My Wicked Mistress – Part 2 – Sick

Philadelphia, PA – May 2018

(Warning: graphic content)

It was life as usual for me in 2018. things were good and not much had changed in the last year.

I didn’t get out as much and preferred a quiet life at home. Some of my friends and drinking buddies had moved on to other cities and careers. Bartenders moved on to different positions and the big drinking and social life was over.

I had cut loose most of the detritus in my life. All the crazy girls were gone and I rarely saw anybody from my old life in media.

I hadn’t been feeling well lately. I had some aches and pains that I was attributing to middle age and work.

I was trying to drink a lot of water. I would drink maybe 80 oz a day. I figured that was good.

But no matter how much water I drank I began to notice that my urine was more of an amber color than the usual healthy yellow.

I had also had diarrhea over the last day or so. Loose stool and yellow bile.

I called out sick from work because I just felt like garbage. I figured it was simply a stomach flu.

But in a day my mind brought me around to what was happening to me.

I pre-gamed with a cocktail or two before I would go out at night. While at the bar I pounded 5 to 6 glasses of wine. Then maybe stop somewhere else and have a nightcap. Usually a Manhattan. Then home. Grab a rock glass and pack it with ice. Crack open a can of seltzer and start pouring in the vodka.

By then I had no idea of the dosage of vodka I was imbibing. The only way to get an accurate measure would be to see how far down the vodka was in the bottle. If a lot of the vodka was gone out of the bottle, well then I drank a lot.

I went online and looked at the signs of alcohol damage to the body.

Oh no.

I stopped drinking that day.

I had an uncracked half-gallon of Nikolai vodka in my room. I gave it to my daughter Loralei and told her it was now the house vodka and she could have it and share it with her friends. I also gave her a 6 pack of spiked seltzers.

I still had all of the expensive bottles of booze in my room.

They always say throw away all of the booze in your house. But my life doesn’t work like that. I’m not going to drink that fine liquor. I have no triggers. I’m just going to stop buying gallons of vodka and pouring it into my body. I don’t know what demon I was trying to drown. It was like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

From what I read and saw, my liver was struggling to break down the alcohol because it was overworked. Hence the yellow bile in my feces. My kidneys were also struggling. They couldn’t break down the blood properly to purify it.

I was toxic.

I also read all I could about alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal. I went to the grocery store and loaded up on fruits, vegetables, and vitamins. A multivitamin, Vitamin E, B12, Melatonin, and Milk Thistle.

Google all of that. Find foods that are antioxidants.

I did all that and braced myself for the worst.

I had some trouble sleeping but that was it.

Within two days I felt so much better. By being completely sober I gave my body a chance to heal after years of abuse.

In a couple of days, everything went back to normal. Regular and healthy urinary and bowel function.

I have a strong immune system. I’ve written about it before. I not only bounced back, I felt SO MUCH BETTER!

My appetite returned with a vengeance. I suppose it was resetting from getting over 1000 empty calories a day in pure booze. I was so ravenous for food about a week after I stopped drinking.

After a few days, I realized the reason I was drinking the way I was. It was because I was stuck in an old nightly ritual I used to NEED to turn off my mind. I had so many problems in my past life I had to have something to make them stop.

The quiet darkness. Like a silent shroud over your day. You huddle down in your bed and wait for them to come. The cycling thoughts and fear that you’ve allowed into your life. My anxiety and depression… like shadows, were my only company.

But all of those things have been banished from my life in the last few years.

It’s like cigarettes. I once did it for happiness and then to relieve pain, and then it was just something I was simply doing out of habit and no longer had a use for it.

So I dumped it.

Booze for me was the same thing. Once I could sleep unassisted, I was better. I felt clear. Happy. Sharp. Better physically.

It was like I was ingesting insecticide into my system every night and suddenly stopped. The body wants to be well. Once I stopped hurting myself, my body went right to work on repairing the vessel.

I even went to an AA meeting.

That was an eye-opener about a lot of things. The people that are in there are there for a reason. Alcohol is the one thing they should never do again.

Alcohol makes them crazy.

