Tag Archives: alcohol

Latest Thoughts: A Theory on Alcoholism and Self Harm

Total Read Time: 4 Minutes

I like how recording artists release their work. The music of their heart and soul is poured out daily until they let go of a compilation. It is… released.


Released by a few bad shifts at work
Mindset is productivity
Responsibility and discipline highlighted
By their absence

Mindset as soil
Ideas as seeds.

Ever-changing soil can nurture seeds
Into rooted theories and concepts.
It can be too acidic.
It can ferment.

Sometimes, my mindset can give birth to noxiously attractive ideas.
Like a train wreck.

-A


Perpetuation of Self Harm and Substance Abuse

I’ve done a lot of self-experimentation. Recently, I’ve tried removing certain distracting elements from my life. I think of them as “easy” or more accurately, “obvious.”

Diet
Exercise
Alcohol
Sleep

I’ve written about these more specifically.
It would be a compliment if you sifted through this website.
I would love to connect and talk too.

Subtraction Past Zero

Assuming you can, once you remove the obvious elements from your life that are holding you back, you would think a massive light would emanate from your chest. It would feel like a sci-fi phoenix rebirth. You would hatch new colorful feathers and majestically screech like an eagle.

The truth is, it’s shockingly the opposite. You begin to miss having something obvious to blame. It was nice to feel like garbage, knowing you shouldn’t have drank last night. It felt comforting to say, I’ll eat healthy this time for lunch.

I liked having an easy answer.

Once you remove the obvious, you begin to see the less obvious. All of the repressions from your past begin to surface.
You are left with everything left of zero.

Think of this scale:

Subtractions : -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 <0> 1 2 3 4 5 : Additions

When your lifestyle is full of easy things to blame, you’re somewhere around 5. The subtraction of those things take you closer to where you’d like to be: zero.

Blame is the Trend

Continuing to find things to blame is the trend. You spend time focusing on blaming diet choices, exercise habits, and substance abuse. That focus carries you past zero and into the negativity of blaming your job, blaming loved ones around you, and blaming yourself. When you continue blaming things, you get further from zero and closer to -5.

Balance Blame with Love

You have to see the good in the world around you. You have to subtract a bad habit and replace it with a good one. After my father quit smoking cigarettes he told me he began to taste food again. His life had flavor again! He gained appreciation for having stamina. At that time in his life, he went to the gym again and got into great shape. I remember he would flex his bicep and challenge me to wrap my hands all the way around his arm.

Allow light to displace the shadows of negativity and engorge your life with love and self improvement.

You’re Not Alone

The heaviest thoughts when you’re low are thoughts of isolation. You want to be alone. You want to retreat. You feel like you deserve the blame and hatred for yourself.

I promise you, you’re not alone. There is a world of people who have lived through everything you’re dealing with. There is almost always someone In reach who has dealt with what you’re dealt. Everyone deserves to know,

You are Not Alone

I want the best for you.
I want you to feel.
I want you to taste.
I want your life to have flavor and light and excitement.
I want you to feel the love you have for yourself.
I know you are capable.
I know it’s somewhere inside of you.
Please, try and see it too.
Try and look past the shadows.
You deserve this.
You’re worth it.

Thank you, endlessly.

Thank you for your love, your support, your time.
You make my day better.
Always feel free to reach out.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

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I’m Writing about My Relationship with Alcohol

Total Read Time: 8 Minutes

This post is about trauma. About Numbing myself. This is about choosing to give myself life instead of taking it away. I know it’s hard to read. Believe me, it’s harder to write.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I do not advise anyone on changes to their health. Please consult your doctor before you do anything. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, please seek guidance and help from a professional. There are people a phone call away that know exactly how to help.

The most spent currency is time.

One of my mentors, although there’s no chance he knew the impact he has had on my life, is a man I worked with years ago. He worked with urgency, indulging in a sigh only when time was taken care of. I mean the kind of “taken care of” when we are waiting on time itself. His most quoted saying was, “we are up against the clock.” The clock started when he woke up. It ended when his tasks for the day were finished.

