Tag Archives: Drinking

The 4th of July Sucks

It’s that time of year again: the 4th of July. Also more appropriately known as Independence Day for obvious reasons. It was 243 years ago that the Declaration of Independence was signed where we (The United States) basically told England to go fuck themselves because we didn’t need them and their yuppy-ass tea anymore. Americans take this day off work to sweat in the July heat, grill out, and drink copious amounts of beer/alcohol while trying to blow their fingers/hands/arms off with fireworks that may or may not be illegal depending on what state you reside. When you look at what people actually do on Independence Day and compare it to the actual meaning of the day you’ll end up confused. But all of those things are somehow really stereotypically American so maybe it is fitting after all. Maybe July 4th is just a day for Americans to be unashamedly American drinking beer, grilling, and lighting off fireworks that came from China.

Perceived History Sucks

A quick history lesson: nothing really happened on July 4, 1776 besides the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Looking back this was important but the US wasn’t exactly “founded” on this day as most people seem to believe. The battles of Lexington and Concord (the start of the Revolutionary War) took place in 1775 and the Revolutionary War ended in 1783: over seven full years after the declaration was signed! Even more silly is the fact that the modern U.S. Constitution was a mulligan because the prior Articles of Confederation was dogshit and it was ratified in 1790: 13 fucking years after the Declaration. From an actual historical perspective July 4, 1776 — while a big deal — wasn’t as big as a few other key moments in our nation’s early history. I wouldn’t call it “the beginning” of the U.S. of A. at least.

A shirt that depicts the “U.S.A. began in 1776” ideal even if not explicitly stated.

Not that any of that matters because I doubt the average ‘Merican has any idea about what actually occurred 240ish years ago. We drink beer, grill, and blow shit up. Who cares? I imagine the typical ‘Merican believes that July 4 was the day that George Warshington rowed his boat across the Mississippi River, chucking tea overboard, while an eagle flew overhead with a 50-star red, white, and blue flag in its proud talons. He went to Warshington Dee See and wrote the constitution himself with an eagle-feather pen. Shortly after that, Samuel Adams created Budweiser Beer. That’s how ‘Merica really began.

Partying Sucks

Another traditional part of the July 4th celebrations is partying. People usually invite over their friends (or get invited over by friends if they don’t have their own homes) and sit around and drink beer or something. White People usually listen to radio-friendly 70’s or 80’s rock music where the same Motley Crue song you’ve heard 1,000 fucking times is played so you can hear it for the 1,001 time. I’m very glad we live in a more “ethnic” area of town; lucky there isn’t any White People around blasting their goddamn Dad Rock and drinking Budweiser while they wear wife-beaters and american flag shorts.

(I should note that I myself am white and even I hate the typical White People culture. Were fucking stupid sometimes.)

We apparently have quite a few Mexican (or hispanic) families that live near us because we’ve been hearing that typical ethnic-latino music all day today. It’s actually refreshing to hear something other than typical White People music and I can’t help but admire Mexican families for their ability to have real parties. White People parties are usually only like 10 people sitting around in lawn chairs not saying much to one another and it’s borderline depressing. Mexicans play music where the bass (It’s always really uplifting too. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a depressing Mexican Party Bass Line) can be heard all over the neighborhood and they always look like they’re having a real party. There’s people swimming and dancing and jumping and smacking pinatas with sticks/bats/whatever and the kids are running around the yard like they’re on crack or something. It’s great to witness. 4th of July is no exception and the Mexican Bass is envelops the neighborhood like the July heat does except that it’s refreshing. It’s kinda ironic in a way that Mexican families pull off Independence Day better than White People do. Somehow I feel more American hearing Mexican Bass Lines on July 4th.

Fireworks Suck

We went downtown where the fireworks shot off are almost exactly the same as they have been for the past decade. I knew this before we even saw them, but nobody had to tell me in advance; they’re always the same thing. There are some small variations but they are minor and I just can’t bring myself to be excited that they made smiley-face fireworks this year. I quit being excited for fireworks when I was about 16 and I don’t see how anyone older than that still enjoys them. Over the people, traffic, and bullshit that they must deal with do these people really enjoy it still?

We parked a half-mile away and started on our hike to our traditional viewing spot; a spot a quarter-mile from where they actually shoot the damn things off. We get as close as possible to the river that splits our city in half, and across that river is where they shoot the damn things off. We can’t sit right next to the river because that is some special, locked-off area that only paying customers are allowed access to. I’ve never understood why people sit there as our free spot is just as good, but perhaps they offer beer or some special crowd experience. I don’t know. Either way we started walking to our traditional spot.

On the way to our traditional spot a few teenagers started following us. One was a really talkative teenager while his friend seemed to only listen; I never heard him say a damn thing. This isn’t notable at all until I really listened to the talkative one: he seemed to say the word “bro” at the end of every sentence like it was a period. I’m not joking, every sentence ended in “bro” and it only took three sentences for me to know something was comically wrong with the way he talked.

“Man, fuck that shit, bro.”

“I do what I want and no one is going to tell me otherwise, bro.”

“Yeah I know, bro! That’s what I’ve been fuckin’ trying to tell you, bro.”

