“High Sobriety in Sober Space”

Ol' Smiley Boy

My name is Jim and I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been on, I’ve been off. I was raised in an alcohol chugging family environment.  For my High School Senior Prom my Mom handed me a bottle of Jim Beam on my way out the door and said “Have a good time.” When I first got into the “off” position, off booze that is, I discovered I had a lot of baggage to unpack. It must have been a great trip ‘cause I had plenty of bags!

The unpacking procedure can take a long time. One of the challenging parts during the process for me was approaching the aspect of just plain having fun without alcohol inducement. (Drugs fits here too as I’m sure  it is quite the same). I mean, think about how many stories start out with, “man we were so ef’d-up…and Joey was up on that bridge takin’ a leak all over…” OK, so maybe it’s only my stories that went that way but you know what I mean.

It was actually a friend of mine, Barbara, who expressed to me she wanted the “being ef’d-up” part of the stories left out when telling them in the presence of her 15 year old son. And rightfully so, she didn’t want her son to be thinking grown-ups seem to only have fun when they are buzzed up.

Then there’s the whole lack of social inhibition part. If someone asked me about the best sexual experience I ever had, I would have to say “I don’t remember, I know we did ‘stuff’ but aside from that, I don’t remember a whole lot about it.” What a waste if you think about it. There is nothing like “Sober Sex,” but that is a way whole different story from here (and I do remember the best experiences there, vividly).

So now the question: What is Fun? And what is this Reality shit all about?

“The Last of the Mojitos” is a sobriety blog site. An opportunity to answer the question…”Are you for Real?” Or more succinctly, What is real? … What is real good, what is real fun, what is real hot and a bit of what’s not thrown in.

Frankly, I know nothing about blogging so I am just going to get started and see where it goes. I do, however, know some things about “being sober” and not being sober; and of course the transition(s) from the “not,” to the sober and back again (and back … again). I believe it is a subject worthy of attention.

For those who have always been sober folks, it will be good to have your input here as well where we can all share experiences we know of the “Real World.” And believe me, while being ef’d-up on drugs and/or alcohol is by all means a “real” situation, it leaves you clueless as to what the real world has to offer.

Let’s take the opportunity to inspire, create, invent and delineate. Help me make this site an inspirational place for all walks to share and experience real Life … matters of the Heart, Courage, Bravery, Creativity. Let’s put the “why” in “why not?” (I just wanted to say that…sounds catchy doesn’t it?) Why not just get ef’d-up today?… Here’s why (not). Why not take some of these pills here?… Here’s why (not). And so on.

Consider this too: we are at a place in human history where we will all need some clear thinking on how to proceed. The world is a much smaller place than ever in terms of each of our own effects upon it.

So, let’s get started:


San Felipe Shrimp Festival Huge Success

I recently went to San Felipe in Baja CA for their annual “Shrimp Festival.” The phrase I use as you can see is The Shrimp Fest was a Huge Success in classic “read all about it” syntax. This was my second such venture though this one was different as I was not partaking in the Margarita Line this year.

Those who have read a few of my “mojito” stories know I present a guy who has been “back and forth” in the Mojito World and presently moving “forth.” So this year…I tasted the food. I could tell the difference between bar-b-qued and fried shrimp. And there were a lot of varieties of each.

Those shown on the grill above are wrapped in bacon and then a dipping sauce comes with it, plus a little chunk of bread was $1.25 each. Two or three made a meal all by themselves, let alone the shrimp tacos, burritos, even hamburgers and hot dogs “shrimp style” which I didn’t get around to trying out. There was also a batter dipped and fried with coconut flakes shrimp which was quite good also.

For the small fishing village of San Felipe, it is a big event. The main street


Malecón means “jetty” or “breakwater” in Spanish. In downtown San Felipe, the Malecón is the street that is closest to the water with the tourist shops, pharmacies, restaurants, and bars. Day or night, this is where most of the action is.

along the “Bahia San Felipe”, Bay of San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez, is closed down and vendors of the usual “fair” variety set up in and along the street. On the main stage the variety ranges from traditional dancing to Salsa bands to Mexican cover bands doing English rock and roll including Beatles and Credence.

With San Felipe located only 2 hours over the border access of Mexicali, there were plenty of “Gringos” there. It is actually a destination for many folks seeking an affordable community in which to retire or even relocate for a “simpler” lifestyle. It is the 3rd time I have been there in a little over a year and it looks like more and more fun each time.

It’s pretty nice in the daylight too, that is if you like fishing, boating, sand and dune buggy-ing, hanging at the beach or trying lots of the local flare.


Who Let the Dogs Out…?

Dog House (3)

Yes, it is close to Halloween. But that’s not what this story is about. While I was visiting San Francisco last weekend, my friend Tess took me to an event downtown called the Folsom Street Fair, an event celebrating “alternative lifestyles?” I did mention it was San Francisco.

