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Old 19th Jul 2012, 03:44 AM   #1
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Default Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Before I can say the problem I need to give some background, just to provide some contrast.

So I have a friend who (obviously) I think may have had alcohol poisoning to some degree. He doesn't drink a lot, I think he's only ever drank 5 or 6 times (and he tells me everything so it's not just 5 or 6 times that I know of). Usually over the course of a night he'll have a couple beers and about 20 shots of vodka or tequila or something like that. He's a decently sized guy, medium height, maybe a little on the heavy side. All the times I've seen him drink I'm sober. So while we're hanging out at the party, anybody we talk to (them being drunk or sober) can't even tell he's drunk, much less had anything to drink. I would think he was as dry as me if I hadn't been with him all night. This is usually over the course of a night, so several hours pass where he breaks up the drinking pretty evenly.

Now to the problem. The other night we were at a friend's house, just a few people hangin out, and the guy who lived there broke out the drinks. Over the course of an hour, maybe less, my friend took 20 shots of jagermeister. At first he seemed fine, but then his motor skills began to get worse, his speech slurred, basically he got legitimately drunk for the first time. He then proceeded to puke his guts out and spend the night in the bathroom. In the morning when he came out, I'm sad to say, there was some dried vomit on his shirt, as well as some red stuff, which I think could have been blood. He was throwing up frequently and violently.

According to him, and since I hung out with him later it seems likely, he was hungover for around 40 hours. Now, obviously there are sure signs of alcohol poisoning, but this guy is tough. He's really resilient whether it comes to external or internal damage, and sometimes he lets that go to his head. I want to talk to him about it, but I don't know if I should even be worrying....maybe he is as tough as everyone thinks he is, but he's my friend...I just don't want to make it seem like I'm worrying over nothing.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 11:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

I'm not sure exactly what the question is.

Did he have alcohol poisoning? Almost certainly. 20 shots of Jager (or any hard alcohol) in a time period of an hour or two is way more than enough to kill someone. That's why he threw up; it was his body protecting itself. But enough of it had already metabolized to put him in a pretty dangerous state.

The blood could be from putting too much strain from vomiting a bunch. It happens, and it is usually self-limiting unless blood is gushing out.

Depending on how long ago this happened, if he basically seems to be OK, he's probably fine.

Now the bigger question is: Did he learn anything from this. He literally could die from doing dumb shit like that, so hopefully he won't do it again. But at a certain point, there's only so much anyone can do to stop someone from making dumb decisions.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Oh wow. You should consider how wise it is to drink with him again if he ever starts doing that. There could be legal repercussions for that, the least of which would be because you're underage (is he as well?).

Like, Chip, I'm unsure what the question is. It's really dangerous to do what he did. The best thing to do once you've got too much alcohol in your system to process normally (and thus you start throwing it up and you just keep throwing it up until you've got nothing left but your body still wants to be rid of it so you just keep dry heaving) is to eat crackers if you can and sip water if you can't. Yes, you'll just throw them back up, but that's the point. Getting something in you to absorb some of the alcohol so you can throw it up and get it out of your system will help. From what I've seen of alcohol poisoning, you'll be dry heaving anyway =/. The sooner you get it out of your system, the better.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 08:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Chip: It happened a few days ago, he just got over the hangover, I've just been trying to figure out how to talk to him about it. I've talked to some of our mutual friends already, and we're all in agreeance that he should be dead after that. But as we're all either too young to drink or too new, none of us are sure if its a legitimate concern, or we're just worrying too much.

Sherri: Like I said, I wasn't drinking. He is legal to drink though.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 05:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Your friend is lucky to be alive. If he wouldn't have thrown up, chances are that he wouldn't be alive. He's also lucky that he didn't continue throwing up after he passed out.

The general rule is that every shot (which is about 1.5 oz or 45 ml) of alcohol takes about an hour for your body to process. So, a drink like a Long Island Iced Tea that has 3-4 shots takes about 3-4 hours to get out of your system. That rate is the same whether you're a small girl or a big guy. So, your friend consumed about 20 hours of alcohol in an hour. That's a lethal amount.

