Special thanks to Misha Priv
for translating this article into English.

Visit Misha’s website: Thetawrite

Russian version can be found on I CAN CHANGE MY LIFE website:

Journey through Hell… and doctors’ offices

Greetings, dear friends! My name is Sergey Terpenev. Although not anonymous, but I am an alcoholic with extensive experience. I started drinking systematically at the age of 25. Being 57 now and minus 3 years of sobriety, the result is close to 30 years of alcoholism. The hangovers for the last 10-12 years were so bad that in order not to kick the bucket I drank practically anything with any alcohol content, including mouthwash.

The medical term for this condition is the “withdrawal syndrome,” it can be very painful, sometimes deadly. I have experienced the symptoms many times: intense sweating, fever, depression, ungrounded fears, vomiting—with practically no substance, just bile—hallucinations, affecting both hearing and sight, alcohol-induced coma, heart failure. And a couple of additional symptoms, too embarrassing to mention here or even to remember.

Practically all alcoholics who truly crossed the line of dependency go through this ugliness. Quite in addition to our personal experiences, imagine the Hell we put our loved ones through when they have to see us in such condition. And so it goes from one drinking binge to the next. It is fascinating that a few days after a binge we, the alcoholics, would swear on the mother’s grave that we’d never again as much as sniff, not to mention touch, this poison. We’d insist with absolute conviction that we passionately hate alcohol or even that actually none of this ever even happened.

So what is going on with our mind, body and soul? What is forcing us to start drinking again every time?

Not being completely gone as a human being, I searched for the answer or at least attempted to postpone the next binge. I tried the following:

1. Hypnosis, Dovzhenko method.

Looked impressive! I attended a lecture given by one of the followers of Dovzhenko who, for an additional fee, gave those who wanted it a session of hypnotism. This is how it went:

Hypnotist: “So… have you been drinking long? Oh! Wow! Your brain is very suggestible.” While talking, he would move his hands around my head, without touching it. Then “For how long a period would you like to quit drinking? Three years? Very good…” and suddenly he’d yell, “You will not drink! You will not drink! You will not drink!” And that was the entire procedure! I had my next binge in two months. At that time hangovers were not so terrible. It was later, when overwhelmed by revulsion toward myself, I’d ask God for death. But that was much later.

2. Pills.

There is an American drug Topiramate and its Russian counterparts Teturam and Antabus that supposedly cure alcohol dependency by blocking out lever. The danger is severe lever damage if the patient continues his drinking despite the drug. Too dangerous if you ever drink again.

3. Hospital

As an Army officer on active duty I was admitted into the Military Hospital near Moscow with the Post-Traumatic Syndrome diagnosis. As soon as I had my first binge at the hospital I was transferred from the lenient and respectable Neurosurgery Department, where I was allowed to wear my shoulder bars, to the Psych Ward. There, at that last line of defense, I went through my full alcohol combat training with the fellow officers—all drug or alcohol addicts.

Yes, life is full of pleasures. I tried a multitude of tranquilizers, including very strong ones, that turn your brain into jelly. The psychiatrists tried their best to help me, the young Army Captain in dire straits. I thank God that alcohol was more acceptable to my tortured body than those “medications” that doctors fully legally pumped into me.

Later in life I met a few of my old friends from that clinic who became full-blown tranquilizers and amphetamines addicts. I will not describe their predicament here, you probably know from books and movies what that addiction looks like.

As I completed the “treatment” course, my “healers” had me sign a paper that I was briefed on the lethal consequences of introducing alcohol inside my chemically altered body for a period of five years. Having protected themselves against unpleasant consequences, they have also implanted six pills into fat tissues slightly below my back.

Thus, with the experience gleaned at the Psych Ward and free “education” from my battle-seasoned roommate teachers, I have left the Hospital and later the Army as a true professional in the area of drug and alcohol addiction. I was able to give other addicts 100 percent workable advices on how to minimize losses and walk off intact from the battle with the almighty withdrawal symptoms. The advices mainly had to do with various prescription drugs that would reduce suffering.

In civilian life I started a business which, in Russia, put a lot of strain of all my surviving brain cells and demanded inhuman energy. Where are you going to get the brain cells or the energy if you are always wasted on prescription drugs? I found a solution: 4 – 5 tranquilizer pills before sleep every night and then some bad-ass uppers in the morning. Such a regimen now would have most likely assured me a place on the nearest cemetery.

4. A personal physician–toxicologist.

It was 1991. I had some money now and so decided to hire a toxicologist who also happened to be a surgical anesthesiologist with a great deal of experience in getting dead people back to life. He took me off all the pills and even cleaned out the pills they sawed into my… well, below my back. I could afford a detoxification at home, with an IV and even artificial breathing apparatus.

Life is striped and sooner or later you hit a black stripe. My super-business turned out to be too much to handle for me. I ended up in the USA with nothing. Although I was afraid to drink for the first few months in America, my drinking problem came back as soon as I started earning some money. Things went just like before only at the opposite side of the globe.

(To be continued…)

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