There is about 4 cups in a 750ml bottle of Canadian Crest special blend whiskey.
It is 40% alc./VOL (80 Proof).
According to science the amount of units of alcohol per week recommended for a women is 3-4 units.
One shot of the 40% is 1.4 units (2 0z. shot) and about 1/4 of a cup. So if you follow the guidelines that means 3/4 of a cup a week would fall under the recommended number of units.
I know all of this because I measured out my bottle and used a permanent marker to note the amount of ounces etc.
And of course.... according to science I drink to more than the recommended number of units per week.
I grew up being taught to be afraid of alcohol and have really rigid and unyielding standards about it.
I did loosen up slowly over the years enough to enjoy a few drinks every now and again- but I still fairly strictly monitored my consumption. I also still had a somewhat unyielding view on being so drunk that one wakes up with their head in or near the toilet if lucky. I cannot stand throwing up or hangovers so that has always been an equal motivator in addition to the principle that I was raised with. I was taught by my family with religious emphasis that anyone who got seriously drunk at all was an alcoholic.
I also was raised to think this kind of behavior was supremely selfish and unhealthy and that's how I felt the Christmas Eve when my sibling- whom we shall now call Zoe- had to be carried into the house because she was too drunk to stand. It was one of the first holidays with our parents being divorced and Zoe was not taking it well so she decided to drink.
I grew up hearing stories about my father the infamous bad boy who used to be quite the drinker/ alcoholic.
He quit when he found Jesus but I always knew that this new found spirit (the holy spirit) was not much different than the kind which is 80 proof. Mostly because with addiction it is all about the coping mechanism and using religion or even spirituality can still be an unhealthy coping mechanism if one never looks at why they needed to cope in the first place.
You can't use God as your Friday night fix.
My father was really a dry drunk and he buried his shame by being the most judgemental person I know about drinking and alcohol. Alcohol was not allowed anywhere near the vicinity of my home growing up and it was very much seen as something only satan would imbue.
My mother grew up wounded by the effects of alcohol on my Grandparents. I never really had a problem with my Grandmother drinking when I grew up but I could see that it tended to make her more terse and mean. She really didn't drink all that much but to my Mother any drink my Grandmother had was too much. Because anytime my Grandmother poured a glass my Mother was certainly remembering the fights her parents would have when they would drink. She would remember all the times that they fought and threw furniture. I could understand that- but my Mother did have a pretty unbending reaction to alcohol for a long time. She did not start even trying to have a glass of wine every now and again until i was long moved out of the house. She protected herself from the nightmares of the past with religion too- it was a safety guard.
The stories about my Great Grandfather on my Father's side were fairly infamous too. He was a raging alcoholic when my Grandfather was a little boy. And unsurprisingly drink of choice was whiskey. I am fairly certain that even if and when my Grandfather had a drink it was a whiskey of some kind and that is also Zoe's favorite poison of choice as it is mine.
Zoe and I used to joke that whiskey is in our blood and sometimes I think that must be true- because with wine and beer I can only tolerate so much. But with whiskey- it's the only thing I am nearly certain I would have a fighting chance of drinking someone under the table with. Zoe is the same way- whiskey is our thing- it is the family thing.
As I have gotten older I used to be both proud because I was raised to be a cowgirl and tough life out- and also feel horrified because maybe it is not something one should be proud of. Should one every be proud of being able to drink someone under the table? My liver says it doesn't really think so.
Because of my Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather I have always also tried to never let myself go when it came to alcohol. I kept to the rigid tradition I was taught to believe when I was little. For years I was fine- I struggled with all kinds of other substances (Coffee and Sugar mainly) but not alcohol. I always felt that if I didn't take great care I would awaken the family demon that I felt was just always sleeping underneath my in my subconscious. In our culture if you are the child of an alcoholic it is deemed that you are far more likely to be one. Also there is the concept that alcoholism is somehow genetic and that is why there is that feeling of always living with a demon that sleeps peacefully. But if you veer off the track then you wake it and will have to battle to reign control over it again- if you can. And with your "genetic" predisposition who's to say you are not fated to loose?
This is puritan based and puritanical thinking. Sometimes I wonder that if we did not have such a heavy puritan influence of rigid expectations in our culture and especially religious culture most of us would never need to drink to relax, to escape or to cope. Coping mechanisms arrive out of a need to deal with trauma and nothing is more traumatic and self abusive at times than the rules from that are heavily influenced by a puritan type philosophy. We don't even realize how much it has had an influence until we stop and count all the rules we have and all the rules that are often unconsciously followed. We don't know sometimes until we question our way of thinking and believing.
What broke me down and when I finally broke all my own self imposed rigid rules was when my decade long relationship and nearly eight year marriage disintegrated.
The night it finally went up in flames I sat down with a glass of the 15 year whiskey. Because honestly that's what you do. When something like that goes up in flames you pour yourself a stiff drink while you watch everything burn.
And then when you have to put one foot in front of the other- sometimes you need a drink waiting on the counter at the other side of wherever you are walking too.
This whole new version of myself that drank more than I had in a decade was a little scary. I wasn't just brought up to be rigid and reign myself in about alcohol- I was taught that it was necessary to be supremely in control of yourself at all times. The song by Miranda Lambert "This ain't my Mama's broken heart" explains that philosophy pretty well. You're never supposed to let anyone see you cry. If your relationship fell apart then you needed to handle it with a flawless facade- like a Kennedy when Camelot fell. Don't be angry and don't overreact, don't be over dramatic. Smile and bury the pain is the name of the game. And if you don't do flawless and you react or show vulnerability then there will only be you left standing there to blame- and my family is flawless at that. You will guaranteed be left standing alone in the rain with your bleeding heart held out in your hand.
I was so scared of this girl in me I was only now meeting- the one who would actually drink what seemed like a lot to me.
This girl was so out of control- I had finally become the nightmare I was brought up to fear so much.
But I was also brought up to be afraid of riding my bike alone and every little piece of my life wa so controlled.
When you break out of that and you do have control over everything for the first time- you don't realize it right away because you pick up where your family left off and you keep yourself in check.
So when you break out of that- you are standing on the brink of the wide world having to decide for yourself what is right or wrong for the first time.
And you have to decide if what you were brought up to believe was right or wrong- but more importantly right or wrong for you. You also silently apologize to anyone you ever judged prior to this decision moment.
Today measuring out all my whiskey I focused on deciding. I looked over the figures and I decided. I will not be giving whiskey up.I am not out of control and I am not an alcoholic. But I am deciding I don't want to injure my liver and I would like to be healthy. I am not deciding out of fear or because I need to keep beating myself up and try to control myself the way my family taught me. I am simply deciding what is best for me and what will work for me. I have come up with a good plan as to how much alcohol is healthy for me- and even then I refuse to rigidly adhere to it- this is not a whiskey diet thank you very much!
I often think alcohol exists for a reason because there will be days for celebrating, and there will be days when a stiff drink is required. I also don't think the philosophy should always be "everything in moderation" but moderation of excess.
I think that there should be no moderation to the excess of self compassion or grace we need give ourselves.
Diets don't work because they are out of balance with life.
I think with realism and grace then we actually fail ourselves less and then take care of ourselves more.
I am a former country girl and abuse survivor. I enjoy blogging because I find it personally therapeutic. It also allows me to share my experiences with others, and bring to light issues of abuse. I write under a pseudonym for my personal safety as well as to negate any potential legal trouble over sharing my story.