We are either waiting on time, or time is waiting on us.

When you start a kettle of water, the time span before it boils is YOUR time. During that time, you are free to do anything you want. When the water has boiled, you are back on the clock; with time waiting on you to pour that water over some coffee grounds.

I find a soothing relief when I am waiting on time. I feel productive and in control. Ahead of the game.

Another example of this is efficient dishwashing. Not the kind at home after you ate some eggs. The kind where a 50 table restaurant that seats 200 people sends back 200 plates after they finished eating. Imagine you are the dish washer, and the next set of guests is arriving. Clean those plates.

I once worked with a young server named Jake. The dishwasher at the time was complaining they had to wash too many dishes. Jake pointed out,
“You’re not the dishwasher. That machine is the dishwasher.”

The point here is, the one thing we can not control is the time the dishwasher takes to run each cycle. What we can control, is having the next tray of dishes ready so that we can have the dishwasher running as often as possible. When the dishwasher is not running, time is waiting on you to load that thang up.

Alcohol is a time suck

I see alcohol as an exchange. A trade sometimes. Most of the time, just a time suck. I give away the rest of my evening, to the influences of alcohol. I sacrifice the productiveness and efficiency of the following morning to “recovery.”

“I give away hard earned dollars to the empty calories I worked so hard at my job and in the gym for. “

Don’t mistake my drama for preaching. I am all about loving myself. I want you to love yourself. You are amazing. Your life is worth living. You are incredible. Don’t beat yourself up for a night of drinking. This is about understanding the CHOICE you’re making. Man, I’m full of caveats today…

Alcohol BLURRRS Time

My father often related his first drink of the day to it’s conclusion; the day that is. Decisiveness takes a steep drop after that first drink. It’s self-perpetuating. Alcohol demands more of itself. The hardest part is to stop.

The easiest… not starting at all.

“Drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow”

Matt Mullenweg

The Challenge

Awareness – Take note of the opportunity cost with drinking. Understand what you will be unable to do instead.
Value – Apply intention in weighing the value of your consciousness that you lose while drinking.

Honesty is the true challenge.

Why is it easiest to lie to yourself, when you are the person that knows the truth?

I want the blur. I hate the clarity of the mirror. I don’t value my time. My productivity doesn’t produce anything the world wants. It’s better NOT TO FEEL and keep the past buried. It’s easier to sleep.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

What I know about myself is I find the edge too hard to balance on. One drink is so perpetually powerful, I eventually succumb.

The easiest answer is no, to starting.

Why am I being so hard on myself?

I spend a lot of time looking around myself; at the people I look up to, the people that raised me, and the people I can learn something from. So… basically everyone.

Most of the time, I’m paying attention to myself. What makes me feel good, bad, okay, and not enough.

The times I beat myself up the most are when I’m unproductive, financially irresponsible, and repeating mistakes I’ve already learned from.

When I look at what keeps me on track to being disappointed in myself, it usually involves alcohol.

When I look at accomplished, revered people around the world, many of them abstain from… alcohol.

Decision time

Drink a lot less alcohol.
As in, barely any.
Most of all, to better understand the true cost when I do drink.

Accountability

This audience… YOU are a great start. I really don’t want people pointing out when I’m slipping down the slope again.
So please point and laugh if I do.

Reward

I really Love finances. If anyone wants to talk about money saving techniques, credit cards, savings accounts, trading options, etc… Maybe I’ll just write about it. I’m bound to eventually.

I’m going to reward myself for every time I say no to alcohol.
I set up an easy transfer between a checking account into a savings account at a different bank. Capital One savings, in case anyone is interested.

They’re both interest bearing, but the savings account I specifically chose because I have no physical access to it. I did not link any automatic withdrawals from it. It’s way easier to put money in than it is to take money out. The point being, to mimic the sunk cost of spending money on drinks.

Every time I say no to alcohol, I get to deposit the cost of the said alcohol into my savings account.
Bottle of wine costs $15?
Just made $15 dollars by being disciplined.

I started thinking… imagine if you could get back all of the money you’ve ever spent on alcohol… god damn.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Positive reinforcement.