They drink and it changes them chemically. It destroys who they are and everything around them. They’re at a point in their lives where they can no longer even have a drink. But like I said… it’s a spectrum. It’s not black and white. Everybody’s physiology is different. Some people change when they drink. Others not so much. I just did it out of habit and to soften the world a bit at night.

I heard all of the horror and heartfelt stories in that AA meeting.

But when I left the meeting I knew I wasn’t like them. I’m not an alcoholic.

Abstinence isn’t the solution for everybody.

I enjoy the occasional drink now, but that’s it.

I’m so glad that dark chapter of my life is over.

Tune in next Tuesday for the 3rd and final chapter in this little series.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. 

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Sober Singles Say Dry Dating Can Be A Grim Waste Of Time

Dating is hell — and it’s even harder when you’re sober.

Yet, thanks in part to an increased interest in health and wellness, more and more people are drinking less, with the International Wine and Spirits Record reporting that alcohol consumption is down across America for three years straight.

But how do you break the ice without a drink — and where can you do it when the usual dating spot is a bar?

“You know little tricks,” Mitch Leff, 32, tells Phicklephilly. The Upper East Sider has been sober since he was 19 when he sought treatment for alcohol addiction. He says he often takes first dates out for ice cream at UES., which has a speak-easy-style bar hidden in the back, or on walks in the park with his miniature Goldendoodle, Mazel.

But he hasn’t given up entirely on traditional bars. One of his longtime favorite places to meet first dates is Nobu Downtown — in part because of the half-dozen nonalcoholic drinks on its mocktail menu.

Though he says he’s now “comfortable” ordering a seltzer or soda, the former health-care worker and current experience coordinator didn’t always feel that way.

“When I was newly sober, I was completely overwhelmed,” he says. He worried that dates wouldn’t be able to get on board with his dry lifestyle. “I was like, ‘I’m never going to find someone.’ ”

And although he’s currently single, he’s sure that he’s not alone in feeling that way about dating and drinking.

“There are so many people who have no idea what they’re doing, and it probably causes them to relapse, ’cause they’re so anxious about dating,” he says.

Since socializing so often involves drinking, Malia Griggs, the social media director of The Daily Beast, finds it hard to go out. For a year after she was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2017, the Brooklynite says she didn’t have a drop of alcohol.

These days, the 31-year-old will have an occasional cocktail, but she says that sobriety has definitely affected the way she socializes.

“I think I’ve been maybe avoiding dating, ’cause I don’t want to explain it over and over,” she says.

She also finds that bars have lost their appeal.

“I think when you’re sober, all the things that are annoying about bars stick out — how loud they are, how expensive they are, how obnoxious other people can be,” Griggs says.

Queens resident Tynan DeLong, 35, agrees. The film director calls booze sobriety a “lifestyle decision” he made over a decade ago, only to find that he got flak half the time for ordering a cheaper, nonalcoholic drink.

But he found it hard to meet people anywhere else during prime dating hours. “Late night options for date spots are pretty limited,” says DeLong, who’s now seeing someone steadily.

Mike Abrusci, 30, agrees.

“It’s hard to think of somewhere after 8 p.m.” for a date that isn’t a bar, says the office-services clerk, who lives in Queens. That’s why he often finds himself at bars, even though he’s never been a drinker.

While restaurants seem an obvious alternative, the pressure of being required to sit through a whole meal on a first date is unappealing, since it gives you no chance to duck out.

“You’re definitely stuck there for as long as the meal takes, whereas, at the bar, you can have a drink and then be like, ‘Oh, I have a thing,’ ” he says.

DeLong also lets his dates know ahead of time that he doesn’t drink — he’s had bad experiences when he hasn’t. Abrusci says he usually tells prospective dates that he’s sober, to filter out any haters. He knows it’s a risky move and that people might overreact and think that it’s “a big deal” — but he’d still rather not waste his time on people who can’t handle it.

“We got to Night of Joy and I was like, I don’t drink,” DeLong says, referring to a Williamsburg bar. His date was confused and cold. “She was like, ‘Then why did you choose this place?’’ It was very mean and that set the tone.”

As far as Griggs is concerned, being sober has had some positive side effects on her dating life. “I feel less fun, but I also feel more mature,” she says, adding that her standard for dates has increased. “You really need to have chemistry with someone — sober chemistry — for the date to work.”

