FROM THE DOWN HILL SLOPE

A CRANKY OLD LADY POST  TRYING TO ASSURE THAT THE “SEASON TO BE JOLLY” DOESN’T DO YOUR LIVER IN.  Office parties, , football festivities  around the TV, tailgate guzzling at games,  after shopping pick-me-ups, practicing for New Year’s Eve.  No wonder my local liquor store gets three semi-truck loads a week to keep their shelves supplied during the holiday season.  Moreover there seems to a liquor store at every shopping mall or major cross roads.

This Cranky Old Lady knows each and every reason or excuse for lifting the bottle.   She has used them all.  She also comes  from a long line of drunks, so has heard it all.  She is not a drunk; she did not inherit the gene that made her first drink serve as a gateway to heaven–how most born-to-drink people recall that first one. She  thought beer tasted like horse-piss, wine a bit better, hard liquor only if doctored with cover-up flavors.  Slowly but surely that all changed.

She was lucky enough to have an inborn aversion to regurgitating, feeling dizzy, or a bit out of control  Moreover,  her upper lip gets numb when she drinks too much too fast.  All this to say she loves liquor,  but because her  genes included a when to stop mechanism, while others in her family simply drank themselves to death, she drank  more moderately.

However, there are two paths to becoming a drunk–one is the genetic factor, but the other is not observing one of the safe drinking rules.  Stay tuned to learn that one.

Speaking now as myself, in my  CUSSW  lectures on Drug and Alcohol Use and Abuse, I always asked my student for their ideas about safe drinking.  Specifically, I asked.  “Do you know the six rules of safe drinking?”

A brave few would guess, rarely could any student spit them out and most usually it was someone who belonged to either AA or Alanon.  Neither  believe there is such a thing as safe drinking.  Which sadly keeps some from embracing what is good about their programs and the fact is, some need to totally abstain.

For  shrinks or parents or  anyone worried about anyone  who drinks  Motivational Interviewing offers  a great approach for encouraging change in anyone about anything.  It was, however,  originally developed to help stinking-thinking drinkers think.   Don’t think that was where I first read about Safe Drinking Rules, but when I did, I thought knowing them might be of use to some, would be a useful Motivational Interviewing tool.  Moreover,  read them made me think more about being kind to my liver.

Joe Friday always said on Dragnet–“Just the facts.”  I am enough of a post-modernist to doubt all facts, all research, all information put out by the media, but these rules made sense to me. Trumpets blaring, here are the proposed rules for “drinkin” and “stayin alive”:

  1. Know what is meant by a drink:  A twelve ounce bottle of beer, a four-ounce glass of wine, a shot glass of the hard stuff.
  2. Only one drink an hour
  3. Only three drinks in any one 24 hour period
  4. Only three or four drinking days a week
  5. Never drink and mix other drugs particularly pot
  6. Never drink and driving.

The first three rules keep you from damaging your liver, but mostly from making an A– of your self or doing things you shouldn’t do–over eating, un-protected sex, popping someone on the nose, thinking you can out race a cop so you won’t  get a DWI, telling your in-laws who pay your rent to bug off– things like that.

These rules also help you not over-dose on alcohol.  A number of kids and that includes college age kids and chronological old fold kids chug-a-lug their liquor.  Too much alcohol consumed too fast can mean bonkers.  One of my foster children died that way a few years after leaving our home.

The fourth rule keeps you from building tolerance and keeps your liver safer.  Doesn’t make the liquor sellers happier. Also, was the one that served me best.  When a parent, I had become used to having a Katherine’s Martini (cheap Vodka on one rock)at the end of my personal Arsenic Hour–the hours between when the kids all got home from school and dinner was almost ready to put on the table.  Parents know the definition of Arsenic Hours . Arsenic Hours are those that destroy all good in life if not recognized and controlled.

Anyway, I digress,  I almost always digress.  So drinking a bit everyday, eventually found me having to drink more and more to get the desired cozy feeling. Reading the safe drinking rules encouraged me to stop drinking every day.

The fifth rule  is also designed to keep you alive.  Mixing drugs and alcohol speeds up the process of losing control or damaging your liver.  Pot in particularly keeps you from throwing what you drink up and out of your body when it is reaching the kill-you-level. Pot suppresses nausea in cancer patients, good for surviving cancer; not so hot for staying alive.

I am thinking that kind of over-dose will help me avoid  prolonging my death.   My tolerance for alcohol is now so low, sniffing and open Vodka bottle gives me that cozy glow.  When wanting to do myself, hoping I will know the dividing line between staying alive and prolonging my death, and hoping I have the courage to invite the Grim Reaper to have his way with me, I’ll  drink lots of Katherine’s Martinis  and smoke pot or eat pot brownies.

The sixth rule needs no explaining, but is one reason I don’t like to be out on the roads a lot during the  holidays.  I may abide by the rules, but many don’t.

When I put these rules out to my students, I always took note of their facial expressions.  Almost all were violators.  Moreover, I see among many of my Facebook and blog readers my Safe Drinking posts get few likes.  Cranky old lady doesn’t care, will put it out there again and again just like the ad-men do to sell you things you don’t need.  I have  want all of you to stay alive.

One last jab-if you de-friend me because of these rules, that says you probably know the rules make sense, but you love your drinks more.  Sigh.

Share, care, and stay strong.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

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