Thursday, June 11, 2009

My relationship with illicit substances.

I don't drink coffee every day. One cup can work if I'm not too exhausted (I have been known to drink it like warm milk and feel like a nap), two cups make me jittery but awake for a few hours, three cups give me arrhythmia and clammy hands and I can't sleep later that night. I can't drink caffeine after 3 pm. I also don't drink it every day so that when I do need it and do drink it, it works. But I so rarely drink it, and the sweet spot amount I need is so variable that I don't know what's working: the caffeine or the adrenaline of approaching a deadline. I usually drink 1-2 cups of tea per day, and occasionally have headaches that I've learned are not caffeine withdrawal headaches but are merely headaches, and so I actually take Tylenol now, rather than drink the coffee I thought I needed but didn't.

I also don't drink very often, so one drink will hit me hard, and possibly give me a hangover the next day, such that I will rue that one daquiri and curse my penchant for umbrella drinks. Certain red wines give me such a bad headache and hangover the next day, even for a one quarter or half glass, that I am thinking of avoiding untried varietals entirely and being one of those pfoufy women who only drinks white wine. Not white zinfadel, though. Nope, never.

I eat a lot of sugar though. Like a cookie a day. Because I'm no longer 18 years old, I don't eat a ton of candy like I used to, and I definitely feel sugar overload much easier. I used to be able to eat a large chunk of fudge in 15 minutes. Now I eat that more slowly, like over 2-3 days.

I also eat bacon every couple of weeks. Any more often and I'd feel like getting an angioplasty.

What are your vices, and how do you use them? How do you control your use? How often do you indulge? What do you avoid, and what do you crave? One of my old roommates used to speak of "craving" alcohol, and needing a drink every night. It was better for her to drink a little every day rather than try to sublimate the craving and binge drink later. I never really understood that, but I as an American woman do understand the perils of dieting, binge eating, and the illicit allure of cookies and snack foods. I don't have much moral compunction over caffeine, fat, sugar, or alcohol, but I have a physical awareness of my body's responses to these substances and really limit my use, but I know that control is as much psychological as it is physical. And the physical only gets you so far, and it's taken me years to figure out my limits and how little I want to exceed them, such that I give myself psychological license to step back rather than give in. Because it wouldn't be (except with the sugar and fat) giving in per se, since I don't crave the other substances, so I gain less pleasure from a drink. The closest I can come to feeling like a "need" is the caffeine, which is strange to think about, considering how little coffee I drink.

Note, none of this is code for drugs. I watched The Wire and marveled at all the drugs, since I have never really seen them. I actually am curious how most people consume the little vices and tasty/stimulating/tipsy-making vices.