The easiest thing to forget is to accept being human and forgive mistakes. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again. I’m not demonizing it if I do. Remember, I said I want to understand the cost of doing so. I’m also making it easier and more rewarding to not drink.

What does Alcohol look like in YOUR life?

I’ve heard of dear friends drinking because they’re bored. I’ve heard coworkers say how they realized how much better they feel after NYE if they don’t glorify getting sauced. I have friends running challenges to make March a dry month.

The reality of it is, alcohol is so present in our lives. It’s effects do not have to consume us. The world is such a beautiful place with people like you in it. I would love to see what you’re capable of if you stop letting alcohol hold you back.

Truly, Thank you

For reading my spilled thoughts. You are so significant to me, and to this world. Thank you for being in it.

Thank you for being.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

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a.o.starostin

“Consider THIS Before Your Next Conversation.”

Total Read Time: 5 Minutes

Have you ever heard about the family that you actually got to choose for yourself? How about that you are the average of the 5 closest people to you? (Tim Ferriss quote… Seems to be a theme in my mentorship). The common denominator is your choice.

It really doesn’t matter where you are in life, what you’re working on, how much you’ve accomplished up until this point, or where you’re headed. The most valuable thing in our lives, is our relationship with the people around us.

Let’s take a bleak turn to drive it home.

On your death bed… Here Andrey goes again… You really get a clear picture of what truly mattered in your life. This is a gratefulness exercise. Imagine someone close to you died yesterday. What would you pay/do for one more day with them? Probably anything. I would pay anything…

This should make most of the so-called “problems” in your life go away instantly. Your relationship with people is above everything else.

Consider THIS before your next conversation.

Your day is built upon choices you make. You employ discipline, you have routines, and you choose the manner in which you conduct your relationships.

Relationships:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Significant other
  • Boss
  • Coworkers
  • Mentor

Every interaction you have can be a withdrawal or a deposit into your ongoing relationship.

Visiting your mom and spending time cooking with her: Deposit.

Visiting your mom and communicating your stresses in life: it may sound like a withdrawal because stress can be vicariously taxing, but I’d bet it’s a deposit in your mom’s eyes.

Visiting your mom and recommending new exercises, yoga, hiking, and general motivation for getting more active: sounds like a deposit because of great intentions, but could be a withdrawal if mom is a human and takes criticism with a grain of salt.

The most immediate use of this logic is at work.

Everyone has difficult coworkers, an unreasonable boss, and unfathomable clients/customers. If you structure your interactions, with positive intention, your days will get better, I promise you.

“This isn’t manipulation, unethical, or deceitful. The key is to care.”

If you struggle to care for someone, realize they are structurally tied to “the mission” and you will lose without their help. If you want a good shift at the restaurant you work at, the bad server needs help with their 3 table section. If they don’t get help from you, they’ll give poor service, bring out food late, force the food to get cold and the table will ask for the food to get remade, that will slow down the kitchen, and then YOUR table’s food will be slow and your table will be upset with YOU. I digress.

Surround yourself with Positivity

My best friend David DM’d me a quote on instagram: “Pay attention to with whom you feel your best.”

I later saw another one of those quotes: “Pay attention to who is happy with you, when you’re winning.”

It’s so environmental. Tying back to one of my earlier articles, The Hands That Hold You Down, your environment is directly responsible for not just holding you accountable, but directly influencing the quality of the decisions you make for the day ahead of you.

It’s quite easy once you do the mental heavy lifting. And that is, Honesty. Once you are honest with yourself and answer the following questions, you can easily delegate your attention toward the positivity in your life.

  • What facet or quality of your life would you like to make more deposits into? (Love, Health, Finance, etc.)
  • When you think of a deposit, what does it look like?
    • Is it more time with a loved one? Is it eating healthier foods? Is it avoiding going out when money can be allocated more prudently?
  • Think about who helps you deposit into those categories and who forces you to withdraw from them.
    • At the same time, think about who gives you negativity when you share your progress and who celebrates with you and supports your successes.

