What’s the survival food of choice in the Alaskan wilderness? Fuck if i know, but the funnest has got to be beer.
There was a guy stranded in the snow in Alaska and he needed help so he helped himself to the beer and the fact that it wasn’t real beer but Coors Light is beside the point so stop your hating and beer snobbery.
Clifton Vial was driving in Alaska, of all God forsaken places and i don’t mean warm Alaska, but the real Alaska—Nome, Alaska where the men are men and the women are frigid. So he gets his ass and the rest of him stuck in a snowbank there was no withdrawing from so he hunkered down in his jeans, tennis shoes and $30 Sears jacket which is apparently what they wear in Alaska in the middle of winter… if they’re drunk.
Vial-gra didn’t have any food or water or beer, but he did have some Coors Light that he ate by cutting the lids off and digging the frozen food out with a knife. He’d start the truck for some heat and listen to Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” until he was rescued 60 hours later which, when i think about, it is not all that impressive because i survived on cheap beer and Pink Floyd for 4 years in university.
Jack Daniels, the good ol’ boys bourbon, took “brand” marketing to a whole new level when they decided to give away free branding irons with their product. The race to see which ass was the dumbest was won by three WAmen (that’d be Western Australia men—Western Australia: where the men are men and the women are, too) who had to go to the hospital for skin grafts to replace the skin they lost when they charred off their whiskey soaked flesh with scorching hot metal.
[Break for another classic shot: David Allan Coe – Jack Daniels If You Please
If simpletons live simple lives i would love to be as simple as the minds that came up with the cam-pain to include a branding iron as a free gift with a bottle of whiskey. Look for Absolut to match this flash of brilliance by giving away loaded revolvers with every fifth and Bacardi rum to actually include opened switch blades inside each bottle of rum. Not to be outdone, Mike’s Hard Lemonade will now have a tool to remove panties automatically and Pabst Blue Ribbon with have a tattoo kit packaged in each case of beer.
[There’s more JD shots rattling around in my drawers down below.]
i’m looking forward to a day in the near future when i will get a prescription from the Spin Doctor and go on a Trip to the Drug store to pick up my Doses of Self Medication.
Thinking about it, however, I shouldn’t be that surprised that acid cures alcoholism. Drinkers use alcohol to escape from the perceived troubles of day to day life and so controlled substances would do that trick too. A strong/deep heroin addiction would probably wean an alkie off the bottle just as efficiently.
Here are some other cures for alcoholism:
Suicide / Drunk driving
Sewing your mouth shut
Surgically removing your hands
Chaining yourself to a hospital bed
Living with camels in the desert
Cooking your brain with excessive electro shock therapy until you become a fried vegetable
Sure the last one isn’t as sexy because you’re not replacing one addiction with a better (worse?) one. Instead you’re asking the sick person to actually do something to permanently improve their own lives in every area and not just with booze but also professionally and personally and with their relationships and outlook on the future and the way they feel about themselves. But who wants to do something to get better when something can be done to you? Teach a man to trip and he’ll be high on life but give a man a trip and he’ll be high all night, which is all he thinks he wants anyway.
[Yes, the above two shots are original Al K Hall shots.]
Bar None Dregs
March 9, 2012: Oooo la la
i got the following comment in my Self-Unemployed Photos section:
Dear Al K Hall, I’m clip researcher for french TV channel M6 and looking for the author of photos of Radcliffe in the Bar None published on their web site. Is that you ?
We’d like to use them in our report to illustrate Radcliffe’s interview on that “partying period. What would be your conditions ?
Thank you for your answer …
So she’s cutting me a check for $7,000! Just kidding, i told her i didn’t own the rights and that the Bar None was too good to exist in real life but that she could interview me as an expert because i get around 4,000 hits/day here and that makes me an expert on something. Plus she’d have to give me 1st Class accommodations to France, but i told her i’d learn French. i’ll let you know when to set your Tivos for.
March 10, 2012: Where in the World?
It’s been a while since we hung out like this, huh? It’s nice to take a break and put my feet up and jaw a bit with y’all like in the old days when i was drunk and you were a virgin.
First off, i’d like to throw up a big thanks to everyone who checked me out on February 27, 2012, Oscar night. 7,098 hits is my new record and i couldn’t have done it without you. Or at least without those 7,098 people. Thanks for patronizing me, kids.
Also just to let you know WordPress has started this new thing where they give me stats about where in the world my patronizers are from and i thought some of you bloggers out there might be interested to see my stats for the last 30 days.
If you’re curious, click on the shot right there –> to learn the Top Ten Countries with a taste for my brand of poison are:
The United States (30,829 hits last month)
The United Kingdom
France (must be because i’m an expert there)
Australia (because The Rod came here 964 times last month)
My all time favorite, though, are those 10 lost souls who got even loster when they stumbled into the Bar None from…Yemen! We Yeawomen and Yeamen of the Bar None salute you.
