Examples of drunks and late-stage alcoholics

Kevin O’Hara, showcased in the last post, suggested we do a search on youtube and check out examples of alcoholics, particularly late-stage. I widened the net a bit, but here are a few results that came up:

Charley reminds me of a couple people I know in the neighborhoods bars…

That last one was powerfully emotional to watch. Very sobering to imagine being in his family’s predicament.

Goes to show there’s a difference between being a heavy albeit problem drinker versus being a full-blown alcoholic. But, then again, it’s a process getting to that extreme that first began with creating (or giving into) a habit of drinking regularly.

That’s enough of that for now.

AlcoholMastery

A channel I recently came across and have been watching the last couple of days, AlcoholMasteryTV:

I get where he’s coming from SO MUCH in that video above in terms of how he used to be as a drinker. His story gives me hope.

“Keep the alcohol out of your mouth.” Yep. Personal decision.

Personally not interested in purchasing his (or anybody else’s) course, but he has a bunch of videos up for free on his channel that are useful.

His channel is a good resource.

Saturday afternoon journaling in June 2017

Now on day 4 of my commitment toward change. Arm muscles are finally back to normal. Can extend them fully once again. Had dinner with my former partner last night and he said I had just awakened muscles in my forearm that probably had never been stressed so hard, then allowed them to get dehydrated and fatigued the day afterward, so there’s nothing really to worry about there. That’s good. Was nervous for a couple days there that I had damaged a tendon or ligament or something. But all is fine now.

Of course I’m still thinking about what all has transpired recently and why and how I feel about it. That last night out (Monday the 12th), the one where I mentioned the older lady bartender at the calmer bar seeming slightly nervous toward me, keeps running through my mind. The bar was dead that evening. A couple here or there would roam through but otherwise I was sitting in there alone, drinking and playing music on the jukebox. Wasn’t being rowdy or anything, just didn’t want to go home. And it’s that fear of going home that keeps perplexing me. Felt it so many nights while out and about. Like I’m afraid to be with myself, to sit there with my troubled thoughts and ideas and ruminations. That’s been the driving force for me in the barscene for as far back as I can remember. Just didn’t want to go home and be alone. And once it came time for me to return home, I’d want to be “set” to where I’d go to sleep shortly. Put myself out. If I didn’t drink enough at the bar to do the trick, I’d drink more once I got in. And I recall doing just that in my early 20s and here I am in my mid-30s still attempting to do the same thing.

That’s a lot of years of running from something. But what gets me is that I do look at my past and examine it in as much detail as I can. Always have done so. And I do look at what I’ve done wrong and let myself feel it deeply and acknowledge it for what it is. Just because I think about it, though, doesn’t make it go away. Worked it all out as much as I could hope to and yet here it always remains. Back another day to remind me. My thoughts are there when I drink though too. They don’t disappear. Might go under the radar for a while when distracted by others, but they crop back up as the night wears on. Not uncommon that by the end of the evening I’m actually fairly depressed or melancholic (as I prefer to call it). In other words, I didn’t remain a fun drunk for long many nights. I know that. Others knew that too. Told me so on occasion.

So the alcohol didn’t even fix what it was intended to fix, not even temporarily. Not even throughout the full evening of drinking. The thoughts always rise back up before all is done and said. And I believe it’s those thoughts I’ve been aiming to escape from all these years. I don’t know what to do with them. Don’t know how to tame them. But it’s clearly evident by now that adding alcohol to the mix not only doesn’t sufficiently eradicate them for long but also provides breeding ground for new reasons to be upset with myself.

I see it. I understand. More now than ever.

