January 29, 2014

My Drinking Problem

No, I am not about to talk about addiction and recovery.A lot of folks in my life do not drink (either by choice or by commitment) and I've certainly spent some time in various flavors of twelve step circles. And I do not mean to make light of those in recovery or to minimalize the impact of alcohol on the lives of those who drink, and those family and friends impacted by alcoholism.

It's just that I'm not a very good drinker. It's not that I'm a sloppy drunk, nor that I am inexperienced, it's just that whatever combination of innate aptitude, preference, and proclivity go into the making of an alcohol aficionado, I don't have the right stuff. My facebook feed is filled with martini gatherings, creative and colorful cocktails, girls nights out, boys nights out, holiday parties, etc. and I just do not get it.

When I do drink, it's beer - usually something upmarket, and mostly because it's kind of controllable - it's hard for me to drink too many without having to spend the entire evening in the bathroom. As the saying goes, most recently quoted by Bruce Dern's character in Nebraska, "you don't buy a beer, you rent it". I might have 2-3 over the course of an evening, on a really wild night. Back in the (college, young adulthood) I guess I'd drink myself silly now and then, but insofar as alcoholism might require a genetic predisposition, I was favored without that particular genetic code. If I was slated for alcoholism, I would have fallen down that particular path in college. 

Somewhere along the line I picked up a bottle of gin and vodka with an eye to summerish cocktails - gin and tonics, cranberry and vodka. I dragged both bottles up the the folk fest, I actually made myself a drink a few times over the long hot summer, but the gin bottle is 3/4 full and the vodka bottle is maybe 1/2 full. I picked up a 1/2 pint (which ages me, I know it's really 200 ml, a transition that occurred when I was in college and working at a package store) of peppermint schnappes for post shoveling and holiday nipping - and was somewhat chagrined to realize that I do not own a shot glass. (I used a cold medicine measured cap to pour myself a shot  several times). That bottle still has 50 mL or so left - I bought another the last snowstorm which remains sealed. I am tempted by the sickly sweet, not so serious hard liquor of peach brandy or the like. I'm curious about wintery drinks - cinnamon whisky, a hot toddy, etc. But I'll probably remain just that.

Part of it may be social, physiological and economic - I do not really have much of a social circle so not a lot of opportunity to go out for drinkees, hang out with friends. I'm also pretty cheap, so the thought of spending $10 for a mixed drink or a glass of wine is just not on my radar. And finally, my liver, which has processed over a decade of oral estrogen, is just not really happy to get a solid night's worth of alcohol to deal with. I'm at an age where a hangover is just not worth it. 

So yeah, I'm not much of a drinker. And I'm kind of envious of those of you who seem to do it with class and style...

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