The Hardest Lesson

If you noticed by the lack of posting, some stray tweets, and my announcement the other day about a family issue, you know I’ve been going through some life changes. It’s been very hard to find the motivation to continue writing while in a deeply depressed state like this. But if I don’t start soon, I will be doomed to months or even years of sorrow and regret. That’s simply something I can’t allow myself to slip into, or problems will only get worse. I’m writing that as much to myself as I am to you. This is the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn in my life.

I didn’t think this blog would amount to anything when it started. I made some early hits, and the attention exploded. I didn’t become rich, and I still struggle to make this a full-time livable job. Still, the pressure became very tough. I began to neglect my personal relationships in favor of posting about the latest SJW nutcase or GamerGate happening. I let my internet rivalries and news-gathering eclipse everything else. I lost sight of what the important things in life are, and now I’m paying for it.

I’m not going to get into the exact nature of my problem, because it really doesn’t matter. We all go through terrible things. “Life is suffering,” as the saying goes. But things move on, even if you want to turn the clock back to a previous and possibly happier time. You can’t will it to happen. There’s no point in dwelling on the things you cannot change. Take the (short) time you need to grieve and then move on. The future may bring about the result you want,or maybe an even better one that you hadn’t considered, but you can’t allow the present depression to consume you. Beat it back with family and through making yourself a better man.f6720ba09afbf5a184765e093d4561b2

The only other option is to give in to pain and feed your worst demons. Personally, I have a problem with drinking, much like my old friend Leigh Alexander. I’ve decided to quit, for good. It’s cost me too much and it isn’t worth it. In fact, any substance abuse has turned out to be a massive time and money sink for me, and has held me back from accomplishing my goals. So I’m giving it all up. Your demon might not be drink or the occasional toke. Maybe something else cost you dearly. Give that shit up and don’t look back. Whether it helps you achieve your immediate goal(s) is not important. Making the tough changes you need to make now, while at your lowest point, will improve your chances at long-term happiness. Ignoring what got you into this mess will only lead to an entire lifetime of failure, unhappiness, and possibly worse.

I want to thank all the people who have reached out to me during my time of obvious despair. No less than fifty people, some of whom I never talk to (and even a few enemies), personally messaged me in one way or another with their support. I simply cannot express how much that means to me. I’m still flattered everyday that people care enough about my work to even come here to the site. So for them to also care enough about me to be worried about my physical well-being? It’s even more heart-warming. I will make it through this. I don’t have any other choice, and neither do the rest of you.

That’s why I say my story is hardly unique. We’ve all lost things or fucked up our lives in some way. But the important thing is to keep working on this thing called life. You’ll never forget the memories, both good and bad. But memories aren’t what truly matter, as much as they mean to us. What matters is the here and now. Guess what? The here and now doesn’t give a shit that you’re sad. So get off your ass and get to work.

That’s what I’m going to do.

Image HTML map generator

Ethan Ralph

Founder, Owner, & Editor-in-Chief of TheRalphRetort.com. Political fiend, gamer, & anti-bullshit.

  • JackDandy

    Go fucking do it. Go win.
    The present time is precious, and a “daily routine” is awful if it’s keeping you in place while you want something more.

    • I got much too complacent in a myriad of ways and it cost me big. Everyone should guard against that tendency.

  • MacNillus

    Good of you deciding to kick your drinking. Good luck. Hope you will succeed.

  • Les Ismor

    Dude, I drank like the proverbial fish (never mind the heroin) for over two decades. It took me demolishing my life, ruining every relationship I ever had, and several suicide attempts for me to figure out that it was probably a bad idea to continue. I did exactly what you’re advocating here, and my life has gotten immeasurably better.

    Whether you decide to go the program route or not (I didn’t, it’s kinda culty and lots of the people are dicks. People down here get kinda shitty when they realize I have over 4 years clean, and people they love and support STILL go in and out), remember that all that matters is that you do what’s best FOR YOU.

    • Anna Dewitt

      That’s what I think is another of the many strengths of the community that has been built from this. People from all walks of life, all types of situations come together and support each other and the common goals, without judgement.

