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Thinking Person's Guide to Sobriety

Thinking Person's Guide to Sobriety

by Bert Pluymen

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Answering yes to these questions sparked Pluymen's realization that life could be so much more fulfilling if he was sober. This book is Bert Pluymen's story of struggle and triumph over alcohol addiction. It also contains insightful, witty, uplifting, and wryly humorous stories of the many people Pluymen met who were also searching for sobriety. This is an


Answering yes to these questions sparked Pluymen's realization that life could be so much more fulfilling if he was sober. This book is Bert Pluymen's story of struggle and triumph over alcohol addiction. It also contains insightful, witty, uplifting, and wryly humorous stories of the many people Pluymen met who were also searching for sobriety. This is an informative book that will shed new light on how alcohol abuse can ruin people's lives--even if they thought it could never happen to them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A vital tool for awakening the alcohol-abusing professional.” —Dr. Frank Sadlack, Ph.D., executive director of La Hacienda Treatment Center

“The section on women [and alcohol] is especially good.” —Ann W. Richards, former governor of Texas

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.57(d)

Read an Excerpt

During this time I dated some of the most beautiful women on earth. I was single, athletic, articulate, and attractive. I told myself that I was looking for a wife, but my behavior indicated otherwise. All I really wanted was to have a good time. I would take a date to a fine restaurant, toss down a couple of Scotch-and-sodas with my appetizer, have a bottle of wine with dinner, and perhaps enjoy a cognac as dessert. And I do mean that I would have a bottle of wine.

I was also able to drive well drunk. I vividly remember one outlandish occasion. The lakes and hills around Austin were especially dazzling that night--the silver moonbeams splitting the black water, and the blinking stars seemingly within reach of the sunroof of my new red Porsche. I was racing around sharp curves and jumping over hills, accompanied by a totally naked brunette wearing spanking new store-bought breasts who was singing and squealing and bouncing through the night. In my mind's eye, I suddenly imagined a headline in the morning's paper: "Drunk President of Young Lawyers Arrested with Naked Woman." But that was quickly followed by a surge of pleasure and "Oh, what the hell!"

At work during the week, I found myself getting increasingly impatient for 5:30 to arrive. Many afternoons, I painfully watched the clock, awaiting the time when I could down a few quick beers to stop the aching in my head and chest. And that's exactly what I did as soon as I got home--or even on the way home, after a hasty stop at the convenience store, if I was feeling particularly bad. The remedy usually worked, although my initial two beers would ordinarily be followed by another two, perpetuating the situation until the next day and starting the cycle all over again.

Weekends were even worse. I controlled my drinking during the week because of work, but on Friday nights I could let go and party. Margarita time! Followed, of course, by a six-pack of beer for variety. All the worries of work and cares of life were blissfully washed away.

But Saturday morning would come, and I would find myself incapacitated by a hangover. On several such occasions, I made solemn resolutions never to do it again. When those failed, I recorded my agony in a journal so that my crazy amnesiac mind could recall my body's suffering after the pain was gone and another Friday Happy Hour was at hand. Here's one such entry--a particularly disturbing one:

"The day after being inebriated is hell on earth. My body feels like it will die any minute. My chest cavity has a dull, constant ache. Sometimes my heart skips. Aspirin affords no relief. Sleep is the only real answer, but I am unable to make myself sleep during the day. The digesting of meals taxes and tires and depletes the body's energy even more. The dull ache spreads and becomes more intense as the day passes. Only sufficient alcohol at night stops the body's scream for relief from the awful aching. A tapered dose of alcohol with a prayer that sleep will bring rest and peace, not death in the night."

"It would be an entire year before I would write again. A hopeless, disheartening cycle had started whirling, and I declined to report for the "Daily Dervish." But when I next checked in, it was to offer myself the fruits of some significant introspection: "I'm afraid that I am psychologically addicted to alcohol. It's interesting to go back and look in this journal and see my repeated promises to myself to quit and my recognition of the harm I do to myself physically and emotionally by hiding in alcohol."

And if it's a psychological addiction, there must be a psychological cause: "One of the reasons I drink is that my life is not fulfilling. Making money can't be all there is. It's disappointing to live for work and money and to see no hope for much beyond that. So I escape into inebriation. I also date women who have little to offer or challenge me. It reinforces my world view, discourages me, blinds me to hope, and leaves me in the status quo of making money, being unconsciously very discouraged, and escaping into the fog of alcohol. Such a waste--to wallow in a self-induced fog that obscures possibility, the path to happiness, light and love! I want to be in a wonderful relationship with a bright, beautiful, and nurturing woman, and am willing to risk staring disappointment, rejection, and failure square in the face. I pledge to myself that I will not have a sip of alcohol today. I will deal with today only because otherwise I get frightened."

My pledge "not to have a sip" failed to survive the night. Here's the next day's entry: "Because of lack of sleep and much alcohol the night before the pledge, my body crashed around 10:00 last night and I drank 2 Scotch-and-sodas just to have any energy at all." Then a new pledge: "No alcohol today." That day, I "ran and lifted weights. Wanted glass of wine badly after dinner. Resisted."

What was going on here? I took up the question with my therapist. "My therapist thinks I'm not ready to give up alcohol. (A brilliant deduction.) That I'm psychologically, not physically, addicted because of the lack of physical withdrawal symptoms. (Sorry, no points for agony unless your hands shake.) And that I'm not ready to stop drinking because I haven't solved the question of what I'm here to do. (Just how in the hell am I supposed to solve that riddle sporting my ever-fashionable beer goggles?)"

Meet the Author

Bert Pluymen has been twice recognized in the book The Best Lawyers in America. He won his first case in the United States Supreme Court at the age of twenty-eight and served as co-counsel in the jury trial over the legendary estate of Howard Hughes. Pluymen lives in Austin, Texas, and along with Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, hosts the radio show "Recovery Today."

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