Monday, December 7, 2015

Another Update

Things have been going much better since that awful evening. I think having such a horrible experience woke me up to the fact that I absolutely never want to fall back into that pattern of alcoholic behavior. I didn't drink all week until Friday night, and on Friday I was the "designated driver" and only had two drinks in the course of a few hours. Saturday I had a few drinks as well, but again nothing major. I have had no desire to drink alone, and my one rough encounter has steeled my resolve in drinking responsibly. Life is extremely busy, which often helps me stay out of trouble.

Anyways, didn't have much to say today, just wanted to give an update so things weren't left on such a depressing note. Things are going much better! It has been almost two months since I returned to drinking, and I have been able to maintain controlled drinking aside from that one night. Things are going well and I am looking forward to the future!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Well, things had been going pretty well, but I had a one-night binge last night. Sundays have been notoriously challenging for me; always having work that needs doing and having tons of free time. I drank alone, which is something I told myself I would not do under my new rules. Not sure what happened.

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. I don't even understand how I was drinking like that every day before. The world felt so much smaller, and once again I felt helpless and trapped. I am glad that I did that, though, because it showed me what I value in life. I am in a great relationship with a person I love, and I have money and a job and good grades and family. I refuse to throw it all away for that feeling. Being incredibly hungover is one of the worst feelings imaginable because there is no escape from it. It horrified me, and I will never go back to that place in my life.

If anything like that happens again I am going to quit drinking again for good. I am definitely not drinking alone, and I will find things to occupy my time on Sundays. I worked all day and felt terrible all day. I still feel pretty crappy almost 24 hours later. It's so bizarre because my drinking felt more like a compulsion than any real desire. I am starting to think that alcohol problems are the result of OCD or something similar. I still don't buy the disease model because that term is so vague.

Anyways, figured I should be honest about my experiences so far. Last night's experience scared me, and I will use it to propel me forward.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Can't Complain

Hey world (or the two or three people who stumble upon my now awkwardly-named blog),

Things have been going well for the most part. For the past few weeks I have been drinking on the weekends. I have still only been "drunk" once since returning to drinking, but I have noticed some strange behaviors. It seems fairly obvious that my relationship with alcohol is unusual; while drinking I notice strange things like the fact that I think about how many drinks I should have, or could have, or where to go next, or whether or not what I'm doing is OK. I am still attempting to train myself to get over these doomsday ideas about alcohol and drinking, but it is challenging. I haven't drank since Saturday (it's Tuesday), and I told my significant other that I want to avoid alcohol for the next couple weeks while I finish up school. We'll see how that works out.

I have noticed some mildly alarming signs, but I do also see room for hope. While I occasionally desire alcohol, it is not difficult to resist the urge to drink. I can even stop drinking once I've started as long as I am sort of socially pressured to do so. I can also stop on my own, but the desire is stronger because I think I can "get away with it" or something. I am trying not to drink alone at all. I have also noticed that I don't like to have alcohol at home because it just makes me feel weird. I am not ruling that out forever, but at this stage in my recovery from recovery I am not ready for it.

The Holidays are coming up soon, so that will be an exciting new challenge. I am extremely stressed due to work, school, and the looming cloud of graduate school applications haunting my dreams like a fanged clown with a sledgehammer (sorry, weird stuff). I feel free. But I also feel fear. I am afraid to alter my life in any significant way because I'm afraid that I will descend into uncontrollable drinking. I am afraid to stay stagnant and create a "family" and "roots" in this weird town where I've existed for a few years. I am afraid of failure, and that fear almost drives me to give up, which would be a failure. Strange irony there. Well random stranger from the internet, keep tuning in if you want!

For anyone who is struggling with alcohol -- fear not! The mind is incredibly powerful. It just needs time to heal, and more important than time, it needs reasons to heal. We have the power!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Update #3

I really should update this more often. It's as if I'm afraid to discuss my drinking, afraid to jinx my success or reveal my failure or mention anything at all. I would say I've been successful to this point, but I have noticed a couple troubling patterns. I notice that I now really look forward to having some drinks on the weekend, and I try to persuade my partner to end up places where alcohol will be present. I have still only been really drunk once, and I have stayed at about 2-3 drinks per night on the weekends. I drank alone (2 beers) for the first time last night, and I didn't like that at all. For some reason my thinking was different when I drank without anyone to hold me accountable for my actions. It felt way too familiar, and a little unsettling. So things have not been bad at all, but I have noticed some things that are causes for mild concern. Or perhaps I'm only concerned because I have been so deeply programmed to be concerned. Perhaps if I could just unlearn everything I was taught about alcohol and my relationship with it, everything would be different. Unfortunately we will never be able to know that.