      I also have dealt with addiction and, in the time since getting clean, things have been way better on the whole than they were back when I was using. I wish you all the best Ralph and if I’ve learned nothing else, is that honesty with one’s self is paramount. You have to do this for you, be honest about why you want it and how you feel, and then that honesty and change flows downhill and spreads.

      Good luck man.

  • Olympion

    Sorry to hear that you’re going through such hard times, but I’m glad to see that you seem to have the right mindset and that you’re able to write so compellingly about it – writing can be a great form of therapy, obviously because you get to express yourself, but also because you actually get a sense of accomplishment out of it, that you’re producing something that’s at a minimum valuable to yourself, and which may well be valuable to other people going through similar situations as well.

    • I thought about various ways to write this. One of them was much more personal, but I decided that it wasn’t necessary to go into too much detail about the negative event. The much more important part of the narrative is picking yourself up from a disaster, which could apply to any number of things. So I just kept it focused on that.

      Also, yes, it was very therapeutic to write. I basically HAD to do it.

  • David Weizades

    Best of luck, you deserve it. You’ve taken tons of flack the past few months without falling back on the old “victim”/Patreon shtick so Kudos for that. 🙂

  • Hawk Hopper

    Stay strong, man.

  • masterninja

    The most meaningful victories are always the ones you have over yourself…But they are also the hardest battles to fight.

    Keep yourself motivated and go at it with pure intentions and you will beat this and afterwards knowing and recognizing you have will give you more mental strength to build on and move forward with.

    I know the right kind of atitude when i see it but atitude is something you have to work at to keep it alive its easy on good days and can seem impossible on bad ones. But thats when it counts and thats probably the best advice i can give really.

    • Thank you, Ninja. It’s very easy to sit here and preach this mentality, but putting it into practice is much more difficult. Now I go about the arduous task of doing just that. But like you said, when I overcome this, I will be even stronger and better able to face life’s guaranteed heartaches.

      • hurin

        Best wishes for the future.

  • God man, you understand this type of pain very well. If only I had been Straight Edge! Lol, I used to laugh at that, but now I wish that I would have adopted it sooner. Thank you for the positive comments.

  • trunker

    I hope for the best ralph, 🙂

  • Braxus_Ravenguard

    Good luck man. I’d give you a pat on the back if I could, but seeing as I am half-way across the world, know that you have my support.

    Best wishes, Ralph.

  • the red army

    it may seem silly but go listen to nixons farewell speech to his staff… where he talks about teddy roosevelt and the light fading from his life… remember its a beginning always

  • Dear Ralph Retort, you are human that is figthing a monsters that is beyond us, It has eating our lives for the last 8 months, is too much for all of us, you deserve a rest and you need to rest, you have done great things, defeted giants, Leigh, go to your love ones, they need you, give them strenght, as you give us strength to fight this war, we will give this monsters a run for their money, but please, get well because you are a great guy, a brave guy… a good guy.

    • Thx, Jorge. You’ve been a loyal reader and I appreciate what you said here.

  • GuitarAnthony

    We’ll all be the DDP to your Scott Hall. We got your back, brother.

  • Dr. Michael Poole

    Good post Ralph, keep on trucking. Remember its always darkest right before the dawn

  • Daniel Bollendorf

    Just remember, you’re never alone. If nothing else GamerGate has built one hell of a community and there will always be someone there for you.

    • Man that’s no lie. I’ve received like 100 personal messages of support now after this went out. I’m honestly gaining strength from it, and I’ve never been that type of guy. Idk, it’s just amazing to me and I thank all you guys and gals.

      • Daniel Bollendorf

        I think that’s part of why they hate us so much. We built a community that looks out for each other out of nothing but a common enemy while they turn on each other over having coffee with the wrong person. They don’t just hate us because we challenge them, they hate us because we’re better than them.