“I know but you’re not listening to me, bro! I said fuck ‘em, bro.”

It happened like that for at least 10 minutes. I laughed my ass off every time he finished his sentences. Making this even funnier was the fact that this “teenager” was really only like 10, maybe 11. He was cussing like a sailor and saying “bro” to end every sentence. People really exists like this? This teenager boy isn’t being ironic? Bro.

“I do what I want and no one is going to tell me otherwise, bro.”

-Some Kid at the Goddamn Fireworks

Anyway, we get to the fireworks and they start on-time at 9:30 after mentioning the sponsors. I’ve never noticed it before but apparently the fireworks (called “SkyConcert 2019”) are broken into three “acts,” each separated by a mention of the sponsors. I don’t know if all cities do this but Rockford, Illinois always has some synced music to the 30-minute firework display, once again called “SkyConcert 2019.” The songs played were the same: the show always begins with the National Anthem, features “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong somewhere in the middle, and ends with the “1812 Overture” by Tchaikovsky. I didn’t even know the closing song was the “1812 Overture” but a quick Google search for “firework finale songs” pointed me right at it. I mean it’s a perfect song for it, but currently it’s too perfect and now just expected at the end. Every firework “SkyConcert” I’ve seen has had this song plopped right at the end. Obviously.

Other typical songs are Katy Perry’s “Firework,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” and a handful of country songs that I don’t know the names of (because I don’t listen to shitty music). Since I was paying attention, I was actually surprised that the second “act” nearly all consisted of Shitty Country Songs, some kinda slow and emotional and others a bit more upbeat. It makes a sad sort of sense though; country music is by default the music that represents the U.S. of A. even if it is trash. I don’t know how this happened exactly, but it sure is shitty.

I was also surprised to not hear Katy Perry this year. This is one of those small, subtle changes that you don’t really notice and is what differentiates SkyConcerts from other SkyConcerts. I guess Katy Perry isn’t big enough to be in firework displays now?

Normally I despise people who take pictures/videos of fireworks, but this is mostly because they don’t account for the unique lighting situations that occur during in-air explosions. They slap their phone onto “auto” and smash the “photo” button and never look at what is actually captured. So you get overexposed and backlighted images that are garbage and people spam this shit on social media for some reason. Anyways, rant over, here is my best picture which looks like an electronica album cover ala Animal Collective.

There were little fireworks, big fireworks that go BOOOOM, smiley-face fireworks, red white and blue fireworks, sparkly fireworks, glittery fireworks, and fireworks that sounded like a bowl of Rice Krispies cereal just after milk has been added. The finale sounded (like it always has) like every explosive device they had as a spare standby was lit just to get rid of it with a constant rumbling ROAAAAR over the city for a few minutes. As a naive kid I actually thought they lit off spares at the finale while now I know it is all perfectly programmed to perfection with zero randomness. If anything I get joy out of seeing a firework explode way too low where you know it was a genuine accident because the rest of the show is so damn banal now. It’s cool seeing shit explode, but seeing it year after year so rehearsed and programmed makes it boring.

In Closing

So I went home and drank a Joose and Bud Light Chelada. I really went with Joose because I was in the mood to be as trashy as possible with my drinking today. I wasn’t trying to lie to myself here: I wasn’t happy and I felt dirty and I knew I had to drink as part of my 4th of July duties. Budweiser would’ve been the most patriotic choice, but Joose seemed a natural go-to as it offers 14% alcohol by volume, is cheap, and has a note on the side of the can that states: “PREMIUM MALT BEVERAGE WITH NATURAL FLAVORS….” Premium Beverage my ass, it’s trashy as fuck (I was going to post a photo but even that was too trashy.). But that’s how I’m closing off this shitty holiday. Have a fun and safe 4th everyone even if it is over. This holiday Sucks.

Birthdays Suck: Part One

Note: I was in a strange mood when I wrote this; namely I was sleep-deprived and fairly drunk. So it’s a bit different from my most posts that are a bit more “thoughtful.” In fact this post seems to just be a trainwreck of bitching. But in the spirit of just doing whatever the hell I want though, I’ll post it anyways.

To start this post off let me state that I’m typing this on my phone. Yeah. I’m typing this on a Samsung Galaxy S7. Why? you might ask. Well, it isn’t because I feel like doing it, that’s for sure. I’ve written a few blog posts on my phone when I’ve been struck by inspiration and unable to make it to my laptop, but I always sit down, get comfy and in the zone to edit and post them from a real electronic device meant for doing work. Ya know, a proper keyboard and sometimes a USB mouse if I really need to get shit done. Working on a phone isn’t a choice here though: it’s a necessity. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll make it to posting this from my phone/tablet. But we’ll see. If you read this on June 23 or the 24 I probably persevered and posted it totally from Android products. But I wasn’t happy about it that’s for sure. 

(Spoiler: My computer did start working so I am editing this on a proper device. But the original draft was written on a shitty S7.)