Binge drinking and drinking games are very popular for people in the 18-24 age range. But what your friend did was beyond just binge drinking. He's got a problem. And unless he gets control of the problem, it may kill him.

You can talk to him about it but it's very hard to get people with alcohol problems to change their behavior until they come to realize that they have a problem.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 05:18 AM   #6
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

I'm assuming you're saying it's a good thing he didn't throw up when he was passed out otherwise he could have choked?

And while it does take the same amount of time to get out of your system, there are people who have a high alcohol resistance. Everybody's body breaks down alcohol at different rates.

It's not so much that he has a problem, like I said he had never been drunk before because he has such a high tolerance, and from what i gathered, he kept drinking simply because he was happy that he COULD get drunk.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 02:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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And while it does take the same amount of time to get out of your system, there are people who have a high alcohol resistance. Everybody's body breaks down alcohol at different rates.
That much is true; a career alcoholic can handle an amount of alcohol that would kill a first-timer. But as I understand it, the rate at which alcohol is metabolized tends to be more constant, except for people such as native american types that are genetically slower in metabolizing alcohol.

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It's not so much that he has a problem, like I said he had never been drunk before because he has such a high tolerance, and from what i gathered, he kept drinking simply because he was happy that he COULD get drunk.
I think this is what KB is saying; now that he knows he can, it sounds like he may be at high risk for abusive drinking and alcoholism. I know this is a term that a lot of young people don't like to hear or think about, but it's a dismal, lifelong problem if it isn't addressed. If he's just doing it once and that's the end of it then fine, but if he were to be this stupid even one more time, he could die. And that's what's concerning.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 03:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

I don't know whether it's true or not, or it's just another stereotype, but he's part russian....so there's that.

Ya, I talked to him this morning and he said he regrets drinking that much....especially in that short of a time.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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he said he regrets drinking that much....especially in that short of a time.
I might be reading too much into this but the "especially in that short of a time" qualifier is a bit alarming. 20 shots of Jager is too much, period, whether over 3 hours or 8 hours. It is indicative of a problematic drinking problem. Just sayin'
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 04:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Like i said before though, usually through the night he would have a couple beers and about 20 shots, and he'd be fine.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 04:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Yes, but the very fact that he usually drinks such a huge amount, that as his friend you expect that from him - that that is his 'normal', is a very bad sign. No matter how big you are, twenty shots a night is NOT healthy (I'm actually surprised this is the first trouble he's had). To me this would read as a warning sign that he already has a major problem. I'm in college, and some of my friends can drink quite a lot when they go out, but I don't know anyone (male or female, of any size) who regularly drinks that much.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 04:42 PM   #12
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Again, it's not regularly. He's only drank a hand full of times in his life.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 07:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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Again, it's not regularly. He's only drank a hand full of times in his life.
And that's how nearly all alcoholics (or any other addicts) start. Occasionally here or there, once every couple of months... then once a month... then every other weekend... and so forth. Of course, this isn't always the case, but it's something to watch out for. Oh, and... there are plenty of "binge" alcoholics who only drink every few weeks, but when they do, they eventually get to a point where they go on a 2 or 3 or 5 day bender.

The point is, normal, healthy people don't drink 20 shots in one night, whether over 2 hours or over 10. That's simply excessive alcohol intake. It would be similar to having back pain and taking 20 Vicodins instead of 1 or 2.

If the pattern continues, or even if he does the same thing again once out of the blue, it's an indication that there's a problem. Whether it's your place to point that out is something different entirely, and a decision you'll have to make, we're just trying to point out that it isn't "normal and ordinary" behavior.
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Old 20th Jul 2012, 07:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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Again, it's not regularly. He's only drank a hand full of times in his life.
And that's how nearly all alcoholics (or any other addicts) start. Occasionally here or there, once every couple of months... then once a month... then every other weekend... and so forth. Of course, this isn't always the case, but it's something to watch out for. Oh, and... there are plenty of "binge" alcoholics who only drink every few weeks, but when they do, they eventually get to a point where they go on a 2 or 3 or 5 day bender.