Confronting these people can seem so difficult, but I promise you it’s easier than you think, and quite addicting after you start.

For example, I’ve recognized alcohol as a slippery slope in my life that I needed greater control over. See Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments. I had to take an honest look at my life and recognize who I naturally drank more alcohol with.

“My approach was initially light handed”

I suggested alternative activities like playing frisbee, skateboarding, bike rides. Fortunately for me, some of my friends really enjoy doing those things and it was easy to structure hanging out without alcohol needing to be involved.

After hanging out, I just needed to decline an offer to go to a bar or hangout and have a beer.

However, some of my other friends really don’t do much other than drink. They would ask me to hang out, and I had to say I’m busy. It wasn’t unreasonable, since I work a lot and generally live further away. (It really helps that I work night shifts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and they work a M-F 9-5). Conflicting schedules, busy lives, and if all else fails…
“I’m saving for a wedding.” (Also very true and an incredible motivator).

Prescribe yourself Positivity

I freaking love a conservatory. Plants are beautiful, the buildings are warm and humid, it’s oxygen rich, everyone is in a good mood at a conservatory. I can’t think of a better place to go for positivity than Nature. If it’s cold outside, if you’re in a big city like me, odd’s are there is a conservatory near by that eliminates the cold and the distant forest. The Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago is free, and parking is free, so there are really no excuses.

Start a day off with some arugula, sunflower seeds, an apple, some olive oil. Visit a conservatory. Take some photos with your phone of a weird plant or a cool turtle.

“Clear your headspace by flooding it with positivity and displacing anything that’s been holding you back.”

Once you’re in that state of bliss, go through the questions again. It’s uncanny what a new mindset can shed light on.

It will have a domino effect

Surrounding yourself with positive influences and people who celebrate you cascades into every facet of your life. People who you care about, and who care about you give life a new meaning. It gets easier to wake up in the morning. You fall asleep quicker at night. Stress dissipates and so does the blood pressure.

I want everyone to feel significant. If you take the time to filter your life for the things that lift you up, you too will want to give back as much as possible.

Thank you

To the people who help me climb to new heights, you know who you are.

Thank you.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments

Total Read Time: 7 Minutes

I been here for years. It’s made me an animal. There’s rules to this. I wrote me a manual.” – Notorious B.I.G.

(Not comprehensive, Very apprehensive)

I’ve worked in restaurants for a decade now, specifically in restaurants that specialize in beer. I was one of the brewers and bartenders at the last restaurant I worked at. I’ve seen first hand, the industry behind alcohol production, sales, and consumption.

What I’m getting at is my exposure to a decade of individuals and circumstances involving alcohol. Without getting into the details…

I take alcohol very seriously.

At least I do now… I feel like I had to see the dark side of moon to realize I don’t like going to the moon so much in the first place. It’s led me to make some internal arrangements for myself: some commandments to live by.

So far, I’ve seen my consumption significantly under control, with the greatest achievement being: Intention.

Let’s go over some common rules before I get into my own. Here are some written in a great tone that touches on the respect for alcohol and more so on the control and intention behind it.

Men’s Health writes 12 rules of Drinking:

