Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good & Bad Spirits

As most of you know, my love for alcohol goes way beyond the limits of moderation. It’s not my fault, it’s my parents. Yes, I’m blaming everything on my parents. My psychiatrist said so. Growing up in my Italian household, we always had red table wine with dinner, and scotch and brandy to relieve pain that any good dose of ibuprofen couldn’t handle.

Tooth ache? Take a shot of scotch!

Period cramps? Take a shot of brandy!

Gas pain? Drink some beer to get the bubbles out of your chest!

Feeling down? Have a martini to lift your ‘spirits’.

Now granted, I wasn’t allowed to drink during my teen years, however sneaking booze in my bedroom had become a fine art. I mastered the tip-toeing through the tulips over to the dry bar-- raiding any booze I could dowse into my iced-tea. I usually had one of my best friends waiting in my bedroom to join me. Who wants to drink alone?

One night, my two friends came over. We were fifteen years old at the time. We got a hold of a six pack of beer and a few oil cans of Foster’s. (Foster’s beer look like oil cans.) We drank up, and being that we were fairly lightweights and underage, our bodies didn’t absorb most of the alcohol flowing through our fresh livers. My mother caught wind of our drunken behavior and came running upstairs to see what the ruckus was.

“Beer? Beer? You’re gonna get a potbelly if you keep drinking that!” Those words still echo throughout my head as I look down, to see the spare tire that has developed throughout the years. Sit ups and crunches only get you so far when there’s a nice cold one sitting on your counter.

Holidays and special events at our house were always fun. My aunt and uncle from Brooklyn would come over with fine scotch, pastries and other mixed up processed meats in casings. Uncle Tony was never without his scotch on the rocks, and my Aunt Madeline was right behind him, saying cheers to her sister…which happens to be my mother. The house would become louder, and louder, as the scotch bottle began to sink lower and lower—almost on empty. Then there was demitasse with Sambuka to sober them up after dinner.

It wasn’t too long, after my teen years, that I developed a love for wine. I started drinking wine right after I got out of work with my dinner. It was a daily ritual.

“Drink red wine—it’s great for your heart!” My mother would say, making any alcoholic beverage beneficial to one’s health. Red wine became white wine became martinis became shots of vodka with a chaser of beer. I loved anything that thinned out my blood and made me feel good.

“She’s having an anxiety attack! Here! Take a shot!” My mother would say, as she’s handing me the bottle of vodka. Of course it’s going to take away my anxiety…for the meantime. So in my head—alcohol took away anxiety and panic. It was my medication…still is till this day!

The only problem with this concept is, the alcohol takes away the anxiety for the meantime, but when you wake up the next morning with DTs, you’re going through a whole other type of anxiety. So you try to relieve the anxiety with alcohol to develop a worse anxiety attack. It’s a vicious cycle.

So as I’m sitting in my psychiatrist’s office trying to sort through why I have anxiety and panic attacks, he asked me, “Do you think you have a problem with alcohol?”

“No, I don’t…I enjoy it very much.”
“Do you feel it contributes to your anxiety?”
“Do you?”
“It may be the problem. You experience a panic attack and reach for the alcohol…right?”
“Right.”
“So, does this contribute to your anxiety attacks?”
“No, it relieves it.”
(Doc chuckles, knowing my warped sense of humor. I know where he’s going with this, but the thought of AA has me shivering.)

If I’m so concerned about my fluctuation with weight and my fear that alcohol is the culprit, what will happen if I did go to AA with all those donuts, pastries and coffee they serve during their sessions? They basically substitute your addiction for another addiction.

“Here---give me all your booze and I’ll give you a bag of candy!”

What’s worse? At least the alcohol will ease your anxiety and make you feel better. Candy? You’ll feel hyper and develop a bigger potbelly!

“Here, give me your booze and I’ll give you a twelve pack of Duncan Donuts!”

Get me?

I think it’s great for those who attend AA and get the help they need. I think it’s also great when they don’t trade off addictions though. A good friend of mine went into detox, and then into a rehab to get rid of her booze addiction. So when she got out after 28 days, she gained 20 pounds. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but she was so depressed and down over her weight, she started doing the vinegar diet. This diet basically eats up the lining of your stomach. She lost weight alright, but ended up with a few stomach ulcers.

