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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A learning experience...

It took less than 24 hours for Riley to consume his bottle of Aristocrat. Now that it was gone and Riley was back to a more “sober” state of mind, I asked him what he had learned from the experience. So I took a deep breath and asked him what he felt he had gained.

He stated that he gained nothing at all. He had not gotten the coveted buzz he was looking for and thought he could achieve. What he had learned was that he had to have the bigger bottle to get the desired affect. So… he will not buy the small bottle again… he will only buy the big one. He’s talking about 1.75L, also known as a “handle”, as being the bigger bottle. The bottle he bought was a fifth, which is 750mL.

The next question was, did he now feel that he could handle just drinking a couple of drinks a day? He explained to me, in a very matter of fact manner, that there were only four drinks in the 750mL bottle.

Hummm…. Let’s do the math…

A shot (jigger) is 1.5 ounces. A fifth is 750mL or 25.6 ounces. That means there are about 17 shots to a fifth. If I make a drink for myself… say a Vodka Collins – I use a shot of vodka to 2 ounces of sour mix and then finish by filling the rest of the 12 ounce glass with club soda. I should be able to make 17 Vodka Collins drinks from that one bottle of 750mL vodka.

If Riley only gets four drinks from a bottle then one Vodka Collins would be 5 shots of vodka to 5 ounces of sour mix. That fills a standard 12 ounce glass so there’s no room for club soda. That’s a pretty hefty drink.

OK. So Riley had two drinks between dinner and bedtime. Then he had two more drinks on Tuesday. That is… by his calculation. By my calculation he had 8 drinks Monday and 8 drinks on Tuesday. But, hey… really what difference does it make???

Riley says he can’t be the drinker that just has a couple of drinks because a couple of drinks won’t give him what he wants. That is – a couple of his size drinks doesn’t turn him into a sloppy, slurring, perverted mess. He needs more.

I don’t know about you… but my brain hurts from all the math. So what did I learn from Riley’s little escapade?  Because the truth is, Riley is brain damaged and I can present all the facts and math all day, but it doesn’t change anything. He sees through the eyes of an end-stage alcoholic and there’s nothing I can do to change his point of view.

What I learned is almost nothing. Nothing that I didn’t know already.

The vodka is gone. There is no alcohol in the house. I can re-start the sobriety/sanity counter (if I can remember how to do it). The alert level is back to a more relaxed yellow rather than red. Let’s get on with this blog because I have lots of important stuff to tell you.


Anonymous said...

The alcoholic in my life tells me I "shouldn't" be upset when he has a relapse. He likes the word relapse better than the word slip.....anyway, I shouldn't be upset because "all alcoholics relapse", he is no different.

poet said...

Relapse is not a requirement. It is a choice, and a bad one at that. moreover it is an excuse, one of the many excuses that drinkers use when they are not truly embracing sobriety and working in recovery.

All alcoholics do not relapse or slip. i'm at almost 8 years and have not once gone back to that drinking life. I have no guilt about my drinking. i have accepted that it was what it was and now it is done.

there is a lot of help out there for those who choose it. we all have a choice. it is about acceptance and what we wan tout of life.

getting off my soap box now. :)

Syd said...

Whew--I cannot imagine drinking that much. I have little tolerance for alcohol physiologically. I can drunk easily. And I choose not to get drunk. I feel sad for Riley that he is willing to kill himself because of alcohol. What a sad thing.

Boundaries Wanted said...

This comment is about 4 years too late, but I can completely relate. The alcoholic version of "a drink" is truly hilarious. My alcoholic always says, "I get so sick of you telling me I can't have a 'couple of drinks' after a long day at work.'" Right, because a "couple of drinks" to a normie is a fifth of Jack Daniels in a 3 hour period and then another 12 beers over another 6 hours. He doesn't understand why this isn't completely acceptable and normal to me.