Congratulations on breaking the habit ! it is a hard and daily journey.
“At the office, every desk near mine has a bottle of wine or liquor on it in case people are too lazy to walk the 50 feet to one of the well-stocked communal bars we’ve built our floor. A local pharmacy .. installs self-service beer taps ..Traveling for work, I steel myself for the company-sponsored wine tasting.”
After the first paragraphs, I thought the article was going to be some kind of parody. Here in flyover country, none of those things happen. Drinking on company time, or arriving at work having drunk, is grounds for dismissal. Incidentally this is at a software company. I guess California is its own parody these days.
My uncle was an alcoholic who died early of cirrhosis. I saw what that did to my mother, which has been a great help in controlling my own drinking. Here as well it’s easier for guys - I drink one beer at parties, then refill the bottle surreptitiously from the water tap. Every year I go dry for six weeks just to make sure I still can. Oddly enough this has no detectable effects on weight, mood, sleep, exercise, or anything else. During that time if offered hospitality I used to decline. These days I’ll accept a beer or glass of wine for two reasons: to avoid the need for explanations; to honour their hospitality.
Drinking is a way to forget one’s miseries for a little. These miseries may differ in kind between the genders, but it is not likely that they differ much in effect. I drink with Jules Feiffer,
“Sometimes I feel small. And sometimes I feel larger than life. Sometimes I feel crushed. And sometimes I feel like a king. Sometimes I feel slow. And sometimes I feel like a wit. But most of the time I feel just like me. So I drink.”
and Edgar Allan Poe,
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”