I love wine. I really, really love it. I love it like I love a beautiful, dark haired woman from one of the many Russ Meyer classics….the way it overloads the senses, the pursuit of that “perfect” combination of dusky sarcasm and biting, tannic wit. I guess it’s the same way that I always felt about bourbon, but as I’ve matured I find bourbon to be more of an unforgiving mistress. I still love her, but it’s more of a casual fling enjoyed best in moderation and among friends. My addled mind and heart just don’t heal as quickly after a night on the town with her. You really need to practice safe sex when it comes to THAT tawdry little hooker.
As many bariatric surgery patients have probably experienced, alcohol consumption was a topic (along with chocolate/dessert….but they’ve never been my thing anyway) presented with a “skull and crossbones” warning when I went to my pre-surgery nutritional education meetings. Drinking was to be “for special occasions only”, and even then just one drink. I totally respect that and I COMPLETELY understand how alcohol consumption can slow down weight loss…not just because of the calories but because of the “munchie” factor after a couple of drinks. However, if you are anything like me, Friday night is a pretty special occasion and it’s great to kick back with friends and a couple of glasses of affordable wine……House Wine from The Magnificent Wine Company, Goats Do Roam In Villages, Melville Pinot Noir, Sokol Blosser’s Meditrina, Qupe Syrah, Torres “Sangre de Toro”, even all that Yellowtail/Little Penguin/Alice White grocery store fodder……the list of good, casual grape is endless. But it can also, like food, be an obsession for anyone with an addictive personality and a need to “collect stuff”. One good and bad thing worth mentioning as well is that I’m one CHEAP date now….two hefty glasses and I’m done for the evening. I’m too embarassed to even say how much of it I could burn through in an evening six months ago….
Anyway, I don’t have the time, money or stamina to let it become an “issue” for me, but recently I started hearing all of these scary statistics about weight loss surgery patients becoming alcoholics. First, my ex mentioned it to me a couple of months ago, but I thought she was just trying to rile me. THEN one night I was watching a really good John Popper interview on HowardTV….he has had great success with his surgery and they were discussing it at length. John mentioned at one point how much he is drinking and smoking now that he can’t eat hardly anything, and that it probably was becoming an issue (his guitarist heartily agreed with him). Then he went on to say how alchoholism was a common problem among WLS folks. So that got my attention….a freaky musician type guy who I can relate to giving me this information via an unimpeachable forum like the Howard Stern show. But it gets even better…..I was heading out for dinner the other evening with a couple of friends (who are a lot of fun to drink with) and mentioned the Popper interview and how I really need to be aware of this issue. My friend in the back seat goes “yeah, that’s true, I saw a whole thing about that on Oprah”. Weelllll shit my pants and call me Mayella……..if it’s on fucking OPRAH then who can question it? I mean OPRAH….she’s no Howard Stern, but apparently she has some pull in this little place we call “the earth”. Unlike Dr. Phil, who anyone with even a passing familiarity with the psychological profession would like to see DIE a painful, screaming death, I really do think that Oprah is going to pass along some relevant information. I’m pretty sure I’d rather have a kidney stone than watch her show, but you get my point……Bariatric Surgery + Booze = WATCH IT!
Short of intravenous drug use, I’m not someone who ever says “oh I’d NEVER [fill in the blank]”. So I’m not having a Saul on the road to Damascus paradigm shift here…I never say never, but I really do feel at this point that the responsible thing to do is keep an eye on it, because a couple of drinks after a long week is something that is SO easy to rationalize. I’ve never been an AA candidate (unless of course I’m in that famous state of denial they use to sell you on the program), but if you are reading this and you have partied with me “back in the day”, you have at least one story from my well stocked resume of “antics” that you still tell. With that in mind, combined with the limited capacity for food, the elation over feeling and looking better, the prospect of nice clothes and even nicer women…..I’d be a complete FOOL if I didn’t admit that it is, at the very least, something to monitor closely and always make it a point to bring it up during my therapy visits. Enough said. Now let’s go buy one of those Jaeger machines and get shitfaced!!!
Speaking of festivities, I recently had the sincere honor of being asked to officiate a very, very good friend’s wedding in May (the same day I graduate from grad school as a matter of fact). If you know me, you know my history and that in my late teens through my early twenties I was a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God (the inspiration for my “Unsaved Loved Ones” domain name). What happened between then and now you ask? The answer is…..quite a bit, actually. Anyway, I’m obviously no longer affiliated with the AG, so I’ll probably just get one of those fake licenses online before the wedding, but this event is a huge deal for me (and oh yeah, the bride and groom) and I’m excited that I’ll get to go and buy a new suit in a couple of months that will actually look good. And this is going to be a wedding that I really WANT to attend…not just because one of my oldest friends is getting married, but because it’s going to kick ass in general, with everyone who is anyone in the Kansas City rockabilly/goth/tattoo/general misanthrope scene in attendance.
Just like anytime I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past, good things start to happen. I look better, I feel better, I get around more, I can fit into an airline seat, and in general the glass is always half full. So now that I think about it, THOSE are the things to fill the focus that food (and wine) have taken up in my life to this point.