Worn Out and Tired of Fighting Me

By Paul…
My background is not horrible. I grew up in a low income housing project with a good mother who worked very hard to provide a life for me that was nice. I never really had any want for anything, there was always food in the fridge, the utilities were always on, there was little conflict in the household and my mother managed to somehow pay for a private school. Shortly after high school my mother passed away and my sister and I had to take her off life support with the unfortunate condition she’d become afflicted with. No addiction present here, just a bad stomach lining. I mention this not because I think it was a source of my addiction that was to come but rather to illustrate that life can be hard and to this point, while her passing made life not easy, it was manageable.
I eventually ended up being accepted to a very good school for graduate work in physical biochemistry. (For this reason, and I’m not trying to me pompous here, I understand how remarkable a work Marc has put together with his memoirs.) Somewhere around this time my drinking transformed from what you’d expect from the usual student to something different. I hate to admit it but while teaching as both a graduate student and faculty I stole very high proof alcohol from the school stockpiles to fuel my appetites. Many of my friends tried very hard to help and support me to no avail. Very shortly after my first, and thankfully only DUI, the University decided they needed my services no longer.
I went through many bad periods subsequently. To be honest, I’m really amazed I’m alive at this point. I don’t know how I pull it off sometimes but I still have a career, I have a real estate partnership I manage with a friend and I work in finance. Yet every two weeks or so my brain gets the idea that it’d be really great to have a few beers and I spin out from there. Through my life I have ‘recreated’ on assorted drugs, marijuana, pills, etc., but they have never got their hooks into me like alcohol has. I don’t even remember the last time I smoked pot even though there’s an old pot candy bar and eighth sitting in my bedroom night table drawer right now. No desire for it at all.
I heard of Marc’s book while I was listening to radio on a road trip. I’ve read the first book, the memoirs, haven’t gotten to the disease book yet. After the DUI I was forced to go to AA. When I heard the ‘science hasn’t solved this yet’ bit they say in meetings I thought ah, I’m going to read up on this. I have read more articles and books on alcohol addiction than I can count. And yet, similarly no avail, I can’t seem to kick this thing. This is why I say I don’t think there’s been any more important book written on drug addiction than Marc’s memoirs and the work of Jack Trimpey with his Rational Recovery. Yet here I remain, coming off yet another alcohol binge and feeling like crap.
Of all the things that jump out at me from Marc’s work it is the concept of meaning and how it seems to work in the brain. I will give you a recent example. I took a trip up to Big Sur to take a little time off and study for a test I needed to take. It was wonderful. I studied what I needed to study, I did a bit of hiking even though the drinking habit, it doesn’t make for a healthy body, I spent sometime with artists and discussed their work, I even met a great gal. When I left Big Sur I felt fantastic and even thought how could I make this relationship with this gal work long distance. I returned to ——- feeling absolutely refreshed and full of, you guessed it, meaning. This is what I need in my life way more joy and some kind of purpose. Yet, couple weeks later I’m pounding a few 12 packs and in the old crap again. This is part of the reason I feel like it’d be better to just get up and out of my own environment. I saw the memoir recently posted about you can’t get away from yourself and I know the whole theory about being unable to get away from one’s self.
I question whether I know how to create meaning. Friends of mine have said you don’t know how to sustain momentum. I think they are correct. What am I missing. My Doctor wants me to start taking GABA supplements and other amino acids for my brain but I’ve never been one to keep up on any kind of a regiment. Marc mentioned a study where rats given the option to opiate themselves will not in an environment with other rats. Is that the solution? Its about the only thing I thought good about AA but I hated being there.
I feel lost. And I don’t believe there is any solution. I’d like to implement these biochemical changes Marc suggests in his book but I don’t know how. I’ve felt the same way with Peele’s stuff. Anyone whose been through the beginnings of this change and knows how, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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6 thoughts on “Worn Out and Tired of Fighting Me

  1. Sandra Cooper October 18, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    I believe a lot of our problems are relate to our mistaken identity; We don’t know our true nature. Most people are chasing something ‘out there’. loss of connection to self leads to a frenzied search for something to fill the emptiness. Until we learn to love and accept ourselves we will live an impoverished existence. In order to change we have to know what to change. I spent a life time troubled and searched everywhere for the thing that would ease my longing.
    Return to Self leads to belonging and includes everything and everyone.
    Its a daily moment to moment remembering

    • Janet November 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      Terrific reply to a very moving Guest Memoir. There isn’t a formula to happiness… or to finding balance. Simply the moment to moment that Sandra mentions and the absolute truth that you are not alone. Please don’t abandon yourself.

