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Why This Drunk Can’t Drink… Even A Little Bit

January 2013

Sorry kids, this isn’t a PG post, entirely…

I heard an interesting argument last night.  One that I haven’t heard in years, and it had me absolutely laughing – inside.

The argument is thus:  [Imagine I’m making a very shallow attempt at keeping a smirk off of my face] “I’m a chef so I have to study what wine goes with which food (at this point person lists several wines that I’ve never heard of and which meats they go with)…  Now, if I know that information and I am Italian so my momma raised me to believe that wine is “the nectar of the gods” and that it is “not to be abused”,  under that set of circumstances doesn’t it make sense that I should sample the goods every once in a while”?

And that’s when I stopped it…  Many a tired drunk will attempt to outsmart the recovered drunks – as if one of us old-timers agreeing or getting outmaneuvered in a debate would somehow “make it OK” or possible to drink a glass of wine with dinner every now and again.  So I opted for the surprise.  I said hey, you have a point (I did not attempt to hide the smirk on my face), go ahead and give it a try to let me know how that works out for you.

Now, if you’re an idiot or you don’t know any better or you just want to make a point by besmirching me, you could adopt the stance that my making a joke at that yahoo’s predicament was somewhat contemptible.  After all, it is a life and death disease and telling someone they should try controlled drinking – oh, me oh my, the horror!!!

Here’s the deal folks, a pretentious fellow tries to outwit the resident old-timers so he can somehow “prove” the error in their decision to remain completely free from alcohol, because millions of recovered and recovering alcoholics must simply be misinformed and ignorant while he, well-educated and worldly, must know better.  Here’s the reality folks.  Not only am I allergic to alcohol, I’m susceptible to other issues as well.  Take, for instance, sticking my dick in a blender and turning it on.  Now I recommend an alcoholic not drink just the same as I would recommend he not stick his dick (or boob for the ladies) in a blender and turn it on.  It’s not rocket science.  If you want to take it PG, I’d recommend to an alcoholic that he or she not take a drink just the same as I would recommend they not jump out of that perfectly good airplane without a parachute.  There’s something more to it than just a good laugh-line though.

You see folks, as an alcoholic, I metabolize alcohol just a little bit differently than most people.  That’s just the way it is, it’s science.  When alcohol crosses my lips and enters my blood stream, it sets off a craving that simply can’t be beaten by something as silly as a well-reasoned argument.  It can’t be reasoned with or fought or bartered with.  I am completely powerless over this phenomenon of craving.  It is a black and white issue.  If I allow alcohol into my system there is no telling when I’ll stop and who I’ll hurt in the process.  Though it may work in politics, presenting a plausible argument won’t change the way a drunk’s body metabolizes alcohol.  This is also why they’ve never been able to come up with a pill to cure alcoholism.  You simply can’t beat the craving for more.  This is why abstaining from the use of mood and mind altering drugs and alcohol, followed up with a comprehensive change in lifestyle works where everything else fails.  It works so well in fact, that I’ve never seen a person fail who has followed the path…  Not one.  Unfortunately, that path requires a certain level of honesty and humility that the pretentious simply can’t grasp and discussing the technical aspects with someone who doesn’t want to quit is akin to arguing with a brick wall that it should technically be six inches to the left – and then expecting it to move itself.  I have seen hundreds of those types fail over the years, so good luck with that.

I wish there were an easier, softer way.  I wish I could enjoy a nice glass of wine with my dinner because, yes, it would make that immaculately prepared fish dinner “perfect” to someone who doesn’t get it.  Unfortunately at every turn – and believe me, I’ve tried every different manner of controlled drinking I could think of (and then made some up) – if you’re really an alcoholic, hoping to have the occasional glass of wine simply isn’t reasonable, no matter how well structured the argument is – because if a glass would make a perfect dinner, two bottles would make it “perfect-er”.

Finally, this isn’t to say that this fellow didn’t have a chance at recovery.  Truly, if I can do it, anyone can (as long as you work to attain the ability to be honest).  Oh, and you have to check your pretentious arguments at the door.


