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  1. #1
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    Smile Celebrating Ten Years Clean and Sober

    My Dear Smarties

    Today I celebrate ten years free of alcohol and drugs. Getting here has been filled with a few treacherous events but never once did I break my commitment to stay clean and sober. I owe a great deal to you people in this wonderful community and don’t think I could have gotten here on my own.

    It took me a long long time to come to the conclusion that I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. I had been in AA many years before and after I left that organization, I was able to stumble my way through each day, functioning to some degree on jobs, going in and out of relationships, often appearing to have control over my life. But, appearances, as we all know can be very deceiving. Underneath it all, I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t get through one single night without getting high on something.

    On the July 4th weekend of 2005 I decided to see if I could go for 30 days without a drink. And I got through it. I didn’t sail through it but I survived the test. On the eve of the 30th night I did what a lot of people would do, I grabbed my bottle of scotch and drank myself into oblivion. That night, lost in my numerous trips back and forth to the bathroom, I fell over and landed hard on my ankle. It was broken and so was I. I was done. I didn’t find Smart for a few days but deep down I knew I was making a choice. The door slammed shut inside me. I made a conscious decision to never drink again. And that was that.

    Since that fateful morning, a great deal has transpired. I faced many harrowing experiences including putting down dogs, evacuating from bush fires, losing a ton of money on a creative project, going through a life threatening car crash, facing the loss of my dearest partner who died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage and more recently a diagnosis of CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. That’s a lot isn’t it? But I did it all clean and sober, not because I possess more will power than anyone else, not through mantras or prayers. I got through it all because I made a choice to stay clean and sober no matter what. That’s it. That’s my magic formula. And it works.

    There’s a saying that I’m particularly fond of. It goes like this. “But besides all that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” You’ve got to have a sense of humor, right? Life just happens.

    The support here at Smart has been invaluable to me throughout the journey. There were times when I just clung to the website and the help that was forthcoming from so many people. And there were times when I gave what I could to people who needed it. Although I don’t spend much time here at Smart anymore, I know that the door always remains open to me and I truly appreciate the ongoing invitation to return whenever I want to.

    As for the tools, there are so many and they are all very important. For me, playing the tape to the end of the story has been my most life saving tool. I've used it a lot over the years to remind myself of what the consequences would be if I picked up a drink again. In fact I used it a couple of days ago when that crazy little voice in my head popped up inside me and said, "So, you've made it through ten years, you know you can do it. How about we get completely wasted tonight to celebrate all this? Then you can get sober again in a few days and keep going." My response was simply to chuckle and say "Really? You've got to be kidding, right? Not now, not ever."

    It’s wonderful to be here today, alive, clean and sober and full of joy and gratitude.

    Thank you for being here for me.

    Much love to all of you
    Questor7

    Last edited by Questor7; August 4, 2015 at 1:10 PM.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  2. #2
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    Love to you, Questor. Thank you for sharing yourself. Here and over these many years. 10 years is just FABULOUS!!!! - Dee

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    Awesome. Best wishes.billy

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    WOW what a great story. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    "By not caring too much about what people think, I'm able to think for myself ..."- Albert Ellis

  5. #5
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    Hello Questor,

    I feel such a connection to you and always have. You are an inspiration. I have often thought, how would I manage in some of the situations you have experienced over these past few years? Because you have weathered the storms, Questor, I knew I could too. You are an example of what true courage and belief in ones self is. When I play my tape I also play yours. Your tape is about what and how you have accomplished 10 yrs. of life, no cover-ups, no lies, just life, as it is. It gives me comfort to know that we can do this, through thick and thin. The true comfort is we do it by relying on our own spirit.

    Love to you always,
    Sam

  6. #6
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    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's so great to hear long-term success stories. I am sorry you've faced so much sadness and so many difficulties, but it's wonderful and inspiring that you realized drinking would not make those things better.

  7. #7

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    Unbelievable effort!!! Very inspirational! Thanks for sharing

  8. #8

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    Such an inspiration - so happy you made it through life's challenges. Much love, joy and happiness to you!