Not sure why I seem so afraid of sitting alone with myself for too long. Why it makes me stir-crazy and uncomfortable. I’ve known me long enough by now to recognize that these are simply thoughts, memories, and that they can’t do much more than pester me. Seems they wish for some sort of expression, some outlet, some way of being concretized, so to speak. And actually, if I’m honest with myself, I have known this for a long time. Guess I haven’t wanted to do it. Didn’t want to have to sit with them so intimately and try to fashion them into something else. Maybe it feels too personal, too sorrowful, too impossible to remedy. But they’re just emotions, and life could’ve been much worse. Not dealt the worst lot here. Just an awfully emotional person who feels these things so deeply that that worries me. Made me think these emotions might capsize my little ship eventually if I took up too much time with them all. So instead I opted for a “slow death” (as I call the drinking lifestyle), which is no better. Not one bit better. Very likely much, much worse. Dangerous for myself and others and completely unproductive in the big scheme of things.

So there’s no choice here right about now. This is what it is, and this is calling for what it wants. Maybe taking up these concerns and finding a way to make use of them will eventually satisfy that internal “gremlin” a bit too. I always return to what Erich Fromm wrote about our options as people: we can either find a productive path or wind up becoming destructive (whether toward others and/or ourselves). I’ve always known his words to be true, and yet I ran anyway and created this situation for myself. Reasoning alone apparently isn’t ever enough.

But I hear it now. Understand more than before, now that there are so many more memories added to the heap, generated within the last several years. New forms of destruction and chaos that were sparked by my hands and my words this time around. Teaches me about the dark side to one’s being. Our capacity to cause harm, whether we deliberately set out to do so or not. And that’s been a valuable lesson. Gotta thank something out there for showing that to me in the ways it has.

Seems to be true that we start to really strive toward heaven once we have reckoned with hell. Otherwise we don’t know what we’re even striving for. But, then again, most roads to hell are paved with good intentions. Maybe dealing in our own versions of the abyss is what helps clarify what’s actually better, more worthwhile, truly healthier, less idealistic and more real.

I can’t regret these years fully since they’ve provided a treasure trove of opportunities to observe others and myself. Lots of shocking material there. Parts of myself I wouldn’t have believed existed had I not witnessed it directly, and same goes for plenty of others. We humans are far more complex than we can imagine, because life is far more complex than we are capable of imagining. Consciousness is a trip, to say the least.

It is what it is. And I’m here to explore it amongst all of you. No one’s perfect, nor is it worthwhile to expect anybody to be. Not even sure what perfection really entails anymore. Just no longer want to toss chance to the wind and act like I’m not responsible for any outcomes when that’s so obviously not true. Such a strategy is an attempt to hide from reality. But we know how that goes…we can run on for a long time, but sooner or later we will be cut down…

True. And it’s okay. I know these days that I can take the pain. Besides, there’s nowhere else to run. And so be it. This is a blessing in disguise, I do know that and appreciate it as such. Just a transition period right now is all. Gonna take time to get my bearings and to form new habits and whatnot. Still, this is FAR better than the road I’ve been on, even if this winds up being treacherous for a spell. So far it is not, but I am preparing myself for that possibility and will accept it if it comes. Because it’s just life. This is how it can roll. Still better than the alternative I had been pursuing. That was monotonous and nihilistic and was tearing me apart. Turning me into something I didn’t want to be. Don’t want to go back there ever again. Not like that. Too pointless and painful and chaotic and uncontrollable. Became useless. Frustrating and saddening and pitiful and not much else.

Why do we fear life and living? Why do we try to hide out and not be seen for what we are? And why have we humans been attempting this since the dawn of time? What are we so afraid of? Rejection? We’re going to be forced to deal with that regardless. Pain and suffering? Same deal. Failure? I think that hits closer to the mark. Existential guilt and confusion.

Anyway, time to move on to something else.

Personal thoughts on an early Thursday morning in spring 2017

Got to thinking about my dad tonight. And by that I mean my ex-stepdad who was the only dad I’ve ever known. Had Papa (my grandpa) as my other and predominant father figure. But they both had a major influence.

While writing the last post I got to thinking if my dad had been quizzed would he even know how many schools I’ve attended? Nine (excluding one other for a short spell in the first grade in MS). He didn’t have that kind of life. Neither did my mother. Neither did my little brother who began attending a private school in the first grade that he attended until graduation. Totally different lives. Can make it hard to relate at times.