Everyone has their own little addictions. Some people love to eat. Some love to drink. A lot of people love the internet. There’s always one thing in our lives that make us go overboard, forgetting any concept of moderation whatsoever.

Sometimes, when my girlfriend buys me a bottle of red wine, I think, “Does she want to share this with me---or can I just save this for an afternoon while I’m writing?” And believe me, one bottle of red wine doesn’t go very far with me. One bottle is basically 3-4 glasses. Easily!

Now my reasoning for cutting down the alcohol content is because I’m getting older, and my metabolism is saying, “You’re mutha’ was right! Stop drinking and do some crunches!” This is going to be one difficult challenge to keep my love for wine/martinis and beer in check. (Or just in moderation.)

What’s your addiction? And be honest!

53 comments:

normiekins said...

work
champagne
sex

and not in that order! :0)

Saur♥Kraut said...

My addictions are many. Some are healthy (my son, my friends). Some are not.

One of my primary battles is food (which is terrible, because it's always accessible, even more so than alcohol for an alcoholic or crack for a crackhead).

Another addiction is jewelry. It's part of being a shopaholic, which is definately a classed addictive behavior and somewhat linked to my mild OCD.

Hey! Why do you think I was/am a good semi-retired counselor? It takes one to know one.

As for your alcoholism, you've been aware of it for a very long time. You know I love you and accept where you are. And I admire the fact that you see it for what it is. If (not when) you want to conquer it, AA is an excellent tool to add to your toolkit, which currently includes your shrink.

Addictions are a never-ending struggle. The good thing about my jewelry addiction is that when I wake up in the morning, I'm usually sporting a new rock. My friends all benefit from amazingly gorgeous Christmas presents. And I don't ever get hangovers. But if it's not kept in check, it can end up putting quite a dent in my checking account. Thank god for The Home Shopping Network Outlet!!! ;o)

samuru999 said...

addictions...
Do I have some?
I guess so...
I love books, and have way too many in my house...and need to get rid of some of them...but, whenever I get a pile together to give away, I just cannot do it...
and after a few days, they are back on the bookcase.

I think I am becoming addicted to my poetry lately also...as I am writing every day...
Last night....I should have been cooking dinner..instead of finishing writing a poem.
Tonight my hubby gets a very nice dinner! Last night he only got grilled-cheese sandwhiches!

I love to exercise...
but, not an addiction!

Oh, I forgot...tea...I am addicted
to it...I have about 8 cups a day!
I am always trying new kinds of tea.

Probably more...but, that's all I can think of right now.

Lisa A. said...

Post, well done, Debbie T. Good subject and good expression on this topic.

Firstly, after being in your presence on more than a few occasions, I do not believe you are as bad a boozer as you self-proclaim, but I do understand your point. Addiction and one's struggles can be a force to be reckoned with. ;-)

My addictions. Well, your blog for one, but so far it has not been hazardous to my health in any way. In fact, it has been healthy, since I find myself either laughing or thinking, which in my humble opinion, are two very positive things. POSITIVITY, girl!

My addiction would have to be food. OH YEAH...cravings for the stuff that tastes great but will eventually kill you (or so 'they' claim). Each day it's a battle to remain on a healthy diet and not cheat or eat more than necessary. I try hard and have been determined. Luckily a recent blood test did prove I'm doing something right, but a struggle it is! I do the best I can.

I do agree with the fact that no one should substitute one addiction for another. That's just yet another addiction to overcome. It's like "I totally stopped drinking, but I now smoke two packs of ciggies a day." Not good. However, I do toast...ah, well... commend and truly admire those who can successfully kick any addictions. It can be a tough, cruel world. Bravo to thoses who can fight back with full force.

God bless!

~Deb said...

Okay, Normie was the only one with a good addiction here!!! Damn you! Saur has an addiction for jewelry. Okay. And Samuru has an addiction with reading, poetry and tea.

I feel like a complete drunk now! (ha)

~Deb said...

Lisa, we've been friends for a few years, we've shared many black and tans, various wines and shared beers among beers. It was always a fun time with you.

YOU my friend are a healthy eater. You eat health food- and you do it all in moderation. I see it. I know it. You totally respect what goes into your body.

Love ya Lisa!!!!

Lisa A. said...

