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From Charter Challenges to Cali Sober

Discussed this episode:

85% increase in Alcohol Use Disorder in women, 35% in men, in the last decade in America

Charter challenge over six-month sobriety rule for alcoholics in Canada

errata: we say ‘Supreme Court’ off the top; more likely this would end up with the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Law stuff!

John Hopkins study questioning validity of six-month rule

Atlantic article (book excerpt) on the ethics of the six-month rule

Ben Affleck is all in on sobriety

Post-recording: God Dammit Ben Affleck

(Yes, the word is recidivism)

Rosalinda Toronto, home of delicious vegan foods and mocktails to die for

Noo Yawk Seltza!

Georgia Peach Coca-Cola is better than you’d think.

What is Cali Sober?

Sober Strategy 1

Sober Strategy #1: Get A Drink First!

The Two Wolves

With a hat tip to the OM Collective’s podcast Zen and the Art of Monday Morning, particularly Episode Nine, which I listened to this morning. Succinctly put (they tell it better): 

There are two wolves living inside us, in constant struggle. One is our base nature: avaricious, jealous, self-centered. Another is our noble nature: forward-thinking, generous, outward focused. They constantly battle to see which wolf will control us. 

bad wolf good wolf

But which wolf will win? 

The one we feed. 

The provenance is complicated! A bunch of people have written about this, and talked about it. 

It’s an interesting thing to reflect on. Even when sobriety is going well, as it has been for me for a while now, it’s good to think about those two wolves. 

One wolf is short-term. It’s looking for an easy answer and a quick fix. It’s focused on itself, and what feels good. Consequences of its actions on others aren’t a priority. This wolf just wants to eat what’s in front of it. It’s bought into the myth of the lone wolf.  

The other wolf is the long-term wolf. It’s mindful of the future. It’s the play-the-tape-forward wolf, the context-aware wolf. It’s the wolf that understands that wolves live in packs.

An aside: I should probably check that my understanding of lone wolves being a myth is actually true. I feel like it’s me busting a fallacy, but it might just be me propagating a different fallacy. Yes, after some casting about, a “lone wolf” is an anomaly, lone wolves don’t stay lone wolves unless there’s something wrong, and they’re generally looking for other wolves

A second aside: it’s really hard to find writing about “lone wolf myth” without it being all about terrorists and mass shooters. The world we live in. Oy. 

It’s also easy to re-cast those roles a little bit, to see how they apply to sobriety. Because it’s simple to think of the ‘bad’ wolf as the drinkin’ wolf, and the ‘sober’ wolf as the sober wolf.  

So does “drunk wolf” and “sober wolf” parse onto this wolf analogy? Almost literally in an interesting way, but at some point the metaphor stops working. 


Because if it’s a drunk/dark wolf and a sober/good wolf, we’re starving the drunk wolf by not drinking, right? We’re literally shrinking it. Stop drinking and watch the drunk wolf shrink and leave more room for the good wolf. 


This is where it works… and stops working for me as a metaphor.


Because are we shrinking the dark wolf, really? 


The original story is about the part of you that wants to be a more selfish, angry person. And the part of you that wants to be a more giving, understanding person. 


Here’s the thing. 


don’t feel like I’m an inherently better person for not drinking. I’m more mindful, and I think I’m doing better and trying to act in better ways, but I don’t think drinking has changed my real, core, inner nature. I think I’m the same person that I was before I was drinking, and during.


So my bad wolf and my good wolf aren’t different because I’m not drinking. They’re the same. Not drinking means I’m… not drinking. But my selfish impulses are still selfish. I still get super mad at idiots when I’m driving. And my generous impulses are still generous. I still feel lifted up when I see something a friend might like and get a cheap but thoughtful surprise gift.  


This makes me hesitant about ‘adapting’ the wolves to a drink/no-drink scenario. 


I don’t think the wolves are different. 


But I absolutely do I think I’m just in a better position to choose which one to feed when I’m sober. 
Drinking me would make bad decisions about which wolf to feed. I’ve still got both wolves, and I don’t think we can ever get rid of one of them.


We can just put ourselves in the best position to make good decisions about which to feed. 


Photo by Steve, from Pexels. Modifications are mine.

Alcohol disorders are on the rise, and you’ll never guess who’s “winning”

This came up in a different context last week and I hadn’t seen it before: a study in Neurobiology of Stress from last February.

What would you think if I told you that in America, alcohol-use disorder was up over a third in the last decade?

That’s a pretty shocking headline, right? Like, one third more people have alcohol use disorder — technically not alcoholism, but you can draw your own conclusions. Here’s how they define it:

primarily characterized by a loss of control over drinking, preoccupation with drinking, continued use despite negative consequences (e.g., health, job function, interpersonal relationships), tolerance, and withdrawal.

Peltier, MacKenzie R et al. “Sex differences in stress-related alcohol use.” Neurobiology of stress vol. 10 100149. 8 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2019.100149

So, I mean, pretty much alcoholism as we understand it in the culture.

Up one-third.

But that’s not even the headline. That’s just men. Men are +35%.

