenched up, needed to remind myself to relax.  I called and ordered three more bottles of Kalmaro (at $30 a piece – holy cow!) because I’m almost out already.  Now it’s Saturday, and that usually means by lunch time I’ve already downed several shots of whiskey, but actually, I’m in a really good mood and I’m not “thirsty” (my code word to my wife that means I’m going to go buy beer).  So, I still feel a little hyped up, but hopefully that will wear off, and we’ll see.  I am determined to get through the full 8 weeks even if I think it might be making me a little crazy.  It’s definitely not doing nothing at all…  for weeks 2 thru 8, I’m taking 4 droppers full, 3 times a day instead of 6, per the instructions…

I tracked my drinking over the past few days:
Last Call package picture

On the 12th, I took a half-day off and promised my wife I wouldn’t drink until late, so that’s the only day I didn’t drink as much. Hoping I could keep that up, but from the looks of the bottle, I drink just about the same amount every day. Takes me 5 days to finish off 1.75 liters, so that’s 350 ml, or a fifth & a half per day. My goal is zero; I’ve had enough of forgotten evenings, morning headaches and remorse. I would be truly happy to never have a drink again…

Update 6/20/12: For the last few days I have switched from whiskey to the “Four Loco” type drinks.  They’re 12% alcohol 24-ounce cans, so that means I went from roughly 12.7 oz of 80-proof whiskey (5.1 oz of alcohol) to 24 oz of 24-proof malt liquor (2.9 oz of alcohol), so I’m moving in the right direction.  Last night I drank one, but I wish I hadn’t.  It’s like the program is taking all the fun out of it; felt good for a few minutes, then I felt like crap.

“Getting drunk: I love the journey, but hate the destination” ;)

Update 6/22/12: Sober day #1! :) I didn’t have any alcohol at all yesterday for the first time in weeks.  Just the thought of drinking booze makes my stomache churn.  Even though I went through a horrific evening – stayed up until 2am pacing while my wife & daughter were in the ER getting my granddaughter checked for suspected sexual abuse – I still managed to restrict my coping to puffing on an e-cig and taking droppers of Kalmaro.  It’s still too early to call this program a success, but progress is progress. (I cannot tell you how incensed I am at the idea that someone would abuse a child who’s not even two years old yet; if it’s true, I hope the guy has lots of time in jail to rethink his life.)  I’m running on empty today, with few hours of sleep, it’s Friday, and along with the recent stress I have more than enough excuse to just get totally wasted and not much energy to fight it.  God willing, I can stick to the program, despite the huge hurdle He just put in front of me… expecting visits from CPS and a detective in the next few days and some REALLY angry suspects… I feel like a bowling pin… Set me up, knock me down… Set me up, knock me down…

Week 3: Well I’m on day 5 of week 3, and haven’t been able to stay 100% sober yet.  One day, yes, then small amounts every day since, except for last night.  I stupidly bought a 12-pack at the store expecting it to last a week, thinking I had all this self-control and will-power now; today there are two beers left and my head is KILLING ME.  I don’t crave alcohol as much, but I still can’t handle having it in the house.  The family drama didn’t help matters, and my stupid ecig broke, so I really had no other way of calming down, and once I got a good buzz on I just kept getting one more, just one more, until I fogot who I was and passed out… God forgive me for being such an idiot!

Update 6/29/12:I have to say I’m a bit disappointed.  Today is day 2 of week 4, and I honestly don’t feel a thing.  From what I understand, that’s not unusual, but I’m starting to think that this was a rip-off.  I can’t control my drinking at all; no change what-so-ever.  I am on the same try-to-quit-switch-to-beer-cut-back-get-stressed-buy-whiskey-give-up roller-coaster that I’ve been on for the past year.  I desperately hope that I’m just a late bloomer; any amount of stress drives me to drink, and with 4 kids, there’s ALWAYS stress.  The jitters I mentioned earlier were temporary; they went away after a couple of days, and may have to do with the fact I haven’t had any nicotine in a week (ecig broke).  I may end up in a detox hospital after all … just a little bit less rich than I was.

Like I said before, I will go ahead with the program, the full 8 weeks, and give an honest report of my experience here, good or bad.  This might still prove to be the magical cure I’m hoping for, or maybe there just isn’t an easy way out for me.  We’ll see… hope to bring good news next time…

Update 7/5/12: I’ve completed 4 full weeks of the program now.  I can’t find the words to express how monumentally depressed I am, how despondent I am over my lack of progress, how engulfed I am by my own ineptitude and lack of will-power.  If anything, my drinking has increased; I can’t control it.  If I’m not asleep or at work, I’m drinking.  It’s taken over my life.  Yesterday, I had the day of for Independence Day, and I did everything I could, sit on my hands, play with the dog, go for a walk, bang my head against a wall, and I could not, would not, did not make it past 11am without my first drink.  I totally suck.  I’m afraid of what lies at the end of this program.  If I survive, after 8 weeks, it’s going to be a crushing blow if nothing has changed, if I’m still a hopeless fool with a great job, great wife, family, house, cars – I may have all of the depression and stress that’ll fit inside my empty skull, but I have all of the worldly treasures too – and I’m still drowning away my health and what little happiness remains inside me.  I pray to God He would save me from this body of sin and death.  So far, no good.  Sorry guys.  It’s looking more & more like a total waste of nearly a grand… I’m halfway through my how to escape toxic guilt book, and I’m going to order another one, Kick the Drink, it’s supposed to be real good, but I’m barely holding out any hope for myself.  I’m just so trapped.  I don’t really feel like I have a say in my life, I’m stuck on a ride that won’t stop, and unending downward spiral that I can only helplessly watch, falling deep into despair while I watch my hopes, dreams, and happiness fade into oblivion…

Sorry to be such a downer, but that’s how I feel.  God help me…

Update 7/8/12: Nothing like a little near-death experience to motivate you.  Friday night I hit the bottle, hard, threw up, my wife almost called 911, I was unresponsive, I spent the whole day Saturday drinking water, taking headache pills and praying for death, and so far, 5pm Sunday, no alcohol.  My hands stopped shaking a few hours ago, and I’m about to take some Benadryl; I figure, if I’m asleep, I won’t drink.  I don’t know if anyone is reading this or not.  The Sobrexa and Kalmaro seem to be helping, but I’m staying sober today out of sheer will; I do NOT want to be a drunk any more.  I want to feel happy and motivated and enegergized, like I used to be.  I have done nothing all day except pace back & forth, smoke my ecig, drink Cokes, eat junk food and repeat to myself, I can do this, I think I can, I know I can, I’m going to kick your butt, you stupid brown bottle of crap!

Be careful what you ask for.  God works in mysterious, painful ways.  Judging from when my son got delivered by a friend a couple of years ago, unconscious and unresponsive (ended up in the emergency room horribly dehydrated) I must have been at a BAC of around 0.3.  Wasn’t quite as bad as he was (0.4%) since he had been sitting by the pool all day in the summer heat drinking Vodka.

DAY 0: Last thing I remember is my son came to visit, and my wife brought the bottle of whiskey out “Do you feel like sharing, Mark?”  Next thing I remember is waking up with a horrible headache the next day with a vague recollection of having thrown up.

Day 1: My head & heart were pounding all day.  I took pills all day long and drank about 10 bottled waters, scared my heart was going to explode.

Day 2: Woke up, took my Sobrexa with shaking hands.  That, along with some Kalmaro and new resolve, got me through the day without any alcohol

Day 3: No more shaking hands, puffing my ecig like it’s going out of style, alot of pacing, back to work, actually got a faint glimmer of hope that I can kick alcohol’s ass!