The point is, normal, healthy people don't drink 20 shots in one night, whether over 2 hours or over 10. That's simply excessive alcohol intake. It would be similar to having back pain and taking 20 Vicodins instead of 1 or 2.

If the pattern continues, or even if he does the same thing again once out of the blue, it's an indication that there's a problem. Whether it's your place to point that out is something different entirely, and a decision you'll have to make, we're just trying to point out that it isn't "normal and ordinary" behavior.
I disagree somewhat when you say normal healthy people don't necessarily that much and that pretty much dictates that he will become an addict. Like the OP's friend I don't tend to drink that much and when I do, I control myself for the most part and monitor how much I drink. That being said, on my last birthday, my friends threw me a party and of course there was alcohol. Because it was my party and because I had just turned 20 I drank much more than I normally do (especially in shots). Long story short, I ended up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, where I was put on an IV and such. Now, was what I did good or smart? Of course not. But that does not mean that I'm going to become an alcoholic because of it. Have I drank like that since that night? No, I haven't. I've gone back to drinking in the same safer moderation that I normally do on special occasions (I don't really drink on typical days). Does that mean that I won't drink like that ever again? Not necessarily. There's bound to be a time in the future that I'll end up losing control (most likely on my 21st birthday). Now I'm not saying I'd drink AS MUCH as the previous birthday and land myself in the hospital, but odds are that I'll end up being pretty drunk. Point being, even if a person does drink a little excessively on more than occasion, it does not necessarily mean that they have become an alcoholic. If the times are separated by a decent period of time and if there is a specific reason for it, I do not think that one can assume that the person is suffering from alcoholism.

That being said, I think the OP should just pay attention to how his friend acts in the recent future. If he quickly does something like that again, then you should probably step in as a good friend and tell him there may be an issue.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 01:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

Well Jonathan, thanks for bringing up a view that wasn't obviously waited against this instance. Most of his drinking is separated by several weeks, if not a few months. I really think he has learned his lesson (as well as realizing he's not as tolerant as he though he was)
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 01:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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I disagree somewhat when you say normal healthy people don't necessarily that much and that pretty much dictates that he will become an addict.
Just for the record, I made the first statement (which I stand by), but i did not make the second, nor imply it.

I did say that all addicts start out that way (which is basically true), but certainly not all binge drinkers become addicts. If that were the case, then 3/4 of all college students would be alcoholics.
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Old 21st Jul 2012, 04:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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And while it does take the same amount of time to get out of your system, there are people who have a high alcohol resistance. Everybody's body breaks down alcohol at different rates.
That much is true; a career alcoholic can handle an amount of alcohol that would kill a first-timer. But as I understand it, the rate at which alcohol is metabolized tends to be more constant, except for people such as native american types that are genetically slower in metabolizing alcohol.
Chip is correct.

What's confusing is that the process of getting drunk is related to food in your stomach, your body size and other factors. This is because getting drunk is a matter of the concentration of alcohol in your blood. If you give a small guy a shot of alcohol and you give a big guy a shot of alcohol, the small guy will get drunk faster because he has less blood volume and the alcohol will be at a higher concentraiton (the ratio of the amount of blood to the amount of alcohol).

It's the process of sobering up that is constant. Our bodies produce alcohols as a byproduct of metabolism. As such, we have natural enzymes (alcohol dehydrogenases) in our bodies that break down alcohols. The amount of that enzyme and the rate that it breaks down the alcohol is the same for everyone regardless of weight or any other factor. So, everyone- regardless of size or any other factor- is capable of processing about 45 ml of hard liquor in an hour.

