No limits

I listened to a few interesting podcasts the last couple days that I wanted to note.

The first was from Macronotes, an interview with “dollar bear” Luke Gromen. The conversation was mostly about the US government’s debt to income ratio. Basically, the government doesn’t have enough income from taxes right now to pay the interest on the debt. Basically the only way out of this situation at this point is to inflate the debt away. Historically, this is the way, and instead of taking my word for it you should listen to this interview.

Of course, the conversation turned to bitcoin. Despite the host calling people who invested in bitcoin “idiots”, the guest seems like a strong bitcoin bull, and had a very sophisticated take on the game theory likely to play out between central banks and bitcoin. Frankly put, he said that bitcoin is going to challenge the central bank’s “franchise”, and that they’re likely to respond to this the only way they can, by releasing the downward pressure they’ve been applying to gold, which he says might “put a couple zeroes” at the end of its price.

The other interview I thought was worth mentioning was on Peter Attia’s podcast. This interview was with Professor David Nutt, who studies drugs and the brain, and was a research fellow for the British government when they were trying to demonize MDMA. When he discovered that the research didn’t back the government’s anti-drug agenda and tried to push back, he was sacked. Since then he’s been working on a risk assessment framework to classify drugs by their benefits or harms to individuals or society. By far, he says, the most harmful drug is alcohol, followed by heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Marijuana, LSD and hallucinogens are at the bottom of the list.

Talk about preaching to the choir, I suppose. I told Missus about it and she agrees that we need to do something about our consumption of beer and spirits. She said something telling to me though, that if she was going to stop drinking she was going to have to start smoking weed because she “needs something”. I would much rather smoke — or eat — than drink, to be honest, but rather than giving me a hangover and destroying my liver, I think there are other cognitive issues with smoking weed all the time. I become acclimated to quickly and tend to turn into a heavy pothead.

I hate to even think of being a teetotaler though, I’m so adverse to the thought. I remember fighting with Missus over smoking pot at a couple points during our marriage. She says that we almost got divorced over it. I don’t know whether it was more about the illegality of it or an earlier period where I was out of work and smoking everyday.

So it’s very strange to hear her say that she’d rather risk losing her job than go straightedge. Granted, we’ve been talking about her reFIREment plans for 2024, and she’s never had a test in the decade plus she’s been at her job, nor is likely to.

Still, it says a lot about us that we’re in this situation. I haven’t had a drink since Tuesday, and I guess I credit it to a new focus on mindfulness that I’ve had since I started reading The Mind Illuminated. Recognizing the triggers and the thoughts that my addict brain is having, planning the next drink or the next hit, and just noticing it, without judgment, is helping. Last week or so I decided to make a rule that I wouldn’t drink unless I worked out or ran first. And I needed to work out yesterday. I had some RSI developing in my shoulder and needed to lift some weights to work it out. I almost used it as an excuse to go to the store and buy some beer, but the thought of spending another twenty-five bucks on a couple six packs, and ruining my morning … no thanks.

So I went to bed on time, read my book, and I may have even set an intention to wake up early and increase the amount of time I spend meditating. All I know is that Elder woke me up at four in the morning with a nosebleed, and I was downstairs at five thirty, doing an extended meditation session. And my morning has been very calm. I got Younger ready without making Missus do it, and I’m letting Elder sleep in. I feel good, and I know that if I had gone to the store last night I would probably not be on top of my game this morning.

So the question is if I’m going to go on one of my “diets”. Sixty minute meditations, one or three day fasts, a month without alcohol, I’ve done all of these things in the past, but they’ve never stuck as habits beyond the goals I set for myself. I could do it as they were temporary measures. i guess I first need to figure out what I want, what my rules are. No drinks ever seems too restrictive, but on the other hand, setting limits never worked.

Maybe it’s because I never set them.