What led to this was my son (a two-year-old) spilled one of my birthday-beers all over my laptop. This didn’t seem to be a problem at first as it still typed okay but after about 20 minutes the keyboard ceased to work at all. This sort of spurred me on with this blog post because I wanted to write about how shitty birthdays are and as the actual day went on I just got more and more fuel to dump on the fire so to say. This event was the final “holy fuck birthdays do suck” event and solidified my will to write a post about it. So to android it was even though I fucking hate typing something on a phone while plopped down on a goddamn couch.

What started the idea of a birthday sucks post was basically me whining and bitching to a coworker a few hours before my birthday actually began. I’ll cover it in a little bit a separate post but it was basically the typical stuff I cry about most of the time: the arbitrariness of how we measure time, how as you age it makes birthdays sucks even more, the (useless) self-reflection that comes with the day, all mixed in with some fairly moderate self-loathing. Some of these themes are already featured on my New Years’ post and my Daylight Savings post. What was a surprise was the fact that I didn’t even have to make it to my birthday for things to start falling apart.

The downward trend started when I was told I needed to take one of the kids to Drive-Right (a driver training school in case they have a different name in your area) at 9 a.m. My birthday was on a Saturday so it should’ve been a relatively carefree day: no school, no work, no doctor appointments, no dentist appointments. There was no reason to have to worry about anything! It’s Saturday after all. This early job of mine kinda threw me off before I even went to bed. I famously need my sleep and anything less than 10 hours fucking destroys me. I also can’t fall asleep unless I lay in bed for 3 or 4 hours. Realistically I think I’m a cat or something. I’ve tried my damndest to change these habits but they seem to be as a belligerent part of me as my DNA is. Me trying to wake up early is like me trying to be taller or something.

What happened around 2 or 3 a.m. was the dread that I wouldn’t get enough sleep. I’d eventually fall asleep and instantly be awakened by an alarm, miserable, tired, and groggy at 8 a.m. or so. That’s only 5 hours of sleep and with every minute that passed that number became less! What happens is you get hit with the anxiety about not being able to sleep. Even while I was physically tired my mind was awake, alert, and dreading the early alarm and the certainty of being tired and miserable. This creates a terrible feedback loop where you can’t sleep and are stressed out about the fact that you can’t sleep and this makes it even less likely you’ll be able to sleep! Around 5 a.m. I quit trying to sleep and got up to play some video games.

So right away my birthday was starting with me suffering from insomnia listening to the birds chirping at 5 a.m. as I groggily played Twilight Princess. I’m not even fond of the game and bitched about it here but it was something to do. Fuck, I even did the Princess Agitha bug quest because there is nothing else to do that early in the morning. I had to pass the time somehow and even though I wasn’t exactly having fun I toiled away finding those infernal golden bugs.

Proof.

From that point on things got really foggy and my past days blended together. I wasn’t sure exactly of the flow of time and the hours seem to both crawl along and jump ahead at the same time. It would be 11:05 and then 11:07 and then 12:15. What the hell was going on? i was able to complete the trip to Drive-Right and from then on I tried to pass the time as quickly as possible. The main goal then on for my birthday was to make it until 110 or 11 p.m. where I could actually get some fucking sleep.

Somewhere in the uncertain flow of time I got that stupid ass moon in Super Mario Odyssey: the infamous jump rope moon. As I mentioned in an unpublished post I had to glitch out the R of the MARIO letters in New Donk City and cheese the fuck out of the game. This isn’t a really important matter but it was seriously one of the highlights of my miserable day. I’ve been utterly dreading this moon for the past half year, and today I got it! On my insomnia ridden hell of a 33rd birthday I got that goddamn moon. Finally.

There’s no way in hell that I was doing that the proper way.

I took about a three hour nap between 12:30 and 3:30 thinking it would help my condition — and it did somewhat — but it didn’t get rid of it completely. I still felt miserable: sleep deprived, jittery, anxiety-ridden and feeling like a bum by “sleeping” until almost 4 in the afternoon. I couldn’t explain it any clearer than by saying that I felt “dirty,” whatever that means. Like my sink felt grimy, my hair felt greasy, and my brain was covered in a toxic fog. My sister mentioned that I sounded like I just came off a cocaine binge and I’d imagine it would feel about the same. The only problem is that I didn’t get the high from actually doing cocaine. I just felt like shit with no upside at all.

So that’s where I am right now, or sort of am. We went out to eat and I had some beers and even though they’re a depressant they seemed to wake me up a bit somehow. About 4 or 5 beers in I almost feel normal. They gave me some focus and motivation towards my goals such as writing a blog post about how shitty birthdays are. But even after the day started to look up the entire beer incident happened and the day went to shit immediately before it almost ended on a high note. On top of birthdays sucking for some higher-up, cerebral matter I’m dealing with the fact they my birthday has been total bullshit for totally mundane matters. This still doesn’t change the fact that birthdays suck for legitimate reasons: it just means I’ll write about it in another post. This one has been rambling and Thompson-inspired enough that it should end sooner than later. Birthdays suck and more on that in a few days.

Using Facebook Responsibly

An Update of Sorts: I recently decided to make an ebook about Facebook Sucking. My reasoning was that I had a handful of blog posts about it and have always wanted to make an ebook but never knew where to begin. This seems like a good opportunity to 1. bitch about Facebook in order to save the fabric of society 2. put my bitchings into a collection and 3. actually publish that on Amazon or something for no one to actually read. So stay tuned for that.

