Tough Love December 3, 2007 7:17 PM   Subscribe

"Go see a therapist, get into AA, and grow the hell up." "It's time for you to quit being such a goddamned mealy-mouthed coward." "You are one sorry-ass stinkin' drunk" If you're going to offer advice, please do so without the invective. Insults don't help people find answers.
posted by fandango_matt to Etiquette/Policy at 7:17 PM (233 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Agreed. I had just put a note to that effect in the thread, and removed the most vitriolic of those comments.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 PM on December 3, 2007


God that thread is pissing me off, thanks for this.
posted by tristeza at 7:28 PM on December 3, 2007


I certainly agree with the sentiment here, but wonder quietly if a flag and email to the admins could have achieved the same result without a potential drag out... but minor quibble.
posted by edgeways at 7:31 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yikes. "Sorry-ass stinkin' drunk" is a bit much, but the other two don't strike me as over the line. Harshly worded? Sure. But "grow up" seems like valid advice for someone who's still acting like a college freshman. Ditto "quit making excuses" for all that rationalization.
posted by CKmtl at 7:32 PM on December 3, 2007


I'm going to spare you my own tale, and just be blunt:

Ya know what? It's time for you to quit being such a goddamned mealy-mouthed coward.

You either quit for your girlfriend, or you suck it up, let her go, and drink yourself to a slow death. Personally, I don't care what you choose, and I've known people who have come down on both sides of that fence -- but I'm awfully damn tired of hearing fence-sitters whine about how it isn't fair that they have to choose. Aw, poor baby. Even before I changed my own mind on such things, even "back in the day," I hated people like you.

Quit trying to have it both ways. You can't -- she's told you that, and everything else you've written is a pathetic attempt to avoid making a hard choice. So grow a spine, face your decision like an adult, and quit trying to drag her down with you. That's what you're doing, by the way -- trying to make her suffer for your sins.

Yeah, yeah, "but". But nothing. Make your choice and live with it. Make no mistake, this is a choice you're making. Right. Now.

Count yourself fucking lucky someone was in your life who could point out what's happening before you found yourself lying on a streetcorner wondering if those sirens are coming for you, or if they're going to pass by while your life pours out on the sidewalk. If that's how you want to end, fine by me, but when it happens don't start whining about how nobody told you this would happen.
posted by aramaic at 5:34 PM

===

Listen to aramaic:
1. Quit being a goddamned coward.
2. Quit for the girlfriend or suck it up.
3. Make your choice and live with it.
4. Don't whine about "nobody told me this would happen."

I'll add this: You are one sorry-ass stinkin' drunk to drag her into your death wish. I wish she were the poster, I'd tell her to get away from you FAST. You could quit if you WANTED to, but it sounds like you intend to keep drinking. You are not an adult, you're still an adolescent with adolescent behavior.

If you stay on this destructive path, I only hope you don't kill an innocent bystander when you more than likely kill yourself.

===
posted by fandango_matt at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yeah, substance abuse threads tend to go down like obesity threads around here.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 7:34 PM on December 3, 2007


Posting a blind askme about your rampent alcoholism is going to bring out the people who've had their own battles with it. I may have been a little harsh, but honestly I hope that he does get some help.
posted by Derek at 7:34 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, substance abuse threads tend to go down like obesity threads around here.

Let's not even mention the time that my girlfriend threatened to leave me if I didn't get circumcised.
posted by felix betachat at 7:36 PM on December 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


My cat threatened to leave me if I didn't declaw my obese girlfriend.
posted by puke & cry at 7:40 PM on December 3, 2007 [16 favorites]


Derek--your remark was not nearly as vitriolic or offensive as those other two I posted above, but I do think the problem of alcoholism goes far beyond the advice to "grow the hell up."
posted by fandango_matt at 7:41 PM on December 3, 2007


I didn't say it in the thread (indeed, I tried to be as helpful as I could without being too judgemental with my answer), but I do agree the anon poster needs to grow up.

Look at the facts. The dude is 28, is still a binge drinker with his old college buddies (all of whom are also binge drinkers) and when presented with the choice between continuing the lifestyle of drinking himself stupid or losing his girlfriend (who he is obviously putting through hell with his behaviour given that she's at the stage where she's presented him with an ultimatum), he dithers and goes "oh gee, I dunno what to do." If you can't see what's more important in that situation, you have a) a drinking problem and b) a maturity problem.

The fact the guy is immature is, in my mind, strengthened by the fact he says his "ego" has been dented by this. Show of hands, gentlemen. Anyone who's 28 or over here and still considers their ego to be something which can be dented, raise your hands. Speaking as a 29yo male who likes a drink, holds down a steady, important job and is engaged to a wonderful woman who he loves, I'm sure there won't be many of my peers who will be putting up their hands here.

That said, I dunno if tough love is going to work here, and it saddened me a bit to see many people in that thread take it down that road. Which, again, is why I didn't say what I just said in the AskMe thread.

I think the problem here is most people saw a situation that had a clear answer that had been asked by someone who couldn't see the forest for the trees and forgot to show restraint when answering the question. Which is understandable as I almost did too (I had to edit my answer a bit to ensure it, infact). But ultimately, I just hope that the guy sees that he has a problem and gets some help; not just for his own sake but for the sake of his partner who is obviously suffering as much from this guys rampant alcoholism as he is.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:52 PM on December 3, 2007 [6 favorites]


The problem with "grow the hell up" is that it just isn't very helpful.

If all you mean by "grow the hell up" is "stop drinking," then you've really failed to engage anonymous.

If you meant more than that, though, I'm afraid nobody knows just what, since everyone has different ideas of what a mature 20-something should be doing. You obviously think a mature 20-something shouldn't drink so much, but now we're just back at "stop drinking," and that's a non-answer when anonymous is trying to figure out how.

Really, all I can see is that you felt the need to belittle and morally condemn anonymous and you thought calling his maturity into question was a good way to do that.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2007 [16 favorites]


Wow - that thread is just full of people with absolutely nothing helpful to contribute whatsoever but a burning desire to let everyone know how unimpeachable righteous and morally pure they are. What a pathetic bunch of assholes.

All this 'tough love' bullshit is nothing but a meager excuse to slag off a guy who is respectfully asking for advice on how to handle a difficult situation. Those ex-alcos who feel their status entitles them to shit all over anyone else who is trying to learn how to deal with this problem need to remove the giant stick from their nether regions.

Maybe a nice cool beer would help them regain some perspective and compassion for their fellow human?
posted by imbecile at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2007 [15 favorites]


The furious insults in some AskMe answers always reveals more about the maturity of the answerer than the questioner.

If you can't control your rage when replying to an honest question about a touchy subject, you're sure as shit in no position to be telling someone *else* to grow the hell up.
posted by mediareport at 8:00 PM on December 3, 2007 [18 favorites]


It would dent my ego if someone decided I was so completely mistaken in my perceived ability to judge right from wrong as to threaten to leave me if I didn't stop a behavior. That shouldn't be a surprise.

But hey, I like my "binge" drinking, which I guess means anything over 5. It's the fact that there's corroborating evidence of his idiocy (his girlfriend has had enough, but God knows who the hell she is) that got everyone het up. It sounds like he is a trainwreck, but I've seen ultimatums like that one more often as symptoms of a bad relationship than a substance abuse problem.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:05 PM on December 3, 2007


Yeah I find a lot of the answers on ask me go like:

Q: I have X personal defect, how do I fix this?

A: Damn right that's a problem don't fucking do that asshole.

It's pretty obvious that if the person is asking for help they know it's a problem and that if they could just stop doing it they wouldn't be asking for help on how to stop doing it.

This happened to me once when I asked about how to change the way I spoke at work so that I sounded more professional and not so young. I got a lot of: yeah you know you have like a real job now so you know you can't talk like you know you're 13.

No kidding, hence why I was asking...
posted by whoaali at 8:11 PM on December 3, 2007 [27 favorites]


I like to call this Dr. Phil syndrome.
posted by puke & cry at 8:13 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


in context
If you need to drink to have fun something else is fundamentally wrong and you do need help. You girlfriend cares enough about you to put up with this so far, you are a lucky man. Your friends, while they may be ones you've had all your life, are not helping. Go hang with them somewhere else then a bar, away from alcohol. You're already on the road to liver failure and several other problems, turn back now.

In Brief: Go see a therapist, get into AA, and grow the hell up.


So no, he wasn't just saying stop drinking but gave some fair advice in a less than diplomatic way. Much better than the bile spewed elsewhere in the thread.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:18 PM on December 3, 2007


Imbecile appears to be slightly bitter today.
posted by disclaimer at 8:21 PM on December 3, 2007


Insults are out of line. But saying "take a good hard look at your situation" isn't.

I think what inspires the hostile answers in AskMe is often framing a question the way he frames his: "I have X problem, which I urgently need to solve -- what can I do? By the way, I'm choosing not to do effective thing 1, effective thing 2, or effective thing 3."
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:21 PM on December 3, 2007 [14 favorites]


The 'get help now or die, you filthy liquor pig' has undoubtedly silenced a lot of people who might've had helpful advice. Who wants to go in there now and admit to familiarity with that? He sounds like any one of a number of people I went to school with, who all dried up on their own time without "therapy," AA, &c.

Ten years ago, I would've been happy to go for a night on the piss with him.

Bunch of bloody Brad Goodmans in there... "I don't have any credentials -- or training -- but I have a Ph.D. in pain..."
posted by kmennie at 8:24 PM on December 3, 2007


So no, he wasn't just saying stop drinking but gave some fair advice in a less than diplomatic way. Much better than the bile spewed elsewhere in the thread.

That's true, but the "grow the hell up" was just as insulting and useless regardless of the rest of the post.

If I was responding to an STD question, and I provided a bunch of great information and closed with "and quit whoring around, slut," I would be out of line. The solid advice wouldn't save the insult.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 8:28 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


This thread, and that, make me want to drink.
posted by Balisong at 8:34 PM on December 3, 2007


Ah, thanks for pulling some of those out. Especially that second quote fandango_matt quoted. Such anger. I saw that get posted and thought it was pretty bad. I almost never litter threads with non-answers but commented in response to that ("wow, such hate"), so thanks for pulling it out, and sorry for adding to the cleanup, jessamyn.
posted by salvia at 8:36 PM on December 3, 2007


If I was responding to an STD question, and I provided a bunch of great information and closed with "and quit whoring around, slut," I would be out of line. The solid advice wouldn't save the insult.

