Alcoholism and Suicide

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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25 July 2018 11:51
 

What I’d like to know and understand is what is known by modern medicine and by our forum members personally about how alcohol and alcoholism intersect with spirals of self destruction. Does one commonly precede the other?

I’d like to better understand how we seem to have so little objectivity about the threat that various substances pose to our health and well being.

Do posters generally concede that habitual use of depressants represents (or causes) an impulse toward self harm?

Alcohol seems inextricable from culture and probably impossible to eliminate from our diets. If this is the case what kind of balance is possible? What kind of positive damage control is actually available?

Thank You

[ Edited: 25 July 2018 12:16 by Brick Bungalow]
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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25 July 2018 13:47
 

I have no expertise in this area or particular words of wisdom to offer, but I can share my own intimate personal experience on a related issue, based in a sample of one, my brother.  At one point he was addicted to several drugs, having taken just about every drug under the sun, and once he beat those addictions, he turned to transsexual prostitutes; then he was treated for sex addiction.  In my conversations with him throughout his treatment and therapy, we reconstructed together many memories of our shared childhood, especially regarding family dynamics and his place in them.  From that experience, in his case, we both came to realize that his substance and sexual addictions were enactments of deeper drama, one that turned self-destructive in its execution but which was in its essence an attempt to fulfill a vacancy— a painful vacancy that underpinned in a fundamental way his entire emotional life.  This vacancy wasn’t addressed until beating the substance and sexual addictions, and the potential for another addiction wasn’t resolved until he beat that painful vacancy.  Now he is happily married to his second wife, and I have never seen him better.  I lose no sleep worrying about a relapse, and neither does he.

The lesson I draw from this, and the application I think it has to the questions you ask, is that unless the underlying causes of substance use leading to an addiction are addressed, the addictive behavior will manifest itself one way or another, whether in another substance use or some compensatory, usually self-destructive behavior.  I don’t know why the self-destruction when the existential need it to “fill a vacancy,” but for him and for every other addict I have known, it has been self-destructive.  Perhaps it’s because the need to fill the vacancy is so great that paths at reducing it reach a tipping point and take on an independent life of their own, one no longer under self-control but still inexorably directed to fulfill itself.  And with substances, this tipping point is the physiological addiction.  I can only guess that behaviorally the self-destruction comes in with the risks one is willing to take and the consequences one is willing to endure in order to fill somehow that underlying and compelling need.  The attempt to fulfill that need is so overwhelming those risks and consequences trump all other concerns, hence the “self-destruction”.

I hope this offers some insight, if not consolation.  I noted before the edit that this issue has a personal dimension for you.  Good luck.
 

[ Edited: 25 July 2018 14:55 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
EN
 
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EN
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25 July 2018 13:57
 

I don’t think that habitual use of anything necessarily indicates a desire for self-harm.  People may start something for fun, out of curiosity, or to fit in, and then develop a habit or addiction.  It can sneak up on you.  Depends on one’s personality.

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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25 July 2018 15:39
 

You might be confusing suicide with self-destruction, and they’re very different. Very few people commit suicide, whereas almost everyone self-destructs. Somehow. In some part of our lives. We drink, or take drugs, or destabilize the happy job, or happy marriage.

Self-destruction, survival, and self-acceptance are competing impulses that are coded in us. But overcompensation is in out social nature. The result is the varying degrees of conflicting mess we see everyday.

Depending on your circumstances, acute situation, and your ability to adapt, you may be affected in all sorts of ways. Nevertheless, a feeling doesn’t have an absolute value or variable. It can be interpreted in many different ways depening on who is percieving those feelings. In that regard, we’ve learned that some people with searing depression are attracted to extended escapes from the sadness via the sauce and then eventually thier undoing (unless they conjure some moderation checkpoints).

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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25 July 2018 15:53
 
Jb8989 - 25 July 2018 03:39 PM

You might be confusing suicide with self-destruction, and they’re very different. Very few people commit suicide, whereas almost everyone self-destructs. Somehow. In some part of our lives. We drink, or take drugs, or destabilize the happy job, or happy marriage.

Self-destruction, survival, and self-acceptance are competing impulses that are coded in us. But overcompensation is in out social nature. The result is the varying degrees of conflicting mess we see everyday.