Enough of my babbling, let’s get your hands deep in my drawers. As usual, there are also a handful of shots for those of you who prefer the hairier sex to the fairer one.
Al K Hall’s Drawers
Click on the Shot for a Wallpaper
Click on the Shot for a Wallpaper
LSD Cures Alcoholism (another Al K Hall concoction)
Turns out Amy Winehouse did not die from excessive knee bleeding from all the time she spent praying, nor did she die from a brain explosion while outlining a plan that would guarantee world peace until the end of the planet.
Here’s what that looks like. She kicked drugs in 2008 and replaced that monkey with the booze monkey. That led to busts and binges, ups and downs and downers until early July when she quit drinking. 2½ weeks later, she fell off the wagon—and into an ocean of vodka. Three bottles after she drifted off and drowned in that sea.
Her blood alcohol content was 0.41%.
Blood Alcohol Content For Dummies
Lifted From Wiki
BAC results range from 0% (you’re dangerously sober) to 0.5% (dangerously drunk). The current law in the United States dictates that anything over 0.08% makes you police bait if you’re behind the wheel.
Here’s what it all means for us normal people:
What You Do
Remember you have a watch
Feel like crap
What You Shouldn’t Do
Make fun of drunk people–remember, you’ll be one soon enough
What You Can’t Do
Say “No more for me. I’m done.”
What You Do
Pretend you’re not drunk
Overestimate your looks and your intelligence
Believe everything you say
What You Shouldn’t Do
Drink stronger booze
Play games in traffic
Allow anyone to film you
What You Can’t Do
Count how fast you drink
Say “Preliminary cinnamon”
Accurately judge the passage of time
What You Do
Begin every sentence with, “I really shouldn’t say this, but…”
Walk into walls and spill your beer
Sing TV theme songs
What You Shouldn’t Do
Flirt with the ugly person you find “interesting looking”
Convince yourself everybody pees against public buildings
Think karaoke is a good idea
What You Can’t Do
Stay out of the bathroom for more than thirty minutes
Say “Subliminal ethnicity”
Call home, ’cause your significant other will aurally ream you a new one
What You Do
Cry over everything
Think you can dance (and insist on proving it)
What You Shouldn’t Do
Go anywhere near a phone, you’re now in drunk dialing territory
Join a drinking game
Start a friendly game of “I’m gonna tell you what I really think about you.”
What You Can’t Do
Say “No, I couldn’t. No one wants to hear me sing.”
What You Do
Anything and everything
Forget everything you say
Wake up covered in your friends’ practical joke
What You Shouldn’t Do
Look up pictures of yourself covered in the practical joke on the Web
Debate anything with your significant other
Ride in a car with a nice interior
What You Can’t Do
Make complete sentences
What You Do
Pee your pants
Hit on everything
Take everything way too seriously
What You Shouldn’t Do
Brag about peeing your pants
Heed the call to expose private body parts
Sleep on your back
What You Can’t Do
Have ‘just one more’
Say “Call 911”
What You Do
Leak bodily fluids through several orifices
What You Shouldn’t Do
Expose yourself to open flames
Leave the bathroom
What You Can’t Do
Anything and everything
So, obviously Amy Winehouse was in dangerous territory. But how does she rank according to others? Has anyone that drunk been to hell and BAC? Here are some records and broken ones.
Clocking In At 0.45%
The tragic story of a 16-year-old honor student, Rhona Tavener. This English girl, not normally a drinker, went to a party at a rich kid’s £1 million estate, where they had her start off with sips of friends’ drinks before she downed half a liter of Smirnoff straight. She fell off the hammock, was given CPR by her friends as they took her home and showed up at the hospital in a one-way coma.
The world needs every sweet sixteen we can get, girls. Don’t drink and die.
Clocking In At 0.72%
Yes, nearly twice the death limit. Terri Comer (AKA Wanda Woman) passed out while driving home and crashed her car in a snow bank–within eyesight of a road sign warning against drunk driving. Man, if i’d made that up people would be all over my ass for not showing enough imagination.
Clocking In At .914%: To Hell And BAC
Almost 1 percent of this guy’s blood was alcohol. Let’s just sit back for a moment and think about that…
So this 67-year-old Bulgarian guy gets bumped by a car and taken to the hospital unconscious. He smelled drunk so the doctors tested him. When they saw the result, they thought their equipment was screwed up. They did five separate lab tests to be sure, and sure enough: 0.914%. ELEVEN TIMES over the legal drinking limit had he been driving.