That seems fair enough.

in summation: I liked what you said you jerkface... uh... jerk

damn, I'm not very good at this...
posted by munchingzombie at 8:37 PM on December 3, 2007


People tend to hate their own weakness reflected in someone else. I had to stop myself from posting something similar in the thread.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:45 PM on December 3, 2007


Similar to the called-out comments, I mean.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:45 PM on December 3, 2007


Quit being a goddamned coward.

Are you fucking kidding me? This advice is not helpful to an addict, and the judgmental, nasty tone of a lot of those comments really say a lot more about the answerer than anonymous.

When a guy essentially says "I need help. What do I do next?" the appropriate response is certainly not "DAMN RIGHT, YOU NEED HELP!"

Seriously. A lot of y'all may need to "grow up" too.
posted by dhammond at 8:46 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Huh. Unless the questioner is eight years old he hardly needs guidance from a web forum on where to start his sobriety. He basically says ten different ways that he has no intention of remotely changing any facet of his life as it regards his alcoholism then asks for advice. So it's remarkable the question stands at all, but since the mods saw fit to allow it I would say the only reasonable response is something along the lines of the contentious replies and nothing less. I have watched sociopaths like this dozens of times over dismantle every stable life in their inebriated penumbra. The few times anything changed them was someone they trusted being blunt. He put his question out there and unless he's a naive witless child better be able to stomach some candor.

No one here can know what the experiences are of the posters who used harsh language. They might know best of all what works for someone in the poster's position.
posted by docpops at 8:47 PM on December 3, 2007 [7 favorites]


What's wrong? It's called tough love. 100% effective in making the lover brim with self-righteous pleasure.
posted by delmoi at 8:55 PM on December 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


If I was responding to an STD question, and I provided a bunch of great information and closed with "and quit whoring around, slut,"
-----
When a guy essentially says "I need help. What do I do next?" the appropriate response is certainly not "DAMN RIGHT, YOU NEED HELP!"

Except the guy's not saying "I need help. What do I do next?" He's saying "I need help, but I don't want help. And I don't really think I need capital-H Help. Ideally, I don't want help."

The more apt STD analogy would be someone who has caught one, but doesn't want medication. And doesn't much like condoms. And wants to keep having unprotected sex with a lot more people.
posted by CKmtl at 8:59 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can understand when the person asks, I have this problem but don't want to solve it with Y, people going no, really, Y is the only way and here is why.

There is a huge difference between doing that and just screaming at them for being an asshole who does this bad thing and to stop doing that.
posted by whoaali at 9:10 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think what inspires the hostile answers in AskMe is often framing a question the way he frames his: "I have X problem, which I urgently need to solve -- what can I do? By the way, I'm choosing not to do effective thing 1, effective thing 2, or effective thing 3."

And at that point, if someone can't answer the question without hostility, they should leave the damn thread alone. They can rest assured that someone else with more maturity will be along shortly to address the issue without going into righteous insult mode. And calling that crap "tough love" is a fucking joke. There are plenty of ways to give a poster the reality check you think they need without insulting them. If you can't do that, stop answering questions about whatever subject you have immature issues with.
posted by mediareport at 9:11 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


The question is a little silly; the poster is basically saying "I want to switch off my alcoholism at my own convenience", by being unwilling to avoid binge drinking situations, or stop drinking altogether...

however, those quoted responses just aren't all that helpful. They don't really answer the question. They all follow the format of "I know what you said, but here's why you're wrong and you should do what I say."
posted by tehloki at 9:13 PM on December 3, 2007


on preview: mediareport, just said exactly what I was going to say only in a less sarcastic way.
posted by salvia at 9:15 PM on December 3, 2007


The more apt STD analogy would be someone who has caught one, but doesn't want medication. And doesn't much like condoms. And wants to keep having unprotected sex with a lot more people.

OK, sure, but what difference does it make? You still can't tell the person to "stop whoring around, slut." That's not a helpful response, no matter how deep in denial the asker is.

Look, "tough love" may work when someone an addict loves or respects loses patience with them, but anonymous doesn't love or respect any of you, not like that anyway. All we have on Ask is the power of persuasion. We can appeal to people's rationality or emotions, but we can't browbeat them into doing the right thing.

It may feel good to storm in bellowing about anonymous' failings, and I have no idea what perception the people taking that stance had of themselves, but the whole act loses quite a bit when translated to a pseudo-anonymous, text-based forum.

If there really is a good reason anonymous should quit drinking, it should be articulable in a reasoned, respectful manner. If someone can do that, but needs to throw out an insult or two for their own mental health, go trash the asker on #mefi instead or something.

If someone thinks addicts are filthy, degenerate, sociopathic animals that cannot be reasoned with, well, maybe they should skip the addiction questions.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 9:23 PM on December 3, 2007 [7 favorites]


--I would say the only reasonable response is something along the lines of the contentious replies and nothing less--

Please mefimail the address of your practise so that I won't ever make the mistake of sending someone along who expects the semblance of a sympathetic ear.

You are obviously among the majority who view alcoholism as a character flaw that should simply be swatted out of the afflicted. It's good to know that there is still medical advocacy out there for kicking people when they are down. Does that approach work as well for your paranoid patients or your heart disease patients?
posted by peacay at 9:25 PM on December 3, 2007


The dude is 28, is still a binge drinker with his old college buddies

Actually, if you read closely, his dependency has progressed the stage where he is segregating himself from his longtime social drinkers and seeking out less salubrious or socially connected fellow drinkers. As alcoholism progresses, many people tend to restructure their social groups to facilitate their drug-seeking behaviour.
posted by meehawl at 9:28 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have to agree with CKmtl. And really, we're not talking about "oh my god, he has more than four beers in a night so everyone's calling him an alcoholic and overreacting!"
The dude passes out on people's lawns for hours at a stretch. That's not "going out for a night on the town" that's a serious problem.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please mefimail the address of your practise so that I won't ever make the mistake of sending someone along who expects the semblance of a sympathetic ear.

You are obviously among the majority who view alcoholism as a character flaw that should simply be swatted out of the afflicted. It's good to know that there is still medical advocacy out there for kicking people when they are down. Does that approach work as well for your paranoid patients or your heart disease patients?
posted by peacay at 9:25 PM on December 3 [+] [!]


So much for reasonable discourse.

I don't see addiction as a character flaw. I see a sober person acting like they have no ability to control themselves as a character flaw. Tell me of a recovery program in existence that let's an addict continue to get away with such behavior without calling them on it? Why do you think he's asking a bunch of anonymous strangers for advice instead of a roomful of other addicts?
posted by docpops at 9:34 PM on December 3, 2007


OK, sure, but what difference does it make? You still can't tell the person to "stop whoring around, slut." That's not a helpful response, no matter how deep in denial the asker is.

Throwing around the slut stuff would be over the line, sure. Just as "stinkin' drunk" is. But "stop whoring around" wouldn't, in my book. At least not when it's part of a larger, more helpful, comment... As a drive-by one-liner, I'd probably agree with you.

To me "stop whoring around", "grow the hell up", and "stop being a coward" - in their respective cases - are pretty much a way of saying that the asker's current course of action or train of thought is supremely counterproductive. It's in a gruff tone (and we could argue about gruff vs. hand-holding tone til the cows come in, I'm sure), but that's the underlying sentiment I read in them. Not so much the insulting, self-righteous stuff others claim is there.
posted by CKmtl at 9:35 PM on December 3, 2007


I *would* like to thank everyone who restrained themselves from being self-righteous to the guy in the thread for coming here to Metatalk to be self-righteous to us instead.

And now I'm being self-righteous about your self-righteousness. And thus does the miraculous cycle of life continue.
posted by tkolar at 9:42 PM on December 3, 2007


Okay, here's another thing AskMe does NOT do well.

Name my alcoholic cat, anyone?

Seriously, if that subsite has any value at all, it is for concrete, verifiable answers to questions, not therapy or woolgathering. It still stuns me that the site is so popular, because so many people think that because it does the one thing so well, it must do the other things too.
posted by yhbc at 9:44 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


The dude passes out on people's lawns for hours at a stretch. That's not "going out for a night on the town" that's a serious problem.

Of course he has a serious problem. I think everyone agrees that he has a serious problem. The issue is how to deal with people who have serious problems, though.

It's in a gruff tone (and we could argue about gruff vs. hand-holding tone til the cows come in, I'm sure), but that's the underlying sentiment I read in them.

Gruffness is such a nuanced thing to communicate to strangers over text. There's no raspy voice or wiry white beard to provide context. If you think a stranger has a serious problem, a good way to address it might be saying, "you have a serious problem, and here's how I can tell..." Trying to take a particular tone (e.g. gruff) in the hope of evoking some authority figure that may or may not even exist in the stranger's life is probably not a good idea.

I think the reason "grow the hell up" and "stop being a coward" were read as insulting and self-righteous by some of us is that we saw the tone as supremely counterproductive. The comments, in our opinion, couldn't have been reasonably calculated to help anonymous. Instead, they were serving some need of the commenter.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 9:44 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


He basically says ten different ways that he has no intention of remotely changing any facet of his life as it regards his alcoholism then asks for advice.

This is absolutely not true. Read the question. He says that he can't stop hanging out with his close friends from way back; that's normal and expected. "They are my dearest friends from way back, and not hanging out with them anymore isn't an option."

He never says he has no intention of changing his life. He is asking how to do it.
posted by jayder at 9:45 PM on December 3, 2007


jayder: He says he doesn't want to go to AA, that he can't find time for therapy, and that he doesn't want to quit drinking but has found that he can't drink in moderation.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:49 PM on December 3, 2007


--Why do you think he's asking a bunch of anonymous strangers for advice instead of a roomful of other addicts?--

Because this is their way of meandering along the path, whether or not it fits into your paradigm of what a reasonable or sober person ought to do. People ask for help in many ways. Coming to terms with so great a problem as addiction is not simply a matter of flicking a switch once someone close or in authority gives them a damn good talking to.

