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What do you do if Life gets worse after quitting?



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What do you do if Life gets worse after quitting?

Old 06-01-2021, 08:26 PM
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Unhappy What do you do if Life gets worse after quitting?

I haven't gotten a real break in ten years.

The crazy thing is that it wasn't always this way. When I was 23, I built a complex Turing test AI formula, raised the financing for it (about 3 million) and went into business.

At the time, though I did have a very good formula, I had no experience, no skills, and I was a raging alcoholic. My behavior was terrible, I had zero skills of any type other than just base intellect. I would drink a half gallon of whiskey before noon, and just scream at people on the phone until whatever resource I needed was delivered. I could barely stand up most days, had no real business plan, and often passed out drunk during the business day. I had tons of supporters, and people actively worked together to help me out. I ended up king of a small city, the talk of the town, with cars and buildings and a bank full of cash. I had a stunningly beautiful girlfriend, and everyone around me looked up to me. Groups of girls whispered to each other and adjusted their hair when I walked by.

This was at a time in my life where I was a terrible person, stupid and immature, with very little to offer the world aside from the technology I'd built. I was garbage.

Over the years I saw the error of my ways. I sobered up for good about a decade ago, with my very last investment ever recieved being during the last year that I drank. I got that investment while drunk. Every investment I ever got in my life I got while wasted drunk.

After I got sober, I improved a tremendous amount. I wasn't just a nicer person, I was more productive, better educated, more experienced. I developed a strong work ethic, and spent countless hours fully educating myself in dozens of disciplines, My business plans made sense, I kept every promise, returned every phone call. I was honest and reliable, hardworking. 14 hour work days became the norm. I often worked for 300k a year salary executives, designing their media campaigns, developing their corporate assets etc. They showed up late, left early, and stopped for a couple hours mid day to get buzzed at lunch, talking and laughing and drinking. I was often invited to join, but always declined, far too busy working myself half to death under the pressure of 20 or 30 thousand people showing up the next day to this convention or concert where my work would appear on giant signage screens. The last one I did was 250 ft wide and 22 ft tall, in downtown Las Vegas. I was treading water to survive, my bosses would go to the casinos at night, sometimes loosing the equivalent of the salary I'd be paid for 3 months work in a single night while drunk.

From my perspective, the better person I became, the fewer people tried to help me, or were willing to invest in me. I think I just had a lot more friends back then. Perhaps this is uncharitable, but I think being a drunk, lazy idiot with no skills was something many of them could really identify with. They really treated me as one of their own back then. Perhaps I was.

Since I got my act together, beat alcoholism and became a person worth working with, I have not recieved a single break of any kind, other than occasionally being overworked and underpaid, during the lucky stretches. I burned through my savings and now live in poverty.

I guess hope springs eternal, so I'm back with a new plan that I'm working hard at, but honestly it's difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Every time I'm told I don't deserve even the smallest bit of help, I go home and turn on the TV, and there's a news story showing 30 white supremacists carrying crates full of 3500 dollar rifles into a 10 million dollar compound. As the reporters interview them, you can see dozens of friends behind them, supporting them, paying them, investing in them. They are barely able to compose sentences, and many have swastikas tattooed on their foreheads. Maybe it's unfair, but that image sticks in my head when people are telling me that my 26 pages of excel spreadsheets just don't deserve a 10k loan with interest owed. To be honest, I don't believe them, and I think they are poor judges of character.

I know it's a depressing topic, but it eats away at me in a way I wish I could resolve. Has anyone else had a similar life experience? Does anyone know how the drunk people with swastika tattoos are able to garner so much more support than intelligent, hardworking, and sober people? The stupidest people I've ever seen have literally raised enough money to fund an army. I really don't even have one person helping me at this time. My family didn't leave me when I was drunk everyday. They left when I ran out of money, because I lost my business networking abilities once I sobered up. I think I have a nervous disorder that used to be masked by the constant drinking. I tried taking sedatives from the doctor for a few years, then antidepressants. The sedatives didn't make me less nervous, just less awake. The antidepressants helped, but made me a goofy type of happy that I think diminished the respect people used to have for me.

I just wish I understood all this in a way that made sense. Despite all this I never think about drinking again. I know I'm on the right path, and I'm pretty sure the decision to turn things around saved my life. Still, I often wonder if the things that should make a difference ever actually will.

My question, and I really want an answer to this, is the following

Why is my life so much worse now that I've paid my dues and become a better person? Has anyone else had this experience? Did the loss of your once energetic and outgoing personality cripple you, and actually reduce your success? Again I have no intent or desire to drink again, and I don't suggest anyone else do so either, I just want to know if I'm the only one going through this type of situation.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:03 PM
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Hi Flink and welcome

I think a lot of people are struggling right now - and it's got nothing to do with whether they are good people or not.

