20 tell-tale symptoms you’re in an alcoholic abyss

This week my parents announced a drying-out period of indefinite length, initiated (in their case) for budgetary reasons and (in my case) because they are sadists.

Oh, there may have been some financial grounds. Most Canadian families spend 1.8% of their monthly budget on liquor, and my parents see this area as “trimmable.” Obscenely, they want to trim to below 1%. And just to ensure they reach the target, they’re not buying any booze right now. OMG!

After I spent an afternoon fruitlessly tweeting to various booze producers in BC, a very dark sadness came over me. I tried to cheer up by watching Dexter murder somebody, but I was preoccupied. Symptoms were creeping over me.

Holy crap, my fellow inebriates, have you ever tried to dry out before? If the idea fills you with as much horror as it does me, you might want to do this quiz.

Alcohol Withdrawal Quiz

  1. Do you get the shakes?
  2. Do you feel anxious?
  3. Do you feel nervous or jumpy?
  4. Do you get irritated or easily excited?

Maybe it’s just the DTs talking, but these four questions seem to ask the same thing, to which the answer is Yes, damn it. But let’s qualify things. I live in a house where any minute I might get ambushed by kids. They might slap a leash on me or chain me to a bed. They might give me a bath. They might introduce me to the next-door neighbor’s dogs. Liquored-up or not, I live in a state of constant anxiety.

  1. Do you feel depressed or fatigued?
  2. Do you have difficulty thinking clearly?
  3. Do you experience rapid emotional changes?

Yes to all four. But these are drying-out answers, not the usual answers, when everything is in boozy equilibrium. How can anyone be fatigued when they have 18 hours a day to sleep off benders? How can anyone be depressed with a fresh influx of alcohol? As for thinking clearly, did I ever, people? Just read one or two blog posts and you’ll see the answer is no. And yes, damn it, some profound emotional changes might ensue when you cut an animal off from the only thing it ever consumes.

  1. Do you get a headache?
  2. Do your face or hands sweat?
  3. Do you experience nausea or vomiting?
  4. Do you have trouble sleeping?
  5. Do you experience a rapid heart rate?
  6. Does your skin feel clammy?
  7. Are your hands tremulous?
  8. Does your body make involuntary movements?

These questions assume a different physiology from my own peculiar one. Do I get headaches? Sometimes I’m not even aware I have a head. I’m kind of like the tree that falls down in the forest when nobody’s listening. What am I doing when nobody’s around? Probably staring at the wall and/or getting my 18 hours of sleep (with my eyes open, they tell me).

Question 9 did make me curious about whether wild bears are supposed to sweat. Like dogs, they lack sweat glands except on their noses and tongues, so they suffer during the summer, seeking out streams and shady areas, not to mention panting. The more civilized ones pour a gin & tonic, unless their parents have decided to be assholes.

Tenderheart Bear

The family would be very surprised to find bear vomit around the house, although my friend Scarybear insists he leaves his scat out in the garden and that when the kids dig in the flower beds, that’s what they’re handling. I don’t know if Scary’s delusional about this or not, but he also thinks the Earth is reversing its magnetic field this week. Neither of us is clammy unless we get thrown in the toilet, and if I said we had hearts, well, you might equate us with Care Bears and want to exterminate us.

Involuntary movements are the norm at LBHQ. Most of what we bears are involved in is involuntary.

  1. Do you become confused?
  2. Do you have hallucinations?

Ahh, back to the brain. “Become” confused? That would imply having not been confused in the past. So the answer is no.

I have plenty of hallucinations and even get accused of having them when I’m not. I’m hoping Fluffy is a hallucination.

  1. Do you feel like you have a fever?
  2. Do you experience convulsions?

Back to physiology. Anyone with a coat of fur would be feverish in the summer. Next. Convulsions are another story. I have to keep those somewhat contained. If I spent the day going into convulsions my parents might decide I was too unwholesome for the kids.

  1. Do you have blackouts or memory loss?

Wha??

And the results. If you haven’t guessed, you get one point for each yes. Add ’em up and you’ve got your score.

What an awesome score!

And if you got 3 or more, welcome to the Pleasuredome.

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10 responses to “20 tell-tale symptoms you’re in an alcoholic abyss”

  1. The Waiting says :

    I think I am going to reward myself for not being an alcoholic with a beer. Incidentally, I was going to drink that beer however my score ended up. Cheers.

  2. sheevi says :

    haha..like this line of yours “what’s your poison? drop me a line”
    haven’t tried anything yet..but really want to..but if this habit can cost me huge( as you have been saying), then maybe i ll take some more time to decide if i should even try the taste.. 🙂

  3. beerbecue says :

    This post was depressing. I need a drink.

    Also, based on your love for and commitment to drinking, I think Mormon tithing is the only true analogy for determining what percentage of your household income should earmarked for booze…10%. Before taxes, of course.

What's your poison? Drop me a line.

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