You may take the moral high ground with 'reasonable discourse' but to me, you're very narrow minded and giving a knee jerk dismissive edict about an incredibly complex phenomenon. I'm calling you on it because in your profession, you of all people should be aware that fragile people are just as likely to find it even more soul destroying to hear that they are pronounced as weak or unthinking and that they should just pull themselves together. Sure, it might work in some cases but I suspect that the tough love approach is responsible for more suicides or longer episodes of binge drinking and longer time until someone throws in the towel looking for help than it has ever resulted in miraculous applications for admittance to an addiction treatment facility or a visit to AA or the somesuch.
posted by peacay at 9:52 PM on December 3, 2007 [5 favorites]


peacay - I respect your criticisms on this, honestly. You might actually be surprised if you ever saw me how long I can spend in a room with someone who's hurting and needs guidance. My last twenty went to a kid today for bus fare and lunch who left my office with numbers for DHS and mental health services after he came clean about being homeless since his Dad's custody was revoked for Meth (mom died when he was seven from alcoholic cirrhosis). I would make a terrible addiction counselor, hence I stayed the hell out of that thread. But if someone is asking for my advice I'll give it to him. And it may be blunt, and I may not even try to disguise that on some level I think they're full of shit. But no one ever killed themselves over it and there's no question in my mind that people like this are just spinning their wheels until change finds them or they die.
posted by docpops at 10:00 PM on December 3, 2007


Tell me of a recovery program in existence that let's an addict continue to get away with such behavior without calling them on it?

docpops, do you really think the people who are calling for a little emotional restraint when dealing with questions like this aren't aware of just how stereotypical the addict's behavior is in this case? Come on - the guy's barely at the first step of admitting he sort of has a problem, he sees all possible solutions as completely unworkable, and is basically asking a bunch of strangers what they see because he's curious where they think he stands and it's easy.

Where in any of our arguments is the part about not "calling him on it"? There are plenty of ways to point out the above without shrieking insults in righteous fury. Why do you keep insisting that "calling him on it" requires a dismissively insulting approach?
posted by mediareport at 10:01 PM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


He says he doesn't want to go to AA, that he can't find time for therapy, and that he doesn't want to quit drinking but has found that he can't drink in moderation.

Exactly, LobsterMitten. Now: what's the best way to deal with that and not violate the AskMe guidelines? Come on, it's not hard...

(Here's a hint: pointing out serious flaws in the framing of a question isn't the same as tossing insults.)
posted by mediareport at 10:04 PM on December 3, 2007


mediareport: Not sure why you're directing that at me. I entirely agree with you and there is no sense in which I have disagreed anywhere, in anything I've written.

My most recent comment above was a response to jayder, who denied that the poster had closed off options in framing the question. I was listing options he had closed off.

My first comment above -- which agreed with you about insults -- was meant to say that there is a level of response between insulting and gentle-suggesting. That level of response is "you're going to have to take this problem more seriously, and that entails doing some of the things (AA etc) that you say you can't do; man up". And also it was meant as a psychological hypothesis about what gets people so worked up in cases like this -- it's not only the alcoholism but also the framing-to-close-off-all-options.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:14 PM on December 3, 2007


it's not only the alcoholism but also the framing-to-close-off-all-options.

idunno, DTMFA was left as an option, wasn't it?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:18 PM on December 3, 2007


touche
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:21 PM on December 3, 2007


jayder: He says he doesn't want to go to AA, that he can't find time for therapy, and that he doesn't want to quit drinking but has found that he can't drink in moderation.

Is he? Cause he says this: "At work and family functions, I'm always totally ok to go out and just have a drink or two. It's when I'm with my friends, where binging is acceptable, that I lose control."

The whole "your an alcoholic so get help asshole" seems a bit much, IMHO. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. I should think it would require professional examination to make that determination. Hell, I was still binge drinking at 28, though I'd long since stopped waking up in anyone's yard.

Anyways, I agree with yhbc. Askme never does these sorts of questions well. Just like with any other question that relates to one's sense of self-esteem, the threads always run into the ditch within 4 or 5 comments.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:23 PM on December 3, 2007


"you're an alcoholic...".I have bad grammarism. Please don't leave me, baby!
posted by Salmonberry at 10:25 PM on December 3, 2007


--You might actually be surprised if you ever saw--

I probably wouldn't.

My objection - hollow snarks implying or seeming to imply a deficit in professional acumen aside - is that by giving your imprimatur to a manner of response in that Askme Q you give tacit justification to those types of people who think picking out character flaws or being judgmental is a justifable response in any conversation or thread or encounter where addiction is the central issue.

I'm sure in real life you judge the circumstances appropriately and deploy tough love only when it seems indicated. But it wasn't you and your professional life that concerned me.

I don't think people will actively think "ooohh I saw a doc on Mefi say it was ok to malign a drunk therefore I"m right" but morelike: "heh, my sentiments exactly", which is stored away as another little pebble on the side of being a bastard than being empathetic in any given situation involving addiction they may face.
posted by peacay at 10:25 PM on December 3, 2007


"... Bunch of bloody Brad Goodmans in there... "I don't have any credentials -- or training -- but I have a Ph.D. in pain..."
posted by kmennie at 11:24 PM on December 3

In the three years I've hung around AskMe, if there is one thing I've learned, it's that it often works best, when one Commenter tells one Asker a story...
posted by paulsc at 10:41 PM on December 3, 2007 [5 favorites]


[there is no sense in which I have disagreed anywhere, in anything I've written

Sorry, too close to bedtime.]

posted by mediareport at 11:00 PM on December 3, 2007


The Asker sounds like he's fishing for some sort of sobriety hack rather than a real solution, which from my point of view, explains the angry responses. Doesn't excuse them, mind you, but I can see where they're coming from. I agree with yhbc that not only is this something AskMe does not do well, it's nigh-on boar tit useless - though the anecdote paulsc linked to is probably the best type of response possible given the circumstances.

I'm surprised at the lack of "C'mon, Anonymous, give AA a try! You're halfway there!"-type comments, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:12 PM on December 3, 2007


The Asker sounds like he's fishing for some sort of sobriety hack

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think think it means.
posted by dersins at 11:18 PM on December 3, 2007


-think
posted by dersins at 11:18 PM on December 3, 2007


I was using "hack" in the lame LifeHacker sense of tips/trick. I should of tried making it more clear that my usage was smugly ironic, but that can backfire and make the speaker look vaguely silly, like when someone screws up copying and pasting a tired old quote while perpetuating lame internet memes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:30 PM on December 3, 2007


copying and pasting

I'll have you know my artisan comments are 100% hand-typed right here in Portland, Oregon, using only sustainable local letters and numbers.
posted by dersins at 11:43 PM on December 3, 2007 [8 favorites]


Other than, that, um, touché.
posted by dersins at 11:44 PM on December 3, 2007


posted by Alvy Ampersand The Asker sounds like he's fishing for some sort of sobriety hack rather than a real solution

The sobriety hack involves twelve steps. It's called Alcoholics Anonymous. Keep coming back, it works.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:19 AM on December 4, 2007


You know what, these comments, while not helpful, are understandable. They're heartfelt responses to what is essentially a tragic story. It's sad to think about this guy and the wonderful opportunities he must have in his life and how he's pissing them all down the drain as he commits slow suicide. It makes me sad.

I know the poster well. I know him, not at 28, but at 35 or 40 - probably not 50 - when he comes into the hospital with alcoholic ketoacidosis or liver failure or status epilepticus or double pneumonia or delirium tremens. This guy has died on me many times, probably more than all other kinds of patients put together. Even my terminal cancer patients don't drop the way this guy does. Every time I hear a story like this my mind fastforwards because I know how it ends.

What a fucking waste. I tried to leave a helpful comment but inside I was feeling sad for the poster. Sad for myself, for the poster's girlfriend and everyone else posting too, because in the end I really don't believe there's anything to do for a guy like this except watch the train crash. And, maybe, hope that he changes his mind before it does.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:23 AM on December 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


ikkyu2, yours was the bleakest, most realistic, and helpful comment in that thread, and the fact it came from you saddened me deeply because it was obviously written by someone who'd watched the story unfold before him too many times.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:29 AM on December 4, 2007


It seemed to me that part of why the OP was getting such confrontational answers was not only that he was saying (in essence) "I want a solution for my alchoholism that doesn't involve stopping drinking or taking any basic steps towards stopping drinking."

It's also that his question makes it clear that his behavior is hurting his girlfriend, but he doesn't seem to show any particular remorse or concern for that fact. I read most of the harsh responses as reacting to that.
posted by tdismukes at 12:42 AM on December 4, 2007


(That is, he's concerned that his girlfriend might leave him, but not that he's hurting her.)
posted by tdismukes at 12:55 AM on December 4, 2007


I know the poster well. I know him, not at 28, but at 35 or 40 - probably not 50 - when he comes into the hospital with alcoholic ketoacidosis or liver failure or status epilepticus or double pneumonia or delirium tremens.
Or alcoholic dementia, as the father of a friend of mine, who was involuntarily admitted to a mental health unit over the weekend, has been diagnosed with.

Anything other than brutal honesty is more than likely to simply be ignored by someone this far down the wrong road and, even then, the reaction is more than likely to be negative. But at least it's a reaction and one more step on the road to realisation. Maybe. But probably not. I hope his girlfriend has the means and the determination to get out while she can.
posted by dg at 1:17 AM on December 4, 2007


Serious question, Why wasn't that question deleted? The asker obviously knows about AA or therapy and repentent drunk stories are a dime a dozen, so I see nothing that AskMe could have added. As it stands, he is probably worse off for having asked it in the first place.
posted by afu at 1:27 AM on December 4, 2007


posted by afu Serious question, Why wasn't that question deleted? The asker obviously knows about AA or therapy and repentent drunk stories are a dime a dozen, so I see nothing that AskMe could have added. As it stands, he is probably worse off for having asked it in the first place.

Serious answer: Anonymous had a moment of clarity and asked for help. Leaving the question up is more of a benefit to Anonymous than deleting it.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:06 AM on December 4, 2007


I'm a recovering alcoholic. I sought help when I was 27 after a long serious of ultimata from my partner, compunded by losing a job. I saw that thread in its early stages and chose not to participate. I didn't want to participate because:

1. The asker appeared to be more interested in finding a way to remain with his girlfriend and staying drunk, rather than getting clean.

2. I did not want to assist that behaviour.

3. Any answer along those lines would have been both off-topic (failing to answer the question "help me stay sick") and harsh.

I sympathise with the asker from the bottom of my heart - I have been him. But he wasn't asking for help with his drinking problem. His drinking problem was asking for help. He has not had a moment of clarity - the moment of clarity is when you realise that the choice is between sobriety and death.

There's no way of talking honestly about what alcoholism means at that stage without being bleak. It's a bleak, horrible, remorseless disease.

