Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Substance at stake

This is my only addiction: to tobacco. I drink coffee, too, but have studied and learned that coffee is high in anti-oxidants. Perhaps health gurus might enlighten us on that subject. The cigarettes I smoke are the best ones available: Nat Sherman and American Spirits and have no harmful chemical additives. I switched to those ten years ago. My goal is to cut down on smoking until I smoke only three packs per week instead of one pack per day. I still sometimes enjoy them (the good cigarettes), but I dislike the scratchy feeling in my vocal area. Otherwise, I have no health problems related to smoking. My teeth are strong and clean-looking. I have gone to the dentist twice per year since earliest childhood and have had few dental problems. My mouth looks a little slack since I gave up wearing lipstick as I used to -- all day. I wear lipstick now if I'm going somewhere interesting.

I drink one glass of wine on holidays, the last time was on Thanksgiving. The wine was red. I like Rolling Rock and am willing to drink as many as three of those if a good and kind man is buying, but that rarely happens these days. Technically, we ought to consume three glasses of clean beer or wine -- homemade elderberry without sulfides is great -- per day. I would find that difficult to do, even though it is a health recommendation, due to what are called blue laws in our state. Religion in urban and suburban Minnesota consists mostly in policing and hospitalizing for real and presumed alcohol use, and it produces much sickening revenue for the cities, which would be put to better use if given to the volunteer force. Really we suffer a lack of health awareness about alcohol and stupidly wall off joy and interest in life. Mayo Clinic approves the level of drinking outlined above; I would include clean (organic) beer and wine (3 glasses of wine or bottles of beer) as a food group, to prevent heart disease. I disapprove of people doing too much exercise and exercise for vanity and personal power and prefer walking, biking, swimming, ice skating, and yoga for myself.

All is good so far without medications since September. I have stabilized at 125 pounds. I would rather my weight were higher but am willing to continue to cut down on smoking to see if that will boost it. The anti-depressants I was taking were hard on my body generally and caused numerous health disturbances, including GERD, which has cleared up at long last not on the drugs. The so-called stabilizers, lithium, especially, were better; since I am not depressed or otherwise medically suffering, I am taking a much-needed break from all of it. This is saving the government in tax money, too. Now all I lack are appropriate compensation for my cultivated and specialized skills, knowledge, and information and a group of dear, good, new and older friends.

If it is perceived that I used drugs and alcohol besides those for major depression (starting in 2001) and PTSD (bipolar disorder) the perception is a wrong one. I quit drinking in 1997 -- almost 10 years ago -- when I had reached the level of one pint of vodka per day for three months. Before that, I sipped a 12 pack of beer per day for three years whilst occasionally (once or twice a month) indulging in a half gram of urban cocaine. I haven't even seen illicit drugs, besides one gentleman farmer's homegrown pot, since moving to Minnesota almost 11 years ago -- thank God.

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