Day 4: Well, I’m not sure how I feel today.  I feel … empty.  I haven’t had a drink since my near-death overdose on Friday, and it’s Tuesday night now.  I just don’t know what to do with my time if I’m not buying booze, sneaking a drink, planning my next “dose”.  I don’t crave it as much as I did yesterday.  It won’t be a problem to stay home and not get a nightcap.  “Just one” should be tatooed on my hands, with a circle and a red line through it… No more, Mark, no not one…

Day 5: (7/11/12) I hate my job.  I’m stuck in a cube working for a large corporation that every day adds to its unending list of rules.  I feel like I have a sword thrust in my side.  Someone said, Why don’t you take a vacation?  like that’s going to solve the problem.  Here, let me pull that sword out for two weeks, and then I’ll shove it back in again.

I’m still sober, though it’s still early in the day, anything can happen.  I think my cravings are dissipating. I’m starting to get mad that I don’t have the time or money to do anything else but go to work, which is an improvement over just laying around waiting to die.  I think I can make it to the weekend… I think I can I think I can I think I can… WOOO-HOOO!  chug chug chug chug – NO MARK NO MORE CHUGGING!  I got the Kick The Drink book in the mail yesterday. 300 pages??? ugh.  I’ll be retired before I read that whole thing.  My wife reads fast; I gave it to her for now.  She says it’s real good, I should read it.  I should.  Just like I should stop drinking, spend more time with the wife, spend more time with the kids, spend more time visiting my parents, spend more time with the dog, and if there’s anything left over, be sure and sleep 9 hours a night – after all, you don’t want to get stressed out – it’s not healthy!

Day 7: (7/13/12) I’m beginning to think that maybe this stuff is actually working, though it’s not the magic potion as advertised.  It’s an herbal thing; takes a long, long time, and the change is gradual.  Not like a powerful pill from the pharmacy.  My drinking has gone like a toddler starting to walk: up, up, up, STANDING! CRASH! recover, then repeat.  *sigh* it’s an endless struggle.  If I can make it though the weekend, where I have all day long to ponder how easy it would be to buy a beer while my wife is napping, and still resist, then I’m going to have to call this program a success.  Today is day 2 of week 6, if you’re keeping score.  And yes, I’m completely sober, at the end of the day it will be a full 7 days :) The ecigs help – a lot.  Stay tuned…

Update 7/15/12: I am not proud of myself today.  It’s Sunday and I have an enormous hangover.  Just couldn’t take it any more.  My daughter came over with her car spitting & sputtering.  Dummy (her baby-daddy-boyfriend-fiance) thought it was the intake gasket, so I said I’d fix it while she was here.  Spent all day Saturday taking it apart, cleaning & putting it back together again; didn’t fix the problem.  The best I can say about it is, at least it’s not worse.  I couldn’t handle it.  Not only did I buy & drink copious amounts of whiskey, but I lost control, threw a fit & broke my space heater (it’s bent all to hell), scaring the heck out of my wife & kids, but I took a sleeping pill to calm myself down and could have easily died.  Thinking about it now, I almost wish I had.

So, I would have to say that the last call program sucks.  Maybe it works for some people, but I have larger issues.  I need to be in a mental hospital before I kill myself…

Update 7/17/12: Today I am officially a non-drinker.  This morning I poured $20 worth of whiskey down the sink (boy that stuff smells bad when you’re not drinking it!).  I’ve had it with this crap.  Sure, the TV makes you think everyone is having a blast as busty young women serve beer on the commercial to groups of happy, laughing friends, but that’s not reality.  In the real world, it turns you into a fat, lazy, stumbling, stammering fool.  I’m done with embarassing myself; I’ve had it with this shit.

Sorry for the cussing.

I’m told it takes 7-10 days for the alcohol to completely get out of my system, and after that I’m home free.  I’ll wait until then to make a conclusion on the last call program; for now, I made a decision that I WILL stick with.  I just don’t want to drink any more.  Ever.  And fuck you, alcohol, for making me think you could solve all of my problems!  Fucking liar!

(sorry again … it just sort of came out…)

7/19/12: Still sober :) Feeling the effects of withdrawal a little, but not too bad.  Alcohol created this void, and it wants me to fill it with more booze, but I’m not going to.  It feels good to wake up and not have a head full of regret and pain… but I’m a little shaky and expect to be that way for the next five days or so.  Went out to eat last night, my son had two margarita’s, they were on sale for $2, and I was not tempted at all.  The only time I felt weak was at night when I got tired & felt the thirst… but I’m OK, I really am …

7/22/12: Still sober :) Sunday Morning and my last whiskey bottle is in the recycling bin.  Woo-hoo!  I made it through six full weeks, but I ran out of Sobrexa.  It’s $120 for two more bottles, but I can’t affford it, besides I think the program worked already.

7/25/12: Depression has set in as my mind grieves the loss of an old friend turned enemy.  I have trouble forcing myself to go to work (actually, I always have trouble doing that, but more so lately) and when I get home, I don’t want to do a darn thing.  I stare at the clock, puff on my ecig, and force myself to eat something while I wait until it’s time to take some Benadryl or something to make me sleep, .  I’m sober, and not longing for alcohol, but wishing my old energy & drive would come back.  It’s been over a week now, so at this point it’s a mental problem, not physical.  I didn’t make it 8 weeks, but I did finish all of the bottles. I guess I squeezed the droppers too hard & took too much or something.  Anyway, the program works, it’s not a scam, at least it worked for me.  Scroll to the top where I put my “conclusion” so people wouldn’t have to read the whole thing… and thank you to everyone who has encouraged me over the last couple of months…

7/30/12: I’m not an alcoholic.  It’s starting to irritate me that people can’t understand that I’m not hooked on that drug any more.  It’s been drilled into our culture that drinking booze is normal and if I stop, then something must be wrong with me; I’m supposed to be miserably for the rest of my life, pining away for the poison that used to bring me such pleasure.  Bullcrap!  All it ever gave ME was headaches, hangovers and embarassmment.  It’s been nearly two weeks since my last drink, and the ONLY reason I’m keeping count is so I can tell people how long it’s been, so maybe they’ll believe me that I really did quit and am actually happy about it.  My daughter even suggested a new church that had an addict’s club.  I said, Why should I go there?  I’m not an addict any more.  I could teach, maybe, but I don’t need to be around a group of people that are talking about how miserable they are without drugs and how they have to take it one day at a time and avoid temptation and exercise self-control.  Once I stepped outside, I could see the cage I was in, and I really, really don’t want to go back in again.  It doesn’t take self-control to resist something I don’t want.  I have no problem in the world resisting boiled pig snout, because it doesn’t tempt me, and it’s the same way with alcohol.

Update 8/16/12: Still sober, almost a complete month, if you don’t count last Saturday.  Last Saturday I found the whiskey bottle that my wife had hidden from me in the closet, and I drank it.  Not sure why; it made me feel horrible.  I guess it’s just a habit, I wanted to see if I could control it, see if it’s actually possible to drink just a little bit, then stop.

NOT!

I started out OK, but just kept going back for more, just a little bit more, then what the heck, let’s finish it off so it won’t tempt me any more.  Golly, that was a bad hangover.  Lasted the entire following day.  I learned that I can’t control alcohol; once I get a buzz, IT controls ME.  Lesson learned: if it’s in the house, I will drink it, period, so I will never buy alcohol again, because if I do, it’ll take me where I don’t want to go…

8/19/12:  Extra credit.  It’s what the world rewards.  I can do perfect at every task at my job, finish jobs flawlessly and never miss a deadline, but if I don’t go the extra mile, if I don’t participate in two company-sponsored community events, if I don’t donate time or money to a company-approved charity, if I don’t reach my “stretch goals”, then I get an average score; not an A+, not an A, but a C.  Other people who do mediocre work, but do extra credit, get the big raises, but doing your job just isn’t good enough.