We MeFites have almost no chance of triggering the moment of clarity that will get this guy sober. Faced with that, the only real choice is between not saying anything or delivering a harsh truth that he is unlikely to listen to. I chose the former. The posters who gave him tips on deals to strike, neat little tricks to partially moderate his drinking or whatever are, in my opinion, doing more damage than the yellers. They run the risk of prolonging his illness, delaying his getting real help, and extending the pain of his girlfriend when whatever deal he strikes falls through. That's just my opinion.
posted by WPW at 3:23 AM on December 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


compounded, not compunded
posted by WPW at 3:23 AM on December 4, 2007


No pity for drunks, absolutely none. Their weakness for alcohol makes my unabashed love for heroin look bad. Mmmmmmm. Tasty, tasty heroin.

I was going to put 'crack' until I saw how it looked with my username.
posted by waraw at 3:49 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


may we have a "that jerk repulses me with every comment" flag?
posted by de at 3:53 AM on December 4, 2007


i'm actually a little torn on this one, because i don't *completely* agree with the apparent consensus diagnosis that the guy's an alcoholic.

ok, australia is a reasonably heavy-drinking society, but i bet that just about anywhere in the western world, if you go out sober at 11pm on any friday or saturday night of the year, you'll see thousands upon thousands of people doing what this guy is doing, and they do it week after week.

that's what many people do in the west. work all week, go out and get trashed on the weekend. sure, this guy takes it a bit far, staying out until four am, passing out (once?) in somebody's garden, and shock! - accepting a ride with a stranger! - but a lot of that, i think, is just run-of-the-mill weekend binge drinking, which millions upon millions of people do, for better or worse.

i always thought that alcoholics were a slightly different kind of people to the OP - not just people who get trashed now & then (even, say, on a regular basis, like this guy), but people who need it every day (hey, every morning, even!) and for whom it actually upsets their regular life, by which i mean their work & their broader relationships, beyond just their relationship with a significant other, who might just be taking exception to him flopping down into the bed a few hours before dawn, reeking of alcohol & slurring.

if i were her, i probably wouldn't put up with it either, but the fact that she objects while he doesn't see this as a reason to stop isn't necessarily a reason to shout him down as a major alco. so his nights out with his buddies mean more to him than his girlfriend? that, to me, just says something about his relationship, more than anything else.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:18 AM on December 4, 2007


UbuRoivas: You may be right. On the other hand a key indicator of alcoholism is the inability to stop once started - he clearly admits this. The fact that he can from time to time "hold off" and not binge drink means he's controlling the drinking out of self interest - I never went to Christmas dinner at my parents house drunk - I would be called on it and it would cause a scene. So I wouldn't drink on Christmas (or if I did, I'd have two or three beers and stop).

When I got HOME was a different story altogether.

That thread is a mess.
posted by disclaimer at 4:57 AM on December 4, 2007


ok, australia is a reasonably heavy-drinking society, but i bet that just about anywhere in the western world, if you go out sober at 11pm on any friday or saturday night of the year, you'll see thousands upon thousands of people doing what this guy is doing, and they do it week after week.

Same here in the UK, UbuRoivas. Not only would be be drinking like that, he'd probably be snorting large quantities of cocaine to prevent the falling asleep in gardens and enable him to carry on drinking. So long as he kept it to binges, I'm pretty sure that nobody would consider him alcohol dependent, though some might think he had a problem with his drinking.

Most people though, would give him credit for still being able to make rational decisions and choices, and he needs to decide which he values more -- his ability to continue to drink in this manner, or his girlfriend. The problem for his girlfriend is that he doesn't believe that she'll leave. And he may well be right.

I know the poster well. I know him, not at 28, but at 35 or 40 - probably not 50 - when he comes into the hospital with alcoholic ketoacidosis or liver failure or status epilepticus or double pneumonia or delirium tremens.

I have a friend in his early 50's, and his drinking made this guy's look like that of a pensioner's sherry party. He'd start drinking the moment he woke up, and wouldn't quit until he was oblivious. During that time, he *always* held down well paid, high status jobs -- though he did come close to disaster a few times. His drinking took a toll on his relationships, not on his health.

That said, eighteen months ago, he finally joined AA and now pursues it with the same sort of enthusiasm that he used to pursue alcoholism with. Point being, it's never too late to turn this stuff around.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:03 AM on December 4, 2007


UbuRoivas: You may be right. On the other hand a key indicator of alcoholism is the inability to stop once started - he clearly admits this. The fact that he can from time to time "hold off" and not binge drink means he's controlling the drinking out of self interest - I never went to Christmas dinner at my parents house drunk - I would be called on it and it would cause a scene. So I wouldn't drink on Christmas (or if I did, I'd have two or three beers and stop).

This is true. Concealment is a huge factor in alcoholism. Alcoholics often seem ostentatiously abstemious in front of their family and friends, saving blowouts for when they are alone or in the company of strangers. Concealment may also be a factor in the asker's OP. If he is an alcoholic (true, that's an if), then he has almost certainly concealed the true amount that he drinks.

On my comment above, let me be clear: I'm not endorsing giving this guy abuse, but I think I understand the feelings of the abusers. Helping the asker within the constraints of the question would inevitably be to aid and enable his problem; the help he needs is help getting and staying sober, and the asker pre-emptively ruled that out in his question, so answers along those lines are off-topic. Faced with those options, I thought it was best to leave well alone. And the fact tha the question was couched in those terms meant that the resulting thread was almost certainly going to be very ugly.
posted by WPW at 5:12 AM on December 4, 2007


Well, I think for me his post triggered a specific response because his words sounded EXACTLY like people I've known in my own personal life. And of those particular people he reminded me of? None of them stopped drinking. None of whom are in my life now, either because they chose alcohol over all else or because they are dead.

I'm glad your friend was able to turn his life around, PeterMcDermott. The thing is, a lot of people don't. Or they think they will someday. But that day doesn't arrive.

If people are just spouting judgments and being nasty, that's wrong. But for some of us we just recognize so much in the story it's hard not to say something somewhat dramatic. Because we've lived it. For what it's worth, my father and one of my now-estranged sisters were both alcoholics as well. And when I look at them and my other alcoholic friends, what pains me the most is that their addictions really did stunt their future in many ways. And it's not pretty. My sister didn't go to rehab until she broke her ribs when she fell on the coffee table. So yeah, this addiction is one I'm intimately familiar with. And one I've taken great, great pains to avoid myself. Had I not made the conscious decision that I didn't want to follow in their footsteps, I definitely could've ended up giving Faye Dunaway in Barfly a run for her money. Which scares me, actually. And I'm glad it does. It should.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:53 AM on December 4, 2007


Anonymous had a moment of clarity and asked for help

And he then he got called a piece of shit. Feeling awful about myself always makes me drink less!
posted by afu at 5:57 AM on December 4, 2007


The sobriety hack involves twelve steps. It's called Alcoholics Anonymous. Keep coming back, it works.

"If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about- face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!" - Alcoholics Anonymous

"Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us." - Alcoholics Anonymous
posted by shothotbot at 6:16 AM on December 4, 2007


Also, and I know this is sort of MetaCommentary, but pulling the worst comments out of a thread and coming here to Meta to rail against them then puts them on the front page of MeTa for all to see actually raising the visibility of crappy hurtful comments.

So in this case, while we already removed 2 out of 3 of them from the thread, people coming to MeTa now see them. I know that for some people this is tactically useful to use the shock value of a few nasty out-of-context comments to really say "hey what you're doing is not cool" but if we really want to raise the dignity level for all involved, it might be a better idea to [more inside] those quotes or not link to and quote things that you have a decent idea will be deleted from the original thread.

In all but a few egregious cases we'll be happy to tell you what was removed, so I don't want to enforce some sort of "you have to discuss the bad comments without knowing what they were" sort of policy, but let's think a bit about how to move forward when there's a question with someone acting up in AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


What peacay said above, in spades. Tough love and its cousin "The Intervention" only work if people are receptive to them and moreover, in rational states of mind. People in the throes of deep depression and/or addiction are by and large not in such a state, Some of this advice was probably well intentioned, but in the end, it amounts to so much self-righteous posturing and doesn't do much if any good to the OP. Besides, to question the motives and sincerity (to wit, accusations of sociopathology and narcissism, etc.) of the OP is precisely what AskMe is not for.
posted by psmealey at 6:58 AM on December 4, 2007


You know what, these comments, while not helpful, are understandable.

Of course they're "understandable." Every bit of asshattery that happens here and in the wider world is "understandable." It's understandable to punch someone in the face when you're insulted, it's understandable to invade another country when you want to distract your population from your poor governance, hell, it's understandable to try to keep both your drinking problem and your girlfriend. So what? The criterion is not whether it's understandable but whether it's helpful. Being supportive of nasty comments because they're understandable is... what's the word?... oh yes, enabling.
posted by languagehat at 7:00 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well...I dunno. Why should we all be brimming over with sympathy for him? To hear him tell it, the problem is that his girlfriend thinks he has a problem -- he figures he guesses he must have one, but he doesn't see it as an issue. This is not a tortured cry for help; this is, as said above, someone looking for a sobriety hack. "How can I keep on doing what I'm doing and have it be okay for other people? 'Cause it's awesome for me!" I don't feel that great about this guy myself. That said, I don't know what anyone who piped up to insult him really expected to see come of that other than a momentary ego boost at someone else's expense. Love, tough or otherwise, isn't going to help this guy. He doesn't realize he needs help yet.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:23 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I understand, languagehat.
posted by Mister_A at 7:24 AM on December 4, 2007


The sobriety hack involves twelve steps. It's called Alcoholics Anonymous.

Like I said before, I meant hack in the easy, quick fix sense of the word. AA doesn't fit that definition, and I don't see very much clarity on the part of the Asker.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2007


It is so tempting to pass judgment on the idiots that responded in that thread, and boy I'm glad my comments were deleted, because that thread makes me want to invent new, groundbreaking ways to insult people. I just cannot believe the soapbox you people found to climb and preach on the stupidity of said asker. I mean con-gratu-fucking-lations. I'm really glad you found an alcoholic to fucking pick on. I suppose we all have a really good idea of what an addictive personality should sound like when it speaks up, oh and let's do everything in our power to alienate this person, and speak to him from a position of righteousness. Or lets lecture him on how "I used to be that girlfriend" or "dump her now before you kill her" or "my brother used to be an alcoholic, therefore, I'm absolutely right about everything I say". A person with drinking problem coming off like an asshole. OMG. I've never seen that before.