Um...I hate damn typos! My other addiction? GRMAMMER! I meant to say that Debbie is NOT as bad a boozer as she self-proclaims! Geez, man! Many like a drink when the ocassion calls for it!

Cheers, my friend! Sorry for the terrible typo! That's what happens when you're trying to work and have fun all at the same time. ;-)

~Deb said...

O adn I nver make a tpyo?

Beth said...

Very good post, and my addiction would have to be alcohol as well. My brother and sister gave me coke and "sugar" when I was six years old... I found out a few years back that the "sugar" was whiskey. Then in grade 7 I got suspended for going to school drunk. After that I didn't drink until grade nine... and ever since then I have been a boozehound. I get absolutely plastered at least three times a week.. and drink almost every day. I've tried to cut down, but in the past four years, the longest I've been able to go is eleven days.

~Deb said...

Beth: I remember the days of walking through the high school doors with a good buzz on! I have to cut down for a full 7 days when I’m menstruating due to the amount of ibuprofen I take. I can’t take that with alcohol. Not good!

Video X said...

"My psychiatrist said so."

HAHAHA!

Vodka also helps your cholesterol...cleans you right out.

Yeah I'm with you on that bottle of wine thing. My mother and I have a difficult time with A bottle of wine...that's for me!!! Get your own!

Video X said...

oh...and I'm addicted to making out.

AND...I forgot to say...who's to say you have to stop drinking to do crunches!!! I run and drink...it's all good...in fact, it sure makes running more fun.

~Deb said...

Well they even say that when you go out dancing, you burn off the extra calories when you drink beer. So I agree with ya on that one Video!

J R Estelle said...

Confession, I was addicted to alcohol, I wrote about it, briefly and that was no joke. In fact, at one point I was a functioning alcoholic. And I functioned quite well, thank you.

My current addiction, although odd is starch. I MUST have ALL my shirts that can be starched, starched or I won't wear them. Maybe that's OCD, but I don't like the way my shirts feel unstarched.

p.s. in my household, you got a bad cold, grandpa gave you a shot of Chritian Brothers Brandy

Pittchick said...

I'm pretty sure Duran Duran is my addiction. And Brady Quinn...

Anyway, I do enjoy my wime, but I tend to have some obsessive/compulsive tendencies, so I can't allow myself to really go overboard with anything. Except maybe exercise. It can't be too bad to be addicted to that, right?

Oh, I guess I also have an iced tea addiction. Fairly harmless, I suppose.

Miss 1999 said...

Damn, Deb- we don't have all day for me to list my addictions *LOL* Kinda sad, isn't it? I have such an "addicitive" personality, that I pick addictions up easily, everything from smoking to shopping- blogging, I could go on for hours :0)

The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

CHOCOLATE!!!!
Shoes
CHOCOLATE!!!
CNN
CHOCOLATE!!!
Books
CHOCOLATE!!!
Blogging
oh- and did I mention? CHOCOLATE!!

Jazz said...

My addictions??? Easy, I have two .... or maybe three. Hmmm. Okay here they are...

Books
Computer
Phone (but only with my long distance friends, people I see I have no interest in talking on the phone with.)

samuru999 said...

I forgot to mention dancing...
I dance every day....
Just by myself...
it is so freeing of the spirit..
(I took dance lessons for many years...and wanted to be a dancer)
one day, my hubby came home early
and caught me with the music blasting loudly...
and dancing wildly across the
kitchen floor...
I do believe he thought I had lost it!

Lisa A. said...

You're the best,Debbie T.! I can't wait to hang with you again after I return!

Tons of love!

Natalia said...

I drink in moderation...and not because I am trying to exercise moderation. I a m just really not drawn to alcohol. I mean I like wine, and like beer, and like mixed drinks. I just never think about alochol much. I have it. When I feel like it. Or when there is a party, or a dinner...you get the deal :)

But I guess I am lucky...cause it's linked to so many problems. But a glass of wine a few times a week is supposed to be good.

I think I'd rather err on the side of none than too much.

-N

Saur♥Kraut said...

oooooh. Diet Coke. I forgot Diet Coke! I can never give that up. Seriously.

And here's my latest purchase: a sterling silver butterfly ring with embedded rubies Yummy!

GW Mush said...

it's hard to quit addictions due to the stress caused by Satan.

~Deb said...