  1. Be the master of your own drink
    • I agree: find what you like and stick to that repertoire. More so, if you find something that makes you feel like garbage, forget about it.
  2. Listen to your Liquor
    • This one’s tricky… I think the novelty of paying attention to the drinks throughout the night easily results in you studying in hindsight, “what the hell did I do last night??” Despite the amount of times you’ll check, the answers are not in the toilet.
    • I’d lean more into starting the night with a set amount of drinks, or with a set amount of money, or with a set amount of time.
  3. Drink only enough to do the job
    • What is the job? If you’re drinking to get hammered, there’s better ways of embarrassing yourself. As a social lubricant, it’s a slippery slope if you don’t have your footing. “Know your limits” is what they say. I say, “Know your intention.”
  4. See others through a glass, lightly
    • “In the wise words of Don Marquis, we drink to make our friends more interesting.”… “A shared drink is a conspiracy, a hand extended in the hope that we’ll find common ground…”
    • I love a good night with the boys.
    • Understand your relationship with your friends. If it takes alcohol for you to bear their presence, are they worth your night?
    • I’d say before you pick who you drink with, pick who you’d like to learn from.
  5. Let the wine go to both of your heads
    • “Liquor, daintily done, sharpens the high spirits that want to become romance and sex.”
    • Alcohol is a powerful thing. Again, pick your partner before the liquor picks her for you.
  6. If she’s had too much, Let her go
    • “… a righteous man helps her into a cab, not into the sack.”
    • Women deserve our utmost respect.
      • I am all for gender neutrality and equality, so spare me the judgement as I slip into a patriarchal mindset.
    • When I go out with my woman for drinks, her safety is my priority. Let’s have fun and enjoy a night out, but if, and when, the drinks do their worst: get her home, make sure her contacts come out, and get her some water.
  7. Never measure masculinity in a shot glass
    • I’ve had these friends before…
    • If your accomplishments solely happen at the gym and the bar, congratulations, you’ve peaked in high school.
    • “Men don’t drink fast. Boys do.”
  8. Buy drinks, don’t sell them
    • I don’t know about handing out drinks to people; that get’s pricey.
    • The point is, “A man never encourages a pal to drink.” … “he never exhorts anybody to hit it harder and never implies that reluctance to keep it rolling somehow demotes a man to a mouse.”
    • Abe Lincoln, Muhammad Ali, Warren Buffett, John D. Rockefeller, Gandhi. Some men never touch a drop.
  9. Drink along only when you think alone
    • ”Joseph Conrad wrote that men are drawn to the sea because it gives them a chance to feel their strength.”
    • The advice is to allow alcohol to sharpen your thinking when you’re particularly stuck in your own head.
    • I personally disagree with this one, but it’s worth mentioning, “a drop or two can do wonders for manly contemplation.” A drop or two just too quickly turns into a the sea Joseph liked to test himself in. So I don’t do it.
  10. Master the toast
    • We all know the guy… stands up on the chair and holds up his whiskey… Odd’s are his name is Kai and he learned a new chant during his time abroad in Scotland.
    • We all need a Kai, but we can not all be a Kai.
    • I just don’t have it in me. If I stand up, in my feels, I might just shed a tear before I get the manly toast out.
  11. Respect the sacramental wine
    • Some religions look up to drinking as a way of reaching our inner selves. Sometimes, it makes our sins more bearable.
    • I don’t drink according to any religion other than my own… but if the blood of Christ reaches your glass, drink it on your terms, no one else’s.
  12. Pass these rules on to your children
    • I guess that’s why I’m here, isn’t it? Let me know how I did: I’d love a critique 👌
    • I would love to have this dialed in before my kids are born.

Now for my commandments. Again, some rules are left unsaid, but just in case let’s lead with “Don’t drink and drive: even a $50 Uber from the city is cheaper than a DUI.” Besides, what happened to the good ol’ friend’s couch?

Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments

  1. Never drink alone (Bars don’t count)
    • I told this to a friend who immediately checked for loopholes.
      • Facetime does not count either.
  2. Always be aware of why you are drinking 
    • The drink should come second to your evening. If you’re going out for the company of your friends first, let the drinks flow.
    • Never drink to numb or make feel better
  3. If and when you do drink, enjoy the damn thing.
    • How many people do you know who actually like Natty Light?
    • If you’re going to make your liver work, at least splurge a little and learn what you’re drinking.
      • May I suggest, a build-your-own six pack paired with Randy Mosher’s “Tasting Beer.” Figure out how that Barrel aged milk stout got it’s lactose.
      • Or how about a nice 2016 North Coast Meritage paired with the documentary, “Somm.”
    • Secondly, make the night worth it. Your REM cycles are going to be completely screwed up from your drinking. If you’re going to lose sleep over it, have something to show for your discretions.

“We’re all made of Earth and Air, and so are Beer, Whiskey, and Wine.”

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

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Bibliography

Thank you to all of my family and friends who support and encourage me. I can’t thank you enough.