As I mentioned here I have a cyclical nature with Facebook. I go through periods where I get on the site, actually enjoy myself (somewhat), but eventually I get depressive and go into hiding. This usually involves me deleting my page and losing everything such as pictures, friends, posts, etc. When the cycle restarts I need to make a new page, find my buddies (while inevitably losing some in the process), and attempt to be social again. Luckily this last iteration I wised up and only deactivated my page so I still have my friends, pictures, posts, etc. I’m learning that this is a futile exercise and that Facebook has a firm grip over me. That and I have my blog pages on there.

What happened this time was, well, time. As time passes you naturally meet and befriend new people; in my case I became better acquainted with my coworkers. I work a seasonal sort of job (shipping packages) and Christmas season, being our peak season, allows for plenty of overtime. While that time of the year is hell due to the weather and the amount of work we have to contend with, the terrible workplace conditions really help to build a sort of camaraderie between yourself and your coworkers. You really get to know them and appreciate them as you all suffer through the shittiest months of the year. I mostly reactivated my Facebook page to find these people and become “Facebook friends” with them as pointless as that really is. They’re cool people and I enjoy working with them and it’s nice to “know” them outside of work, even if Facebook isn’t exactly doing that.

Going without Facebook has actually benefited my mood significantly. This shouldn’t be a surprise because I bitched about the negative aspects of Facebook already, but it’s always nice to see you’re correct when you are. I swear getting off Facebook and not drinking has done my mood wonders and I’m almost not a total depressive, anxiety-ridden creature of fear that I thought I naturally was. Anyways, getting back on Facebook has given me quite a bit of anxiety because you need to learn how to use the damn thing properly. By properly I mean not getting sucked into the bullshit and keeping your mood in tact.

Facebook holds some danger for the same reasons I bitched about: if you get carried away and let it dominate your life your mood can and will go to shit. Browsing Facebook bored at 2 a.m. just because you have nothing else to do and seeing Happy People, political posts, fake news shit, and the many ways the world is collapsing around you makes you feel awful. Awful for yourself, what your life consists of, your inability to change or help the world, and, well fuck, now you also won’t be able to sleep because of it.

Making this even more dangerous is the fact that this Facebook disease slowly creeps up on you. It really does remind me of alcohol in a way. You drink here and there to relax but over a few years you’re now drinking 4 or 5 days a week and feel like shit for the remaining days. You’re not exactly sure how and why things ended up this way, but here you are. You might start using Facebook here and there but after a few months you’re scrolling at 2 a.m. drenched in self-loathing and unable to sleep. That’s when you got a problem.

So in an effort to keep my mood from being as shitty as a sewage treatment plant I’ve determined that I need to use Facebook properly this time. This being the Everything Sucks blog how is that shitty? Because why the fuck would you ever expect to have to learn to use a website in an appropriate way? It’s not a fucking drug. It’s stupid when you think Facebook works that way somehow. Just as I’m learning to drink properly and not use it as a crutch to get through life I need to use Facebook as a tool and not as a way to fulfill my social needs.

About six months into Facebook Iteration Number 4 or 5 I’m still happy and going strong. Here’s some things I’ve learned so far:

Limit Your Time There

The easy thing to do is to find yourself bored and then mindlessly open the Facebook app to piss away time. The only problem with this is that you never actually do anything useful while you piss the time away. It’s also a repeatable problem: you’ll just finish spending 15 minutes on Facebook and find yourself opening the app again. This is a problem with social media and the internet in general but Facebook is, as always, a prime offender.

So set a mental timer for yourself — 10 or 15 minutes is sufficient. Scroll around for that long, realize that nothing is actually enjoyable to look at, and get off the app. Don’t immediately get back on either. If you didn’t see shit the first time, why would you see anything worthwhile a half-hour later?

Log Yourself Out

As a related tactic with “limiting your time” as described above you can also log yourself out when you’re done browsing. You might not think that’s going to help a whole lot but people are lazy as fuck. It only takes a few seconds to type your email and password but this is plenty of time where you might just say “fuck it” and find something else to do on your phone. Also by logging yourself out you will stop yourself from being spammed with notifications that are meant to hook you back towards the app/website. It’s an easy thing to do — logging yourself out — but it is probably the most useful thing you can do to limit your exposure to Facebook.

Stop Scrolling When You Get Upset

Sometimes you’ll hop on for a quick five minute stroll through Facebook and instantly see some pressing and dramatic shitpost about politics or religion or whatever that upsets you. A side rule is to never read the fucking comments because it’s just trash there. People are stupid. But I will get off Facebook if I see something that upsets me. If there’s a news story about how much CO2 we have in the atmosphere where scientists are saying that climate change will be catastrophic in the next few decades I naturally feel upset, crummy, and useless over it. When I see posts like that I’ll just get off because there isn’t any reason to get worked up about something that you, as a single person, can’t change. There are things you can do to combat climate change but reading a story on Facebook and arguing with morons isn’t one of them. In fact your heavy, angry breathing will probably put more CO2 and further contribute to the problem.