Before we got down to the dirty, let me drop this plate from the juiced-box on ya: Mark Lanegan – Morning Glory Wine
[Press ‘Play’ for the coolest thing you’ll hear today]
A couple weeks ago, President Barack Obama took his show on the road and his first stop was Ireland. ‘Cause apparently his ancestors are Irish and now I finally understand why they say “Black Irish”.
You and i both know another reason he went there was for the beer and if you don’t know what i’m on about, shame on you because i was all over that shit ages ago. For example, how come you didn’t read about Why the Nobels Chose Obamawhich i wrote way back in October 2009?! And there’s no excuse for not reading the very recent Obama Beer Laden and, in fact, i’m kinda pissed off because you’re lack of reading it meant no one launched a fatwad on me and i was kinda looking forward to that.
Anyway, i’m thinking Obama wanted to start off his tour with a free beer. This is why it’s called a “round” trip: he’s on a trip and it’s always someone else’s round. Here’s the photographic evidence of that.
Obama is not a beerholic. Probably not. But this doesn’t mean we don’t exist.
People are always saying they’re gonna stop drinking the hard stuff and only partake of beer or wine like that isn’t alcohol. i’m beer to tell you, Barmaids and Beerhounds, it’s entirely possible and i’m nearly not living proof. Emphasis on Proof.
Wine was my drunk of choice for ages because it packed a 13% punch, cost about 3 bucks a bottle and 1 bottle was the perfect buzz. Two bottles was a good drunk and after 4 bottles was some of the best near death experiences i ever had if i could only remember them. Wine was easy to plan, ‘swhat i’m saying. Wine was faithful. i always knew where i stood with wine and that was right by her side.
Beer was different. i never liked the taste of beer and it always made me feel full and i had to drink a lot to get someplace else but that was also the upside, Chuck. Because i drank faster than a hole, liquor knocked me out quicker but beer helped me draw the night out and plus i got to piss like every ten minutes. Self-regulating, yo.
I'll Drink to That
All’s i’m sayin’ is i don’t believe the hype. Scientific studies (that i conducted in my living room watching TV) have proven the alcohol in beer and wine is the exact same alcohol in evil spirits.
If you’re gonna drink, may god be with you and not take you to the places i let the booze take me. If you choose not to drink: beer and wine count as alcohol, babes.
Bar None Dregs
In other news, i’ve been busy lately with writing projects and other blogs and going to AA meetings. Speaking of, i hit 5 months sober last Saturday. Also, thanks to Bats for stopping by to check in on me. i’m doing well, babe, ‘preciate your asking.
Linked to that [get it, linked to that? Don’t worry, you will right now], i started a new blog for movie reviews called WTF!? (Watch the Film). i basically take notes while watching a movie and post the notes and try to be funny. i created another persona to head the blog—his name is Saint Pauly and we’ll pretend he’s someone else but anyone reading this far is a regular and i got no secrets from y’all. Please feel free to Visit WTF!? (Watch The Film) and especially please leave a comment while i try to get it off the ground. Thanks!
Artist’s Hallucination of what this must’ve looked like
From the juiced-box and a testament to me…
For me, suicide was not a philosophical decision, it was an alcohological miscalculation.
Swallowing 8 prescription sleeping pills and more than 100 Nighttime Tylenol (i lied to every doctor who asked and told them i’d only taken around 25-30—fuck, i didn’t want to sound crazy) simply seemed like a good idea at the time.
The upside? Because you know there’s always an upside. The upside was that, in addition to the tatooed bruises, scrapes and cuts i don’t remember getting, i almost got to suffocate in my own vomit and die like Jimi Hendrix.
Earlier that evening i’d been to a grown up cocktail party with Miss Demeanor. You could tell it was a grown up party because it was in an artist’s apartment, all the furniture was white and there were tons of gay men there. Oh yeah and we drank only wine. Personally, i drank loads of it…exactly how much no one can be sure but my consumption was measured not in glasses but bottles.
i don’t remember getting home just like i don’t remember getting the idea to overdose. Knowing me as i do, i suspect the main reason erupted from a dread of going to work the next day with a hangover. Add to that some financial troubles that have been piling up like bills and peaked when i received an expulsion notice upon returning from my Christmas vacation.
Another big inducement was that i wanted to see what would happen next. Either i’d die or end up in a hospital and i was kinda curious to see which one it would be.
After the decision, i remember taking the pills from my nightstand and telling Miss D that i loved my kids, my parents, my sister, my ex and that i loved her. i insisted that she remember this message.
Next thing, i was sitting at the desk with a fistful of capsules in my sweaty hand and, even as drunk as i was, i knew that i was on the edge of something and i had to decide to look or to leap. i reprimanded myself for being a wuss, commanded myself to man up and swallowed the tablets. Then i went to the medicine cabinet for the second bottle of Nighttime Tylenol and emptied the contents of that one as well.