Chip's mention of some ethnic groups being unable to process alcohol normally is actually the result of variances in enzymes that metabolize alcohol. Several ethnic Asian groups have a deficiency of one enzyme used in the metabolic breakdown of alcohol and often can't drink. Although interestingly enough, American Indians don't have this particular problem- some tribes actually have an enzyme abnormality that increases their breakdown of alcohol which- in theory- would make them less likely to become alcoholics. But that doesn't seem to be true- we really don't know why they have such dramatically high rates of alcoholism but we do know that their alcoholism is connected with binge-drinking.


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I think this is what KB is saying; now that he knows he can, it sounds like he may be at high risk for abusive drinking and alcoholism.
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Again, it's not regularly. He's only drank a hand full of times in his life.
The point is, normal, healthy people don't drink 20 shots in one night, whether over 2 hours or over 10.
But that does not mean that I'm going to become an alcoholic because of it. Have I drank like that since that night? No, I haven't. I've gone back to drinking in the same safer moderation that I normally do on special occasions (I don't really drink on typical days). Does that mean that I won't drink like that ever again? Not necessarily. There's bound to be a time in the future that I'll end up losing control (most likely on my 21st birthday).
This probably goes to the stereotypes about alcoholics- that they all drink excessively or that they have a physical dependency on alcohol.

Alcoholism takes two forms- abuse and dependence. What all forms have in common is that there's a problem stopping once they start drinking and that the person continues drinking in spite of the adverse consequences of drinking.

Often alcohol abuse is self-medicating away another problem- social anxiety, depression, anger- and as I heard one person describe it- "alcoholism is when alcohol is both the cause of and the solution to every problem".

Recovering alcoholics will tell you that they are alcoholics even if they haven't had a drink in years. It's the way that they use alcohol and the impulse to have a drink that makes them an alcoholic.

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Old 21st Jul 2012, 05:03 AM   #18
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

As much as I usually agree with Chip, I honestly don't think I really agree on this one. I'm gonna go ahead and agree with Jonathan, instead.

It's a bit insulting to read that normal, healthy people don't drink that much, to judge them like that. I get drunk pretty much at least once every weekend, and sometimes it involves amounts similar if not bigger than OP's friend. And just like Jonathan, I've been in the hospital before, as well.

This does not mean I'm anywhere near an alcoholic, or ever will be; I could go without alcohol for weeks if I wanted to (obviously I don't, cause.. well.. what 19 year old does that lol, but I know that I could), neither do I drink for the wrong reasons.. I just like it.
I mean eeeeeveryone says they'll "never drink again" the morning after. But we all do the same thing the next week. Does this mean we have a problem? No, it means we're young. Now you might argue today's youth is a bit fucked up, and to some degree I agree, but we'll grow up eventually, too, without the alcohol.

So.. I don't think OP's friend's accessive drinking necessarily indicates a problem.. If so, then a looooooot of teenagers these days have some serious issues.

Sorry if anyone thinks I'm underestimating the problem, but this is my honest opinion.

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Old 21st Jul 2012, 08:36 PM   #19
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As much as I usually agree with Chip, I honestly don't think I really agree on this one. I'm gonna go ahead and agree with Jonathan, instead.

It's a bit insulting to read that normal, healthy people don't drink that much, to judge them like that.
That's not a judgement, it's a statement, and comes from the recovery community, where "normal" just means "most", without any other implications.

So... most people do not, in fact, drink 20 shots of alcohol in one night. In fact, most people probably don't drink 20 shots of alcohol in a week. Now in some cultures where drinking is much heavier than others, that may not be the case, but in the US, that data holds among a majority of the population.

Quote:
I get drunk pretty much at least once every weekend, and sometimes it involves amounts similar if not bigger than OP's friend. And just like Jonathan, I've been in the hospital before, as well.

