Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Alcohol, Part Four: Alcohol, Alcoholism, and You


Welcome to the exciting conclusion to our three part series of Very Little Known Facts about alcohol. In this installment we look at the dark underside of alcohol and its conceivable effects on the human mind, body, and spirit.


Too Much of a Good, or Bad, Thing

Hangovers are caused by “mixing” different types of alcohol, e.g. beer and wine or different types of liquor. Remember the old couplet:

Liquor then beer-- cause to fear.
Liquor then liquor works much quicker.

“Passing out” and “blacking out” due to alcohol consumption are myths dating back to the days of Temperance propaganda and fainting couches. The human body cannot “pass out” due to alcohol consumption because alcohol is a stimulant.

However, don’t believe for a minute that alcohol is harmless. Some think that the worst possible consequences of alcohol abuse are bad hangovers, which are measured on a ten-point scale. Not true! Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works to slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and lessen your breathing. That sounds dangerous to me. And don’t forget about the potential harm to your reputation.


How Much Is Enough?

There is no possible way to “measure” the exact alcohol content of different types of booze. But using modern estimation methods, we can roughly chart the equivocal potency of different drinks:


In addition, experts agree that taking sips from someone else’s drink do not count.


A Sobering Thought

Black coffee, cold showers, sudden frights, exercise, and counting backwards have no effect on your blood alcohol level. These “cures” are nothing but superstition and urban legend. Another common "cure,” the single shot of tequila, actually makes the problem worse!

Only the elapsation of time can help. Alcohol leaves the body of every human on this planet at a constant rate of about .015% of BAC or Blood Alcohol Level per hour per capita. Thusly, a human with the BAC of .015 would be sober in one (1) hour after total cessation of consumption while a person with a BAC of 0.15 would require 5 (five) hours of partial cessation and moderate activity to achieve sobriety. This is true regardless of sex, age, weight, ethnicity, and the amount of alcohol consumed. Therefore the age-old myth that people with more body mass have a higher tolerance for alochol is just that—a myth!

One thing that is true is that men and women are affected differently by alcohol. Women, who have more enzymes in their fatty adipose tissue, can drink more than a man of the same height and weight, but they will subsequently become more intoxicated.


Don’t Fear the Reaper

The sad fact is that death can and does occur from drinking alcohol. This is known as alcohol poisoning, and this syndrome occurs when contaminants have somehow entered the fermentation process. One brand of Chinese beer reportedly includes in its recipe "ground-up dog parts." That’s enough to put you off drinking for a day or two, at most!

Another way that alcohol can cause death is due to alcohol-related accidents such as drunk driving, poorly conceived stunts, and suicide.

A Florida man was once arrested for drunk driving. Later he was found innocent of the charges by a jury of his peers when he demonstrated that the alcohol on his breath was simply a mixture of rubbing alcohol and gasoline that he had just used in his performance...as a professional fire-breather! Now you know the other half of this true story, but don't try this at home. Better yet, don't drink and drive.

Don’t worry about dying from drinking the worm in the tequila bottle, though. In actual fact the worm is in mescal, a flavored tequila. And on top of that, it isn’t actually a worm at all but a caterpillar (Hipopta Agavis) called a guano.


Alcoholism and Alcohol Addiction

Some say that alcohol is the cause of alcoholism, but that is a misnomer. As a governmental agency once explained, "Alcohol no more causes alcoholism than tumors cause cancer."

Alcoholism is caused by a recessed gene that is activated by alcohol consumption. Although not totally incorrect, but certainly not the whole truth, generally speaking, people who on their own begin drinking either much earlier or much later than their peers begin are more likely to experience subsequent drinking problems after beginning to drink. If you need help, help is available to you as needed. Be warned, however—if you join Alcoholics Anonymous, you can neither drink alcohol nor remain anonymous.

Not drinking at all has its own rewards, too. Remember the old saying: “Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.”


Conclusion

In conclusion, alcohol is a complex and controversial subject that has fascinated many for some time.

11 comments:

Pops said...

1)Just for my notes, what's in a "Sex on the Beach?"....
2)and I've heard reference made to a condition known as "twelve pack pretty,"- please explain.

Tasha said...

I'm drunk on all this information!

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear pops,

Thanks for your comment, which is also two good questions! Let me get right down to answering them thusly:
1) "Sex on the Beach" refers to the classic scene from On the Beach, a romantic movie starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. This movie is so old it was filmed in black and white, or "black and tan" in the British terminology. Therefore, "Sex on the Beach" is the same as a Black and Tan, i.e. Guinness and kahlua.
2)"Twelve pack pretty" refers to two "ripped" men complimenting each other on their stomach musculature. There is nothing gay about this. It is simply masculine comraderie.
Thanks again for your comment!

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear tasha,

Thanks for your comment! Remember, knowledge is power, as Nietzsche said. Thanks again for your comment!

Pops said...

Thanks, VLKF! Now bartender school should be a breeze!

Jason Hartley said...

This is very informative, but I take issue with your conclusion.

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear jason,

Thanks for your comment! However, as you must admit at this juncture, the very fact of your contentiousness underscores the sentiment expressed expressly in the Conclusion itself. Thanks again for your comment!

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot... Even though this is the internet, don't post things as fact when you have no idea what you're talking about. Also, the entire above article sucked.



INGREDIENTS:

* 1 1/2 oz vodka
* 3/4 oz peach schnapps
* 1/2 oz creme de cassis
* 2 oz orange juice
* 2 oz cranberry juice
* orange slice for garnish
* maraschino cherry for garnish

PREPARATION:

1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes.
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a highball glass.
4. Garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Anonymous said...

The above is what an actual Sex on the Beach is...

prabha said...

However, don’t believe for a minute that alcohol is harmless. Some think that the worst possible consequences of alcohol abuse are bad hangovers, which are measured on a ten-point scale. Not true! Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that works to slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and lessen your breathing. That sounds dangerous to me. And don’t forget about the potential harm to your reputation.
--------------------
christina

http://www.alcoholtreatment.info

Alcoholism said...

Alcohol in moderation is not a bad thing but too much is bad. People who is addicted to alcohol is bad not only to his/her loved ones but also in the society. They will be a risk to innocent like drinking and driving, unproductive activities and nuisance. It is important for people to drink moderately and avoid drinking while driving as it is one of the most reason on car accidents.