Did you know that there's a drug called Naltrexone that can be used to treat alcoholism? You take a pill at it makes it more difficult to get inebriated because it blocks the receptors in your brain. Many people don't know of this drug. It's quite effective.
See, the thing with Naltrexone is that you have to actually want to quit drinking heavily. The pills only last about 24 hours. So the next day you could theoretically skip your treatment and get wasted.
But they also have injections that last a month. That might be a better option.

Naltrexone was for opioid addiction, but it is actually quite effective for alcohol-related substance abuse disorders.
I was reading about Alcoholics Anonymous the other month. I don't really have anything against it, but apparently it's not very effective at keeping people off booze. I could see why.
See, you have all these people who are obviously in need of help after drinking too much too long. Then you pile them all in this room to talk about it. They share all the insane shit they did when they were drunk.
So where is the way out? You make all these social connections between people who have the same problems. The people you look up to (sponsors? The people who have a 5 year chip?) are just former drunks.
I mean, it's nice that you meet people who got out of the spiral of addiction, but then this group of severe alcoholics are supposed to help each other escape? I don't buy it. I think they just like the fact that the other guy has done worse things than you.
"I went on a 20-day bender and woke up nude in a hotel room with 5 transexual prostitutes and a pound of cocaine."
"No judgment, man. I took off my pants at my kid's baseball game and tried to rape the mascot. My wife left."
I read about this condition called "dry drunk." Haha. It's where you quit drinking because your wife made you (or whatever), but you secretly resent not being about to drink. So you're always pissed off at everything. Apparently in AA, they call people put for it.
"I'm just so angry. My kid didn't mow the lawn as I asked, and I raged all day."
Collective of AA friends, pointing accusatorily: "Dry drunk! Dry drunk! Dry drunk!"
It kind of sucks, though. You have this addiction crisis and no one wants to hang out with you except other people with the same problems in various stages.

It's too bad they don't have a better solution than that. It's like a weird sobriety cult where everyone is at risk.
I was reading Huckleberry Finn a few weeks ago. There's that part where Huck's Dad takes him to his cabin and starts drinking. I had forgotten about that.
"I don't know how long I was asleep, but all of a sudden there was an awful scream and I was up. There was pap looking wild, and skipping around every which way and yelling about snakes. He said they was crawling up his legs; and then he would give a jump and scream..."
"...and say one had bit him on the cheek--but I couldn't see no snakes. He started and run round and round the cabin, hollering "Take him off! take him off! he's biting me on the neck!" I never see a man look so wild in the eyes."
Now that I read this as an adult, that's an absolutely insane passage. But that kind of shit happens to people all the time. Just drinking until you pass out, then drinking when you wake up...until you go psychotic or have siezures.

And once you get that far, you're in trouble.
You have to work really hard to get delerium tremens. Like years of constant drinking and then a sudden withdrawal of alcohol.

And while you are drying out, the monsters come.
It's pretty funny because everyone can quit drinking for one day. No problem. Severe alcohol withdrawal is a bitch, but any drunk can handle it. It's common.
But if you push it too far with the severe alcoholism, day 3 of sobriety starts to become a bit more complicated.

Lol. Lying in your bed, feeling like shit, anxious, worrying about all the harm your drinking has caused...AMD OH MY GOD THE WALL HAS MORPHED INTO A DRAGON!"
And it's not like friendly old Smaug. It's like a dragon that flutters in the dark and leers at you, deciding if he's going to come and eat you.
Or some people in this state of disrepair don't see dragons, but instead more comforting animations of shadow people who dance on the walls in the corners of your eyes. These are your friends who tell you you'll be ok.
In truth, though, if the dragon decides to eat you, your options are limited. There's no one there to help you unless you have a spouse who might have put up with you. But once the dragon decides you need to get to the hospital. Or you'll die.
The question of whether the dragon is real is sort of a question of interpretation, but for someone with DTs it most certainly is. And it may not be a dragon. It could be something more sinister in different form.
If the dragon decides to eat you, it is manifested externally (as seen by other people) as a generalized seizure. You collapse and seize up. This kills a lot of alcoholics who don't seek treatment.
I read this really great article a few years back:


Pay no mind it's in the Star. It's actually quite good.
"One Saturday morning, I answered the phone to hear a wife saying, “Jim! He's dead! Mark's dead!”
She'd found her husband, a man I was trying to help, on their bathroom floor, a common final resting place for alcoholics."
It's not actually funny, but I always laugh about that. Imagine your body deciding to give up the ghost in the bathroom because that's where you were hiding your liquor from your wife.