  9. #9
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    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your recovery. Always so helpful.
    Buglady

  10. #10
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    Quester, so nice to hear from you! Big congrats on the changes you have made and have held to for a decade now
    Wherever you go, there you are

  11. #11
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    So nice to "see" and hear from you, Questor! CONGRATS on your 10 year accomplishment!

    Jim
    "Every new day is another chance to change your life."
    Supporting SMART is easy! CLICK HERE

  12. #12
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    Thank you, all of you, for your kind replies. It means a lot to me to hear from you. I probably wouldn't be here today without your help all these years.
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  13. #13
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    Hi Q!

    Standing ovation!

    You are one amazing Smartie!

    I loved your recent blog post about everything you've been through and *still* refused to drink, too.

    You have been my inspiration many times. I'd think, if Q didn't drink with all that happened in her life, if she could stand it, I can too. And I won't drink, no matter what.

    And you were a fantastic Admin too, back in the day. And Meeting Helper too. Thanks for your volunteer work here! You've helped to change lives.

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with CLL - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. How are you feeling? I hope you're doing well.

    Hugs and warm wishes,

    Gentoo
    <( ')
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gentoo View Post
    Hi Q!

    Standing ovation!

    You are one amazing Smartie!

    I loved your recent blog post about everything you've been through and *still* refused to drink, too.

    You have been my inspiration many times. I'd think, if Q didn't drink with all that happened in her life, if she could stand it, I can too. And I won't drink, no matter what.

    And you were a fantastic Admin too, back in the day. And Meeting Helper too. Thanks for your volunteer work here! You've helped to change lives.

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with CLL - Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. How are you feeling? I hope you're doing well.

    Hugs and warm wishes,

    Gentoo
    <( ')
    Hi Gentoo
    It's so very wonderful to hear from you. I guess one of the most amazing things about 'not drinking' is that it is so much easier than drinking. And I like doing things that are as easy as possible. lol

    I'm fortunate to have a type of CLL that, although there are no drugs for it, there are many wonderful things I'm able to do under the guidance of my holistic doctor. Most of the time my worst symptom is that I'm tired most of the time and that's something I can cope with easily.

    Thank you for writing to me. Hope you are well.

    Warm wishes
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  15. #15
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    HiQ! (love saying that!)

    I'm doing great, and pengy as I wanna be, as always. 5 years a non-drinker now (was May 3).

    I'm glad to hear that being tired is the worst of it, and there are ways to care for yourself to feel better.

    Be well,
    Gen
    It's practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry. ~ Joe Moore

  16. #16
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    G'day Questor7 and WOW!!

    10 years is such a phenomenal thing as a number, and when you bring it to life with what you have faced and weathered, it is an astoundingly powerful story.

    Lovely to "read" you again and the warmth you bring to this place is always very welcome.

    Sorry to hear about your CLL and like Gentoo am glad that tiredness is the most of the time worst thing.

    LOL'd at the monkey said "How about a 10 year banana?" and you quietly got her to drop back off to sleep.

    So very well done Q7 and you are much loved here for who you are and what you do.

    Take care and WooHoo,

    Hugh
    What got me sober was trying to get sober. Every time I lapsed, picked up, drank, I was thoroughly beaten. I thought at those times "there is no hope for me" Yet, when I had recovered from those thoughts just a little, I thought "have another go!" It was a lot of little sparks, rather than a flame, that got me here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by HughK View Post

    LOL'd at the monkey said "How about a 10 year banana?" and you quietly got her to drop back off to sleep.


    Hugh
    Hi Hugh and thank you so much for giving me something to laugh about. I love the way you put it about the monkey and the 10 year banana.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  18. #18

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    Such an inspiration, congrats on the ten years! Thank you so much for sharing your story x

  19. #19

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    I'm a newbie at SMART and am still struggling. Reading your story was such an inspiration. "Conscious Commitment to Not Drink NO MATTER WHAT.....Not Drinking is Actually Easier." I will be holding onto those 2 lines.

    Congrats & Thank you for your inspiration.

  20. #20
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    Hi Q7 and congratulations. I've not been actively participating, but I've remained sober for the last 5 years. I look forward to making it to 10 years. I think I remember you when I was pretty active for my first couple of years Life has been crazy enough to legitimately start drinking but I do believe that drinking is not in my best interest. I hope you stay as healthy as possible; as I know well, sickness sucks. Hang in there and stay in touch!