The event started in 1984 and is California‘s third largest spectator event and the world’s largest leather event and showcase for BDSM products and culture.[1] It has grown as a non-profit charity, and local and national non-profits benefit with all donations at the gates going to charity groups as well as numerous fundraising schemes within the festival including games, beverage booths and even spanking for donations to capitalize on the adult-themed exhibitionism.” (from Wikipedia)

I joined in this photo with a couple of “Dog Fetish” participants. The fellow on my left called himself Felix (whom I always thought was a cat) and the other appeared to be sporting a “virtual” muzzle as I didn’t catch his name. If it were Halloween I would be going as Casper the Ghost. It was hot that day and while I availed myself of the buttoned up look to get some “airflow,” I felt for the “men in uniform” who were not at such liberty. And believe me, when I observed other “specimens” in all array from butt naked to leather g-strings (only), chains and collars, elaborate make-up displays, etc and so on and on and on; I wasn’t too concerned about opening the shirt and baring “whitey” to the crowd. (and no sun block on hand either).

So what has this to do with sobriety? I’m not sure. However, I would not have ordinarily gone to this type of event from lack of interest, not moral judgment. It wasn’t until thinking about it a day or so later that it became a decent metaphor for a sober thought. These people are as into their alternate lifestyle as any addict is into their addiction. For the most part it is not a socially acceptable lifestyle as is similar for the addicted individual. Alcoholism may be less maligned than hard core Drug Addiction since the social line is a fine one for drinkers, as the drinker, unless obviously so, may be “in the closet” (so to speak) and not so apparent to the public. Certain drugs can be that way too including prescribed drugs, but it is a little hard to “conceal” the fact you are wearing a leather jock strap and that’s all.

The point is, these are worlds people live in. It occurred to me that being ef’d up is a world of its own as is one’s affinity for “leather.” And of course, there are many, many worlds out there. The thought is…that isreality. One of the main activities in being sober is paying attention to reality. Not that it’s all you’ve got, it’s all any of us have. It used to be said we should “celebrate our differences.” I think we should pay more attention to what we have in common. While it was not a world I would personally find myself in, it is as real a part of this world as each of our own worlds are.

I guess the “moral” of the story is I suspect we are all in a better place when worlds don’t collide.


Getting High…or…I’ll take the Ladder


For anyone who has never climbed their way to the top of a sailboat’s mast, anyone?, it is one of those experiences which includes the phrase, “Don’t Look Down.” Compounding that experience is the fact that the boat below can move while you are up there! It rocks!

Now applying a bit of physics to the motion, when someone happens to step “on board” at the bottom while you are (way up) at the top, the deck may only move a few inches or so; but the fulcrum applied to the length of the mast makes your movement at the top in feet and is definitely a case to “Hang On!”

So what does this have to do with “Sober Fun?” It came to mind thinking about this week’s story which has to do with cleaning out the gutters on the house. What? What could possibly be fun about that? And what has that to do with “all things sober?”

Sobriety puts you in touch with “all things”…real. The point of this story for me is to consider how different it might have been “un-sober.” The gutters, you know, are up there. If your house is two stories or you live on a hillside, up there is on a ladder. I mean a real ladder, not a “get that old electric wok off the top shelf” ladder.

On flat ground, maneuvering a real ladder up against the high part of a house is already a formidable task. Now add a new variable in the ground not being flat. Entering the equation is which way the ground slopes relative to the side of the house you are working on. When the ground slopes to or away from the side it is a matter of adjusting the length of the ladder to make the best “throw.” With a stable base and flat lean on the house, it is a simple matter of climbing up and down the ladder…no sweat.

The worst part is when the ground slopes up or down in the same direction the wall (roof edge) is running. Unless you have adjustable feet at the bottom of the ladder you have to use your imagination and…improvise. So…if the slope is “significant” and the height is “respectable,” you actually have a similar scenario to the boat and mast image. How is that? Well, to improvise means you put whatever you come up with (bricks, blocks, wood chunks, old tires) under the foot of the ladder on the downhill side so the ladder will stand up straight and not lean to left, lean to the right…stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight.

If the ground happens to be soft (like just after the rain we had the night before I did this) there is a chance that while applying ones weight to the ladder, the foot and/or support can sink a bit into the ground. I had to use two four inch garden blocks and a two inch paving stone to get the downhill foot up to the uphill height. They were set right on the ground so they too sloped counting on friction to avoid a “predicament.”

With each step up the ladder, I watched to see if the blocks were about to slip or sink into the ground, and consequently which way I was going to jump should the unthinkable version of “timmmberrrrrr!!!!” begin to occur (knowing gravity would not likely make it fall uphill). A settling of a couple of inches at the bottom could mean a couple of feet at the top! Tuck and roll in that case would take me all the way down to the street!

I made it to the top, and while holding onto the gutter gave a couple of “butt thrust” pushes to determine if the feet were going to hold. I pictured myself dangling and hanging on to the gutter (Helllppp!) like you see in the movies, should it decide to blow … Now I know you are waiting for me to tell you that’s what happened … but it didn’t. I got the work done there and descended safely back to earth.

Was that a result of sober safety? Maybe as it would not have been unusual in the past life for me to power down a couple of malt liquors before-hand to “drum up the courage.” Goof Off is more like it. But now I had to move the ladder to the highest part of the roof! The ground there slopes down and away from the surface I was leaning it on which now adds the potential of the bottom slipping out from under.

