What Happens to Your Body When You Give Up Alcohol

Here’s how a substantial phase of sobriety could affect your immune system, sleep, and even your skin.

“Giving up drinking doesn’t make you live longer. It just makes it feel that way.” That’s one of my dad’s favorite quips should his consumption be brought into question. The truth is that however much you enjoy the taste of alcohol or the way it makes you feel, in almost all respects, it does bad things to your body and brain. I experienced firsthand the upgrades that can happen when you stop drinking for a while when I got in shape last spring. Granted, giving up booze was just one of the behavioral changes I made, but I couldn’t help thinking it was particularly significant one. Here’s what science has to say about that and other things that would likely happen to your body when you give up alcohol.

Your immune system will be more effective

Drinking too often and too much is closely associated with several immune-related health effects. What’s “too often” and “too much,” you slur? Well according to the National Institutes of Health, it’s more than four drinks on any day or 14 per week for men; and more than three drinks on any day or seven per week for women—figures that manage to be either sexist or bad math or possibly both.

On average, drinkers have a higher susceptibility to pneumonia and other respiratory disorders, a higher likelihood of getting complications and poor wound healing after surgery, a higher instance of sepsis and certain cancers to name a few. “[Giving up alcohol]…will strengthen your immune system and make it easier for your body to fight off infection,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietician with the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Kirkpatrick cites a 2015 study that showed that alcohol overexerts immune pathways, which in turn decreases the body’s ability to defend against a number of adverse invaders.

And you don’t get off lightly if you only go big every now and then. A study published in the journal Alcohol found that a single episode of binge alcohol intoxication leads to overexertion on the immune system and inflammation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. (Typically this happens when men consume five or more drinks or women consume four or more drinks in about two hours.) The good news is, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, your immune system’s response will buck itself up after you give up the sauce. “What’s not clear is how long it takes the body to strengthen after alcohol is taken out and what frequency of drinking relates to this decrease in immunity,” Kirkpatrick tells me.

You’ll eat less, or at least with more intention

According to a study in the journal Obesity, the drunk munchies may be due to alcohol heightening the senses. Researchers found that when people received an intravenous alcohol infusion equal to about two drinks, they ate 30 percent more food than those who received a saline solution. Their conclusion? Even mild intoxication can increase your brain activity in the hypothalamus, making you more sensitive to the smell of food and prompting you to eat more. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that alcohol is often linked people overeating and having a poor diet.

You’ll sleep better

I go to a party, I have a few drinks, and before long I’m out of gas and ready for bed. I get home, zonk out immediately only to find that I’m wide awake at 5 AM and unable to get back to sleep. Sound familiar? “Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it slows down the body and naturally makes you sleepy,” Kirkpatrick explains, adding that booze is also associated with disrupted sleep because the body is working overtime to metabolize it. A few drinks will usually help you fall asleep quick but once you’ve metabolized it all, you’ll likely wake up or have a poorer quality of sleep.

A review of 27 studies backs up Kirkpatrick’s analysis that while booze may help people fall asleep more quickly and deeply at first, it’s not a prescription for restful and recuperative shuteye. When people drink, their sleep gets fragmented, which means they wake up more often in their sleep rather than sleeping through the night, says Amarjot Surdhar, an addiction psychiatrist at Northwell Health. “People feel generalized fatigue and malaise the following day after heavy drinking,” he tells me, adding that a suppression, delay, and reduction of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is another way that you’re doing your brain a disservice. The REM sleep cycle is believed to stimulate the central nervous system, restore brain chemistry to a normal balance, and help us form new memories. If your REM sleep gets messed with, you’ll likely feel like crap the next day.

You’ll decrease your risk of getting certain types of cancer

In its Report on Carcinogens, the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. In particular, alcohol appears to increase the risk of head and neck cancers, esophageal cancers, liver cancers, breast cancer, and colorectal cancers. There’s also mounting evidence that booze is associated with increased risks of melanoma and of prostate and pancreatic cancers. Conversely, putting a plug in the jug can decrease those risks.