It’s also raised her standard for herself.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

10 Surprising Things That Make You More Attractive

Even if most of us can’t do anything to change how we look, there are still many ways we can raise our attractiveness factor for the opposite sex. Smell good, be funny, and don’t talk about your ex too much. It’s not as complicated as self-help books and relationship blogs make it out to be.

According to science, though, those are only the well-known ones. Many other factors seemingly unrelated to attractiveness secretly influence the success rate of your dates.

Food

As to how attractive you are to the opposite sex, you’d think that the only effect of food occurs when you show up on a date with visible food stains on your clothes. Beyond that, what you eat shouldn’t affect attractiveness at all. If it did, we’d spend as much time choosing meals for upcoming dates as we spend on clothes.

According to one study, food can influence your sex appeal in other ways, though only in the case of women.[1] Researchers at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota found that women find men 20 percent more attractive immediately after the women eat something spicy. The study authors say that it’s because of something called embodied cognition, wherein our sensory feelings affect what we feel even if those two are otherwise unrelated.

Color

Preference for color is assumed to be subjective in nature. While some women may immediately ask you to take them to bed after seeing your blue shirt, others may not even answer your calls after the date. It depends on how much they like the color blue. Although that is true in general, one color is unanimously considered to be more appealing—at least on women. Red.

Quite a few studies have found that men tend to find women dressed up in red—whether it’s the color of the dress, bag, or lipstick—to be much more attractive than other colors. It’s perceived to be an indicator of sexual willingness, which may have something to do with the female body’s natural mechanisms to indicate that they’re interested.

Ever notice that your female partner blushes a lot, has fuller cheeks, and is just generally a lot redder than usual during the fertile phase of her menstrual cycle? Yup, that’s directly related to why men find the color red so hard to resist.

Being In A Group

Entire books and gossip columns have been written on how to approach someone at a bar (or any other public gathering). Apart from facial cues and the type of setting, many other minor factors influence whether you’ll be getting the person’s number.

We’ll leave the full analysis of all elements to the experts. But according to science, we know of at least one factor that will increase your chances—being in a group.

In research conducted by psychological scientists from the University of California, participants were asked to rate 100 people on attractiveness. The pictures included people in a group as well as alone, though they were spaced out enough so that the participants didn’t notice any repetition. Overall, people in groups were found to be more attractive than those who were alone.

It may sound counterintuitive, but the researchers believe that it makes perfect sense. When you’re in a group, your face is seen in comparison to the other members of the group. This makes it more average than it would be usually.

You may think that being average would immediately lower your rating, though that’s only true for conventionally attractive people. For the rest of us chums, being in a group hides our otherwise unattractive features as they’re perceived in comparison to others.[3]

Fear

Even if we don’t know the scientific reasons behind it, a lot of us have intuitively used this at one time or another. Ever wondered why your dates at horror movies have a higher chance of succeeding than, say, at rom-coms?

Common sense would suggest that watching romantic scenes together would give you a higher chance of succeeding than staring at ghastly entities out to devour your soul. But we all know that’s not the case. So, what gives?

According to many studies, the answer is simple. We tend to mistake feelings of fear for arousal, and it almost always works. In psychology, it’s creatively known as the misattribution of arousal. When we’re scared, our body exudes symptoms—like increased heart rate and shortness of breath—that are very similar to the ones we have when we’re sexually attracted to someone.

The Side Of The Body

It’s common knowledge that the left and right hemispheres of the brain work in wildly different ways. Even if the extent of the difference between them and how it affects our overall personality is still not perfectly understood, we know that each side is responsible for a different type of brain function. What we don’t know, however, is that it also influences your chances of success while talking to someone in a public gathering.

According to one study, if you approach someone at a loud club and speak into their right ear, you have a much higher chance of making that person listen than if you speak into the left ear. The researchers actually tested this in a club instead of a lab.

Their findings suggest that we’re much more receptive to things on our right side. We’re not entirely sure why it happens, though you could certainly use it to your advantage on your next visit to a loud concert.