  1. Dee Stevenson says:

    Your honesty is refreshing. I dont drink because I dont want to, can you only imagine how much of leper people think I am….. not drinking, without even having an excuse not too…. apparently that is crazy!!

    Good on you for facing your demons and being the stronger person!

    • bgddyjim says:

      You are a rare one indeed… It’s a difficult concept for some to grasp, there’s no doubt about that. Good on you for bucking the system – you obviously have a strength that I completely lack. Very cool indeed.

  2. Interesting. I spent many years drinking – plenty of wine in fact. For the longest time I thought I couldn’t quit for whatever reason including some of the most ludicrous and convoluted thinking on the planet. Then one January 8 years ago I thought I would try to cut back to help with my “blood pressure” issues. I went 2 days. . . repeat – 2 days and suddenly I realized there was a hell of a lot more to life. . . .A week later I was already starting to get kind of bent for being held captive for so long. Within a month I was a confirmed teetotaler thanking God profusely for this unimaginable gift and life was completely new. Just the other day my wife and I were talking about the fact that alcohol consumption does not add one thing to life and even if it did add some small bit of happiness or satisfaction that we may have overlooked, would it be worth destroying one life – how about 100 – or more realistically – would it be worth the millions of lives it has destroyed and injured? Thanks for the post and happy to share the wonders of sobriety with you!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Amen to that… Oh how I longed to be you! 20 years sober and I still look at alcohol the same way I did when I quit – One is too many and a case isn’t enough. You’ve got eight years behind you now – do you look back at that convoluted thinking and chuckle? I can remember telling the president of my first (and only) treatment center that I’d be able to complete their program because “I had a lot of willpower”… I still get a hearty chuckle whenever I think back on that conversation. I had the willpower of a potato.

      How ever we enjoy it after the fact, every day is indeed a gift.

  3. Brent says:

    Controlled drinking if you’re an alcoholic is a dangerous trap. I’m in AA and sober. I drank very heavily in my teens and twenties, but then I made some rules for controlled drinking that I stuck to for decades. And they worked: my drinking was, in fact, controlled. Two or three beers or glasses of wine a handful of times per year. I never drank alone. I had no DUI’s, no embarrassing moments at parties, no complaints from the wife. I often went months without even thinking of drinking. So I figured there was no problem.

    But as life fell apart over the last couple years, I realized that the cause of a lot of what went wrong was the thinking patterns that became ingrained while I was drinking myself to oblivion. I realized that I behaved like an alcoholic, no matter how many months it was since my last drink or how many decades since my last major bender. So once I realized that I was a “dry drunk,” I went off to do the AA program, to recover from the thought patterns that were still running through my brain no matter how long it had been since the last drink.

    Even though I could probably return to some form of “controlled drinking” if I wanted to, I now understand that it would inevitably return me to my previous state of insanity, where I made incredibly stupid and self-centered (and ultimately, self-destructive) decisions based on how I behaved when I was drinking heavily. Fortunately, I haven’t had to have the “go do some research for us and let us know how controlled drinking works for you” conversation with anyone yet, but I’m ready…

    • bgddyjim says:

      The research, if you ever do have the conversation, isn’t for us – it would be, should you need it, for you (as it was for me when “they” had the conversation with me many moons ago). It was only after I ceased fighting, that I was really decided I was done, that I understood what it meant to recoil, as if from hot flame, from alcohol. Congratulations on not needing the talk, you’ve got me beat. 😉

  4. elisariva says:

    I love that you continue to share what you face every day. I am reading this at the gym on a spin bike and laughed very loudly when I got to the blender bit. Serious stuff but at least you can find humor. Love it. And you brother.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Elisa. There is a method to the madness, I have to give it away to keep it (freely and without expectation of return). I also hope that my experience can help others to understand what it is folks like me go through – that, and some of the things I’ve been through make for funny stories. Glad you liked the “blender” bit – I made that one up.

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