Dear Luv Doc,
I had a great time at SXSW this year (best since 2019 ha ha). I went to a lot of day parties and did a lot of day drinking, just like I used to do back in the day. Then last night my girl tells me that she thinks I have a problem with alcohol because "I spent all of SXSW getting drunk." I didn't argue. Part of the fun of SXSW is day drinking free booze at all the parties, which I have been doing for years, most of the time with her but also sometimes with our friends. I may get a little too drunk every now and then, but I never drink and drive, I have never missed work, gotten hurt, or gotten in a fight. The problem is that she thinks four beers is a lot. Sometimes when I am drinking all day I might have 10 to 12, and even then I am usually fine. I don't know why this is coming out now. Maybe it's because we haven't done much in the last two years. The crazy thing is that we met at a UT tailgate, so it's not like this is something new. I'm not sure what to do. I love her and I don't want her mad at me all the time, but I also don't want to give up going to parties and drinking just because she thinks I drink too much. What do I do?
– Six Too Many
As a person who has been told I've had "too many" too many times to remember, I can sympathize with your position. When you're a six-pack in and the life of the motherfucking party, there will inevitably be some wet blanket tapping you on the shoulder telling you that you might have had too many and that maybe you should slow down a bit. Fuck. Off. Then there are those folks who claim they can't understand why people drink to get drunk. "I just drink alcohol because I like the flavor." SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU CRAFT-BREW-SAMPLING, HALF-BEER-LEAVING, SANCTIMONIOUS MORON. Sorry, for the all-caps, but the mendacity of that statement makes me lose my shit. Whenever I hear someone say they don't understand people who drink just to get drunk, I always make a mental note to leave them off my invite list. Saying you don't understand why people drink to get drunk is nearly as imbecilic as saying you don't understand why people smoke pot to get high. "I'm just ripping this bong hit because I love the smell of skunk." Just. No. Be honest, goddamn it. You epicurean fucks are going to give me an embolism. Where's my CBD? I need to relax.
Now mind you, I say all this as a person who has actually been diagnosed with fatty liver. Yeah, exactly. Who's the imbecile now? Well, to be honest, it's still the smarmy bastard that claims he only drinks alcoholic beverages for the flavor, but I am running a close second. Now, for those of you who don't know what a fatty liver is, good on you. That means you either 1) know when to say when or 2) have one of those HMO doctors who assumes you're healthy unless you're bleeding out of your eye sockets or something. For the second group, here's the skinny: When the fat buildup in your liver reaches 5-10% of your liver mass, the liver tissue can become damaged, which leads to scarring. When the scarring starts to outweigh the amount of healthy liver tissue, you get cirrhosis of the liver, at which point it's time to maybe start saving up for a transplant. I mean, who knows? Maybe in a few years you will be able to 3D-print up a new liver, but for now, you need to either be obscenely wealthy or try and take care of the liver you already have. I'm doing the latter because I don't want to be morally compromised like Elon Musk.
Short story long, I am no longer the life of the motherfucking party. Sometimes I will only have two beers and then toddle off to a bedroom for a nap, knowing good and well I could have smoked all those lightweights in 20 or 30 rounds of flip cup. That's just who I am, and it's hard to stomach as a person who grew up in a town where the most exciting thing to do was sit on the tailgate of an F-150, drink shitty beer, and lie like there was no such thing as Google – because there wasn't – and it was fucking magical. These days I read headlines like, "Study Says That No Amount of Alcohol Is Good for You," and I think, "Thanks for the heads-up, Jesus." Truth is, we're smarter these days – even with that 20% COVID brain loss – and we know that just because you "can handle" 10 to 12 beers a day, it's still probably not a good idea if you're planning to outlive Jesus. I had to learn how to live without alcohol for a solid six months, and now I don't really ever get "too drunk," but my life is pretty good nonetheless, thanks to CBD, some therapy, and a better understanding of my occasional desire for a chemically altered state. My bet is that there might be a healthier, happier compromise for you, too, but it's not going to happen if you're trying to live up to someone else's expectations. It's got to be your own idea. Hopefully you have enough brain cells left to think it.
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