  2. Bethany November 2, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    I would love to hear his reply because I question the same thing myself. I always drank but it was never out of control. I also had my experiences with cocaine, pot and pills but could care less for any of that. Somehow alcohol was always my preference for a fun time.
    I went through periods such as undergraduate or when I dated a brewer that I drank a lot more frequently. Also, for being a female, I can put them down. Yet, being an athlete I was able to lower it down if I wanted to join a swim team again, or train for a half marathon etc. So, I sit here now being sick and tired of these binges that I seem to keep repeating?!
    I can tell you when the drinking started to get out of control is when I lost my sister to heroin in 2011. I was a happy healthy rugby player who watched what she ate and drank only after a game or when football was on. Then come Monday, life would return to normal. Bam, sister dies and there is no closure. I lost it. I lost my mind, soul and faith. I drank frequently but still trained and ran a full marathon in her honor. I was also a GSA in graduate school who maintained a 3.8. After graduating in 2012, I was drinking excessively because I never dealt with her death. To top it off, my boyfriend at the time asked me to marry him and I said yes, knowing that I was not ready to get married and was not sure if I wanted to be with him. My drunk ass said yes and we continued on. At this point I began to drink daily and the morning drinks before work began. I look back at this time (2013) and think, wtf?!?! I drank and drank and drank. I got in trouble at jobs, had fights with friends and family members, and was a terrible wife. I felt stuck and like a piece of shit. I still wondered, where did I go wrong? Why can’t I get a hold of myself????
    Well 2 shitty jobs later, morning drinking, a divorce I found myself worse then ever. I gained weight and couldn’t run like I used to. I couldn’t stick to any training plans and would ditch group races that I registered for. I hibernated with my boyfriend and his extensive whiskey collection. I often got drunk and cried about it, that I wanted to gain control and go back to the Bethany in 2011. I am trying now, with the support of my boyfriend and family to stop. It is important because now I am having health issues and feel sick from too much. It’s just too much.
    I can’t promise anything but that I want this shit to end, but I feel ya. It sometimes feels like youre pushing a brick wall.

    • Janet November 9, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      Life is indeed hard. But it is much much harder with drugs and alcohol.
      Grief is a process. You have to go through it. And it through you. You will get through it. Not OVER it… but through it.
      Trust that this process will help you heal into a new found world, where loss and sadness can live alongside you. And you will know that love never dies.

  3. Brian R November 15, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    Don’t ever give up on yourself. I went through 20+ years of drinking nonsense. I never tried to quit until 7 months ago. (should have been 20 years ago) I’m glad you mentioned Rational Recovery and Jack Trimpy. He’s blunt and no nonsense and makes sense. You are in control of your actions.
    I know what the spin outs are like. done many of my own in the past.
    Definitely remember that you don’t have a disease and are not hopeless or incurable.
    I finally got sober myself and Jack’s book reinforced things for me. I didn’t use any method but, so far so good. There’s lots of great stuff out there.It’s only this country that adheres to the disease model of addiction as the rest of the “civilized” world moves on. It’s big business. Much like our inability to convert to the metric system, this country seems to like to adhere to antiquated ways of doing things sometimes, much to the dismay of the rest of the world and the bewilderment of much of it’s own citizenry.
    I dislike AA but won’t waste time bashing it as much as I enjoy it. Like Jack Trimpy I believe there is nothing- disease or otherwise -that can COMPEL you to drink. They’re only excuses. Give yourself credit. Give yourself a chance.
    I would suggest learning mindfulness through meditation. Stop using the offending substances and allow neuroplastic changes to gather strength in your brain. Give your brain an opportunity to rewire. Give yourself ample opportunity to change your environment and experiences to accelerate the needed changes.
    I’m in the the early stages of my new life- 7 months – but I made a commitment to change and it feels good. I haven’t read Marc’s book but I am going to. I think It may echo some of what I’m saying from what I gather.
    I hear you. I don’t know how I’m alive either. I shouldn’t be. I also ruined my career in nursing years ago and am beginning the process of getting my license to practice restored.
    I think, much like me that you enjoy the instant gratification and pleasure that substances provide; it’s easy. The gratification that long term goals can provide are just……..well……long. Our brains aren’t yet wired for it. Same idea as when your friends said you can’t maintain momentum. Remember Jack and the addictive voice. Don’t listen to it.
    I know it isn’t easy, but it’s a lot easier than the consequences can be. Drill that into yourself. I certainly don’t have the answers but can only offer a few suggestions that are working for me. Screw regret, it’s worthless. You can’t change what’s already happened. Get out of your own way.
    I personally don’t care for group activity, especially AA, because I think it encourages the dwelling on regret. I appreciate the experiments with rats, but we’re not rats. We have human consciousness and intelligence that far exceeds any rat that I’m aware of. I think rat experiments are fine for biochemical and physiological processes. But for social experimentation? I’m no PhD but it seems a little silly to me.
    Keep learning. You’re not sick, just stuck; stuck in a pattern of thinking and a way of being. It won’t last forever, you have to give change a chance.
    These are just a few suggestions. Far be it from me to pretend to be an expert after only 7 months of abstinence, I’m anything but an expert. It’s been a pretty eventful 7 months though. Most people actually quit or change their drinking habits on their own. People just like myself that fit every definition of a diseased alcoholic fuck up. We do it to ourselves. Don’t wear the scarlet letter A for alcoholic and brand yourself for life as AA would suggest.
    I’m just glad I’m still alive, because there were times when I didn’t give a shit.
    Anyway, I don’t want to get preachy. My full story is pretty fucked up. I may have to write one of these memoirs myself.

    Good luck.

  4. Heather January 18, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Paul, we have all been there. The ego-fatigue that we experience after a couple of weeks sober, makes the immediate benefit of drinking more appealing than the long term goal of being sober. I think we have to get a clear vision of how life would look without alcohol and want the outcome more than the temporary relief. We also have to learn to live. Most of us feel lost when we get rid of alcohol. We spent so much time drinking that we didn’t realise we did little else. You have already noticed you need more joy and connection in life, so is there a hiking club or something you would like to join that might give you some company and purpose? Volunteering can also do the same.
    I’ve committed to a 10 week programme called Bodyfit at my gym which I hope will act as a kind of tether. I also have a blood test scheduled for one month’s time. I definitely want that to reflect a sober state, rather than a liver under stress. These things act as incentives when my brain is telling me I’d like to drink. See if you can find some of these practical things that might aid you.

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