What to Do When You Tire of Binge Drinking Every Weekend
Modern day man has a fulfillment problem disguised as a drinking problem.
Drinking culture in the West seems to have become a parody of its former self. Over the years, everything has gotten bigger and more exaggerated. Binge drinking may be acceptable for your youth, but you will tire of it one day. Perhaps you have already.
As your experiences alter you, your perception of your daily life changes to match your newfound identity. This is all a healthy part of the process of life. As time moves forward, those who live intentionally are forced to make decisions. Decision about how they are to live their lives. Decisions about the impacts they will leave on those around them. Whether they will remain adrift, or captain their own ship in the tumultuous seas of modern life.
You’ve likely been called an alcoholic at some point in your life. Maybe it was your father. Maybe it was a friend. Maybe it was that fucking asshole in the mirror. The point is, most of us have been there at one point.
Society has this ugly way of thinking when it comes to labels. They use word magick to convince you that your current problem is actually your identity. And if that lie is told you enough, you begin to believe it.
They will tell you that you’re fat, you’re drunk, you’re stupid or you’re a loser. Every single one of these things is an affliction that is inherent to time. And time heals all ailments. If you’re fat, you simply need to refine your diet and seek out a healthier lifestyle. If you’re stupid, you simply need to read more, study a few interesting things and gain experience in your field. You can be stupid as fuck, yet better at modifying a lifted jeep than Neil Degrasse Tyson. Fact of life: Astrophysicists are shitty mechanics. Don’t go to them for an oil change.
And don’t you dare ever let someone tell you that you’re a loser. No one is a loser. They are simply losing at this given time in their lives. Sometimes, we just keep fucking up.
Most people don’t truly have a drinking problem. They have a fulfillment problem and since they have trouble finding better ways to spend their time, they drink. They’ll drink because there’s nothing better to do. Or they’ll drink to get rid of the pain of being alive. For some, this is a painful experience. But once you sober up, you’ll find you still have your problems and now you have a headache too.
The sad fact of life is that most people are aimlessly drifting through life with no mission, no purpose, no intent. They have no set of guiding principles. They are driven by impulse, not discipline to their own principles.
“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles… ” William Shakespeare
In 1958, at the ripe age of 22, Hunter S. Thompson penned a letter on the meaning life where he referenced this quote by Shakespeare.
“And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.”
This is one of the most important questions a man can ask himself. Yet, how many ever take any time to ponder it? This question is often forced upon a man at a time of fate’s choosing. For you may be able to take control of your life, but not until fate decides you must do so.
There are many catalysts for this significant point in your journey. Divorce, job loss, death of a loved one. This life has it’s share of adversity and challenges. Alcoholism in some forms is a slow motion suicide. It is in these defining moments that you decide whether you will simply ride it out, or if you will guide yourself on a path of your own choosing.
In these moments of hitting rock bottom, it appears that everything important is slipping away. Here when dealing with loss, a man is able to fully understand his true self. And in a brilliant moment of clarity, he is able to discover what it is he truly wants in life. As I appeared to be losing everything in my divorce, I began to write. It has taken on a life of its own and become who I am today.
There is the distinction. Many will say they want to be a writer. What they mean is they have the goal of writing a book, so they can sound profound and deeply interesting when the tired old question is asked: “So, what do you do?”
But these “aspiring writers” are the intellectual copy of the “Instagram model.” They seek the result but not the path necessary to reach it. I am a writer, not because I want to be one, but because it is my very essence. It is how I choose to spend my days. And it always will be. Not because I want to sell books, but because I have a message to share.
“The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.” – Hunter S. Thompson
While studying hard in college as a young man, you may enjoy wasting your nights at the bar and making stupid decisions. The occasional fun night out can be healthy. But as you get older the bar scene begins to look very different. Alcohol is a poison, and some are more susceptible to its lure than others.
Like the Sirens of Greek Mythology, society and advertising has created the illusion of a romanticized alcohol scene. The truth is that many will make stupid decisions under the influence. This will cost some their job, others their health, maybe even their marriage.
Now I’m no teetotaler, but my alcohol consumption has changed drastically over the years. This January for example, I went sober for 30 days. The effects are drastic and immediately apparent. Without alcohol, I lost 7 pounds, wrote prolifically and felt not only healthier but younger. My energy levels were off the chart.
The point is that at some point in your life, you must decide to go with the flow, or take control of the direction you are going. Many will find the easier path to be more alluring. And like those Greek ships following the call of the Sirens they would follow the flow into the rocky shores.
Seeking a fulfilling life is difficult. Out of frustration, anger or apathy, many would rather numb their senses and float through their lives without seeking their purpose. They prefer a life devoid of meaning.
“In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.” – Hunter S. Thompson
This life of nihilism creates a negative feedback loop that becomes more difficult to escape as time moves on. They feel they don’t matter so they are comfortable drowning their sorrows. They sit and talk about what they used to be or how life wronged them.
Meanwhile on the other side of the coin are those who also faced adversity and the challenges of life and found a way to triumph over these hardships. Often not so much in spite of this adversity, but because of it. These hardships are what make for great men.
“But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life”
You have a choice. Go with the flow or take control of your destiny. Whether you make this choice subconsciously or not, everyone decides.