Thursday, October 18, 2007

On the Wagon

In this Fun Monday post, I alluded to the fact that I do not drink anymore. Sometimes, I follow that comment with this old quip, " Nor, do I drink any less." However, what I really mean is that I no longer imbibe alcoholic beverages of any kind.


Our good friend, Captain Corky of Corky's Log, asked me in the comments why I stopped drinking. The reason that I stopped drinking is complex. Furthermore, my abstinence has been an off and on process for 30 some years. Before we explore my years of sobriety, let me tell you about my drinking.


My parents believed that if they served us small or moderate amounts of alcohol at home, my sisters and I would refrain from drinking outside the home. As we grew to adulthood, we were allowed a taste of rum in our Christmas egg nog, mulled wine on the cold brisk fall days, and a half glass of wine on festive occasions. They were partially right. I did not drink beer in parking lots as a teen, nor did I drink at parties. However, I do remember my friend, Connie, and I did consume some of my parents gin one rainy afternoon. Of course, we replaced the missing clear spirit with water.

As I grew to adulthood, I enjoyed drinking with our friends. I enjoyed any kind of wine, and my hard beverage of choice was Cutty Sark on the rocks. In my drinking days, I seemed to be able to "hold" my alcohol better than most. Luckily, I rarely suffered the next day after a night of drinking. Even as an adult, my drinking was mostly limited to festive occasions and Friday nights after the ball game.


Why did I stop? On November 8, 1974, my mother had a cerebral aneurysm. Now, I am rather sure that you are not supposed to make deals with God, but I did do just that. I bargained with God if he would allow my mom to live, I in turn would stop drinking. I did stop drinking for a few years, but after few years my commitment to teetotaling waned. I missed friendly drinks with friends and relatives. I missed the warm feeling that one gets after drinking just one glass of wine. So even though I promised the Almighty, I did partake of the wine when tis' red.

In the early eighties, my father was becoming confused with what seemed like Alzhiemer's Disease. Although this time I did not bargain, I did make a personal resolution not to drink. My thought this time was to save all the brain cells possible. Eventually, I did have an occasional drink.

Within a few years, I quit again. This time I have quit for good. If you have read this far, you might be thinking that I am an alcoholic. Luckily, that has not been a problem for me. But trying to stop is difficult. Our social lives can be so intertwined with drinking. People drink to celebrate, to mourn, to relax, to socialize, to forget... Although I am not an alcoholic, I understand a little how difficult it is to quit. I have little desire to drink, but I do like to join friends at bars. I usually have an O'Doul's or tonic sans gin. For toasts, we buy some sparkling grape juice. Do I miss the drinking days and nights? No, not much.

24 comments:

captain corky said...

Thanks for the story and explaining it me MJD. Now I understand. ;)

When I was in my early 20's, "I got sober" for 4 years and I became really introverted and was completely miserable. I drink once in a while now and I'm a pretty happy guy these days. ;)

Margaret said...

That makes sense! I do think that drinking is too much intwined in our culture of partying and celebrating. But it's hard to change; I admire you for that!

Willowtree said...

Have you seen where parents are being arrested now for letting their kids have a drink in their own home?

Pretty soon the Federal budget will be in surplus as they'll be disbanding the army since there won't be any more freedom left to defend anyway!

daddy d said...

C2H5OH is over rated. It has a danger for many people. Excess is bad. It is not needed for a "good time".

TheBirdman33 said...

Really good story, I'm glad you shared too. I never really got in to drinking and never really had a desire to try it until recently. Watching Corky go through some really tough times and going through the "getting sober" process at a young age definately helped push me in the other direction.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the little bit of drinking you do these days...God should understand.

Nessa said...

Sounds like some reasonable thoughts too me.

I can take it or leave it myself but there is so much pressure to drink and not for good reasons.

Nessa said...

I never forbid my daughter alcohol but I didn't hand her drinks if she didn't ask for one. I also showed her how to have fun without any alcohol at all and also how to deal with her problems without it.
And I always told her never to drink and drive or get in a car with a drunk driver and since my behavior matched my words, she is a smart drinker (which means she doesn't drink a whole lot.)

Tiggerlane said...

What an interesting, compelling tale.

You are wise to save brain cells - I think I trashed MANY in college.

I'm struggling with whether or not to let mine drink - she's wanting to try, and better to have her do it at home first - but willowtree has me skeered!