Scars

A huge part of the cosmetics industry is aimed at exploiting our insecurity about visible scars, especially on the face. Admittedly, different cultures have different opinions on scars. In Western society, they’re largely seen as indicators of unattractiveness. However, that’s only because we’re listening to the cosmetics industry and not actual science.

Studies have found that facial scars—at least in the case of men—are considered to be more attractive for women seeking short-term relationships. Even if we don’t hunt and fight for survival like we used to, women still associate scars with bravery on the battlefield and with survivability.

They also instinctively indicate higher levels of testosterone and genetic qualities, though the study was only conducted with short-term relationships in mind. Women may still want men without scars for longer-term commitments as that suggests that the men are more caring and empathetic.

Sweat

Sweat isn’t considered to be an attractive trait in any culture around the world as it comes with unpleasant side effects like body odor. People who don’t sweat a lot are still thought to be better mating partners than those who do for the simple reason that no one wants someone else’s bodily fluids in their space any longer than necessary.

According to science, though, sweat may actually make you more attractive. In a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that male sweat contains a pheromone known as androstadienone. It raises the levels of the cortisol hormone among women, which is responsible for sexual arousal and the activation of certain regions of the brain.

Now we’re not saying that you should show up for your date in your sweaty gym clothes as personal hygiene is still an overpowering attractiveness factor. All we’re saying is that you’re much more attractive to the ladies at the gym than you realize.

Ambiguity

It’s no surprise that people tend to be more romantically attracted to you if the feelings are mutual. That works the other way around, too, as someone who’s not attracted to you will eventually make you lose interest in them. (However, that may also have to do with having no choice in the matter.)

It gets a bit unclear when you can’t tell if someone is interested in you. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it should make them much more attractive to you, and science confirms it.

In one study done by researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard, female participants were found to be attracted to men whose intentions weren’t clear. Surprisingly, the level of attraction was even higher than with men who had obviously shown interest in them. This suggests that the best course of action in a romantic pursuit is keeping things confusing.

Drinking Too Much Or Too Little

Ask anyone in college and they’ll tell you that drinking a lot of alcohol is the best way to find another person more attractive than he or she usually is. While we have no doubt about the veracity of that—despite a lack of scientific evidence—not much is known about how it works the other way around. How does drinking affect your own attractiveness for others?

If one study is to believed, the trick is to have just the right amount of alcohol. If you have too little, you’re (understandably) perceived as “no fun.” But having a lot isn’t good, either, as it’s associated with risky sexual behavior. According to the study at least, the perfect amount is somewhere around 250 milliliters (8 oz) of wine for an average-sized individual.

No Smiling

Popular wisdom says that smiling is a sure way to be more attractive than you usually are because it indicates friendliness and social adeptness. It makes sense, too, and conventionally unattractive people—like a lot of us online writers—have to resort to factors like that. According to science, though, we’re doing it all wrong.

At least for men, smiling is actually perceived to be a less attractive trait by women. It ties into the conventional stereotype of the brooding types being more appealing. But it also has to do with smiling being seen as a feminine and submissive trait. On the other hand, men find smiling women to be more attractive than their ever-serious counterparts.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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DADS: Why Alcohol Gives You The Runs

Imagine this: You wake up at 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Your head hurts. You suddenly have a flashback to the night before. You see yourself sidled up to a bar, downing pickleback after pickleback until you yourself are turning green. You have some regrets.

And then — just as you think the morning after effect can’t get worse — your stomach twists. You know it’s coming. You have the DADS — the Day After Drinking Shits.

Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, author of The Better Period Food Solution: Eat Your Way to a Lifetime of Healthier Cycles, explains that this is a common phenomenon. So common that there are even derogatory nicknames for it. DADS is a typical one, and then there’s rum bum, after grog bog, and, my personal favorite, the Milwaukee squirts.

“The body doesn’t appreciate being distracted from other essential tasks — like keeping your heart beating or your brain working — to have to metabolize seven White Claws in an hour, so these choices may come with some unwarranted and smelly side effects,” Beckerman explains. Here are a few of them.

How does alcohol change your poop? 