What good has ever come from having good credit, not being in debt, and driving the speed limit?  Self-centered jerks all around me have new cars, bigger TV’s, and zoom around me, making me feel like a pathetic loser in what shouldn’t be a race, but we all know, traffic IS a race, the workplace IS a competition, and to the rudest go the spoils.

It’s the same way with marriage.  So what if I always take out the trash, go to work every damn day, never miss a bill payment, and spend every spare moment helping out around the house; as far as the world is concerned, that’s a C-average performance.  Want romance?  Well, then you’d better come up with some extra credit: flowers, weekend hotel, date nights, gifts, vacation days; otherwise, it’s just a “thanks” and a good nights rest.  Alone.

And finally, it’s the same way with alcohol.  If I kick the alcohol habit, if I sacrificially give up and work so hard on adjusting my mind and body to NOT consume poison, what thanks do I get?  None.  Zip.  Nada damn thing.  “Well good.  You SHOULD stop drinking.”  No reward.  No bonus.  Nothing.  It’s actually an embarassment to admit that I ever had the problem in the first place.  I’m left with just painful nights of stress and depression that I longer know how to deal with.  The one thing, the only selfish, rebellious thing that I ever did to assert myself, to declare my independence from everyone’s expectations, is to drink alcohol, to say Fuck You to the world as I raise my shot glass in anger, and there’s nothing to take its place.

I don’t want to drink; I don’t want the guilt, remorse, headaches, fatigue, and all the bodily harm that comes with it, but I’m about to go back to the store for a thick shot of liquor.  I don’t know what else to do.  I’d love to be a selfish jerk, get raises at work, cut people off & run them off the road as I zoom by in my sports car, and get laid more often than a rooster on steroids, having absolutely no remorse or even knowledge that I’ve hurt someone else, be a big bully & care about nobody but me and getting what I want, but that just isn’t me.  I’m the nice guy, that doesn’t even finish last, because I’m never even in the race.

Church is that way too.  I can’t stand church any more.  I have never been and will never be in the “in” crowd.  I have always been a loner, silent and ignored, in school, at work, at church, and it will never change.  When a close relative was sick recently, I prayed, and was going to donate, but before I could, the holy righteous church members had already given, and the poor girl was miraculously healed because of the prayers of the faithful; there was a Thank You For Your Prayers! post on Facebook, and I didn’t even have to read the list to know I wasn’t on it.  I never am; I’m invisible to everyone, even God, it seems.

I can’t think of what else to do to make all of the “should” voices in my head shut up.  I am tired of spending hours and hours and hours, waiting for some attention, some adolation, someone to recognize me for my good behavior and sacrificial living, but it doesn’t work that way.  To quote a movie line, “I’m tired of being poor.  Let’s be assholes and get rich.”  But I can’t.  I’m not an asshole.  I’m just a nice guy that one day everyone will lament as they lay me in the ground, the first, last and only time anyone ever garners me any attention, as they make grand speeches and show off their finest suits, and give everything I have to someone else, because “He would have wanted him to have that…”

8/20/12: Well, that went as expected.  Two malt liquors, abandoned by my wife (who seems to have decided to just leave as soon as the can or bottle opens up instead of waiting for me to start showing signs of being drunk), woke up with a hangover & new resolve.  Looking at my calendar, I made it 4 weeks before my first slip, and then I’ve had slips on both of the previous weekends.  I’m going to order two more bottles of sobrexa; maybe I SHOULD have (gosh how I really hate that word) finished up the two last weeks after all (if you remember, I ran out of bottles, but figured I was cured after 6 weeks … guess not …)

8/26/12: I’m sorry.  I wish I could report over 45 days of sobriety today, but I can’t.  I fell into a bit of a relapse, so I ordered two more bottles of Sobrexa.  Pricey stuff, but since I only finished 6 weeks of the program, I’m going to give it another couple of weeks.  I modified my conclusion above.  Somebody pray for me so I can start being myself again… it’s 8am and I don’t want to face the day… starting to wish for death again… life is just too overwhelming…

8/28/12: OK I took my last drink ever (again) and I’m committing (again) to never drink again (again).  Anybody still believe me?  I used the excuse of “I’m back on Sobrexa, this is my last chance” to go through a bottle of Jim Beam over the weekend; it wasn’t as bad – the wife didn’t have to leave with the kids, she even said she had a hard time telling I was drinking – but I managed to depress myself immensely as the whole weekend was shot.  I was supposed to fix my car’s air conditioner (it’s horrible driving in 95 degree Texas heat with no a/c) but just couldn’t get up the gumption to do more than piddle around.  Looks like for the first time since I bought her brand new, I’m going to pay someone else to fix her up.

9/5/12: Went all day & night yesterday for the first time in a week without a drink.  I’m so mixed up now.  I don’t know what to do.  I’ve gone through one Sobrexa bottle, I’ve got one left, but when I get home, I’m hot, I’m tired, I’m stressed out, and I want to just drown out the world.  It’s the only way to point the finger skyward and say FU to the world.  Ugh… hope to have good news next time…

9/15/12: Updated conclusion above.  It’s 9am and I’m already tipsy.  I don’t want to quit drinking; I think that’s part of the problem.  When I stopped for 30 days or so, nothing changed.  Sure, I didn’t have the BAD side effects of drinking – the headaches, nausea, guilt, embarassment – but nothing GOOD happened either.  I didn’t really see anything in it for me, you know?  I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but I just felt empty, like I do now, and I eventually went to fill that emptiness with booze, like I’m doing now.

So, I would hope that this program works for someone else; for me, it just bought me some time.  Maybe I’ll try something else, maybe I’ll get sick and die, maybe I’ll get in a car wreck or fall on a pitchfork, who knows…  Good luck to you all…

Update 11/23/12: Happy Thanksgiving to all… nothing has changed… I go through a large bottle of Jim Beam and several beers or liquors a week.  Just had a physical, and my liver is still OK, but I’ve given up on giving up.  I’m so depressed, I feel jealous when I see a funeral.  I’m just trying to make it through life, overloaded, overwhelmed, overtaxed, overburdened and just plain tired.  Just one day at a time… Jesus, I’m ready whenever you are… The sooner the better ………..

Update 12/13/12: My heavy drinking started when my wife got cancer.  I could not imagine why God would give such a loving, beautiful creature such a horrible, deadly disease.  She (we) made it through surgery, chemo and radiation, and she’s fully recovered, got her hair back & all, and now she has diabetes.  Then just as I was wondering what God had planned for me next, He hit my wallet: first the dog ate a bottle of my wife’s medicine ($600 vet bill) then the car that I just bought for my daughter ($3000) burned up its transmission ($3000) and with Christmas just around the corner, I’m going to have to leverage my credit card to make it.  I DID have some company stock (sold it) and I DID have some savings (spent it), but now I’m back to timing my bills to when the paychecks hit the bank.  And all of this happened after my computer died & I built a new one ($1000) and I finally bought an amp for my bass ($900) that I am forcing myself to keep, lest I send it back and bring on even more woe-is-me depression.

Anyway, my wife and son have inspired me.  First, my son has taken a passion to something called Bar Starz.  It’s a work-out system where you do pull-ups, muscle-ups, planks, and all kinds of stuff.  He’s only 13, and he can hang upside down from a bar, do the “human flag” from a pole, upside-down pushups, all kinds of crazy stuff.  Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a pot belly and the doctor keeps changing my meds to try & get my blood pressure under control.  Then my wife has attacked her diabetes with a vengance: she has medicine, but she uses the blood kit that I bought her several times a day, she measures all her food, exercises with a pulse monitor as she works out every day, and her numbers are slowly coming down.  It’s a total role reversal: I used to be the one with the big muscles and the “atheletic heart” but not any more.

