Moderately Quitting the Moderate Drinking

So now there appears to be no health benefit to drinking moderately and regularly, which means I’ve had to chuck my gin and tonic habit into the same trash heap as sniffing glue, methamphetamines and goat yoga. (No, I haven’t tried all of these, but I’m sad they’re off the table. Goat yoga is off because I’m allergic. To yoga.)

A goat licks Julia Lewis during a yoga class with eight students and five goats at Jenness Farm in Nottingham, New Hampshire, U.S., May 18, 2017.

Social drinking used to be a thing. My parents’ generation proudly collected fine liquors to stock their home bars, and proudly collected home bars in the shape of globes and umbrella stands to hide the liquor when not in use. The globe bars looked educational and stately on the outside, hiding the jollity within.
Much like Queen Victoria, who started them. (Don’t quote me on that.)

My family home did not have a globe bar. We had a wet bar, which was a tiny room with a little sink and some shelves in it where my parents kept the booze. They only opened it when we had parties, and then they pulled out the dusty old whiskey and vodka bottles Dad had bought on sale and made manhattans and whiskey sours and hot toddies and other exotic sounding beverages that made the grownups laugh way too loudly and play unusual party games.
The rest of the time the wet bar was a kind of hide out for my brother and me. Sometimes we used the sink for scientific experiments, but mostly it just took up its tiny space in the house and was opened irregularly.

In my dotage, I’ve not had a globe bar or a wet bar. My husband travels a lot, and collects tiny bottles of all kinds of alcoholic goodies, so that we have a little something of everything in about two hundred tiny, bubbly bottles. We keep all of it on a pantry shelf in the kitchen. We can proudly serve exactly one full drink of almost any top shelf liquor to at least one guest.

But now, even this infrequent and parsimonious celebrating has been curtailed by the Global Burden of Diseases study. This study has conclusively found from data collected over 16 years and from 195 countries that alcohol just isn’t the gentle panacea we had hoped it would be.

You may read the dire news, if you haven’t already heard it, here:

All I have left are books and music, which have so far not been determined to be harmful in moderate quantities. Also I have coffee and chocolate, which are not harmful in minuscule quantities. I am trying to embrace the minuscule without resentment. I have only been moderately successful at this.

And well yes, I have only been moderately successful at cutting down on my moderate gin and tonic habit. But as my husband likes to say, “Spread the poisons around so that it’s less likely anyone of them will kill you.”

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