This is how it is with a ton of topics too. Trump? Yeah, he’s a fuckwad just slowly destorying the US, but there isn’t any point in getting hopped-up angry about it on Facebook. As much as I despise Trump I don’t want to hear about him or anything else going wrong in the world. You might think I’m hiding in my safe space but fuck it: my mental health is the most important thing to me.

I ranted a bit but if you come across some stuff that makes you feel shitty, get the fuck off ASAP.

Don’t Try to “Fix” Anything

The fact is that people like to correct others. This isn’t a bad thing because if someone has some bullshit idea of truth in their head it’s doing them (and everyone else) a favor to convince them otherwise. This naturally extends to social media but this is where the problem lies: you can’t actually convince anyone of anything on Facebook. Don’t even try. You might have noble intentions but your hot opinion on Facebook will not convince anyone of anything. Debbie has been spewing anti-vaxx bullshit for the past three years, expert opinions aren’t convincing her, so why do you think you’re brutal Facebook comment on her shared post will do anything? It won’t and will only upset both of you so there’s no point in even trying really.

Don’t Farm For Likes

I used to post cool shit (stuff that I thought was cool that others might like) and would get pissed when no one would actually like it. I like everyone else’s shit and no one likes mine!? I post some really cool stuff and no one cares!! That sound really immature to think that way. I used to also share those “pressing stories” from above in an attempt to get people to care but that also seemed futile. The fact of the matter is people probably don’t care what you post and you shouldn’t be trying to get approval from others. Currently I post stuff that I find interesting and leave it at that. If no one likes it who gives a fuck. I’m just trying to not fall into that mindset where the amount of likes my stuff gets determines my mood for the day. It’s just fake internet points anyways.

Don’t Use Facebook For Social Interactions

I think I’m a normal human being in that I need to periodically interact with other human beings to be happy. I’m pretty shy and reserved but I still have some need to interact with others. It’s kinda a pain in the ass really because social interaction is hard and scary. During high school and college this interaction is automatically provided for you and you almost forget that it’s somewhat required. You get used to having people around as a kid/young adult and when you don’t you start to feel isolated and alone. This is where Facebook comes in.

Facebook gives you an easy and convenient form of social interaction but there’s only one problem with that: it’s not real social interaction. It’s easy to assume that interacting on Facebook is the same as interacting IRL because no one has any reason to believe otherwise. That is until you try it that is. Facebook is a poor substitute for real interaction because, well, I don’t actually know why. I just know, for me at least, that Facebook isn’t the same as talking to real people at work or at the store or whatever. Like saying “hello” to a stranger in their yard is immensely more fulfilling than liking a friend’s photo on Facebook.

Especially as an introvert, you can slowly get sucked into replacing real social interaction with Facebook’s faux interactions. It’s just easy to do in the comfort of your home. Instead of trying to talk to coworkers or strangers that you don’t really know well you just hop on Facebook and “talk” to people on there. “Talking” meaning liking and commenting on random shit that no one actually cares about. Sure, you commented on a friend’s photo but that isn’t really “interacting” with them. Real social interaction is hard and scary whereas Facebook is easy and convenient. But it isn’t satisfying social interaction even though it seems like it.

Facebook is like an addictive drug that you have to fortify yourself against. It reminds me of trying to drink just a few beers when I’ve been a drunkard for the past two years. It’s like trying to balance one-footed on a ball where any wrong move will knock your ass down. Facebook itself isn’t really harmful, but the ways that you use it can degrade the quality of your life and you need to make sure you don’t get “sucked in” to all the bullshit that Facebook promotes. Personally, I’ve found it helps to limit your time on the site, log out when you’re not using it, abandon ship when something makes you upset, and to not hunt around for approval from others in the form of likes. The biggest issue though is not allowing Facebook to become a substitute for genuine social interaction because it isn’t: it’s just some shitty thing that looks like social interaction. Facebook is a tool you can use to interact with people but you still need to do the actual work of interacting with people IRL. Facebook still fucking sucks by the way.

Quitting Drinking Sucks

I think I’ve realized that I’m what people call a “High-Functioning Alcoholic” meaning that even if I drink quite a bit more than is healthy/good/normal I don’t exhibit any of the “classic signs” of being an alcoholic. I don’t miss work. I don’t drink and drive. I don’t gamble or blow unusual amounts of money when drunk and I don’t beat the shit out of my family. But by being this type of person you get sucked into the mindset that you don’t have a problem when you probably do. Since there is nothing to really gain by maybe, possibly being an alcoholic I think I’m going to attempt to stop drinking. Again.

That’s right: Again. I gave it a decent shot a few months ago and failed miserably. I made it two weeks sober and just totally fell off the wagon (or got on the wagon?) You might think that two weeks sober is pretty good, and while I suppose it is, it apparently means you’re not out of the woods yet. Upon reaching two weeks sober I realized that shit was beginning to get very very difficult. Let me digress for a moment…

I used to smoke cigarettes and nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is one of the stupidestly addictive substances known to man. Like it’s right up there with heroin in case you didn’t know. I smoked for about five years and tried to quit countless times and met failure each of those times, except for the last of course. Because I did quit smoking! I told myself when I was free from nicotine to never get addicted ever again because it was such a bitch to quit. I just never wanted to have to quit smoking ever again.