Anyways, life is going pretty well. I don't drink on the weeknights, and have only been drinking roughly two nights per week. It has been one month since I started drinking again. My job is going well, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming holidays and my graduation from college. I have noticed that my thinking has been different recently, though. I am paranoid and concerned that my life will fall apart, and I don't want anyone I care about to be near me if it happens. This part is surely the conditioning, the repetition and the ruthless commandments that all will be lost if I ever return to drinking anything. Ever. But I must work hard at re-wiring my brain and making sure I believe I have agency in my life. I want it more than anything in the world, and I will work tirelessly to achieve that goal.

Ultimately, I need to continue to be honest about my drinking and decide for myself if it is worth the perceived risks. I just hope that if it does start to get problematic that I can prevent it. I do not condone the 100% anti-science approach. Alcohol problems obviously exist, and it is obviously not entirely behavioral. But I do believe the severity of alcohol problems often increase as a result of exposure to confrontational 'treatment' models. Which is what definitely happened to me. So I am working to reset my brain and to overcome the traumatic conditioning I have received over the years. It is no easy task. I just view alcohol differently now, I treat it like some living thing that can consume me and turn me into a zombie. I will succeed in being happy and choosing my own path.

I choose my own path.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Update #2

It's difficult to find time to write. Let's see...last Friday night I had two drinks. Then the next day, Halloween, I got wasted for the first time since drinking again. I was with my significant other, and we went out to a bar where the bartender served extremely stiff drinks. I was dressed up as a slutty Robin, and though I had about 4 drinks, each of them was probably a double, so I would guess it totaled somewhere between 8-10 drinks for the night. The next morning I felt terrible--the familiar fog and thumping mental pain and achy body--and I didn't feel better all day. Alcohol is really a pretty weird drug. And yes I know it would seem that I am headed down a bad path. But it was a holiday, and I never know how much of my psyche has been irreparably altered by repeated doomsday talk. All I know is I haven't drank since then and I haven't wanted to. Well, maybe I've wanted to a little, but nothing major. The point is that, for now at least, choice still remains.

My mind is a frightening place. I often think about dropping everything and just driving for hours and hours until I end up in some unknown place, left to figure my life out anew. I will occasionally Google different cities all over the world and contemplate what it would be like to live there, alone, and to build my life there. Or perhaps it would be where my life would crumble into whatever weird pieces survived. I have been told so many times that what I'm doing--drinking again--is going to kill me, that it is almost impossible to avoid these apocalyptic, hyperbolic ideas. I am starting to become convinced that the conditioning we subject addicts and alcoholics to plays the biggest factor in their fucked up lives. From an early age we (society, treatment, doctors, 12-step) tell people they have "crossed a line" and they are now permanently fucked, as if we actually know that for a fact. I'd say about 95% of the time no brain scans are done, no actual science takes place. All of these diagnoses are the result of mere observation and opinion. I have seen, and experienced, the destructive, world-wrecking power of the self-fulfilling prophecy. And now that I have the choice to drink or not, I'm considering quitting on my own simply because I like living life with the guarantee that I won't end up in a really bad place due to alcohol or drugs.

I don't have time to write much more tonight. In other life, my lease expires soon and I will have to make the decision whether to move in with my partner or not. Ugh. I still have an instinctual response to run, I think because I am convinced that I am fucked forever and I am a time-bomb and no one should be close to me. Thanks 'doctors' for all of your help.

P.S. - How do doctors explain food addicts recovering? A person who is 'addicted' to food, or sex, or shopping, MUST learn to moderate because those are aspects of life. If you are a doctor--and when I say doctor I do NOT mean any person who has been corrupted by 12-step theology--then please reply with an explanation for food addicts and recovery. Thanks.