  • Also Known As

    You mentioned you’re in Richmond; I went to VCU for undergrad, so I’m familiar with the city (as it was, anyway). Maybe take a trip out to Chesapeake Bay for a bit, clear your mind. Or take a trip north up to DC and visit the Smithsonian exhibits (which are stunning and which are all FREE).

    Take a walk each day, or start up a little gym regimen for half an hour or so–start simple and small.

    Keep focusing on your blog, which brings so much joy (and rage!) to so many people, including myself–keep occupied.

    I’m sorry you’re going through a rough patch. I’ve been there, trust me. But you’ll come out the other side of it, don’t worry.

    And also, one last thing: be careful not to wallow, but don’t be afraid to let yourself feel like shit. The only way to get to the other side of the pain is THROUGH it.

    Much love, brother.

  • shinningprodigy

    You’ve stood up where others were afraid to speak and you’ve inspired many to do the same. I wish you well in these dark times. If you ever need us we will be here for you.

  • GamerGate Developer

    (and even a few enemies) <—
    when you say this, do you mean any sjw's messaged you? That would have been wow

    Nevertheless it's good to see you posting again, making hard choices in life is tough, really fucking tough, I've tried it, but if you make one you're proud of in years to come you'll look back and be proud of yourself for that one hard choice.

    Make sure the internet fight does not take over your day, take a break sometimes, I know what it feels like, wanting to save the world and shit, but remember why you do it, remember the people you want to create the world for.

    Carry on fighting the good fight brother

  • Mighty No. 56008

    Sorry to hear about your current state and I apologize for not realizing it sooner, or I would’ve given you some words of support! But then again, I usually go with a “lend an ear” or “give you space” approach in these type of situations.

    Somtimes the best way to heal or get over crap is just to be alone. So if you ever feel the need to take a break from #GamerGate to sort things out, I’m all for it. I totally understand that managing this site and life at the same time can be chaotic and we definitely want either of them to suffer due to burn out.

  • MrBK

    All the best Ralph. I love reading your posts … there’s so much passion in them! You wear your heart on your sleeve and that’s a rare quality these days. Stay busy, busy, busy and surround yourself with people that love and support you and you will get through this wiser and stronger than ever. I fucking guarantee it.

  • REAPER

    I’m sorry to hear you going through some tough times Ralph. You’re one of many dedicated to the cause, but we don’t wanna see you burn out. Sometimes you just need to take a break, clear your head and figure out what the next step is. The tough times never last, but tough people do.

  • youareivan

    ralph,

    there have been times during #gamergate when i was very discouraged. your energy and passion has been a great comfort and helped me rally strong so it sucks that you’ve paid a personal price for this. thanks man.

    i have no doubt that you’ll meet your personal challenges with the same tenacity you’ve used during the last eight months so i’m positive you’ll get through this. i’m sure i speak for a bunch of people when i say if you need anything you just have to ask- we’ll be here for you.

  • DVNCXFXGHT TXLL DVWN

    @TheRalphRetort:disqus Stay up, mah nigga.

  • Alan Cliffe

    8 months ralph, 8 months you been doing this, when something comes out of the blue and kicks you right in the nads, then you allowed to take time out. take as much time as you need, we will be here, we will be with you.

    Group hug with Ralph everyone.

  • A Real Libertarian

    If you need motivation:

    Here’s an alcohol spending calculator:
    http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/toolsresources/AlcoholSpendingCalculator.asp

    Here’s more tools to help quit:
    http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/toolsresources/Tools.asp

    Here’s a list of the effects of alcoholism:
    http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body

    And here’s more on health:
    http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health

  • Toastrider

    Fall down seven times; stand up eight.

  • Chicago_Joe_GG

    The most important thing is that you recognize you have a problem and need to work to fix it. That’s half the battle right there, man.

    Kick that demons ass like you’ve kicked SJWs asses for the past 8 months!

  • Dave The Sandman

    You keep that chin up and the steely gaze fixed on that horizon, keep moving forward, and if you stumble dont be afraid to ask a mate for a hand up to get back on your feet.
    We all know you can do it mate, and if you need some time to sort it, we will all be here waiting for you when you return.
    Best of British to you bro.