"Sorry bro. Once you're bathroom drinking, it's time to go."
And then your long-tormented wife who loves you finds you in a crumpled heap on the floor, covered with piss and vomit.

So dignified.
Haha. And then all they'd remember about you was your long struggle with alcoholism and they found you in the bathroom.

"Member Joe?"
"The bathroom guy?"
The other minefield alcoholics have to navigate if they manage to avoid booze for a while is the inevitable relapse. I hate referring to alcoholism as a "disease," but it helps with treatment models.
So you go 6 months without a drink. Everything is going great! No one is mad at you. You've been exercising
Losing weight. Shit seems in control. Right?

Well it is. So you could probably have a couple beers, eh?
The problem is, when you make that mistake and have a drink, it can turn into 37 unless you have some very strict rules that you follow.

This is also where some alcoholics die. No tolerance, high intake relapse.
Not surprisingly, this is also how many opioid addicts die. Errors in dosing, essentially.
So after all that depressing shit, how the hell do you get off booze if you've tried all these different things? I suppose rehab helps for some people. Like basically locking them up for a month or two.
Sometimes getting away from access to booze can give you the time to get some perspective. But it's expensive, or not accessible if you're poor, or it's just a holiday from liquor when it comes down to it.
I suppose there are those people who have a really bad bender and end up in jail or drove their car through McDonald's because it was funny...and quit outright. It happens.
But it sucks because is the only way to stop drinking by having some life altering event occur? That doesn't seem very productive.

"He had to hit rock bottom and have sex with a Llama before he realized..."
And anyone who has been a drunk knows very well that it's hard to look in the mirror when everyone knows you had sex with a Llama.

You can't live that shit down...
So I saw these videos about understanding addiction and how it sort of changes a person's interface with external reality. My paraphrasing.

Short version: you put a bunch of mind altering shit in your body and it alters your mind. Sometimes permanently. Surprise!
But the point was that some understanding is needed to help addicts.

Literally no one has their first drink when they're 16 and thinks "this could go wrong when I'm 37 and have 3 kids and a job."

But that's what happens.
It catches up to people who, generally, can handle a lot of booze. I know very few people who get super drunk on 2 beers and still maintain a commitment to drinking. They figure it out fast.
It's the dude who can put away 12 beers and look normal, and show up for work the next day. Those guys are the ones who run into trouble later in life.
Truth be told, a lot of alcoholics know shit has gone awry. Sometimes they're receptive to a conversation about it.

But others see it as an affront to their secret addiction, and will just work harder at hiding it.

It's a fine balance being an alcoholic.
I always thought that episode of the Sopranos was so funny when they had an intervention for Christopher about his heroin use.
See, this is pretty accurate because Christopher starts to get desperate and point out everyone else's flaws. Addicts do that. Part of my AA skepticism.
However, this was uber funny because in the end, they just kick his ass and force him into rehab.

I wonder if drunks would respond well to a group beating and forced incarceration. Might be a good policy.
There was this movie from back in the day. Cat's Eye.

Stephen King.
There was this one story in the movie where a character played by @RealJamesWoods was trying to quit smoking. He hired an unorthodox company to help him.
But then things escalated fast and they were punishing him for sneaking cigarettes. Electrocuting his wife. Pretty epic.
At the end it is revealed that they'll cut off your wife's finger if you smoke ever again.

I mean, would that kind of shit be sufficient motivation for an addict to quit?

Perhaps not. Ha.
I mean, in the West we have a pretty fucked up relationship with substance abuse. Massive demand for drugs and alcohol, weed everywhere, people dying from Fentanyl all the time. Tragic.
But in some countries they just put bounties on drug dealers. Execute them. Or life in prison.

I'm not sure that's a useful exercise, since drugs still seem to proliferate in those countries.
I've known many a life destroyed by drugs and alcohol. It's not pretty. Madness, really.

Death and destruction.
Like, we romanticize dudes like Hunter S. Thompson, or Hemingway or even Johnny Depp. But man: things did not or have not turned out that well for those people. Hunter S. Thompson was pretty much fucked up all the time. The burden became too much to bear and he blew his head off.
But with dudes like that, you find out from biographies and accounts of their families that things weren't fucking "romantic." They were awful.
And these are the geniuses ny which we measure the worth of our society. But their personal lives were in ruins.
I remember when Mickey Mantle died. He was before my time, but I used to love reading about his baseball exploits.

