How Dry I Am...
At 52 I stopped being able to tolerate alcohol, so I gave it up. How has your relationship to alcohol and drinking changed as you've gotten older? An open thread...
I know many of you are in the midst of observing “dry January,” so I thought it might be good to post an open thread about drinking before the month is out—how drinking affects us as we age, and the ways we adjust our habits as a result of that.
Me? Some time in 2018 I realized that I just can’t drink anymore. To clarify, I’m not an addict, don’t have a substance use disorder, am not in recovery. I’ve never been much of a drinker to begin with. I stopped drinking because consuming even small amounts of wine, beer, or spirits began to make me feel rotten. Half-way through, say, a glass of wine, I began to feel hung-over, and that’s no fun.
In the comments, I want to hear from you about how your relationship to alcohol has changed as you’ve gotten older. (*I ask that everyone refrain from judgement about other reader’s choices, and from trying to persuade them to your way of seeing, as can often happen with this particular subject.)
This isn’t about morality, or whether alcohol is good or bad for you. (There have been so many conflicting reports. Red wine is good for your heart! Too much wine causes cardiovascular disease and cancer! A recent New York Times article about a study that determined drinking even just a little bit is bad for you acknowledged how confusing the messaging has been, and continues to be.)
If it didn’t make me feel lousy, I’d have continued being a social, occasional, moderate drinker. On a night out I was good for one, maybe two drinks, with rare exceptions. Honestly, I was always a lightweight. On my 18th birthday at college, after one-and-a-half watered-down screw drivers I got sick, then spent the rest of the night with a terrible case of bed spins.
I’d like to understand what change occurred in my body so that I can’t tolerate alcohol at all, now that I’m older. I had my liver checked out—blood work, a sonogram—and it appears to be fine.
For a while I tried to research diminished alcohol tolerance in women as they age for an article that a New York Times editor was interested in. But when I interviewed medical experts, every one of them told me the same thing: there hasn’t been a single study on this. (I’m shocked. SHOCKED.) No findings to report on = no article.
These days, I enjoy beverages like these instead: Athletic Brewing’s “Upside Dawn” gluten-free (I have celiac), non-alcoholic beer; Spindrift’s sparkling waters with just a bit of juice; Sierra Nevada’s “Hop Splash”; and Hoplark 0.0 “Really Hoppy” water.
I once tried non-alcoholic gin, and it wasn’t terribly good. I haven’t yet dabbled in non-alcoholic wines, but someone recently pointed me to Boisson, an online shop for all kinds of non-alcoholic drinks, and the wines intrigue me. If you have any recommendations, put them in the comments.
UPDATE: These Little Saints non-alcoholic cocktails just arrived. I just tried the “Paloma” flavor and really liked it:
Okay, your turn. Has your tolerance for alcohol, or your relationship to it, changed as you’ve aged? Tell me…
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