Part 144: Alcoholism


Does an alcoholic drink every day? Is that the measure? Or not? Are there ones who – just to pluck a random example right out of the air that I, of course, have no first-hand experience of – don’t touch the stuff all weekend but are unable to drink a couple of Pisco sours over dinner with friends on a Monday night without coming home and doing half a bottle of whisky (on the rocks) while watching Seinfeld?

Is an alcoholic someone who always drinks a lot of alcohol, or someone who just wants to? For example, if you think about alcohol all the time, about the cold, sharp twang of a good white wine, about the tart, salty sting of a well-mixed margarita, about that heady, oblivion-like aliveness you feel only after a bottle and half of Prosecco, are you an alcoholic, or are you, simply, human?

If one is unable to drink a single gin and tonic without wanting to finish off the entire drinks cabinet, is one an alcoholic, or is one, simply, good fun?

It seems to me, after many years on the social scene, that there are only two types of people it is worth spending time with: those who drink fucking shit loads, and those who don’t drink anything. You need to swing definitively one way or the other. There is nothing more tedious than an adult so in control of an evening that they are able to drink a pint and a half of lager and catch the last train home, without offending anybody at all.

Have you ever been to a party where the host had a couple of glasses, but stayed more or less sober and expected everybody to leave by 11pm? I have, and it was shit.

Why would one want the company of a person so well-behaved, so entirely lacking in spontaneity, that they have not spent an entire Saturday vomiting into the porcelain toilet-bowl of a near-stranger since their teens? Who can say they’ve lived a life worthy of note if they’ve never woken in unfamiliar surroundings, sans contact lenses, unable to spot other living beings, or, indeed, the door?

The well-behaved, the nice polite folks who practice only sober pre-dawn partying have nothing whatsoever to teach us. Unless they are abstaining for religious reasons, or in possession of such self-control that they’ve given up and never since touched a drop.

We all know by now that alcoholics can write novels, hold down marriages and pursue high-powered executive jobs. They can raise emotionally damaged children as well as your average responsible drinker. But, what I want to know, is whether there are there alcoholics who can go a couple of weeks drinking moderately – just a glass or two of Merlot, a tequila chaser here or there, and in bed by midnight – but then have a blowout of seven, or maybe ten, after all who’s counting, martinis with twist, before collapsing on the pavement outside Soho House?

I only ask because, despite the benefits of spending your leisure time completely off your face, you probably still don’t really want to be an alcoholic, or date one. After all, there are a significant proportion of them who suffer serious health problems and die prematurely in horrific circumstances. Which isn’t ideal. But then again, life’s about compromise – and if I know one thing, I know this: you’ll need a drink to get you through.

*Image is Download “Drunken” by Naypong at


One thought on “Part 144: Alcoholism

  1. psychming. says:

    An alcoholic is merely someone who is alcohol dependant, has a problem controlling their drinking and has withdrawal symptoms when they don’t get their fix!

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