As it turns out, in many ways! For some people, drinking makes your bowel movements more runny, but others will get more constipated. Everyone’s digestion system responds differently based on their genetics, diet, stress levels, and gut integrity, she explains. But most people can assume there will be at least some changes.

“Alcohol has the capacity to affect the shape, form, and even the smell of your stool,” Beckerman explains. “Upon first sip, the body is trying to rid itself from alcohol ASAP.” With that said, not all poop problems after drinking are normal. If your irregular stool issues are persistent, you notice blood mixed in, or you have poop as black as the night, Beckerman recommends calling your doctor.

Can drinking give you diarrhea? 

Alcohol is a gastrointestinal irritant and increases gut motility, explains Hillary Cecere, RDN of Eat Clean Bro. “Irritation to the intestinal lining can result in less absorption, leading to diarrhea or softer stools,” she says.

Beckerman adds that alcohol has the ability to inhibit or temporarily “turn off” the antidiuretic hormone, or ADH, that tells our kidneys to conserve water. Without that hormone, you end up needing to urinate a lot, making you feel dehydrated and depleted in the morning.

“During the act of drinking, you can have bouts of diarrhea due to the influx of fluids being dumped into the body,” she adds. “Plus, alcohol has the power to impair muscles movements in the GI tract which can propel contents faster through the gut, which can lead to diarrhea as well.”

Can drinking constipate you? 

Beckerman says that some researchers believe that the higher the alcohol volume, the slower the movements in the bowel. Therefore, liquor (which is about 40 percent ABV) hits “the slow-mo button” on your poops, more so than beer or hard seltzer (which have about 5 percent ABV). “That’s why it’s more typical to have a sleepier and more sluggish colon in the morning — AKA constipation — with liquor,” Beckerman says.

Cecere adds that you should avoid mixing alcohol with energy drinks because caffeine is also a GI tract irritant.

Does DADS affect infrequent drinkers more? 

Not exactly, Cecere says. “Chronic drinkers often suffer from GI distress due to alcohol induced inflammation,” she says. “But, it’s not uncommon for people who don’t often drink alcohol to experience digestive issues after drinking. Some people just consider it part of the hangover.”

How can you stop DADS? 

There’s the obvious — drinking in moderation or not drinking at all.

Beckerman also recommends eating a substantial meal before drinking. You could try rice, crackers, pasta, or some other hearty carb. “This can delay the absorption of alcohol into the blood, which can mitigate DADS,” she says. She also suggests introducing more probiotic foods — such as yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, or kefir — into your diet three or four days before drinking.

“Drink water while drinking alcohol and take a multivitamin before drinking,” she adds.

 “This will help rebalance your electrolytes and water soluble vitamins that have been compromised during your bender.”

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

 

Guy Stops Drinking Alcohol, Shows How Much Sobriety Changed Him In 3 Years

I LOVE this guy!

Giving up your vices and guilty pleasures can lead to a happier and healthier life that’s full of purpose. Even though you might not see the changes day-to-day when you give up drinking alcohol, they’re very apparent to others. One of the things that can keep you motivated is documenting the changes and looking at the photos side by side.

Well, one man has made the phrase ‘one day at a time’ fit both his fight with alcoholism and documenting his journey through sobriety. These last three years, Kenny D. has taken snaps of how he looked when he quit alcohol at key stages in his journey of sobriety. The changes within the first month are already huge and he is almost unrecognizable in the final pictures.

“I took a picture of myself the day I got my first sobriety coin, 24 hours sober. I felt so ill and I looked so bad, I wanted to remember it so I wouldn’t forget. The day I got my 30-day coin, I thought my look had changed drastically so I took another selfie,” Kenny told Bored Panda, talking about the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sobriety coins given to alcoholics who stay sober for a certain amount of time.

Scroll down for Bored Panda’s full and exclusive in-depth interview with Kenny who got back his life, regained his health, and discovered new depths in his character by giving up drinking. For more powerful Bored Panda posts about sobriety and how much people change when they give up alcohol or drugs, check out these articles here, here, here, and here.