It’s common knowledge that quitting smoking is hardest in the first week; if you make it a week without smoking you’re good to go. I found this to be not precisely true as you still crave nicotine even after a week. In fact the urge never seems to totally go away; the cravings just sort of tend towards zero after a long time. But I would say after two weeks of not smoking I felt pretty decent and not at risk of smoking again. The hardest time occurs during the first few days though. Upon trying to quit cold turkey I found I became suicidal within the first six hours. It was no joke how nicotine (or the lack of) fucks with your mind. I know it was nicotine withdrawal causing my mental havoc because upon smoking a single cigarette my suicidal thoughts magically disappeared. My point here is that nicotine withdrawal peaks really fucking fast and is really shitty. With nicotine I found I needed to slowly “wean” myself off them because cold turkey just didn’t work at all for me.

Here. I made a rough chart showing how miserable I felt when I quit smoking. As you can see your misery peaks in a day or two and then slowly subsides to a low level by a week.

A scientific chart on how awful you feel when you quit smoking.

Since I quit smoking — which is one of the most ridiculous and addictive things ever — drinking should be easy to quit! Right? After all I never drank as much as a “real” alcoholic would; I wasn’t drinking daily for years upon years. Even if there were scary withdrawal symptoms (alcohol is one of the few substances that you can die from during withdrawal) I was confident that I wouldn’t suffer the worst of them like DTs or those fucking “pink elephant” hallucinations from the Looney Tunes cartoons. Like I wouldn’t end up hospitalized or anything so I have that going for me.

One thing that should’ve tipped me off that not drinking wouldn’t be that easy — even without any serious medical issues to worry about — is realizing how I can easily go a few days without drinking and that cravings really only happen on the third or fourth day. I assume I had this “nicotine withdrawal” mentality going on where I thought if you made it day or two without drinking you instantly win against alcohol, which is obviously easy to do. This is not the case.

I made it about a week and a half before I really started to know something was going on. I began to feel tired and exhausted all the time. I would sleep nearly 10 or 12 hours, drink three cups of coffee, and still be tired. I also started to feel like I was “fake” and in a dream for large parts of my day where I would blink and sort of be surprised at the fact that I existed or something. My mood noticeably degraded where I came close to snapping on a few of my coworkers. These coworkers are perpetually aggravating but somehow being sober brought my frustration front and center and almost allowed it to boil over. I was agitated, depressed, tired, and didn’t even want to eat. I’d come home from work and go to bed and just want to be left alone with the lights off. And everyday that passed made it worse.

Like this!

You’re told that when you quit drinking that things are going to get better so a descent into depression, lethargy, and misery is shocking. You can power through the tough times here and there, but it seemed like the bad feelings just kept piling up without any reason or way out of feeling like shit. It felt like walking into a dark cave where there is supposed to be an exit in front of you but the further you walk the darker it gets and the exit seems like a made-up lie. Every day would seem worse than the day before, and eventually I wanted to drink again not to be drunk but just to feel like a normal person again.

So I made it two weeks and broke down just because I felt like I was going insane or losing my identity. As what happened with my nicotine-withdrawal-induced-insanity, upon having the drug you’re craving you instantly feel better. After one beer I felt calm, mellow, and like myself again.

Here’s my nicotine chart slightly tweaked for drinking. The dotted line is what I think will happen if I make it past two weeks. As you can see the time period here is about seven times longer: if you flip out without smoking in a day or two you will probably flip out by not drinking between the first and the second week. This also makes me think the comedown period will also be a ton longer, like on the order of a few months.

I guess I left the “legend” on the side?

This is obviously some shit. Nicotine gives you a fucking quick battle with misery that starts and ends relatively quickly while alcohol seems to drag on forever. A huge downside to this is that there’s just more time for something stressful to happen to kick you back down again. If you stop smoking you can pretty easily pick a span of a week or two when nothing stressful should happen but how do you ensure that you have a span of three months without stress to stop drinking? Alcohol is a pain-in-the-ass to stop using, and I have a newfound appreciation for anyone who has become an alcoholic, realized they are an alcoholic, and made the effort to stop drinking. It’s apparently hard as hell to do so congrats to any and all of you who’ve succeeded. Stopping drinking fucking sucks.

Update: I wrote this about a week ago as a way to sort of write about my problems and not drink. I knew it would be frustrating to stop again so venting helped get my spirits up quite a bit. I’m now on my 11 or 12th day sober and it still fucking sucks, but the key it seems is to not think about things too much and to keep fucking busy with whatever you can find.

The New Year Sucks Part Two: The Nostalgia of New Beginnings

Back when I was younger (and stupider) I always found myself sitting around on December 31st with either a piece of paper or a Google doc writing and reminiscing on how the year went and reflecting on all of the shit that had happened. This would inevitably run into dreaming about The New Year and wondering what the next 365 days would bring. I have suspicion that many — if not most — of us do this and while I never really told anyone about this habit or asked others if they do it, I’m sure I’m not alone.