Goodnight! I'll keep you posted, and fingers crossed that my life doesn't fall apart ;-)

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Hey anyone,

As anyone who read my last post would probably have guessed, I drank a couple weeks ago for the first time in quite a while. I was tired of feeling cornered, boxed in, and afraid to live my life. I knew for a fact that at least half of my alcohol dependence was due to my exposure to treatment; prior to being introduced to rehab, 12-step 'treatment' and abstinence-only models, my drinking was harmful, but not extreme. Post-rehab, however, my drinking was completely out of control. I have also always had trouble with the disease model and the chronic/progressive/irreversible ideas related to addiction. So anyways, a little over two weeks ago I chose to drink again. I had one beer, and it was good. The all-too-familiar feelings returned, and I felt warm, slightly foggy, and not as sharp as I had been used to being. I had only the one beer, and I did not really want another since I had chores and work the next day. It was so anti-climactic--the biggest thing my return to drinking showed me is that it wasn't necessarily alcohol that I wanted so badly, it was the freedom to choose it. I thought to myself, "wow what was the big deal? Alcohol really isn't that special." I had forgotten that all alcohol does is make your brain feel a little fuzzier, everything else is the same. You are in the same room with the same people doing the same things.

I drank for the second time this past Friday night. I had four drinks over the course of about three and a half hours. I never felt "drunk" or sloppy, and I woke up with no hangover. I have been adopting and implementing moderation management techniques for my drinking. No more than one drink every 30 minutes, no more than 3-4 drinks in a night, no more than two nights per week, no drinking alone, in the mornings, etc. My experience on Friday was somewhat of an eye-opener. For over a year I had been occasionally going to bars but never drinking, and I always felt left out. If only I had alcohol in my system, I thought, then I would fit in and everything about this situation would be perfect! However, as it turns out, that is not the case. I still felt slightly out of place and uncomfortable. I think I have just changed as a person, and I am not satisfied just sitting around at a bar chatting about nothing and roughly grabbing one another's shoulders and saying in a loud, drunken voice, "I care about you bro!" I did notice that after about my third drink I had a slight return of cigarette cravings. I haven't had a cigarette in about 10 months, so that was a little disconcerting. Turns out alcohol wasn't the cure-all I had imagined in my mind all of those months sober, but it feels really nice to have the freedom of choice back.

Part of me is afraid, though. Alcohol has just had such a damaging effect on my life in the past, that it's almost impossible to shake the feeling off and to unlearn the conditioning I spent tens of thousands of dollars having programmed into me. It still makes me so mad that we spend thousands upon thousands of dollars paying for rehabilitation and all we get is some therapy, an AA book, and 12-step meetings. I can obviously see why they do it, though. What treatment center would spend tons of money giving its patients expensive medication, costly evidence-based individual therapy and psychiatry sessions, and state-of-the-art technology when they could charge just as much and simply let AA members come in for free and host a meeting? The part that makes me sick is that it's almost 2016 and no one has called them out on it. It needs to change, because people are dying.

Anyways, I will keep the internet posted on my progress (or lack thereof). I see the risks of drinking. Part of me is convinced to quit again right now just because alcohol actually isn't that great. I will see how it goes, though. For now, my drinking is perfectly under control and I am showing no signs of dependence or harmful drinking. Fingers crossed. This is my experiment to the world. For better or for worse, I will get to the bottom of this alcohol business.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Over a Year Sober, but Questioning

Well, I apologize to anyone who attempted to contact me. I once again completely forgot about this blog, but will update with my most recent progress. By the way, finding a doctor to prescribe baclofen for the purpose of craving cessation is just a matter of perseverance. Many doctors are stuck and plagued by 12-step dogma and the idea that there is only one way to overcome addiction. And that is a harmful message that destroys lives. Doctors who fail to treat patients with the best available medications and treatments should be ashamed of themselves.

I no longer take any medication. I quit baclofen about two months ago, and I quit Wellbutrin roughly two weeks ago. Life has been very good. I haven't had a cigarette in over nine months, and it's been almost 13 months since I've drank or used any recreational drugs. I have entered into a committed relationship, and I'm still doing well in school. I now work full-time and I'm in excellent physical health. I take daily vitamins and fish oil and other healthy natural supplements that I believe have expedited my physiological recovery. My life has completely changed, and I still credit that largely to baclofen.

