labels vs action

To invoke the label “I’m an alcoholic” has always seemed to derail the conversation. TMI but as an analogy, I remember I had an enflamed gut, the doctor diagnosed me with gastroenteritis. “What is gastroenteritis?” I ask. “Inflammation of the gut.” Worthless circular logic.

Because a label doesn’t necessarily beget action.

So then to say “Well I don’t know that I resonate with labeling such as “Alcoholic”, what about to generalize to ‘Problem Drinker? That’s more behavioral / action-ey’ Because certainly I knew I had problematic drinking tendencies and I needed to behave better / more responsibility to reduce those problems. Except I don’t actually know how to “behave better” because I never fucking do and I would have figured this out by now if it were possible because that’s the solution I’ve always tried for.

So I try to take a step outside of the occasion of drinking: “I have problematic as well as known alcoholic tendencies that necessitate lifestyle changes which may include managing the amount that I drink.”

This is better but it is critically lacking to why specifically does my condition necessitate change other than to mitigate only Bad consequences? Because Risk Aversion is actually not a genuine motivator for me, and leads to question:

“For what greater Good am I in pursuit beyond merely mitigating the Bad?”

The answer is none.

I am pursuing no greater Good because I waste all of my physical time and health away with debilitating behaviors that enable me on a daily basis to never answer that question.

And truly in my heart, if not always my actions, pursuit of the greater good is the highest ideal of myself. The root of the issue is that I am not on that path.

So to be that person, and not to be the person I am that I don’t particularly like, there is one very specific task I can perform immediately to that end – to begin the journey, I must know Where I Am Going by answering the question “For what greater Good do I pursue beyond merely mitigating the Bad?”

In order to first answer that question, I must become sober, because otherwise I never will.

I don’t mean to cheapen the context of this lovely quote, but it has oddly stayed with me through the years: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

1 comment
  1. Hey there, toxic!

    I’m not much of an alcohol drinker myself, but I know you know very well of my struggle(s) with addiction. I just wanted to say that REALLY like the way you organize your thoughts in this post; it’s a really pragmatic way of working through a very abstract problem.

    Also, I’m glad to see you posting to this blog again with some frequency. I’ll be reading. 🙂

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