October 13, 2006 9:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm an alcoholic. I've been shitfaced every day for the last 9 months. I consider the booze a nepenthe; it's something that allows me to forget all the sins I've comitted in my short life on this planet.

When I think of myself and the ruin I've wrought upon myself and all those I've loved (in particular, the paranoid schizophrenic I lived with for 2 years), I think of the wet, coughing noise of a man in the trenches of WWI. I feel I'm trapped in a prison, like the trench, and if I poke my head over I will be murdered by the huns, the horrific reality of living in the world mankind has created for itself. I went to a few AA meeings, talked to some people that were eager to discuss how they quit drinking, smoking, and found Jesus; but I couldn't relate. I believe that life is a petty thing; one governed by the meat in which our souls exude themselves and one in which we will one day die. Why should I stop drinking when there is nothing a man can do? He can become the most powerful person in the world, and yet in one thousand years he will be forgotten. Why should I quit drinking?
posted by kfx to Food & Drink (84 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Because you aren't gaining anything new by drinking. It's tired and not working anymore.

Life is the only joy there is, and it it many-splendored. Explore it. Would you rather walk down an unfamiliar street or drink a familiar shot? Try something new. If you're as much an alcoholic as you say, that must mean less drinking.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:17 PM on October 13, 2006 [3 favorites]

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Think on that, perhaps?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:20 PM on October 13, 2006 [2 favorites]

First off,lkfx, you should live this life for it's own, I am I have the proof why: explaining that will take some time, so I'm going get this out there now and compose a longer post.

The world is not the dark place you think it is. I have been there... shit faced for more than 9 months on end. There is more. The journey ahead of you is not an easy one. But there is life, a wonderful amazing life ahead of you that does not include you consuming alcohol.
posted by killThisKid at 9:20 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Even though you may be forgotten as a unique soul, do you want to leave the world a better or worse place? Every single thing counts -- adopting a puppy from the pound and giving it a happy life, helping a little old lady across the street, learning medicine and saving a life, teaching a child how to read, planting flowers in a public place to make the neighbourhood you live in a nicer place ... each and every one of those things makes an immeasureable but real addition to the world. Do you want to add to the world, or do you want to subtract from it?

I think the real question is: what do you have faith in? What do you value? Many people have faith in Jesus, and they want to talk about it. Some people have faith in their community, and faith in Jesus might be a part of it. I have faith in myself, and that I'm a good person that does good things... and that I always leave the world a better place behind me. I cherish the rewards that I get from leaving the world a better place -- the compliments I get, the warm, happy puppy sleeping on my feet right now, the way my girlfriend will put her arms around me when I crawl into bed after typing this ... but those are the things I value, none of them can be bought with money, and I have faith that they'll be there tomorrow when I wake up if I do the right thing and be the good person I'm supposed to be.

If you want to stop drinking, you have to make the decision to do it. There isn't a magic pill, prayer, or patch for alcoholism. Meetings help, because many times when you can't form the picture in your own mind it will form itself if you just talk about it.

It comes down to your personal faith, and your desire to live your life the way you want to live it. If you're rewarded above all else by the things you do when you're drinking, then so be it ... but if you're posting this question, that seems to not be the case. What do you value?
posted by SpecialK at 9:25 PM on October 13, 2006 [3 favorites]

...also. Did you always, always feel this way? I think not. Were you at the tail end of a year bender then? No way. don't trust your meat to be objective when it's depleted.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:25 PM on October 13, 2006

Response by poster: Ambrosia: But it does work. When I'm liquored, it is a pleasing decoupling of my mind and my body. I am separated from who I am and what I've done. When I am drunk, sufficiently, it's like I'm some sort of elevated being, beyond what I've done and able to judge them on their merits.

I am not drunk this evening, because I planned ahead to make this post. I hope that means something.
posted by kfx at 9:26 PM on October 13, 2006

I have many frineds of Bill who all quit for different reasons. The only way to quit for sure is if you WANT to. I highly doubt that someone here is going to give you a reason that will smack you upside the head and make you say to yourself, "Self, I gotta quit. Life is worth too much to keep on like I am."

Of course you are going to die and your time on earth is worthless 1000 years from now. But you are living for the here and now, not eternity. Quit because of "the ruin I've wrought upon myself and all those I've loved.." It will make your everyday life easier and less guilt ridden. Quit because the alternative sucks. Try being C & S for a few months. You might like it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:31 PM on October 13, 2006

So, do you want to quit?
posted by orthogonality at 9:31 PM on October 13, 2006

First and foremost, I'm going to guess a few things:

You drink in the evenings after working.

You are fairly intelligent.

You are frustrated and haunted by many of your past actions.

A person doesn't become addicted to alcohol over night. It takes time! You might be addicted. So be it.

What happens when you stop? Have you gone 48 hours without drinking?

Do you get DTs?

If not, what happened?

If you didn't get the DTs, then you’re actually in a decent situation. You can quit without medical intervention! Woohoo!

So, ultimately, quitting isn't that bad. All you need is the motivation.

You're riding the wave of Nihilism. You are not the first person to do that. I'll make an argument against it though:

There's one thing that makes this life not meaningless: you. In that, you, yourself are alive. It happens once. Be it a chance arrangement of atoms or the divine hand of *insert supreme being here*, you're it: you're you.

And not taking advantage of this one chance to be alive is, well, that's pointless.

Hey dude. You're alive. You can think. You have all the senses you need to experience reality as we know it.

Stay sober for 48 hours and god will you know what stimulus life can bring you. Colors so bright and scents so strong, you'll have problems taking life for what it really is.

And that is why you should stay alive in a sober sense. The drug alcohol has numbed you to the point that you’re not seeing it for what it really is: life. Alive. One gift of being here. Stop. Just stop.

You will stumble, fall, fail, but just rinse and repeat. After you’ve practiced sobering up enough times it finally sticks.

You’ll look back and laugh at this.
posted by killThisKid at 9:33 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

It does mean something.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 9:33 PM on October 13, 2006

Response by poster: I managed being clean and sober for one week; when a girl who I knew who was fascinating and smart wanted to spend time with me, and I knew that if I was fucked up I would dissapoint. She ditched me for a good friend of mine (who is a much better man than I), and it was at that moment that I knew that being clean and sober was not going to get me anywhere.

I don't mean to be contrarian; it's just that these feelings have been boiling inside me for so long, and finally I decided to express them on the relatively anonymous forum of metafilter. I'd never tell someone I knew about these things.
posted by kfx at 9:35 PM on October 13, 2006

Response by poster: Someone say something, please.
posted by kfx at 9:41 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I have a psychologist named Dr. Els, who asks me "And how is your consumption of alcohol?" every time I see him.

And I hate him, because he always brings a student with him, like I'm a freak that deserved special notice.
posted by kfx at 9:44 PM on October 13, 2006

She ditched me for a good friend of mine (who is a much better man than I), and it was at that moment that I knew that being clean and sober was not going to get me anywhere.

Well that has to hurt like hell. It might be worth wondering whether being clean and sober is something that is only useful IN ORDER to "get somewhere" or whether it is perhaps it is a creative action worth doing for its own sake; an action you can take and experience that is valuable all by itself.
posted by shivohum at 9:44 PM on October 13, 2006

You've been drunk for nine months, and you're full of nonsense! Give me some time to think about this.