The world is a challenge right now - more than it has been in most of our lifetimes.
You sound like a good person going through a bad patch

When I quit drinking it was because I knew I could more with my life - and I have.

I'm better off for sure but on paper I'm not really too much more better off money wise or health wise but I'm different - I'm making something with my life, and to me thats the real key to happiness?

I've never been made goofy happy by antidepressants.

I have been happy and mistrustful of that feeling, if that's what you mean ? but that was Prozac back in the 90s and I was drinking and toking on them (not suggesting you were).

Anti deps these days just give me a quality of life I lacked without them. No highs, no giddy manic feeling
If you think you might be depressed maybe it's worth trying your doctor again?

D
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Old 06-02-2021, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Flink View Post
My question, and I really want an answer to this, is the following

1 - Why is my life so much worse now that I've paid my dues and become a better person? 2 - Has anyone else had this experience?
1 Because life isn't fair. Example - My brother just lost his wife at the age of 54. She did nothing to deserve her early illness and death.
2 Yes - if I follow your definition of worse which seems to be focused on money and professional success. No - if I look at my personal relationships with my family.
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Old 06-02-2021, 02:51 AM
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Great testimony.

Glad you cleaned up your act. The analytical, matter of factness/dismissal of booze as almost an afterthought was surprising to me. I suffered like a POW getting clean. Remembering that helps keep me on my new lifestyle path of never letting a drop of booze near these lips. Booze is poison.

I feel for you regarding your lack of success since quitting. The man you described as a drunk would not have lasted long in my world ever. I grew up associated with the military, US government priority assets, and high side ops. No screaming and passing out goes on ever ever (except on rare isolated instances e.g. parties).

I am naive thinking that in a room full of successful people at least half of them are full up super intelligent hard working winners. e.g. respectful, sober or disciplined drinkers (whatever that is) etc., gym rats, family men, etc.

Your description seems like the plot of an interesting movie.

One thing. It took about 4 years clean for me to start to become sort of happy for no reason again. I can choose to be fun at times. I can get serious, be fun, and get serious. All in moments. Depends on the situation.

Dee suggested meds. I have a little experience with BP meds. I start to lose it if I don't take them. Something about blood vessel restriction make me a bit stressed I figure.

Meds could be helpful?

Prayers.

Thanks.
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Old 06-02-2021, 04:47 AM
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Well, you've told us what got worse once you sobered up.

Now tell us what you are grateful for since quitting drinking.
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Flink View Post
I guess hope springs eternal, so I'm back with a new plan that I'm working hard at, but honestly it's difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Every time I'm told I don't deserve even the smallest bit of help, I go home and turn on the TV, and there's a news story showing 30 white supremacists carrying crates full of 3500 dollar rifles into a 10 million dollar compound. As the reporters interview them, you can see dozens of friends behind them, supporting them, paying them, investing in them. They are barely able to compose sentences, and many have swastikas tattooed on their foreheads. Maybe it's unfair, but that image sticks in my head when people are telling me that my 26 pages of excel spreadsheets just don't deserve a 10k loan with interest owed. To be honest, I don't believe them, and I think they are poor judges of character.
My solution to the problem above is to not turn on the TV In the first place. Same applies for social media. There will always be injustice, hate and unfairness in the world - but unless you are directly involved in making change in your immediate circle of existence, the vast majority of what happens in the "Media" is not relevant to me. AKA - it's only a problem if you choose to care about it, right?

I understand where you are coming from, but at the end of the day the quality of our life is largely formed by our perception and goals. If we frame happiness as getting the most money/most things as compared to others around us, we are forever doomed to fail as there will always be someone with more. And I can tell you from personal experience that adage applies as high up the ladder as you care to clime...someone's always a step ahead.

As it applies to drinking, sobriety gave me the ability to try and find new ways to enjoy my life, whereas drinking was simply an attempt to hide from it all.
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:30 AM
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Hi Flink and welcome! Congrats on turning your life around after a rough start even if you don't experience it as rainbows and unicorns now. I don't think it's ever bad to see the world realistically, warts and all, to see through facades and not fall for the superficial "joys" of a life without integrity. I would have the same question as carl though: and what are the positives, perhaps even little daily things you find satisfying and valuable in sobriety? You told us about some big ones, e.g. becoming a responsible, hardworking person. What are the things you enjoy in the everyday?

I haven't experienced what you have about sobriety per se, but can be prone to my own version of existential angst and nihilism at times. I used to wonder about this as some kind of mental illness, but it does not fit into the etiology of any of the known conditions much, and I think it's mostly just due to a tendency for thinking deeply/broadly and having high standards. By now, I've mostly accepted these things as sort of by-products of a certain kind of intellect and personality as I have seen similar from many others with similar backgrounds to mine. We are unlikely to ever live on the proverbial "pink cloud" long, except when we escape into that chemically-altered, dumbed-down haze. I'm a science/technology/business person and find many like-minded folks (with similar challenges) in these areas, often quite eccentric individuals with creative minds behind the scenes who support the endeavors of others and don't get enough credit for themselves, and many who recognized early on, or at some point, that breaking free of the conventional, structured business world is a better road to personal fulfillment.

