Abraham Lincoln wrote a fine essay on Alcoholism back in 1842. He said, “Those who have suffered by intemperance personally, and have reformed, are the most powerful and efficient instruments to push the reformation to ultimate success.” That reminded me of my conclusion on the ACE versus PCE test, “Of course many of the most successful people score poorly on these quizzes, and they may be the most valuable friends of all, because they learned how to cope with the most difficult of life’s problems.” A disaster for me was that the very person I had rewritten the ACE-PCE test for committed suicide within a week. I am now very cautious when encountering people who relate to their problems in too positive a way. I told a popular joke yesterday about a depressed alcoholic stuck in a deep hole. A priest went by and prayed for him, and then went away. A psychiatrist came by and heard his story, and counseled him, and went away too. Several other professional healers came by, did their thing, and went away. Then a recovered alcoholic came by and jumped into the pit with the depressed man. The drunk said, “Why did you do that, now we’re both stuck down here.” The recovered alcoholic said, “Yes, but I know how to get out.” It’s probably a standard Alcoholics Anonymous joke.
I remember a Lincoln quote that I haven’t found that goes something like this, Lincoln, while in his presidency, was requested by some anti-alcohol legislators for support fighting the evils of alcohol, to which Lincoln said something like this, “Alcohol is a very good thing when used properly, but when used improperly it’s a very bad thing. How do we keep the good and get rid of the bad?”
There is now tested research that has shown that one or two drinks per day increases life expectancy over zero drinks or five drinks. This is probably impossible for previous alcoholics to apply, but for young normal healthy people the slogan “Drink for Pleasure not for Pain,” is a good guide. Also, how about, drink one serving of alcohol per day, for life expectancy improvement, two at a social event for reducing inhibitions, and five for emotional pain reduction. One drink a day increases life expectancy, two at a party lowers inhibitions and helps yourself and others have a more interesting encounter, five lowers emotional pain but interferes with solving the problems causing the pain. For a short if rigid slogan, “One drink per day, never more and never less.”
Some research seems to suggest: 1. a highly varied diet of vegetables increases life expectancy; 2. a greater variety of microbiomes is associated with a more varied diet; 3. a low average body temperature increases life expectancy.
I have been developing my slogan idea “Drink for pleasure not for pain” based on George Valliant’s Harvard Grant Study and the ACE test results.
“One drink per day, never more and never less.”
Just as I finished this post I was informed that Jim Seyfert just committed suicide. This is a man I spoke to almost every Saturday morning for the last couple of years. He was a cheerful companion and never seemed in the slightest depressed. A close friend of his from this same group got killed on a bicycle a couple of months ago. He had a broken neck resulting in a future as a quadriplegic, and he chose to die, which you can do here in Oregon. With Jim’s death that’s three friends in six months that chose to die. It’s strange because life in Bend, Oregon, is near idyllic. Perhaps they know that, and as there is no better place to go, they choose to check out.