  • KLLRFRST

    I wish you the best of luck, and hope that you make it through to the light at the end of the darkness. Stay strong!

  • Mr0303

    Best of luck, Ralph! I believe you will conquer any problems you face.

    To quote “Batman Begins”:

  • Zach Puckett

    I’m sorry things are not working out for you right now and I hope things get better. If you need some time off I understand. I can wait. Your website has been very helpful in covering the events that have been going on. At the start I had no idea what Gamergate was about. I didn’t believe it was a hate movement but I figured there was more to the story. During the fall I wasn’t able to find out because I was busy dealing with my college graduation and the stress that came with that. But when 2015 rolled around I stumbled onto your site by accident and you have been able to get me caught up. I’m glad to be a part of this movement no matter what the others say. Take as much time as you need. When the next article comes I will definitely read it.

    • This is one of my favorite posts ever. Thank you man, this is why I do what I do.

      • Zach Puckett

        You’re welcome 🙂

  • Shane Phillips

    I understand that doing what you do comes at a lot of personal cost and I don’t blame you for wanting a little “me” time. You’re doing a great thing for the world’s gaming community and regardless of where you go from here you have my gratitude for what you’ve done with this site.

    I wish you all the best.

  • Jaker_K17

    We’re here for you, Ralph. I can’t remember how long I’ve been reading your articles on this site, but you’ve been my primary source of GG news for a while and you’re doing a great job here.

  • Phil_McG

    Stay strong Ralph.

    The first two weeks of sobriety are the hardest, but you’ll be a better and stronger man for it.

    I know from experience. 3 years sober here.

    The most insidious thing is that part of your mind that tries to get you to slip back into bad habits: “c’mon, it’s your birthday / Christmas / Friday… you deserve a drink…”

    Fuck that noise. If you don’t control your vices, they control you.

    Being a dedicated drinker is like a second job, but one that gradually destroys your health, your relationships, and your bank account. Not waking up feeling guilty or with a raging hangover is worth staying on the wagon for. There’s too many awesome things to enjoy in life without spending a big chunk of your time blotto’ed.

  • An Honest Opinion

    Takes a lot to put yourself out there like this. Try and take things one day at a time. It’s going to be tough at first but it does get easier.

    When you feel like you might slip back into old habits, call a friend or family member and talk to them for a while, just to get your mind off of it and vent a bit.

    You said a few enemies reached out to show support and that’s good of them. I’m not going to name names here, but some of the people you’ve been arguing with online are the type to pile on. If they do, block their asses until you’re back on track. No shame in it, and it’s better for you anyway.

    Good luck man. Your site, friends, fans and haters will be here when you get back :).

  • Devon Smelker

    As I’ve said in the long thread of messages we exchange, I’m here for ya if you need help with the site or just someone to chat with. This is something I’ve extended to everyone I know, either a little or a lot. Keep up the good fight

  • ERYFKRAD

    Best wishes, Ralph. You take care.

  • RogueStar #9946

    Ralph, my man! It’s the original author who wrote for “What Gamergate Has Taught Me”: http://theralphretort.com/what-ive-learned-from-gamergate/

    I have to admit, I feel like I’m living in the weirdest time ever. Because while I never asked to be in this controversy, I have been watching the story unfold with the kind of genuine curiosity that only Breaking Bad or 24 can match. This controversy also, weirdly enough, gave me a chance to try and start writing, as seen here: http://pastebin.com/T5QrJsUu

    Best of luck, and remember: You don’t get to go off Mr. Bones’ Wild Ride!

  • Neirdan

    “Personally, I have a problem with drinking”
    And streaming afterwards 😉

  • Kelly Maxwell

    hang in there ralph. remember, when you give something up, be sure to realize, it was filling a hole somewhere, so also try to find something positive to replace, what that bad habit was hoping up.

    and remember, nutrition is a big part of staying away from chemical habits. The other thing is avoiding or dealing with stress constructively. and lastly, having a healthy outlet and way to deal with all your emotions. Balance your work and your play, dont stack a day full of one or the other, but go for a 20/80 or 30/70 approach, creativity is born from life experience, both good and bad.

    i didnt realize you’d been hitting hard times, but i’m glad you see it and are dealing with it. I wish you well with it Ralph.