But then I read too much!
In the later parts of his life, he told kids of his grave regrets. Despite his brilliant career in sports, it was deeply affected by alcohol. He missed games because he was too hungover to play.
I'm sure Mickey Mantle redeemed himself, but I think he felt he had a lit to make up for later in his life.
And that's not even to mention the scourge of death that rang in the 1970s, where some of the more important rock stars died of drug and alcohol abuse. Imagine drinking yourself to death at age 27. That's pretty hardcore shit.
An endless source of fascination for me is William S. Burroughs. That's a thread in itself, but one of the darkest things he ever did was get drunk at a party and shoot his wife dead playing "William Tell."
You could say that Burroughs was possessed by a level of madness, but my understanding is that the rest of his life after he killed his wife was haunted by regret.
You can take a character like Burroughs and again, romanticize aspects of his life, but it also highlights another issue that emerges from substance abuse: mental illness.

We could talk to death about how society imposes diagnoses upon transgressive behavior, but...
...you would be foolish to treat mental illness and substance abuse as separate issues.
Quite often, people with mental illness abuse substances, but people who abuse substances are mentally ill. Which came first we'd never know, but they certainly exacerbate one another.
One of the hilarious(?) things about addiction is that addicts can be a creative bunch. So instead of realistic solutions to addiction, they come up with bizarre adventures that they think will get them out of their mess.
Most prominent is the idea that hallucinogenic drugs can "cure" your addiction issues. I'm not debating the science behind whether eating a truckload of shrooms might get you out of your alcoholism. Could be.
And I'm not even bashing hallucinogens. They're incredible. But the idea that they're a treatment for an underlying issue seems somewhat askew to me.
If you read about ayahuasca (the hallucinogenic bark brew from the rainforest), you inevitably find out all about "The Spirit Molecule." DMT.

Dimethyl Triptamine.
I've never given DMT a whirl, but the story goes that if you consume enough, you fall deep into the recesses of your mind. And potentially encounter entities known as Machine Elves.
The story goes: these Machine Elves are difficult to describe, but one common experience is that they effectively tell you "thanks for visiting. But you've gone too far. Please don't come back again. Good luck."
One might consider that such an experience might encourage people to get back in tune with the reality that was meant for them on Earth, and stop fucking around with drugs and alcohol.
LSD is another one that people talk about as a key to a higher plane. I'm right there with you, brother. But acid can really fuck with your mind. People should be careful about altering their relationship with the world, because it doesn't always go according to plan.
Although it's rare, over heard stories about people who took too much acid too many times and eventually they lose contact and never come back. Permanent psychosis.

Imagine spending eternity in your head.
I've read about experiences on DMT or even salvia, which was popular about 10 years ago. High doses produced the perception of living an entire lifetime with all its joys and miseries...and then returning you back here. Having seen too much.
In A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick talked about the terrors of going too far. The savagery of addiction and the destruction of the moral codes we take for granted.
From the afterword of A Scanner Darkly:
All that said, though, I'm reluctant to draw the conclusion that drugs and alcohol are all bad. That may be an irresponsible statement.
Mind you, I've never heard anything good coming out of the abuse of methamphetamine. To put it bluntly, that shit is just crystalized brain damage.
The thing they don't tell you about meth is that it's not like other drugs where you get tired after a bit and have a few beers and go to sleep.

It's more powerful than that.
So imagine you're at a party and getting drunk, and then some dude breaks out a little baggies.

"Let's do a bump."

Sure. Why not? Just a bump or two. It's still early, right?

That's what you realize two days later when you still haven't slept and all you can think about is getting more meth.

That's a drug where the scary commercials are 100% correct. It's just a disaster waiting to happen.
I've also never heard much good come out of the heroin crowd, either. I don't need to get into the horrors of opioid addiction, but that's another one that could have life-long implications. How many H addicts do you know where everything turned out fine?
However, drugs and alcohol have had a broad influence on art and literature. It would be hard to argue that the aesthetics of the 2020s weren't directly influenced by rampant drug use, for good or for bad.
There's a really interesting book I read by Sadie Plant: "Writing on Drugs." What brought me to this book was Plant's connection to some other insane stuff at Warwick university in the 1990s. That's another thread.
This is the kind of treatment that people with substance abuse disorders should really be seeking out. It doesn't make you sick if you do drink, it just makes the effects of alcohol less euphoric.
For many people, this drug helps them lose interest in booze over time and they gradually learn to drink moderately or not at all.
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