On a very superficial level many people like to party and celebrate the new year, which as you can probably tell from my first post I think is stupid because it’s so arbitrary. I’d be all up for having a celebration at the solstices or equinoxes (like dancing around a campfire on the first day of spring or some shit) but outside of pagans, witches, and astronomers (maybe?) no one actually does this. If anything the news just blurts out something like “It’s the first day of summer, and the weather is nice!” while maybe mentioning that it’s the longest day of the year. Ya know, by the way. But The New Year is a big circle jerk of partying, drinking, kissing, and watching some fucking ball in New York “fall”. This is if you have an “ideal” life; if you’re single, miserable, and/or depressed the holidays in general just make you want to kill yourself or hide in a closet for a month. After any intense year-end partying I just can’t help but ask myself “Okay. So…now what?” The whole thing feels pointless and hollow. Like at the end of the day you wake up in The New Year: Day One with the worst hangover you’ve ever had and smelling like expired pizza and sweat. Happy New Year!

Failed Goals

People also like to use The New Year as a start for various goals and self-improvement plans they set for themselves. These are usually referred to as “New Year’s Resolutions” and have a horrible failure rate. At the very least this should prevent people from starting any goals on New Year’s Day; why start a goal if it will have a 55% chance of success after only a month! Like if you set two resolutions for yourself, only one will succeed on average; if you start a diet and stop drinking for New Years you’ll either be eating a doughnut or drinking a six-pack on February 1st. Maybe even both. The rate of success also becomes worse with time. After two years only 19% still followed their resolutions — higher than I would’ve guessed — but still dismal. If you started a diet you most likely would’ve fucked up between a month and two years. It was a good run but in the end you still failed at your goal.

I attribute these failure to various things, but the most obvious reason I can think of is that New Year’s Day is a terrible time to try the typical shit people like to set for their resolutions. Think dieting, losing weight, exercising, starting (and maintaining) a hobby, being a “better person,” and whatever else. This is mostly because New Years occurs near the start/middle of winter and immediately after the holidays. How is this not setting up for instant failure?

Let’s say you want to exercise like maybe run a marathon or something by summer. Well, January 1st is likely cold and shitty so why would you want to force yourself outside to run when it won’t get warmer for another two months? You might be able to get out and run a mile or so, but this isn’t the situation that actually favors sticking with it. Even if you keep with the goal of training for a marathon, running a few miles every few days isn’t going to help much in the long run. It makes more sense to wait until the season improves a bit and then hitting running in a hard but sustainable way.

What about dieting? You just came from stuffing your fat face all holiday season and a week later you’re all of a sudden going to eat vegetables and fruit? Cut your calories in half in a day? It could work but it seems like the worst time ever to start an actual diet that you can stick with.

What about not drinking? The holiday season has probably been so stressful that you’ve been hang onto reality bottle by bottle but then have to cut the cord right immediately after? Good luck…especially when your first day sober is you waking up after a YOLO-final-New Year-drinking-party with a terrible hangover and craving another shot of vodka just to make the headaches, spinning, and the shaking stop for awhile.

Any sort of these motivational, self-improvement goals also have one primary thing in common: motivation. You can’t just do your goal: it takes drive, dedication, hard work, and persistence. Once again, the cold darkness that is early January isn’t conductive for any of this especially in regards to some goal you set for yourself in a make-or-break attempt to make progress. You’re putting it all on the line with a hard start date at a time where your motivation is likely total shit and waning. Pile on multiple goals and you’re left grasping for any sort of willpower you can find. And January isn’t helping any of it.

Then again maybe all of this is just a problem for me.

The Nostalgia of it All

In the end, all of this hating on the practical downsides to resolutions are nothing with the whole naive “starting over” aspect of it all. Remember when I was talking about my little journal entries on December 31st? And how every year I’d reflect on things and while I wouldn’t set hard resolutions I would try to pick a direction for the year: how to improve on things, what large ideas and goals to keep in mind, what sort of person I should be, so-on-and-so-forth, etc. It always seems so nostalgic to sit and write and dream about a whole new 365 days where you can start over and I still find myself wanting to do such a thing.

The truth is I recently went back and read some of these entries and they’re cringeworthy at best and depressing at worst. Any sort of lofty goal I’ve had like “helping the family achieve their goals,” “investing more in ETFs,” “do something with my life,” or “day-trade cryptocurrencies” have fallen totally flat on their fucking faces in the course of just a few months. Is this my fault or the fault of the entire idea of “starting over?” I don’t know, although it could be both.

Everything seems so clear from the year-ending perspective. You can see how the year has been, what your mistakes were, and what you could’ve changed. You realize how you didn’t spend the summer outdoors enough, or you didn’t garden as much as you wanted, or whatever and you regret it. But this is all in hindsight and in the actual moment you “screwed up” you never had that hindsight perspective and clarity. When you could’ve been outside gardening or biking you decided instead to sit inside and play video games, but that was your reality and you made the best choice you could at the time. It’s only by looking back you’ve seen how you “screwed up.”