    Beachbound
    ‎"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

  21. #21
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    Congratulations Questor! 10 years is no small feat!

    Btw, your post was at the top of the Success Stories thread when I logged in seeking a way to "deal" today. Suffice it to say, it was very fortuitous for me to have read your eloquent post right away...thank you! You are right...it's not worth the various consequences to drink again. (2 years here...10 seems like a ways off!)

    Best to you for another successful decade!
    Because we're worth it.

  22. #22
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    Questor7,
    Congratulations 10 YEARS!! Thanks so much for sharing how you got to SROL and how your final decision is whats worked so well for you. Love your Mrs. Lincoln quote! I've never heard that before. I also love your inner chuckle regarding the celebratory "getting wasted" thoughts...

    How and why so many people expect or hope to never have thoughts of drinking, using, or engaging in bad behavior pop into their mind just because they made a decision baffles me! I have no doubt I will always have thoughts of drinking and smoking (and urges to do so) every now and again for the rest of my life. Those behavior pattern were set and grooved into my brain for many many years. It's sort-of like a dormant volcano that is always there and unfortunatly easily activated if I choose to, inadvertently or not.

    Oh, thanks for mentioning playing the tape to the end! I forget about that one (oh boy I should check in more often as I am still a rookie!) However I have done it a few times and must say, its one darn good tool that really really really WORKS.

    Huge kudos to you for not allowing all your painful experiences get the best of you Quester. My heart goes out to you regarding your recent diagnosis. GET WELL SOON. I get the sense that you are probably not down with this concept/philosophy but I hope its ok with you, I am sending airy-fairy healing energy thoughts your way via the universal collective consciousness. Ha! :-)

    Thanks for checking in now and again. Your determination is a tremendous inspiration for me and I am positive thousands of others!
    ~Shelly
    Last edited by shelly808; September 8, 2015 at 4:42 AM.
    08/26/2018 Where the mind goes energy flows!

  23. #23
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    Dear Smarties
    It's been so wonderful to hear from each of you. Star60, I'm glad you spend time online reading what others have been going through and how they found their way to lasting sobriety. And BHeron, yes, Not drinking is actually easier. I had one of those drinking dreams last night, very rare in my life these days and it was quite interesting. In the dream I was planning to get totally drunk and I was also planning for it to be fun, lots of fun. Well, again, this is in the dream, I drank myself almost to the point of passing out and what was so interesting was that it wasn't fun at all nor did it really numb my pain and in fact the whole time I was aware that I was blowing 10 years of sobriety. As far as drunk dreams go, I figure that was a pretty good one. Kind of like playing the tape to the end of the story and realizing that the outcome would definitely not be worth it.

    Beachbound, I also remember you and huge congrats on 5 years. That is a big accomplishment especially when we know that life doesn't stop "happening" when we get clean and sober. There's joy and sorrow, there are sometimes big obstacles to overcome. It was always there before, we just don't react the same way as we used to.

    mctj, I"m glad you found your way to my post and if I help in any way, I'm very grateful for that. Two years is very precious, every day is very precious. Good for you for finding a way to strengthen your resolve to stay sober as your way to "deal" with your day.

    Much love to all of you.
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelly808 View Post
    Questor7,
    Congratulations 10 YEARS!! Thanks so much for sharing how you got to SROL and how your final decision is whats worked so well for you. Love your Mrs. Lincoln quote! I've never heard that before. I also love your inner chuckle regarding the celebratory "getting wasted" thoughts...

    How and why so many people expect or hope to never have thoughts of drinking, using, or engaging in bad behavior pop into their mind just because they made a decision baffles me! I have no doubt I will always have thoughts of drinking and smoking (and urges to do so) every now and again for the rest of my life. Those behavior pattern were set and grooved into my brain for many many years. It's sort-of like a dormant volcano that is always there and unfortunatly easily activated if I choose to, inadvertently or not.

