Found in 2 comments on Hacker News
thom_smith · 2017-11-25 · Original thread
Hi friend,

I understand how you're feeling. I went through a similar process. And that's what I think you are in the middle of now: a process.

Let me eleborate:


I too work in tech, and was a highly functioning, but very heavy drinker. And I too drank approximately your amount of alcohol-intake for little over a decade.

One morning, a couple of weeks before turning 30, I saw the enormous pile of empty bottles that had been stacking up in my garage for the last month -again-, and a hard to identify combination of fear and shame took hold of me.

Interestingly, It was the fear of not being able of logically reasoning where the shame and fear -exactly- came from, that actually scared me the most at that particular moment.

I decided I did not want to ignore this unsettling feeling, for some earlier life-experiences taught me how pushed away emotions will only grow over time and come back harder and heavier in a time when you're even less capable of coping.

So I came up with this experiment for myself:

A. Try stop drinking for a month. (to have a different lifestyle to compare, and learn about your level of addiction)

B. Before the end of the month, try to have identified your fear. (to be able to conjure up a solution how to deal with this uncanny feeling)

And so my journey began. I quit drinking, and started exploring everything that might be frightening me about my drinking behaviour.

The not drinking part of my challenge was suprisingly easy, for I experienced close to none cravings for alcoholic beverages. This made me feel relieved and arrogantly proud, because I could tell myself: "there, you see, you're not an addict, and no reason to be scared or ashamed!"

But slowly there were some negative aspects revealing themselves as well: The first week my sleepingrhytm was often disturbed by the most horrific violent nightmares I had ever encountered.

Furthermore, the second week I felt so much fitter, but around week three, I felt extremely tired, I had even less energy than before.

And last but definitely not least, there was this slowly growing dull pain in my right flank... Yup, that's where your liver is located.

The fact that my body reacted in so many different -and for me- unexpected ways, was truely a wake up call: I might not be addicted to alcohol, but I'm most definitely poisoning myself, and the symptoms of this poisoning only present themselves when I am NOT drinking.

Now I had something concrete to be scared about: My wellbeing, my health, hack, maybe even my life!

So I started reading up on alcohol-related liver diseases, and other health-risks of longterm drinking. I read a great book about death, which taught me you can mostly choose your own cause of natural death with your lifestyle. [] It made me wonder why I was drinking at all. And I still haven't found that answer.

Which only empowers my conclusion after a month: Drinking is just not worth it.

Two months in now, I feel so much fitter, my brain feels like it had cpu and memory upgrade. And the pain in my side has subsided. I'm happier, I smile more. I enjoy life more, and enjoy my body and outer world more consciously. And I'm actually looking forward to not drinking for as long as I choose. _______

So, I think you're at the beginning of a similar process. First being confronted with a hard to face truth, then testing aspects of life with and without alcohol. And at this very moment, you're gathering information, and looking for some answers.

You're on the right track, and hopefully my story can somehow convince you that your closer to an gratifying outcome of this process than you might think.

Kind regards,


luser001 · 2012-02-19 · Original thread
For a book length treatment of this topic, see "How we Die", one of the most amazing books I've read.

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