Quitting booze could impact fertility in women

While pretty much everyone’s on board with the idea that getting wasted when your baby is gestating inside you is like, not cool, alcohol’s effect on fertility is less talked about. In one Danish study, the alcohol consumption of healthy women who were trying to conceive was monitored. Booze was measured in standard servings: 1-3, 4-7, 8-13, and 14 or more units per week. Women in the highest alcohol consumption group (14 units or more per week) had 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles, and those who did not drink had 1,381 pregnancies in 8,054 cycles. These figures equate to an 18 percent decrease in the probability that the women who drank more would conceive.

The study’s authors note that the consumption of fewer than 14 servings of alcohol per week seemed to have “no discernible effect on fertility.”

And decrease the likelihood of damaged or malformed sperm in men

A 2017 study found that while alcohol didn’t alter sperm density, it did increase the production of sperm with particularly large heads containing potentially damaged DNA. Authors of that study recommended that “men who plan to father children stop drinking alcohol at least three months before engaging in sexual intercourse that may lead to pregnancy.”

That rec might seem a little drastic since research has shown that it’s heavy alcohol consumption that can significantly affect sperm quality, says Michael Reitano, New York City-based urologist and physician-in-residence at men’s health startup Roman. Small quantities of alcohol can indeed have some effect on the shape of sperm but many large studies have determined that moderate alcohol consumption does not affect fertility, he tells me.

Your skin will likely look better

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you pee out more liquid than if you drank water. Pissing in double time prevents your body from extracting water from urine in the kidneys. The result? Dry skin that can appear lusterless or ashy. “A moderate drinker will most likely not see a detrimental impact on their skin from having a drink once in a while,” Kirkpatrick says, but cautions that that excessive drinking is can lead to the desertification of your face. What’s more, booze also decreases the body’s production of an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin, which helps the body reabsorb water. Cut the drinking out or down and you’ll improve your skin’s appearance in short order, she says.

 

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Is There Really A Difference Between Expensive Vodka And Cheap Vodka?

Walk in to just about any bar in America today and you’ll see a row of fancy vodka bottles all lined up. Some people swear by one brand or another, but there is a federal law that requires all vodkas to be pretty much the same, so the Planet Money team decided to test them.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Walk into just about any bar in America today, and you’ll see a row of fancy vodka bottles all lined up, shining like beacons. Some people swear by one brand or another, but there is a federal law that requires all vodkas to be pretty much the same. That got our Planet Money team thinking, is this the greatest marketing coups of all time? So they teamed up with Dan Pashman of the food podcast The Sporkful, to put fancy vodka to the test.

DAN PASHMAN, BYLINE: Let’s start with Title 27, Section 5.22 of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Code.

PASHMAN: I got it right here. It says that vodka must be distilled or treated until it is, quote, “without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.” Of course it tastes like vodka, but it wouldn’t be vodka if it had distinctive character. Still, a lot of vodka makers insist their flavor’s superior. Grey Goose calls itself the world’s best-tasting vodka. It’s a big claim, which is no surprise if you know anything about the guy who invented it.

MATTHEW LATKIEWICZ: Sidney Frank – he is a classic American businessman and almost a cliche. He came from nothing, poor. He went to Brown. But he only went to Brown for one year because he couldn’t afford it.

PASHMAN: This is Matthew Latkiewicz. He’s a drinks writer and author of “You Suck At Drinking.” He says Sidney Frank was just determined to strike it rich. Frank married into a wealthy family, which got him into the liquor business. Now, back in the early ’90s, the fanciest vodka around was Absolut. But by today’s standards, it wasn’t that expensive. And that’s what Sidney Frank focused on – not the taste of Absolut but the price.

LATKIEWICZ: He essentially out of thin air goes, I want to make a vodka. So Absolut’s charging 15. I’ll charge 30. He didn’t even have a product at this point.

PASHMAN: But he already knew he was going to charge double. And to do that, he needed a product that screamed luxury.

LATKIEWICZ: It’s got to be the best. Everything that is the best comes from France. So he goes to France, and he looks around for distillers. He says, can you make vodka? He finds somebody that says, yes, of course I can make vodka.

PASHMAN: Frank sent his product to bartenders but not in cardboard boxes like vodka is usually shipped.