    Oh, thanks for mentioning playing the tape to the end! I forget about that one (oh boy I should check in more often as I am still a rookie!) However I have done it a few times and must say, its one darn good tool that really really really WORKS.

    Huge kudos to you for not allowing all your painful experiences get the best of you Quester. My heart goes out to you regarding your recent diagnosis. GET WELL SOON. I get the sense that you are probably not down with this concept/philosophy but I hope its ok with you, I am sending airy-fairy healing energy thoughts your way via the universal collective consciousness. Ha! :-)

    Thanks for checking in now and again. Your determination is a tremendous inspiration for me and I am positive thousands of others!
    ~Shelly
    It's always good to "hear" what you have to share Shelly. Yes it would be strange to imagine never ever having a thought about getting high or drunk again. I suppose it's possible but it's not a requirement in my life. I just accept it when it comes along and it's a particularly strong urge, I meditate and sit with the feelings. They do pass all by themselves.

    And by the way Shelly, I gratefully accept what you call your "airy-fairy healing energy thoughts." Not so airy fairy to me by the way. Besides being very committed to my meditation practice I have been known to send and receive energy to other beings. So feel free to do that.

    Congratulations on your journey as well. The folks at Smart are very lucky to have you around.

    Much love
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  25. #25

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    Wow, that is a really inspiring story. I think I am in exactly that place now. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  26. #26

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    Congratulation for your 10 years... that is to say 365x10 ... 3650 victories..

    I love when you write

    In fact I used it a couple of days ago when that crazy little voice in my head popped up inside me and said, "So, you've made it through ten years, you know you can do it. How about we get completely wasted tonight to celebrate all this? Then you can get sober again in a few days and keep going." My response was simply to chuckle and say "Really? You've got to be kidding, right? Not now, not ever."

    I have been cleaned today for 3 months and i had the same inner voice

  27. #27
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    Big Hugs Questor. That's exactly it and I am grateful for your reminder, its alllll about acceptance. No need to fight it, no need to analyze it, as they say, "It is what it is!" I am humbled and feel a loving sense of abundance to FINALLY truly digest the concept of being mindful of my thoughts. It just seems to be THE major component for EVERYTHING regarding personal growth.

    Oh, the airy fairy comment comes from something you said about mantras. I've recently developed a passion for Sanskrit mantras. Somehow I have a natural knack for pronouncing the ancient odd sounds/words and it feels so normal and right to say them. Especially drawn to the Ganesha obstacle clearing one and of course Gatay Gatay, anyways getting off track here! lol... But when reading your reply to it, I think I got your point... Spirituality is a great resource but the real secret to your sobriety has been your own concrete decision. I truly relate and when the sketchy times do arrive, going back to WHY the decision was made in the 1st place just works. Its so very important for me to remember that sure I had some good times during my drinking life of oh - 35 years but they were mere scatterings between my reality of lots of shame, guilt, anxiety, exhaustion, pain & injuries, fear, ill health and a looming a sense of hopelessness. Nope, that sYTS for the birds!

    Congratulations again! Thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your road and love your positive attitude. ~Shell
    Last edited by shelly808; September 12, 2015 at 4:35 AM.
    08/26/2018 Where the mind goes energy flows!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelly808 View Post
    Big Hugs Questor. That's exactly it and I am grateful for your reminder, its alllll about acceptance. No need to fight it, no need to analyze it, as they say, "It is what it is!" I am humbled and feel a loving sense of abundance to FINALLY truly digest the concept of being mindful of my thoughts. It just seems to be THE major component for EVERYTHING regarding personal growth.

    Oh, the airy fairy comment comes from something you said about mantras. I've recently developed a passion for Sanskrit mantras. Somehow I have a natural knack for pronouncing the ancient odd sounds/words and it feels so normal and right to say them. Especially drawn to the Ganesha obstacle clearing one and of course Gatay Gatay, anyways getting off track here! lol... But when reading your reply to it, I think I got your point... Spirituality is a great resource but the real secret to your sobriety has been your own concrete decision. I truly relate and when the sketchy times do arrive, going back to WHY the decision was made in the 1st place just works. Its so very important for me to remember that sure I had some good times during my drinking life of oh - 35 years but they were mere scatterings between my reality of lots of shame, guilt, anxiety, exhaustion, pain & injuries, fear, ill health and a looming a sense of hopelessness. Nope, that sYTS for the birds!