I extended the ladder to its fullest twenty-two foot length and leaned it up there. The top just barely made it to the edge of the gutter so I was doing the full monty, er, length to get to the top. (Did I mention I had lost just over twenty pounds in a little more than a month of cutting out the sauce?) I was confident it would not be a problem making the ascent so I put my attention to how well the feet were set to the ground. This of course includes determining if the angle of the ladder is enough so as not to fall backward while at the top; a scene also immortalized in movies.

Now, standing back looking at twenty-two feet of ladder from the ground does not look unyieldingly daunting. However, the “sensation” of height I believe becomes exponential with each step taken, beginning with the thought of even taking the next step. Twenty-two feet even achieves that “don’t look down” status, for me at least (I have fallen off a roof before), and as I reached the top I think I left some finger imprints in the metal of the gutter itself.

I made it to the top, and “carefully” got the work done there and … Then it was time to come down! (Did I mention I have just over twenty pounds I still want to lose since cutting out the sauce?) On the way up the ladder I climbed rung for rung like any ladder, arms slightly extended and feet taking each next step in turn. On the way down, however, it was a whole different story. I don’t know what makes the difference but I was huggin’ that ladder like a fireman on a pole. I had a “significant” grip on each side of the ladder and that extra twenty pounds I mentioned was protruding in and out of the spaces in the ladder like a slinky going down a set of stairs. I wasn’t about to lean back and I think I left a whole layer of epithelium tissue from my belly on each rung, even through my shirt!

But alas, the job was done. Miller time? ‘Fraid not. It was just nice to have been outside and active and getting something necessary done, picked up and ready for the next thing…instead of a nap had I gone the malt liquor route.


Oh Crap, here he comes again…

DSCN176515840001The title of this one is “for the birds.” And what kid hasn’t given them a chase when the opportunity has presented itself? Seems like pretty simple fun and while annoying to the birds, hardly dangerous as you will never catch them.

As the end of summer draws near, we had a nice three day weekend (Labor Day) to Bar-B-Q and get outside, that is, where it was nice to be outside. I am fortunate enough to live in an area the weather was nice and typically it is rather HOT this time of year, it was pleasantly in the 80’s and crystal clear.

Feeling neglected in my garage was my 1965 Mustang convertible. Being busy was my only excuse for not having gotten it out earlier, but this was now the time. It was time to get out and “chase the birds.” While I guess that could have a variety of meanings, it is as simple as enjoying the simplicity of what entertained us as kids. The sky was beautiful as I could see by looking straight up where the roof would have been. The trees and landscape were alive and crisp, the weeds of course were dead and dry, and yet a pleasant tone of carmeled brown, with a plethora of god’s creatures skittering around.

The road led to a river which looked very inviting but I hadn’t thought to “pack a suit.” It wasn’t quite remote enough to strip down and take the plunge in the buff, but it was a thought. Of course, had I done so I probably would have scared the fish right out of the water!

On the return trip the sun was easing it’s way down toward its nightly bath in the Pacific Ocean (way over there) and the shadows long, the colored light soft; it was beautiful. Once back in town there were various activities at various public spots and it was fun to see people out and about. So what? Sew buttons. The point of the story is in a past life I likely would have spent the day at a pub somewhere (nothing wrong with that) or putting ’em down somewhere with friends (nothing wrong with that) or even on my own (now there’s a question), and I’m sure I could have told you I had fun…but this time I decided to have a different kind of fun. I sliced off a piece of that reality “stuff” I was talking about and enjoyed it. What about you?

White Knuckles and Whimpy Chuckles

DSCN100207430001There’s a lot of stuff to do out there. A good deal of it does include the aspect of social drinking. This is of course a different scene than “drinking at home,” or alone. The objective is to get out there and live and experience life, the real parts of it.

The FUN begins with you. You are what’s fun. The person you are and/or plan to be in Sober Space is where the upbeat begins. You will find it is much better to be “upbeat”, than to be, “beat up”.

One of the most challenging parts of socializing in mixed (drink) company is to hold your own not needing, or even wanting, a drink when there is alcohol all around the room, or restaurant, or bar…whatever. This is the part you just have to get into your head. The booze is just not for you. What other people do is their business. Yours is yours. If you can maintain yourself comfortably in that environment and not be “White Knuckling” (holding on so tight to the side of your chair so you don’t get up and get a drink), you are well on the way to real and sober fun.

Something I have recognized for me is that “if you’re not one of them, drunk people get very boring, very fast.” The key for me is when I have had enough (of them), I just leave. I don’t have to stay there and when conversation becomes “mangle mouthed” it really becomes annoying to listen to. Say Good Night, Gracie. You will find you have plenty else to do when you discover your own interests which were subdued in your “past life.”

The comment about Whimpy Chuckles is not just there to rhyme with Knuckles, but to recognize one of the best parts of feeling good; a good old fashioned Belly Laugh. You know you are doing well when you find yourself laughing deeply and out loud without any other influence than raw humor. I think it is the sharpest you can be. What? What’s so funny?

Have a great tomorrow,