How ironic that one of my recent writeups had to do with the fine line between social drinking and alcoholism.

To put it bluntly, my intake of beverage alcohol crossed the line weeks ago.

Alcoholics in general, at least in my experience, consistently present a cornucopia of excuses for their behavior. Mine of recent days have included a) a tremendous amount of stress on my job; b) people I must work with, over whom I have no control, who're displaying hysterical behavior; c) required attendance at no fewer than a dozen parties which were saturated in booze; d) no fewer than a half-dozen working meetings which were attempts to revive the three martini lunch (one of which became a ridiculous "I can drink you under the table" fest that involved five grown men at a steak house), who all were driving automobiles; e) the tremendously depressing awareness that last year at this time, my days were occupied by spending the mornings with my dying father and evenings trying to work while my mind was occupied with questions like "is he suffering?" "when will he die?" It took another two months for him to succumb to his cancer. He was brave all the way.

So there you have my personal list of excuses. Those and a token will get you on a bus going downtown.

Yesterday I visited the doctor. No complaints, just a scheduled appointment. He noticed that I looked bloated and even fatter than the last time he saw me; so he ordered a number of tests. The results were horrible. There is fluid in one of my lungs. My liver function tests, while not showing any illness which is life threatening, showed the tell-tale signs of over-consumption. There's fluid around my lungs and heart. My cardiologist didn't like that at all and asked me if I had a death wish. Of course I don't. I guess I just can't accept that I can't drink the way I used to when I was a kid.

The two of them prescribed three more medications in addition to what I'm taking now. One of them is Lipitor. I've never had any trouble with cholesterol nor triglycerides in the past; however, this time 'round the cardiologist likened my blood to the murky residue my chefs remove from the bottom of our fryalators at day's end. They agreed that they were going to trust me with a prescription for a powerful sedative, to be used only in the event of overwhelming cravings for booze. Finally, Wellbutrin was added as a long-term agent to suppress cravings (booze and food).

Today was my second day in weeks without a drink. Although I often have been known to criticize the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous, there's merit in one of their bits of sage advice. One cannot make a promise "never to drink again" without being doomed to failure. That's why they say that living without booze is something one must take "a day at a time." Boy, that makes it easier. I can always say "I'll have a drink tomorrow - just not now." If necessary, my therapist says that this process can be applied an hour at a time, or when it's really hard, a minute at a time. The jury's still out on whether or not I'll be able to drink socially, but for now, it's best I stay off the sauce for awhile until my need to self-medicate is abated. (During other periods of self-medication I used to call myself a "heavy social problem drinker"). That's just a cutesy-pie way to sweep my propensity for overimbibing under the rug, with the rest of my demons.

So that's the bad news. The good news includes: a) I have a therapist who's one of the most amazing people I've ever met and with whom I can be completely candid (not without consequences, however - those consequences being both homework assignments in the form of journaling, which I hate; but also some lectures that I frankly could do without because I've internalized their content already). Oh, good news b) business is very good for the summer months, which means that the extra stress on me to somehow pull enhanced revenues "out of my hat" is not applicable this year. Suffice it to say that I'm not gonna buy a 12-cylinder Jag any time soon, but things are okay.

I guess it was yesterday that I read the daylog regarding loss of vision suffered by one of our esteemed friends. He's a brave man. I wish him the very best and just now, thinking about what he's facing, realized that my concerns seem like child's play compared to his. So I'll stop mewling now and get back to the business of living. After all, there's plenty of music to be made, plenty of merriment to be had, and plenty of empty nodeshells to fill.

Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that I'm grateful to have this place (and the empty nodeshells to fill).

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