Twitter scared the bejesus out of me today with a link to The Lancet, a somewhat more highly regarded publication than this blog, which has published a massive meta-analysis of almost 600,000 alcohol drinkers in 83 studies.
I don’t have the attention span or the mental capacity to read a study like this, so I just scrolled through my Twitter feed, and this is what I learned:
- Nineteen countries disagree about the ideal limit for alcohol (assuming you want optimal health, and who knows, you might not)
- Men who drink less than 100g of alcohol per week can expect to live one to two years longer than men who drink twice that amount
- Women who drink less than 100g of alcohol per week can expect to live 1.3 years longer than women who drink more than 100g of alcohol per week
- Beer drinkers, spirits drinkers, and binge drinkers have the highest mortality risk
- The ideal weekly drink limit is twice as much for men as it is for women (11 vs. 5!)
- Exceeding the ideal weekly drink limit could shorten your lifespan by 30 minutes!!!!
So OMG, people, there’s so much to unpack here.
- First of all, isn’t a lancet a kind of stabby thing for taking blood samples? This prestigious journal didn’t have to be named The Lancet. It could have been named The Scalpel or The Retractor or The Bonesaw. Just saying.
- Second, we need to move to Spain, Italy, or Portugal, where recommended drinks/week are 50 per cent higher. Whee!
- Third, how are we to compare the findings for women and men as compacted into understandable bullet points by the Twitterverse? I mean, I only have two brain cells.
- Fourth, wait till my mum finds out she’s not supposed to match my dad drink for drink. She’s gonna freak.
- Fifth, we can’t binge?
- Sixth, ummm, 30 minutes? That’s like three episodes of Mike Tyson Mysteries. Does it matter? I guess it depends whether we’re caught up on Netflix or not.
My fellow inebriates,
LBHQ has always been a perilous place. Look at the way Glen Bear just vanished one day. Look at what a bully Scarybear is (although he’s mellowing with age). Look at these freaking gerbils shredding a Glenlivet box like it’s nothing. OMG, people, it’s terrifying to live here.
I think about this a lot when I’m sober. What if one of the kids got tired of me and threw me in the gerbil tank? I’d be dead within a few hours. Slowly dead, that is. They’d probably gnaw on my eyes.
I started feeling extra-endangered today when I read about the Mary River turtle, this punkass reptile that just landed on the endangered list. It has a mohawk made of algae, freaky-looking spikes growing out of its chin, and get this—it breathes through its genitals.
This awesome weirdo animal is apparently pretty easy to get along with. Just like yours truly, it’s probably not that good at looking out for itself, especially after a few drinks. (How would it ingest those, I wonder?)
Like many news items about plants and animals threatened with extinction, there’s not much in the way of a call to action. Across the planet, creatures are winking out of existence. What the hell can we do?
Even though I know the answer isn’t to drink a bottle of GRAY MONK LATITUDE 50 white wine, it’s the only thing I can think of right now. This wine is a light and refreshing blend of Gewurtztraminer, Bacchus, Riesling and Muller-Thurgau. It’s off-dry and pear-coloured, perfect for a sunny day, and has only 11.9% alcohol. It’s delicious chilled, and Gray Monk recommends salads and poultry as accompaniments (not turtle). Every time we get a bottle of this wine it vanishes.
Let’s hope that punky-looking turtle doesn’t vanish. That’s what we’re toasting (not roasting) tonight.
Herewith, a long-overdue disclaimer:
I, Liquorstore Bear, am NOT a clinician of any stripe. I am not even a human being! I am a small bear with a big predilection for drinking.
But I do live with humans who also like to have the odd drink. And after over a decade of wine, beer and spirits tasting with them, we’ve all had occasion to muse, “Am I an alcoholic?”
For me the answer is simple: YES.
For my parents the answer is NO, at least for now.
But the three of us are always pondering a bunch of alcohol-related questions:
- What precisely IS an alcoholic?
- What is the BEST way to include alcohol in your life and still HAVE a life?
- At what point does a person (or bear) become an alcoholic?
- Are there people (or bears) who simply CANNOT drink?
- Can you be an alcoholic, then cease to be an alcoholic?
- Can an alcoholic become a moderate drinker?
- What’s the precise cost/benefit ratio when it comes to drinking?
Over the coming weeks and well into 2018, Liquorstore Bear will be tackling these and other ambitious questions. Full disclosure: this is WAY above my paygrade (and I don’t even have a paygrade). But Oprah says follow your passion, so that’s what I’m gonna do, my fellow inebriates. Stay tuned!
And please comment with YOUR burning questions about alcohol. I promise you I don’t know the answers right now, but I will FIND them!