So, I did manage to do a few things.  The first thing I did is put my favorite picture of my wife up in my room.  It’s in an antique-looking frame, and she’s 18 years old, holding our oldest son in her arm.  She has long, brown hair, beautiful eyes and the same sweet smile that she wears today.  Every morning I blow e-smoke rings at it and think, I can’t let her down.  I have to change.  I just have to.  That, and the fact that my blood pressure is spiraling up out of control, plus having her & my son show me up, I started going to the gym.  It’s been less than a week, but I’ve gone Monday and yesterday.  It feels good to be exercising again.  AND, most importantly, I have NOT bought any whiskey in 2 or 3 weeks.  I drink the equivalent of 4-6 beers at night, usually the cheap-n-nasty 4-Loco crap.  I know it’s still too much, but I wait until my job is over, we’re home for the night, and I allow myself to indulge just once a day – well, maybe a noon-time beer on the weekends – and I don’t go nuts, I don’t scare the kids, I just feel the buzz & watch TV.

I’m not perfect; never claimed to be.  But, this is an improvement, and at this point, I’ll take it for what it is – a step.  Maybe not out of the woods yet, but I can see the meadow… sort of…

12/16/12: Relapse.  Depression.  I can hear my blood thumping in my head.  Word of advice: NEVER mix dark Porter beer with whiskey.  Owwww…

12/19/12: My new plan?  Every day on the way home I buy a 4-loco drink.  12% alcohol in a 24oz can.  It’s the only booze in the house. I take it, hide it in my room, and don’t drink it until I know I’m home for the night.  Just knowing it’s there for me calms me down.  I don’t care if the corner store people think I’m a drunk.  For some reason, those drinks affect me differently than whiskey does.  Maybe it’s the sugar.  But no matter what I’m doing, like yesterday I was trying to finish up a kitchen project (build a face cover for the trash compactor), but as soon as the drink hits my stomache, I turn into a zombie.  I go, sit in the front room and watch TV.  I’m buzzed but not crazy.  I don’t want more & more & more like I do with whiskey, and I don’t go nuts & punch walls or scream or talk to my kid’s friend on the Kinect pretending to be his “evil brother”.  Then I sleep, and boy do I sleep.  I wake up and it takes a minute to remember what day it is.  It’s not much progress, I know, and far short of my goal of sobriety.  I don’t care; it works for me.  It’s probably throwing me into mild sugar shock.

I dread the holidays.  I’m at my worst when there’s a whole day or more of nothing to do but think about drinking.  Maybe God can give me some strength to make it through the celebration of His Son’s birth without throwing the tree into the Nativity scene.  I started listening to Bible studies in the car.  I don’t know.  I never know.  One thing I’m sure of is I’m probably wrong almost all the time.  But I’m OK with myself if I can just stay OUT OF THE LIQUOR STORE for a while.  Don’t know why that’s so hard for me to do… I’m so sick of the mind games I play with myself.  Whiskey is cheaper per ounce of alcohol and if I measure it… I can control myself this time… All evidence and a dozen empty bottles to the contrary…

God bless you, whoever you are, reader.  I pray you would have more strength than I do.  And Merry Christmas!

2/6/13: Not much to report.  I have to say, I’m beginning to understand how Christian gay people feel.  I am ashamed.  I sneak the bottles into the house, hide them in my room.  I throw the empty bottles in the trash instead of recycling them so the neighbors don’t know.  I’m nervous around church people and feel like I can’t attend because I’ve got this huge problem.  And yet, I don’t want to quit.  I like it.  I’m drawn to alcohol and look forward every day to my secret sin.  I am, for all the cliche it evokes, in the closet.  I keep waking up swearing that was the last time, then spend the afternoon watching the clock until I can leave work and go get drunk again.

I am so sick and tired of apologizing, of feeling ashamed, of feeling unforgiveable.  People expect the world out of me.  Everyone loves me.  I do everything I possibly can to please everyone around me, at home & at work, and drinking alcohol is the only way I can shut myself off, shut down, go into my own little world, make myself unavailable so I can have a few hours of peace.  I’m really on the fence here, lately.  It’s clear that alcohol is going to be a part of my life; even if I manage to quit, I’ll have to deal with the temptation for years.  But it pisses me off that everyone expects so much out of me, and to maintain this level of performance without a crutch, a help, a distraction – it’s ridiculous!  I feel like joining a Drunk Day Parade, with a Jim Beam T-Shirt on a whiskey float, demanding the right to be respected, damn it, because I’m sick of this closet shit, of people looking down at me, judging me, for doing something that’s totally legal; just because it’s not THEIR problem, they can point the finger right at ME.  I don’t judge gay people; it’s a sin to have gay relations, just like it’s a sin to drink to excess, but unless I have no sin, I can’t judge anyone else.  And that will never, ever happen, and if it does, I’ll have the worst sin of all – pride.

Update 5/5/13:

Good news! I’m off the whiskey!  After a particularly bad episode in early April, after which I noticed on my cell phone that I had talked to someone from work and couldn’t for the life of me remember what I said, I decided to make a change.  Since April 7th, I have not had any hard liquor, not a drop.  So how did I manage to stop drinking the good stuff and ruining my life?  Here’s what my plan was (and is):

Step one: Only beer.  If I want to drink something, I have to go to the corner store and buy it, and only what I plan to consume.  No 6-packs, or kegs, or cases, in the name of saving money.  I’m not going to quit.  Tried it.  Been there.  Done that.  Doesn’t work.  One 24oz beer a day, or I’ll feel deprived.  Just doing that is a huge improvement over coming home and guzzling hard booze every day, then barely being able to function at work.

Step two: I don’t go into the liquor store.  Ever.  I can’t handle the temptation.  Just like if there’s more beer in the house I’ll find an excuse to drink it, if I go to the liquor store I’ll see myself as giving up again and go back to old habits.  No event is so joyous (or painful) that it justifies getting drunk on whiskey.  If I want alcohol, I have to go buy it from the corner store.  Period.

Step three: I promised to forgive myself.  The goal is only one, 24oz light beer a day.  Some days are worse than others.  I’ll come home after a hard day and just want to switch myself off; get so buzzed I can’t hardly walk.  So some days it’s two 24oz beers, others its a Four-Loco or some cheap “high gravity” stuff; It’s OK.  I can make a mistake, I’m allowed.  Every day is a new day; every day starts over, and I don’t beat myself up over drinking too much the night before.  As long as it was in a can, and it came from the corner store, it’s OK.

Step four: I started exercizing again.  I’ve been working out at the gym in the mornings; it’s the only time I can really call my own.  I’ve tried stopping at the gym on the way home, but I’m always tired from work and sometimes I have to work late.  Getting up at 4:20am was rough at first, but I did it.  And it makes me feel good about myself, and by the time I get to work at 7:30, I’m relaxed and ready to go.  At first it was awful, dragging my lazy butt to the car, half-asleep, then coming home barely able to move & getting ready for work.  But as I get better at it, and I don’t have a hangover, and I don’t let my pulse get over 130-135, it gives me energy instead of draining me.  Haven’t lost any weight, but I think my muscles are stronger … a little.

So a typical day goes like this:  I get up, splash water all over my head (so people will think I just took a shower), head to the gym, do 20-30 minutes on the elliptical machine (pulse around 125-135), then two sets each on four random weight machines, come home, shower & go to work.  Then on the way home, I buy a beer (or two if it’s been a rough day) at the same convenience store (I know they probably think I’m an alcoholic, but I don’t care), say hi to the wife & kids, lock myself in my home office, playing a video game, drinking my beer, and puffing on my ecig, until the stress of the day is gone, dozens of zombies are dead, and I’m ready to relax and be with my family.  If I feel the urge for more beer than I bought, I either check my BAC & then go get some, or lately I’ve just been taking Benadryl to make me sleepy.  An hour after that and I’m asleep…

That’s it.  I know I’m not perfect.  I know I still have a problem.  But I’m improving.  I’m not drinking half as much as I used to, and my kids never see me go crazy, my wife never has to take them away for fear of their safety, and the worst that happens is I stumble a little on the way to the bathroom, or fall asleep in the recliner.  Maybe someday I’ll be totally sober, but not today; today I’m happy that I’m better than I was yesterday, and that’s good enough for me.

