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Phobus

Self-Imposed Challenges (also, Alcohol)

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This starts a little blog-esque, but don't worry, there's an EE topic in here, I think!

Basically, my mum thinks I'm an alcoholic. I disagree, so to prove as much, I undertook the challenge to go "dry" for a month, starting on the 1st September. 20 days in and I've not touched any booze, despite many a mate offering me drinks and me going into just as many pubs/restaurants/bars as usual. I've been asked if I feel any better for it, or if I've noticed a difference and, to be honest, I haven't. I don't feel like I'm acheiving anything here and I'm only sticking it out now because I said I would! If anything, it's made life a bit more boring as there's less inclination to go out for random drinks... But, on the plus side, I am saving money.


So, who else has taken on a challenge for no good reason? How did it go? Any fallout? Any unexpected benefits? Did you learn anything?

I've done a few throughout my life (usually there's been a laughably small bet involved) and almost invariably the end result is "There, I did it! What a stupid idea that was..." Growing out my hair for a year, was definitely one of those, for example.

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While in college at Florida I would always give up something for Lent along with my friends (most of whom were of other various religions but joined the challenge anyways). This led to me giving up a specific article of clothing for a month one year, a month of not drinking soda - I actually tried to do a month of no video games (I failed that on the first night though :P). None of them really led to any significant benefits or learning experiences.

I did get a ton of laughs out of one of my friends who joined us for Lent every year. He was a Muslim from Saudi Arabia and he used to declare that he was going to become the first Catholic-Muslim by joining in lent. Of course, this was followed by him giving up going to the gym for 40 days.

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I once tried not to wank for a week in my teens...the results were not pretty. Little did I know that years later I wouldn't even have to try conciously to suppress the urge: RL problems or plain being too tired worked wonders.

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Kirby said:

... Of course, this was followed by him giving up going to the gym for 40 days.

Heh - my self-imposed challenge for the gym would be actually going a reasonable amount! Saying that, your mate might have been "addicted" to working out, for all we know, so it could've been a hardship :P

@Maes: I usually find that challenge thrust (heh) upon me by outside circumstances, like sharing a room with somebody for a number of days.

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praps alluding to the "This isn't serious, I could quit any time!" mentality that may preface more heavy usage.

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I had an addiction problem with demo recording where I spent 3-4 hours speed running one map despite taking only 2 minutes to beat, but it was nigh impossible on Nightmare Speedrun given the phenomenal layout and placement of enemies, but I did it anyway being very hard working and dedicated to anything I set my mind to.

Same applies to some Scythe II maps on UV -Fast, sweet jesus MAP15 absolutely needs luck. I don't even know why the hell I planned on doing every map, the shenanigans stopped at MAP18, just stopped dead. I don't even remotely like the first 5 gothic themed maps until it gets to the Egyptian themed ones - MAP08/09 are awesome.

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Phobus said:

Growing out my hair for a year, was definitely one of those, for example.

You are a weak, weak man. :P

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What's there to elaborate? There's no rocketscience behind getting addicted to stuff. At first when you just try addictive substance, be it ethanole or whatever addictive pill you can get your hands on, there's no way to get immediately addicted. After repeating this process, which will be done entirely willingly because of what you described (less fun/more boredom, better condition because of pill, whatever the hell you can name), and usually in higher or more frequent doses than recommended, your receptors start to require these substances and eventually past certain threshold no matter how much strong will you can muster, you won't stop. You said it's made life a bit more boring - a sign that you might have as well been at least slightly affected by it. If you'll keep at it, you can enjoy a full-blown addiction.

I had an addiction problem with demo recording where I spent 3-4 hours speed running one map despite taking only 2 minutes to beat


Make it 40 hours and then we can talk. ;)
I did that only 3-4 times though and felt miserable every single time. It's still light years behind SAV's willpower/addiction though.

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Actually, what you said was pretty much the elaboration I was after! I've been drinking for 5 years or so, so my assumption is that being able to drop it for a given length of time whenever I want (or is necessary) is proof that I don't need it. I just like it :P Still, if you're right and I'm on the path to addiction, I welcome it with open arms.

@Jodwin: Unlike the long, flowing waves of hair I imagine you have, I'm stuck with very thick, very curly hair that grows out into a natural perm. In a reasonable summer, the 4-inch thick woolly hat I'd grown was a massive encumbrance. In short, fuck that shit, I'll stick to keeping it short ;)

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It's always worthwhile to do a self-check when it comes to potential addictions. Never rule out the possibility, or think you're somehow above cognitive dissonance.

Slightly related: I've done some of my best Doom mapping while quitting smoking. Although I did have the help of about two or three pots of strong, black coffee.