But at the end of the day, I can understand. MetaFilter is not a stop on the path towards recovery, and people have their reasons for sounding off on this guy. They just have nothing to do with him (or understanding the nature of his addiction.) So to spin this positively, the lesson is that dealing with alcoholism is not always about landing in a soft place, and being given a second chance, and finding love with strangers. That takes time, and I just hope the asker realizes there are people out there working every day to help people like him, despite the vitriol that accumulates in this particular storm drain. He just needs to take the first step and seek out help from the right people. And to tread lightly regarding the results of that question, as the majority of the responders in that thread just have their head up their ass like you do.
posted by phaedon at 7:37 AM on December 4, 2007


-He doesn't realize he needs help yet-
Um. Dude asked a question. That's fairly explicit realisation. The fact that he packed his question with sidestepping and rationalisation and self delusion doesn't detract from the big ticket item.
posted by peacay at 7:39 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kittens for breakfast:

I don't think the idea is that we should buy Anonymous a round and tell him to find a new girl, but rather that in order to be useful a suggestion has to be "heard." For most of us, an aggressive or sarcastic phrasing directly decreases out chances of taking the advice seriously.
posted by shothotbot at 7:40 AM on December 4, 2007


Um. Dude asked a question. That's fairly explicit realisation.

I disagree. I think he realizes it's a problem for his girlfriend, but it doesn't sound at all like he thinks it's his problem. I'm sure he knows on some level and all, but in the meantime it seems like what he's really looking for is a way not to change and have the people in his life be cool with that. I'm not sure what you can tell someone in that mindset. I don't think insulting them does anyone any good, though (except maybe the insulter).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:47 AM on December 4, 2007


heh. sorry ass-stinkin' drunk.
posted by sushiwiththejury at 7:53 AM on December 4, 2007


Well, the title is: "I have a drinking problem, now what?" and he refers to "..my drinking problem.." in the first sentence. But ok, we're splittin' hairs on interpretations perhaps. To me, it says a lot that the Q was posted at all; as much as the obvious self defence mechanisms operating in the way the story is told: these have greater bearing than the details for mine.
posted by peacay at 7:56 AM on December 4, 2007


Why should we all be brimming over with sympathy for him?

Have you been reading this thread at all? Where is anyone who's against using insults in AskMe suggesting the proper response is "brimming with sympathy for him?"

I'm not sure what you can tell someone in that mindset

Then you shouldn't answer the question. Simple.
posted by mediareport at 8:02 AM on December 4, 2007


Shothotbot: in order to be useful a suggestion has to be "heard." For most of us, an aggressive or sarcastic phrasing directly decreases out chances of taking the advice seriously.

True, entirely true. But Anonymous ruled out stopping drinking, and ruled out seeking any help (AA, therapy) that ran the risk of telling him that he needed to stop drinking. So if the advice was "you need to stop drinking" or "you should seek help from AA or a therapist", no matter how sweetly phrased, he clearly wasn't listening.

Because Mathowie has said that you should not post AskMe answers of the "scrap that junker" variety, the only correct response to that thread was not to respond. Responding to say "you need to stop drinking" violates the guidelines. Responding to say "you need to stop drinking, you selfish prick" doubly violates the guidelines and is asshattery to boot. Responding within the constraints of the question, and offering tips to the asker as to how they can keep their girlfriend and keep drinking is within AskMe guidelines, but contributes to a destructive pattern of behaviour that is already hurting people and will continue to do so.
posted by WPW at 8:10 AM on December 4, 2007


WPW,

Mathowie's junker example question was "How do I jump start a 1982 Honda Accord." My guess is that "Scrap the jumper" is not a good answer to the question, but if it were not possible to jump it for some reason, pointing that out would be OK.
posted by shothotbot at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2007


Then you shouldn't answer the question. Simple.

Uh, yeah, snarly, that's why I didn't answer the question and was questioning anyone's ability to answer it usefully.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:23 AM on December 4, 2007


Meow, kittens, but you *did* pop in to ask "Why should we all be brimming over with sympathy for him?" I'm just wondering where you got the idea that anyone here thinks we should all be brimming over with sympathy for him.
posted by mediareport at 8:27 AM on December 4, 2007


Hey, what she said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:30 AM on December 4, 2007


shothotbot: if the question is "How do I get out of this situation? I don't want to do X, Y or Z", I think "Do X, Y or Z" is a fairly obvious breach of the "junker" rule; the questioner clearly doesn't want to scrap the car, don't tel him to scrap the car. The questioner doesn't want to go to AA, don't tell him to go to AA. But there are many interpretations of the hadith.
posted by WPW at 8:30 AM on December 4, 2007


Because Mathowie has said that you should not post AskMe answers of the "scrap that junker" variety, the only correct response to that thread was not to respond. Responding to say "you need to stop drinking" violates the guidelines. Responding to say "you need to stop drinking, you selfish prick" doubly violates the guidelines and is asshattery to boot.

That's not quite right actually. It's totally okay to let the OP know that their premises may be askew enough that they are not going to solve the problem they have set out in their question. However, it's tricky to do that in ways that are non-judgmental. It's also tricky to divine what the actual question is especially in rambly questions like this.

Is the OP asking how to keep his girlfriend and keep drinking? Is the OP asking how to moderate his drinking without quitting? Is the OP asking what other options for dealing with his drinking besides AA, ditching his friends and/or quitting exist? There are a lot of questions stated and implied in that post. Most people seem to be seeing one of those questions and trying to answer it. Some people have personal experience of one kind or another that informs their answers, sometimes with strong emotion. However, and I say this as a person with strong emotions wrapped up in the topic and possibly lack of perspective as a result, it's an appropriate answer to say "you seem like an alcoholic, this is what I know about alcoholics" and move on, especially if you're not calling names or being an asshat. Even "you need to stop drinking" is a decent answer if you can back it up (personal experience, medical information, etc) and not be an as about it.

Now, for some people just calling someone an alcoholic is putting a Badge of Shame on them and they react strongly to it (either in a "don't diagnose the guy!" or a "don't call the guy an addict!" way) but most AskMe questions about heavy drinking do wind up with some discussion of alcoholism and anyone reading AskMe knows it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


"This is not a tortured cry for help"

Kittens,
I disagree.

It's not a prettily packaged one, it's full of bullshit and I don't know if it even counts as the beginning of the first step, but it's an inch further forward than he was before he asked it.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:33 AM on December 4, 2007


The truth is people rarely succeed when following the path of those in AA. As stated previously, 95% of the existing treatment centers in the United States adhere to the 12 Step philosophies. Not surprising, the success rate of treatment is no different from the success rate of AA: 3%.

This is from an independent study. Not surprisingly, AA's internal surveys claim different results.

Google "success rate" and "Alcoholics Anonymous" and you'll find a lot more. Of course, take them for what they're worth.
posted by Evangeline at 8:34 AM on December 4, 2007


I'm just wondering where you got the idea that anyone here thinks we should all be brimming over with sympathy for him.

Uh, I'm wondering why you're so defensive about it, mediareport.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:35 AM on December 4, 2007


Well, I just hope Mathowie can finally get the help he needs even if we, as a community, cannot agree on the best way to offer that help.
posted by docpops at 8:43 AM on December 4, 2007


it's an appropriate answer to say "you seem like an alcoholic, this is what I know about alcoholics" and move on, especially if you're not calling names or being an asshat. Even "you need to stop drinking" is a decent answer if you can back it up (personal experience, medical information, etc) and not be an as about it.

OK, that's useful to know. I've been applying a far too narrow interpretation of the rules.
posted by WPW at 8:45 AM on December 4, 2007


It's not a prettily packaged one, it's full of bullshit and I don't know if it even counts as the beginning of the first step, but it's an inch further forward than he was before he asked it.

And that's maybe true, but I don't see what any of us are supposed to do to move him another inch forward. He doesn't want treatment, he doesn't want AA, he's willing to consider a halfassed measure of "moderated drinking." Okay. If someone says, "I'd like to fly from Texas to California, but I hate planes, but I could maybe see...hang-gliding there?" what do you say, really? You can question his sincerity re: wanting to fly from Texas to California at all, you can try to explain that hang-gliding probably isn't gonna do the trick, whatever, but you can't make him take a plane to California, which is the only way he'll ever fly there. Other than "good luck," I don't see a reply anyone can make to this.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:47 AM on December 4, 2007


I wouldn't ever insist that anyone avoid AA, but their steps have too much to do with abandoning personal responsibility in favor of putting their life into the hands of G. Recovering from alcoholism requires accepting responsibility for your actions and, at those moments where you feel powerless against your addiction, looking to those around you that can talk to you for help. Not prayer. The people I know and know of who have succeeded through AA (so far) have done so by ignoring that crap about accepting the things you cannot change and putting your faith in a higher power. They use AA as group therapy, and good for them. It's the people and the support that make quitting successful, not the program.
posted by shmegegge at 9:05 AM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't know why that says "the hands of G." I swear I thought I typed God. anyway, that should say God. the old guy. with the beard. you know who I'm talking about. Jehovah, you know?
posted by shmegegge at 9:08 AM on December 4, 2007


One question: how are alcoholics anonymous if they say their names at the beginning? Doesn't seem very anonymous to me. Why aren't they called "alcoholics recently acquainted?"
posted by koeselitz at 9:13 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


The people I know and know of who have succeeded through AA (so far) have done so by ignoring that crap about accepting the things you cannot change and putting your faith in a higher power. They use AA as group therapy, and good for them. It's the people and the support that make quitting successful, not the program.

That's true for me too, but I'm deeply grateful to AA for helping the people I know, even though we all think it could have done without the Higher Power stuff. Few things in life are perfect; the fact is that AA has helped a lot of people, and it might well help Anonymous.
posted by languagehat at 9:13 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: Not sure if you're serious, but you just say your first name, not "Hi, I'm Joe Blow, vice president of operations at XYZ Corp." It's anonymous in terms of the society at large.
posted by languagehat at 9:15 AM on December 4, 2007


You know what I've fucking had it with? All this "pre-heat" bullshit. I'm sorry people, but either you fucking heat something, or you fucking don't. There is no fucking in-between. When the oven is off, it's cold. When you turn it on, it's warm. And that's IT! That's all there is to it!

You wanna know what pre-heating is? I'll tell you what it fucking is. It's whatever the hell you were doing before you turned the oven on. Like, oh, I don't know, maybe READING THE GODDAMN RECIPE!?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:15 AM on December 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


their steps have too much to do with abandoning personal responsibility in favor of putting their life into the hands of G.

