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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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

99 bottles of beer...

I have noticed that Riley has been having a lot of intestinal issues over the last month. They seem to be increasing in frequency -- daily vomiting and explosive diarrhea. During his last drinking session before detox, he had issues, but they were different. Last time he didn’t start vomiting until the very end – just before Alea and I took him to the hospital when we suspected he had had a stroke. He had bowel issues for many months prior to that but not like what he is experiencing now. His alcohol of choice during that time was vodka.

I don’t consider him to be as close to the end right now as he was just before the last detox.  He still has some reasoning capability and although a lot of the symptoms have reappeared, they don’t seem to be as intense. Except – for this intestinal thing which I felt was out of sync with the rest of his issues. This time he is drinking only beer and I have attributed his slower rate of decline to the fact that it has less alcohol content than vodka.

I was concerned so I did some research and discovered that drinking beer in excess creates a whole new set of complications. Beer has been linked to cancer in the large intestine, rectum, and esophagus while other alcohol doesn’t increase the likelihood of these cancers. This is referring to CANCER rather than the normal errosion of the lining of the intestines. I didn’t know that.

What I do know is that beer (also known as liquid bread due to the high yeast content) is high in calories and will cause weight gain. Since any alcohol prevents the burning of fat, once a “beer belly” settles in the mid section it can be difficult to get rid of. This is especially true since the alcoholic is no longer able to exercise and burn off the extra calories. As a result, that belly can quickly turn into a high risk cardiac situation and even diabetes.

There is an increased opportunity for the beer drinker to experience gall stones or gout. Beer contains chemicals that double the uric acid content in the body and promotes gall stones and gout disease. I had heard this before.

The liver can detoxify about 12 ounces of beer per hour. That’s one can of beer per hour. If Riley drinks 12 cans a day it will take 12 hours for his liver to detoxify the alcohol.

There’s as much alcohol in a can of beer as there is in a shot of hard liquor. Beer is no better for the alcoholic than a shot of whisky or vodka. They can get just as drunk and do just as much damage as with any other type of booze.

Something else I found on the internet was that beer brewing material contains lead – which, of course, can cause lead poisoning. In elderly drinkers this can lead to senile dementia. I don’t know about that one. I found this in only one internet article and could not find anything else that would substantiate this theory. If anyone knows anything about this – please post a comment of send an e-mail. This interests me, but I doubt that it is in fact true.

However, the lead poisoning thing would make yesterday’s conversation with Riley more understandable. It went something like this:

  1. Riley doesn’t really like the taste of beer.
  2. Riley doesn’t get the desired level of float-y-ness as he does with vodka.
  3. Riley knows that drinking a beer has the same alcohol content as drinking a shot of vodka.
  4.  My question is – considering all three points – why doesn’t he just drink vodka since it is all going to kill him anyway?
  5. His answer – he just wants to drink beer right now even though he doesn’t like it and it doesn’t give him the effect he wants.

OK – it’s his choice – I won’t argue the point with him. Maybe that internet article about lead poisoning and dementia is true after all because this just doesn't make any sense to me. I can find no viable reason why someone would kill themselves by overindulging in something they didn’t like. But, I don't have an addictive personality and maybe I just don't get it.

Anyway, I can guarantee you that if I’m going to kill myself with a substance; it will be one that I like and makes me feel warm all over. I think it is Sara Lee that makes a Chocolate Mouuse Pie – give me about 100 of those babies!!

Imagine the headline – Woman dies from overdose of Chocolate Mouuse Pie while in bubble bath, sipping on Benedictine Brandy and reading the latest Janet Evanovich novel while listening to Nora Jones. She was surrounded by pictures of her children and grandchildren while her cat sat on the edge of the tub. What a way to go!!


shadowlands said...

A can of beer lasts longer than a shot? Sometimes, that is relevant, sometimes not, a bit like taste, also sometimes irrelevant. It's all controlled by one's thinking.

Actions are our only hope for change.

Still praying for Riley and you, for peace, apart from circumstances (as I am for myself 2!).

Syd said...

I can barely finish one beer. But then I have not been a drinker. My overindulgence would be great Italian dishes.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that Riley knows that once he hops on the vodka train again then it's going to be a very rapid descent into complete end stage so he's pacing himself with beer and waiting for the moment to jump ?
Your ending sounds better !