Hiding the various pill containers at the bottom of the trash, i commended myself on my foresight through double vision.
After that, my evening went downhill. i sat down at the computer, posted a message to this blog, then to another blog (“No one loved life as much as me”, or something of that ilk), and then i started posted posting to my 3rd blog and this is what came out:
Never meant for some one as beu(ètttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttyyyyhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhgggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggguuuuuuuuuuuuuuyuu s= asyymh
Knowing me as i do, i’m guessing this is a reference to Don McLean’s “Vincent”. (“And when no hope was left in sight on that starry, starry night, you took your life as lovers often do.”)
i woke up on my back in ICU with my wrists strapped to the bars of my hospital bed. Ironically, the biggest danger came not from the sleeping pills but the Tylenols. i quickly made my way out of the woods concerning the sedatives but Miss Demeanor, myself and the rest would have to wait another 24 hours to discover if i’d recover or die from liver failure. And i did. Just joshing. Here i am.
To conclude, allow me to reiterate what i stated at the beginning of this horrifically boring and sexless post. i did not want to kill myself because of any profound sadness or psychic surrender. i had not been walking around contemplating suicide days before the incident. i was feeling a little pressured by life, but i would not have done what i did if i hadn’t been drunk. Alcohillogical.
Stop Reading Here
A quick disclaimer. While i attempted to pen this post with a certain degree of levity, i do want to acknowledge very clearly that for those in my entourage, there was nothing at all even remotely amusing in all of this. This is especially true for Miss D and my 16-year old son who found me the next morning and had to call the EMTs. My son (and i would not have taken the pills if i’d remembered he was staying with us that night) refused to talk to me for 3 weeks after the event, while Miss D and i are still battling the ramifications.
Just like one of those slow claps in the movies, others have joined the groundswell that was In The Same Boat’s Manifestive. The latest addition to the team is Rodney from Fernby Films, as regular as anyone else here at the Bar None. i’d like to thank him for taking the time to write all this stuff down, and if you’re half as decent as i know you are, you’ll thank him too in the comments down under.
By the way, if anyone else out there lurking in the shadows of the Bar None feels inspired to write a treaties of your own, you’re more than welcome to fertilize this grass roots movement with your own shit. The more the drunker, as i always say.
With that, i turn you over to Rodney and his “Non-drinker’s Manifestive”.
From the Juiced-box and dedicated to Rodney, i give you AC/DC – Have a Drink On Me.
[Press ‘Play’ for real men at work]
I write this homily somewhat in response to In The Same Boat’s article from earlier this month, in which he captures the essence of the struggling alcoholic perfectly. It’s also a kind of manifesto of my own – on why I don’t get plastered every weekend alongside some of my work collegues and friends.
I’ve hung about the Bar None for a while now, at least I think long enough to be justified in some comments on what I’ve noticed around the place. Al’s been kind enough to spot me a drink on the odd occasion, and the stool at the end of the bar, down there near that fella with the biker beard and knuckle-dusters, that’s my usual haunt. I’m far enough away from the general patronage to not be one of them, and close enough to hear what the hell goes on down there. Some of the behaviour among patrons of the Bar None, while certainly amusing at times, occasionally is quite disturbing – the drunken actions of the folks by the dart board, the near misses in the mens urinal, and the rather sloppy egress via the front door notwithstanding, generally people keep themselves upright and shipshape on most occasions. But not all. Sometimes, it’s not pretty.
I write as somebody who isn’t a shambolic drunkard, a rambling slurperson (great wordplay Al, if I may say so) imbibing far more alcohol than is sensible for a person of my particular body weight; instead, I write as an observer, a casual drinker with little experience at gutter-waking or toilet-barfing. Which, considering where I live, is pretty weird. Weird in what way, Rodney? Glad you asked, valiant reader.
Australia, which most people know as a former English penal colony, has become a modern semi-utopian drinkers paradise, with some of the most lax drinking laws anywhere in the alcoholic world. Although the legal drinking age is 18, most school age kids plaster themselves across side-walks and recreational reserves across the country just about every weekend, such is the ease with which substance abuse can be obtained. Our claim to fame isn’t just the best ever Olympic Games ever held anywhere in the known cosmos, but for the hard-drinking, Kangaroo riding, sheep herding cattle rustling Ned Kelly shooting ball-sack flicking manly man image presented in various films and TV shows we export across the globe: an image not entirely unwarranted, but far from the actual truth. Paul Hogan fucked us forever with his Crocodile Dundee character, the release of which caused a seismic shift in perceptions of Australia from a baby-eating-dingo one to a “THAT’S-a-knife” knockabout larrakin one – an image which has gradually caused more embarrassment than pride in recent years. It’s like saying the entire population of Tennessee is representative of the population of America. Steve “Shove my finger up a snakes ass and see what it does” Irwin didn’t help matters either, and for his entire life was something of an embarrassment as well; the ocker drawl mixed with the insane bravado of a man with no fear portrayed all over the Discovery Channel. As much as the world now loves Irwin since his death, in life he was once considered a national embarrassment.
