Alcoholism in men

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musicmonkey
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Alcoholism in men

Unread postby musicmonkey » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:41 pm

The older I get, the more I'm beginning to believe the warnings told to me by my conservative parents: that a drop of alcohol makes you an alcoholic. Now I enjoy drinking beer regularly as do many of my buddies.

Lately though I reconnected with an old friend of mine whose distant father was an alcoholic. He knows I stay up late and so he's been calling me pretty late over the past few weeks. When he calls, I can tell he's drunk. He's not as polite when he is drunk as when he is sober, he mumbles, and often talks nonsense or doesn't really listen to me, he just rants and misunderstands what I say. He's been drunk now for several days in a row and told me last night that he is going to go back to rehab.

I had another friend many years ago who was a sober alcoholic when I met him. He fell off the wagon a few years after I met him and it was then that I realized that alcohol was only the beginning. He was also a cocaine and heroin addict. Alcohol was the first step. Once drunk, he'd look for cocaine. Once strung out on coke, he'd then look for heroin. It was a complex situation that spiraled out of control involving all of his friends and his elderly mother across the country. After nearly overdosing, failed attempts to go to AA, and a few trips to emergency at the hospital, he finally "cleaned up" (again) in rehab. He had been through this before.

Another friend of mine is a pretty conservative single father and workaholic. He drinks after work to relax and while he never gets beligerant, I think he has a drinking problem. One night a few months ago, he had just moved into a new apartment and I offered to bring dinner over. When I arrived fairly early in the evening, I could tell he had had a few already. I brought some beer over myself and had one. He was "pacing himself" and so he decided to have some water. What shocked me was that he poured water into an empty beer bottle. When I questioned him about that he said that it made him feel like he was drinking a beer even if it was only water in the bottle. He mentioned something about trying to fool himself into thinking it was a beer. He works very early in the morning and so while his drinking hasn't affected his work, he's what one might call a "functioning alcoholic".

Generally speaking, I can have 1 or 2 beers and call it a night. If I'm out at a bar or restaurant I might have up to 4 or 5 beers during the course of the evening. I get drunk occasionally when I have 6, 7 or 8 beers, but this is generally only when I'm with other heavy drinkers at a bar. I haven't been with heavy drinkers in many months and have noticed a difference in my drinking patterns. Lately I'll often put the cap back on a beer bottle that is half-empty and put it back in the fridge for another day. Since I prefer stout and since stout is fairly flat to begin with, it doesn't spoil the beer.

I think alcoholism is definitely a spectrum. There are serious alcoholics who can't stop drinking, even if they wake up hungover they'll continue drinking hard liquor for breakfast. Then you have your functioning alcoholics, moderate drinkers, occasional drinkers, etc. Some people may have a glass of wine with dinner but no more. Others may only drink on holidays. I remember a lady that lived in my apartment building many years ago. She never drank except on New Years Eve. I remember seeing her get drunk one New Years Eve and it was not pretty. Drunks never look pretty.

People drink for a variety of reasons. I personally enjoy the taste of dark beer and, in moderation, it helps me relax and feel good. Some people drink deliberately to get drunk, even if they don't enjoy the taste of alcohol. They want to escape their pain or loneliness. If you're sober, it's very difficult to talk to a drunk. This past week, I've had to deal with 2 of my friends calling me in the middle of the night drunk. I think sometimes the old adage, "like father, like son" rings true for most of us. As we get older, whether we like it or not, men become their fathers - the good, the bad and the ugly.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

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