Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Alcohol, Stopping, Restarting, Rethinking.

There was an interesting article in the UK Indo today, about hooch and taking a break from hooch. I read it and smiled, feeling a preaching to the choir moment.
Although a devoted drinker, I regularly take breaks from hooch, mostly to give my liver a break, but mostly to remind myself that I can. I know it sounds obvious, but if you're a 'good' drinker like I am ( an oxymoron if ever there was one) a week here, a month or two there of not imbibing can be most beneficial.
Alcohol is a drug, and like any drug it can be easily abused. I am a dab hand at abusing it with gusto. It's terrifically easy to get into the habit of having a glass or two of wine every evening( home measure, none of your 4 fluid ounces nonsense, i.e two John Rocha glasses= half bottle); to give yourself permission to down an entire bottle of French red on a Friday because you deserve it after a long week; to drink like a sailor on Saturday because you're out and about with pals and Yo* ho ho and a bottle of rum, it's right crack; to spend Sunday in your leather chair watching Come Dine with Me, wine by your elbow, papers on your lap. It is, it's a pleasure. And naturally as it is a pleasure you don't want to think about any ill effects. 'Shuush' you will tell that weird little voice, you know the one, the questioning voice that always seems to poke you when you're feeling most like something the cat dragged in.
Even if you can quiet the voice, nothing reminds the devoted drinker more about their alcohol consummation than the trip to the bottle bank to recycle. As you squeeze bottle after bottle into the green or brown bin you can see quite clearly your harmless pleasure is quite a full on habit. Oh yes. Unless you are adept at kidding yourself into oblivion a weekly recycling trip is quite the eye opener. No, you think, I didn't have a party of five over, that shit is all mine. EEK!
My father used to say a person should never drink at home. But back then there wasn't the proliferation of off licences, supermarket hooch stores and wine shops. We didn't really drink wine at all. A person might go for 'a few scoops' on a Saturday night, maybe for a pint of two on Sunday and that was really it. Of course there were those who came into the pub bright and breezy at 12 noon on a Sunday, went home for lunch and returned back at the dot of four and remained there until closing- upright normally and still coherent, but they were a select few and to be sure very few of them ever hit seventy years of age.
My point was it wasn't the done thing to be imbibing during the week or of an evening at home. It just wasn't ( apart for Gamma and her gin, but that's a whole other story).
Nowadays, with increasing pub prices, drink driving laws, family commitments and two income stresses and strains, people need a way to unwind, to metaphorically pat themselves on the back after a tough day and hooch is the cheap and ready to roll pal when in need. If it is there, chances are you'll drink it. And it will be there because you'll have bought it.
Next weekend will be my third successive weekend sans hooch. And as always whenever I give it up I feel terrific. I really do, and productive. I have worked an extra two hours every day, I have been busy, I have taken up disgusting swimming, I have slept through the night every night without even once having to get up to wee, I don't wake up on turning over. My mornings are bright and breezy. In effect I am operating at full capacity.
I know all this. I don't really have any trouble at all not drinking. I'll stay not drinking probably until March. But once March rolls around I will be hightailing it out the door to the nearest Smurfs. Yes, I will.
I will attempt however to start taking my father's advice. I think I will stop drinking at home. I think I might finally understand that making the effort to get dressed up and go out and then have a drink is what folk call 'social drinking'. Certainly I will try stick to only drinking on the weekends. And if I try to trick myself out of my good intentions-and no doubt I probably will- well there's always the walk of shame to the bottle bank.

* No Santas were harmed in the making of this statement.



Anonymous The Bad Ambassador said...

Isn't it "yo ho ho and a bottle of rum"?

Or were the pirates in your illustrated version of "Treasure Island" all dressed up as Santa.

(My apologies for the pedantry!)

10:10 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Usually by the fifth rum it's 'WEEEEEEEEEEEE RUUUUUUUUUM' but I see your point. Damn you.

10:16 a.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

You could just give it up altogether?

There's plenty of folks who only drink 'socially' on the weekend but are effectively binge drinkers and have a drink problem. Then there's folks who are 'dry' for long periods of time and then get totally bladdered, and have a drink problem. If people have a tolerance for a lot of alcohol I think that's a warning sign.