Beccy said...

That is really interesting. I agree that parents should teach their children to be responsible drinkers. We have a huge problem here with binge drinking and teenagers, luckily my eldest is very anti alcohol but I wonder how long that will last.

furiousBall said...

There ain't a thing wrong with abstaining from alcohol. I steer clear due to my own bouts of depression, alcohol just makes me extra well, sad.

ChrisB said...

Like beccy says teenage and young adult drinking is getting totally out of hand here in the UK. It seems to have got worse since they changed the opening hours. I seem to have gotten more into the habit of having a drink with my dinner since I've retired. I do make a conscious decision to decline some nights wish I could say the same for embee!

debi said...

I really like this post. Especially the part about your mom.

susan said...

My very first drink all I could think about was killing my grey matter! I still rarely drink.

It can be very tough to not imbibe when alcohol seems to be all over the place and in social circles.

Blue Momma said...

I did my drinking as a teenager when it was forbidden. Once it was "OK" to do it didn't seem like nearly as much fun.

I've had a few spells since then where I drank more than was wise, but now rarely have a drink.

Though at 39 with a three year old? It is really tempting most of the time!!!

mjd said...

Captain Corky - Thanks for the encouragement. I was a little leery of revealing all of this to blogdom.

Margaret - Thank you always for your support.

Willowtree - I know that is happening. It seems that parents ought to be able to offer a glass of wine to their own children. However, here in the states, we have some parents that allow teen drinking at parties in their homes.

Daddy D - Most the people, we know usually have a good time drinking. As you know, there is another darker side to alcohol consumption.

mjd said...

Birdman - You are right. God probably would understand. He might be a little busy to care if old Molly takes a nip or two.

Nessa - You have zeroed in on the secret of good parenting. "Model the desired behavior."

Tiggerlane - Our children did have a few sips at home. As adults, one son does not drink, and the other drinks responsibly.

mjd said...

Beccy - Here in the states, binge drinking is a big problem on college campuses.

Furiousball - You make a wise choice. My parents were happy drinkers.

Chris B - For a time period, my parents were into after dinner drinks. You know those sweet syrupy liquers like Frangelico and Cherry Herring.

mjd said...

Debi - Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Susan - Interesting that you were so wise with your very first drink.

Blue Momma - The forbidden part is sure alluring to some teens. I think that was why Connie and I had the gin. We also smoked some of my mom's filterless Camel cigarettes.

Jen said...

I wondered...There are a few alcoholics in my family, and I've seen close up the damage it can (and is) still doing. I went through a few years of very heavy partying and drinking in my youth. One morning, I stopped cold turkey for a year. I felt better for it. I still occasionally imbibe (not now, of course!), but I've noticed that I only want one glass of wine.

Good for you for making a promise to yourself and keeping it. And thank you for sharing this story!

Patsy said...

I seldom drink as it makes me sick afterwards, usually even a little. Drinking is ok if only a little is done, but that is usually not the way it happens. I think you are doing great in your endever sp? not to drink!

theotherbear said...

Your story was interesting and explains your thoughts perfectly. John (the Uncaringbear) is constantly surprised at how much drinking is part of society in Australia. It can be pretty bad - I don't remember a social occasion where there wasn't alcohol involved in fact.

bermudabluez said...

Very interesting story. I understand all too well. My sister has had real problems with alcohol. My mom passed away due to Alzheimers. My daughter rarely has a drink...which is a good thing in my mind. I do not drink at all. I am trying to save the brain cells I have left. The 80's were a blur...

gawilli said...

It always seemed to me that most things were all right in moderation.
I thoroughly enjoy a good beer with dinner, however I would not defend someone's decision to get plastered and get behind the wheel of a car, or host their child's kegger.

You have made a decision that works well for you. That's really what its all about.

Robin said...

Molly, well, now...you're letting us "in", aren't you? I think it's great that you shared your history with "us"; you'll never know the impact your decisions made beyond your immediate family, but it seems like you've given a lot of thought to your choices.

Of course, now I understand your Kahlua & Cream comments a bit better (I was reluctant to ask for more details....).

We're in "conversation" with our teenagers about alcohol these days; living in the "Bible Belt", attending a Southern Baptist Church AND my kids attending a Christian school make for interesting discussion. I'm just following the leading of Jesus in all this (have you ever noticed His first recorded miracle in Scripture?).

Thanks for sharing your personal side:).