Ok, how's this for a proposition, you can enjoy life more by undertaking satisfying works, than by getting drunk all the time. Doing those works probably requires you to be sober. Therefore sobriety is a necessary condition in improving your enjoyment of life. That's a good reason to undertake it I'd say.
posted by benign at 9:45 PM on October 13, 2006

Here's the thing: your whole life, you've fucked over your future self. Gotten drunk knowing you were going to be hung over the next morning, put things off, and misbehaved, knowing that your future self was going to have to pay the consequences. And now you carp about all the shitty stuff you've done in the past. This is a potentially endless cycle.

Unless you choose to give your future self a break.

There's a book called Rational Recovery that deals with stopping drinking without a Higher Power or any of that crap.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:46 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

kfx: You're not original nor alone. *Many* people much worse off than you have stopped drinking. There are consequences to your drinking that won't become apparent until you stop. Stopping for one week so you can try win a girl doesn't count. Try stopping for one month and see what kind of changes you feel toward the end of week 3. It's really not until you're sober for about a year that the substantial changes start to occur but I guarantee you will feel immense relief of depression and anxiety if you can just hold off for a month or so. This has nothing to do with God or Jesus or AA - this has to do with removing a profound depressant from your system that you've been self-medicating with for at least 9 months.

Feeling better isn't why you should stop, though. It's just one consequence of it. You should stop drinking to give society a fucking break.
posted by ryanhealy at 9:49 PM on October 13, 2006

The answer to why you should stop drinking is easy -- because no net positive will ever come of it. Ever.

But what you really seem to want to know is why you're worth it. Whatever you did in your past, or think you've done, that is so bad -- it does not matter. Not in the grand scheme of things. And it does not have to matter anymore if you decide today that you are not that person anymore.

If you think of life as petty, then why do you carry around these burdens? Somewhere within you, you must believe that life isn't petty at all.

Ditch the burdens. The past can't be changed. Stop being the person you hate today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, and you'll see.
posted by brain cloud at 9:54 PM on October 13, 2006

You only get one chance at this life, as far as I can tell. Although sometimes oblivion may be the sweetest concept in the world, the most welcoming thing you want to embrace, you won't know what sunlight may shine on you until you stop drinking.

I really think your life could get better.

I went through a rough time in my life--not so horrible that I was on the streets and desperate, but rough, none the less, and climbing into a bottle was a compelling thing. In the end, though, climbing out of the bottle was a far, far better choice.

Good luck with your decision and I urge you to try sobriety. You may find a grace in your life and a joy you can't see yet.
posted by Savannah at 10:02 PM on October 13, 2006

I could say something about how AA is not about Jesus, people smoking, or what a few of its members happen to say or think. There are always a few odd trees in every forest.

What I can say is that for many, it's a way out. It's a not a stylistic thing - for most it's the last house on the block.

If you can control your drinking, I suggest you do that. If you try to and can't, try some more meetings.
posted by jazzkat11 at 10:03 PM on October 13, 2006

Best answer: I don't know that you should quit drinking, kfx. It seems to be serving the role you want it to. You are dead right - there is nothing you can do, and in a thousand years you will be forgotten, likely much sooner.

Maybe some day you'll decide you don't want to decouple your mind from your body, and that you don't need to forget your sins anymore. That will be a good time to change your behaviour.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:05 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

If I understand correctly you drink to avoid to look in the mirror; to avoid your own feelings and judgements about the things you've done.
Of course that only works temporarily. And being hangover increases anxiety.
For the rest you've given up; life's shit, you're shit, etc. I won't try to convince you otherwise. You'll have to have some part of you that's tired of all the negativity and pointlessness. Then you can change.

Stop drinking and find a way to work with all the boiling feelings that you mention. Maybe there are some possibilities in your local community.

Start with the basics: eat well, sport, take care of something, a pet maybe. Is there something other than consuming alcohol that you really like in itself; go do it more. F.i. I found that going mountain biking is a kick in itself for me. Others have that with dancing. Etc.

When you stop things will get worse for a while: everything you've cloaked with your nepenthe will be there, all the things you've destroyed by being an alcoholic will be there waiting for you.
And after you've gone through that dark narrow valley you'll look back and realize how much better your life is. How you feel more balanced and more positive.
posted by jouke at 10:07 PM on October 13, 2006

Get a grip. I don't care if you drink or not. That is your business. Just remember you are still totally responsible for your actions whether you are drunk or not. I quit drinking three years ago and for me it was one of the best things that I have ever done. If you want to quit drinking, there are a lot of people willing to help. Just look in the phone book. If you don't want to quit drinking, at least quit your whining.
posted by calumet43 at 10:10 PM on October 13, 2006 [6 favorites]

It sounds like you're quite depressed, and even troubled over your past. (And you're certainly not alone.)

A few thoughts:

- You're right: every one of us is going to die some day, and I bet every one of us will be forgotten in 1,000 years. But to me, that's a reason to really enjoy life, and get as much happiness in before I go. That's not going to happen if you're perpetually drunk.

- Have you told Dr. Els that you're not comfortable with the student sitting in on your sessions? I'd have problems with them being there too. (And trust me, you're not even close to the biggest "freak" out there...) And if things still don't work, you can always find a different psychologist.

She ditched me for a good friend of mine (who is a much better man than I)

It really sucks that she ditched you. But I don't necessarily buy that he was a better man that you are. I admit that I don't know you, but you don't come across as the horrible person you seem to think you are. And even if you were a horrible person when she dumped you, it seems to me like you really want to change who you are. So do it. Put the past behind you. (I know it's easier said than done. This is something a good psychologist could give you some pointers on, though.) As corny as the saying is, I've always found the phrase "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" to be inspiring. I just can't help but take away the feeling that you really want to change, and I'm confident you can do it.
posted by fogster at 10:21 PM on October 13, 2006

Maybe some day you'll decide you don't want to decouple your mind from your body, and that you don't need to forget your sins anymore. That will be a good time to change your behaviour.

Not to be in the "hand a drowning man a rock" camp, but this person has it pegged.

If you don't want to quit, you won't. I don't quit smoking - not because I can't; I could if I wanted to. I could go buy some patches, gum, just stop cold turkey and suffer through the shit that happens. I could get a support network, etc.

I don't want to though - as I still enjoy it occationally and the downfalls are so far down the road it's hard to make them stick in my mind when I'm slowly killing myself.

When you are ready to put down the bottle, you will. It sounds like you're starting to feel that way, but when it comes down to it, you're just going to have to make the decision and just fucking do it.

While I wish you the best of luck in making that decision, you need to realize you're the only one who can flip the switch.
posted by plaidrabbit at 10:24 PM on October 13, 2006

I want you to quit drinking because I enjoy reading your comments so much. If less drinking means more of this type of particular brilliance, then I humbly and honestly ask you if you might drink just a little bit less so that you might write for us just a tiny bit more.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:25 PM on October 13, 2006 [2 favorites]

She ditched me for a good friend of mine (who is a much better man than I), and it was at that moment that I knew that being clean and sober was not going to get me anywhere.

That sucks. I'm sorry. But I think you're drawing the wrong conclusion from this. Being clean and sober does not mean that you no longer have problems or that you get what you want. Being clean and sober means that you are clean and sober. Life sucks a lot of the time for clean and sober people too. Also, you have no idea why she chose not to go out with you. It could have been something completely unrelated to your sobriety or non-sobriety.

