Friday, 12 August 2011

The bottle and me

    A few days ago we had the perfect summer evening here in my part of the UK. Warm air, just a bit of cloud and a spectacular sunset. I spent it in the garden of a local pub, looking out over a river and a patchwork of flood meadows.
    My tipple of choice? Weston's Country Perry, a dangerously quaffable still perry (For the uninitiated, perry refers to cider made with pears instead of apples). At the end of the evening I had a clear head, but the perry had definitely gone to my legs and I was ready for bed.
    I don't think I'm alone in finding a drink helpful in dealing with the aftermath of a bad day. It's a worry that I could make a habit of  cracking open a beer or cider when I come home form work. Just the one would turn into a couple, and before I'd know it I'd be getting through a crate of bottles in a week. It's not a coincidence that I know more than one person in this sphere with a drink problem. One or two of my acquaintance have in my view allowed it to wreck their lives.
    My medication bears the warning that alcohol is best avoided while taking it. Since I prefer to sleep I think that's the factor that has saved me from getting into the drinking habit. But like so many demons that lurk below the surface of the gender dysphoric, I know that one could make itself felt.
    It might seem odd therefore, that I make cider in near-industrial quantities. But I have made cider for many years without over-imbibing and the cider-making rather than the cider itself  is an escape from some of my troubles. Or an argument could be made that my cider is so dangerously unpalatable that one could never drink enough at a sitting to risk one's health, I dunno.
    But it's a serious issue. I suspect I have this in common with many other gender dysphoric people, a lifetime of this has left the GD as just one of several problems. I know more than one post-transition girl who's realised that all they've been through hasn't cured their depression, and if that happens to me I don't want to find myself using the bottle as a crutch. Because at the end of an annoying week in which the noisy girl and a lot of high-powered work meetings have left me worn out I know that the world as seen through the green glass of a cider bottle could look mighty attractive.
     And I don't need to be told that tomorrow morning or indeed any morning thereafter, that wouldn't solve anything.


  1. Before I transitioned, my weekend night drunks had turned into every night. Always controlled, never during the day, but two double whiskies a night and more on weekends. I used to ensure I never ran out.

    It's called self-medication.

    It's a measure of how much has changed for me that I no longer have more than a a couple glasses of wine with a meal out, and there's no booze in the house. And I don't miss it.

  2. It's bad enough getting drunk at the pub but even worse when at home. I think the latter is more dangerous a habit especially if you have nobody to discourage you. I like a drink as much as anybody and my weakness is also drinking that little bit too much sometimes. Fortunately I don't drink often however one of my favourite tipples is red wine and too much of that stuff really does put you in a horizontal position if you are not careful. Cider and perry are delicious of course but I find they fill me up too quickly. I suppose Jenny, you could always use your excess cider as a paint stripper! LOL

    Shirley Anne xxx

  3. Jenny's cider is far from paint stripper and slips down easily, probably too easily!

    Since hormone change I drink much less than the little I drank before, it is a social thing for me.

    I had no idea just hoe depressed I was before! I am an infinitely happier person these days and have no idea how I survived so long in that past state.

  4. Until I came out to my wife last year as the start of me coming out to the world, I was drinking a gin and a half bottle of wine every night, and more on some nights.

    The change that the relief of suddenly starting to become who I really am has cut that to a small glass of wine. Drink had indeed been a support but I had not realised how much. I am sure that as you progress to becoming the woman that you know you are you will find less and less need for drink.

  5. Caroline, I was joking about the paint stripper. Where I live when folk say things like that they are actually paying a compliment, inferring that the drink is strong and good to drink. I am sure Jennys cider is excellent.
    Louise, I wasn't a heavy drinker before I transitioned but did like to indulge once or twice a week. Nothing has changed really, in fact if anything I drink slightly more now. I don't think it has anything to do with becoming a woman if you find you drink less but maybe drinking too much beforehand is a way of dealing with life for some when they are under pressure and lack support from others. Everyone is different of course and each drinks for different reasons.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  6. 'One' could say...

    "Drinking leads down the path to sin."

    Then again, I'm not religious and don't believe any of that tripe. So, tip a few, relax, enjoy yourself for a while and forget about your troubles while you can.

    I believe we all need an outlet to de-stress however, my particular technique is called...

    Wii ... Dance 2. Good fun and keeps you in shape as well!

  7. I remember once being worried because I was about to join a ship with a no-alcohol policy, and thinking about it, couldn't remember the last time I'd gone a day without drink. It was OK, as it happened... but strewth, used to get shitfaced much too much too often. Yes. But cidermaking is v life-affirming. Or can be.

  8. When I'm alone - meaning living by myself for a week or more - my "balance" falls apart and depression sets in almost immediately. With that, comes to much alcohol. This is not an issue when everything is in "balance" but all it takes is to have my sweetie gone for a few days and I totally fall apart...all due to GD. Alcohol could, indeed, be a huge issue for me if I did not have my soul mate around.

  9. The fact that you are aware of the pitfalls of drink and have concerns that transition would solve 'the problem", demonstrates that you are thinking clearly about the issues. There is a reason that the first step of any recovery program is awareness of the issue.

    Now none of this makes it easier to deal with the issues, but it does allow one to approach them with the proper perspective.

    Jenny, you have your head screwed on straight and are asking the right questions. However, it doesn't make finding the answers any easier.

  10. By the time i've inspected the label to check its suitable for vegetarians there's little time left.
    But seriously i've seen the effects and early grave alcoholism can send you into, sadly with some trans folks you can see all too clearly what could happen.

  11. I know all too much about crutches - they come in all different shapes and sizes - from the downright bad to the good and very good. I see the Wreck somewhere on that scale - well into the good side of the scale though.

    Not easy this Pink Fog.


  12. Evening all and thanks for all your comments, sorry it's bin a few days. I promise I haven't been on a bender, honest. Truth be told things have been a little hectic and I've been a bit knackered.

    The bottom line is I have too much to lose. If I need crutches, a cider press and a brace of geriatric machines suffice, and they're a lot less destructive.