But our drinking, the national pastime outside of riding roos and rooting Koalas, is the one thing we can all agree on. Hell, we even stake a claim at having invented the stuff, thanks to Yahoo Serious and his eternally stupid film Young Einstein. Australians claim to be the world best drinkers; a reputation built on our love of sport – drinking at the various venues around the country has increased in recent years as our standards, and our love of the fine drop, has increased as well.
Adelaide, sitting comfortably on the coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia (look it up on a map if you don’t know!) is situated between two major wine regions of our state, and just to the left of another wine-region of growing potential. We have two major beer producing brewery’s in the city, West End and Coopers, which supplies not only our entire state, but pretty much the entire country with their amber ale. To the south, the McLaren Vale wine region looms large, a veritable panoply of vineyards and small pubs in which to intoxicate oneself – perhaps known as the lesser of the states three main wine producing regions, outside of the Barossa and the Coonawarra down towards Victoria. The Barossa, which produces enough wine annually to cover the surface of the Earth twenty times, is your choice of locale for inebriation anywhere in the state; it’s a wine free-for-all, if you’re so inclined, and wine tours of the area are your best bet to get slammed.
What I’m saying is that here in Adelaide, of anywhere in Australia, we have the most opportunity to drink ourselves stupid. Myself, I’m not that big a drinker, although external influences would seem to suggest that perhaps I’m the exception rather than the rule. As a kid, my father would offer me the token sip of beer (which I detest to this day – the beer, not the offer!) as well as a selection of adult drinks including various wines, champagnes and liqueurs. I have to admit that as a youngster, and even now that I’ve matured a little, I’m not fond of the hard stuff as much as I enjoy a tipple of red or white fermented grape. Not because I didn’t have the funds to imbibe as I do these days, but because I didn’t enjoy the taste of the stuff. Alcoholic beverages took a long while to slide their slippery fingers around my palette; but once they did, I found myself open to an entire new world of taste and sensation. However, the lack of practice at drinking to excess has resulted in a deficiency in my body that I’m working to overcome: I have a very small tolerance to alcohol. I’m unable to sustain an upright pose much past three standard drinks. Which means I’m a cheap drunk (a positive?) and an easy lay, should some hot chick decide to jump my bones after a night around the Bar None. That may be the beer goggles talking, but hey, no doubt Al will set me straight if I hook up with a basher, right Al?
So I sit here, propped up at the Bar None main bar with glass of vino in front of me, peering stuperously at the mirror behind Al’s hard liquor, trying to check out just how red my eyes are and if it’s possible to work from “home” today. Not sure how the Bar None goes with a wireless internet connection, or even if Al’s hooked up the telephony machine yet (he is a little lax in that department, I’m told) but I’m damned if I’m gonna go to work smashed. I look on in amazed disbelief at the crazy antics of those who drink to excess, the stumbling alcoholics whose livers would surely require immediate surgery for replacement were they to be inspected then and there.
There’s a few times in my life where I wish I could get myself totally written off to forget my troubles – especially that one time on the farm where I woke up next to the family goat, tied to a stake in the middle of the lawn. Sometimes you wish you could blot out the horror of life, but then, in the clear and un-drunken clarity of regulation life, you find yourself basking in the glory that it presents; the laughter of children, the roar of a hot car, and the post-coital afterglow as you snuggle with the missus.
I’ve never had a problem with alcohol where, like ITSB, it’s taken over my life to the detriment of my social ability and family relationships. I’ve never had to attend an AA meeting, take a 12 step programme to reclaim my life, or apologise to family for variety of drunken escapades to which the only conversation I can remember is the one ending in “… yes officer.” Personally, I find those who pride themselves on this kind of weekly escapade have a deeper issue than just drinking. There’s no reason alcohol can’t be enjoyed responsibly, like many of the patrons of the Bar None do already – but the muddy grasp of deep alcoholism, whereby your life functions include retching in the toilet and trying to maintain an upright stance during the day is one I don’t understand fully. I’m starting to understand it due to the work of many of the fine folks here at the Bar, but never having experienced it, either for myself or through somebody I know personally, leaves me a little less able to appreciate Same Boats recent exposition on the subject. The thought of having hours, weeks and months of hazy memories, induced by consumption of alcohol, is a little terrifying, to be honest. While I’m a fairly outgoing person in my non-drunken state, when I get a little tipsy I tend towards the outright zany – I truly think I’m funnier than Robin Williams and Billy Connelly put together. Which I doubt is true. I have a major problem with spending so much on drink that I end up waking up some days later with gaps in my memory, and a large hole in my bank balance – I find it hard to understand how some people think this is a good thing!
