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Moon over the Yosemite Valley

Monday, December 30, 2019

Happy 2020

A Chaldean friend asked me what I was doing for New Years this morning. I said that I would preferably by away from crowded places where people were drinking.

As I get older I am less and less comfortable with crowds and less and less comfortable with alcohol. Put the two together and I am really uncomfortable.

Of course I had exactly one drink in the last year so maybe I am a bit out of practice. But it was never really my thing.

Drank a half gallon of Gallo Mountain Rhine with a friend in boarding school when I was fourteen, and had the one and only hangover of my life, it was vicious and it was plenty.

Of course I have other vices to make up for my lack of appreciation for alcohol, being a long time puffer.

Just a different head space, not quite as sloppy for me and a bit more cerebral. Of course they both have their potential low points as you can see in this graphic image I put together long ago.

People tend to go one way or the other, juicer or stoner, some indulge all the way around. Some are moderate and some are excessive. And some live clean and monastic lives and don't do anything at all and that is wonderful too.

Anyway, as I said, I was talking to my Iraqi friend and he said he felt the exactly same way, he rarely drinks with the exception of an occasional ceremonial or ritual glass of wine and he thinks that it is probably genetic. Middle easterners of any creed do not tend to be heavy drinkers. Don't see a lot of Jewish or Muslim alcoholics around. And I think he is right. Not because of some innate virtue, but because of our genes.

 Scientists have recently identified a rare gene that I bear that discourages alcohol dependence, see Rare Gene discourages Alcoholism among Jews. The gene was first known as alcohol dehydrogenase 2 (ADH2*2), but is now known as alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B). In my particular Promethease report it shows up as rs1159918(T;T).

Now I also have a gene that has been associated in a Japanese study as giving me a higher risk of alcoholism, rs1076560(A). But conversely it shows heightened memory function and its bearers have a lower risk of opiate addiction. Funnily both my sister Liz and I and probably other family members can't tolerate opiates at all. Some studies have linked the gene to cannabis dependence. Horrors!

Several other genes I carry do show a bent towards alcoholism including rs279871(A;G), rs1800759(A;C), rs686(A;A) and rs7928758(T;T). Not sure how the genes fight it out but in any case firewater was never my bag. A nice glass of Silver Oak on occasion and a greyhound or two but not often.

Of course having been at least partially raised by an abusive alcoholic stepfather and a mother with a proclivity for pharmaceuticals, you live a portion of your life as roadkill or collateral damage and you get a little bit gun shy about doing great harm to your body, or trusting humans for that matter, hence my lifetime reticence.

Please be safe this New Years and do take care of your bodies. See you next year, all in one piece.

3 comments:

Liz said...

I distinctly remember Mom waving around a bottle of wine while she was telling me that she had stopped drinking. Her booze was as bad as her pills.

Blue Heron said...

If the thunder don't get you than the lightning will.

Jerry Hall said...

Happy New Year Blue!