Friday, September 04, 2009

The Demon Alcohol

If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.

Dr. Oliver Sacks, from the book THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT

This particular quote comes from a story about a man who loses his short term memory as a result of heavy drinking.

This is my what, twelfth day without an alcoholic drink. . I'm trying to think the longest amount of time I've gone in recent memory without taking a drink. No more than a couple of weeks, certainly. There are times I've drunk more or less than other times, but alcohol was always there, especially in Russia.

I don't really have a very strong craving for alcohol, although I seem to be craving sweet drinks. Holsten makes a variety of non-alcoholic beers which are sold widely here -- there's a Mango flavored beer that tastes like the Peach Melba Rum wine coolers of my youth and I've been tossing those down, along with apple juice and green tea.

Many of the end reuslts of my drinking, especially with vodka -- blackouts, peeing on the rug, screaming, trying to strangle people -- would certainly be considered problematic by a medical professional, but I really don't consider myself an alcoholic. (Like most alcoholics, I suppose, until they take the First Step.) At least not a garden-variety alcoholic. I was a binge-drinker, sure, but I was very much a social alcoholic -- I wasn't the kind of guy that drank by myself. (With the notable exception of times when I had a severe hangover, for which I found beer to be the most effective cure.)

Without people inviting me out for drinks, there's not too much urge to be drunk.

"Why would I want to be sober when I'm out?" I'd say. "If I was sober I'd just as soon be home reading a good book."

Then I'd wash down some absinthe with eight beers or so and get punched in the face, fall down in the mud and take a crap in the bushes on the way back to my apartment.

Just a boy who can't say no, that's me.


Chasey said...


You crave sugary drinks because your body is used to metabolizing alcohol which is also a sugar. You could try getting some rubbing alcohol, lines, tonic water and ice and have a "tom colling" if your really in a pinch.

English Teacher X said...

oh, yeah, I know that about sugar and alcohol. I read it in James Frey's A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.

BrownBear said...

I used to teach English in Saudi. My advice is get a car, and brew booze. All that non-alcoholic beer in the supermarkets is not there for people who don't drink. It's for you to empty into an upturned watercooler bottle, put in some sugar, some yeast, put a condom on the top with a pin prick in the 'nipple' to let teh air out, and let it brew for about 10 days. Then, bottle it in those flip top fruit bottles they sell (empty first!), add half teaspoon of sugar and leave for at least two week, best one month or longer. Really. Recipes are around just ask others... so much for your detox man - I used to drink like a fish there! Can also make wine from the fruit juice! All illegal, but tollerated. Why else would the non-alco beer be next to the plastic tubing and yeast in the supermarket? Enjoy man :-)