Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And This Means...?

My drinking habits have long been a point of contention between my father-in-law and myself.

I've long had a custom of having one alcoholic drink with my dinner. I would rotate between a glass of wine, a 12-oz. beer, or a mixed drink. On the weekend, or if I was feeling particularly stressed out, I might have a second one. Only very rarely would I drink enough to make me catch a buzz. I would only get seriously bombed maybe once a year if that. The bottom line is that I have always kept my drinking regular yet in careful moderation.

My father-in-law still thinks that's too much. When we first moved into this house he about drove me nuts by saying, "Remember, only drink alcohol twice a week at most," every time he noticed anything remotely resembling a beer or wine bottle within eyeshot of me. Eventually it turned out that his "twice a week" rule had originated from a misunderstanding, i.e. he had read an article, replaced the doctor's words with his own preconceived notions (as usual), and then made his misquoting of said article to everyone and his dog one of his life missions. I finally called bulshiat on it, showed him proof, and succeeded in shutting him up...for a while. Every once in a while he either forgets or (as usual) replaces reality with preconceived notions and gets on the same kick again. We've had some glorious arguments.

Well, just for the heck of it, I decided to try going cold turkey for the duration of this week just to see if there would be any noticeable change. Apparently there has been. After the second non-alkie day I started having trouble concentrating. After the third I started having trouble getting up in the morning, and my Japanese speaking ability cracked. Today I'm having extraordinary trouble staying awake even though I got plenty of sleep last night.

I don't know if there is a direct causal relationship between the two, but this is bizarre...


  • Yes, even small amounts of alcohol can be addictive. I myself am trying to quit drinking, but my tolerance is way above yours. Try to imagine what it takes for you to get completely hammered, double it, and then act as if nothing happened. That is where I am. Withdrawals make me physically ill. Yet I somehow manage to drink just twice a week. I would like to make it none.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 1:08 PM  

  • Dave-
    I've limited myself to one drink a day (two tops) on purpose to keep myself from winding up in a similar situation. (Lord knows I've been awfully tempted to drink a LOT more...) I knew plenty of people in college that bragged about how they had to drink at least a half case just to catch a buzz and a full case to get hammered. My response to that was, "Then what's the point?" It was the same way back when I started smoking more regularly during my first few years here. No matter what, I limited myself to no more than one or two cigarettes a day. That way, when I finally decided to quit, I was able to do so without too much trouble.

    It's so much easier to be in control of your life if you do things in moderation.

    Still, since there are research reports saying the healthiest people drink an average of two drinks a day, why would only one drink a day have such an impact?

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 3:57 PM  

  • It seems to be that once your body adjusts to the alcoholic intake what ever level, that receptors in your brain become accustomed to that level and so when you quit you go into withdrawal. Stick with it, it will fade after a week or so. I could elaborate as I have been receiving "treatment" which turned out to be nothing more than college for drunks, which is why I have decided to kick them to the curb. However, while listening to Coast to Coast tonight I heard an interesting description of a classic case of alcohol toxicity which fit my current situation to a "T" giving me the incintive to grit my teeth and kick the habit for good.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 4:42 PM  

  • I go through phases - at the moment I have a bottle of Drambuie on the go, having a small shot each evening. When that is gone I will probably go without until we have our summer party and I have the job of drinking whatever is left over (my wife doesn't drink).

    I don't think that one a day is a real problem,especially if it is red wine which is supposed to be good for you.

    By Blogger Chief Rock Chef, at 6:44 PM  

  • Chief Rock Chef-
    Exactly! I have no intention of giving up drinking completely, especially with all the reports saying that drinking a little bit regularly is healthier than not drinking at all. And wine is medicine! ;-)

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 7:52 PM  

  • An interesting observation, MM. Wonder what the next week will bring -- do you plan to continue abstaining from alcohol another week or reintroducing it? For myself, my tolerance level is very low; 4 oz of wine can set off that spinning sensation.

    By Anonymous nikkipolani, at 4:27 AM  

  • Hard to say what the relationship (or lack thereof) is. I think your policy is very sensible.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 6:29 AM  

  • FIL: Moody, your friend Dave drinks alot too.

    Moody: Not, surely...

