Self-Medication vs. Adulting, aka I Get My Demons

I just discovered a really good whisky. I'm not even gonna tell you which one because I don't want it to become fashionable and then unavailable. I already can't afford it.

I'm also learning something new about my social drinking habits; I get to play Mycroft this time.

When I was growing up in Michigan, beer was deeply ingrained in the culture. The favorite sport was bar-hopping: driving all night through the back roads, hitting little secluded joints. It can be a dangerous sport, and is probably the basis for the creation of MADD. Good job, MADD Moms, you've done impressive work over the years.

As kids, we drank to get drunk. We started partying as soon as we could convince people to buy for us (that's a separate sport for teenagers.) We thought it was awesome, like big people. My dad always had alcohol in hand; probably the parents of my friends were the same. Alcohol was validated.

We drank because it was cool; we drank because we were bored. Once you do it a couple times you realise you're self-medicating, only you don't call it that right away.

Well, now you do. I'm issuing a fatwa:  from here on out we will recognise self-medication for what it is. The term is usually used in conjunction with actual medication, like Over-the-Counters or illegal drugs. We feel uncomfortable and we seek to fix it.

Humans are a complex set of DNA from a pool of two people who may or may not be compatible.  The individual components at the molecular level may be sloppy in their fittings - organic parts are more cushiony than metal machine cogs, but similar in defect. It's probably true that one human in n is a truly-fit, well-oiled machine. The rest of us can just strive for perfection within the parameters of our messy genes. The mess is a little uncomfortable, by lack of design.

So this discomfort is at the basest level inherent, and it will be exacerbated by external stressors. Now you start looking for comfort.  Here is a list of commonly applied self-medications:
  • alcohol
  • cigarettes
  • pizza
  • weight-lifting (no, seriously)
  • fly-fishing
  • Amazon Prime
You see? You're focusing on your own excesses now, and that's the thing we want to do. Self-medication is not necessarily a bad thing, but all excesses are detrimental in one way or another.

Another keyword we use is self-soothing. Self-soothing means anything you do to relieve stress, rather than addressing the source of the stress itself. Arguing with someone on social media is self-soothing: I am not addressing the real stress. I am acting out. I have a friend who seems to be obsessively crocheting, and I'm not sure she can stop when she wants. Also, I'm a terrible friend because I asked her to make me something. There will be a story.

First we use them to soothe. Then we use them to escape. Then they use us as addictions.

If there's a thing that controls you when you do it, you need to not do that thing ever. Control it by avoiding it. Find your limitations, and make them work for you.

I've been working through my own list of self-medications, including the prescriptions I get from doctors for anything from insomnia to allergies:
  • What are we treating here? 
  • What's the intended result of the treatment?
  • What are the side-effects?
  • Is there another way to reach the same end result?
  • Is the end result where you really want to go, or is it a side-trip?
I'm going to have to research and get the answers to these questions as they apply to crocheting. Don't just condone a habit that seems like it's safe.

Also let me disclaim, vehemently: I am not talking about legitimate, diagnosable, disorders or illness. If you find you are self-medicating, you should see a specialist and have your discomfort professionally evaluated.  Let's hope the government we elect will see the value in accessible health care for everyone.

Back to the whisky. Perhaps because I'm older, perhaps because I'm listening to myself more, I dislike the way my body feels the day after I self-medicate, even without going to excess.  II'm not hung-over in the way I'm used to defining that word, but still I don't like the feeling. So now I'm calculating: how am I going to continue to enjoy this fine nectar of the gods I've found, but without the annoying feeling which I am currently self-medicating with green tea?  And this is where I get to play Mycroft - he's a little slow, Sherlock, but he always gets there. My momma calls me Oblivious, and you know Mom is right.

This must be why people invented Toasting.

Wow. You have this really awesome whisky, and you would drink it all day if it didn't actually get you drunk, but it does, and it's pricey. So let's just save it for special occasions and not kill the whole bottle in a sad effort to look cool. Raise a toast to what's good in life.

Quality over quantity, kids. This is what we've been training for - expensive booze.

Further Reading:

Robert Haight Books
A guy we knew named Dean once said, "Fly fishing is probably the most expensive hobby you can  have; photography comes in a close second." You can learn almost everything you need to know about Michigan from Rob Haight, though, if not also fly fishing and poetry.
Buy the book Feeding Wild Birds

William Elliott Whitmore - Trouble In Your Heart
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite - No Mercy in This Land
Thank you, ANTI- Records, for putting this up on YouTube for us. These tracks are what I'm listening to while I work.


  1. Self-medicating is difficult in your sixties. The medicine always makes you feel crappy, after. I drink in the afternoon rather than nights, now, because that just screws up ONE day, but even after one strong beer, I still feel bad the next day, too. Oddly enough, I've downed a good bit of a bottle of gin in an afternoon and felt no worse. (Lesson learned from this? Choose the gin.)

  2. For Halloween this year, I'll be Sherlock and you be Mycroft!

    1. Dood, I get to be the crazy one - THE SISTER :)


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