Looking forward also offers this messed up vision, but this time it’s based on vague hopes for the year. While hindsight is 20/20 the future is always rosy, dream-like, and successful. Even if you fucked up in 2018, 2019 will surely be different because, well, it’s in the future and you can construct as rosy of a picture of your year as you want. Even if you end up filing for bankruptcy or losing a loved one in 2019, you don’t know this on January 1st so obviously 2019 will be a landmark year of happiness and success for you. In short, no one realizes how much of a challenge the next 365 days will be and we always imagine the best possible outcome.

Hency my newfound hatred for looking backwards/forwards during the New Year. When you look back you seen how much a struggle it has been and see all your mistakes in perfect hindsight clarity. When you look forward you see a clean slate that will probably end up as much as a struggle as the last year where you make the same stupid hindsight-obvious mistakes that you always end up making. When I’d read my past entries regarding The New Year, I always see this nostalgic vision I put forward into the past and the hope I put into the future; it never seems to arrive. Each New Year is just as bittersweet as the last — if not more — because it’s the same shit all over as it’s always been. Determination, hope, mistakes, reflection, regret. Then determination, hope, mistakes, reflecti……….

The New Year Fucking Sucks.

Hangovers Suck: Existential Anxiety

Hangovers Suck. Obviously. If there was ever a “low-hanging fruit” post on this blog it would be about hangovers. What is really shocking is that it’s taken over a year for me to actually acknowledge that Hangovers Suck. Why’s that?

The fact is that since hangovers are so obviously shitty there’s little point in writing about it. And like most things in life you probably have to experience one to fully enjoy appreciate how shitty they are. I could go on and on about headaches, aversion to light and sound, dizziness, shaking, nausea, and all around “feeling shitty” but that won’t make you feel how physically awful a hangover really is. And even if it did, most people probably know it anyways so whatever.

In my 20s hangovers were primarily a physical phenomena. I’d feel like shit as described above but that was it. I would take some pills to help the symptoms, drink some water, take a nap, and I’d feel much better. At the very worst I’d just drink more as that instantly cures hangovers if you can believe it. Something happened when I made it into my 30s though; hangovers have suddenly became much worse and not just physically worse. Now they have shitty mental effects too. And boy, those make the physical effects seem like nothing.

Alcohol, being a depressant, makes it quite a bit easier to fall asleep. Hell, the term “passing out” is what happens when you just randomly fall asleep because you’ve gotten to drunk, although you probably wouldn’t qualify it as a healthy normal sleep. Alcohol is a depressant and it makes you sleepy. After a few days of drinking I find I that can’t fall asleep as easily for the next day or two. I’ll be tired and sober but unable to sleep. What happens is usually this: I lie down and then I think and eventually a thought like this comes into my head: I’m going to die someday.

What?! Where did that come from?

What’s worse is that the train of thought, once started, continues down the tracks towards total and soul-crushing existential anxiety:

I’m going to die someday. What’s that going to be like? I’m not going to exist? What? What does that even mean? What will not existing feel like? It’ll be like before I was born I suppose. Huh?!? Do you know you’re dying when you’re dying? Will I die in a surprise accident or will I waste away from cancer fully aware of my impending doom? It seems so far away but it will happen eventually. Hell, I could die at any moment, even right now. I could have a heart attack in the next few moments. What if I do? Listen to my heart, it’s beating pretty hard and fast now. Oh shit, what if I do die right now? What happens to my family and friends? They’d be destroyed like I would be when my loved ones die. Oh shit, when’s that going to happen? My family will die someday. Even my kids. HOLY. FUCK. LIFE IS TERRIBLE.

It’s not a fun time. Try to fall asleep after that flies through your mind.

I mean I’m aware of that stuff because it’s simply part of life but usually I don’t think about it in that way. Usually it’s there as a sort of background or backdrop to everyday life and I continue on aware of my mortality but not burdened by it, if that makes any sense. I know I’ll die but I just don’t worry too much about it. In a way I think it’s nice being aware of your mortality because you enjoy life a bit more. You don’t sit on the couch and piss your life away if you know you’re going to die eventually. It keeps you motivated and it shouldn’t leave you crippled like my random overnight, hungover thoughts do. They’re just a whole new level of anxiety from what I usually experience.

I blame this on being hungover because there’s nothing else to explain it. When I haven’t recently been drinking I go through life pretty happily. I go to sleep at night. If I can’t sleep for some reason I go play video games or read a book until I am tired. I don’t lie in bed and think about how and when I’m going to fucking die. It only happens a day or two after drinking so of course I’m going to blame the alcohol. I always feel “off” a few days after drinking so it’s no surprise that my existential anxiety is probably due to drinking. And I should probably quit drinking.

Everyone knows hangovers suck and they usually bitch and whine about the physical aspects of it. The physical aspects of a hangover aren’t shit though. The really terrible part of a hangover is the feeling of being “off” and the random existential anxiety I get at 3 a.m. that makes it impossible for me to sleep or feel comfortable. Once again, I’m pretty average so I assume this happens to other people as well and it’s no surprise if no one really talks about it because it’s terrifying. Hangovers Suck.