LATKIEWICZ: He would give them the bottle in these – a wooden box with straw inside and nicely packaged. It would be this large, clear bottle with the frosted glass that when you put it up on the back bar would catch whatever light was there, and it would kind of glow.

PASHMAN: The whole plan worked. Sidney Frank died a very rich man. He sold Grey Goose to Bacardi less than 10 years after he started it for more than $2 billion. At the Planet Money team, we thought that sounded so easy. Can we make our own premium vodka? We learned that a lot of companies actually buy a vodka concentrate in bulk from a handful of suppliers. Then they just add water. So we’ve got a hold of a sample, brought it here into the studio…

(SOUNDBITE OF LIQUID POURING)

PASHMAN: …Added some water…

PASHMAN: …And sent it to a lab along with a sample of Grey Goose and a sample of some of the cheapest stuff we could find. A few days later, we got a call from Neva Parker. She’s the vice president at White Labs in San Diego. She ran our vodkas through what they call a comprehensive spirits test.

Based on that information, Neva, which of these three vodkas would you suspect should be the cheapest, least-desirable vodka?

NEVA PARKER: If I had to choose based on this analysis alone, I would say number one.

PASHMAN: That was the Grey Goose. And the ultra luxury choice…

PARKER: Number three.

PASHMAN: Number three was the cheap stuff. Now, to be fair, Neva did say the differences in all three samples weren’t anything most people were going to taste. She compared the reports.

PARKER: I mean, look at these. They all look very similar as well.

PASHMAN: Very similar – we did talk to Grey Goose. Their global brand ambassador, Joe McCanta, took issue with our test.

JOE MCCANTA: Obviously our product was decanted into another bottle. And when that happens, it kind of compromises, you know, our understanding of any testing that’s done on the product afterwards.

PASHMAN: He also argued that the odorless, tasteless law is more about distinguishing true vodka from vodkas that have stuff like fruit and sugar added. Pure vodka is its own category.

MCCANTA: Every vodka within the category will have its own characteristics, which would be largely attributed to the raw materials used to make the spirit or even the process used while distilling the spirit. So yeah, that’s definitely our take on it. And that’s why – you know, that’s why we feel very proud of our process and our ingredients.

PASHMAN: So our one lab didn’t detect any taste-able differences even with our homemade vodka. And the law seems pretty clear to us. But Grey Goose insists there is a difference. They also invited us to come have a drink with them. We are willing to continue our research. For NPR News, I’m Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful food podcast.

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Alice Cooper Reveals How Jesus Saved His Life

Alice Cooper is a complicated individual. A world-famous musician, certainly, known for his shocking performances and focus on rock and metal.

But that’s not how he started out. And as he prepares for his role as King Harod on NBC’s live version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” he’s telling more of his backstory.

When he started seriously focusing on music in the late 60s, Cooper quickly fell to the pull of alcohol. Not unusual for celebrities and musicians, but dangerous no matter what your career.

“Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me,” Cooper told Confidential. “I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”

Alice Cooper Reveals How Jesus Saved His Life on Night He Was Throwing up Blood 40 Years Ago

Almost 40 years ago — 37 to be exact — the performer had a major turning point. A come-to-Jesus moment, if you will.

After years of heavy drinking and trashing his body, Cooper woke himself up by vomiting blood. While that would be concerning for anyone, Cooper knew why it was happening.

Cooper also knew what it meant he would have to do. After being authoritatively denounced as an alcoholic, he stopped drinking.

Stopping on its own is challenging, especially if you’re a habitual drinker, but Cooper said he also never had the desire to drink again.

Why? He said it was because of God.

“My wife and I are both Christian. My father was a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.”

That trend could describe many individuals. There are plenty of parents, friends, and relatives grieving the falling-away of loved ones. But perhaps it was Cooper’s foundation in Christianity that gave him stability when nothing else could.

He clearly has a lot of respect for his dad, and no doubt his father’s words rang in his ears during his darkest times.

“He could preach all day, keep you interested, tell jokes,” he said about his father in a 2011 interview. “I got that from him. He also loved music: Sinatra and Elvis.”

“When the Beatles came along, I was surprised when he went, ‘Yeah, they’re pretty good,’ because other parents were going, ‘Oh, no’. And my mom only worried about the lifestyle: ‘You’re gonna get caught up in drugs, you’re gonna get 20 girls pregnant.’”

