Nootropics, Sobriety, and Other Lifestyle Changes

I feel awesome today. That’s weird because things aren’t actually going so well, and as recently as a couple of weeks ago I was stuck in a depression that damn near killed me. Regular readers will recall a startling lack of fresh content here over the last few months, followed by an apology which told the story of some relationship issues that really screwed me up, and helped lead me back to drinking very heavily. I’ve heard of other writers with the exact opposite experience, but alcohol and depression do not help with my creativity at all.

Over the last week or so, however, I’ve been producing content pretty regularly, and feeling much better. I’d like to tell you the story of how that change happened, and I hope it may be of use to others.

Firstly, upon moving to New Hampshire, I immediately had some lifestyle changes. I was eating more home cooked meals, and less fast food. I was drinking less soda. I had a more active lifestyle, and a far more active sex life, than I did while staying in New York. When Josie Wales moved into the house, I made a self deprecating comment about my own weight, and she said it appeared to her that I had lost weight.

I didn’t have a scale in the house at the time to check, but I decided to try on a pair of jeans that hadn’t fit me in some time. To my surprise, these pants that I could barely zip up before, were now a bit loose on me. I was shocked by this because I had still been drinking very heavily, far more than I was in New York, and I always thought of alcohol as the enemy of weight loss.

Josie had suggested we both try to eat healthier and get more exercise. I had initially dismissed this because I figured alcohol would offset any other efforts made, but we started trying to give it a shot. For the first time, I had a fruit bowl in the house. Josie had ideas for salads that made eating vegetables taste good without smothering them in dressings that completely offset the benefits of eating them. I obtained a weight bench and dumbells, and Josie and I started taking walks.

While Josie was still here, I attempted to sober up. I got about a week and a half of sobriety under my belt, but ultimately other stress factors and my own self destructive habits got the better of me. After Josie left, I sorta wallowed in my own self pity and began drinking myself unconscious most nights. Unsurprisingly, this did not help with my depression or my weight loss.

Exercise did make me feel better though, so I bought some leg weights, an ab wheel, a jump rope, and a scale. Before leaving New York I was weighing in at around 260lbs. I was now down to 245lbs, without hardly trying. It occurred to me that when I was first released from jail in 2000, I was 220lbs of solid muscle with great definition in my abs, chest, and arms. It also occurred to me that since I was assigning so much of my depression to my relationships with women, that being back in that kind of shape would certainly open up my options in that realm.

I began exercising during the day, even though I was still drinking at night. I began taking regular walks, lifting weights, and using my ab wheel every day. I also attempted to cut carbs out of my diet, but my drinking at night sort of defeated the purpose.

After the riots at Keene State College, Rapsher and I did a podcast the next day. We got drunk after, and I passed out. Rapsher went home, and I woke up on my couch in the middle of the night. Realizing that going back to sleep would not be easy, I decided to get drunk all over again. I wound up drunk dialing a young lady whom I am very fond of, but lives very far away. I woke up not remembering the conversation and feeling very embarrassed about that. I haven’t drank since, and I now have 8 days alcohol free.

To most people, 8 days alcohol free doesn’t sound like much. When you’re drowning your sorrows every night before bed for months at a time however, 8 days without alcohol is quite the accomplishment. It also makes exercise more rewarding and less punishing. I was better able to stick to my workout routine and began walking for at least two hours a day.


At some point during all of this I saw an advertisement for a free trial of a nootropic supplement called “OptiMind” on Facebook. It said “Be Limitless” and pictured the character from the movie “Limitless” which was an awesome flick that everybody should watch. Nootropics are “smart drugs”. Substances that are supposed to help enhance cognitive function.

I wound up ordering the “free” trial, which costed me $3 for shipping on 10 tablets, which equals 5 doses. They arrived on the 23rd, and I took my first dose on the 24th. I definitely noticed a huge difference. My mind had been in such a fog, preoccupied with so many issues and I was completely unable to get out of my own way. I couldn’t clean, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t solve problems. OptiMind snapped me out of it on the first day, and I was amazed. The only downside to day 1, was that this substance had caffeine in it, I drank a lot of coffee on top of it, and this gave me the jitters, shaky hands, racing heart, etc…

OptiMind Free Trial
OptiMind Free Trial

The next day I decided to make a pot of Maxwell House Lite, which is half decaffeinated. I now had the benefits of the nootropic, without the jitters, and I really felt awesome. That was the day I wrote about Hillary Clinton’s “Businesses don’t create jobs” lunacy. Same routine the next day, when I wrote about the school shooting in Washington, and the warm reception of that article let me know that I was once again hitting them out of the park.