    Congratulations again! Thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your road and love your positive attitude. ~Shell
    Hi there Shelly
    I must have missed this reply from you and it turns out, as most things do, that tonight was a perfect time to read your inspiring words. I just did the Ganesha obstacle clearing mantra and am adding that to my tool box. Wonderful. thank you. Yes it's true that, as you say, spirituality is a great resource but the real secret of sobriety has been.....a concrete decsion. That is what has kept me going, that is been the foundation under everything. And truly I am not without urges. In fact i have had a whole slew of drinking dreams lately as I work to cure my CLL with alternative medicines. Wow, quite a steep mountain to climb but also very interesting. Yes, and when I wake up from one of those disturbing dreams, I do remind myself right away that I made the decision to quit and I tell myself all the reasons that I did it. Then I get on with my day, my wonderful sober and clean day. Yes true, there were some truly fun times when I was out there flying around aimlessly, high and numb. But the cost, omg, the cost. Way to high. Gotta love that CBA. And of course my lifesaving every present tool is playing the tape to the end of the story.

    Always good to hear from you and thanks again for sharing your interest in the spiritual side of things. It's all about choices isn't it?

    Best to you Shelly.
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    Thank you for such an inspirational update. Congratulations!

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    Hi Questor! Thank God for that CBA tool. I am still in the process of making daily mediation a habit. Funny how... Ya it's difficult to break bad habits but OMG trying to create new healthy ones is (at least for me) almost even MORE difficult! Practice, patience & persistence is where its at for... just about EVERYTHING it seems! lol

    So good that you are walking forward learning ways to tackle your medical condition. I too have been dealing with some interesting inflammatory manifestations. Finding out gluten (which I thought was a trendy food FAD - HA!) has been wrecking havoc on my bod for years! So scary, had ZERO knowledge or idea that no human body can digest the stuff! Just now learning about those nasty antibodies that consuming it produces. And the beat goes on...

    Love your signature... by golly I was just thinking I should probably get to a tool time one of these days. Hugs!
    08/26/2018 Where the mind goes energy flows!

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    Thank you! That is exactly what I needed to read today!

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    Wonderful testimony! Thank you! You've given me hope! (and I need it)

  33. #33

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    Thank you for this today Questor. I am on day 5 of using smart and heard the "play the tape" tool last night in my first meeting. That was something that jumped out and slapped me in the face. I too have many DOC's and was always needing something. Your success of ten years is an inspirational story all must hear. You have gone through a lot and that couldn't have been easy. Congratulations and thank you for sharing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by beachbound View Post
    Hi Q7 and congratulations. I've not been actively participating, but I've remained sober for the last 5 years. I look forward to making it to 10 years. I think I remember you when I was pretty active for my first couple of years Life has been crazy enough to legitimately start drinking but I do believe that drinking is not in my best interest. I hope you stay as healthy as possible; as I know well, sickness sucks. Hang in there and stay in touch!

    Beachbound
    Hi Beachbound!

    I must have overlooked your post here. I remember you as well and it is so fantastic to learn that you have been sober for over 5 years. The foundation is in place now and I look forward to hearing about your 10 year celebration down the road.

    Best to you
    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  35. #35

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    Is anybody reading this thread? I need to bounce idea off someone who has better working brain than I do right now.

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    Hi Mcarolyn
    Please write back with your idea. I'm happy to respond if there is something I can help with.

    q7
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

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    To all of you who look forward to many years of staying clean and sober, please visit my little blog where I have shared what we at Smart call our VACI (Vital Absorbing Creative Interest). I dabble with the guitar and some poetry. My favorite VACI is writing. And I particularly like to write about what I've been through in recovery and the obstacles I have overcome with the Smart tools.

    Be well and be peaceful

    questor7

    The link to my blog is: http://questor7.com/
    Last edited by Questor7; March 12, 2016 at 3:09 PM.
    "The central human drama is not wanting the experience we are having"

  38. #38

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    I used to drink but not any more. Good for you. And the band played onn

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