J R Estelle: Functioning is the key word there! I totally consider myself functioning…until my girlfriend and buddies point out how really trashed I am. But, in all seriousness, I do drink, but it rarely shows.

DNA: I don’t know who Brady Quinn is. Exercise can be an addiction- look at those muscle builders who have that obsession with being so huge and big for competitions, that they nearly kill themselves with dehydration before the show to show off their muscles and veins.

Miss 1999: Of course I have all day. Go on. As long as you’re happy and your health is okay, I think you’ll be alright. I keep telling my father he should quit smoking and eating high cholesterol filled foods- cause of his health, but he enjoys it so much, and is healthier than most thin people—I swear! Cholesterol is low now, and he’s in his 70’s. No complaints on his end.

The Rev: Chocolate is good for your heart! They said that on the news not too long ago—but the dark kind. (Yeah, of course the one I really don’t prefer.)

Jazz: Well, I guess it’s safe to say you’re not going to die over these addictions! You’re making me look bad here!!! (ha)

Samuru: Okay, that’s it. I’m putting you in a rehab! You’re out of control! Hehe…. You’re listing things that are SO healthy for your mind, spirit and body! I’m so hatin’ you right now! {{hugs}}

Lisa: Martini or five? Love you too!!! Xxoo

Natalia: Moderation? What’s that? Good frame of mind though! Gotta teach me how to do that. *sigh*

Saur: I love this…..Addiction: eating McDonalds with tons of fries and two big macs with a diet coke!

GW: The devil made me do it. I have to point fingers and blame someone other than myself!

Russ said...

Mine include music, the internet, and chocolate. I believe only the last one is truly bad, but not if it's in moderation.

GW Mush said...

it's hard to quit addictions due to the stress caused by nothing on TV with 76 channels.

~Deb said...

Russ: That's all fun...especially the chocolate addiction. :)

GW: You only have 76 channels???

GW Mush said...

Deb,
yes, only 76 channels, thats why I blog so much, hehe

Geek said...

Tense is all I need, Well that and beer.

Kat Campbell said...

Smoking. I'm not content to just ruin my health, I apparently want to take out my friends and family too. Eventually my natural reticense against being controlled by anyone or anything will surface and I'll kick this habit. Don't you feel controlled by the alcohol?

kathi said...

I have been thinking and thinking...I honestly can't think of any addictions. I don't even have any sort of routine...dang, my life is crapshoot.

GW Mush said...

it's hard to quit addictions due to the stress caused by gynocologists, hehe

Tense Teacher said...

Sour candy!
Airheads, Sour Patch Kids, Tearjerkers gum - I gotta have them! Every time I try to quit, go cold turkey, they subtly call to me in Target, and I can't resist.

Anonymous said...

Wow. A lesbian, a drunk, and a Christian. I didn't think that combination was possible.

CP said...

Wow, an anonymous commenter with the ability to make a complete (albeit, stupid) sentence. I didn't think THAT combination was possible.

I love you Deb.

CP.

Myrsurv said...

Funny I always used that excuse with my mother who thinks I drink way too much; "but Mom, you made me rum and lemon when I had a sore throat (and I was only 5!!!); you gave me beaten egg whites and brandy for energy, and the ice cream of choice was...rum raisin" what's a girl to do???? I mean, who am I to blame?

Anonymous said...

I'm addicted to blogging. It's true. I love it. No matter how silly or serious my posts are. And I'm addicted to checking my friend's blogs too!

No_the_game said...

Deb,

It is funny that you wrote about this topic. Today at lunch my co-workers were talking about alcohol. One coworker is Greek and grew up pretty much 120% greek, other one is Bulgarian grew up 130% bulgarian and me grew up 250% russian. We all had one thing to share. When we all were child ( still) we were taught that alcohol cues all.

I remember when I was 9 my grandma would give me shot of vodka if i got cold throat, infected ear, clogged up nose. Name it!!! She believe it cues all. HAHA I know that is kinda abuse here. Hey it would kill all the germs.

Yeah my addiction is sugar :(( I am growing to a wrong direction :)

GW Mush said...

it's hard to quit addictions due to the stress caused by all the non americans who hate america because of our freedoms

Catch said...

my addictions:

internet, spend way too much time on it
books, I buy them by the ton
sheets, I love pretty sheets, also buy them often.
shoes, I love my shoes...all of them
magazines, I wish I had the money I spend on magazines
shopping, I love to spend money
Pepsi or Coke, love it first thing in the morning ( or whenever I get up)
plastic storage containers ( such as tupperware or rubbermaid), all my friends try to keep me away from plasticware! My Mother says to me when I go shopping " please dont buy anymore plastic!"

samuru999 said...