I am not drunk this evening, because I planned ahead to make this post. I hope that means something.

Why don't you tell us what that means? "I CHOSE not to get drunk tonight BECAUSE . . . . "

Why should I quit drinking?

Not a single one of here, no matter how intelligent, kind or sensitive we may be, is capable of answering this question for you. Ultimately, it's all up to you. You're the one who has to decide to drink or not to drink.

I wish you the best, kfx. It really sucks to be depressed. I hope you are feeling better.
posted by jason's_planet at 10:31 PM on October 13, 2006

Lots of excellent reasons listed here to quite drinking, namely that if the way you're living your life doesn't work and isn't making you happy or fulfilled, it's probably time to try something new, greater meaning and purpose or not.

But I've got one more. A year ago this week I watched my life-long alcoholic father die the ugliest death I've ever seen. He basically rotted from the inside out without even enough of a system left to distribute the morphine. It made every death from cancer I've witnessed seem tame by comparison. You probably don't want to go out that way.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:34 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Hey kfx, dunno where or who you are, but if you want to talk, email me. Have been having some similar-type conversations lately, and I think your input would be good for me. Not to presume that mine would be for you. But it might; one never knows.

Other than that, I have nothing to add, other than that I'm pretty pleased with the generally supportive tone of the answers this evening. Go, Metafilters!

Oh, and also I like the puppy idea.
posted by librarina at 10:37 PM on October 13, 2006

I'll agree with the few others who mentioned it.

You quit because you write. You'll find meaning in that. I'm surprised you haven't already...but it's there. Just keep digging...

And you write well enough that one day, some of your words may not be forgotten.

You have some exquisite posts.

Keep 'em coming...
posted by ryecatcher at 10:44 PM on October 13, 2006

Ktx, you should quit drinking because you cared enough *about something* to stay sober tonight and post. Yes, that you stayed sober does mean something.
posted by LadyBonita at 11:01 PM on October 13, 2006

Response by poster: Oh.
posted by kfx at 11:19 PM on October 13, 2006

kfx, there's very little wrong with getting drunk occasionally, but then it becomes a habit, a dependency, it hurts you physically and mentally. and while YOU may not care, the people who care for you and who love you can't bear the thought of your self-destruction. it's like watching a loved one very slowly commit suicide.

i recently had a friend decide a drug habit was more important than our 10-year-long friendship. i mourn the loss every day, and i’m now forced to watch her sink into the depths of dependency from the sidelines.

if you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for your friends, your parents, do it the people who care about you, do it for me. i believe, based on your post, that you have the right attitude to overcome this, and flourish when you find the thing in your life that fulfils you.

feel free to email me if you ever need any help overcoming this, or just someone with whom to chat (believe it or not we're very alike, you and me, judging by what you've written here. we'd get on well)
posted by slea at 11:24 PM on October 13, 2006

kfx: Sorry if I came off as an asshole above, you asked for a response and in my haste, mine was poorly worded. I felt some urgency to respond because what you've said so far resonates with some of my own experience.

You want to be happier than you are, otherwise you wouldn't be here asking this question. You know that stopping drinking is important to becoming happier than you are, otherwise you wouldn't be asking about drinking. Those are the only two pieces of information relevant to your question. Your sins are red herring.

You should stop drinking because stopping will very probably lead to deriving a greater amount of happiness from your life.
posted by benign at 11:34 PM on October 13, 2006

Why should I quit drinking?

Because, if you are an alcoholic and don't stop drinking, you'll end up dead or, if you're one of the unlucky ones, you'll develop Korsakov's Syndrome (otherwise known as alcoholic dementia or 'wet brain'). You may even kill someone along the way too.

It sounds as if you've got some serious depression going on there too, which might be as a result of pouring a depressive compound (alcohol) down your throat every day, but which may well be clinical and require treatment.

See a doctor if you want to quit. A medical detox will dry you out safely and if you are also depressed, that can be addressed.

I quit drinking almost 8 years ago. Six months before I quit I started taking anti-depressants. That helped, to the extent that I was able to recognise that my drinking really was a serious problem, and wasn't just because everything looked so bleak, because when the meds kicked in and life wasn't so bleak, I still couldn't stop drinking.

I went to AA, got sober and didn't find Jesus. Religion is not a component of AA. If there's too much Jesus talk in an AA meeting, find a different one.

Good luck.
posted by essexjan at 11:56 PM on October 13, 2006

I'm not an alcoholic, but I watched a young, beautiful woman I loved crawl into a bottle, after I uncapped it. In retrospect, if I'd have known then what she and I were in for, I never would have brought a whiskey bottle into our home. But I also know, that if it hadn't been that bottle, it would have been something else that put her in a coma in an emergency room, a couple of years later.

Since I'm not an alcoholic, there's a school of thought that says I should STFU and wait for a genuine alky to come along and give it to you straight. I've seen the work that alcoholics do together, and I have a lot of respect for it, so when and if one steps into this thread, you can toss what I have to say, in favor of their advice. Until then, what I have to say to you is pretty simple.

First, almost no one beats a genuine addiction alone. 1 in 1,000,000 do perhaps, but even they usually take a few tries to do it. If you are physically addicted to alcohol, or psychologically dependent on it, finding resources to effectively help you stop drinking is one key to stop drinking. If AA isn't your place, try something else.

Second, you know that alcohol interrupts your brain's normal functioning, and, frankly, that's what you yourself say is its main attraction for you, that "it's something that allows me to forget all the sins I've comitted in my short life on this planet." What your alcohol addled brain may not be up to internalizing, is that alcohol keeps on screwing with your brain, for at least a couple of days after your liver breaks down the last drop in your bloodstream. The tone of your post is similar to things I've read written by late stage alcoholics, in terms of your despair and guilt; if you haven't had a sober day in 9 months, it could be your brain isn't working well enough anymore, even when you think you are sober, to navigate you into becoming sober longer. This is a physiological reason you need the help of others for a while.

Last thing is, that sooner or later, brother, we all "put down the ducky, if we want to play the saxophone." We all chose, everyday, every way, every thing we do or don't. Not even conciously, all the time, but choose, we do. Screwed up or not, you're trying to choose something better for yourself here, so bravo. But posting on AskMe isn't going to get you sober. Getting up and going for help, hard as that is, can. If you see your psychologist soon, ask for referral to a rehab and go. Just go, dry out, do what they say for however long they think you should, and in a few sober weeks, with your brain starting to heal and maybe work more normally again, start on the next steps to staying sober, whether they are any of the 12 Steps, or not.

Good luck. You'll need it.
posted by paulsc at 11:59 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

I am not drunk this evening, because I planned ahead to make this post. I hope that means something.

Yes, it means you have a serious problem. Normal drinkers don't need to 'plan ahead' to not get drunk.
posted by essexjan at 11:59 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Why should I quit drinking?

No one can give you that reason. The only reason to quit is because you want to quit. If you don't want to quit, there's no way you will.

You are the only one who can find that reason. Find it in God, or find it in nature, or find it in something trivial, or don't find it. But we can't give it to you. No one can give it to you.