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47 Responses to Last Call program review (www.drinklessnow.com)

  1. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    Just curious, it’s been a week, is it working?

    • admin says:

      Not yet. I have been marking lines on my bottles to keep track of how much I drink. Just about the same every day. I tried to cut down one day, and it was like sitting on my hands. The Kalmaro really helps, but the kit only came with three. I just ordered three more, and the guy on the phone told me, again, that the average person reports effects after 3-5 weeks. There ARE some that get it early, some later, but 90% of the time it 3-5 weeks. Today is the second day of my second week, and so far, nothing. I was really, really hoping for faster results, but I’m not giving up. My goal is to be 100% sober by the end of July, which will be 8 weeks.

  2. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    It was interesting to me how your story feels like my own in some ways, and I just wanted you to know that I enjoy reading your blogs, and I am rooting for you!

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Closet Tree Hugger. If you pray, send a few up on my behalf. It looks like it’s working, slowly but surely.
      -Mark

  3. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    That’s awesome! Just gotta put one foot in front of the other and take baby steps they say. I don’t pray anymore, just try to believe in myself and try to forgive myself for not being the perfect wife, employee, daughter, sister, etc. (works sometimes), and I’m just trying to cut back myself, remind myself how bad I feel physically after the fun is over. Don’t know if I could take the malt liquor route, yuck! Funny, we have all the tools and knowledge and still abuse ourselves. OK, not funny, I know. But I’ll be checking on you, and I may just pray for you.
    Christy

    • admin says:

      Thanks Christy. I appreciate your support. I’ll post an update here in a minute. I tried with sheer will-power for years, on and off, and nothing worked. With the wife having cancer last year, it drained every bit of will I had to live, much less control my drinking. Yesterday was another challenge, and I just don’t know how much more I can take before I have a complete breakdown…

  4. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    My doctor gave me Valium for when I decide to quit, it is supposed to help with the withdrawals, sweats, headaches, etc. and help prevent seizures. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s in my purse for when I’m ready. He gave me a month, or else he wants to put me in detox. He knows I’m not into pills, so he thinks I’m low risk for an addiction there. Have you talked to your doctor honestly? It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. It was as if the burden of my secret was lifted and a sense of hope was given to me. Just another avenue to check if you want.

    • admin says:

      If talking to your doctor works for you, then that’s great. I’ve told my doctor that I drink, about every other day (I lied), and he said, How many kids do you have? When I told him four, he said Ohh…. (read: that explains it!) My greatest fear is that I’ll have to face a room full of staring eyes at some stupid meeting; that’s what drove me to seek a do-it-yourself approach. I’m on too many pills already – for high blood pressure, reflux disease, panic disorder and high chlorestorol; I think that’s all right now. I love pills. I can swallow a whole handful at once. I’m at very high risk of getting addicted to anything, no matter what it is; if it feels good, I’ll do it until I pass out or throw up (I’m a bit of an extremist; moderation is NOT one of my options). This is day 2 of no alcohol, and with the proverbial poop about to hit the fan on this sex abuse allegation, I may allow myself a beer or two this evening, we’ll see. It’s still early in the program, I’ve got several weeks to go.

      Hang in there; just keep trying different things until you find what works for you. It’s like dieting. Every diet out there has people who say I’ve tried everything until I found Fat Melt Mega Shakes, and nothing worked until now! Everyone is different, you know…

  5. Dave says:

    Hope you’re doing well. Anxious to hear an update, as I’m very close to buying the program. Please let us know how the rest of week 3 has been.

  6. terryvision says:

    Great blog! I’ve been searching and searching for objective info on the “Last Call” program because I don’t trust most anything on the internet. It was strangely suspicious how little I could find. So, that either means that not many people have forked over the $800 + dollars for the Last Call Program or the company has done a hella good job with PR and SEO (which they have).

    You write well. You could seriously write a biography regarding everything surrounding this struggle and your life. You also have the irony and comedic insights to make it fun. Maybe “that” would be your best therapy? Immediate feedback is good but maybe you should dig down deeper to create something that will resonate with your first son and your daughter? Not that it’s about them, but it will help them to know more about you, thus, how they ended up in their own situations.

    Then, go out and create stuff! Birdhouses, grow corn, raise chickens, … give yourself a task you can not ignore! One where you have to be “present” when you’re not working your day job or taking care of your family. You need small successes in your life to work through the guilt that you blame for drinking. That guilt is “your” guilt. You will find if you approach the ones you “think” infused that guilt within you, that they are oblivious to your pain. The sooner you realize you bottled that up and use the “bottle” to keep it there, the sooner you will learn how to empty that bottle… forever and always. (I wrote this for you as well as me : )))

    • admin says:

      Thanks Terry. I actually did write a book “Into the Cross Walk” about my college days. It’s on the main web site. It’s my 4th day without a drink, and I feel empty. I don’t know what to do if I’m not drinking. I don’t want to do anything. Sit around, shuffle from room to room, waiting for bedtime. I’m hoping this fog will lift. Thank you for your encouragement… I need all I can get…

  7. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    Hi Mark, how are you doing? I’m on day 3 with Valium, so far so good as they say. I actually feel optimistic, and I wish you did also. You break my heart with your sadness. I’ve been trying to stay busy, dusted off the treadmill, cooking at home more. You’re right, it sucks, but I think you can do it, you’re smart, you’re friendly, and darn it, people like you! You can do it! Quote stolen from “The Waterboy”.

    • admin says:

      I think I could do that. Give large strong men cold water, then pound them to the ground when they insult me. I have a lot of rage & tension built up inside. They could make a movie about that – wait, they already did. You’re doing great, Christy, if you were able to quit cold-turkey like that. One day at a time, one pill at a time, one dose at a time, whatever it takes… anything but having to start over. My wife wanted me to drink just one beer, because my pacing was driving her nuts. I said No Way! I’m up to day 5; don’t want to go all the way back to zero again… God willing, I will never touch that poison again, because there’s no such thing as “one beer”. Just “one MORE beer” is more like it…

  8. Vodkadrinker's wife says:

    Hi Mark,
    How are you doing? Love your blog! You can do it. Do not stop.
    My husband drinks more than half of bottle Swedish vodka a day for the last 5 years Nothing can helps him stop, I tried everything, rehab, herbal…his liver is not functioning. I’m about to buy program for him. I can’t wait to read more of your blog

    • admin says:

      I’m doing fine today. Yesterday was a full-fledged hangover that lasted until about 6pm. I did take a few gulps (two shots? guessing….) in the evening, so technically today is my new sober #1 day. I’m proud of making it 7 days. I haven’t done that in a looong time. It was easier than the last cold-turkey attempt I made (lasted one day) but still not effortless. Like I said in the last post, Saturday I just got overrun with stress and disappointment, and off to the store I went…

      I’m not giving up on the program. I said I’d give it a full 8 weeks, and I intend to finish the course. The last email I got from my “support guy” said that it lasts 8 weeks for a reason – some people, it takes that long. Today is day 5 of week 6. I’ve done some extra work, identifying the triggers that make me drink, and I started reading that Kick the Drink book, which I highly recommend. I’m not much of a reader, but the guy that wrote that book writes it in a way that I don’t mind reading it – I like his style. Not that I’ve gotten very far, though. Guilt and stressful family visits are my two triggers, and if I can avoid those (or learn to deal with them), maybe it’ll give this program a chance.