Depending on your circumstances, acute situation, and your ability to adapt, you may be affected in all sorts of ways. Nevertheless, a feeling doesn’t have an absolute value or variable. It can be interpreted in many different ways depening on who is percieving those feelings. In that regard, we’ve learned that some people with searing depression are attracted to extended escapes from the sadness via the sauce and then eventually thier undoing (unless they conjure some moderation checkpoints).

I would place suicide into the larger set of self destruction. It is certainly not the only variety.

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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25 July 2018 16:04
 
Brick Bungalow - 25 July 2018 03:53 PM
Jb8989 - 25 July 2018 03:39 PM

You might be confusing suicide with self-destruction, and they’re very different. Very few people commit suicide, whereas almost everyone self-destructs. Somehow. In some part of our lives. We drink, or take drugs, or destabilize the happy job, or happy marriage.

Self-destruction, survival, and self-acceptance are competing impulses that are coded in us. But overcompensation is in out social nature. The result is the varying degrees of conflicting mess we see everyday.

Depending on your circumstances, acute situation, and your ability to adapt, you may be affected in all sorts of ways. Nevertheless, a feeling doesn’t have an absolute value or variable. It can be interpreted in many different ways depening on who is percieving those feelings. In that regard, we’ve learned that some people with searing depression are attracted to extended escapes from the sadness via the sauce and then eventually thier undoing (unless they conjure some moderation checkpoints).

I would place suicide into the larger set of self destruction. It is certainly not the only variety.

That’s true. Most people hold onto memes, mottos, customs, trades, teams, religions, god(s), tribes, sex or cash. I’m sure I missed a few. Pick your poison, I say, but then I just deserve the right to call out the dumb ones. God are stupid, but hey have at it if you need it to not self-destruct.

I’d wager that the The Moment is generally either glarigly obvious, or, wholly not aware with the deep depressed guys. Moderation and reason are tools (just can’t be a douche about it). The sauce done in moderation is a decent short cut on some days for those with the tools.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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25 July 2018 17:23
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 25 July 2018 01:47 PM

I have no expertise in this area or particular words of wisdom to offer, but I can share my own intimate personal experience on a related issue, based in a sample of one, my brother.  At one point he was addicted to several drugs, having taken just about every drug under the sun, and once he beat those addictions, he turned to transsexual prostitutes; then he was treated for sex addiction.  In my conversations with him throughout his treatment and therapy, we reconstructed together many memories of our shared childhood, especially regarding family dynamics and his place in them.  From that experience, in his case, we both came to realize that his substance and sexual addictions were enactments of deeper drama, one that turned self-destructive in its execution but which was in its essence an attempt to fulfill a vacancy— a painful vacancy that underpinned in a fundamental way his entire emotional life.  This vacancy wasn’t addressed until beating the substance and sexual addictions, and the potential for another addiction wasn’t resolved until he beat that painful vacancy.  Now he is happily married to his second wife, and I have never seen him better.  I lose no sleep worrying about a relapse, and neither does he.

The lesson I draw from this, and the application I think it has to the questions you ask, is that unless the underlying causes of substance use leading to an addiction are addressed, the addictive behavior will manifest itself one way or another, whether in another substance use or some compensatory, usually self-destructive behavior.  I don’t know why the self-destruction when the existential need it to “fill a vacancy,” but for him and for every other addict I have known, it has been self-destructive.  Perhaps it’s because the need to fill the vacancy is so great that paths at reducing it reach a tipping point and take on an independent life of their own, one no longer under self-control but still inexorably directed to fulfill itself.  And with substances, this tipping point is the physiological addiction.  I can only guess that behaviorally the self-destruction comes in with the risks one is willing to take and the consequences one is willing to endure in order to fill somehow that underlying and compelling need.  The attempt to fulfill that need is so overwhelming those risks and consequences trump all other concerns, hence the “self-destruction”.

I hope this offers some insight, if not consolation.  I noted before the edit that this issue has a personal dimension for you.  Good luck.

Thank you. I deleted that bit because I generally find that personalizing things is a detriment to my own objectivity in formats like this. In general because personal experience tends to be a poor analogy for global observation and specifically because feelings tend to muddy the powers of evaluation. In my case at any rate.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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25 July 2018 17:25
 
EN - 25 July 2018 01:57 PM

I don’t think that habitual use of anything necessarily indicates a desire for self-harm.  People may start something for fun, out of curiosity, or to fit in, and then develop a habit or addiction.  It can sneak up on you.  Depends on one’s personality.