I quit because I was tired of being hung over. Perhaps that sounds like a trivial reason, but it was enough for me. I haven't touched a drop in 11 years.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:16 AM on October 14, 2006

Seconding Rational Recovery. You're sober now, so you're in a good state to get started immediately, no book required.
posted by evariste at 12:34 AM on October 14, 2006

You were in love with a schziophrenic? That would drive any reasonable person to feel bad, or drink, or something. Be sure, you didn't cause the schziophrenia. It's just not possibly your fault. Maybe you could have been more supportive? Maybe, but you weren't her shrink, and her problem wasn't a matter of being 'driven crazy'. Something was wrong with her head.

I was once in love with an alcoholic. It's almost certainly kind of similar to being in love with a schziophrenic. And you do tend to blame yourself. With drunks, they are good at helping that process. You might want to try some alanon meetings, or something along that line, to look at things from that view.

And I wonder, were there any drunks in your family? Thaat can have a very negative impact. Learning to understand that can help, too.

Few people are as bad or messed up as they may think they are. Or they get that messed up because they think they are, which is kind of the same thing. You don't have to wear that suit of clothes if you choose not to.
posted by Goofyy at 1:27 AM on October 14, 2006

Alchoholics, I was told, are the "Aristocrats of the Mentally Ill". I thought this very offensive at the time. Now I treasure the idea. We are damaged goods. That hurts, but healing is possible and it's surprisingly rewarding. We've been through something dangerous, serious and life-changing yet have come out on the other side.

Booze is a pretty low-grade drug. As you say, it works - but not for long. After a while (and you may have noticed this) it stops working so well. In the meantime the collateral damage on your health is unacceptable. Oh, and it makes you smell.

Explore the options. Recovering Alchoholics number some of the most boring, but also some of the most fascinating people on the planet. You'll be in good company, company is good.
posted by grahamwell at 2:39 AM on October 14, 2006

>Why should I stop drinking when there is nothing a man can do? He can become the most powerful person in the world, and yet in one thousand years he will be forgotten.

I can't help but point out that this isn't logical. Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, Cleopatra? Your math is off.

But that's not the point of your post.

You drink, a lot. But your post doesn't say "I drink a lot and I should stop because my doctor tells me my liver is shot" or "I drink a lot and I get behind the wheel of my car" or "I drink a lot and start fights" or any concrete reason.

We heard about "the ruin I've wrought upon myself and all those I've loved" in very broad terms, and some poetic stuff about WWI.

What, exactly, has happened to you and those you've loved?

You don't have to tell us, but that, however veiled, sounds like your reason to stop.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:07 AM on October 14, 2006

a) Life's no fucking bed of roses, but it can be marginally better than you describe. However, to get it that way, you have to sober up and work at it. The work is itself an anodyne; not the mythical nepenthe you seek, though. But in general a man looks around and sees what he's built for himself. If you're looking around and seeing a pile of crap, it's because you neglected your shoveling duty.

b) Booze is not actually the nepenthe you seek. It's a false friend; it whispers in your ear that you're strong and beautiful, but at exactly the same time it's making you weak, stupid, an object of pity and scorn. Eventually it will kill you: one of the more pathetic routes to suicide.

c) Your psychologist brings a student with him, not because you are especially worthy of notice, but because this is how psychologists learn. Both your psychologist and his student wish you well.

d) Your hate for your psychologist is acceptable. You should discuss it with him and find out what your subconscious is trying to tell you with it.

e) Sober up, dude. Although, as you say, you are merely a meat engine, exuding your soul through your pores like last night's cheap genever, you can spell, punctuate, and appropriately use a dependent clause. Already I like you better than 90% of the meat sacks I encounter. You are not a waste; please find something to do, some way of being, that you can live with.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:18 AM on October 14, 2006 [8 favorites]

KFX: a couple of questions:
How old are you?
How much does booze take out of your weekly paycheck?
Where do you live?

I ask because
1. Age has a lot to do with how you deal with drink.
2. Economics has a lot to do with it, too.
3. Your cultural background has a lot to do with how you and people around you deal with drinking - whether you are in a city, the country, Us or Europe, Canada, etc...
posted by zaelic at 3:43 AM on October 14, 2006

Addiction is ...

Stop drinking because it's not fun anymore, and life can and should be fun. Addiction will trick you into thinking life is better while using, because it makes you feel like shit while you are suffering from withdrawal. You have to fuck yourself up just to get back to a baseline of feeling decent. Tough out the detox period, start exercising and you will soon feel better than your best drunk.

Go to a different AA meeting and see if you can find a crowd you relate to. You don't need to accept jesus or quit smoking (though that is a good idea too). Your higher power can simply be the unknown, you don't have to put a form on it. The important thing is that you need to let go of your futile attempts to control reality with substances and learn to sit back and experience life for what it is, bittersweet though it may be.

I believe that what you do in life resonates through the ages. When you help someone or bring a smile to their face, they are that much more able to bring happiness to others. Your name may be forgotten but the ripples you intitiate continue into infinity.

One of my most cherished memories is the day my older sister made amends (one of the twelve steps). She showed up at my doorstep at 9 at night to make a sincere and abject apology for "making my life miserable growing up". It changed everything for me and we now have a loving relationship.
posted by Manjusri at 4:16 AM on October 14, 2006

You have to think of a life in the terms in which it's given. To start with, the scale of your life is approximately a century, not a week, and not a thousand years. Think of the importance of your life not as what it will mean in other millenia nor whether you can survive another few days. Instead of asking why there isn't more, concentrate on the freaky miracle that you get to be conscious meat for an average of 75 years. Instead of trying to escape it as if it's a burden, treat it as an interesting project, a little adventure. You get to be alive - what will you do with it?

sure, it can be rough, but it can also be beautiful, and it tends to be much more beautiful when it has some kind of coherent story line. A partner, a career, a goal to reach of some sort, help to build the epic that is your life. It's a piece of art, and you can make it something good, but it is up to you to decide what it will be, and you have to do the hard work to make it good. And it can be hard work - it's easier to just give up and go to bed, but it will never really be satisfying that way.

the physical damage that alcohol is doing to your body and your brain is very real. The pleasure that it gives you in the short term is less real, exactly because it does not permeate your whole being. The best kind of happiness is when you feel it throughout your entire being. For a lot of people, love is the best answer there (whether in partners, in children, or in dear friends) but there can also be moments like that found in nature, in art / music / theatre, in being part of a worthwhile project, or in travel / adventure / sport. My advice would be to rethink your life in longer terms and see if there's a direction you want to take it, but also, remember to feed your soul - go to galleries and shows, visit the forest or the sea, go hangliding... remind yourself of the particular and unreproducible experiences of real life.

also, read other people's reflections on those experiences - thoreau, emerson, montaigne, philosophy & poetry in general.
posted by mdn at 6:18 AM on October 14, 2006 [2 favorites]

Why should I stop drinking when there is nothing a man can do?

do you really think that the civilization we live in was built by people who could do nothing? ... look, life as we know it here on earth is a sucker's bet, a losing game, a foregone conclusion ... you can't expect a good outcome in the end, it's just not going to happen

your only possible source of satisfaction is going to be what you put into it and how well you play it ... and if what you put into it is a bunch of booze, then what you're going to get is a boozy mess ... there are people doing good things ... or at least having fun ... or at the very least amusing themselves in some small way ... and you're wasting your life sniveling with a bottle stuck in your face

that's unfortunate, but i don't see why i should be bothered to give a damn when you don't

