About this Blog

Welcome to Po'Nutrition Fax! This blog is about alcohol - it has nothing to do with health or wellness, and the only relationship between this and Edgar Allen Poe is that he was an alcoholic.

I used to work in a liquor store and developed a taste for all different types of booze. As my collection grew, I felt the need to share my knowledge of, interest in, and experiences with my purchases - from the standards (e.g. whisk(e)y, gin) to the less-than-standard (e.g. kirschwasser, raki). You'll also find a lot on beer (another love of mine).

This is not about how much I can drink nor do I promote over-excess of alcohol. As with most blogs, there is some self-reflection included with most of the reviews. The point is to encourage everyone to reflect on what they drink.

Leave comments or ask questions! Also, "follow" me if you like what you read - I am not making money from this blog but if I see more interest in this and hear some feedback, it will encourage me to write more.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drinking Alone

Here we are.  It's a weekday night and I've decided to have some scotch.

I haven't posted in awhile and felt the urge to write.  However I did not want to open a bottle my newest bottle of scotch for the sake of having something to write about.  Therefore I'm having this previously reviewed scotch - alone.


Yes, alone.

"Alone" because my girlfriend has left me - for the Pacific Northwest... for only a week-and-a-half.

 My girlfriend going on vacation doesn't really change my normal pattern of behavior - except that I buy more sausage.  But while she's away, when I have a drink at night it is mildly depressing.

It should be noted that my girlfriend will not normally have a drink with me; I will have a beer or two with (or after) dinner or maybe some whisk(e)y with a book, but she rarely imbibes mid-week. So I am the only one drinking most times (effectively, drinking "alone") but at least when another person is in close proximity, it doesn't feel like I'm "alone."

But why is it "depressing?"

Perhaps when one thinks of someone "drinking alone," this comes to mind:

Drinking alone like this IS depressing but this is not "drinking alone," this is alcoholism.

Alcoholism is a serious problem.  However, alcoholism is an extreme.  Limited and sensible consumption of alcohol is not an extreme.  While it isn't entirely out of the ordinary for someone who is "limited and sensible" in their normal consumption to go overboard at times (and maybe "brag" about it too), it is not "the norm" for these individuals (such as myself).  Alcohol consumption in general should not to get lumped with those who overindulge.  Occasional overindulgence should be expected, especially when we usually celebrate an occasion with alcohol.  Having a "good time" promotes the overindulgence of other consumables too (e.g. food), so alcohol shouldn't be "singled-out."  Drinking to the point of inebriation and having to do so every night, whether alone or with others, is depressing (i.e. alcoholism). Having a drink or two (by yourself or with others) but without feeling the need to do so should not be considered depressing (i.e. NOT alcoholism).

I blame Carrie Nation for this general anti-alcohol attitude:

The Temperance movements that occurred in pre-Prohibition U.S.A. have really ruined both the alcohol drinking habits and perceptions of alcohol consumption here in the States. This needs to change - and it starts with you: drink sensibly and alone more often!
So do what's right, America!


RJ said...

Mike, glad to see PNF is back in action, always enjoyed reading your opinions about economics or alcohol.

Personally I bridge the gap between your two points made in this post. I don't drink every night, but probably drink more than I should on any given night that I do drink.

I do truly enjoy the finer spirits and beers though. I am not some shithead drinking Coors till five in the morning. The finest IPA's (all pale ales included) and the best of scotchs (peaty + mossy, Laphroaig 18 year comes to mind) are my favorites.

There is a certain line to cross and I do not think loneliness is the qualifier. It has more to do with the reason for your imbibing and enjoyment. Is it to quench a thirst, for relief from the reality you live in? Or is it to enjoy the beverages that we have available, to taste them and (possibly) become drunk in their presence? I do not think getting drunk makes someone in the wrong, but if they chose to do so responsibly, it is part of the drinking experience. Tasting is fine, I do it myself, but some nights allowing a beverage to be part of your being is the drinking experience (responsible drunkenness?)...

It's an interesting post. I've been on both sides. Drinking too much for no reason, tasting delicious alcoholic beverages, getting drunk for no reason, and getting drunk for the purpose of enjoyment (even while alone).

I'm curious where you draw the line, as I question myself on this very topic.

Po' Nutrition Fax said...

Thanks for commenting! No one ever does so this is greatly appreciated!

This post was an attempt at dissociating "drinking alone" from its negative connotations. Drinking alone isn't by definition an attempt to "escape reality" or other unhealthy behaviors, but it is often thought of as such.

Drinking to excess on occasion happens to us all. Making a habit of it isn't the wisest of choices. Here I like to paraphrase a beer writer (who's name unfortunately escapes me) - getting drunk is the worst thing about drinking. I overindulge most often when I'm trying new things too. Is this a bad thing? Not in and of itself, but saying "at least I'm trying new things" is not, in my opinion, a valid excuse to overindulge all the time. Overindulgence all the time generally leads to the negative connotations that are associated with drinking, whether alone or with others.

I may be using a lot of words associated with morality (i.e. "good," "bad") but nothing I'm saying should be taken as me making any moral judgement of anyone. Maybe this post in the end is me trying to excuse my own behavior but I think it's just an attempt to be more mindful of my own drinking habits and hope that others will do the same.

RJ said...

I guess a lot of it has to do with how you view your own motivations. If someone saw you behaving how you choose to, without knowing your reasons, they may judge you as doing something morally apprehensible.

I find that the most enjoyable and moral drinking happens by myself at times (or with good friends), as my only reason for doing it is to taste and experience the drink in question, with or without company. If I were to go out to a new place surrounded by strangers I am trying to befriend, I may end up drinking a ton of stupid shots and crappy rum and coke, only to be left with a hangover and much less money...

In that situation, the lonely drinking is more responsible, moral, enjoyable and thoughtful.

I think being mindful of drinking habits is a great point to make. Even if you are drinking for the noblest of intentions, if you do it in the wrong way it can be a destructive force in your life.

Eagerly awaiting the next post.