For sure. Lots of deadly vices begin as arbitrary curiosities. I’m referring specifically to self medication though. The point at which consumption becomes compulsive and/or an avenue of relief.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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25 July 2018 17:28
 

My general sense of these issues is not so much confusion about why people have bad habits and downward spirals. I actually think I understand that fairly well. I’m more curious about why and how people sometimes have healthy routines, positive self affirmation, formed egos and rational self interest. That’s how I approach it any rate. How to attain the good.

 
LadyJane
 
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25 July 2018 17:57
 

I think alcoholism exacerbates suicidal tendencies and there’s only so much you can do from the outside.  You hear a lot about there being help out there but I’m not so sure.  I think it’s something people say.  And I think it’s something people want to believe and yet the onus is on the individual to seek it out.  Then it depends on the individual to follow through.  There are medications–with unpleasant side effects.  There are therapies–if you can afford it.  And sometimes there is no fix.  They say it’s nothing to be ashamed of but there’s still that ever persistent stigma attached to mental illness.  Attached to addiction.  As though it’s a moral failing, of some kind, instead of what it is.  And I think a lot of people suffer in silence, unfortunately.  Sometimes the excruciating pain people suffer psychologically is far too much to endure and it makes physical pain or even death seem like somewhat of a diversion from that.  A threat worth facing when you no longer care.  I think a lot of people fight those black dogs nipping at their heels and I think the drink offers a temporary escape from that prison.  Then it circles back and continues to call the shots.  Which is telling.  Crawling into a cage to find comfort.  It shows what little control they have over what is happening.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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26 July 2018 07:04
 
Brick Bungalow - 25 July 2018 05:28 PM

My general sense of these issues is not so much confusion about why people have bad habits and downward spirals. I actually think I understand that fairly well. I’m more curious about why and how people sometimes have healthy routines, positive self affirmation, formed egos and rational self interest. That’s how I approach it any rate. How to attain the good.

I’m not saying anything you don’t already know, but having the good and attaining the good are two different things. With the sauce, it gets furthercomplicated because it tends feel good regardless of whether you’re actually in a good state or not.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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26 July 2018 08:33
 
LadyJane - 25 July 2018 05:57 PM

I think alcoholism exacerbates suicidal tendencies and there’s only so much you can do from the outside.  You hear a lot about there being help out there but I’m not so sure.  I think it’s something people say.  And I think it’s something people want to believe and yet the onus is on the individual to seek it out.  Then it depends on the individual to follow through.  There are medications–with unpleasant side effects.  There are therapies–if you can afford it.  And sometimes there is no fix.  They say it’s nothing to be ashamed of but there’s still that ever persistent stigma attached to mental illness.  Attached to addiction.  As though it’s a moral failing, of some kind, instead of what it is.  And I think a lot of people suffer in silence, unfortunately.  Sometimes the excruciating pain people suffer psychologically is far too much to endure and it makes physical pain or even death seem like somewhat of a diversion from that.  A threat worth facing when you no longer care.  I think a lot of people fight those black dogs nipping at their heels and I think the drink offers a temporary escape from that prison.  Then it circles back and continues to call the shots.  Which is telling.  Crawling into a cage to find comfort.  It shows what little control they have over what is happening.

I don’t want to dramatize my own experience because I know it’s not extreme in the larger spectrum. I have had, on the one hand the experience of being a companion to persons who had violent and sudden confrontations with addiction that were terrifying to them and the satisfaction of seeing them master it. Not quickly, mind you. Over the course of years. On the other hand there are people close to me who are well past middle age and have had numerous revolutions through that gate. They can recite all the proverbial wisdom. They show real remorse. They take every practical step I am familiar with to beat it but still fail and fall back.

I think this issue probably touches some taboos with regard to race and ancestry. Certainly family history has been a factor in my own case.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say but I do appreciate the chance to bounce thoughts. It seems like a pretty universal issue. I rarely meet anyone who hasn’t lost a family member (literally or figuratively) this way. So thank you.