      I didn’t bother to read it, but the program comes with diet & exercises to help rebuild the liver. I have no idea if that would help your husband or not; I’m sure the same type of stuff is all over the internet. I don’t have that problem, as far as I know. Keep in touch – let me know how it goes…

      -Mark

      • Vodkadrinker's wife says:

        Hi Mark,
        Thank you so much for the reply. I’m a stranger to you but I’m so happy for you when i read your last update, I cried. Please, do not give up! I’ll order program for my husband tonight.

        • admin says:

          Thanks, I really feel like I turned a corner. Something just clicked. I am strangely confident that I can do this, despite my long list of previous failures… it’s wierd. It’s like pulling back the curtain and all the fascade about alcohol vanished. Also, as long as you’re ordering stuff, get the Kick the Drink book. It goes with the program’s premise quite well – the two compliment each other nicely. I ordered three books to help me; the other two about handling guilt, neither one of which I would recommend. Good luck, and thanks for listening…

  9. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    Wow, I am soooooooo happy for you! Congratulations!

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much! It’s been over a week now, and I’m depressed and have no energy still, but it’s all part of the healing process. I have a vacation coming up that I expect will help recharge the old batteries, and it’ll be great not to have to pack booze for fear of needing a fix. My wife & kids are certainly happier that I’m not “gone” all the time, but I still have work to do, repairing some relationships and deciding how to spend the rest of my life, now that I can actually think straight :)

  10. Closet Tree Hugger says:

    You give me hope, thanks.

  11. Jesse says:

    Hello,
    I just came across the Last call program website today and then your blog but I must admit I’m a little skeptical about it working for me.
    I’m recently married and my wife wants a divorce because I can’t seem to have the will to quit drinking and I turn into a verbally abusive person when drunk. I blackout everytime I drink at least 3 or 4 times a week and have that horrible guilty feeling the following morning. I have been to AA meetings and it did not work for me. I felt out of place being there. I just am tired and disgusted of drinking and don’t want to risk my health and loose my wife. I’m 34 and have been drinking heavely for the Last 7 years. I want to quit and live a happy life. I’m also bitter and negative about everything that surrounds me and that was not me 8 years ago. I feel alcohol is making me a very negative depressive person. When you purchase the program do they offer you payment installments?

    • admin says:

      Jesse,

      I went to PDAP (Palmer Drug Abuse Program) meetings in high school with a girlfriend. I went there just to be with her, although I was taking drugs at the time. Everyone said they loved me and wanted a hug; kind of gave me the willies. I don’t know if the program will work for you and I don’t know if they have a payment plan; what I DO know is that it bought me 8 weeks of time with my wife. She had started making comments like I don’t know how I can let the kids live with a drunk, or If you can’t control this then I’m going to have to leave, and Maybe you should check into the hospital … Once I ordered the program I said Honey, I just bought this stuff that’s supposed to work really good, it’s a gradual thing, just give me 8 weeks, it takes a long time to start working for some people, but if I’m not sober after 8 weeks then we can talk about doing something else… I figured, worse case, it got her off my back for 8 weeks. My wife is very patient, though, and as long as she could see that I was working on it, she was OK. I was actually a little surprised that it actually did anything. I thought it was a scam, but I bought it anyway, figured what the heck, it’s cheaper than booze (or divorce)!

      Keep in touch, and if you’d rather email me directly I’m at mark @ ls1m . com … good luck …

  12. Anon says:

    I’m very young, especially- probably- in comparison to you. I’ve struggled with alcohol addiction for long enough to at least not be COMPLETELY bizarre, haha, and I write also. We should talk. There’s something about you and your writings that make me feel we’d have a lot in common and you could give me some much needed advice.

    • admin says:

      Well, I’m not THAT old, although when I was in my 20′s, 46 seemed ancient… Feel free to email me any time, mark “at” LS1M “dot” com.

  13. Larry the blackout king says:

    Hey Mark, I’m sorry for your struggles with alcohol.. I’ve been struggling with alcohol addiction or at least “pounding” for fun since I was 16 … I’m now 32 .. My first blackout was at a sweet 16 back in 96. In 2009 I received an awesome reward of excellence from the nypd for a dwi after 10 hrs of drinking.. After being at a red light with my foot on the brake windows open and sleeping. Then an officer knocked on my door and I said “hey what’s up .. Where am I??? .. I took an oasis program too help with my drinking as well as lower my offense being a first time offender and all… I was sober for 4 and a half months because I was seeing a therapist from the program 2 times a week at a burger king and she would swab me 2 times a week ( Monday’s and Fridays ) to make sure I wasnt drinking. The swab detected more than 72 hrs of non drinking .. Now this worked one … Because I was scared of the law and two because I didnt want a misdemeanor on my record .. 2 days after I passed the program I immediately went back to drinking .. Mind you, I was sober on new years eve.. And my 30th birthday .. Which effin sucked !!!! Well now it’s been 2 years of hard drinking and blackouts and numerous amounts of insane things .. Some illegal .. My drinking has become utterly disappointing .. Last week I woke up in a puddle 2 blocks away from my house with grass on my face and my cell phone 10 feet away at about 630 am … No clue how. I came home and ordered the last call program .. I had researched it about a week prior .. I didn’t want to spend 800 and change on it .. But WTF is 800! When my avg bar tab per week is 500-600 …mind you im a bar manager in manhattan .. Im 32 have no money to show for myself and still live with my parents
    ..today was day one of me using just sobrexa .. I went out with guys after work and only had 3 beers .. Today is the first day I’m home and I remembered how I got here in months .. And I’m actually using my time on your site .. Typing this out .. I can’t fking believe it … I don’t know what tomorrow brings .. But I hope this stuff keeps working … I only took 4 pint glasses of 4 droppers today about 3 hrs apart .. Normally I drink what I call dirty stellas or dirty blue moons which is 3/4 a beer and the rest is stoli oranj … And have about 8 to 12 Roughly about 12 ounces of vodka and 96 ounces of beer … yeah I’m effin nuts ..but here I am reading your story .. I think that your ” chemical imbalance” which is what this stuff fixes supposedly is going to take you longer because your in your 40s .. Your teaching or erasing a much longer time of drinking and trying to find yourself back in the day when drinking wasn’t used or wasn’t used to get wasted .. Stick with it buddy .. You can do this for you, your wife, your kids .. Take your life back and own it …. FK ALCOHOL!!!! Pls pardon all my grammatic errors I was really excited to talk about this .. Take care and God bless .. LLAROSE47@gmail.com – Larry

  14. sue says:

    Wow. I am so glad to have stumbled upon your site. First and foremost, because I know I am not alone in my obsession and its resulting self-loathing.

    I was attracted to this program because I want to escape my shit privately, but wonder if I am seeking a “magic elixer” in order to avoid the real world….

    I still don’t know the answer, but am grateful to you for sharing your story – and your pain and struggles.

    This is a monstrous and massive problem that we have. It brings us momentary joy, and incredible pain and self-loathing. I long to be free of the clutches of alcohol.

    God damnit, I want to be free. But I have no idea how I can cope without my mistress (should I say mister, since I’m a female?). Stupid, alcohol induced thoughts…..

    Bless you, Sue

    • admin says:

      It’s been a rough road, that’s for sure. I didn’t drink a drop yesterday for the first time in a month, but the only way I could make it through the night was to promise myself a new bottle of Jim Beam today. Sad, isn’t it? It does bring momentary joy, or rather escape. I just don’t know what the heck else I can do; I’m like a bird over water and I can’t stop the thoughts without it…

      I said this was going to be a totally honest review, and it is. I don’t know if it helped me, or does help anyone. All I know is that I quit drinking for a while, and now I’m back to the daily struggle to at least limit my intake, not just for me but for my family. I find myself disappointed sometimes that I wake up at all. This life stinks … I’m ready for the next one…

      Bless you too, Sue, and I sincerely hope you find a cure, either this program or another. Maybe it’s like losing weight – EVERYONE says “I tried all the programs and THIS one is the only one that worked for me!” Maybe you just have to keep trying things until you find what works for you.