He can become the most powerful person in the world, and yet in one thousand years he will be forgotten.

is this the real problem? ... that the world refuses to give you the recognition your narcissism demands of it? ... and because of that, you're going to tip over the table because life served you up a cafeteria dinner instead of a banquet? ... you're lucky you got the dinner, a couple of billion of us on earth don't even get that

you're not grateful enough ... you're not humble enough ... and you're not strong enough to believe in the "great kfx" without gulping down a bottle of booze first

your life sucks because you suck ... and right now, what sucks about you the most is that you've got a bottle of booze you use to deal with life instead of your heart

it gets worse, you know ... you're just in the suburbs of hell instead of downtown ... wait until the booze stops seperating you from your life and how you feel about it ... wait until being drunk doesn't numb your pain anymore ... wait until your body gets sick of all the crap you're doing to it and fucks up on you ... you're already in a pretty big hole and you're still digging

Why should I quit drinking?

because if you don't you're going to live a miserable life and die a miserable death

if that's what you'd rather do instead of admitting that you're never going to be king of the universe and learning to enjoy what you can get out of life, there's nothing anyone can do about it

go to aa, work the program, (and above all, DO a serious moral inventory of your failings) ... or live and die in a horrible way

your choice
posted by pyramid termite at 6:41 AM on October 14, 2006 [3 favorites]

You're not choosing whether to drink, your deciding whether to kill yourself slowly or quickly, or not at all. If the choice is to not kill yourself at all, then quit drinking. My father who has just had a quadruple bypass in the past year is making the same choice, only his weapon is fried baloney sandwiches and the internet.
posted by craniac at 7:16 AM on October 14, 2006

I think you will eventually stop drinking of your own volition, somehow. Maybe not now, but eventually.

You are having a hard time living with your "mistakes." You will have an even harder time killing the hope that things could eventually get better. You will not be able to stay drunk enough to kill that hope. Making mistakes is what we all do for our entire lives. It doesn't mean that you brought about your "fate" or you deserve it. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. This situation is temporary.

You sound like a very incisive and hopeful person. You have lost faith that your situation will improve, but you will never lose that hope for something better while you are alive, no matter how you desensitize your brain. And that is why you will eventually try for a better life than you now have. Hopefully in ways that will bring it about. You need to make choices that will help you rather than making things harder or delaying the inevitable.

I wish I could suggest something for the "how," but that's something you'll have to figure out for yourself once it's sufficiently worth it to you, maybe with some of the suggestions above. All I can say is that I believe that with hard work and patience, anything is possible for you. You are too smart to pretend to have given up on yourself. You know you can stop drinking, even it it's not easy to face life without it. Eventually you will want to, or at least not want to keep doing the same things you are now.

Be gentle and respectful with yourself. You are a good person in a bad situation, and you are trying hard. All the best.
posted by Marnie at 7:29 AM on October 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you look around you and see nothing but a trail of disaster and ruin, you should do two things:

1. Sober up.

2. Move to some place where nobody knows you, and start over.

Death is inevitable, but it's a trick you can only do once; so it's worth trying out everything else first. Then die well. Don't rot from the inside before you're even dead.
posted by flabdablet at 7:31 AM on October 14, 2006 [3 favorites]

Also: do not indulge in shame. It is an easy way to excuse yourself from trying.
posted by Marnie at 7:33 AM on October 14, 2006 [4 favorites]

Stay sober for 48 hours and god will you know what stimulus life can bring you. Colors so bright and scents so strong, you'll have problems taking life for what it really is.

I thought people drank / took drugs for those effects. I've been sober forever and I'm not seeing any bright colors or smelling strong scents (well, except when I took out the trash this morning :)) .. When you sober up after being an alcoholic, is it really like that?
posted by wackybrit at 7:49 AM on October 14, 2006

I'm not sure if anything I have to say will help, or if it will just pile on to all the inspirational comments already out there, comments which won't help you if you don't want to hear them.

What struck me about your post was not that you are an alcoholic: That is your albatross, and we all have heavy weights hanging on us.

What struck me was this: "I believe that life is a petty thing; one governed by the meat in which our souls exude themselves and one in which we will one day die. Why should I stop drinking when there is nothing a man can do? He can become the most powerful person in the world, and yet in one thousand years he will be forgotten. "

You're probably right. In fact, I'm certain you are. Very few people are remembered even 50 years after they die. Very few people are remembered when they are still alive.

I am here, myself in the depths of a depression so strong it takes every bit of will I have to stay in this world. My logic is much like yours: I have felt this way for so many years, and so often, that I can't see the point of continuing. And it doesn't mean I don't see the beauty in the world, just that I am tired of not being able to appreciate it or contribute to it.

But why, if we are right, do others around us continue to live? Why do people strive to achieve? Why do some alcoholics quit drinking?

It's not hard to reach that point of Nihilism where everything is meaningless, futile, and just plain not enough to bring us back to the world it seems everyone else occupies.

Either of us, or of the many others who have tottered to the edge of reason, could simply decide that we are right and everyone else is wrong. But how can we, when we know that what ails us is really a chemical reaction? If science tells us we will be nothing but dust 1,000 years from now, science also tells us our emotions are simple physiology.

I can't tell you to stop drinking, or to stop whining, or to stop feeling as you do. But I do suggest that you step back for a moment, examine your reasoning, and think about how the drink has already backfired. Because while you drink to forget you are a drunk, you have already failed on that point.

(Also, get a new shrink. You current one is clearly not helping you. He himself should be able to recommend others who may understand your needs better.)
posted by brina at 7:56 AM on October 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

I still drink - often too much - so you can probably toss my advice out the window, but here goes anyway: Quit drinking. If you are drunk every night for nine months, yes, that's way too much. Stop, but after you've stopped don't expect quitting drinking to solve all your problems. (this is where I restarted & restarted & then finally got myself more or less under control.) You will still be the same person. You will still have some problems. Things will not change all *that* damn much but - and it's a big but - without the booze you will find that you have the tools to deal with those problems. And - and it's a big and - you will find that while you haven't solved all your problems, you have solved one, a big one, a big major scary one that is hard as hell to deal with. That alone can give you the confidence to go on. Also, dude, getting rid of the hangovers alone, discovering exactly what it feels like to wake up sober, day after day - it's worth it. Once you've done that for a month, look back and see what you think. But you have - HAVE - to give it a month.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:13 AM on October 14, 2006 [2 favorites]

Apart from the stuff others have said, well I'm surprised no one has mentioned another very tangible reason other than health: the money...

Look, maybe you're rich and you don't have to care. Or maybe you only drink extremely cheap cider or some unimaginable homemade fermented concoction your uncle in the country sends you by the caseful every week. But since that's not very likely, 9 months of hard drinking means you spent on booze the kind of money that would have allowed you to take one or two nice holidays to a nice place of your choice.

To which you may reply, 'so what? I'm a miserable bastard anyway, I wouldn't enjoy going anywhere. not without booze, at least'. To which one can only reply, 'how do you know that? you never tried, did you?' and then you could say, 'but I know already it's not worth it, nothing is', and it'd go on forever...

If you don't even want to try experiencing anything without being shitfaced all the time, then don't, but don't go looking for rationalisations about how much life sucks. Of course it sucks when you've got this problem, it can suck already without it, but you're not making it any less sucky, etc. other such annoyingly self-evident things you know already.