I read the exploits of ITSB around the place (I’ve checked out his blog, among other things, and can recommend anybody looking to quit drinkin’ to have a look at it!) and while I don’t entirely understand what people like him are going through, I can empathise with it, if not offer some tacit sympathy. I’m not sure about America, but here in Australia the image of hard drinkin’ cowboys is one to be proud of, not ashamed of. This makes it hard to work against the image of the drunken pub crawl and the bravery of those who attempt it – an image we’ve accepted socially through movies and music to think that this is actually okay. To say I’m not a big drinker in conversation is like saying you once fucked a dachshund. Do it sober, you’re ostracised forever. Do it drunk, you’re a legend. That’s the mentality going round here.
It’s somewhat hypocritical to sit here, in the comfortable confines of the Bar None and state that drinkin’ isn’t fun or acceptable, but folks, drinkin’ in moderation is where it’s at. Obliterating yourself every day/week/hour isn’t the way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as ITSB has attested to. The perils of social alcoholism, while initially a bit of a laugh, eventually overtake the common-sense part of your brain and become your actual life.
So I congratulate ITSB for his efforts, for his ability to recognise and then overcome his drinking problem – I extend that same congratulatory plaudit to anybody else reading this now who is… well…. in the same boat, for want of a better phrase. To accomplish this, to turn a weakness into a personal strength, is valiant and not entirely ignoble. We’ve all read about Al’s problems with the drink, which is part of the reason why he set up the Bar None in the first place, but he’s currently on the wagon and keeping it under control. Again, a valiant effort. I say this not in that mocking, “I’ve only read about this” kind of way that non-drinkers might offer, looking down their nose at you, but in a sincere manner befitting the personal triumph you’ve all accomplished.
Now, shut up and pour me a big tall glass of the strongest shit ya got, Al. After this, I need a drink, then I need a Koala to root**. [**”root” being an Aussie euphemism for sex…. in case nobody understands….]
A few words from your humble servitor just to remind you, Rodney, and you the rest of y’all that the Bar None is not reserved for those who drink to excess or in any other way have built a shrine to the cult of alcoholism. True to its name, the Bar None bars no one and all are welcome from the hard drinkers to the soft touches, from those who nurse their drinks to those who require medical attention, from prohibitionists to exhibitionists, from T-Totalers to the Totally Fucked.
Thanks again, Rodney, for this look at your life and life in Oz. i’m rooting for you, brother.
Al K Hall
Functional Alcoholic Slurperson, Founding Member of D.R.I.N.K.E.R. (Drunks Really Involved Now Known as Exiles Reunited), Member of the D-Generation (Drinking Generation) & Tender Bartender at the Bar None
Your Functional Alcoholic Sluperson here with a first in the Bar None: A Guest Post.
In The Same Boat is a regular commenter on many drinking blogs the net over and has been giving out great, non judgmental advice to drunks and drinkers, wannabes and wanna-not-bes anymore. As a non drinking alcoholic, his experiences help because of the perspective of where he’s been in the same boat.
i sent him an invitation a long time ago to write up his experience and how he was able to tame the monkey on his back and he finally responded with this well-thought, rich and universally useful treaties. Please be sure to leave ITSB a comment thanking him for his insights and if there’s anyone else out there who’d like to share their experiences, you’re more than welcome. This is, after all, the Bar None.
You know how you are drinking and reading an alcoholic’s blog? You start thinking to yourself, “Man, I thought I had a problem. I bet this guy gets 20% of his calories from alcohol or more every week! Why can’t he stop this madness?” Then you sober up, do some calculations, and realize that 20-33% of your diet consists of alcohol too? It gnaws into your psyche and you start to obsess: “If I am what I eat, alcohol comprises 1/3 of my being!” Looking in the mirror you take inventory: your bloated alcoholic neck, your sagging face, the bags around your eyes, and your decaying muscles, only to realize that alcohol is killing you. “It has to stop!” you keep telling yourself. But how? AA is for whiny losers who call at all hours of the night and day only to parrot their platitudes, and blow your cover. And anyway, you can’t even take step 1. And you’d sooner die of cirrhosis than take Steps 2 and 3.