Don’t wonder if my mother knows since I doubt she’d ever care.

Somehow it all went this way. And that’s okay, or at least it simply is what it is. Nobody promised us a rose garden. Yet, that which sets us apart is also what provides us a unique perspective. At least in theory. Heh

I’m not mad at them. My life has been interesting, to say the least. Hope it continues to be so. Probably would help if I left bars alone for the most part, particularly that one mentioned already that sucks. Don’t have enough patience for all that. Better to sit alone than deal with jackasses and jerks. Though I do like to visit with my pals who aren’t assholes. It’s a conundrum where my “dark side” or gremlin (as I prefer to call it) keeps winning out. Totally destructive aspect of my being, and I do recognize it. That’s my battle at present. Fed the wrong wolf for too long apparently. Certainly not proud of that. But such is life. Better to see it for what it is than remain willfully blind.

Been seeing that for a while now though. Won’t pretend I haven’t. The “dark side” definitely has its intoxicating effects. Been here for so long that it seems to be in my nature. And maybe it is, intrinsically.

Life is crazy, life is mad…  So what’s your destiny? Take it, take it in your hands. To paraphrase a beloved Enigma song.

And so be it.

Observing people on a Sunday afternoon while at the “beach”

Always strikes me as funny to refer to anything in this land-locked Midwestern state as a “beach,” but that’s what the locals call their riverside recreational area. Nice spot actually. It’s where my best guyfriend likes to go to lay out and catch some rays, so I accompanied him yesterday as I occasionally do.

Loads of families were there, as to be expected. Several couples also. What was interesting to me was the diversity of the crowd. Considering this “flyover state” is known for being white bread, most probably wouldn’t expect to see such a wide spectrum of colors and ethnicities all intermingled. Likely not the case outside of this metro and in the more rural areas, but here we all are in the big city.

A large group of Africans were there, playing in the water off at the end. All seemed pretty friendly. Watched them interact while we were wading in up to our thighs, taking a break to cool off. They have a dramatically emotional flair to them, which I find interesting as a highly emotional person myself. And not a one of them seemed concerned about getting their hair wet, that being a stereotype associated particularly with black women. But these were people of direct African descent, not our stereotypical black Americans.

Speaking of which, farther down the beach I noticed a good-looking black female with a good-looking Asian male. She too didn’t seem concerned about getting her hair wet, which leads me to assume that must’ve been her natural hair. Was very pretty.

A group of Hispanic people were out there too, though I only saw their kids get in the water while the adults remained clothed and chatted amongst themselves near the periphery of the “beach.”

Nearer to our blankets were a black American couple, both middle-aged and very attractive. He was reading a book in his chair while she got in the water. She too had her own natural hair and had no hesitation about swimming or getting sand in it. I like to see people’s natural hair rather than the “hair hats” that Tommy Sotomayor makes such a big deal about. He’s right — weaves have a lot of downsides and not enough upsides to make them worth it. Not being free to swim or even scratch one’s scalp sounds incredibly unappealing.

I bring this up because once it grew time for us to leave about 6:30pm, the parking lot was filling up with black Americans who had arrived. And to be honest, I was glad we were leaving by that point. The weave-wearers had shown up, along with sporting the attitudes many of us have to come to expect from them. Some might say it’s racist to simply state it like that, but I don’t care. The word racist has been played out and rendered meaningless anyway. My main point is that there was a distinct difference between the black folks (mostly African but also a handful of black Americans) who were there in the afternoon versus the black Americans showing up as evening approached. You could see it in their body language immediately.

Each day I ponder on the direction society is headed in, and while I acknowledge that racial identities can be complex and that plenty shouldn’t be judged in accordance with a stereotypical mold, I observe those who epitomize such stereotypes as well. Am not color-blind and won’t pretend to be so. Stupid to expect that from people. We all do notice, whether we’re willing to admit it.