It's a catch-22, you have to find the tiniest most practical reason to start making the effort to get out of it, rather than looking for big 'meaning of life' motivations that no one has, unless they're deluded.

No one sane gets up in the morning thinking 'gosh I must do something really really relevant with my life today cos it's all so meaningless and no one will remember me in 1000 years and if I don't find the key that unlocks the biggest philosophical mysteries of all time I may as well stay in bed'.

Life is a petty thing, yeah, that doesn't have to be so bad though. Having some kind of goal, no matter how small, being able to make new experiences and enjoy new pleasures, no matter how trivial, that's all the motivation you need to get started doing anything, that's the first step that gives you a better chance to get closer to the less trivial and small experiences and pleasures and goals that make up for all the crappy times, but you've lost the ability, physical and emotional, to feel that initial desire. The good news is it can come back. It will come back not when you stop doing harm to yourself (that's a good start but no magic wand and a very difficult step in itself), but when you stop expecting everything to have major significance and value or else it's not worth bothering.

If I were you, I'd probably hate how preachy and obnoxious any advice you get (and there's much better answers and more to the point than mine in this thread) may sound, but I do genuinely hope you can get to the point where you'll feel it yourself, rather than hear it from strangers who may relate in some way but are not in your shoes right now.

PS- since someone mentioned quitting smoking, well in case you do also smoke, don't even think of quitting both at the same time. Yeah cigarettes are not healthy and [insert government warning] but they don't wreck your mind and soul like a serious drinking problem does. No comparison.

Good luck!
posted by pleeker at 8:32 AM on October 14, 2006

You seem to be using alcohol as a painless, slow motion, possibly reversable form of suicide. Maybe you chose the reversable option for a reason.

The avoiding past bad behavior is a dangerous trap. George McGovern's daughter got caught in that one when she allowed her baby daughter to possibly be sexually abused when she was drunk, and pretty much had to stay drunk from then on to avoid thinking about it. She froze to death passed out in a snowbank.

If you stop drinking, the things you did drunk may come to mind. But if you can come out the other side and not be that drunk person who did those things it will feel better.

Think of being sober as an adventure, like winter camping. It might not be pleasurable at every moment, but it will be interesting.

Ask yourself: do I want a better life?
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:59 AM on October 14, 2006

Not answering the question, but answering the problem.

1. Get the hell over yourself and stop spouting silly psychobabble.
2. Go see a counsellor, or some other professional-type person who deals with addiction.

That is all.
posted by reklaw at 9:03 AM on October 14, 2006

Before the modern age of regimented production that most of us in the developed world now live within, a huge proportion of people in agricultural civilisations spent most of the days, weeks, months, and years of their lives slightly intoxicated on extremely weak beer, bad wine, and cider. Being mildly drunk was a normative state and an adaptionist mechanism to the extraordinary tedium of their lives and the poor state of water sanitation. Coffee and machines changed everything.

The problem is that our modern world also offers a super abundance of alcohol in distilled, concentrated forms that can overwhelm any metabolism and easily produce stupor quite rapidly and with minimal effort.

The total abstinence model from alcohol addiction is appropriate for many but not, perhaps, for all. Consider whether a model of progressive reduction in your alcohol intake to a mild level of intoxication would be possible. It takes effort to maintain a consumption pattern within specific, low parameters, but many people accomplish this quite well. It's possible that a low level of continuous consumption could satisfy your psychopharmacological/emotional needs without also being socially crippling or physically deleterious.

I speak as a total abstainer from alcohol for 18 years. I made a moral choice on my 18th birthday to not drink that day. I've frequently thought about changing my mind since then, but as yet remain unconvinced of any worthwhile benefit from alcohol that I currently lack. To return to your question why should I stop drinking, it is within your power to decide that it's simply not necessary or appropriate for you, and possibly more trouble than it's worth. And you can go on making that decision every day. Sometimes you don't need big reasons, you just need to decide to make a choice.
posted by meehawl at 9:10 AM on October 14, 2006

Why are you asking?

Go watch someone with DTs or sit with someone through liver failure or a round of pancreatitis. That's why you should quit drinking.

It will stop working, and when it does, you will only have a greater slew of wrongs you've committed while you drank. And the longer you go, the worse it will hurt when your body eventually refuses to let you drink more.

You have a serious problem with depression. You might have better luck understanding about drinking/not drinking if you could get the depression treated effectively.
posted by dilettante at 9:31 AM on October 14, 2006

Oh Jesus.

I was just like you, man. I wandered around a city at all hours of the night, a coffee mug full of whiskey, listening to Pink Floyd and Elliott Smith, letting everything wash over me. I was so fucking tragic. Such a fucking waste. My friends were all worried about me. I was going to drink myself into oblivion, or liver disease, or at least a mugging and possibly worse in a back alley. Oh man, look at me, I'm a fucking sad alcoholic, aren't I? The world will forget about me, nothing matters, it shouldn't matter to anyone else that I'm drinking and it shouldn't matter to me.

Well, fuck me, you fuck, and fuck you.

You can spend the rest of your life in a bottle. That's your perogative. I don't think for a second that it doesn't remain a viable (and sometimes quite attractive) option for myself. But I don't want to die alone, I don't want to die in pain, and even though when I'm dead there will be nothing left to worry about how and when I died and who misses me when I'm gone, for the period when I am alive it will hurt a whole fucking lot. My life is short. I am young. There's no fucking reason for me to waste something that can be full and reasonably happy on scrounging for the next drink and arguing with friends about how I don't have a problem, or the problem isn't worth addressing.

Not that any of this will affect you. I know from experience, when you are ready to stop drinking, you will try to stop drinking. You might read a comment here and there that will inspire you for the first twenty-four hours, but after that it's all you and whether you have the will. The first 24 is easy. It's when you want to start drinking again, when you really need it, when everyone around you has a drink in their hand, that's when you find out how much you actually want to stop. For the sake of those who love you, I hope it happens sooner rather than later. But if it doesn't, it doesn't.
posted by Anonymous at 10:21 AM on October 14, 2006

I should also note: You will slip up. You will. Another measure of how much you want to stop is if you get up after you fall.
posted by Anonymous at 10:23 AM on October 14, 2006

I dunno, should you quit? You're going to die alone and miserable one way or another, like we all do, so you might as well have a good time beforehand. If that good time includes being drunk at noon, go be drunk at noon, who gives a fuck?
posted by cmonkey at 10:43 AM on October 14, 2006

Hmm, cmonkey, if he was busy having a good time drinking, I don't think he would have posted this!
posted by pleeker at 11:05 AM on October 14, 2006

Why should I quit drinking? Think of all the money you'd save. Or could be at least spending on pot. Plus, it's boring doing the same thing night after night.
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2006

Are you financially able to travel? Often it takes an abrupt change of physical environment to enable drastic changes in lifestyle.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:11 AM on October 14, 2006

Jesus, you went to a bad meeting! Go lurk in a larger AA meeting, or several, and just listen for as long as it takes. Don't get yourself stuck talking to proselytizers. Sit and listen until you hear someone say something you relate to. Then talk to them someday, when you want to. Go to meetings drunk if you have to. Just listen. There are people there, like me, who don't really believe in any god at all, but who love the way the steps have made life worth living. There are lots of happy cynics in those meetings if you look for them. It helps to have a translator in your head that provides a better word when people speak of "god."

