16 Easy Paradoxes About Being A Functioning Alcoholic


1. Alcohol starts off as a way to make your nights more interesting and eventually becomes a way to make your days duller.

2. “That’s what was wrong with drinking too much. You became immune to drunken delights. There was no solace in liquor. Before you got happy, you collapsed.” – Richard Matheson

A desire to feel a disproportionate level of joy at all times eventually burns out the ability to ever feel any joy at all.

3. “If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.” – Bill Hicks

This is true: A man whose day begins with a strong coffee and ends with a stiff drink must only somehow occupy himself for those sad, intervening hours.

A poor man’s speedball: instead of a recipe for death, it’s a hollow anecdote for life.

It’s easy to romanticize a life of drinking as rebellious, rugged individualism. The truth is that an addiction which impels you to recklessly spend money in increasingly desperate bids for self-gratification is just about the most cowardly and conformist thing imaginable. You are capitalism’s most prized subject, willfully blindfolding yourself to the maze.

4. “When he was dry, he believed it was alcohol he needed, but when he had a few drinks in him, he knew it was something else, possibly a woman; and when he had it all—cash, booze, and a wife—he couldn’t be distracted from the great emptiness that was always falling through him and never hit the ground.” – Denis Johnson

One never feels more alone than at a party, surrounded by the insufficient company of others. Taunted by the unattainable, with your sodden escape plan disintegrating like another soggy cocktail napkin, you recognize the insatiability of your condition.

5. “Alcohol doesn’t console, it doesn’t fill up anyone’s psychological gaps, all it replaces is the lack of God. It doesn’t comfort man. On the contrary, it encourages him in his folly, it transports him to the supreme regions where he is master of his own destiny.” – Marguerite Duras

A self-imposed prison cell: Alcohol coerces you into doing exactly what you want at any given instant, without regard for minor trivialities like local legislature or the feelings of others. It is enslavement to your own free will.

Drinking supposedly allows you act on your desires without inhibition, but this is fool’s gold—rather than nullifying shame, drinking merely delays the inevitable. It offers an investment in future shame, and shame is good stock that always pays high dividends.

6. “Every gathering has its moment. As an adult, I distract myself by trying to identify it, dreading the inevitable downswing that is sure to follow. The guests will repeat themselves one too many times, or you’ll run out of dope or liquor and realize that it was all you ever had in common.” – David Sedaris

Many people use alcohol and drugs out of a desperation for genuine connection to the people around them, no matter how fleeting or conditional that momentary bond is. But the rest of the time the substances leave you feeling isolated and alienated, unloving and unlovable.

7. When you’re drunk, you love everyone, and everyone hates you.

Alcohol has a tendency to make you friends with anonymous strangers and enemies to your loved ones. Those marginal friends and fleeting acquaintances you’re ready to die for in a drunken stupor are often the same ones you couldn’t pick out of a line-up when sober. The opportunity to try your hand at both will most likely arise.

You will develop incredibly warm and devoted relationships with your drinking friends, who may wind up becoming your most loyal and trusted allies. But subtract the alcohol from the equation, and you find sudden lulls in conversations that previously ran effortlessly on well-lubricated tracks. Were you ever really close, or merely just mutual friends sharing a common partner-in-crime?

8. “To where are you supposed to escape / When the creature is lurking inside you?” – Every Time I Die

During the day he is Dr. Jekyll, horrified by the events of the previous night, ashamed and terrified. But at night he unfailingly reverts to Mr. Hyde, the animalistic heathen forcefully asserting his urges on the world around him.

Through drink we wish to create a new nocturnal version of ourselves whose debaucheries come to us only as the faintest of memories the following morning. We take for granted that this already exists—that the world of dreams is the only possible way to conquer these dark desires without distressing ramifications in our waking lives.

9. “I feel bad, and drugs make me feel good, although they are also why I feel bad. But since they make me feel good now, and bad later, I will worry about later when the time comes.” – Roger Ebert

Though you drink because it offers temporary solace from the ceaseless burden of being yourself, overusing this privilege eventually leads to a hazy, perpetually inebriated state from which the only true alternative is the horror of sobriety.

10. Many disastrous nights have begun with the thought, “Where I’m going tonight, no one can ever hurt me…”

11. “That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” – Charles Bukowski

The drunk craves profound numbness and shallow enlightenment: he has no history, no future, no God, and no partners, but he has an order of jalapeno poppers on the way, there’s a pretty girl at the other table, and an old favorite he can’t quite remember on the jukebox. His priorities are, shall we say, not in order.

12. “First it giveth then it taketh away…” – Queens of the Stone Age

Alcohol is a short-term solution to many a long-term problem, a fleeting answer to the eternal question.

13. A drinker searching for the perfect level of intoxication is like a dog chasing its own tail, except that dogs rarely vomit in their friend’s glove compartments.

14. “Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.” – W.C. Fields

You’re an empty vessel, and, at first, liquor seems as good a choice as any for filling that awful, screaming void inside you. The only problem is that the void is seemingly bottomless – it keeps wanting more and more, until the bitter liquid overflows. Eventually you’re all wet, wishing you’d chosen God or politics instead.

15. “After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” – Oscar Wilde

16. Perhaps Homer Simpson said it best – “To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”