    FIL: Yes he does, I watched him now get is nineteenth beer, and every time I ask him how many he's had its always the same.

    Moody: What's that?

    FIL: He says it's his FIFTH!

    By Anonymous Dave, at 8:35 AM  

  • Nikkipolani-
    I'll probably reintroduce it, but maybe not every day as before. At any rate, today, the fifth day on the wagon, I'm feeling pretty good even despite lack of sleep last night (on account of going to bed too late). Tellingly, I don't have any desire to drink whatsoever. Of course, that may change later...

    Ouch. How did you manage to end up in such a condition?

    I have never drunk more than three drinks in one sitting at home, and that was a special occasion. Again, I have kept conscious limits in place.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 9:05 AM  

  • Job stress mostly, second I have been drinking rather heavy for a long time.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 10:20 AM  

  • I hear you on the job stress bit. Believe me, a lot of my coworkers are serious drinkers.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 1:10 PM  

  • Well, tonight I enjoyed my first beers in a week! I had a nice dark ale made by a Japanese craft brewer and a Victoria Bitter (Australia). Boy, did they taste good!

    Boy did I feel like crap afterward...
    Just what is going on?

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 11:59 PM  

  • Ah, the nature of addiction...

    Don't be surprised by that. It took you several years to be accustomed to your normal habit.

    Another interesting thing is that when an alcoholic tries to quit and relapses, even for one beer, the body reacts as if it were going to be exposed to the regular intake. I have a book I could recommend, its called "Under the Influence" by James Milam.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 7:49 AM  

  • Dave-
    Ah, the nature of addiction...-

    Ah, the nature of self-righteous smugness...

    Once again I'm being patronized. I'm already starting to take offense, and I've only read the first line.

    Don't be surprised by that. It took you several years to be accustomed to your normal habit.-

    Except that I've always knocked off the "habit" at intervals. This is just the first time in a while I've done it for a full week.

    Another interesting thing is that when an alcoholic tries to quit and relapses, even for one beer, the body reacts as if it were going to be exposed to the regular intake.-

    Dave, in case you either didn't really read the post (as usual), replaced facts with preconceived notions (like my FIL), or have simply forgotten, one beer IS my regular intake!By "feeling like crap" I meant I had an upset stomach and a mild headache. For all I know it could have had more to do with the kaiten sushi overload I'd just had. (My family went out for dinner at Sushiro again, it was a special sale, and we all ate waaayyyy too much.)

    Either that or one of the beers simply didn't agree with me. That has happened on numerous occasions. My system is picky. Certain kinds of beer always tend to give me a headache. Both of the beers I had last night were kinds I rarely if ever drink.

    Actually, now (Saturday morning) I'm feeling great. Better than I have in months.

    And if you start calling me an "alcoholic" and recommending treatment, you know precisely up which of your orifices you can shove it.

    Now, before you write another lecturing comment, go back and read this comment again and make sure you're actually reading what I wrote instead of what you THINK I'm going to write. That way there's a better chance of your information being relevant.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 9:17 AM  

  • Don't get irritated with me. It is you who voiced concern first.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 11:47 AM  

  • My concern wasn't quite that deep.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:34 PM  

  • Actually, the more I look at it the more I wonder if this is an issue with caffeine rather than alcohol. I mentioned that I was feeling better than usual this morning. I actually stopped off at a convenience store and got an espresso on my way to work. Two hours later I felt like crap again (i.e. burnt out).

    My coffee intake has been higher than usual lately, mainly to combat both an increased workload and a decreased sleepload. It's still lower than it was in the period from 1993 to 1995, when I was teaching as many as 9 lessons a day at that corporate English school. (Back then it was usually three or four cups of coffee and one or two convenience store lattes a day.) Still, recently I've been averaging two to three cups of coffee and/or espresso a day, and I tend to make my own coffee industrial strength. That's quite a change from last year, when I was observing a strict one cup a day limit.

    Maybe I should try knocking THAT off for a week!

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 10:27 PM  

  • Any changes to habits having to do with things you ingest can throw your body off for a while. But in your case I think it's the new flu that's causing it. (not)

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 8:02 PM  

  • Pandabonium-
    The new flu? Oh, puh-lease... ;-)

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 1:11 PM  

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