Anyone almost crazy is familiar with the process of self medicating madness. Quite frankly, most addicts out there have at least one underlying mental health issue unresolved and unattended, who have tried, or are trying, to equilibrate the internal qualm with (haphazard) external solutions. It’s a non-linear trial-and-error process not for the faint of heart.

Ironically, the same reason everyone almost crazy needs a drink, is exactly why they should never have one. And the clarity of madness is downright terrifying to handle sober. This serpent-eating catch-22 swallows addicts whole like an obese ouroboros with a grudge. Let’s break it down:

Slipping through the cracks almost crazy.

The nature of slipping through the cracks almost crazy is of particular concern. Underlying mental health gets masked behind superficial patterns of abuse. Addiction emulates cyclical manic states. Mania emulates cyclical addiction. Any help the addict seeks jeopardizes their addictions existentially, threatening emotional bottom lines while skewing a jaded equilibrium off balance. Why would anyone wandering the minds razors edge willingly submit the only substance able to calm their feverish storm? Often, they won’t.

So treatment goes years unnoticed, deterred by the stigma of addiction and admissions of failure. Or completely evaded entirely. Unable to address the underlying mayhem, addiction takes greedy precedent over what is usually a malice of the mind. Indeed, Catching Karens before they drive into walls drunk (literally or figuratively) is a social responsibility of us all, and a core value of this website. But it sure isn’t easy telling your loved ones they suck.

Never met an addict free of madness.

There’s a reason your grandma hits the sauce like Burt Reynolds. And it’s not because she loves being drunk during Sunday Service or the sexiness booze makes her feel at noon. No. Granny loves not being sober because Granny is fucking cranky. And life is hard.

During the depressive time when mental health resources were scarcely discussed amidst the falling bombs, Grandma handled her internal flailing with classic drunken finesse standard to her time: never look back. As did the Grandma before her. And this lineage of suffering is a palatable reality engrained into the psyches of endless generations. You can feel its heart beat. You can taste the fear.

The truth is blunt: If you are using substances daily, or not using but want to… you are likely self medicating cumbersomely through the lonely drifting madness that is almost crazy.

As if childhood puberty wasn’t awkward enough, I went through the whole she-not-bang on acid. So young was my budding madness that I tried it all… at great emotional and developmental expense. Think it’s easy? Try watching your balls drop on LSD while meandering the mirror-melting acne screaming back hour umpteen pushing madness… all before (and during) family dinner and social studies class.

Then I found booze; A time-tested favorite of every Irish-boy out there white knuckling emotional pete bogs, and a personal family favorite. It didn’t work back then, and it sure doesn’t work now. But goddamnit will we try. Till death do us eternally part.

Reckless drinking aside, western medications ironically seek the same resolutions, albeit (hopefully) with more precision: scratch that daily itch with the least amount of backsplash. In a world where medication fails you, the soulful troubadours of almost crazy will undoubtedly tackle the awkward territory that is self medicating at least once, if not indefinitely through entire lifetimes.

That said, it’s important to make your journey through self medicating a positive and safe experience for everyone, bystanders and family included. One wrong move can and will kill you or someone else. So before you go full Gonzo, consider the gravity of failure.

Sustainability is a hard word in addiction. When your mood swings with the earth’s tides, the momentum gets battled on an hourly basis. Calming this with substance requires surgical precision, as navigating an object-oriented earth half-canned is never easy, safe, or practical. So we find that uneven balance. Or we die trying.

The scary thing about sobriety

In a lifetime of almost crazy, at least one addiction will likely try to kill you. Dodging these hooks is hard. But with sobriety comes an alarming fact: the madness you ran from suddenly becomes painfully crystal clear; your memories will haunt you. With the fog of addiction lifted, a horrifying reality gets replaced; this painful awareness must be traversed completely alone. Indeed, the loneliness of almost crazy is the deadly killer; the impetus to breaking down. Avoiding reckless addictions will help avoid the excess falling.

Here’s the irony: when you’re an asshole drinking excess, healing offers a dependable fallback. The sloppy sentiment of dirt-bag forgiveness is universally applied: “Sorry… I was drunk” is a blanketed apology humankind has been desperately pleading since alcohol’s inception. Get sober and suddenly the madness loses that trustworthy scapegoat: if it’s not the booze failing… it’s yours alone. And the path forward gets existentially muddled: You weren’t drunk… You’re just an asshole high-wiring almost crazy. You’re just a Karen falling needing caught.

Yet somehow, this fundamental shift in accountability is worse. We can romanticize a good redemption song with addiction any day. Rock stars get sober. But the same does not apply to madness. Indeed, no one celebrates the recovering prick. *There’s no sobriety chip for asshole-olics (until now).

You will remember every manic mistake in 4K clarity

The worst part? Free of mind-altering substance means you remember every goddamn mistake you make in 4k clarity while sober. Every overzealous ignorant statement made, every fever-driven manic episode induced, every insult and tear shed… completely vivid thanks to the tenacity of fight or flight.

There exists an irony in every drunk internal battle: stop drinking and everything in your life gets better. It’s that simple. Anyone sober knows the pink cloud process. Ahh… but get sober and watch your life continue to fray seamlessly, and you quickly realize the solution is much more daunting for madness. There is no booze to stop, so no catalyst for making life better exists but your own flailing attempt at grit. Hold on assholes, sobriety kind of sucks. Get used to it, Bono.

If you are struggling with almost being crazy

It’s always best to steer clear of any addiction-oriented substances historically known to destroy lives. Simply because you will like them, and you will want them every single day… all ass the madness requires. Booze, speed, opiates, and the like are all dangerous to the mad; weakness makes us dwindle – avoid it at all costs.

Always remember, the same substances that kept you even-keeled, when misused, can become your biggest enemy fighting you to death. You will lose. And people will call you an ass. Don’t let the madness win. Find sustainable addictions capable of satiating your internal itch without the dirt-bag mayhem within.

Drinking makes it worse

It’s an acute patch for a chronic problem. If you insist on drinking through your madness… For fucks sake sell your car and take the bus. Being mentally ill is no excuse for being a dangerous prick. If booze is that important, sell your ego and take the train.

*NEW: Stop Loss Chips (Intervention); A declaration and dedication to stop falling and begin personal growth.

Catching Karens (CK) does not provide professional or medical advice, only opinions and experiential patient insight. In a mental health crisis? Dial 988 (free 24/7) and visit Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Medical emergencies Dial 911 (US & Canada)

If you are mentally ill and/or struggling with addiction, or worried about the safety of you or anyone you know, please talk to a mental health professional about the available options. Delusions, suicidal thinking, unwanted thoughts, harmful thinking, or anything else threatening yourself or others is reason for serious concern and requires action, including potential pharmaceutical interventions.

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