And so it went for me. I tried to “moderate.” I moved to an isolated part of Los Angeles, deep in the Santa Monica mountains, far enough away from any bar or liquor store that I’d have to drive a dangerous road to get to. And I made a rule that I would only bring to my house what I bought sober. That worked most of the time but it was painful. After the beer ran out, I was left craving more but forced myself to go to sleep. And soon, the old habits started sneaking back; I’d stop by the bar on the way home from work, have a couple beers with dinner, and then buy what I needed for home so the buzz would be more intense. And then there were people who would ask “Why are you living so far away from everything?” To which I would meekly reply “well, I like mountains.”
Also there were the rare times when I’d actually want to do something social instead of drinking by myself. Like the time I met this charming film director and she invited me to her party at her bungalow. I promised myself I wouldn’t drink but there was a table full of free booze and wine and I succumbed. I made such a fool of myself in front of all these cool people. The film director seemed to understand and suggested that perhaps I am not the type who should drink. “But I don’t want to go to AA,” I drunkenly lamented. She gave me a knowing look and said “There are other options. There’s a group in Beverly Hills that approaches this problem rationally. As a scientist you should appreciate that.” So that planted the seed in my head; I don’t have to go to AA to fix this. I thought this over as I staggered down Lincoln Boulevard, looking for a cheap hotel to stay in Venice. Luckily, I found one. But I was sick for 3 days after that.
I was too embarrassed to ask the director exactly what she was talking about but the idea of finding an alternate group started to grow in my head. In retrospect, it seems obvious that AA is not the only answer and I am sure I knew that. Yet I postponed the idea of quitting: never drinking again was too painful a concept to grasp. I attempted to moderate some more but with little success. In fact, I was starting to become dangerous. I found myself in the habit of ditching work on Friday afternoons, hitting the gym, going to a bar, pounding down several drinks in solitude and then going to see a movie to sober up. Except I wasn’t exactly sober after the movie ended, driving home was dicey, and picking up some beer on the way home made it worse. I was very disgusted with myself.
I am not exactly sure how I found it, but one day I started reading Sum Zero’s blog. I could identify with this guy: an academic type with a good job, living in a big city with a drinking problem. I spent a day just reading all of his entries and decided that I should try this SMART recovery program. Their website is very unappealing at first glance, but his entries made the methodology come alive for me. So, with some consternation, I forced myself to admit that alcohol is the biggest problem in my life, and if I can’t find 2 hours to attend a meeting that could fix it, then I’m truly pathetic. And off to my first SMART meeting I went.
The people there were very friendly and helpful. One challenged me to quit for 90 days and see how I felt. Another told me upon learning that I am a computer programmer by trade to “reprogram my life without alcohol.” If I had said I was a writer he undoubtedly would have said “cut alcohol from the story.” Or if I had said I was a mathematician he might have said “Take alcohol out of the equation.” So I made a plan to rebalance my life without alcohol. I would stay away from any triggers, driving a different way home to watch all 5 seasons of Lost on Netflix streaming at night, instead of going to my favorite restaurant/bar. I would count the days. And I would work the ABCs to cope with the urges. Further, I had to set goals and find replacements for alcohol. I decided to train for a marathon. And as the morning hangovers were replaced with morning runs on the beach in Malibu, I realized that life without alcohol is far more enjoyable. (The running also kept the post acute withdrawal syndrome under control.)
I kept going to meetings once a week for 6 months. And they helped keep me on track with certain issues. The biggest issue I had was that alcohol is a big part of my family life, unfortunately. My uncle has a sign in his kitchen that says “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.” So when I went home, I was instructed by my SMART facilitator to behave like a objective observer when everyone else was drinking. And I found I could do that; nobody wanted to talk to me anyway; they were more into their wine. Luckily I had my two young nephews to distract me and I could entertain them when everyone else was drunk. I felt like a kid again around the drunk grownups. Nobody in my family said anything about my not drinking and that was quite a relief.
Another problem I have is is with airports. I love getting loaded in the airport bar and having a couple vodkas on the flight. Really, it’s the only way to fly. I still have to fight those urges intensely. I tend to schedule my flights early in the morning to avoid temptation. They also taught me to choreograph the trip in advance, and eat at an airport restaurant rather than stop at a bar.
Finally, the SMART meetings helped because I did not want to admit to the regulars in the group that I had slipped; so I didn’t slip.
In a few days, I will celebrate my one year of sobriety by running the Santa Barbara marathon. As much as I miss the buzz, I am much happier without it in my life. The risks and consequences far exceed any joys. My friends accept the new sober me and I find that I can relate to them better now that I can devote more brainpower to the conversation. They actually seek my advice rather than a partner to get loaded with. And they invite me to more events because they know they don’t have to put up with an obnoxious drunk. Honestly, quitting was the best decision I’ve made in quite a while. I’m not looking back.
NOT from the juiced-box but appropriate for the post: Huey Lewis & The News – Workin’ For A Livin’
My Fellow Alcoholics,
Al K Hall, your International Functional Alcoholic Slurperson (FASe) addressing you, members of the Drinking Generation, concerning Functional Alcoholism in the office.
