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On Booze

isolani, don't read this.

This year I and two of my friendslist independently decided to give up alcohol. I had done this in 2005 and it was a good discipline; it kept me mindful that I was fasting from something and I was happy to have my wine after Easter vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.

This year for some reason it's a different story. I drank a LOT more in 2005; I'm down to a glass or two of red wine after dinner most nights these days. Some days I don't feel like having wine so I don't.

I've been waking up with headaches, or groggy, or depressed in the past couple of months, so Puritan that I am, I figured I'd feel better once I was going without my merlot.

Americans and AA are fond of insisting that life will be healthy, wealthy, awesomeness and kittens if only you give up Demon Rum. It's as if Prohibition never ended. I'm writing this to tell you that it's not necessarily true. I feel just as bleh off the sauce as I did on it. Giving it up is a Lenten discipline, nothing more. It's not improving my life one bit. So now you and I know.

I'm thinking about abandoning the discipline, but am at a loss as to what to replace it with. My stress level does seem a little harder to cope with, but since I won't always have access to an apertif in order to cope *cough* deployment *cough*, I'm thinking this might be a good time to find other ways to reduce stress.

Or maybe I'll just resume drinking.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Go to New Orleans, no one will tell you to stop drinking there. And they cure their hangovers by continuing on with their drinking. My old boss (this was at Pizza Hut, though, nothing big) would drink Crown and Cokes at work all the time! I'm convinced most of the politicians are drunk there, too. They'd have to be with the kinds of problems Louisiana has.

Jokes aside...

Seriously, where I grew up, no one insisted you stop drinking. Prohibition isn't very popular in the Chicagoland area. When people got done working in the factories or underneath the wheel, they wanted a nice beer with their dinner and that was that.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about AA. On the one hand, I know a lot of people it's helped. On the other hand, I wonder if they aren't encouraging another type of dependency. People have drinking problems because they feel like shit about themselves and have no self-esteem. It seems like a lot of AA material reinforces how awful they are.

Are you having problems dealing with everyday life without a drink? Do you need a drink to be "normal"? Do you miss work, social engagements, etc, if you don't have a drink?
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
The answer to all the questions you ask in the last paragraph is "no".

Steve pointed and laughed at me yesterday about all this, calling me a Puritan.

AA is fucked up, IMHO. I've known a few people it helped, but overall, I think that saying, "Oh, it's a disease, you have no control, you have to hand it over to a higher power," is bullshit. It's not a disease, you DO have control because you ARE the higher power.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
My beef with it more is that either you're an addict, or you're an addict in denial.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Right. When you have an uncle who realized he was an asshole when he drank so he quit drinking, and he didn't go through AA, an AA member will just say, "Oh, he was a DRY DRUNK." Apparently it is absolutely essential to be in AA to be sober, and they will determine if your sobriety is valid or not.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
I read it anyway, so sue me.
Well no, I don`t get the 'the only way is the AA way' and my life sure as heck isn`t moonshine and kittens all of a sudden, but its manageable, I can tell the difference. It's done some pretty good stuff for me. As for the Higher Power stuff - well to each his/her own I frankly am not much of a HP-devotee.

I did hear the 'oh he's a dry drunk' shpiel play once - and ignored it - drinking is drinking and not drinking is not drinking (and I ain`t tellin I occasionally have a non-alcoholic beer in case I get pilloried at the Sunday Evening Living Sober Group)
Mar. 3rd, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
You're in seminary. I'd say you're a Higher-Power devotee. ;)
Mar. 3rd, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
No I`m not - I may still end up there but so far, I`m not.
I am SO not a devotee of the god of my own understanding, in fact I don`t understand him (her/it/gnark/whatev) one bit.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
I'd hoped that giving up almost all caffeine would be a revelatory experience of increased energy, positive affect, and sense of freedom from The Burden Of Addiction.
"Meh" is about all I have to say about that. I think it was a rewarding exercise to do once, but ultimately I like the little extra boost I get from my morning tea and it's not like I was marinating myself in caffeine before anyway.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
I'm addicted to caffeine, but all that means is if I don't have a big ol' mug of coffee first thing in the morning I have a migraine by 4 pm. And as you say, the little extra boost is a good thing, especially given my recent tendency to wake up depressed.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
As the daughter of an alcoholic, I still think there is a big difference between enjoying booze and alcoholism. If you like a glass of wine or two after dinner to relax, there's nothing wrong with that. If you're puking on people and beating the crud out of them because you have weird hallucinations while drunk, then you might have a problem. I don't see you as being in that category. I think the American Puritan attitude towards alcohol is contributing to excesses, honestly, in countries where there's not such a big deal the alcoholism rate is much lower. I find that interesting.

And I have not-so-positive feelings about 12-step programs, but that's a rant for another time.

Happy Lent? Er. I never know quite what to say with these times of year. Anyway, finding other ways to reduce stress is always a big plus, but you're not an alky. SRSLY.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
As another daughter of an alcoholic, I agree. My mom says she may only have 1-2 glasses of wine a night, but her personality changes drastically when she doesn't have it. (Plus she's on ever-increasing doses of xanax.)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Haven't thrown up on anyone yet. Sometimes seems like a good idea, though.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm talking massive personality shifts. When I was talking to her, I could tell the nights that Dave (my stepfather) was on call, because he wouldn't drink with dinner. (So my mom wouldn't.)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
I know, I was responding to Uberfrau's comment.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
If you do, get americanstd to videotape it and make an animated GIF.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
A lot of times marine layers get to me, but there haven't been any lately.

Staying on the wagon because I Said I Would is the most compelling reason for doing so.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
Follow the example of the Historical Church! The monks used to brew especially strong beer in order to survive their Lenten fastng. They still do at the Andechs monastery in Bavaria where the locals flock to celebrate Starkbierzeit.

Hildegard von Bingen wrote that beer is more wholesome and pleasing to God than water.

A relative of a friend of my Belgian hubby is a monk. One day he was visiting his secular relatives when a bunch of irate monks showed up on the secular relatives' doorstep. They were irate because the monk visiting his secular relatives had accidently taken the cellar key with him and the other monks couldn't access the beer. Outrage!!!!!

There's also a special Belgian beer brewed by nuns called Moeder Overste (mother superior).

Happy Lent!! :D
Mar. 2nd, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
My father is an alcoholic. And although he went through AA type stuff for a while, he is back drinking...then again, he is 80....

Many people I know who study cults, in the negative sense of the word many times include AA/12 Step programs as minor form of Christian Cult. I know of a few pagans who have gone back to Christianity because they were forced to go through AA/12 step programs, and later became very unhappy because they don't want to be a Christian any more, but are afraid that leaving will lead them back to alcoholism.

Personally, having experienced having a parent who was/is an alcoholic, I have never seen what's so great about getting drunk. I've been drunk a number of times, and just the expense of having to consume all that alcohol in so sort of time is enough to prevent me from doing it. And besides, it doesn't gain me anything. If I want to escape, I read a book, watch a movie, or TV.

Mar. 3rd, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
I would stick with it if you can. I still miss my wine but I'm starting to get used to it.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
Yesterday I felt absolutely horrid -- headache and the general run-down feeling I generally associate with a hangover. I'm not sure if it's related to having gone days without booze, but it began to make me suspect I was going through some kind of withdrawal. I kept waiting to see pink elephants. Finally wound up going to bed right after dinner and staying there for nearly eleven hours before I had to get up for work.
Mar. 3rd, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
I don't feel any better for not drinking, but I also don't feel any worse other than being without one of my de-stressors. I have tea right now.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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