It's easy for me to say because I'm not really a 'drinker' and don't have much tolerance for alcohol. Wine with food I really enjoy but the drinking generally stops when the eating stops, unless I open the port.

10:23 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Port eh? The refined drinker's drink.
I don't mind not drinking, it doesn't really bother me. But I do have a good tolerance for certain types of drinks. Rum-obviously, I find it a really clean drink and almost never get any kind of hangover on it.
But I can only drink so much wine and so much beer before being quite drunk indeed. I cannot mix drinks at all. It's either one drink all night or sicky sicky buzz.

10:34 a.m.  
Blogger morgor said...

you two sound positively sensible.

I tend to get a bit carried away when i start drinking, 4 pints often leads to 10.

I have no problem not drinking during the week, but at weekends I can get .... restless.

I'm slowly improving at the whole not drinking and going out thing though, thanks largely to having a car.

10:54 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Hear that Conan, we've just been called sensible.
Restless is a good way of describing it, my brother is the same, twitch twitchy on a Saturday evening until he's out the door.

11:05 a.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

Conan, I am with you, my friends call me the "cheap date". Three drinks and I am dancing on tables. Which I love because it used to take a LOT more, when I was a heavy drinker, back then I would drink 10 drinks in the pub and god knows how much back at home. It was the group of friends I was with as well, we were all the same. But then I started to get sick all the time, like my immune system was so wrecked from it, so I stopped, for two years. I wasn't an alcoholic, I was close to it though. By stopping for that long my alcohol tolerance has been lowered to a phenomenally embarrassing three drinks. But then at least I am not spending all my money on booze, falling about the place almost every day and wrecking my (our) neighbours heads by having people over every night like I used to. Sometimes I don't drink when I go out because I am not in the humour, also I do it because it annoys one of my friends asshole boyfriends, he gets paranoid that I am spying on him. I feel like saying to him "you are still a dickhead when I am drunk" but can't as that would be mean I suppose!!
Someone close to me recently told me that they were drinking every day so that they could sleep, I told them I thought that they had a problem. I don't know if they do, but that to me sounds like one to me.

11:14 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Drinking everyday just to sleep? But how much? One drink? Or enough to knock themselves out?

11:17 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

I get very 'restless' myself on a fri night, but I can take or leave saturday. I usually avoid drinking during the week completely, and if I do the maximum is 3 pints.

I wouldn't consider myself a sensible drinker tho, but I've definitely wised-up in the past year. Up until 6 months ago I was still partying through 2 consecutive nights at the weekend, getting a few hours sleep in the mornings and heading back to the pub for afternoon pints. It was excessive, but I still had good fun.

11:21 a.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

A few drinks, but I know this person, they will say a few and mean 5, or 10 minutes is an hour, if you get me. I know one or two wouldn't knock them out.
I said I think you have a problem. They said at least I am not addicted to sleeping tablets. I don't know which is worse.

11:24 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Eek Babs, they could be combining the two. They should try get their sleeping clock back on track minus the crutch. I used to a terrible gobbler of sleeping tablets due to poor sleeping patterns, but I had to bitch slap myself out of that habit. Now I find getting up really bloody early helps a great deal. Not easy to wean yourself off them as you become used to them and I would take one now and then if I really REALLY need one, but still, if your friend needs to something to put them to sleep every single night something in their life need looking at.

Sheepie, I think it's an age thing too, as you get older hangovers are worse and you're inclined to try avoid them.

11:34 a.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

I think that my priorities have changed too FMC, and goin out getting shitfaced just isn't that high-up my agenda these days, but yeah - the hangovers are definitely getting worse!
Damned mythical fountain of youth... *grumble grumble*

11:52 a.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

Oh they get up really early because of a small child who wakes them at about 7am. They just can't settle. Basically this person is incredibly impatient, wants a quick fix for everything, can't deal with things like reality mostly, and so needs pills (for everything) or hooch (for sleeping) to get them there. Because they haven't the patience to wait for sleep to come naturally. It wrecks my head.

12:02 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh dear, really difficult to know what to say to them other than to try convince them that it's a particularly bad habit to get into and a pain in the arse to get out of. At the end of the day Babs, people are always going to do whatever the hell they like and there's no point getting tangled up about it ( easier said than done naturally)

12:10 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Sensible? Hah!

