My last drink was on December 27th 2015. Perhaps with just three months sobriety under my belt, it’s a tad early to say my addiction is “cured”. Indeed, I am still but a sober alcoholic and that will likely be the case for as long as I’m alive, but in my two decades of unrepentant alcoholism I’ve had a few such periods of sobriety, and there is something remarkably different about this one. To understand that difference, I should rewind a little bit.
The first time I got drunk I was 14 years old. I had smoked marijuana and taken LSD and mushrooms prior to this, I had even had a few drinks. But this was the first time I got drunk, and I really took to it right away. Amongst the many things I liked about alcohol was, it quickly became associated with sex. The first time I got drunk, I kissed one of the more attractive women I had ever managed to pull at that time. I had my eyes on her for a long time, and always thought she was out of my league. Marijuana and other drugs, if anything, made me less likely to approach a woman. I was paranoid, self conscious, the idea of being rejected scared the hell out of me.
Alcohol had the exact opposite effect. I was bold. I went for what I wanted, and I got it. Slurred speech and red eyes were of little hindrance to a fearless Christopher Cantwell.
As the years went on, I continued to drink. Heavily. With few exceptions I never drank during the day, but the fearless belligerent drunkard alcohol made of me in the evenings became a part of my character that stayed with me during the days after some time. It helped me advance my career in the IT industry, boldly demanding salary increases and positions of greater power and respect from my superiors. It didn’t hurt that I was very intelligent and good at what I did, but I always knew on some level that my arrogant belligerence was to just as great a degree responsible for my advancement. So to the extent alcohol diminished my performance, it was offset by what it added to my boldness.
When alcohol landed me with my 2nd drunk driving charge, and I faced 4.5 years in a State prison in New York, I studied for my legal defense. This is when I stumbled across Michael Badnarik’s Introduction to the Constitution, and became a radical libertarian. I got involved in politics, ran for congress, and became pretty well known in libertarian circles. To anyone involved in that world it would come as no surprise, alcohol was a regular part of that social scene, and I navigated it well.
For a long time I credited alcohol with all these great things that had gone on, and whatever downsides it brought with it seemed a small price to pay for all that. Whenever I considered quitting, I always thought I was giving up on what had brought me all these experiences I had really come to value. A daily hangover seemed a small price to pay for popularity and money and recognition.
Over time my hangovers grew in severity. I needed not only booze, but pills as well to sleep at night. Something had changed, and alcohol’s price for the benefits provided was skyrocketing.
In 2014, I decided to quit drinking. I also decided to lose some weight and get some exercise. That didn’t last very long, and with the anxiety of going to see my family for Thanksgiving, I decided now was as good a time as any for what I saw as an inevitable relapse. It started off semi reasonable, but as it always does, my drinking became a daily habit and I was drunk or hungover through most of 2015.
As the Republican primary began to ramp up, I figured I was in for the usual circle jerk nonsense. Even Rand Paul, the highest of hopes for those of the libertarian persuasion, was quite lackluster and stood little chance of making any real impact. I thought of Donald Trump as some power hungry hack who would bring America to its utter destruction should he be elected, though I figured that quite unlikely at the time. The rest of the candidates, well, I had heard quite enough from them well before they decided to run for president.
Some had suggested I should study the immigration issue a bit more, instead of jumping to the popular orthodoxy amongst self described libertarians that open borders was awesome. I did this, and realized that position was terribly misguided. The kind of subsidized mass immigration we see today is nothing resembling peaceful market activity, it is a government program which threatens the survival of modern western civilizations.
This wasn’t the first time I had changed my mind about a political issue, but there was something very jarring about this realization. I’ve long seen the government as a threat to my safety, but this was something very different. It wasn’t just a threat to my personal safety, or some kind of moral problem, or some issue that might be fixed at a later time. This was a threat to something greater, and a timer was ticking away the seconds with which this threat had to be addressed before it was too late. My identity? Perhaps, but even greater than that. I feared for the survival not only of myself and who/what I was, but about the survival of all those who shared in my culture and genetic heritage. I came to the conclusion I was the target of a systemic genocide, and we wouldn’t just be erased from the planet, but from the historic record. We wouldn’t just cease to exist, it would be as though we never had existed.
This to me was quite troubling. We often see government squander wealth, but tragic as that may be, and I don’t mean to minimize in any way the tragedy that squandered wealth is, wealth can be replaced even if the effort that it took to create it cannot. We’ve seen governments sacrifice countless individual lives in senseless wars, and each of those lives lost is an irreplaceable loss and immeasurable crime against all of mankind, but on the aggregate society has always to some measure recovered.
Cultures and genetic stock are another story. Countless cultures have ceased to exist throughout history, and we’re terribly unlikely to see another dodo bird. For perhaps the first time, I came to the conclusion that these things were not only worth preserving, but profoundly wonderful things that someone would have to be unspeakably evil to let be destroyed.
I personally had become so consumed by my quarrels with the State, that I had allowed my hatred of that institution to bleed into my feelings about my fellow man, and civilization in general. I’d have watched the world burn, if only to see the State burn with it. In short, I was part of the problem. If I wanted to be part of the solution, I was going to have to start by improving myself, and alcohol was standing in the way of that.
But Donald Trump did more than stir up a nativist or nationalist sentiment in me. I identified with his boldness, his willingness to stand in the face of immense criticism and say what needed to be said, his unorthodox style of dealing with people, and the success that it brought. In fact, he (obviously) has had a great deal more success than I. It was in no small part due to all of this bravado, and he managed to do it all without alcohol.
In a way, it feels sort of pathetic and humbling. I spent many years identifying my forcefulness with my drinking. I accepted the weight gain, the health problems, and the social stigma that came with it because I thought that cost was offset by some benefit I was gaining. The difference between now and other times I’ve sobered up is, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything.
Today I realize I had it the whole time, and those costs were incurred for no reason whatsoever. Alcohol never helped me any more than the government did. They both have been little more than increasing burdens on my ability to get things done, portraying themselves as necessary parts of my life. I could have always gotten the girl, the promotion, the raise, the social status, and avoided the hangovers, the slurred speech, the mistakes, and the legal problems.
In fact, that’s what I’m doing right now. It feels great, and we’re going to make America great again. One American at a time if need be, starting with me. I invite you all to come along, and for those of you who decline the invitation, I’m sorry to say that you will be left in our dust. We can’t be a great country if we’re not a great people, and we can’t be a great people if we’re sacrificing tomorrow’s health and productivity for tonight’s cheap thrill.
I hope Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States. I expect that he will. But even if he doesn’t, he’s changed America and the course of world history forever. He has inspired me and countless others to strive for greatness in our own lives and for our civilizations. He has shattered the rules of politics, shown that boldness is a path to victory, and that you don’t have to be a drunk to speak bluntly.
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