Deb
If I can think of an addiction that
is not healthy...
will you promise not to hate me?
Maybe overnight, I'll develop one!
But probably not!

(((hugs)))
to you too sweetie!

Anonymous said...

My only addiction:

MEN

GW Mush said...

To Anonymous,

as long as your not a slut about it, hehe

GW Mush said...

oh..ohh... oooooh... Im not good with the addiction thing but I did think of something else.... WITHDRAWALS.
Yes, it is nearing the weekend which means Deb will probably go out instead of blog on her blog.
I will have Deb withdrawals until Monday morning when she starts all over again.

QUASAR9 said...

Deb, do you ever get so drunk, you cannot remember how you ended up where you wake up??? How often???

Little italian household, raised on wine - and long life to you!!!

QUASAR9 said...

And some of my addictions are:
Beauty
fine women
fine wines
fine jewels
fine horses
fast cars
Nature
Eternity

~Deb said...

GW: Blogging is much better than sitting in front of the TV in my opinion!

Geek: The two together make a great combination!

Kat: Hmm, controlled? Probably. But, I think it’s more about something to fall back on, something to enjoy with dinner, and something to make you feel good when you’re a bit tense. So, it can definitely be controlling if relied on. I rely on it. Hmm. You’re better than my psychiatrist!

Kathi: Hmm, I think you’re free and clear of getting yourself into trouble then!

Tense: The voices of Target can wreak havoc sometimes---especially when there’s a Starbuck’s inside of one. (guilty too!)

Anonymous: It is! It is possible…!

CP: Okay sweetie-----you didn’t list your addiction. (heh) I love you too!!!

Myrsurv: The finger points to the parental units. Believe me, to relieve pain---ANY pain, it was done with brandy or scotch or whatever. Do you think we’re related???

Sandalina: Well, it’s like keeping in touch with friends but having fun too. Even if the people who log on are “anonymous” or just complete strangers, it’s enjoyable to express yourself out in the public. So the bottom line is, I didn’t get your ‘real addiction’! ;)

No the game: I’m telling ya---vodka, scotch and brandy are very medicinal. I mean, if you run out, don’t go in the medicine cabinets to down the last bit of cough syrup—but all of that in moderation (or at least tried in moderation) is great.

GW: Way too political for me to respond to! Ha!

Catch: Sheets…..ahhh, …..just got the 800 thread count----un-be-liev-able!!!! I’m with you on that one!

Samuru: Well don’t acquire one just because of me…hehe, …I think your addictions are wonderful. I love to dance too, but with a few cocktails thrown back.

Anonymous: Are you male or female? ;)

GW: You’re too funny.

Quasar: No, I never been that drunk before! That’s kind of scary. I’m the type that has 3 glasses of wine with dinner. (Yes the goblets are the size of fishbowls.) And if I go out with friends, I’ll enjoy 4-5 beers with a few shots added in over a duration of time, but nothing beyond something I can’t remember—as far as waking up goes. I have had a few mornings where I looked at my girlfriend and said, “Did I say or do anything stupid last night?” Of course she says no… Wine is wonderful for your heart, and now they say ANY alcohol in moderation –like one a day will decrease your chances of heart disease.

~Deb said...

Quasar: Eternity?

CP said...

I thought my addiction was obvious. I am addicted to gorgeous lesbians who drink too much, live in New York and make me piss my panties with laughter whenever we talk/hang out.

But, since you didn't get that subtle clue....

I'll just say...shoes.

Addicted to shoes...and the way they look when flung onto my husbands shoulders.

CP.

kathi said...

Oh, since cp said shoes, I suppose I could say purses. I love purses!

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Debs,
Yep I'm adicted most to life
and Eternity - eternal life.

Here's looking at ya, loving ya and smiling at ya

LisaBinDaCity said...

Junk food. Pizza, chips, french fries, popcorn.

All carbs all the time.

But not anymore.

*sighs*

Anonymous said...

I can be addicted to anything really...

Right now: it's Battlestar Galactica...