Tag Archives: addiction

Fuck “Succesful People”

20 Sep

Every few weeks I come across the same infographic – the one that shows the difference between successful and unsuccessful people:

I don’t know if it’s because the graphic is baselessly false – or precisely because it’s true – but I hate it. It makes me pay little attention to the things I’m doing right, and feel like shit for the things I’m so obviously doing wrong.  

Give Credit Where Credit’s Due

To be fair, I think much of what bugs me about this graphic is how it fits with my own self-criticism:

  • I drink a lot
  • I watch TV every day
  • I don’t know what I want to be
  • Say I keep a journal (this blog) but I don’t 
  • I fly by the seat of my pants…and more. 

But Let’s be Real

This is a highly over simplified graphic. Yes I fit many of the criteria for an unsuccessful person, but at the same time:

  • I do eventually journal (this post a case in point)
  • What I watch on TV is news or news related
  • When I do drink (current post a case in point) I’m almost always reading articles or responding to emails
  • I fly by the seat of my pants because I work for a high growth tech firm
  • I do keep a to-do list…but I’m used to having only a handful checked off by the end of the day (workday or weekend, work or family)

What’s the Lesson (Hint: Booze)

Most of this categorization is subjective bullshit, in my humble opinion, but one thing stands out from the rest. 

I’m an alcoholic, and I still can’t admit it. 

From my “let’s be real” comments, I think almost anyone – successful too! – can relate to 4/5 of my situation. Among successful people I know, almost all have to fly by the seat of their pants to a degree, and they all leave work with tasks undone. 

What they don’t do is drink…or at least not like I do. Consider that, on an average work day, I do at least 2-3 of the following:

  • Fighting a daily hangover to get to work some time between 9:30 and 11:00 each day
  • If I stretch my work arrival to noon, trying to get 2-3 drinks in me to get my workday started 
  • If not, taking the first opportunity to get 3-5 drinks in me so I can “work at 100%”
  • Take at least one break in the afternoon to “go for a walk” when in fact I’m back at the bar keeping my buzz on
  • End up getting home to my family anywhere from 8:00 to 11:30 because I had to catch up on what I didn’t do for the day 

All told, I estimate I spend 3-5 hours (don’t ask how much money I spend) at a bar of some kind every day of the week. That’s:

  • 3-5 hours a day
  • 21-35 hours a week
  • 82-150 hours a month

If that’s not enough reason to give up drinking, I don’t know what is. If that’s not enough, I’ve given up alcohol for months and years at a time. 

All which begs the question…what will it finally take for me to give up a habit I know is so self-destructive?

I’ve pulled myself out of this before; I just  can’t find the way out now. Life’s too busy – or just busy enough a to do it. 

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Booze or My Kids: What do I love more?

18 Aug

Simple question. Should be a simple, easy answer. 

But it’s not. It’s complicated, and I’m in denial. 

For many of you out there, I don’t need to say more. I know I’m not alone. I hope I’m not alone. 

The need for speed…amphetamines for beginners

5 Feb

After two B2C* days in a row, I’ve got a new sense of purpose and vigor this morning. It’s not because of an early walk or a healthy breakfast, nor from any coping strategy to get my mind into gear for the day.  I did none of these things…but I did take my amphetamines.

In addition to my longstanding battles with depression and anxiety, I was diagnosed a couple years ago with adult ADHD.  My wife was the first to be convinced of it, before my psychiatric team even explored the diagnosis, but it would take some time for me to come around.  I had a problem with confidence and drive, not with my attention span.  Besides, ADHD is a disorder for kids, not adults, right?

Only because of my wife’s persistence did I eventually and reluctantly accept the diagnosis.  Along the way she introduced me to great resources like TotallyADD.com and held my hand through several self-diagnosis tests like those from Psychology Today, Psych Central and Totally ADD.  In the end, my symptoms matched up so closely that in hindsight the ADHD diagnosis was a no-brainer.

Just accepting the diagnosis, knowing that much more about how my mind operates, brought a wave of relief.  With a new mental battle front I learned about a whole new set of tools and coping strategies – making lists, setting attainable goals, establishing routines, etc. – to manage my ADHD.  My psychiatrist added a medication to the mix that would prove to be a silver bullet: Vyvanse.

Being a stimulant I expected it would make me anxious and jittery.  I already felt there wasn’t enough time in the day and I was sure that Vyvanse would only speed up.  It turned out to be the opposite; from the first day I took it, time slowed down for me and gave me room to breath.  I was no longer in a mad panic to solve all my life’s problems in a day.  I could see pathways to completing intimidating tasks that until then seemed impossible.  I actually started checking things off my to-do list instead of eternally adding to it.

In short, it worked.

It sounds crazy (of course it does) but I’m actually of two minds on Vyvanse and my success with it.  On the one hand, I see it as an effective medication and part of my overall daily treatment for a clinical disorder.  But for whatever reason, there are other times when I see it as yet another addiction, my daily fix of amphetamines.  I know this is what I do (beat myself up unnecessarily) but feeling guilty about taking medication that works is, well…crazy.

* Note: (B2C above refers to “bed to couch,” where I spent Monday and Tuesday)

Fuck Albert Einstein…Tomorrow Will Be Different

9 Sep

Say what you will about his brilliance and changes to the way we understand the universe, but I have two little words for Albert Einstein: Fuck You.

Why? Because of his (or Ben Franklin’s, or author Rita Mae Brown’s, depending on whom you ask) simple definition of insanity:

“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

By this definition, I crossed the certifiably insane line long ago.  And there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of it.

In recent weeks, I have awoken every day to face myself in the mirror and pledge, “Today I will not drink.  Today I will make music.”

What I mean music is some form of art or accomplishment; learning new chords on the guitar, writing a paragraph or page for the book I’ve been thinking about for 3 years, fine tuning my resume to apply to a job posting, and more.

What I mean by drinking is…drinking.  I’ve beaten several addictions, ones I think are much worse and certainly more costly, but I still struggle with the obvious need to part with a substance that has taken so much from my passion, ambition, family and pocketbook. I know how alcohol is a silent killer of a substance, one made easy to abuse by its wide availability and societal acceptance.  I know when I was abstinent or only an occasional drinker, I was a better person; a better father and husband; a productive and proud provider.  I know that while posing as a useful resource or even a “friend” alcohol has robbed me of all these things.

And yet…even as I make my daily pledge, there is a point in each day – usually just after noon – when I find a way to convince myself that, just this last time, alcohol will be my friend again; that just 1-2 drinks will give me the one-time boost I need to rise to the mounting tasks in front of me.  Just one drink inevitably turns into 3-4, cutting deeper into my growing debts and draining me of what little motivation I had before first putting a glass to my mouth.  I end the day with a further motivation-draining joint, fading into sleep with the voice of an alcohol-fueled rage ringing in my head for letting such a familiar pattern repeat itself.

Tomorrow will be different.

Today is no exception.

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