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When Boozing Is Bad, But Boozing Alone Is Really Bad


by Michael John Scott

I used to drink, a lot, until I didn’t drink at all, thanks to my friends at AA. I loved drinking, and graduated from about a 12 pack of beer a day to Johnnie Walker Black Label, scotch, sometimes a bottle a day, that’s 32 ounces.  I often drank alone, watching Tora, Tora, Tora for the hundredth time.  I found it was much better when I was ‘in my cups.’

When I look back on it I amaze myself with my ability to drink and remain more or less functional. I decided to quit when the operative descriptor would be ‘less functional.’

I always prided myself on being a high-functioning alcoholic, for literally decades.  I would boast to my boozing buddies about being able to drink a bottle of scotch without slurring my words or doing stupid stuff.  One of my friends laughed out loud at this, apologizing before telling me the terrible truth:

“Mike, sometimes when you call me I have trouble understanding you because you slur and say really wild things.”

I was taken aback by this but comforted myself in knowing that was just one guy until several more chimed in, courageous now that they have a leader.  I was shocked by this, not only the fact that most of my booze buddies were in solidarity when describing my alcoholic antics.  Inasmuch as I was known for punching people at the slightest provocation, I knew they were telling the truth, risking pissing me off.

I didn’t stop boozing until several years later when I was shaking so bad I could barely hold a cup of coffee.  It was then I sought help through Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization I once described as “a bunch of drunks.”  It is, actually, and now I’m one of them.

Fortunately, I kept myself in shape by walking, running, and lifting weights, so the negative health effects of consuming copious amounts of happy juice were somewhat limited. Today, I wouldn’t even consider taking that first drink, especially if alone, and the latest news on booze should make you think about it as well:

To get a big-picture perspective on the pros and cons of drinking, settle in with Kate Julian’s piece in the Atlantic, headlined, “America Has a Drinking Problem.” And we mean the big picture:

The story goes back to the earliest days of civilization, diving into humans’ unique ability among creatures to drink the stuff and the conundrum that results:

A little bit can get the creative juices flowing and helps us socialize, but too much results in the short- and long-term problems—as in, the ones that shorten life expectancy—we know so well. On the latter point, she notes that while beer, watered-down wine, and cider were consumed in great quantities centuries ago, today’s drinkers have a much more potent choice: liquor.

Much of the wide-ranging piece focuses on one aspect of drinking that is a relatively recent, and dangerous, phenomenon: the increase in drinking alone.

Citing this analysis, Julian notes that anyone putting down, say, two bottles of wine or more a night is among the top 10% of American drinkers. Then come those who consume 15 drinks a week, followed by the next group at six drinks.

m “The first category of drinking is, stating the obvious, very bad for your health,” writes Julian. “But for people in the third category or edging toward the second, like me, the calculation is more complicated.” She cites the advice of one expert who suggests that those who want to drink do so not at home alone but only out with friends over a meal, or at least under the eye of a bartender.

Julian’s last line: “For those of us who have emerged from our caves feeling as if we’ve regressed into weird and awkward ways, a standing drinks night with friends might not be the worst idea to come out of 2021.” (Read the full piece here)

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Posted by on June 7, 2021. Filed under PETS—POLITICS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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Call Me Steve
3 months ago

It’s about that first drink Mike. I was also a boozer, until I went the same way you did. 32 years sober now.

Joanne Cannata Kelley
Joanne Cannata Kelley
3 months ago

I admire what you’ve accomplished. Someone very close to me went through this as well, and is a member of AA. It save this person’s life, and I thoroughly support everything AA does. I’ve attended meeting with this person and found myself in awe of the courage and determination people who’ve struggled with alcoholism have to stick to the program and read the Big Book. Bravo to you and everyone who has overcome this very difficult disease.

3 months ago

Me, myself and I prefer weed to the devil’s drink, but you guys know that already ). I find myself now, having a glass when I am out but I hold onto that one and when it is done, just club soda with a slice of lemon or two.. Sometimes a glass of wine with dinner but that is about it for me.

Bill Formby
Bill Formby
3 months ago

Mike, I know you and I have talked about this before. We have even downed a few together. I escorted you to one of my favorite watering holes, Harry’s. My favorite drink, “Doc Scotch” A 16 0z. cup filled with ice cubes, then with straight Johnny Walker. Usually, about 3 of those a night and then home for serious drinking until I passed out or fell asleep. Of course, there is one thing that almost certain with heavy drinking, or in my case two, the drinker does something totally stupid and\or your body rebels. Actually, I did numerous stupid things and got caught once to the glee of the local Drug Enforcement Agency and purchased .6 0unces of devil weed for a friend from one of their informants. My body rebelled by just shutting down, at least my liver did. The best thing I remember about that was a doctor tell a cute nurse I could have all of the morphine I wanted (at least that’s what I thought I heard him say, She claims that’s not what he said) In any event, I stayed pretty high for a while. Here is a tip for you, always have someone looking out for you. In the local hospital, they manage to puncture my lung trying to do a biopsy, then the local doctors guessed that I didn’t have cancer in my liver so they were orally giving me antibiotics. Fortunately, my best friend’s uncle and a local surgeon were really sharp people who advise me otherwise. I fired all of my local doctors and when to UAB in Birmingham. The next morning I was in surgery to patch up my lung and to insert drainage tubes into my liver. 5 weeks later I got out of the hospital almost good as new. Did I stop drinking, no. But, I greatly cut back on it. I rarely drink anymore. Here is a tip folks: When an organ, like your liver, has ceased to function they can give you antibiotics till hell freezes over and it will not help. There is no way for the antibiotics to get to the infection, That was the point of the tubes, to drain off enough infection for the liver to start working again though at a low level.

Bill Formby
Bill Formby
Reply to  Michael John Scott
3 months ago

Yeah, I had even said my goodbyes to my kids. Interestingly, I did not consciously give up drinking or intend to do so. It sort of just went away. and though I may have a beer now and then or even a shot, I really don’t miss it.

Howard T.
3 months ago

I remember those days Mike, and I remember that whole conversation. We all got drunk talking about how bad getting drunk is.