Here I am on a Monday night sitting in the bar at my favorite neighborhood watering hole Casa Del Rey Mexican Restaurant in San Dimas. Yep I’m here crying in my beer or in this case, my margarita, watching a basketball playoff game between the Bulls and the Nets that means absolutely nothing to me, sipping my margie and working on my blog. Yeah Casa Del Rey or “Casa” as it is affectionately called, is my “Cheers”, you know, the bar in Boston where everybody knows your name, except here no one knows my name but Vicki the bartender/server and believe me that a good thing.
If people at Casa started calling me by name I’d be in real trouble. My wife already believes I drink too much. If I walked in with her and the regulars at the bar greeted me by name she’d be convinced I have a problem! But believe me I don’t. I definitely don’t think I drink too much. A stronger argument could be made for drinking too often maybe, but too much? I don’t think so. It’s more because Casa has a reputation of serving a ‘good’ (strong) drink. The amount of tequila in one Casa margie is probably equal to what other places put into two or more margies which makes theirs taste like lemonade in comparison. Yeah there’s nothing like a Vicki made Casa Hornitos margarita. And just because I occasionally have a craving for one or two I’m on the road to alcoholism? I think not.
Truth be told alcoholism does run in my family on my dad’s side. My grandpa was an alcoholic. Yeah he loved all alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, and hard liquor. He also enjoyed smoking cigarettes or cigars while he drank, believe me he smoked like a train. yet in spite of his addictions he somehow managed to live to be 95. Go figure. In his later years wine was his drink of choice especially Chablis. Yeah he really loved his Chablis. I remember one time visiting him in the hospital a few months before he died. While I was there a nurse came in to change out a bag of fluid. As she was making adjustments and hanging the bag my gramps was watching her with interest. Finally he looked over at me and with a sparkle in his eye he asked if the bag held Chablis, and he was serious! Actually the contents of the bag had a pinkish tinge to it and did look like Chablis! “Yep gramps,” I remember saying, “It’s Chablis all right, just for you.” I’ll never forget the smile on his face that day, it was priceless.
My dad drank but he stuck mostly to beer. By the time he was in his 50’s he’d pretty much given up alcohol all together. He’d have a beer on rare occasion or a glass of wine but mostly he abstains. My brother on the other hand was an tried and true alcoholic. His drink of choice was straight vodka. His drinking contributed greatly to his many heath problems. Sadly he died two years ago at the age of 49. On my mom’s side of the family there was my uncle John who I never met. From the stories I’ve heard about him he was also an alcoholic.
Okay so alcoholism is prevalent in my family background. It doesn’t mean I am or will become one by any means. Growing up I was a beer drinker first and foremost. I even had beer in my champagne glass for our toast at our wedding reception. I was a true Bud Man. I never touched the hard stuff and after two bad wine experiences in my late teens I stayed away from the grape as well. Fact is I didn’t start to enjoy an occasional glass of white wine unit I was about 37 and didn’t acquire a taste for red until 2001 when I was 50 years old. As for the hard stuff I did enjoy a mix of Squirt and vodka on ice on occasion beginning in my 30’s but didn’t have my first tequila experience until my mid 40’s when I learned not to do shots, but to sip a good tequila slowly like scotch.
My first actual margarita experience didn’t occur until I was 48 years old when my newly turned 21 year old son introduced me to Hornitos margaritas on the rocks. It was love at first taste. 13 years later it’s still my favorite mixed drink followed closely by Malibu Rum and pineapple juice, Jack Rocks and of course Mai Tai’s. It figures I’d develop a taste for liquor later in life, I’ve always been a late bloomer.
But don’t get me wrong, I still say I do not have a problem. I don’t need alcohol to have a good time with my friends though with certain friends it certainly helps. I don’t drink everyday, nor do I think about drinking everyday. When I drink I usually don’t drink alone, try to hide the fact that I’m drinking, nor deny that I drink. I’m also not afraid to talk about my drinking. I don’t feel guilty about my drinking, hide bottles around the house for secret consumption or ever feel the need for a morning eye opener to steady my nerves or cure a hangover. And I don’t have drinking related black outs or health problems that are associated with excessive drinking. You know why? Because my friends I am not an alcoholic. I am a social drinker nothing more and I’m no where close to crossing the line to being a problem drinker, not by a long shot! Thanks for your concern sweetie but you got nothing to worry about.