Some people have had a hard time lining up Cooper’s appearance and life with standard Christian values, but he has words for them.

“There’s nothing in Christianity that says I can’t be a rock star. People have a very warped view of Christianity. They think it’s all very precise and we never do wrong and we’re praying all day and we’re right-wing. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Alice Cooper Reveals How Jesus Saved His Life on Night He Was Throwing up Blood 40 Years Ago

 

He’s also been faithful to his Christian wife, and the two still love each other after all these years.

“My wife is a ballet teacher so she is very organized,” he said in 2011. “I’m the spontaneous one – she never knows what’s coming, except that I’m gonna be home and I’m gonna be sober. After that, there might be a ticket to Jamaica in there.”

 

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Patrizia – The Tipping Point

“After crying and demanding I hold her, she strips naked and tries to rape me.”

A few years ago I was on a rebound and I found a girl who liked me.

Patrizia.

We had been dating for almost three months. She was hot, but she had issues. Four times she had blacked out while drinking and become a total bitch. She was also on antidepressants which she was bad at taking, she wasn’t super affectionate when sober, and she was too reliant on her parents. Oh, and she may have occasionally puked up her dinner.

This is the story of her 5th blackout. I had already told her if it happened again, we were done, but this one took the cake. It was restaurant week so we went to dinner at a nice Asian restaurant. It was normal for me to spend way too much money on Patrizia, but that was another issue. We have a decent dinner and a few drinks. We decide to meet my friends at a bar that’s close. Her friend has a birthday party the next afternoon at a bar where there is a drinking contest, so we decide to take the night easy.

At the bar where my friends are there’s a special on a 10% beer. The first thing Patrizia does is order one. I remind her that we have a long day tomorrow and that it’s strong. Fifteen minutes later she orders another. At this point I’m 25% breaking up with her.

She’s clearly getting drunk. My friends mention the bar where they are spending the night and she already wants to go. So much for an easy night. Another beer for her. I’m getting perturbed, and after telling her to slow down, I go outside to cool off. It’s about 20 degrees. My friends can tell I’m getting angry.

Patrizia orders another beer. She’s wasted. My friends decide to help me out and decide they are going to the other bar and we should head home. She demands going with them, she stands up, and falls down. I help her with her coat as they leave.

While waiting for a cab outside I tell her that if we don’t go home, we’re done.  She says she doesn’t care.

We get in our cab. I tell the driver her address. She screams that she wants to go to the bar and the driver listens to her. At this point I am at 55% breaking up with her.

When we arrive at the bar she stumbles across the street. I motion to the bouncers to not let her in. She also almost falls down while walking. For the first fifteen minutes I try with the bouncers to tell her to go home. Eventually I just go to the smoking area and talk to random people. I try to call her brother to get him to talk sense into her but he doesn’t answer.

Now 45 minutes into this and still outside and after multiple attempts by her to run past the bouncers they literally pick her up and throw her in a cab. I get in, and tell him her address. Now you may ask why I’ve not left yet. Well, if she got in somehow, it was my friends issue to deal with her and I didn’t want that to happen. Also I was worried for her safety. At this point I am 80% breaking up with her.

About a mile and a half down the road she starts screaming that she wants to go back to the bar. I try to calm her down but the driver won’t deal with it, and we get kicked out. She proceeds to walk in the freezing weather the mile and a half back to the bar. She almost gets hit by a few cars along the way.

When we get to the bar the bouncers are pissed. I ask if they’re calling the cops, to which they shake their heads yes. I ask for 5 minutes and call her mother at 1am. Her mother answers and I explain, she was not shocked which was odd, then her mother talks to her and she listens. We get in a taxi and head to her place. I am 90% breaking up with her.

On the taxi ride back she gets pissed I called her mother. At this point its worth mentioning I was in a brace due to surgery on my arm. She leans over and starts punching me in the face, a total of 6 times. I’m shocked, but finally throw her into the other side of the taxi. She stops. I am 100% breaking up with her. I tell her that we are over for good and there’s no coming back. She cries for the next 10 minutes to get to her house.

