I’m turning 60 in a week. I grew up as a happy hippie with hard drinking middle class educated Social Drinker parents, they were far from sloppy drunks but very consistent martini fans. I felt superior with my Marlboro pack full of joints, and used to trot around the hippie hangouts telling folks ‘don’t drink that nasty booze, here, have some Mother Nature instead!’
My big brother liked beer and urged me to try it, but I really did prefer pot, until my mid to late 20's. That’s when I went full time as a ranch hand and horsetrainer, and discovered that beer worked much better as a self reward, and kept me more relaxed working with large nervous powerful animals than pot did. I happily went on for the next 30 years developing a daily beer habit while gradually losing my taste for weed. I married, divorced, raised a son as a single mom with no child support, and pretty much got along fine. There was almost always beer in the fridge (or in the icechest in the truck) but I was very rarely a ‘sloppy drunk’.. and if I was it was almost always deliberate. Either at home alone with LOUD tunes in order to release emotions, or at a bar chasing cowboys and shooting pool with a reliable designated driver for backup. I had a handle on that shit!
(I never thought I'd make it past 30, snort-guffaw)

Life went on. My son grew up, my big bro fell into high function alcoholism to the point I quit speaking with him, my little sis struggled with her own wine habits, and my little bro went cold turkey and into hardcore Praise Jesus/Do AA/Become a Motivational Speaker after years of being the World’s Greatest Bartender and a whisky drinker

Me, . I just kept training horses, gardening, raising chickens and fell deeply in love with the most compatible Mountain Man in the universe, we were very happy for nearly 10 years. The fridge and icechest stayed full of beer, we made enough money to survive surrounded by animals and gardens and some really great friends. That was Good Shit!

Then he died. Within a year so did both my parents. My son became a meth user, so did I for awhile. My kid went to prison, I quit drugs, but my beer drinking rate doubled, then tripled. I dropped the friends who hadn’t died off since it was painful to hang out in public. I took my modest inheiritence and bought my first computer, and dedicated myself to learning about the Internet. I blogged, found Jezebel, and wrote a couple books for NanoWriMo that will never get published. Mostly I Hermitted, tho I still worked with some horses and horse people. I had a handle on that shit.

Then 5 years ago I started noticing some fine motor control and balance problems while riding and training. I was getting exhausted doing the same work I’d been doing daily for many years.. and I began to see the encrochment of the same Multiple Sclerosis symptoms that my mom had had- intolerence to heat, inability to walk stairs or uneven ground, and a tiredness all out of proportion to the amount of energy expended. I started chasing doctors for a solid diagnosis, mostly to up my SSI benefits to full Disability for the extra $100 per month.. Now I’ve given up. (I am too raging claustrophobic to handle just ONE wide awake MRI! I jus’t can’t) But I could handle the rest of that shit, really, as long as the fridge is full of beer.

But I really can’t anymore. The reason I’ve been able to fake it this long is the beer, it keeps me mostly cheerful and accepting and willing to tolerate the fact that I am stuck alone in a poverty loop that I’ll never get out of. It seems on reflection that I made poor career choices as they would pertain to retirement funding, still? No Regrets!

I’ve never had a legal problem with alcohol, maybe I was smart, probably I was lucky. Between horse training jobs I drove semi trucks cross country for a few years, believe me when I say I understand how viciously bad it can be when you mix booze and drivers! I’ve never wrecked a car, never been 86-ed from a bar, and the only bail I’ve ever made was for a friend.

My son is now clean, healthy, strong, and making his way in the world with awesome potential, 100's of miles away from me. We love each other, I won’t ask him to risk his new success by dragging him into a pity party for his mom. Most of my friends are dead, and I have little energy left to make new ones outside the Internet.

So I’m isolated, mostly by choice. My rented home is rural in the desert, it’s a pretty crappy mobile home but has room for my horse, dogs, and chickens. I haven’t been socializing at the bar or gotten laid in years now, but beer is still my buddy. My Praise-Jeebus li’l bro donated me his old truck a few months ago, how awesome is that! I made a gofundme account to come up with 2/3rds the price of new tires, and got them. It’s the first vehicle I’ve had since my last one burnt up with minimum insurance 4 years ago. I couldn’t afford to replace it. That’s nearly impossible to explain to someone who takes their mobility for granted- live 4 years RURAL with no wheels.

Believe me, you find out who your friends are. I mostly use this old truck for 2 things: to get more beer, and take my dogs even further out in the desert to just.. hang. With my buddy, beer. I’m pretty sure I’d be Postal without it.

That said, I’m seeing the cumulative effects physically of beer. (Although a lot of these symptoms parallel MS symptoms. Since I gave up Doctors, I’ll really never know) I’ve gained weight, eat a lot of aspirins, and have many assorted aches and pains, none bad enough to send me to the local ER. I drink beer every single day I can afford it: somedays I’m happy with 2 or 3, some days I can get behind nearly the whole case. I like to start about 7;30 am when I’m done with coffee, and I’m usually done by 4:30-5:00 pm when I have chores to do. Once in awhile I do music, loud music and a firepit and stay up till 10:00, mostly I’m in bed by 8:30-9:00.

And I really don’t care. Truth? I’m a stone alcoholic, waiting to die, and kind of looking forward to it. After years of trial and error, I’ve mostly learned not to Drunk Dial, or Drunk Blog, or Drunk Facebook. I quit complaining, mostly just because I don’t do drama as well as do so many others. Today I’m all about the mellow and peaceful. I am a fairly careful editor nowadays though I have occasionally read something I wrote and thought ‘Dang! That was smart!’ and realized I didn’t remember writing it.

So why am I writing this? Because this article was AWESOME.
So are the comments. And I’ve had 5 strong beers before noon today, I feel eloquent, and I hope to share in some of this connection. I want to read your book Sarah, and I want to thank you for writing and sharing this.