How much of this was thanks to the nootropic, how much of it was thanks to sobriety, how much of it was thanks to exercise, and how much was thanks to time distance from the traumatic events that fed into my depression, I’ll never exactly know. What I do know is that the demarcation between my inability to think, and my publishing of good material, was the nootropic.

OptiMind is very expensive though, and I wasn’t happy about the caffeine in the drug. I have trouble sleeping at night, so I could only take it first thing in the morning. If I wanted a cognitive pick me up in the afternoon or evening, OptiMind was out of the question. It also costed $46 for 30 tablets which is only 15 days supply.

I began researching nootropics. Once upon a time I had considered buying piracetam from Silk Road, and so I wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with the subject. I went to CVS to see if they had AlphaBrain, or Focus Factor, or some other nootropic cocktail, and they had a store brand “Focus Complex” on sale. 60 tablets per bottle, buy one get one free at $19.99. I bought two bottles and began taking these in the afternoon/evening.

A friend of mine is very into supplements and natural health and that sort of thing. I asked his opinion about the substances I was taking, I asked him to look at the ingredients, and it turned out he was very familiar with this stuff. So familiar in fact, that he had bought bulk powder of several nootropic drugs which were sitting in a cabinet of his, all of which, by the way, are completely legal.

He set me up with several bags of capsules he had produced on his own, piracetamaniracetamacetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR)coluracetam, and sulbutiamine. Today I am taking my last dose of OptiMind, (Update 11/23/14, I ended up renewing my OptiMind subscription) and I have added to that 1.5g of piracetam. I’m also taking fish oil, glucosamine, B vitamins, and a calcium+D supplement. I feel great, I’m able to write, and I’m even getting to sleep at night. Last night I didn’t even have to turn the TV on, which is very unusual for me. Most nights, attempting to go to sleep sober is a major challenge, as I will sit in the dark stuck in my own head. Doug Stanhope called this “the carnival”.

My urge to drink is at a minimum. Normally when sobering up I think about alcohol very frequently, and the cravings are as much an obstruction to healthy thinking as the alcohol itself. Not lately. I’m firing on all 8 again, and this is like a high of its own. Interestingly though, piracetam has been used to treat alcoholics who have cognitive troubles as a result of their drinking. As much as I’d like to say “I’m never drinking again” experience leads me to believe I’ll probably pick up again at some point in the future, and it will be interesting to see what effect the nootropics have on that experience.

I’ve also gotten my sexual urges under control. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but for now it is helping me avoid trouble. If there is such a thing as a sex addict, I’d be one. I can make extraordinarily fucked up decisions when pursuing sex, and so once again being satisfied with porn and my fleshlight is a huge relief. For awhile there I was constantly chasing women, both for companionship/emotional comfort, and for casual sex. Right now I’m much more concerned with getting healthy and fixing some financial issues I’m dealing with.

I’ll of course continue to write about liberty, philosophy, politics, and that sort of thing. In the future though, you can expect the subject matter on this blog to widen. I intend to begin writing about my experience and research with nootropics, as well as about health and fitness topics, and sex/dating/relationship topics. I imagine some of you will take positively to these changes, and others not so much.

I do think branching out into different subject matter will have some positive benefits. For one, I find that writing about my experiences helps me understand them better for myself. It also builds a more personal connection with my audience. Finally I hope that a broader range of topics will attract a broader audience, and I can help bring more people to the ideas of liberty, by discussing a wider range of issues from a libertarian perspective. Oh, and if I can make some libertarians happier and healthier in the process, I suppose that’s also of some benefit.

These are very exciting times for me, and I’m so glad to have you all aboard for the ride. Thank you for your continued interest and support.

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Christopher Cantwell comedian, writer, voice artist, and Patriot.

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