Now about your intro, the thought crossing my mind was that perhaps you don't live in a community that is consistent with your sober values and interests? I have also been surrounded by all sorts of super ambitious, high-achiever type people in my whole life (drunk and sober, mostly through academia and business), many of course pretty reckless, immoral and not to be trusted. I certainly picked up some "skills" from this environment to strategize for my own good and even manipulate, and of course it was much worse while drinking (to protect my drinking as a priority, they were never my core values). Do you ask yourself what draws you to that world? I have, many times, and it's quite complex including some deeper psychological factors, but mostly I also like the resources, freedom, possibilities and competitiveness this environment offers - those are positives I take advantage of. I can take what I need/like and leave the rest quite easily, never felt trapped or victimized by anything or anyone. Do you? It sounds a bit like that from your post... If that is true, why do you allow it, I would ask.

The media, news, TV etc is another issue, that can be quite toxic for everyone and the usual advice is to limit it for yourself. If you work in the media world (I don't), of course it's much more challenging, but then I would ask again why you are in immediate environments that do not align with your values and make you feel frustrated?

And if it's not truly about the environment but your own inner world and mental state, I would second the other suggestions to look for things that could help. If you don't want medication, there are countless other things we can do to feel more grounded and at peace, to work on our wellbeing and happiness in holistic ways. I am a big fan of those approaches, but am also starting to discover more and more that sometimes what gets in the way more that anything is clinging to self-improvement (and just general improvement) too much, approaching that as yet another obsession/compulsion.

If you read this forum, you will find many tips for living more at peace after recovery from addictions. I hope you will stick around for a while and also share with us how you got and stayed sober - people here can always benefit from hearing others' success stories with giving up alcohol, drugs and other destructive behaviors. Getting outside of our head and helping can also create a sense of positive impact and satisfaction - I would think especially if you spend a great deal of your time in the business world that is, by default, quite self-centered .
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:10 AM
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I cannot make my life better by trying to do so because the minute I do that…I am not doing that. Struggling to stop struggles only creates another struggle. When I realize that life is insoluble, then I can truly live.
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:04 AM
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Financially and career opportunity wise i am in a much worse position sober than when i was drinking. I think when i was drinking i was able to cope with more crap so didn't care what situation i got myself into but in sobriety i'm not so keen to enter these sell your soul kind of situations which makes for a weird way of living because it is completely different to the life i am used to living for as long as i can remember. I needed a lot more money when i was drinking, nothing to do with alcohol, i loved going to the casinos and visiting all the wrong places and it's easy to do 1000s in a night, so that was very motivating too. Hope things get better for you.
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Old 06-02-2021, 12:51 PM
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The peak of my drinking career was also the peak of my earnings and I was stressed beyond belief - not just from the pressure of my job, the degree programs, and the constant dating - but mostly from the misalignment of values. I had an office in SF, looking out directly at the Bay Bridge, and 600 people in my organization, but I was completely miserable. Lots of status, and lots of debt. Everything was so out of alignment in terms of value, and meaning. I was really not happy - hence the drinking, starting with a couple beers on the drive home most nights.

There is a lot of "momentum" in the corporate business world that can keep the party going long after a person becomes pretty dysfunctional, in my experience, and I felt I was headed that way. I finally had to bail out of the that world and find something more aligned with my values. Took awhile to figure it out. Have you really sat down and looked at your core values and belief system, skills, and passions to see what might work better for you?

I am so much happier now. I retired early, own two homes (one a rental), travel, support a family overseas and live on less than half of what I used to make. I have a very simple non-pretentious lifestyle now that is centered around simplicity and healthy living.
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Old 06-04-2021, 03:32 PM
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Material wealth is one of the worst ways to judge whether you are succeeding at "life". I have read your post and only find incredible success in your achievements to date. As mentioned above, I suggest bringing gratitude into your life. You run your own race. It doesnt matter if you are "slow" or "fast". The point is to keep running!
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:40 PM
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"Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest happiness and satisfaction out of this world if only he manages well" Page 61 seems appropos.

For an alcoholic like me, it seems things got worse every time I stopped, which was why I always started again. What was needed was a sufficient substitute for the alcoholic way of life. Just not drinking didn't treat alcoholism, it seemed to bring it out.
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Old 06-08-2021, 07:26 PM
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So basically what you want is Power, prestige, attention, money, fancy cars, flashy jewelry and women who only love you for your money? And without these things your life is just an empty, fruitless, lame attempt at existence?
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