Monday, April 12, 2010

Alcoholic Friends

I have been enjoying alcoholic beverages for many years now and in that time I have enjoyed the drinking company of many fine people. I am not an alcoholic and as much as I enjoy a good quality drink I actually go days or even sometimes weeks with no drinks at all. When I do drink I usually limit myself to between 2 and 4 drinks in one day partly because I don’t really like being totally drunk and partially because I am not fond of throwing up and having terrible headaches. I have had my share of horrible morning afters and they used to happen several times a year when I was in my 20’s and 30’s and then I got a bit wiser (I won’t call it smarter) in my 40’s to where I only had a bad morning after maybe once or twice a year. Now I rarely have any negative occurrences from drinking but that is wholly due to limiting my fun. 2 drinks are always ok for me, 3 on occasion, and 4 for major celebrations. I think I owe this mostly to coming to the conclusion at about age 38 that having one drink of something I really like that is very expensive is much more enjoyable than 10 times that much liquor of doubtful quality. Or to put it another way a little of really good booze is better than a whole ton of lousy tasting booze. My stomach would never allow me to be an alcoholic and that is that.
I have had many alcoholic friends. Back in college there was one fraternity brother who after just two beers got mean and very violent actually throwing real darts at people and another brother who I never saw without a can of PBR in his hand except maybe in class. I don’t know but I suspect at least the violent one was an alcoholic, the PBR brother probably was not but damn he sure did put down the beer but then in college a lot of people do that. I lost touch with all those folks and I hope they are happy and well.
I was once invited to a party at a friend’s home in Indiana when we lived there back in the late 70’s and I brought the drinking board game “Passout” to the party. We had played the game before and it was usually fun with the point of the game to roll dice, move your little avatar, and end up reciting tongue twisters such as “Betty Blue Blew Big Black Bubbles” and that sort of thing. Upon failing to perform the tongue twister correctly one was “forced” to take a drink. Now a drink is whatever you want it to be, a sip, a gulp, or a whole beer and we always left it up to the player what portions they personally wanted to partake of when the time came. We had played 20-30 minutes and I noticed that (I will call him Roy – not his name) Roy was slamming a highball or ½ of one at least on every failed reading which of course there were many in a short time. This went on for a couple hours and Roy said “I gotta go to the bathroom” and got up ostensibly to take a piss. The rest of us watched as Roy stumbled into our host’s daughter’s bedroom (the daughter was staying at grandmas that night and was not there). Roy was just about to relieve himself in the closet when the host rushed in and ushered him in to the bathroom where upon Roy locked the door and passed out on the floor. This was about midnight and we stayed for a while longer while the host and Roy’s wife tried to wake him with no luck and there was no key for the bathroom. We left about 1 A.M. I found out later that while Roy was gainfully employed and never missed work, he drank a fifth of whisky every night and passed out on the couch but rose and showered and shaved and made it to work every day. Roy was an alcoholic.
Back in the very small town we were living in Indiana there was an older man I believe in his 70’s and I will call him Mr. Judd (not his real name). He used to go to the little tavern in the town and play euchre with the guys most evenings. I saw him go outside to pee and puke several times coming back in with soiled overalls on more than one occasion. A very nice man but his son Bob (not real name) told me that Mr. Judd drank a case of beer and a fifth of Seagram’s VO every day of his life for the last 37 years and attributed the fact he was still alive to the fact that he drank very good whiskey. Mr. Judd had a bum liver and was an alcoholic.
I have let it be known far and wide to my circle of friends that we have this whisky and wine blog and please to visit and make some comments. One friend emailed me to say he really liked the blog but had been sober now for 7 years and had gone through the whole 12 step process and all the good things that AA can do for a person. He had quite a story to tell about how his life was really turned around.
So my point to telling you these stories is simply that when we drink, even if we can handle it, some of those around us may not be able to handle it. I’m not talking about the occasional over indulgence or a slip of the tongue when someone is loaded. What I am asking is that you observe your friends that you drink with and when they are sober broach the subject to them and find out if they even know they have a problem. You and I may be causing others harm or enabling them to harm themselves and others. Let us be aware of what our enjoyment of liquor may be doing to others who should not be partaking.
I know that you and I saying something to an alcoholic may just get us rebuffed or worse may get our friends angry with us and there is a limit to how much you can push it as many people struggle for years with this problem. I don’t think it hurts to at least let them know you care and you are there for them if they need you. Their families are the ones that really need to intervene and they know the issue better than we friends do.
If you suspect you are an alcoholic please try to get some help and if you have a friend or relative who you believe is an alcoholic please try to help them. There are resources on the web you can Google “alcoholism” and find tons of resources.
Whisky, wine, liquor, and beer are wonderful things for most of us who don’t overdo it but can kill you if you abuse them. If you are an alcoholic, less than 21 years of age, get mean or violent when you drink, or insist on driving drunk, you do not need to be drinking alcohol at all. Getting help doesn’t make you weak; it shows how strong you really are. Waiting until you are 21 to drink is really tough but you are breaking the law if you drink before 21 and it is really not worth it. Booze usually brings out ones inner or real personality so if you are funny or loving when you drink that’s cool, if you are mean or violent you need to stop drinking and/or get some help. There is no excuse for violence ever. Finally driving drunk is the dumbest thing that any of us do. Just don’t do it, get a designated driver or call a cab. Plan ahead and save yourself a lot of grief. Not only can you kill some other innocent people and maybe kids but when you get arrested for DUI you are in for a very expensive world of hurt and many companies today will even fire you so it is just not worth it.
If you are a responsible drinker of legal age, then by all means enjoy the hundreds of choices that are out there for us to sample today and please write up your experience as a comment to one of the articles on Flask and Cask we would love to hear from you and all about your latest find. The Whisky Warrior


  1. Is there a place I could pose a question somewhere rather than as a comment?

  2. You may place your question in the comment portion of the blog and we will answer it in a return comment within a couple of days.
    Thank you for your comment and we welcome your questions and will do our best to answer them.