Laying there roasting in the sun, I got to thinking about the Africans I’ve known and how many of them openly disdain our American blacks. Don’t see themselves as belonging to the same in-group at all. They don’t wish to be lumped into that shared category because they see themselves (and their varied nations of origin) as being distinct culturally and unaligned with the American Black narrative. They get frustrated by them. So they opt to self-segregate away from our black Americans. Interesting. I wonder if they too left when the weave-wearers showed up. Perhaps. And would anyone accuse them of racism for doing so?  lol

Nothing wrong with avoiding unnecessary drama.

A part of me feels a bit bad for the (stereotypical) black American currently seeing as how so many of them appear to be ruled by an inferiority complex that leads them to behave and act out in ways that only further confirms the stereotype in the minds of others, resulting in increasing social tensions. It’s set up a conundrum that can’t easily be remedied at this point in history. The past can’t be allowed to fade away since so many feel deeply invested in it, yet ruminating over the past is proving to be bondage in a new way as it’s carried forth into the future. While I can understand the habit of lamenting the past, there’s no way forward if you look out upon all others as racists unceasingly aiming to hold you back. And others don’t care for being viewed that way either, hence why we might walk away. But we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we leave you to it, we’re racist. If we stay and stand our ground, we’re racist. If we tell you what you want to hear, we’re racist. If we speak openly and plainly without putting your feelings first, we’re racist. Surely if we just sit there mute we’re probably still regarded as racist.

People tire of that shit. It’s exhausting to deal with. Feels like mental loops and traps. A rigged game. No longer about individuals interacting but instead an obstacle course where if the right things aren’t said or the right demeanor isn’t displayed, we’re going to be called out, nevermind what’s actually going on in our minds or how much we aimed to not offend. I can’t stand for my motivations to be assumed based on some ridiculous narrative. If you want to know why I say what I say or do what I do, just ask me. Pretty good about speaking straight. Yet this is what we constantly hear these days, these assumptions that everybody out here is motivated by racism. Couldn’t possibly be that we just wish to avoid unnecessary drama that we’ve come to associate with certain types of people. Often it isn’t based on race solely, as demonstrated by people’s openness toward the Africans.

In short, it’s not skin color alone that is the focal point– it’s the attitudes and actions that stereotypically accompany them across however many persons. Yes, white folks can be assholes too, and nobody would claim otherwise. Since some wish to ascribe motivations to those of other races, I’ll feel free to do the same in pointing out what appears to be an inferiority complex among too many black Americans. Inferiority/superiority complex since it swings to wild extremes, even within the same individual. On one hand loudly protesting assimilating into the wider “white-dominated” culture and its laws, while simultaneously wailing about people avoiding them and/or not including them. But when you show up to say that we’re all a bunch of shits who inherently look down upon you, yes, you become a bummer to be around. And when you act as if your feelings should matter more than all else, you’re setting up a one-sided situation where either people won’t be honest with you or, if they are, will only offend you. Which then can turn nasty in an instant.

You tell me who’s got time for that?

We just wanted to enjoy a relaxing day at the “beach” among others doing the same, sans dealing with bullshit and loud attitude problems. The Africans were all cool. The interracial couple were cool. The middle-aged black American couple were cool. All the various shades of “white” folks lying on their towels or playing with their kids were cool. And then…who showed up and brought tension?

It’s not racist to state it plain. If people wish to be perceived differently in the eyes of others, it’s on them to make some changes. But I know too well how hardheaded humans tend to be, particularly those who pander to a grievance industry, so I assume tensions will just keep escalating until greater problems arise. Don’t wish to see that unfold, but how can it be prevented when people don’t wish to take personal responsibility or to compromise? Concessions have already been made, and many of them. The ball is in the other court — can we upgrade this game finally or should we just keep allowing our society to grow divided and hostile?

“Psychology of Redemption in Christianity”

A lot of truth spoken there…