The taxi driver says he’ll wait for me, I grab her keys and after 5 minutes (stupid lock was hard) I get her front door open. I push her in and throw her keys at her and walk away. The whole time she’s talking about having sex with me. The driver has a good talk with me on the way home.

When I get home, I unfriend her and all her friends on Facebook. I turn off my phone, and go to bed. She calls me the next morning (after I woke up and turned my phone on) like nothing happened wanting to go to the birthday party. I remind her we’re over. She cries, not remembering as usual. She asks if we can at least break up while she’s sober and I say we can talk in a week.

One day before we are supposed to meet she had plans with friends for happy hour. She calls me after asking if we could meet that day instead. When she shows up at my house she’s drunk, I can smell the booze. After crying and demanding I hold her, she strips naked and tries to rape me. She was small, it wasn’t happening, but if she was a guy, she would be in jail. The worst part is I never really said my piece. I never went off and yelled at her. This would bother me until I finally had a random hookup months later. I never got over her, no matter how horrible she was because I didn’t get closure myself.

Sometimes life sucks but it does get better. I have found that writing about all of these experiences brings understanding, resolution and closure for me.

 

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Sun Stories: Summer – Astonished – Part 3 – Update

 

UPDATE: They’ve run a battery of tests on Summer and the baby. They have determined that the child is fine and there are no problems that they can see. So that’s wonderful news for now.

Summer is a straight A student, but hates to do all the homework they assign the students. She simply pays someone else to do it, then goes in and crushes the exams.

Leave it to this bright, cunning, lovable, repugnant, remorseless girl dodge 9 months of pregnancy. She’s having the baby in 3 months. She’s been pregnant for 6 months. So to her since she found out, she’ll only have to stay sober for 3 months in stead of 9 because 6 of those months are behind her. So to her it feels like a 3 month pregnancy and then boom, baby.

When her father heard the news that the child seemed perfectly healthy, he said “My daughter’s got an Iron Placenta.” (Sounds like a good name for a Death Metal band)

Her mother is already super excited to be a grandmother at 47. These people are rich, that child isn’t going to want for anything. I just pray that it’s okay health and developmentally in it’s formative years.

 

Oh, by the way… It’s a boy.

 

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Sun Stories: Summer – Astonished – Part 2 – Lets Look at the Science

Summer just told me that she just found out that she’s 6 months pregnant and didn’t know it. She drinks like a Viking, and has been for awhile. The whole 6 months she’s been pregnant.

I pray that the baby will be okay, but let’s take a look at what could happen.

 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

 

 

What is fetal alcohol syndrome?

Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy can give birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sometimes known as FASDs. FASD is the umbrella term for a range of disorders. These disorders can be mild or severe and can cause physical and mental birth defects. Types of FASDs include:
fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
partial fetal alcohol syndrome
alcohol-related birth defects
alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder
neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure

FAS is a severe form of the condition. People with FAS may have problems with their vision, hearing, memory, attention span, and abilities to learn and communicate. While the defects vary from one person to another, the damage is often permanent.

 

Causes

What are the causes of fetal alcohol syndrome?

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, some of that alcohol easily passes across the placenta to the fetus. The body of a developing fetus doesn’t process alcohol the same way as an adult does. The alcohol is more concentrated in the fetus, and it can prevent enough nutrition and oxygen from getting to the fetus’s vital organs.

Damage can be done in the first few weeks of pregnancy when a woman might not yet know that she is pregnant. The risk increases if the mother is a heavy drinker.

According to many studies, alcohol use appears to be most harmful during the first three months of pregnancy. However, consumption of alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful, according to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome?

Since fetal alcohol syndrome covers a wide range of problems, there are many possible symptoms. The severity of these symptoms ranges from mild to severe, and can include:
a small head
a smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose, small and wide-set eyes, a very thin upper lip, or other abnormal facial features
below average height and weight
hyperactivity
lack of focus
poor coordination
delayed development and problems in thinking, speech, movement, and social skills
poor judgment
problems seeing or hearing
learning disabilities
intellectual disability
heart problems
kidney defects and abnormalities
deformed limbs or fingers
mood swings

 

 

Diagnosis

How is fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosed?

The earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome. Talk to your doctor if you think your child might have FAS. Let your doctor know if you drank while you were pregnant.

A physical exam of the baby may show a heart murmur or other heart problems. As the baby matures, there may be other signs that help confirm the diagnosis. These include:
slow rate of growth
abnormal facial features or bone growth
hearing and vision problems
slow language acquisition
small head size
poor coordination

To diagnose someone with FAS, the doctor must determine that they have abnormal facial features, slower than normal growth, and central nervous system problems. These nervous system problems could be physical or behavioral. They might present as hyperactivity, lack of coordination or focus, or learning disabilities.

 

Treatments

What are the treatments for fetal alcohol syndrome?

While FAS is incurable, there are treatments for some symptoms. The earlier the diagnosis, the more progress can be made. Depending on the symptoms a child with FAS exhibits, they may need many doctor or specialist visits. Special education and social services can help very young children. For example, speech therapists can work with toddlers to help them learn to talk.

At home

Children with FAS will benefit from a stable and loving home. They can be even more sensitive to disruptions in routine than an average child. Children with FAS are especially likely to develop problems with violence and substance abuse later in life if they are exposed to violence or abuse at home. These children do well with a regular routine, simple rules to follow, and rewards for positive behavior.

Medications

There are no medications that specifically treat FAS. However, several medications may address symptoms.

These medications include:
antidepressants to treat problems with sadness and negativity
stimulants to treat lack of focus, hyperactivity, and other behavioral problems
neuroleptics to treat anxiety and aggression
antianxiety drugs to treat anxiety

Counseling

Behavioral training may also help. For instance, friendship training teaches kids social skills for interacting with their peers. Executive function training may improve skills such as self-control, reasoning, and understanding cause and effect. Children with FAS might also need academic help. For example, a math tutor could help a child who struggles in school.

Parents and siblings might also need help in dealing with the challenges this condition can cause. This help can come through talk therapy or support groups. Parents can also receive parental training tailored to the needs of their children. Parental training teaches you how to best interact with and care for your child.

Alternative treatments

Some parents and their children seek alternative treatments outside of the medical establishment. These include healing practices, such as massage and acupuncture (the placement of thin needles into key body areas). Alternative treatments also include movement techniques, such as exercise or yoga.

Prevention

How can I prevent fetal alcohol syndrome?

You can avoid fetal alcohol syndrome by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy. If you’re a woman with a drinking problem who wants to get pregnant, seek help from a doctor. If you’re a light or social drinker, don’t drink if you think you might become pregnant anytime soon. Remember, the effects of alcohol can make a mark during the first few weeks of a pregnancy. Visit these blogs for more tips and information about fetal alcohol syndrome.

 

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Sabrina – Surprise Visit – Part 1

Sabrina texts me out of nowhere and wants to cash in her free spray tan.  She lives out-of-town but works down at Penn’s Landing at a marketing company. She loves her job and is doing great. I’m happy she’s doing well and has been sober for over 9 months.

She sees her kids every Saturday and is trying to get on better terms with her sort of ex husband. (They’re still legally married but have been split for over a year. But she refers to him as her Ex) According to her their marriage was toxic and she can’t be with him anymore. She lives in the house they own together but he pays the mortgage and I’m assuming some sort of support.

This is a woman I met at the salon with Jill. (See Jill – 2016 to Present – Client) Jill is an ex stripper/escort that can’t stop drinking. Sabrina met her in a halfway house and they have remained friends. Jill is a full-blown alcoholic and Sabrina is a drug addict. Jill told me Sabrina’s drug of choice was heroin but she’s done an amazing job rising from the ashes of her own destruction to live anew as a sober person.

Sabrina once told me that if she even took a sip of beer she’d be right back into it again. That’s addiction. But I know a few addicts that come in the salon that have been sober for decades and they are incredibly great people who have risen above and sustained their lives. Many are professional people like doctors and lawyers. Addiction doesn’t care who you are. It just tries to steal who you are and sledgehammer your life.

Jill is the one that told me that Sabrina wasn’t an alcoholic. She was heroin addict. But like I said, addiction is an insidious force that doesn’t choose between nationality, race, or social status. It just takes some of them.