My reason for living--to walk along the pointless path with others and help make it better for them and me. There's no point but we might as well make it easier for each other. And find humor in it.

Also, you're not going to want to stop until it stops working for you. Eventually, it won't numb anything and you won't know how to live with it or without it. That's when you'll know what to do.
posted by aimless at 11:23 AM on October 14, 2006

I believe that life is a petty thing; one governed by the meat in which our souls exude themselves and one in which we will one day die. Why should I stop drinking when there is nothing a man can do? He can become the most powerful person in the world, and yet in one thousand years he will be forgotten. Why should I quit drinking?

Yes, based on your beliefs, there is no real reason to quit drinking. It seems like you already know that alcoholic drinking is just self medication to numb the pain. I feel like this is a spiritual issue at the deepest level and I'm not talking about some christian god, but just some belief in the value of life itself. I, too, am a crazy paranoid, destructive freak (I actually wondered if you were my ex boyfriend) and I do stuff cyclically to destroy myself and my life, but I think I also know that at some level, I have to have gratitude. Gratefulness that I saw some incredible sunset or heard someone sing an amazing song, or saw someone be truly kind. In the end, our beliefs are a decision. Do I choose to concentrate on all the pain and misery and crap in life (including the misery I create for myself and others) or concentrate on all the truly amazing things that this life has and the amazing things that we can do. I feel like it really is about gratitude. Kids we read about, like those born and raised in those garbage dumps in Mexico, still value life and still try and try and try.
I'm still a crazy, lying, destructive, insane idiot sometimes, but I'm trying. I feel scared of writing this for people to see because it's easy and fashionable for other people looking in to be snarky and critical. It's a lot harder to just soften your heart. So here it is. Corny as it sounds, I'm still trying to be that better self.
By the way. One of the most amazing things I have ever experienced was at a large Narcotics Anonymous meeting - a very large one in downtown San Francisco where they used to ship in people from jail who were being forced to attend. But there were a large amount of people there voluntarily. I saw prostitutes and thieves and crackheads get up and talk about how they were changing their lives. Their stories felt authentic to me. I don't know how many of them "made" it. But I know some people can find value in life.
On preview, what everyone else said.
posted by gt2 at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2006

There are a lot of people who feel just the way you do. I second aimless's advice: try more AA meetings. AA isn't for everyone, but a lot of people much like you have been helped, and every meeting is different. Go, listen, mutter under your breath, walk out if you don't like it. They've seen it all, and they don't care if you act weird—they're just hoping you decide not to drink today. If you make that decision, the next step is trying to find something that makes life seem less worthless; whether that's love, medication, writing, exercise, or something else depends on you. Right now, it all sounds awful and pointless, but time (and sobriety) changes everything if you give it a chance. Good luck.
posted by languagehat at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2006

I know this question might seem unrelated but do you play Computer Games, specifically Day of Defeat?
posted by dgeiser13 at 12:00 PM on October 14, 2006

When you sober up after being an alcoholic, is it really like that?

That was not my experience. Drinking does numb the senses, but it was a pretty good feeling.

I don't miss waking up the day after a night of heavy drinking and attempting to throw off the cotton and the general, pervasive unhealthy crappy feeling.
posted by Anonymous at 12:08 PM on October 14, 2006

posted by Orb2069 at 12:34 PM on October 14, 2006 [3 favorites]

You still with us kfx?

No one can tell you why to stop. You need to work it out for yourself.
You dont need to want to stop.
You do however need to really see that you need to stop. In AA terms it is called a moment of clarity.
"I need to stop - but ..." doesnt cut it. The buts are just excuses and evasions.

Life, the universe, whatever, seems to want us all to learn a few things, and will give us steadily increasing hints until we do. How many more hints will you need until you see that while drinking makes it seem bearable for a short time it is actually making it worse?

Forget the jesus thing if it irritates you - find other meetings, talk to people who seem to make sense to you.
The statement above about the universe is a perfectly adequate higher power. You are free to find your own, or not, as you wish. Let the people who talk about jesus find their own as well.

What does it matter what people will think in 1000 years?
Why not focus on what you can do today.
Make just one thing better, or failing that try not to make one thing worse.
If you got drunk last night after posting this it is ok - what matters is what you will do today.

Where you are right now sucks.
You can keep digging the hole deeper, or you can start climbing out.
posted by yetanother at 12:34 PM on October 14, 2006

I want you to quit drinking because I enjoy reading your comments so much. If less drinking means more of this type of particular brilliance, then I humbly and honestly ask you if you might drink just a little bit less so that you might write for us just a tiny bit more.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:25 PM PST on October 13

I thought that was just some bullshit feel-goodery until I actually read the links, all of which were pretty stunning. Another talent brought low by alcohol. Ugh.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:53 PM on October 14, 2006

Personally I don't give a flying fuck what you do. Drink yourself to death if you like, or have a constant low-grade wetness, or quit and find some Higher Crutch, or whatever. If you must keep drinking and don't want to ruin your brain make sure you take B-Complex pills and eat regularly (Korsakoff's Syndrome is a vitamin deficiency), and if you want your liver to last a while don't take acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol, read the damn labels on every cold or headache remedy). Either way, if you want to write screens of self-important misery you might find kindred souls in Usenet newsgroups such as alt.angst and talk.bizarre that could use some fresh new input.
posted by davy at 4:13 PM on October 14, 2006

Response by poster: I made this post in a fit of self-pity. I agree with davy, and calumet43 - where I am is entirely my own doing, and I think if I saw a post like this I would respond the same way.
posted by kfx at 4:16 PM on October 14, 2006

kfx, sorry, I know this thread is old but I have something to offer.

Considering what you've written, I kinda think that quitting drinking right now is putting the cart before the horse.

You don't have a reason-yet. Screw AA and your shrink. They're focusing on alcoholism which isn't your problem.

I'm not you, but I think I know what you're talking about. I've been really down-for-the-count a few times in my life. And like you, I looked really hard for ways out. Oddly enough my way out was with people. I don't even really like people.

But by doing stuff for people, volunteering, doing very small good deeds, stuff like that, over time I was able to balance the scales of my life. And it doesn't have to be people, animals, whatever kind of stuff that will help you correct/right your personal path. My life went from being a very hellish thing to something that I really love and appreciate.

E-mail me if you feel like it(profile). Maybe we can swap some effed up stories. I still drink BTW, but now it's because it's FUN! If I don't hear from you, Good Luck and hang in there! As much as life has potential for torment it has equal potential for pure joy.
posted by snsranch at 5:31 PM on October 14, 2006

Hey kfx, don't get me wrong: I'll never claim there's anything wrong with self-important misery (and the invitation to Usenet was sincere). Nor do I think alcoholism and/or "a drinking problem" automatically makes you a moral failure or a bad person, for that matter. I wonder how much you actually drink, how old you are, how your general health is, etc. etc.; some people can get away with being lushes for years and some can't, I'd focus on how well you hold up.

And by the way, it seems to me too that your worst problem is depression. Are you on "happy pills" now?
posted by davy at 6:17 PM on October 14, 2006

I second Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese's suggestion! Your comments are wonderful and I want you to make more of them. If alcohol is what helps you craft such wonderful prose, then by god stay off the wagon. But if not drinking would help you comment more, stop drinking – for us.

