I quit drinking in 1999. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I had been, up til then a dedicated drinker. I drank, on average 12 beers a day seven days a week. I just quit. I told the bar owner to shut me off and he did. I spent the next year sitting at the bar sipping cub soda and ginger ale smoking. The next year I quit smoking, not for health reasons but that I felt stupid sitting with a cigarette and non-alcoholic beverage. All of this time there was a build up in the back of my mind. I began to formulate Rule #7 : Being sober around drinkers is annoying and being drunk around sober people is annoying. This realization drove me out of the bar. I was getting pissed listening to a regular tell me a story about his daughter’s lousy husband. And I realized I had done the same thing. I’ve spun long-winded and pointless stories just for the sake of human contact. I didn’t realize at  the point I was telling the story how full of shit I was. I know now and work out the story-telling part on paper.

The other thing that has come up is that drinking is made more attractive by the beer and liquor companies. My brand, Miller Lite, had a bottle that swirled the beer as it was poured. What ever happened to that? Now they’ve got a vent in the top of the cans to facilitate pouring. At least they don’t support drinking straight from the can like a majority of consumers. They’ve added lime juice to beer. I did that back in the eighties. And it wasn’t Corona. I’m not going to beat you over the head with the dichotomy of the characterization of drinkers. All we see in advertizing are young, vital people doing things like picnicing, enjoying the beach and doing all those things that young vital people do. You don’t see them on a lake. fishing and passing a fattie back and forth between swigs of beer at 10 am. You never see them hunched over a bar swilling draft beer and forgetting that they have a wife who holding supper for them. The brewers never portray the 21 year old who’s been overserved and is trying to start some shit with a WWII Marine vet who’s just had a real crappy day at work. I knew these people and sobriety gave me a sense of superiority over them. Which is a bad thing. Twelve years sober and I still have asshole thoughts, only I catch them before they come out of my gob. It’s a fight. Everyday I think about sipping a cold one forgetting that one is too many and a dozen is not enough. I don’t want to come off as The Temperance Avenger. Just understand that the people who are selling you the latest beer or hard liquor don’t give a shit about you. They’re in for the money. That “Drink responsibly” bullshit is there so they’ll have some defense when an overserved patron gets past the police patrol and runs over somebody who had the bad luck to share the road with them. Bartenders don’t shut off customers enough. They don’t need the grief they’ll get. Anyway, if you’ve been drinking long enough you learn how to cover up all the tell-tale indications that you’ve overstayed your visit. I know, I did it.

Listened to Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes. You hear Janis, Aretha and Bonnie Raitt. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll Google Alabama Shakes and find their link (There’s one that’s a sceen saver) and order the CD. You get the CD, two songs to download for free and a nifty sticker. Another oldie but goodie is English Rose by Fleetwood Mac. This is not the pop band we all love from Rumors but a stripped down blues band playing Chicago blues. The line-up is great: Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer on guitar, John MacVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums. The line-up changed a bit before they went pop. The early CDs are worth a listen.