This is a long one, for which I humbly apologize. I find myself here as the result of having dug myself into a rut from which there will be no extrication, as I've lost the characteristics which would have allowed me to escape it. Four years ago, I was a hotshot assistant manager in fast food, aspiring one day to be a district manager, a salary which could support a respectable lifestyle (house, family, car, dog, whatever). I smoked marijuana, drank frequently, and had sex on tap. Despite my shortcomings in people/drama management skills I was wildly successful at work. I was absurdly happy most of the time, especially around my customers, who recognized me outside of work. (This career is actually a mismatch for me; I am a math/tech person, not a people person. I just ended up here due to lack of ambition and 11 years of pot smoking. Notably, no matter how crazy things had gotten when I was younger, I always had a job at which I succeeded. That job was my anchor. I would always have a place to live, food to eat, and a way to get off, as long as I held my job. My use of a job as an anchor becomes a weakness later. I "aimed low" for gf's - this resulted in being with women who were thankful to be with me and would tolerate almost anything.) Since then, I've managed to burn all of that. Problems at home, failure to resolve them, a change in partners, this new woman could give me everything I was missing at home. I fell hopelessly in romantic love with her. She was smart, sexy, competent, the polar opposite of my ex. So it was with her I would ascend to the respectable lifestyle I sought. But this was not to be. As the drama developed at work (my former gf's sister worked for me), the weaknesses in my character undermined me. I lost that job, and with it, my anchor in that time of change. Found a new job, my boss hired my new gf, more drama. In her eyes, I became not good enough, stupid, incompetent, worthy of replacement. This wouldn't have caused me much distress had I not still been hopelessly drowning in this romantic "love" I felt for her. She exploited that to mistreat me, threatening to leave (for someone specific, such as my boss) any time. During this time, I lost contact with all of my friends without exception. During this time, I also quit smoking marijuana and greatly reduced the frequency of my drinking. This allows me to feel hopeless in exquisite detail- yay! This (and other things) continued for a couple years. My spring of exuberance ran dry and my work suffered. I lost that job (gf drama), the economy crashed, and now I find myself a team member in another fast food restaurant. From 30k/yr to less than half that. That's not why I'm here, but we're getting closer. So I've tried getting another job at my previous level. Although the jobs are available, I don't get hired. The problems which contribute to this are: My incompetence/creepiness at interviews (combine a lack of people skills with eye problems which cause an abnormal sort of nearsightedness and random eye drifting) Permanent damage to my history - I can't get good references from my jobs and I have no friends. I'm a fucking TEAM MEMBER, and my current employer does not see fit to promote me. Extinguished exuberance - I'm sexier when I'm happy. The excitement and high energy level which carried me so far is gone Decreasing mental function - I used to be a math/computer genius, played chess, spoke multiple foreign languages, and was generally a "smart guy". Now, I just feel old. Even by more-or-less objective measure (chess), I don't perform well any more. And I can no longer multitask; I forget frequently. And, it's getting worse. Degenerating body - My eye problems (especially the drifting one) are manifesting, I've lost a couple teeth.... I don't present as cleanly as when I was younger. I don't even qualify for most women's criterion that a prospective date have all his teeth! (this is about taking care of oneself and one's affairs - I apparently don't) Even if I were to identify my gf (I'm still with her) as the source of my self-disrepect and the ensuing hopelessness, and even if I sever her and start again, that would fail to render any my the nasty beliefs about myself false. As it appears, I will be able to do no better than fast food team member now. Even if I went back to school (I'm old), my employment history attests to my undesirable character traits and general unworthiness. Background checks would show the driving and credit histories of a man who doesn't take care of his business. I'm an asshole (and not even an exciting one anymore). And I'm not as sharp as I was. I would face the same problems getting a job that I have right now. Hole in resume. Lack of interview skills. POS vehicle (that cost me a second interview last week). General unworthiness. If not for other complicating factors, I could look forward to a life of 8/hr, intoxication, video games, and masturbation for the rest of my days. But I have a son. I have custody, and although his mother has refused (illegally) to return him, that will be resolved by September. I MUST chart a path by which I can one day hope to support a family. 8/hr won't do it, and I believe I can never do better, as I have settled for this position long enough (1 year) for it to be a serious problem. Because I believe that I can do no better, and because I believe this is due to irreversible problems with ME, I feel it's better I step out of the way. Let the gf go - her standard is the 30k/yr I made when I met her, or at least the idea that I could provide for a family. After the apt lease is up, if I haven't found a better job, she's gone anyway. Let my son go - he's better off with his mother if Team Member is the best I can do. And then, let myself go. Spend down 3k or so having all sorts of fun (if I'm still capable of feeling it), build my exit apparatus, and check out. They say I'll go to hell with the murderers, not for what I would do to myself, but for how it would affect the people who care about me. On evaluation, I can demonstrate that I will not be missed. The gf will move on (as she frequently and eloquently points out) to better. My son hasn't seen me in a year. My job is a high volume store and, as a former manager, I can calculate exactly how they won't miss me. Noone will be harmed. It's not painful to contemplate, I'm just loathe to making irreversible decisions. Often, I hold off until the deadline. (Procrastination = laziness, and I've always been lazy. Hard worker, but lazy in the big picture...) I can see no way forward. And the status quo won't do. Even if I were given chemicals to make me feel better, they can't change the *reasons*. I wouldn't check out because I'm sad or hurt; I would check out because I'm hopeless. But at least I won't fail as many others do.