My pedestrian way of thinking has always been to interpret that as the fact that when AA succeeds, it does so by replacing an incredibly vile and destructive form of addiction with a less destructive or even benign one... but that you're damaged goods either way.

Now... having said that, as many people as I know have had led lives of utter misery as a result of their alcoholism and drug addictions, I do know two who would not be around today had it not been for AA. FWIW YMMV etc.
posted by psmealey at 9:20 AM on December 4, 2007


One question: how are alcoholics anonymous if they say their names at the beginning? Doesn't seem very anonymous to me. Why aren't they called "alcoholics recently acquainted?"

And what's the deal with airline food?
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:21 AM on December 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Not surprising, the success rate of treatment is no different from the success rate of AA: 3%.

That's weird, I would expect AA's success rate to be zero, as they recognize that alcoholism is something that can only be managed, not cured.
posted by tkolar at 9:21 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's not a prettily packaged [cry for help], it's full of bullshit and I don't know if it even counts as the beginning of the first step, but it's an inch further forward than he was before he asked it.

And that's maybe true, but I don't see what any of us are supposed to do to move him another inch forward.

I know, kittens.

My only feeble thought; probably best not to bully him back into 100% denial out of sheer defensiveness.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:24 AM on December 4, 2007


kittens for breakfast: He doesn't want treatment, he doesn't want AA, he's willing to consider a halfassed measure of "moderated drinking." Okay. If someone says, "I'd like to fly from Texas to California, but I hate planes, but I could maybe see...hang-gliding there?" what do you say, really? You can question his sincerity re: wanting to fly from Texas to California at all, you can try to explain that hang-gliding probably isn't gonna do the trick, whatever, but you can't make him take a plane to California, which is the only way he'll ever fly there. Other than "good luck," I don't see a reply anyone can make to this.

The fact that none of us here in meta seem to think the question is answerable indicates to me that we're bringing something personal to this one.

That guy asked a perfectly answerable question. He says:

Where do I start? What do I do? Has anyone had success with learning how to drink in moderation? I don't feel AT ALL ready to just walk into an AA meeting ... that sounds like hell.

...which doesn't rule out quitting, and doesn't even rule out AA, those are just things he "doesn't feel like doing." But the asker is clearly open to those options; he's just expressed a preference not to. We get questions all the time in askme to the effect of "how to I use this toaster? I'd like to save electricity by not plugging it in if I can..." to which we very legitimately answer "sorry, you'll have to plug it in, that's what the cord is for, and there's no other way." Doesn't mean they weren't open to it, they were just expressing the way they were leaning. In this case, it helps to answer the question.

There was so much vitriol in that thread that I don't think anybody realized this. The guy never ruled those things out, and I think his question shows a rare amount of sheepishness ("yeah, I guess I have a drinking problem"). There are unanswerable questions where vitriol is needed to slap the person out of her or his complacency ("My neighbor annoys me. Should I report them to the police, or should I just continue to call in bomb threats in their name?") but this isn't one of them.

If you ask me, good answers in that thread would've been along the lines of "sorry, bub. You're going to have to suck it up and quit. I'm an alcoholic, and moderation has never, ever worked for me; nor has it worked for anybody I know who's alcoholic. We just have to go cold turkey. Good luck."

I hate to say it more than any of you realize, but none of the anger in that thread was well-placed. Sorry.
posted by koeselitz at 9:25 AM on December 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


It's anonymous in terms of the society at large.

It's also anonymous in that "what's said in the room stays in the room". You don't tell anyone who you met in AA, or what you heard in AA. The ame is true of most therapy groups. I didn't go through AA, as I found it conflicted with my atheism and I have some other fundamental problems with its philosophy, but I know many people for whom AA is a lifeline.
posted by WPW at 9:26 AM on December 4, 2007


Koeselitz: ...which doesn't rule out quitting, and doesn't even rule out AA, those are just things he "doesn't feel like doing."

Maybe you're right. But Anonymous also said: "I don't really want to stop drinking. Scratch that. I can't bear the thought of having to quit drinking."

"Scratch that" - doesn't that quite explicitly mean "I rule that out"?
posted by WPW at 9:35 AM on December 4, 2007


No, it means that it isn't even correct to say that he "doesn't want to stop drinking;" he loves it so much, he can't bear the thought of not drinking. Which, if you're aware of the long-term effects of alcohol, is perfectly normal. Even someone who openly admits that they're an alcoholic and wants to quit can admit honestly without being two-faced that they "can't bear the thought of quitting."
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 AM on December 4, 2007


"Scratch that" - doesn't that quite explicitly mean "I rule that out"?

Not at all. It means that he wishes to rephrase the statement from one to the other to emphasize his emotions. As in:

I dislike it when women use the word "buns" to describe male buttocks. Scratch that. I fucking hate it when women use the word "buns" to describe male buttocks.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Or, what koeselitz said, but I'm glad I was able to say that thing about buns. God, it weirds me out.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:50 AM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


And, if this is a point of confusion, when he says "scratch that," he's referring to the previous sentence, not the actual act of quitting. It's a colloquialism.
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 AM on December 4, 2007


Afroblanco,

Pre-heat means to bring the oven to a given temperature before you place what you are cooking into it. An oven set to 450 has to climb to that temperature. Some cooking techniques call for a sharp shock to the food you are cooking (like a roast chicken, so you can crisp the skin a bit and then adjust the temperature down to a temp that won't dry out the bird). I bet you already know this and I am missing something, but I just thought I'd say. In the worst case we can all enjoy a nice mockery of me to ease some of the discomfort from that thread.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2007


I do know two who would not be around today had it not been for AA. FWIW YMMV etc.

of course, and this is directed at languagehat, too: I really don't intend to say that people shouldn't go to AA. not at all. and I certainly wouldn't have made the comment I made here to anonymous in he askme thread because I don't know him and for all I know AA is exactly what he needs, and maybe the God stuff would work him I dunno. whatever works. I was just saying that personal responsibility is important, and it's possible to maintain that in AA, so long as you're a mite selective of what steps you stick to.
posted by shmegegge at 9:53 AM on December 4, 2007


Afro Blanco: You know what I've fucking had it with? All this "pre-heat" bullshit. I'm sorry people, but either you fucking heat something, or you fucking don't. There is no fucking in-between. When the oven is off, it's cold. When you turn it on, it's warm. And that's IT! That's all there is to it! You wanna know what pre-heating is? I'll tell you what it fucking is. It's whatever the hell you were doing before you turned the oven on. Like, oh, I don't know, maybe READING THE GODDAMN RECIPE!?

I'm as much for prescribing that people use language rationally (it's about the only thing I'd prescribe) as the next guy. But "pre-heat" makes sense. The heating is previous, not qua the heat itself, but qua the cooking. "Heat the oven previous to cooking things in it" can quite reasonably be abbreviated to "pre-heat." I suspect that some predisposition has prejudiced you against the phrase.
posted by koeselitz at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet you already know this and I am missing something

I think Afroblanco was just doing some Carlin-esque riffing in response to the whole AA != Anonymous thing.
posted by psmealey at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2007


OK, I thought he meant "scratch that" as in "scratch the idea of stopping drinking". As in: "I don't really want to stop drinking. To hell with that. I can't bear the thought of having to quit drinking."

But it looks like I was probably wrong about that.
posted by WPW at 9:59 AM on December 4, 2007


Divine_Wino, I understand what you're getting at, but I still say that "pre-heating" is a total misnomer. When a recipe is telling you to "pre-heat" the oven, they're actually telling you to heat the oven. There's no "pre" about it. You turn the oven on, and it starts to heat up. The act of heating something is binary. Either you heat it or you don't.

AND I'M MADDER THEN HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!
posted by Afroblanco at 10:12 AM on December 4, 2007


From now on, I will read Metafilter out loud with a Seinfeld voice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:15 AM on December 4, 2007


That's like saying "the act of walking is binary. either you're walking or you're not."

yes, that may technically be true, but that's why people say things like "walk to the store," or "I'm going to go walk a mile for exercise." there are qualifying factors in the act of walking which are not binary. so when someone says "I'm gonna do a warm up walk before I start the mile walk" it still makes sense because they're qualifying their walking. similarly, one can heat things to various temperatures, and so the qualifying phrase would be "to 300 degrees," or something of that nature. then it's not binary at all.

and I'm done. I can't believe I'm going to post this.
posted by shmegegge at 10:18 AM on December 4, 2007


"Pre" in this case means previous to putting the food in. It's shorthand for saying heat the oven to a certain temperature before you put the food in. I'm mad as hell that my oven takes a million years to heat up before I put the food in, perhaps we should join forces.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:19 AM on December 4, 2007


Cool down dude, you're gonna burn yer buns.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:23 AM on December 4, 2007


prepwned!
posted by psmealey at 10:24 AM on December 4, 2007


Afroblanco,

You're still missing the essential information contained in that awkward "preheat" phrase.

You can't make meringue, for example, or puff pastry, then stick it in an oven as you turn the oven on, or even shortly afterwards, in order to cook it properly.

You have to turn the oven on to the correct temperature even as you start assembling your ingredients.

So, you're right about the apparent stupidity of the instruction. But not right in terms of the redundancy of the particular information that needs to be understood.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:26 AM on December 4, 2007




Afroblanco is correct. Goddammit. You are not preheating. Yes, you may be heating the oven to 350, but that's not preheating. It's heating! You aren't preparing to heat the oven. It is being heated. You are preparing to bake. Therefore, you are prebaking.

...Jesus!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:31 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Slap that fucker in a hot iron skillet, brown the shit out of it on all three sides (or four for square chickens) and drop it into an oven that's been heating up to, oh, about three twenty-five, baste that chicky in butter and rosemary three or four times over the next couple hours, until the air in the kitchen oils up with chickeney doneness and your heart tells you it's cooked, and finally rest it twenty minutes before carving. That shit works for roast beef, thick steaks, and moose cock, with slight variations in time, temperature, and seasoning.
posted by breezeway at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


prepwned!

I've always thought that the phrase "pre-owned" was a particularly funny euphemism "used." It almost makes it sound like they did you a favor, like they broke it in for you or something.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:33 AM on December 4, 2007


One does not bake an oven. Ergo, one does not pre-bake an oven.