This does not mean I'm anywhere near an alcoholic, or ever will be; I could go without alcohol for weeks if I wanted to (obviously I don't, cause.. well.. what 19 year old does that lol, but I know that I could), neither do I drink for the wrong reasons.. I just like it.
No offense... and I'm not saying you're an alcoholic... but "I could stop any time I want to" is exactly what every addict says. Go into any rehab center and every person in there will tell you that's what they said any time anyone questioned them. So the real test is: Have you actually done so? If not, can you? If you can honestly (not theoretically) go 3 months with no alcohol, then clearly you aren't an alcoholic. But to know whether you can, you'd have to actually do it.

I was talking with an EC member who was using methamphetamine. It was clear to me that he had a dependency, but he absolutely denied it, and said he could stop any time. So I challenged him to stop. He agreed to do so. Two days later, he spoke to me and acknowledged that he wasn't able to go without... and that was the beginning of an understanding and acceptance for him that he did actually have a problem. (For the record, virtually no one can use any amount of methamphetamine without becoming addicted, just to be clear.)

As I said earlier, there's no question that a majority of college students drink to excess. Quite a few of those don't later go on to have lifelong problems with alcohol or other drugs. But a significant portion of them do. And it can be very, very hard to discern one from the other.

One thing that is worth considering: Debbie Ford, in her book "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers", talks about the way we react to things said to us. When we are very quick to take offense, and be insulted, by something that isn't even stated directly at us... often times, it's our unconscious putting up a defense to something we're afraid of. So sometimes, if you find yourself being violently offended because, for example, somebody says that drinking 20 shots of alcohol in a night is a sign you might have a drinking problem... it's your unconscious acknowledging that this might, indeed, be the case.

Again, not in all cases... just something to think about
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Old 22nd Jul 2012, 10:32 AM   #20
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Default Re: Minor alcohol poisoning? (People with drinking experience)

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That's not a judgement, it's a statement, and comes from the recovery community, where "normal" just means "most", without any other implications. *

So... most people do not, in fact, drink 20 shots of alcohol in one night. *In fact, most people probably don't drink 20 shots of alcohol in a week. *Now in some cultures where drinking is much heavier than others, that may not be the case, but in the US, that data holds among a majority of the population.
Well, I still think it's somewhat of a judgement, as it implies that everyone who drinks that much is not normal and not healthy. And to me, "normal" has a slighly different meaning than the one you described. But.. ok, if that's how you truly meant it, then I guess you're right. Although if based on that meaning you're not "normal", that doesn't necessarily mean you're not healthy either.

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No offense... and I'm not saying you're an alcoholic... but "I could stop any time I want to" is exactly what every addict says. Go into any rehab center and every person in there will tell you that's what they said any time anyone questioned them. So the real test is: Have you actually done so? If not, can you? If you can honestly (not theoretically) go 3 months with no alcohol, then clearly you aren't an alcoholic. But to know whether you can, you'd have to actually do it.

I was talking with an EC member who was using methamphetamine. It was clear to me that he had a dependency, but he absolutely denied it, and said he could stop any time. So I challenged him to stop. He agreed to do so. Two days later, he spoke to me and acknowledged that he wasn't able to go without... and that was the beginning of an understanding and acceptance for him that he did actually have a problem. (For the record, virtually no one can use any amount of methamphetamine without becoming addicted, just to be clear.)
Well, three months is a really long time, so.. it's not that I couldn't, but I'm not gonna do that because those would be quite boring three months (and yes I know how that sounds, but there's a difference between I don't want to and I can't!).

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One thing that is worth considering: Debbie Ford, in her book "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers", talks about the way we react to things said to us. When we are very quick to take offense, and be insulted, by something that isn't even stated directly at us... often times, it's our unconscious putting up a defense to something we're afraid of. So sometimes, if you find yourself being violently offended because, for example, somebody says that drinking 20 shots of alcohol in a night is a sign you might have a drinking problem... it's your unconscious acknowledging that this might, indeed, be the case.
I feel like you're obviously implying something here, so being the competitive person that I am.. how about a month? If I don't make it, I'll be the first to admit I have a problem. Which I don't.

I'll stop posting here now.. just wanted to give my opinion
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