The subject popped up, not unlike my zipper during a Keira Knightley film festival, because of the Charlie Sheen drama that’s been floating around in the dregs these last couple weeks. (Like here, or here, or here.) Apparently he didn’t show up on the set for the filming of Two And A Half Men Monday or Tuesday last February 22 & 23—and the fact that he was absent on Monday wasn’t that unusual. This is how famous i wanna be, so famous that if i don’t show up for work for two days because of a binge, no one says anything.
Which means that, yes, i have a job other than maintaining this my humble Diary-a Of A Chronicle Drinker. Believe it or not, with the millions of dollars flooding in every day into The Bar None, i still have to hold down a day job. (After all, how much cover did you have to pay to get in here? Do you see any ads cluttering up the walls?)
i’ll have been working at the same company for 18 years come April 1st (no kidding). It’s not the best place for a guy who works at drinking hard, what with about 3 business lunches a week including all the wine i can drink plus a cocktail party every Friday evening with a fully stocked bar of beer, whiskey, vodka, gin and mixers.
Not that my drinking has gone unnoticed. i’ll try to recap the highlights for you, but y’all gotta remember it’s been 18 years…
–> First couple of years, i was just considered a guy who liked to live large
–> The powers that be laughed off my first few Friday night binges
–> After that, i started getting the rep of a guy who liked to unwind a little farther than the next employee; the first time the COO talked to me about my drinking, she told me she understood i needed to cut loose but i should remember not to cut loose too often or hard
–> One time i went to a post-lunch business meeting drunk and the clients were pissed off (and not in a good way)
–> About that same period, my boss called me into her office because the company’s employee representative told her i should be sent to rehab at the company’s expense; my boss and i both agreed my drinking wasn’t that extreme a problem
–> One day i finished work after lunch so drank a little more than usual during the meal; instead of going home i went to a corner bar, drank even more, then returned to the office, mistook one client for another and talked to him for five full minutes without realizing my error before my boss came and led me away
–> In recent months, my business lunches have been reduced to 1 a week
–> Friday night’s have been better because Miss Demeanor is here, i have the kids every weekend and i no longer associate with one of my associates who is also a permanent fixture at company functions
Taking the chair in my own defense (simply because i’m too drunk to stand), let me say this:
–> My boss adored me for the first couple years; while i’ve since fallen out of flavor with her, she still admires my mad skills
–> In my entire life and three jobs, i’ve only called in sick because of a hangover once and that was 22 years ago
–> i am good at what i do; i’m in the top five of a 30+ team (that’s not boasting, just honesty)
–> i am very popular with a majority of the clients; in customer service questionnaires, i consistently receive rave reviews
–> i love my job and that counts. A lot.
The bottom line here is the same one i drew in my Bottomless Pitt post, where i analyzed relationships through the eyes of a functional alcoholic.
There comes a time when you have to make a decision and when even not deciding is making a decision. You have to decide what’s more important, your drinking or your job. If you choose the booze, then i hope you live long enough to find a career you can feel passionate about. If you choose your job then, like in any loving relationship, you have to make some sacrifices.
Here are some things that work for me and might work for you:
i don’t drink on week nights if i have to wake up early the next day (my job has hours that are not flexible but change daily)
i don’t keep any booze in the house and only buy what i’ll consume that night (laziness is stronger than my need to go out and buy more)
i only buy my limit (my limit is a bottle of wine—if i drink just that i know i’ll be functional the next day)
If i drink too much at lunch, i stay out of the boss’s way
i don’t usually drink with coworkers (i drink at home: it’s cheaper, safer and less embarrassing)
Or you could be the kind of famous where they don’t care if you show up for work or not.
And that’s enough for tonight, i think i’ll retire for the evening.
This post is dedicated to Jabba da Butt, who left a comment on my bArCADEMY AwkWARDS post. He pointed out that, while he appreciated the hot girls i often escort into The Bar None, it’d been awhile since i last posted a sordid drinking blog for those of us in here struggling with alcohol.
And he was right. My Diary-a Of A Chronicle Drinker was meant to address my functional alcoholism with the hopes that there were people out there who would either appreciate and identify with my plight, or at least have a good time laughing at me if they didn’t.
So this one’s for you, members of the D-Generation and fellow D.R.I.N.K.E.R.s (Drunks Really Involved, Now Known as Exiles Reunited). If you got something out of this post, you could always leave a comment sharing a moment with us when your drinking interfered with your work. Or you could simply say that this sincerity is more than self-serving (’cause i got a lot of practice at that) and that you do actually read these treatises.
Or you could tell me to shut up and post more babes. i’d understand that, too. 😉