Women are up 84%.

Women are up 84%.

I mean, that’s crazy.

In real terms, also from the article:

Currently in the U.S. population, 13% or 30 million adults have an alcohol use disorder

Peltier, MacKenzie R et al. “Sex differences in stress-related alcohol use.” Neurobiology of stress vol. 10 100149. 8 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1016/j.ynstr.2019.100149

That’s over one in ten people. That’s staggering.

For myriad reasons, it’s going up fast. And in women, more than twice as fast as in men. Over 50% faster.

These are just the headlines! I’m’a read this and we’ll talk about it on the pod. But it’s bonkers.

Wine Review: St. Regis Cab

Winemaker: St. Regis

Wine: Dealcoholized Cabaret Sauvignon

Available at: Canadian grocery stores, including Metro

Look: dark/cherry red

Wine glass and wine

Nose: A bit vinegary off the top; small fruit with strong cherry notes.

Notes: A bit ‘thin’ on the palate. Notes include cherry, concord grape, and cider vinegar; doesn’t linger on the palate, pleasant aftertaste.

Matt’s impressions: If I were still drinking alcohol, this would be something I’d be happy to pay under $10 for, but would get a bit miffed past that price point. As a kit winemaker, this strikes me as being in the same range as a well-made kit. Not a bad wine for a table wine, but nothing to write home about.

Marisa says: “I liked it! It made me think of grape juice, but good, adult grape juice.”

Would we buy it again?: Yes

Pair with: smokey or pastrami seitlans, hearty stews, beans & rice.

South Africa has a whole soberfest!

Something pretty cool that crossed our paths today: an entire 40-vendor festival dedicated to alcohol alternatives, including local herbal syrups and some really groovy-looking drinks. It’s be great to see this kind of thing spreading; looking around, there’s a Mindful Drinking Festival coming up in London (U.K., not Ontario) next year. Get it together, North America!

Sober-Curious Criticism, Dealcoholized Wine, and More

Matt and Marisa talk about the sudden appearance of new “sober months” in the calendar, and some surprising backlash to sober-curiosity and Sober October that has come up from a… suspicious source? Are we being too cynical? Not cynical enough?

Discussed this episode:

4 Reasons the ‘Sober Curious’ Movement Could Harm People Living With Addiction

American Addiction Centres (and punting on rehab success rates)

Canadian Health Recovery Centre (for-profit)

Dealcoholized wine discussed:

St-Regis Cabaret Sauvignon

We didn’t have a good picture for this week, so we’re featuring our cat, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar, named from the greatest sketch comedy show of all time.

Ruralism, raffles, fancy lunches and dumb socks

We start with a heartfelt a capella rendition of “Ben”. And a whole lot more:

  • Urban stereotypes and rural realities
  • Therapy, or friends?
  • Booze culture and the office raffle
  • Alternatives to social drinking: fancy lunches, axe-throwing and more
  • Also, being stupid with money; “at least it’s not drinking”
  • Dumb socks

Here’s that dumb thing from the pet store, which turned out to be socks:

Links to those studies we mentioned:

Canada – https://www.cihi.ca/sites/default/files/document/report-alcohol-hospitalizations-en-web.pdf

USA – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872615/

Episode 02 – Coming Out

Watch Matt come from a place of complete honesty, then pivot to turn into the Lord of Lies as he and Marisa talk about navigating coming out as a non-drinker to friends and family. Marisa’s a lot more consistent! Strategies and tactics, the three-speed perception of drinking, and lots more to cover in this episode of Dry & Mighty!

Photo by Padli Pradana from Pexels

I Typed “Palcohol” into Google and Learned Everything I Need to Know

As part of the furor over hard liquor in Tide pods sweeping the Internet, I learned about a prior weird booze news thing I’d previously missed: Palcohol, which is a portmanteau for powdered alcohol. It’s banned in most states. The inventor wanted to make powdered alcohol so he could carry more booze with him camping. But you have to carry the water you need to make it with you when you’re going camping (at least if you’re camping anywhere that weight is a problem), soooooo. 

It failed to set the world on fire when it was announced in the mid-2010s. Here’s what I saw when I searched for it this morning: 

So the key message about Palcohol is that it’s Palcohol, I guess. It’s the Darkseid Is of bad booze ideas. Drinking culture is weird when you’re not in it. 

Episode 1: Introductions

Hello MightyFriends!

What’s all this, then? It’s a podcast/blog/stuff about sobriety, run by a married couple who don’t drink. It covers everything from the very silly to the kind of serious. It’s weekly. It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping.

In our first episode:

  • Meet Matt and Marisa
  • Table-setting and introduction
  • Hip Sobriety and their ‘manifesto’
  • Loosid – a dating platform for sober folks
  • The million-dollar idea of SRBR: basically GRNDR for drunks
  • General goofiness

Drop us a line at info@dryandmighty.ca, subscribe in all the usual places, and rate and review!

And, as promised, Fogerty the Wooden Pumpkin:

We got him at the Kingston Fall Fair. Where else?