I saw this thread at the beer Subreddit and read through a great many comments. I have to confess, I cannot read a thread like that and ask myself some questions about my drinking. Portland is a drinking city, too, whether we want to say so or not: along with reading and strippers, great beer has come to be one of the ‘cool’ reasons to visit or live in Portland.
It’s a challenging thing to face, because these days beer not only gets you drunk, it also tastes really good. On top of all of that, there’s this vibrant culture of people involved and they’re all excited about it. That combination is pretty damned heady for anyone, even a mentally healthy person. For someone who isn’t in a very healthy place (and I occasionally include myself there) or who just flat out is suffering, I feel like there’s a risk for addiction that we should be vigilant about, even if we don’t discuss it much.
There are a lot of interesting comments and some good stories from people who are drinking too much, who scaled back, who learned various ways to moderate their behavior in such a way that it wasn’t detrimental (or as detrimental) to their lives. Discussions about volume of beer vs volume of alcohol, articles referencing medical studies, a whole host of people talking about judgment, about need, and about health.
I personally think about this subject often. I have alcoholism in my family so I know that the potential is there. I also really like beer: I make it, I write about it and a great deal of my social activities involve beer at some point. At the same time, I don’t just sit around and drink, my health seems to be good, I exercise frequently and my ability to create a functional life doesn’t appear to be negatively impacted. That is: I have a job, I show up on time, I’m sober, I don’t alienate friends or family with my behavior when I drink, etc.
This is in part because, paradoxically, I want to keep drinking. Alcoholics have to stop drinking. But functional adults (which I sometimes qualify as) get to do whatever they want. I keep an eye on my behavior, so I can keep doing the things I like to do.
It’s not a bad system, at least so far.