      Take care…
      -Mark

  15. David says:

    thanx for the honest blog….I watched the video 20 ago and questioned the product …..I just turned 50 and my job is art and house finishing and my hands are starting to shake making my day like hell and yet i sit here with a g 2 mixed with vodka and chain smoking and whats sad is that once was a bodybuilder ……going to try to get some extra cash to go to rehab and hope my customers dont mind me being away for a while , it is a tough economy and I could be fired………wishing you , my self and everyone with this problem luck and happiness

  16. Deborah says:

    Hi this helped me so much tonite to know I am not alone. I am desperate for help but so afraid to quit drinking. I know u get it. I was wasted all day yesterday while my 7 yr old was home sick from school. I am so ashamed and embarrassed. I know that my drinking caused me to lose my job that i loved and now I am spirallying out of control. I am so scared.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Deborah. Don’t feel alone. I still have a job, but noone here knows that I have a drinking problem. I hate being an alcoholic. It’s something I am very ashamed of. If I had cancer or parkinson’s disease, well, I’d get all the sympathy in the world; but I drink too much, so I guess I just deserve what i get… hang in there…

  17. Marie says:

    Mark,
    I hope this finds you doing better.
    I want to thank you for your honest and well-written journal post of your experience. So much of your experience has mirrored mine. While in ways your words were difficult to read because I can so relate, I must tell you that there was also comfort in them for me. And for me and the others who responded to you being able to relate is very valuable. You let me know that there is hope but it will be a process. I read another of your posts about depression and know exactly what you mean about putting your needs on the back burner while you try to do everything right for everyone else with little if any appreciation in return. I know that I need to learn to love myself, forgive myself and some how try to restore my self-esteem that slowly eroded after 27 1/2 years of marriage to my ex-husband who chose to have more than 25 affairs in that time (he hid it well- I was the last to know-but he divorced me-go figure). If I can do those things (much easier said than done) I think I will have a much greater chance of giving up the need to drink to escape from myself.

    I will be thinking of you and sending up my prayers and any positive energy I can muster often for your recovery.

    Thank you again for you frankness.

    Marie

    • admin says:

      Marie,

      I’m so happy that you were able to glean some hope out of my sad tale. There is hope. Thank you for your prayers, and I am EXTREMELY sorry about what that jerk-off husband did to you. I have no sympathy for cheaters – I’ve been happily married for 24 years and would rather DIE than hurt my sweetheart. From what I’ve heard, though, that’s the exception rather than the rule. Men apparently more often than not earn their reputation for selfishness…

      I did manage to go a whole day without whiskey. Have you ever heard of the fill-your-house-with-junk-food diet? It goes like this: you want a cake? Buy three. Buy chocolate. Fill every room in your house with flaming hot cheeto’s and cabury eggs. I saw a show on this. At first, this 400-lb lady ate until she was sick, but after several weeks, she got sick of looking at half-eaten cakes, ding-dong wrappers and rock-hard gummy bears all over the floor. Eventually, she stopped binging and just nibbled on the snacks. Well, I’ve been back on the whiskey. I buy a 1.75 liter bottle, stash it in my home office, and have figured out that my wife won’t notice if I have between 3 and 5 hits on an empty stomache, or 5-7 hits if I’ve eaten something. I’ve managed to do that, and actually enjoy the relaxation, avoid the panic attacks and violent outbursts, and I feel a little sneeky which makes it fun.

      Hang in there, and thanks for your comment…
      -Mark

  18. Brandon says:

    If anyone wants to try the drops I’m going to sell mine. I only used one of each bottles. Still sealed with the DVD and booklet. I didn’t like the taste and quit drinking on my own. Email me for questions. Wildboy_1975@yahoo.com

  19. Christin says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your story and being so open and honest. I truly thought I was the only one who felt these things. This is not something that I can talk about with my family. I grew up in a very poor family…I always got good grades, etc. ..I was the “good” one in the family. After having my second child and being in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, I began to do drugs. When I got pregnant with my third son, I continued to do drugs because subconsciously I hoped that would have a miscarriage. I couldn’t see bringing another child into that kind of a household. I finally managed to accept that I was having a baby and dropped the drugs with no withdrawal and no harm to the baby (thank God). Then, as soon as he was born, I was right back on drugs and began the drinking. Finally, I got off the drugs and resorted to only drinking alcohol. That was 8 years ago. I don’t think I’ve gone one day without drinking in 8 years. I can only imagine what my liver looks like! I got divorced about 5 years ago which caused me to drink even more. Now, I am re-married to a good man who hates my drinking as his dad was a severe alcoholic all of his life. I am (fairly) happy in my life right now but the drinking is BAD. I cannot go without it. I finally realized I have a bad problem when I began hiding the bottles in my closet and then throwing them away at the grocery store. I use these excuses daily:

    - I deserve to relax
    - I’m not hurting anyone else
    - I don’t drink until the kids are in bed
    - I am Irish and can handle it!

    I am sick of the excuses. I have tried taking herbal supplements such as L-Glutamine and Kudzu Root which do help if I can remember to take them. I am so sad and depressed and angry at the world and myself. I am a Christian and go to church and bible study every week. Then, I come home and get wasted and pass out to hide my pain and guilt. I just want to say thank you…your words mean more to me than anything else. I wish I had a support system but I don’t have anyone who I can talk to who actually understands and doesn’t say shit like “just stop drinking”.

    I will keep you in my prayers! Thanks for compelling me write this and keeping me out of the bottle for 20 minutes. It feels good to tell someone, even like this. Please share your progress with me in the future.

    Christin

    • admin says:

      Thank you Christin. It’s nice to know I’m not the only Christian in the world with this “secret sin”. I’m glad my story helped you out, if only a little. I know what you mean about hiding the bottles. I started stuffing them in a filing cabinet, and then accidentally left the drawer open. I have to sneak the full ones into the house when everyone’s asleep, and now I have about 6 big Jim Beam bottles that I don’t know how to get rid of. I can’t put them in the recycling bin – everyone will see them!

      I thought about starting a church. Typical churches don’t let drunks in, so I’d have to get someone else to run it. They also don’t let in gays, or unwed mothers, divorced people, anyone living together without being married, girls that dress provocatively, guys with too many tatoos, anyone who hasn’t taken a bath, smokers … and then I realized that the only people in attendance would be stuck-up judgemental freaks. I quit going to church – I think I said that above somewhere. I really would like to have a place I could go to for Bible study. It’s the preaching I hate. Even if I’m not doing the sin-of-the-week topic of his sermon, I go home feeling empty and guilty. If I did start a church, I wouldn’t call it that, and I’d have a sign out front that said “gays, drug addicts, drunks, fornicators and all sinners, we meet Sunday at noon. All other people, please go away; if you’re already perfect, then we can’t help you.”