Kenny went sober three years ago. When he took his first photo, he was feeling awful

“I liked showing my family and friends the side-by-side of 24 hours and 30 days to show the change,” Kenny said. “Of course, they were skeptical because I had spent the last several years terrorizing my family and friends while I was drunk. So I kept them to myself mostly for the first year, but I always took a selfie every time I got a coin. On my one-year anniversary, I took my picture and posted a side by side on Reddit and called it the Progression of Sobriety. I thought it would just be something uplifting for people to see, I had no idea I would get the kind of response that I did. The post was flooded with comments from people asking me about alcoholism and how I stopped drinking. Asking how they can stop or how to help their own friends or family stop. And a ton of good positive kudos and congrats for my transformation. So after the first year, I felt like I’d make it a bit of a tradition to post my progress on my Sobriety birthday on November 2. I also keep with the tradition of taking it in my bathroom just for continuity. Year two was last year and this year was year three.”

Barely a month later, he was looking and feeling much better

Kenny revealed how much of a problem drinking became for him, as well as how it brought him to the edge. “I started drinking in college. But it didn’t become a real problem until about 10 years ago. I began drinking often and always to excess. I discovered at one point that I could not control the amount I drank once I had taken the first drink. I could not drink without getting drunk. So I decided to quit. I would last a few days, a few weeks, a few months, one time for a year. Always with relapses in between. By 2016, I had gotten to the point that I would get drunk every day. I drank 12–24 drinks a day and I was blacking out 3–4 times a week. I knew I had a problem but I didn’t know what to do. I used to stand in the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror and wish I wasn’t a drunk. I would wonder how I got this way. Sometimes I was just indifferent to whether I lived or died. I just wanted it to be over and I didn’t care how,” he explained the pit of despair he was in just several years ago.

Kenny kept up being sober with the help of the 12 step program, loved ones, and AA members

“The last time I drank, I had a week of vacation and I had bought myself a case of beer and was going to ration it for the week. 3–4 beers a night,” Kenny went into detail about how he finally got sober. “The first night after I put my son to bed, I opened my first beer. That was at 8 p.m. By 11 p.m., I had drunk 19 beers. Something inside me said, ‘Kenny, your life is no longer manageable.’”

He also fixed his diet and started exercising

“A friend of mine had gotten sober a year before and I did the only thing I could think to do. I reached out for help. I texted her and told her I had a problem and I needed help. The next morning, she picked me up and drove me to my first 12-step meeting and I’ve been sober ever since.”

Kenny took a photo every time he got a new AA sobriety chip

Kenny was also very open about the greatest challenges that he faced after he got sober three years ago. “My greatest challenge was the working of the 12 steps. 12 step recovery is a complete overhaul of your life. It is a fact-finding and fact-facing process. It caused me to face how I felt about other people and to clean up the mess I had made in my life while I was drinking. All I wanted to do was to stop drinking and to get my life back. I had no idea that I would get a whole new life that was full of more joy, happiness, and freedom than I could have possibly imagined.”

The man was completely open about how much drinking alcohol affected him

He continued: “The biggest difference between myself now and three years ago is that today I live my life by a set of spiritual principles. From morning to night, I run all of my decisions through a sort of spiritual filter. I do my best to not be resentful or spiteful or angry, though I am human and I have a tendency to forget sometimes. I’m not a saint. If I have a problem that I can’t tackle with stuff in my normal spiritual toolkit, I get on the phone to my sponsor or another alcoholic-in-recovery.”

Previously, Kenny couldn’t control himself when it came to alcohol

“There is always somebody around to help, I just have to reach out. The most difficult part about living with such success in sobriety for me is avoiding what they call ‘resting on your laurels.’ Getting complacent and going back to my old way of doing things. I get over it by going to lots of meetings as often as I can, working with other alcoholics, and practicing the spiritual principles in all of my affairs.”

Kenny used to drink 12-24 drinks each night…

“In my personal life, I’ve become an avid reader, I love to learn new things and read nonfiction and biographies. I’ve recently begun painting and that has opened up a whole new part of my brain that I didn’t know existed,” Kenny said about his newfound passions.