I can drink wine every day and not lose my shit. It loosens my mind to write, kills my anxiety and depression, helps me sleep and is a social lubricant. But some people’s wiring just can’t take any foreign substances.

I could drink with someone who is an alcoholic and drink the same thing pound for pound all night long. I will maintain my buzz and go home and go to bed after a fun night.

They will in turn change in mood and personality. Lose their sense of time, sense, verbal ability, motor skills, and eventually black out and do bad things and never remember them. They will not destroy themselves. They’ll destroy everything and everyone around them. That’s addiction.

We’re all different. We all have the same chemical make up that makes us human, but all of our chemicals react differently to introduced to outside forces. Sometimes stimulation… sometimes absolute destruction. Booze is probably the worst because it’s legal and beloved by so many. Nobody high on marijuana ever aggressively hit a cop. A drunk guy who’s losing his shit with his wife would. The worst thing that happens when I’m around people who smoke pot is a boring endless story and I want a drink to get through listening to them.

Here’s the difference between weed and booze. I was friends with a great sensitive drummer named Rich back in the 80’s. He loved weed. I like booze. Here is the conversation when we’re banged up on our substances of choice walking down the street:

Rich: (Stoned) “Hey man… what if the color blue to me isn’t the same color blue to you?”

Me: (Whiskey) “I don’t fucking know. Check the crayon box, asshole.”

See the difference?

 

Anyway, my girl Sabrina wants to come in and get a spray tan. She’s middle eastern and is as brown as a penny and hot as hell, but her legs need color. I tell her we can help her. We can help anybody!

I’ll make all of you girls beautiful and tan. Leave it to me!

She says her legs are always covered and she wants to even out her look. I tell her the best way to do that is to go in a UV sunbed. Cover up the parts you don’t want tan and bake up your legs to match the rest of your delicious self.

Long term that would work for her. Her legs could catch up with the rest of her pretty brown skin.

But Sabrina wants to do a spray tan to just to even herself out and look good. I tell her it’s a temporary fix, but she’ll look great.

She comes in and we have a lovely chat. I tell her about my recent date with Bailey on Christmas Eve and how I’m seeing her again tonight  for some wine and Gelato when I close the salon. Sabrina is surprised and delighted that I’m going on a second date with Bailey. (See: Bailey – From Texting to Connection) 

She doesn’t know about Cherie so I tell her I adore her. “I can’t wait forever for you, Sabrina.” (Only half joking because I would totally love to date Sabrina and haven’t completely ruled out accomplishing that goal in the near future.)

“You’ll have to text me how it went! Have you kissed Bailey yet?”

“No. I hope to this evening.”

“You’ll have to text me if you do!”

She looks amazing and gorgeous. I wish she lived closer to the city so I could spend more time with her. I tell her how great she looks and how amazing her luxurious hair looks. She thanks me and attributes it to being sober.

I love that.

She tells me that Jill is about to be kicked out of her current residence because she’s drinking oceans of vodka and sleeping around. Jill is out of control. Sabrina tells me that Jill wants to come live with her.

I tell Sabrina the following: “You’ve been sober for 9 months. You see your kids. You have a great job now. You’re doing well. You can not bring Jill, the broken drunk into your house. EVER. You have to cut her off.”

Sabrina tells me that she can’t bring that shit into her house after finally getting clean and moving forward with her life. She’s going to have to have the “Talk” with Jill.

It’s sad because in Sabrina’s phone, Jill is still listed as “Roomie” from when they were in a halfway house. Sabrina has been an elegant Phoenix that has risen from the ashes of her own destruction, whereas Jill started drinking and whoring once she got out of rehab and the halfway house.

Jill is being kicked out of her present living situation because she can’t stop drinking and whoring.  Jill plows vodka and jumps from guy to guy. Screwing them and staying at their cribs until they kick her out. I’m sure she cares for her son but her behavior screams she doesn’t give a shit about him because she’s always loaded and riding cock somewhere, blackout drunk.

“The best place for her is to go back to the halfway house.”

Sweet Sabrina’s words ring like lovely bells on New Years day. The words from a mother that is struggling everyday to make her way in this life.

 

I’ll continue this story tomorrow…

 

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