Saturday, June 25, 2011
Because there's so much alcoholism in my family (and it's so genetic), I drink very, very little. For years, my only alcohol consumption was a sip of communion wine every Sunday. I never drink when we're out and about here in Reno, since Gary can't see quite well enough to get a driver's license, which means that I'm always the designated driver.
I like the taste of some drinks, especially cordials, but hate feeling drunk. Since I have absolutely no tolerance for alcohol -- a very good thing, if one has a genetic predisposition to alcoholism on top of a depression history -- my limit is something like two teaspoonfuls.
Over two hours.
On a full stomach.
On our Spring Break cruise, though, I didn't have to drive, so a couple of evenings I got an after-dinner drink while we listened to the string quartet. I had an Amaretto, which was yummy, and a few nights later I had a Kahlua, which was even yummier. Since they give you a bit more than two teaspoonfuls, I learned that I had to space these treats out over the entire evening, which was fine. I also learned, after a second Kahlua the evening after the first, that if I drank two nights in a row -- even slowly and on a full stomach -- my sleep would be disrupted. This is a well-known effect of alcohol, of course, but twice I awoke to hypnopompic hallucinations. In one case, I thought I saw Gary, lying face down, floating above me: I screamed, but when I turned I saw him sleeping soundly beside me in bed, and then the hallucination dissolved. The second time it happened, I saw a disembodied head floating above me.
When I got home, I did enough research to learn that hallucinations upon falling asleep (hypnogogic) and waking up (hypnopompic) are fairly common and considered normal, although alcohol can exacerbate them. They often involve floating figures. I'll bet this is where stories about succubi come from; maybe vampires, too.
Anyway, these episodes were definitely enough to make me space out my after-dinner cordials! When we got home, I occasionally (as in once a week, max, but usually more like once every two weeks) had a tiny amount of a chocolate dessert wine a friend gave us for Christmas. No more creepy floating figures, so I must have gotten the interval right. I just finished the bottle last week, and Gary said, "You should get some Kahlua."
"Eh," I said, shrugging.
But today we were at the supermarket, and Gary got some wine for himself, and I went to browse the cordials section. "Are you going to get some Kahlua?" he asked.
"I think not," I said, goggling at the price.
"It's a premium liqueur," he said, picking up the smallest bottle, "and this will last you for a year."
The smallest bottle was under fifteen bucks, so I shrugged again, and we got it. I may even have a little tonight.
But if I start dancing on tabletops while wearing lampshades (a maneuver I'd consider highly dangerous even without distilled spirits, given how clumsy I am), anyone who cares about me is authorized to haul me into the Betty Ford Center.