I don't care how you run things at Bear Attack, Mr. Blanco, but keep it out of the public schools or by god I'll see you in handcuffs before a judge.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2007


Guys, I'm sorry, pre-heat makes perfect sense, although it requires you to make an intellectual leap to understand what the "pre" means. Although so does browning a moose cock, so there we are.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:38 AM on December 4, 2007


"Graciously pre-owned by the McKeldin family"
posted by breezeway at 10:41 AM on December 4, 2007


Does this mean leaving my gotch on the heater during my morning shower constitutes preheating my underwear? Sometimes they're hot enough to bake bread on, or fry up a little brain, as the case may be.
posted by breezeway at 10:51 AM on December 4, 2007


Ceiling cat is watching you donate sperm.
posted by y2karl at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2007


As much I dislike A.A. these days, I'd never deny for a second how much it helped me get my brain out of hock early in my sobriety.

For this reason, I'd always recommend A.A. to people even if I think they won't stick it out. All the higher power stuff aside, there is the amazing healing power of other addicts trying to stay clean and sober. Sometimes that is all it takes for someone to see how ok life can be without a bottle around all the time.

For the questioner, a lot of what he was explaining or rationalizing away is simple, old school alky talk ie., "No really, I just enjoy it a lot, really!" but it is precisely for that reason that he needs something other than the lonely desperation of waking up on someone's front lawn every week or so. Of course his demeanor brings out the dick in us because it sounds so smug and self-assured (much like me when I'm sober!) but in reality, its a signal that help is needed.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:08 AM on December 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


This comment was pre-heated.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:14 AM on December 4, 2007


I pre-heated your mom last night.
posted by schroedinger at 11:21 AM on December 4, 2007


Shit, why did I post that? Now this thread will be stuck in my "Recent Activity" for the next week!
posted by schroedinger at 11:22 AM on December 4, 2007


posted by schroedinger I pre-heated your mom last night.

That's funny, because I pre-owned your mom.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:23 AM on December 4, 2007


Perhaps the pre-heating discussion should be thrown on The BBQ.
posted by zoinks at 11:27 AM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


This bible was pre-placed by a Gideon.
posted by shmegegge at 11:28 AM on December 4, 2007


I pre-owned your mom.

Are you sure that was schroedinger's mom?
posted by dersins at 11:29 AM on December 4, 2007


Does this mean it's ok to get baked every weekend?
posted by Salmonberry at 11:30 AM on December 4, 2007


Are you sure that was schroedinger's mom?

*sees wide open door. walks in.*

I suppose it both was and wasn't until we open the box and check.
posted by shmegegge at 11:34 AM on December 4, 2007 [4 favorites]


"... It's heating! You aren't preparing to heat the oven. It is being heated. You are preparing to bake."

Okay then, kittens.

YOU put the raw puff pastry into the oven while "it is being heated" and without pre-heating and then see the mess you get into!!!.

:)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:35 AM on December 4, 2007


...without pre-heating and then see the mess you get into!!!.

That's what schroedinger's mom said.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:37 AM on December 4, 2007


schroedinger's cat is watching you pre-heat his mom
posted by Rumple at 11:42 AM on December 4, 2007


fandango_matt enters a pitch black room. My mother and a stranger are sitting on a bed in it. He begins to have sex with one of them. If he turns on the light to find out which one, its brightness will temporarily blind him and give the stranger enough time to run out of the room. So is he doing my mother or not? How can we ever know?
posted by schroedinger at 11:45 AM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


if she moans "oh god oh god oh god oh MAYBE oh MAYBE" she is schroedinger's mom?
posted by Rumple at 11:50 AM on December 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


*turns on light*

My god . . . it's quonsar!

*goes blind*
posted by fandango_matt at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2007


How did this fine thread turn into a discussion of moose cock and schroedinger's mom? IS EVERYBODY HERE DRUNK??
posted by languagehat at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2007


Yes, you may be heating the oven to 350, but that's not preheating. It's heating! You aren't preparing to heat the oven. It is being heated. You are preparing to bake. Therefore, you are prebaking.

The pre- doesn't refer to heating the oven before heating; it refers to heating the oven before putting the food in. The food might not be baked; it may be roasted, braised, broiled or seared, &c. "Pre heat" is shorthand for "previous to putting the food in, heat the oven".
posted by oneirodynia at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2007


I'M SAYIN', YO!
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:02 PM on December 4, 2007


By the way, in order for me to continue the delusion that I am not an alcoholic, can I weigh in on the side that there's nothing necessarily wrong with hooking up with friends every now and again for a night out on the piss?

The problem waking up in strange places, with foreign objects lodged in your rectum with no recollection of how you got there. Man, those were the days.
posted by psmealey at 12:04 PM on December 4, 2007


The pre- doesn't refer to heating the oven before heating; it refers to heating the oven before putting the food in. The food might not be baked; it may be roasted, braised, broiled or seared, &c. "Pre heat" is shorthand for "previous to putting the food in, heat the oven".

...preposterous!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:07 PM on December 4, 2007


IS EVERYBODY HERE DRUNK??

Dude, don't harsh the mellow. Just relax and enter the pitch black room.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:09 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd stake my life on the claim that everyone here understands the basic idea of preheating: it's like when you're a diapered baby and you poop a little before you sit down to eat. Nobody notices for a while, and then when you're right in the middle of your meal, someone does and it's very upsetting, off with the poopy diapers; you're lucky I don't shit on you, lady; there's a likely lad, pinch, pat. Then you sit back down to eat, lose your appetite, your attention wanders, and you drop the rest of that turd in your now un-pre-pooped diapers.

Just like with preheating.
posted by breezeway at 12:12 PM on December 4, 2007


Literal preheating.

Shit, why did I post that? Now this thread will be stuck in my "Recent Activity" for the next week!

Should we tell 'em about the Remove From Activity button?
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:17 PM on December 4, 2007


They are too roasted to hear.
posted by shothotbot at 12:20 PM on December 4, 2007


Roasted like Sammy Davis or roasted like Willie Nelson?
posted by breezeway at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2007


Should we tell 'em about the Remove From Activity button?

How long has that been there and I have only noticed it now?
posted by psmealey at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2007


You people are ridiculous. I am ridiculous for reading this shit to the end when I should be grading. EVERYTHING IS ABSURD.

While strong opinions abound (in that thread and this one), it is my experience that you can direct an addict to help, but they won't take it until they want to. I speak from two perspectives, having perhaps experienced this situation or one similar from two subject positions. If you read between the lines, you'll see where I'm going with that. If that's not enough, look at my damn username.

It's trite, but the poster needs to hit a bottom bad enough--as they say "the pain needs to become great enough." When the OP has enough pain, they'll change.

Or, sadly, they won't.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:27 PM on December 4, 2007


I loves youse guys, cortex!
posted by schroedinger at 12:28 PM on December 4, 2007


The crazy thing is Shroedinger's mom is my sponsor.
In Sex Addicts Anonymous.


















And this is where we talk about pre-cum.
posted by tkchrist at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2007


fandango_matt enters a pitch black room.

He is likely to be eaten by a grue.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:59 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


How did this fine thread turn into a discussion of moose cock and schroedinger's mom? IS EVERYBODY HERE DRUNK??

No, see, the thread's clearly turned into a discussion of pre-heating. Divine_Wino's got it - it's a perfectly comprehensible term, the "pre" refers to when you put the food in, you're heating the oven before inserting the food, i.e. pre-insertion, pre-heating then for short - and the bunch of you semantic witch hunters should go back to your Eats Shoots & Pedantry and drop it already.

But the real thing this thread's turned into is something so much more life-affirming than the initial topic that it's strongly encouraging me to get pre-drunk. Which is what makes this place so goddamn great.

*wipes spittle from chin, throws arm sloppily around MeFi*
posted by gompa at 1:54 PM on December 4, 2007


How did this fine thread turn into a discussion of moose cock and schroedinger's mom? IS EVERYBODY HERE DRUNK??

No, see...


well, I am.
posted by shmegegge at 2:03 PM on December 4, 2007


it's strongly encouraging me to get pre-drunk

When done with moderation—and with all due respect to the origins of this thread—that's not a bad way to deal with a meetup if you're nervous about it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:07 PM on December 4, 2007


We need less moderation around here, not more, and the last thing we need is to expand its scope to meetups.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:14 PM on December 4, 2007


Yeah, everything in moderation, but I do mean everything.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2007


Quis moderiet ipsos moderates, y'all.

[NOT LATINISH]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:27 PM on December 4, 2007


oh, hell, i just turn the oven on, shove the tv dinner in and add 5 minutes, doesn't everybody?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:39 PM on December 4, 2007


pyramid termite: "oh, hell, i just turn the oven on, shove the tv dinner in and add 5 minutes, doesn't everybody?"

Yes.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2007


Nothin' says lovin' like a shovin' in the oven.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:49 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


And nothing says losin' like a boozin' then a bruisin'.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:54 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is what I read the internet for. I *never* would have thought of just adding 5 minutes to the time to cook on the side of the TV dinner all by myself. I love you people.
posted by bukvich at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2007


and so, having pre- PRE-heated the monster, exit our hero through the front door, stage right.
posted by shmegegge at 3:13 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Everybody knows Afroblanco was quoting (or at least paraphrasing) a standup bit from [insert name of comic that eludes me at the moment here], right?

Where do I start? What do I do? Has anyone had success with learning how to drink in moderation?

I could have offered some advice to the guy, being someone who has long been a great and enthusiastic fan of the drink without trashing himself or his life, thanks to being able to happily balance a life mostly sober with a life occasionally inebriated, but even before I saw the thread in question, I figured it was too toxic. No great loss to anyone, hopefully.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:59 PM on December 4, 2007


*toasts everyone*
posted by jonmc at 4:58 PM on December 4, 2007


(also, for a bunch of allegedly open-minded people, there was an awful lot of moralistic busybodying in that thread. just saying)
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on December 4, 2007


stavros: agreed. i tried to make that point upthread - that contrary to what most people here have concluded, imho the guy simply *isn't* an alcoholic. i think he takes it a bit far, maybe, and has a problem controlling himself when he does drink (making him a problem drinker, perhaps) but a bit of a bender once a week that has no apparent adverse effect on his work or on most of his relationships is not indicative of the kinds of problems i'd associate with alcoholism.

to me, it sounds like he just has a girlfriend who doesn't like his behaviour (which is more or less standard, or at least not particularly frowned upon amongst youngish people in the west) and is foisting the 'alco' term upon him in order to coerce the behaviour of his that she doesn't appreciate. she's probably wanting him to grow up a bit & become better fatherhood material, or something.

so, i think DTMFA is a reasonably appropriate response to his dilemma. i mean, any sheila who stands between a bloke and his right to knock back a few cold schooners with his mates just isn't worth keeping.

