17 May 2009


Today marks one month since I quit alcohol. I consider it to also mark my first month of true freedom. No addict is genuinely free; he is degradingly bound in subservience to a master, even if that master is a substance rather than a person.

I first started with alcohol during a trip to Germany in 1984. From then until the 17th of April this year, I was never really free of its power. For two decades I regularly drank in quantities that would have put a less vigorous person's life in danger; over the last few years I gradually cut it down, but it was always a struggle. If there is such a thing as an innate predisposition to alcoholism, I likely have it. But despite a few humiliating incidents (notably once being overcome by nausea in my then-girlfriend's apartment), it never seemed to be doing any permanent damage. Over the years, more doctors than I can count have ordered liver-function tests, but the results always came back completely normal. I've always been very healthy, and I figured my tough constitution was simply too resilient for the stuff to harm me.

I was wrong.

One of the lesser-known effects that heavy drinking can produce (and if you drink a lot, you need to be aware of this) is premature arthritis. It was this that caused the degeneration of my hip joint over a period of about two years, which finally required surgery in October. More recently it has begun to affect my finger joints as well, though not seriously enough to interfere with work. When the doctors explained, before the surgery, that alcohol was the probable cause of the damage, I realized that things had to change. I could not continue on a course that had proven self-destructive.

After October I cut it back to one day per week. It worked for a while. Early in April, though, I had a disastrous relapse. If it hadn't happened then, it would have been some other time. I realized then that the only option was to cut it out of my life totally.

If you're like most people and can have just one or two drinks now and then and no more, you're fortunate. If you can't control it -- well, you can't control it. You may think you can, but eventually it will always get the better of you. And even if it's not causing any harm you're aware of, it may be doing something more insidious. The only solution is to stop. It took me a quarter-century to figure that out. But I understand it now, and I'm not going back.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Congratulation's Mr.Infidel. Yep, I am one of those who just have a drink or so occassionally, or a couple beer's and a few taco's.

I drank quite a bit of liqour younger... but not daily,but when I did drink, maybe once a week, I could really put it away...But I had problem's with dope, which I cant get into here, and I am not talking about pot. But even though my particular addiction was not booze ... I REALLY understand.

Good for you Mr.Infidel ....

17 May, 2009 16:47  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Another thing here. I dont know much about thing's like arthritis, but you say you do accounting work, so I assume you spend alot of time on a keyboard... like most of the day? I have heard time and time again from folk's that have these job's where they are on the keyboard alot complain of finger, wrist,elbow,pain's and such, similar to what your talking about. I just wonder, have you or even a doctor considered it just may be occupational pain's? I never had a job where I was on a keyboard, and the only time I am on one is my home computer... so I never had spent enough time on these to get these pain's or whatever like alot of I hear.

Later Guy ..........

17 May, 2009 20:11  
Anonymous rita said...

Wow! I guess you didn't tell me everything.
& I thought you got sick because you were a foreigner to alcohol.

Anyway I'm glad to hear you are done with the stuff. It can really be a trap, that's for sure!

17 May, 2009 20:12  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC -- I do also have occasional wrist pains which are probably due to the kind of strain you're talking about, but that's a separate thing, and I've found I can alleviate it by changing the position of things on the desk. The finger-joint problem is definitely arthritic.

Rita -- Wine can be especially tricky for people who are only used to beer, as I was. With beer, when you get close to the limit of what your system can tolerate, the taste starts to get unpleasant and you can't go on drinking it. With wine, since the taste is sweetish, it doesn't seem to work that way. It didn't for me, anyway.

Thanks for the comments.

17 May, 2009 21:02  
Blogger Zardoz said...

Congratulations on getting the monkey off your back. Stay strong and stay free!

18 May, 2009 04:33  
Blogger Prash said...

Congratulations. I am sending this message to a friend of mine in India whose husband has troubles with quitting alcohol. Maybe if he reads this message, he will think twice... who knows !

18 May, 2009 07:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I hope so!


18 May, 2009 08:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! Congratulations on kickin' that habit to the curb! I'm the one or two beers and on very few occasions type, but I sure wish my father would have your willpower. Infidel, stay strong, in body as well as mind.

18 May, 2009 11:04  
Blogger by Michael Boh said...

Congratulations Infidel! I've been considering getting rid of it too. It's not that bad yet, but I do think it's damaging in ways I can only imagine. Thanks for the info about your situation and for getting us all to think about it. Michael

18 May, 2009 13:20  
Blogger vamp said...

I swear I left a comment last nite...ahhh iz pretty tired, I guess, must of hit the wrong buttons.

Anyway, Bravo to make a milestone. Keep up the constant work, because it is a conscious effort.

Ohhh, the 80's *shivers* Man, I lost a lot of brain cells on booze and "stuff", and like Ranch, I'm not talking about weed.

18 May, 2009 22:36  
Anonymous Nick M said...

Good on you Infidel!

I am so pleased that one of my favourite bloggers is winning his own personal battle. So pleased. And if you ever decide to switch for a holiday the US Pacific Northwest for the English Northwest I'll shout you a Virgin Mary (or whatever) anytime.

Best of luck Infidel and just proj on.

Oh and keep on blogging. Reqlly do do that. I've hit your site sometimes before I've had a shower in the morning and that (if, and you haven't, seen me before a shower) is praise indeed. Bedcause before I have a shower I resemble something from Maurice Sendak whilst free-basing.

21 May, 2009 14:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks everyone! This does seem to be a curse that afflicts many.

Nick, welcome back online -- that means a lot coming from you. Blogging is one addiction I doubt I will ever abandon.

21 May, 2009 16:47  
Anonymous Nick M said...

Yeah, that is a monkey I shall never get off my back as well... Upon my return from the Lake District the order of ceremonies was (a) get perishables out of the car and into the fridge (b) get the wifi up (c) doesn't really matter...

22 May, 2009 00:29  

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