…and he used to lose consciousness three or four nights each week while drinking

“And as you can see from the pictures, I’ve lost 75 pounds (34 kilograms) since I got sober. I eat much cleaner and I exercise now. My favorite form of exercise is DDP Yoga. Awesome program and it completely changed my whole perspective on exercise and healthy living. Three years into sobriety, every day is an awesome day and I can’t wait to experience the next awesome thing or meet the next awesome person whom I can learn something from.”

Kenny was officially three years sober on November 2

People were very supportive of Kenny’s journey

                                                    You look fantastic, man!
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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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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Wildwood Daze – The Union Jacks – Dirty John – Part 1

“Okay, He’s freaking out like a retard. Put him in his bed and we’ll go.”

I had been to the restaurant where Brian our drummer worked part-time as a busboy. I don’t remember, but I had been there to meet up with him once for some reason. I do remember Brian telling me the bartender there liked my “friend with the big eyes.” (Me.) I don’t remember that person and quickly dismiss it in my mind.

One night Brain wants to bring us to the restaurant where he works for drinks. We get there and the band sits at the bar. Brian introduces us to the bartender, Frank. Or, as Brian calls him, Frank the Fag. Now I get it. Frank fancies me. It’s a compliment, but I’m straight.

We all order bottles of beer. Frank is being Frank but he’s nice as could be. We’re all just chilling at the bar and it’s nice to all go out and have a drink as a band. It’s like we’re somebody now. People recognize us when we’re out and I like it.

We’re sitting there for about an hour chatting about music when Frank presents me with not one, but two large tumblers filled with a frothy pink liquid.

“What’s this?”

“It’s called a Dirty John.”

“Thank you, but I never drink hard liquor. I just don’t do it. I’m a beer guy only.”

“I’ll drink it!”

Wolfie is the youngest and newest member of the band. I think he wants to show that he’s a badass that can hang with the older guys.

“That’s really not necessary, Wolf.”

“No. I want to.”

Wolfie proceeds to chug the drinks.

We settle up and walk outside. Brian and Mark say they’ll bring the car around. I’m smoking a cig waiting with Wolfie. Brian doesn’t allow smoking in his car so we wait.

“I gotta take a piss.”

“You could have gone in the bar, Wolf. Actually, I gotta go too. Beer goes right through me. There are some tall hedges behind the restaurant. Let’s go back there.”

We walk back and are standing next to each other as if we’re just a couple of students pissing in the urinals in the Boy’s bathroom at Wildwood High. I suddenly hear this rustling noise and a thump. I glance to my right and Wolfie has vanished. I zip up my fly and go to the spot where he was.

There’s Wolfie, face down in the next yard. While pissing he literally just collapsed forward between the hedges. What the hell was in that drink? Whatever it was, it hit him like a sledgehammer.

Brian and Mark pull up in his yellow ’77 Ford Mustang II.

“What’s up with Wolfie?”

“Guys get over here!”

Brian and Mark scramble from the car and run over. We get Wolfie to his feet and he is just gone. Slurring and stumbling and we get him to the car. It takes all three of us.

“He went from buzzed to blackout in a matter of seconds!”

Brian’s driving. Mark’s riding shotgun, and of course I’m in the back with drunk boy. He’s really out of it. Conscious, but super messed up. More drunk than I’ve ever seen anyone ever in my life.

Brian’s driving him back to his house. “He better not puke in my car! I swear to god!”

We get to Wolfie’s house and I’m about to get him out and he pukes all over me. He doesn’t even know I’m there. Now I’m wearing the Dirty John meant for me.

Thankfully his parents weren’t home when we dragged our new guitarist back into his house.

We carry him through the door, in front of at least a half dozen siblings. They all look on in utter horror. I assure them their brother isn’t dead. He’s just sick and we’re taking care of him.

The kids know me from school. I’m the kid that comes and waits for Wolfie each morning and my glasses steam up while watching the Today show waiting for my friend so we can walk to school together.

 

It’s a mess. The little kids are clueless. We’re simply a group of guys bringing their older brother home because he’s sick. Everything’s fine. Just like in any household in the 70’s. It didn’t happen.

We bang Wolfie up the stairs to his bedroom. When I say, bang I mean he was dead weight, and me, Brian, and Mark did our best to get him to his room.

This is all new ground for all of us. We’re musicians, but we don’t know anything about but extreme behavior even if it’s accidental.