      I haven’t gone a day without drinking, still, but it’s getting a little better. I got so mad on Halloween. I too was the “good” one in the family, but the enormous pressure of advanced classes and never-ending guilt from parents and church finally broke me and I ended up being a college drop-out. My dad – I love my dad, he means well, but he’s somewhat OCD and autistic, and he will focus on my like a freaking laser, ESPECIALLY when I’m alone with him. Well, on Halloween, I set up a huge display, fog machine, stroble light, music – it was pretty cool – and I guess I had too much to drink but figured all I had to do was answer the door, look scary & hand out candy. That is, until my dad showed up. He stayed there for two hours (my wife was running around with the kids trick-or-treating) and from what I can remember, I told him through slurred speach about my troubles at work and with my daughter’s fiance (unemployed baby-daddy). Completely ruined the whole night. Look, maybe it’s wrong for me to drink, but it’s also wrong to judge me because I do. It’s my body. If I want to fill it with whiskey every night of my life until my liver explodes, I will. It’s one of the only things that noone can stop me from doing; it’s my secret sin, and I like it. Until the next morning, of course…

      I wish I could “just stop” but I’ve given up on that. Maybe I’ll try those herbs you mentioned. I’m blessed enough that my wife completely and unconditionally accepts me, drunk, sober, or anywhere in between. Just as long as I don’t get violent or drive or scare the kids, which I don’t really do any more. I’m sorry, but from the moment I wake up at 4:30am until I go to bed at 9:30, my life is lived for me. I can’t make any decisions about what we do or where we go or what we eat – I’ve relegated all of that to my wife, I don’t care anyway, and here at work I stay until the work is done – around 8pm the other day, and Saturdays are assumed just part of the job. If I could just stay happy with a moderate amount of booze; I’ve given up on quitting, but if I could just cut back a little… I have a blood test in a few days and I wonder if my liver is going to show any symptoms.

      I know I’m rambling… I’ll shut up now. I need to write another post anyway about politics. I have solutions to all of America’s problems ;)

      Take care, and email me any time…
      -Mark

  20. Kay Lynn says:

    Goodness! I am in the same boat and trying to reclaim my life at 28 years old before I lose it!

    • admin says:

      Well, I’m right there with you, Kay. I’m 46 and can feel my life slipping away with each sip, and yet I continue. I tried the herbs mentioned above; didn’t work. I’m a little buzzed right now, and just wrote a post on how to get to Heaven. Wishful thinking perhaps. God bless you and may He give you the strength that has eluded me…

  21. anon says:

    I’m in the same trench as you mate, but let’s get the hell out of it. Harden up!

    “There’ll come a time
    When you might think
    That even God’s against you
    That’s the time
    When you face yourself
    I’m talkin’ ’bout tryin’ again
    Cause there’s only one true failure
    And that’s giving up
    And there’s only one true loss
    And that’s not tryin’ to win
    Say it!”

    • admin says:

      I keep thinking about that Bible verse that says sin doesn’t have power over you any more after you get saved. I don’t question His Word, but I doubt my own faith. I have improved, a little. I’ll post an update in a sec. It’s not much of an improvement, but I’m poking my head out of the trench, clawing at the walls, but I’m still in it…

  22. Sue Parris says:

    Loved reading your post and comments. I bought the $800 program, it worked for 6 weeks. I was saving the rest for Christmas and am back to old routines. Found your post when I couldn’t go to my favorite places any more and find the Last Call Forum?
    I need a suppoort group on line.

    • admin says:

      The Last Call forum gets zero traffic, you’re right about that. I haven’t decided if the program works for some people or not; it’s supposed to be a permanent change, not a temporary one. I have gotten better, though. I’m going to post an update in a minute… Hang in there…

  23. Dave says:

    Do you know how funny you are? I realize the subject and plight are not funny but you are not the worthless guy you claim to be. You write extraordinarily well–with great self-awareness and humor. Do you have any idea how gifted you are?? Look at all the people above you have positively affected. How many countless others have read your blog and chosen not to respond but acted on your insights? Sir, may God bless you such that you realize that you have value, that others do see that value but may not express it as often or freely as deserved and most of all, that you come to love yourself because that is the love that matters most. I love you and I don’t even know you. Thank you…

    • admin says:

      Thank you Dave. I’m glad you think my efforts and honesty here are not wasted. You want to know why I feel worthless, why I couldn’t possibly love myself, why everything I do seems like nothing? Two reasons. The first reason, oddly enough, is church. I’ve sat through dozens and dozens if not hundreds of sermons, and not ONE of them said, It’s OK if all you ever do in life is provide for your family and stay out of trouble. I NEVER heard that. It’s always, Sure, you never cheated on your wife, but have you ever LOOKED at someone? Sure, you give money to the church, but do you go on VISITATION? Sure, you clean your own house, but do you voluneer for the NURSERY? Ugh. When I first got saved, I started making a list. Every week it was something else. Give. Pray. Witness. Give more. Don’t listen to music. Don’t drink any alcohol, ever. Don’t do anything fun. It was confusing, because they were telling me to be a hermit and extrovert at the same time; don’t do anything except tell everyone about Jesus. Reason number two? I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but … well, let’s just say murder makes you feel guilty. I don’t care if it’s not against the law to kill a two-inch darling little unborn baby, but I did. Well, I sort of did. I killed my first, unborn daughter (don’t ask me how I know), and that thought, that image, the nightmares and the guilt have haunted me for over 20 years… not to mention the fact that I probably also killed dozens if not hundreds of premature babies. Not necessarily my fault, I guess; I used to take the bus and walk to the blood donation center. I lied. I walked in with long hair, skinny legs and a black concert jersey, and said No I don’t do drugs, because I didn’t want to be turned away. Well, it turned out that I had a very rare blood type, Oh Neg-Neg, whatever that means, and it was specifically useful for premature babies, because it was bland. It also didn’t have any flavor at all, but that’s another subject altogether – anyway, when they started testing for Hepititus-C in the late ’80′s, I tested positive as a carrier. Don’t remember ever having it, but I do. Now they won’t take my blood. I’m on the Do Not Donate list. So how many little, tiny, precious babies got transfusions from infected Mark blood? I have no idea. But it’s more than one. More than one life that I’ve stolen, and no matter what I do, no matter how much I give or sacrifice or try to drink myself to death, I will never, ever be able to forgive myself for that. I will never be able to bring life back to those sinless infants, or offer any comfort to the traumatized parents…

      I hope the Myan Appocolypse is real, because I’m ready. I’ve been ready for years….

    • admin says:

      You know, that isn’t fair – my reply above is a bit of a bummer. I guess I was just disappointed in myself. I had gone 2-3 weeks without whiskey, and on the way home Friday morning (I was so ticked off I left at 10am) I stopped at the liquor store. I got wasted, managed to piss off my wife & punched the wall so hard my left hand looks like a balloon animal.

      This thing about church, well, I know the preacher means well, but it’s a shotgun approach. Just spray the crowd and maybe you’ll hit someone. It’s my own dang fault that I take it all so seriously and feel like he’s always aiming at ME. And I know better; there is nothing I could ever DO to earn or lose my salvation; give me a break. If the Pharasees couldn’t be good enough then there’s no way I could be – and Jesus was more angry at them than anyone else! Jesus accepts me. My wife accepts me. That’s good enough for me.

      And I have to learn to forgive myself. The abortion was performed by someone else, and the decision to have one was driven by my old (VERY bossy and controlling) girlfriend. And I don’t have any proof that my donated blood killed babies; maybe I got the disease right before that last time I donated, I don’t know. Besides, all this happened when I was a stupid teenager. I did a lot of stupid stuff; it’s actually amazing that I ever survived.

      Thank you for your support, Dave. It’s Monday, the whiskey bottle is empty, start of a new week, and another chance to make a fresh start. I’m going to do my best to not fall down or hate myself when (not “if”) I do. I’m just a human, amongst many others who are also battling this disease. Hey if it was easy, I wouldn’t need help, and AA wouldn’t exist…

      God bless you Dave. Have a good day…

  24. ss says:

    What number can I call to order and support. You guys have been down as far as web and phone W/O notice. Can you let me know whats going on. Thx

    • admin says:

      I’m not a store; I’m a former customer. I just pulled up http://www.drinklessnow.com and it said something about a new web site. I guess they’re redesigning it. Found this on the front page:

      Want to order or check on your shipment? Have a question?
      Call us: (828) 272-6885 Ext. 4

      hth
      -Mark