On Drinking A Lot Of Beer For An Extended Period Of My Life

On New Year’s Eve morning, I woke up in a high state of anxiety. I had the shakes, really bad this time. I got up way before sunrise, and in my state of anxiety, I decided to go for a drive. I drove out to Oasis Visitor Center on US 41, about half way between Miami and Naples, and watched the sunrise and gazed at the alligators in the little roadside pond there. On my way back to Naples, I pulled over at Skillet Strand, and rode my mountain bike a mile or so down the off road vehicle trail. Saw a deer. Peddling my bike seemed to alleviate the anxiety a little. I felt a lot better after the ride, just for having got out and done something.

A few days later, I told my friend that I’d started having DTs. She cautioned me that it was no joking matter, and I’d better take care of myself.

I continued to drink beer nightly up until 2 weeks ago, when it became clear that I couldn’t function well in the heat during the day if I kept up my 8 pints a night beer habit, which was down from my 12 pack a night habit before I switched to the “draft style” pint beers.

I think I functioned better for the week I didn’t have beer at night; Saturday night I had my usual 8 pints, and while I still was sweating a lot on Monday, I felt a lot better able to get through the daytime heat. On Wednesday night, I developed an allergy attack. I have often experienced allergies, and often wondered if it was related to my beer drinking. While on the one hand, it would seem that the two must be unrelated, as I hadn’t had a beer in several days by that point, from reading about alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it seems they might not appear for 72 hours or so, so I still don’t completely rule out that my beer drinking had some effect on my general well-being.

There is probably a lot I can say about my beer consumption, and alcohol, in general. First of all, it seems to have an impact on how I experience my emotions, I guess it sort of “releases my inhibitions”, and I will sometimes find myself feeling uncontrollable sadness. I recently experienced this the night after going to a friend’s birthday party, where I was bouncing a ball with her son for a while. Later, when I was home and having a few beers, it reminded me that “that thing that happened when I was a child” happened while I was playing catch with a stranger in an alley, and it sort of made me break down a little, once again. I don’t like reflecting on that, but that seems to be what comes through when I don’t carefully guard my emotions. So, the emotional thing is one part of it. I could talk about the inhibitions part a little more, but I don’t think I will, for now. Suffice it to say, that I find myself less in control of my emotions and impulses.

So, that’s something I’m working on. Ever since my friend told me about her family’s disposition to kidney problems, that’s something else that I’ve been more keenly aware of; just what all that beer is probably doing to my organs. It’s stuff I have to be more aware of, now that I’m a middle aged man, and no longer in my indestructible 20s.

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