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I used to drink a lot (in fact, I think I only signed up here, after lurking for years, because I was drunk). My mother has what I politely refer to as a 'drink dependency issue', and she was very much my drinking buddy in my teens and early 20s, and - unsurprisingly - I developed the same tendencies.

For a few years I thought that I should stop/slow down, but didn't really want to - I enjoyed it too much! I tried to cut down, but that never really worked. After a series of especially hard-hitting sessions though, that were awful for various reasons, I got to a point where I felt ill, and wanted to stop. I've been dry now for around 18 months.

I certainly feel a lot better for it - no more two-day hangovers, and I'm accumulating much less shame. I still happily indulge in various other drugs, but I've never had a problem with these, in the way that I did with booze.

The change that it imposes on certain kinds of social interaction takes a little time to adjust to, but now I'm used to it.

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I think I drink enough to be considered a high-functioning alcoholic by jario's silly "medical science" (aka charlatans and killjoys!), I once spent over 6 hours speedrunning a map/run that takes 5 seconds to complete and my hair will soon celebrate a decade uncut. I'm not easily manipulated, so I wouldn't go into a challenge about any of those, heh.

I did want to challenge myself and run a marathon when I'm 30 next year. After two months of badass training, getting into good shape and generally having less pains connected to lazy office life I hurt my heel, which still gives me a bit of dull pain two months later. Ugh. There goes my challenge and I should probably see a charlatan about it.

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I'm getting addicted to carnitine myself. Hey, don't look at me like that, it's pretty damn difficult not getting involved in a beautiful world of chemistry while dealing with pharmacy stuff on daily basis.

e: Also, reasec is effin awesome. Not a single sign that your digestion is working for roughly half a day? Check! Getting addicted to that means you'll be done for before you can spell 'rip and tear' though.

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durian said:

I still happily indulge in various other drugs

Coffee, with perhaps the occasional joint being smoked, right?

I can't bring myself to imagine anyone with your wisdom being into anything more deleterious.

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Phobus said:

" Growing out my hair for a year, was definitely one of those, for example.


I grew mine out for five years, before I shaved it bald, about eight years ago.

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DoomUK said:

Coffee, with perhaps the occasional joint being smoked, right?

I can't bring myself to imagine anyone with your wisdom being into anything more deleterious.


Well, it doesn't really seem appropriate to rattle off a list! But you certainly omit some things that I wouldn't consider especially deleterious. But of course, all such things should be enjoyed responsibly, and in moderation :)

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Phobus said:

@Maes: I usually find that challenge thrust (heh) upon me by outside circumstances, like sharing a room with somebody for a number of days.


Enter Super Secret Army Jack Techniques, to do after "lights out" even in a fully occupied platoon dorm room ;-)

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Kirby said:

While in college at Florida I would always give up something for Lent along with my friends (most of whom were of other various religions but joined the challenge anyways). This led to me giving up a specific article of clothing for a month one year, a month of not drinking soda - I actually tried to do a month of no video games (I failed that on the first night though :P). None of them really led to any significant benefits or learning experiences.

I remember I tried giving up whacking-off for lent.

Great three day run!

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I've tried giving up alcohol temporarily a few times just to prove to myself that I could, but I always came to the conclusion that it's a dumb reason to not drink after two days.

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One what I always try to do, grow one straight, lengthy hair. With all sorts of solutions I tried, not gonna happen. They always get curled, no matter what I do.

Currently trying to grow my beard to look more like lumberjack. Now it seems it capped to look more like goat's beard.

Anything I try to do, it never succeeds. :/

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Growing a beard or a moustache. I have a slightly higher than average growth rate and coverage for the face and neck zones, but not as bad as a colleague of mine who needs only one month to look like an Ayatollah. On the other hand my moustache looks quite poor in comparison.

I've tried to grow them in different phases of my life, at first a full beard then a goatee + moustache combo, but they always end up in two ways:

  • If a full beard, it just ends up itching like hell on the neck after a couple of weeks. When that happens...
  • ...I trim it to goatee + moustache. It works OK for a while, max 2 months or so, until it starts getting increasingly hard to maintain each time I try to carefully shave THE REST of my face -_-. Eventually the mistakes pile up, and it becomes skewed and messy, at which point I say "fuck it" and clean shave.
As for just a moustache, I tried doing it a few times, but I end up looking like a dorky rat-like fascist or a Turkish truck driver.

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Maes said:

I once tried not to wank for a week in my teens...the results were not pretty. Little did I know that years later I wouldn't even have to try conciously to suppress the urge: RL problems or plain being too tired worked wonders.


Knowing that feel.

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