Seriously dude, you're by far my favorite new MeFite. Both my sister and I were independently in awe of your first few comments and added you as a contact immediately. We were entranced from the beginning. I would subscribe to a RSS feed of your comments just so I could be sure to never miss one.

Please do it for Metafilter, establish yourself here, spend your boozing energies inspiring us.
posted by blasdelf at 12:08 AM on October 15, 2006

I fourth Kraftmatic. Because of Optimus' post I went back and reviewed the history and agree. Exactly the kind of stuff I read Mefi for. But I think everyone knows this doesn't come from alcohol. At most it relaxes inhibitions so that it flows more easily.

Anyway, I was struck by this comment about antidepressants:

"I think it's a little bit like inmates that get antidepressants on death row. These little pills will make you feel better. But should you really be feeling okay, after killing three people and setting a liquor store on fire? Isn't it "right" that you should feel bad about it? That's the real problem about these pills, to me. They make it so you can feel alright, even when you probably should feel bad."

This was probably the only realization I got out of a round of therapy many years back, thus making it an expensive one. I offer it to you for free. Guilt is bullshit. It's just a mechanism that others use to control you, and if you've internalized it, you're that much more of a tool. I can still hear that parental refrain ringing in my ears: "You should feel terrible about yourself!".

Why? What earthly purpose does it serve? Does it make you a better person? Are you contributing more to society because you feel like crap? Does it keep you from doing bad things? Does it make your life or anyone else's better?

Fuck that noise. Find pleasure where you can, in small things. Little kindnesses you can impart, and incremental changes you can make to improve your life and others are the best. Don't waste time and energy punishing yourself for no purpose whatsoever.
posted by Manjusri at 1:37 PM on October 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Despite your disparagements to the contrary, kfx, I think somewhere deep down you asked this question because you are looking for an answer. People who have committed to drinking themselves to death, however long it may take, do not take up long presentations of their conditions in online forums nor spend their time (not to mention perfectly good booze money) letting some shrink hassle them about drinking. They are too busy drinking, and telling anyone still left who gives a shit about them to go to hell.

There is only one reason to quit drinking, which would be because you want to live. What you're doing, drinking, is dying.

For myself, I am not an idealistic person: I think that life is mean, and cruel, but not petty. I don't care what my existence means in a thousand years (or if it means anything or not). I don't live in a thousand years. I don't live in my past: not in denial, not in regret. Those ghosts have passed me by. It sounds like yours are likely to drown you. If you decide you want to try to survive, you know what you have to do.
posted by nanojath at 11:13 PM on October 21, 2006

kfx, if you are still reading this, feel free to drop me an email. I would like to have a conversation with you about the schizophrenic individual in your life and the ramifications of those events on your behavior. We have more in common than you may imagine, and I couldn't find an email address in your profile...
posted by prostyle at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2006

Maybe you won't be remembered in a thousand years. But if you want to get laid in this lifetime, sober up.

You're very very confident that everything is meaningless, but you're also very very deep in the throes of alcoholism. Alcoholism is your point of view. And you want us to talk to your alcoholism and convince it that it is wrong and should go away.

And your alcoholism doesn't want to hear it. Like a cancer it reaches out inside of you and appropriates all of your resources, including your mind. Your alcoholism is setting up these intellectual traps around itself as a protection mechanism. Nothing matters, eh? Universe is expanding and will someday self-destruct, eh? And unless someone can prove otherwise, the logical conclusion is to drink, eh? This is a lazy circle of self-destructive reasoning which would not hold up for five minutes if you subjected it to a fair and honest examination but which, as long as you blindly clutch it to your heart, will keep you blind and warm forever.

It's the very transience of life that makes the moment precious. Nothing you do will last forever, but right this moment you can make all the difference in the world to someone if you simply try. Even the most important man will be forgotten in a thousand years. Okay. I guess if you are the pharoah type who needs pyramids to be built in monument to himself, then this is a depressing thought.

And that's where the alcoholism comes back in.

Get your head into a different place. Now that you know drunkenness, try sobriety again and see if it's as you remember. Your next attempt at sobriety might turn out a little different. A little wiser. A little worldlier. Be sober for 9 months. Then you'll see how much of your above posting was truth and how much was attitude, perspective, point of view.

Why should you quit drinking? Because 9 months of it has convinced you that life isn't worth living. That's why. For all you know, you could be waking up each day with a sense of purpose, a reverent love of being in the moment. An irresistible sense of beauty at the unending parade that is life, reality, possibility, history, eternity.

Or you could be drunk and pissing it all away, oblivious. Well... no, actually. You can't be oblivious again. The one thing you can't do now is pretend you didn't know, pretend no one ever told you, pretend you don't remember, claim you just forgot. It's all here in writing anytime you need it. If you can set a browser bookmark you can save your life...
posted by scarabic at 9:26 PM on January 29, 2007

I think the fact that I found this thread, 4 months after I missed its dropping off the front page, speaks to something.

4 months is a long time. 1000 years, however, is all a matter of perspective. Who knows if these words on this page will still exist in 1000 years? Or if anything on the internet, or the internet itself, will be around in any form, in 1000 years? Will Earth still have breathing sacks of meat on it in 1000 years? Will the universe still exist? What if there are no conscious beings alive to acknowledge its existence? Will it exist then?

Pour me another Jack, is my first response. (Its been about 12 hours since I had my last one. Its the middle of the workday, now, so, I won't, fwiw.)

But then I think about 4 months. What could happen in 4 months? What did happen in 4 months?

I saw a new country I had never traveled to for the first time, and practically fell in love with everything I saw, smelled, touched, heard, and tasted.

I found out about horrible dark secret history of abuse in my family that I had no idea was there. I found out that I may have those same evil proclivities in me.

I had another shot at a healthy functioning relationship with a girl fall apart on me. I felt like giving up for the last time. I found myself back in the aloneness I've known for so long, no longer armed with the pride to say I'm not a lonely person.

I fell more behind at work, on a job I don't really care about any more but I'm stuck in because I'll never pay off my school loans.

I turned to alcohol to lull me to sleep. Every fucking night. Just like the past few years before the last 4 months. Every fucking night.

I found this thread on Ask MeFi that for some reason I missed, 4 months ago.

1000 years from now, will any of that shit matter? Probably not.

What about 4 months from now?

The answer is "I don't know."

But tonight, even if its just one night, I'm planning ahead to not drink. I'm fucking looking forward to it.

Why should I stop drinking when there is nothing a man can do?

Dude. You stopped to ask a question, and the results of that alone have changed my life - maybe for the 5 minutes of euphoria I'm feeling right now, or maybe forever. You already did something. Think how much more you could do if you actually put a concerted effort at it.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:57 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]

You gotta stop bro, it's not working anymore. You started drinking and enjoyed it, now it's stopped producing that effect. You are where a lot of people were (myself included, no shit) and they got better. A few people have said you gotta make a decision. Well, that's right. You'll never get outta this prison if you don't break out. You're depressed and feeling hopeless, like the ashes to ashes, dust to dust we are. You can bet the prognosis doesn't look good if you continue, if you're even around to read this post. I hope the best for you, and there is a solution.
posted by gmodelo at 5:01 PM on October 11, 2007

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