Baclofen seems like a distant memory. I crave alcohol occasionally, but it isn't difficult to avoid it. I go to bars with friends and just order a Coke or something. It's really not a big deal. To the people who are struggling, I really hope this post is not off-putting. I respect anyone's individual opinion, and I believe that anyone in active alcoholism/addiction should abstain from alcohol and drugs for a significant period of time. I would like to preface what I'm about to write by saying that I believe abstinence is the most effective way to change one's life for the better. Extensive abstinence is necessary to allow the body to heal itself and the brain to repair. But I have done an incredible amount of research because I still do not believe that alcoholism is an irreversible, incurable, black-and-white "disease." It has always felt wrong to me. There is just too much contradiction.

Take, for example, the Cohen et al. (1971) study which demonstrated that alcoholic patients had the ability to control their drinking if provided sufficient incentives.
“The studies by Cohen et al. (1971) demonstrated that alcoholics could maintain control over their drinking if appropriate contingencies were in place that supported non-alcoholic patterns of alcohol ingestion.”

The above statement would not be possible if alcoholism were a brain disease characterized by immediate and sustained loss of control. The Cohen et al. (1971) study demonstrates that alcoholics DO HAVE willpower if appropriate incentives are put in place. Again, this would not be possible based on the disease theory of alcoholism.

Take the next example of a Johns Hopkins study which demonstrated the same effect:

In a five-week experiment, inpatient subjects were given the option to drink up to 10 ounces of alcohol every weekday.  Every other week, the subjects were given access to an improved environment – including telephone, television, pool table, games, and reading materials – provided they drank fewer than 5 ounces of alcohol for the day.  If the subject exceeded that amount, he was put in a more Spartan environment and was not allowed to drink the following day.  On the alternate weeks, the subjects remained in ascetic environments no matter how much they drank.  All five subjects drank less during the weeks when privileges were available than during the weeks when no privileges were available.

A 1977 review of scientific literature cited 58 studies that have corroborated the finding that alcoholic drinking is a function of "environmental contingencies."

Again, these studies CANNOT be possible if alcoholism triggers a complete loss of control and willpower and is a legitimate neurological malady!!

We quit because we have sufficient incentives to quit. No scientist or alcohol researcher can point to a specific time at which the power of choice is regained. Obviously, at some point alcoholics can choose not to drink alcohol, despite the fact that they supposedly have a brain disease that requires them to drink until their lives fall apart. What is also clear is that alcoholics can go several days without drinking given sufficient circumstances. A common story you will hear in 12-step rooms is that a person relapsed for "one night." And then they abstained again for several months or years. That one night means that a person with a supposed disease controlled his or her drinking. That is because choice is never truly lost. Yes, when a person is physically and psychologically dependent on a substance, he chooses to take that substance to alleviate extreme discomfort. The key word in the previous sentence is that he chooses to take the substance. Any reasonable person who is in agony will alleviate herself if the antidote is within reach. A person who is physically and/or psychologically dependent on a substance most likely will need to abstain from the substance for a period of time in order to regain control and establish sufficient incentives to fix the problem behavior. The most important thing for a dependent person to do is to realize that they have agency in their life; the substance is not magic, and your desire for it is not illogical. The most difficult thing for a person to do is to forget everything about the “irreversibility” and the harmful label and the false notion that the brain is hard-wired and will never return to “normal.” This is all 12-step, $45 billion a year treatment-industry dogma that was birthed out of the temperance and prohibition eras. Almost 80 percent of people at inpatient treatment centers are not first-timers; treatment programs are designed to get repeat customers. It stems from religious zeal and the scare tactics used to keep children from consuming drugs and alcohol. The brain does get conditioned to pursue pleasurable activities, but all studies have found that after roughly 14 months brain functioning returns to near-normal levels in all respects. Brain imaging shows this with methamphetamine users: (

In conclusion, please choose your own path. Perhaps abstinence is the right choice, but it shouldn't feel like the only choice. It should feel like an option. If you do decide to change your life, try staying sober for six months or a year. Create a real plan for moderation and put things in place to make it happen. Wait until you have reached a worthwhile place in life (have a job, a family, etc.). Please do not let the identity of alcoholic or addict consume your entire life. Those who have lived in AA for a long period of time are going to have the most difficult time because their entire world view has been corroborated by other “alcoholics” who have bought into the idea that they are completely powerless. My drinking became 10 times worse after being exposed to rehab and AA. Perhaps this is completely false. Perhaps I will be too scared to drink again. But as of right now this is how I feel. I think I have been psychologically corrupted by the idea that I have no agency whatsoever.

If I do decide to drink again, I will be sure to share my experiences as objectively as possible. Sorry for the longest post of all time.