  • MeteorMess

    Wish you the best, stay strong pal.

  • Dave The Sandman

    Hey Ralph. Hope another day has made it a bit easier bro.

    Dunno about all that new fangled hippity hoppity stuff you youths listen to, but heres a good one to get you through a storm from more my type of toonz

  • Joe Sayre

    You’ve got a really nice information site here, and I try to frequent it, and honestly I’m impressed with what you do.

    I wish you luck in what you’re attempting and whatever you wish to do that comes of it. I’ll keep popping in here to see what you find out.

    I had some serious stuff happen to me recently too, it’s almost been a year now, but I’ve managed to keep my head up from the loss and the fallout.

    Don’t lose yourself, and don’t stop chasing your interests, keep your head above the water, with some time, the waves die down some.

    Again, good luck, I’m sure I’m not the only person here who thinks you can overcome.

  • Take the time and do what you got to do, bro. I wish you well with everything, and let me know if there is anything I can personally do to help out.

  • Ross

    I think a terrible thing about life and living with others is quite often we have others trying to inform us on what we should value and what we shouldn’t. Values are personal. Fighting for values that you don’t believe in or letting values you do believe in get trampled, is a horrible thing.
    Life balance is another
    Placing all life’s pressures in the wrong areas of your life will hurt you, but not just you. No person is a superman and immune from the effects of despair or depression.
    I think that rather than pushing on hard, you need to wind back. Cut away the things that are hurting you most. If you had a broken arm, telling you to keep using it until it heals would be dangerous. Same here.
    Be introspective, Assess your vales and what makes you, you, Cut out or cut down meaningless crap, wind back, be easy on yourself.

  • Mr Snow

    Yours is the only site I shut off adblock for. I believe in you and the work you do that much.

    Take time to do what you need to do. Then come back and let’s burn these motherfuckers to dust.

  • John Doe

    Ralph,

    You bet your ass we care.

    The important thing is to remember that facing inner demons is one of the most difficult things that can be done – as you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares also into you – but that doing so is a necessary step in the path to ascension from hardship.

    Stare them down. Don’t look away. Defeat them. And seek the light.

    We’re behind you.

    Let ‘ol Flea’s words when he was in a similar situation inspire you.

  • ironexe

    You can do it.

  • Dr. Robot

    Good luck Ralph, will be praying for you. You can do it, just keep going and don’t look back. Take as much time as you need to get everything sorted in your life, we’ll be here when you have it all fixed up.

  • Jacob Kastner

    First time poster, long time lurker, I know how hard depression can be and taking a step back is understandable. Its weird how all-consuming GG can be, I’ve been keeping track of GG news every day since when it was still the quinnspiracy and your articles are a constant pleasure.

    I hope you get through your issues, us gerbergoobers are with you.

  • NotoriousPAT

    I hope things look up for you! Keep plugging along.

  • Egal-eye

    There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
    Ten to make and the match to win—
    A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
    An hour to play and the last man in.
    And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
    Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
    But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”
    The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
    Red with the wreck of a square that broke;—
    The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,
    And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
    The river of death has brimmed his banks,
    And England’s far, and Honour a name,
    But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”
    This is the word that year by year,
    While in her place the school is set,
    Every one of her sons must hear,
    And none that hears it dare forget.
    This they all with a joyful mind
    Bear through life like a torch in flame,
    And falling fling to the host behind—
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”

  • Problem Raptor

    Meant to comment here earlier, better late than never I guess. I’ve been in and out of this as RL commitments and general motivation will allow, so I can’t imagine the strain of doing this day in, day out as you have, for eight fucking months. You’re a good dude, Ralph. And for not instantly bolting at the sight of an irate Wu stalking towards you, you have balls of goddamn titanium!