My best friend is so sick. I am wearing his puke. We try to run his head under the shower to revive him. He cries out like a molested child so we withdrawal.

“Okay, He’s freaking out like a retard. Put him in his bed and we’ll go.”

Brian was always so pragmatic.

“Turn him over on his stomach.” (I say) Put his face at the edge of the bed.”

“Why?”

“Umm… Bon Scott?

“He’ll be fine.”

” Dude. Hendrix died choking on his own puke.”

“He’ll be fine.”

We leave our lead guitarist in his bed and all go home. It’s been a crazy night.

My best friend got poisoned by a drink meant for me. What was Frank’s plan? Get me drunk beyond recognition and take advantage of me? That’s kind of evil.

But the worst part of it is… Was Brian in on it?

 

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Stacy – Jekyll to Hyde

Get set up by Jewish best friend’s wife with amazing girl who after 4 martinis morphs in to Hyper Sexual Jekyll and Hyde child of the Waffen SS.

Get set up by my friend’s fiance with a new coworker. We were introduced at a party then decided to go out for some drinks, etc. Stacy’s educated, intelligent, fun, gorgeous, well dressed but “can’t find a good guy” according to all sources.

We head out to this great little place (now closed sadly). First 2 hours we are having an amazing time, we kiss, it’s electric. I like her and she really likes me. We decide to order another couple of drinks and some food. We’re having a good time together, and already set up another date. I decide that I want to see where this will go, so I’m not going to let this first date wind up in bed. I want to see her again. She’s great.

Then it starts… I can’t tell if it’s the booze or she’s just been well-behaved up until then. Our server doesn’t come back with our order quickly and Stacy hisses, “That bitch better hurry with my drink. Did she get lost or something?” She laughs, then quietly mutters, “fucking kike.” I’m not sure what she says at first (note: The friend that set us up, her husband, my friend, is Jewish). Then as our order comes the floodgates appear to open. And more and more gradually her mouth spews bile, racist and other, every few sentences directed randomly at people she sees nearby or comments in general. What the hell happened to the gorgeous intelligent girl I met here 3 hours ago? I’m not drunk, a bit tipsy but well in control. She’s intoxicated so I decide that I’ve had enough. It’s getting worse, so we have to go.

We chose a place close to where she lives so it would be in walking distance and I decide it’s not safe for her to walk alone and I’ll grab a cab afterward. The walk was brutal I’ve got a super horny Ms. Hyde on my arm. Trying to get her home ASAP so I can get the hell out. She’s loud as hell now. She’s practically yelling about the fact that she wants me to do XYZ to her when we get home and she’s gonna break my dick off and ruin me for other women.

She bellows at anyone looking at her strangely because they’re a/an (insert horrible phrase here). She gets closer to me and tells me how great I am and she wants to see me again tomorrow not the weekend when we originally planned (totally oblivious that I’m certain this will be our last date).

I get her to the door of her building after a brutally long walk (should have been 10 minutes, took almost an hour because she was a total mess). A scene ensues at her door when I won’t come in. I tell her my ride pulled up out front already. I’ve got to work early and we have had too much to drink for this.

“Don’t you like me? Don’t you want to fuck this?” (she flashes her amazing breasts at me and pulls up her dress. No panties. I get to see the full show). “You don’t know what you’re missing! You can’t get it up, can you? Are you fucking gay you fucking faggot? Don’t call me you piece of shit. I’m telling everyone you have a small dick you faggot.”

This takes less than 2 minutes. I say goodnight and I escape quickly down the stairs. She texts me saying “fck ou ashol ur regret thsi” or some other bad drunk typing.

I escape home. The next two days are interesting trying to explain to my friends what went wrong, while receiving texts and ducking calls that left voice mails all indicating: Had a great time. Sorry if I misbehaved a little on the way home. Wish you’d stayed over. Can we see each other sooner rather than later? Don’t you like me anymore? Etc…

So sad. (See – Jill – From Jill to Jezebel)

What if we’d gone out and didn’t drink any alcohol? Would the night have been better? Should I go out with her again as long as there’s no booze? I’d love to know what everybody thinks about this date.

 

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