* checks clock, hm, ten past midday, ducks under desk to have swig of whiskey *
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:20 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


that contrary to what most people here have concluded, imho the guy simply *isn't* an alcoholic.

Did you miss this?

As soon as I start drinking I have no off switch.

If you don't understand that that's a working definition of "alcoholic," then I guess you just don't understand alcoholism.
posted by languagehat at 5:33 PM on December 4, 2007


I have two words for you.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:43 PM on December 4, 2007


He might be suffering from mental illness. Dual diagnosis is when people with mental illness self-medicate with alcohol, tobacco or drugs. It seems very common in sufferers of depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety, or schizophrenia. It is also very hard to treat because confrontational methods such as those used by AA work poorly or even aggravate the situation. It seems to occur especially in people who have little insight over their mental illness.
posted by francesca too at 5:58 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


languagehat: if that's the definition, then i stand corrected.

what if his self-description is modified to what he actually said overall, which was "As soon as I start drinking I have no off switch in the context of nights out with my old friends, but i do have have an off switch in other contexts, like work or family gatherings, and I remain sober most days of the week" - does that still fit the definition?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:28 PM on December 4, 2007


i mean, any sheila who stands between a bloke and his right to knock back a few cold schooners with his mates just isn't worth keeping.

How about a 'sheila' who is concerned about her 'bloke' starting off knocking back a few with his mates, but who then buggers off with Random Drunk People to god knows where and/or passes out on lawns for hours? Or a sheila whose bloke is doesn't just have 'a few cold schooners', because less-than-a-few isn't a fun time and drinking a few leads to him being incapable of not drinking more.

This doesn't sound like some uptight girl wringing her hands simply because her boyfriend likes to have a beer with his buddies after work every so often.
posted by CKmtl at 6:33 PM on December 4, 2007


CKmtl: perhaps, but it sounds like she knew he liked to drink before hooking up with him.
posted by jonmc at 6:39 PM on December 4, 2007


i mean, any sheila who stands between a bloke and his right to knock back a few cold schooners with his mates just isn't worth keeping.

I'm under the impression that any use of the word sheila to indicate a woman is a key to irony, sarcasm or other non-serious communication. Just as if I called you squire, or milady. It's archaic.
posted by b33j at 6:44 PM on December 4, 2007


jonmc: I don't get that impression from anything in the question...

But, even if she did, I can easily see how she could start being very concerned about it X months/years into the relationship. Perhaps she didn't see him on his binging days and only thought he was a partyer. If they weren't living together, she wouldn't really know about his passings out or his running off with relative strangers - except that she maybe couldn't reach him on his cell.

Perhaps they've now moved in together and she's laying in bed on a roughly weekly basis wondering if he's in jail, in a ditch or dead somewhere because he's disappeared for several hours longer than would be expected.

I mean, there's a big gap between the relatively abstract "Oh, he likes to drink" casual-dating knowledge and the live-in/serious relationship stress of what he himself refers to as his drunken risk-taking and uncommon disappearances.
posted by CKmtl at 6:57 PM on December 4, 2007


*not* uncommon disappearances, rather.
posted by CKmtl at 6:58 PM on December 4, 2007


how about a meetup at a meeting? any sober new yorkers?
posted by shothotbot at 7:04 PM on December 4, 2007


no. the whole city is shithammered.
posted by jonmc at 7:10 PM on December 4, 2007


There used to be (probably still is?) this super annoying UK advert for an women-only car insurance company named Sheila's Wheels (For bonzer car insurance deals / Girls get onto Sheila's Wheels!).

It was played incessantly. Now whenever I hear that word, I can't help but start humming that song.

Damn you, catchy ad jingle!
posted by mosessis at 7:14 PM on December 4, 2007


Yeah, New York is all sex, drugs, and ego.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 7:22 PM on December 4, 2007


CKmtl & b33j - yes, the 'sheila' comment was a tongue in cheek parody of stereotypical aussie blokedom. As for "having a few drinks with the boys", I see this one as being on the wrong side of some invisible line on a slippery slope between her possible annoyance at his spending time drinking with his friends, and his being totally out of control.

On preveiw: sheila does, of course, derive from the Celtic name, Shelagh.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:28 PM on December 4, 2007


New York is all sex, drugs, ego, and tiny little bite-marks on the sides of your dick that send you into a panic, but you delay because you don't have healthcare until one day you wake up and howl your way to the emergency room, where they cut your gangrenous dick off on an outpatient basis and you wander around for the rest of your life dickless, looking for drugs. And that's just where your ego takes you.
posted by breezeway at 7:55 PM on December 4, 2007


Everybody knows Afroblanco was quoting (or at least paraphrasing) a standup bit from [insert name of comic that eludes me at the moment here], right?

Umm, not to my knowledge. If you can cite, please do.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:20 PM on December 4, 2007


Hey. This comment used to be by someone else. Three cheers for the change.
posted by mediareport at 9:19 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whoa, it's retroactive to all his previous comments? Ugh. Not sure I like that part - fucks with the history and all.
posted by mediareport at 9:28 PM on December 4, 2007


George Carlin has riffed on "pre-board," which is a much stupider phrase that pre-heat.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:23 PM on December 4, 2007


Ah, pre-heating. That's where I'm a viking.
posted by Green With You at 10:24 PM on December 4, 2007


Evangeline writes "Google 'success rate' and 'Alcoholics Anonymous' and you'll find a lot more. Of course, take them for what they're worth."

Yes, which is about the same for most forms of treatment or recovery. The stats reflect the fact that people will not get better unless they really want to. If they really want to, there are many paths available.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:38 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


George Carlin has riffed on "pre-board," which is a much stupider phrase that pre-heat.

I love Carlin's airline schtick!

"And then they asked me if I had any carry-on luggage. Like I'm going to bring a dead deer on board with me?"

Carlin is my hero. I'm proud to share a birthday with him.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:39 PM on December 4, 2007


1. The asker appeared to be more interested in finding a way to remain with his girlfriend and staying drunk, rather than getting clean.


Which is a valid use of askme. I'd say to anyone with this issue: Don't answer the question he should be asking, answer his question or don't post.
posted by spaltavian at 11:25 PM on December 4, 2007


When a recipe is telling you to "pre-heat" the oven, they're actually telling you to heat the oven. There's no "pre" about it. You turn the oven on, and it starts to heat up. The act of heating something is binary. Either you heat it or you don't.

I guess you are thinking that "pre-X", where X is a verb, means "do a preparatory thing before doing X," or maybe "do X in an increasing way until you do X" (?). It might mean this in some cases, but it is much more common for it to mean "do X before some other (relevant) action". So "pre-heat" is telling you to heat before cooking. You can see this from "pre-cook" (cook before later serving or using as a component in something else), "pre-compute" (compute values before using for some other purpose), "pre-pay" (pay in advance of a service, such as shipping or phone calls), "pre-treat" (treat before use), "pre-install" (usually, install before selling, as in an OS), "pre-furnish" (furnish before renting/habitation), and so on. This pattern is quite general, I think.

The noun/adj prefix "pre-X" does more often mean something like "things that happen before X", or even "Xs that happen before X", as in pre-civilization, pre-conclusion, pre-natal, pre-calculus, pre-hearing, pre-publicity, etc.

Incidentally, the OED has a great entry for "pre-".
posted by advil at 1:19 AM on December 5, 2007


Nice catch, mediareport. According to his user profile, he's now reaching out to the untongued community with the new, easy to pronounce name. How fitting.

I think that once the name was changed, all occurrences of it in comments would have to change, right? Anyway, the original name and his reason for changing it is in his profile.
posted by maudlin at 6:56 AM on December 5, 2007


Ack. Wrong link: reference to this comment.
posted by maudlin at 7:16 AM on December 5, 2007


Huh. How about that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:31 AM on December 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess you are thinking that "pre-X", where X is a verb, means "do a preparatory thing before doing X," or maybe "do X in an increasing way until you do X" (?). It might mean this in some cases, but it is much more common for it to mean "do X before some other (relevant) action". So "pre-heat" is telling you to heat before cooking. You can see this from "pre-cook" (cook before later serving or using as a component in something else), "pre-compute" (compute values before using for some other purpose), "pre-pay" (pay in advance of a service, such as shipping or phone calls), "pre-treat" (treat before use), "pre-install" (usually, install before selling, as in an OS), "pre-furnish" (furnish before renting/habitation), and so on. This pattern is quite general, I think.


I'M SAYIN', YO!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2007


Hey, I'm also glad the Dude with the name that was Crude, decided to work with the folks rather than against them, good on ya!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:37 AM on December 5, 2007


Hi everyone!
posted by Gentlemen, I Sure Do Love Analingus at 10:19 AM on December 5, 2007


Is that the most pointless and unfunny five-dollar "joke," or just one of the most?

I don't mean it's offensive. Just kinda... dumb.
posted by dersins at 10:42 AM on December 5, 2007


Yeah! Who'd do such a thing? The nerve!
posted by waraw at 10:46 AM on December 5, 2007


How long until GISDLA requests a name change from the admins? Matt, you may have set a dangerous precedent here. (As opposed to a dangerous President, which we've had for nearly 7 years)
posted by wendell at 10:51 AM on December 5, 2007


I'd like to take this opportunity to declare that I am NOT a terrorist, I am a reference to a character in "The Tick" animated series, which is more obscure than those Mooninites from ATHF-whatever, so I'm just basically screwed, right?
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 10:57 AM on December 5, 2007


I'm just basically screwed, right?

I don't know. Are you related to the MIT Puzzle hunt team of the same name?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:14 AM on December 5, 2007


Oh great, now I'm going to have Homeland Security, Ben Edlund AND MIT coming down on my ass.

Mods, please change my name to Thrakkorzog!
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2007


EMBWBAM, I caught the reference. I like your name.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:45 AM on December 5, 2007


Ironically today I celebrate 28 years of sobriety (12/5/79 was my D-Day). Reading the original post and some of the other stories is a nice reminder of why it's been twenty-eight years. I hope the original poster of that AskMe can find some peace soon as well.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:42 PM on December 5, 2007


Congrats KS.
posted by netbros at 3:32 PM on December 5, 2007


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