An aside on draught beer/stout - if I drink ANY quantity (1-4pts max) of this chemical-infested shite I find I get a headache and an almighty run of gunk out of my sinuses the following day. Never happens with proper bottled beer produced under the Germanic code and sold in Aldidl.

12:13 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Mmm german beers. Mmm Beers. Myself and Finn gave ourselves FINE hangovers on Chimay over in Belgium. Nom nom.
I like Paulaner and Staropramen as delicious beers, but again I can't drink too much of it without A) falling down, or B) waking up the next morning and calling Death to come pick me up.

12:22 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I was recently in a hostelry in Dublin that was selling glorious Duff beer. But I was driving :(

12:34 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I SAW Duff as few weeks ago in town, in Dakota. Heh, How can you drink it without picturing Duff Man dancing about hooyeah!

12:45 p.m.  
Anonymous Fiona said...

Ah, but lovely lovely wine. One of my greatest pleasures. It's pretty much all I drink these days, and usually with food (another great pleasure - wheeee! Ain't life grand!) but I've given up the rest because of the fuzzy head and post-booze blues. I can't be doing the sadness of a Sunday bit. Never tried a total ban, mind. I did try going off sugar for a month, but I kept forgetting, only remembering when my go was already jammed with chocolate deliciousness.

1:24 p.m.  
Anonymous Fiona said...

My gob. Not my go. Nope.

1:28 p.m.  
Blogger The Sexy Pedestrian said...

I'll give my red X 2 a skip tonight, this better be good...

5:03 p.m.  
Blogger daisy mae said...

i had an interesting conversation the other day with a co-worker. the group i work with had gone out to celebrate receiving a major grant, and the boss was buying. even so, i and another stopped at 2, the co-worker mentioned stopped at 4, and the rest drank until they couldn't see straight. the thing is, those who kept drinking couldn't stop if they tried - and so there's got to be some difference in our wiring as to who can control how much they drink and when, and balance it against the responsibilities that need to be filled the following day.

5:17 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That's the trick, stopping once started. Or atl least stopping before you call your boss something you ought not to have or photocopying your arse and sending to all an sundry. I can only imagine waht they were like the next day. I prefer not to drink anything when on work junkets, I prefer a clear head for that kind of thing.
Food and wine Fiona, it's like rhubarb and custard, it's suposed to go together. I like giving up stuff and seeing what happens, I'm still pretty much off the wheat, although I don't turn up my nose at the bun on my weekly burger. But I haven't had toast now since the first week in November or pasta or anything like that. Really, I'm finding it quite pleasant.
Hope it helps Sexy P, may you sleep soundly and uninterrupted.

5:25 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

I'm on the wagon during the week but the Pinot Grigio still calls over on fridays.

6:13 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Me and his nibs have taken to going out for fiery burgers on a Friday instead. It is not quite the same. But rather jalapeno-tastic .

6:16 p.m.  
Blogger The Sexy Pedestrian said...

God, I'm a disaster. I told Mr. Pedestrian I wasn't having wine just for one night so he opened me a beer and I drank it, then I had another one!

No alcohol to two beers in 0-60mins.


11:13 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Try it again tonight and see what happens.

11:16 a.m.  
Blogger Sheila said...

This has got to be one of the best articles I've seen since my last drink 21 mos, less 2 days ago !!!
You sound like myself & my late hubby !! We each had 2 prior marriages that were 'toilet fuel' & rather than throw in the towel, we drank to hang in !
Unfortuantely, after 30 yrs, it cost us our health, therefore I'm now Mrs. Widow !!!
As society's troubles increase daily, I'm not sure what the answer is with this 'scourge'.....!
You sound like you've got it together, so just stick to your guns. Recent studies in Portland Oregon's Senior centre, has shown that 1-2 glasses of wine daily, helps the aged stay clear of Alzheimers, Dementica & Heart Attacks, so.....who's to say !
Right ?
Just take care my friend & avoid the hard stuff !
You don't want to join my hubby upstairs, do you ?

11:51 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I do not, and thank you for your post Sheila. Hope all is going well for you now.

7:50 a.m.  
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