Pick Your Poison…

…and that’s really what I’ve been having to do lately to keep myself from going crazy.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the epitome of good health. Though I am in good physical condition and exercise regularly (and eat reasonably well), as you can tell from my alcohol and tobacco reviews I do have my vices. It seems lately I’m engaging in my vices a lot more than normal, probably as a way to cope with the increased stress from my heavier work load and just being away from friends and family. All of this is, of course, compounded by the stress of the holidays which gets everyone down.

On my down time, I’m one of three places: at the bar, the cigar lounge, or at home. In any of those instances, chances are I’ve got a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other, pretty much all the time. If it’s too damn cold outside; it’ll be a vape in the other hand. Whatever the case, it’s what I have to do to unwind.

Yeah, I know I’m not doing my liver, mouth or throat any favors. Trust me, I know. I have at the bare minimum 3-4 standard units of alcohol per day (and that usually runs closer to 5-6 given the higher than average ABVs of my beverages of choice) and anywhere from as few as 1 to as many as 4 cigars in a day.

I’m very well aware that my consumption of these things is well above the medical recommendation (the US definition is up to 2 standard drinks per day and up to 2 cigars per day) but man, I don’t know what else to do. For me having a drink and a cigar is a ritual that relaxes me. It takes the edge off and I kind of forget about the worries of my job and my shitty ass life in the meantime.

I mean, what’s worse for you? Tobacco/alcohol or stress? It seems to me stress is a far greater harm to you and I have plenty of that from having an boss who doesn’t understand how to deal with autistic adults, no real support structure and all that bullshit. When you look at people like Jose Orlando Padron who always had a cigar in his hand, you have to come to the conclusion that genetics probably plays a far bigger role in developing smoking related cancers than exposure to smoke itself. That’s not saying it helps matters, but you get the idea. Same with many old wine makers, distillers, etc. – they don’t appear to have a higher-than-normal incidence of cirrhosis or similar.

I guess the point is I just question the legitimacy of all this “smoking/drinking is so bad for you” bullshit. I’m not saying it’s entirely risk free. Alas, in my view you have to pick your battles. I’ll gladly gamble with a slightly elevated risk of mouth cancer or liver disease if it helps me to reduce my stress levels. As an autist, my vices are as much as ritual and routine as much as pure enjoyment. It is what it is.

We all have poisons in our live we have to choose between. Pick the one that’s the lesser harm to you because you have to pick one. There’s no avoiding it altogether. I don’t give a fuck if you think I have a problem. You’re not me. And no, I won’t “get help.” I’ll keep doing what I do. It works for me.



Beer/Cigar Review Wednesday 3/15/17 – What’s Worse for You?

Beware the ides of March and welcome to beer/cigar review Wednesday. Unfortunately I still have nothing really new to review, so for today we’re just going to take a look at another aspect of a couple of my favorite things: namely the health effects.

Let me be perfectly clear here: I know alcohol and cigars aren’t the healthiest things for you. Whereas the former has some heart health benefits in moderation, there’s practically nothing good for you about cigars. I know this. That said, the way I see it is everything is a tradeoff.

I am what most would consider a fairly heavy drinker (my normal is about 3-4 standard drinks/day given I prefer higher ABV beers and higher proof Scotch) an a light to moderate cigar smoker (no more than 1-2 cigars/day). I am not dependent on either alcohol nor nicotine and can and have laid off of them if the situation required me to do so.

For me, my love of beer, Scotch and cigars is more about the flavors, the relaxation and the overall experience. I have my alcoholic beverages of choice and my cigars for that reason only. Sure, the psychoactive effects of the alcohol and nicotine are part of the experience and rounds out the package but that isn’t my primary purpose.

Even so, I realize that I am taking somewhat of a risk here, but it is a very calculated risk. I’m very well aware that I am increasing my risk of certain cancers (oral, stomach, etc.) as well as my risk of cirrhosis and such. I also know that alcoholic beverages are high in calories (something I am mindful of and adjust for in my daily food intake). That said, when you step back and think of it, which is worse for you? Alcohol and cigars or stress? I think even most doctors would agree that stress is many times worse for your health. Stroking out, heart attacks, high blood pressure and even mental illness can come about due to excessive level of stress.

Hence, a calculated risk. My daily drink(s) and cigar(s) go a long way to reducing my stress levels and though I drink more than the recommended daily amount of alcohol I don’t go absolutely crazy and I don’t smoke enough cigars for it to have that substantial of an effect on my health (actually even the FDA has admitted 1-2 cigars per day has a negligible effect on health) so I’ll gladly take my chances with my vices.

So yes, enjoy your alcoholic beverages of choice and cigars/pipes in moderation, savor the experience and reap the overall net health benefits of reduced stress.

With that, time to go pour a dram and light up. Cheers, everyone!

Mission Accomplished: No-Shave November

Well, it’s official: I have survived No-Shave November.

For whatever reason facial hair really bugs me. By that I mean on MY face. I think it can look good on the right person but man, it just drives me up the wall to have it myself. The itch is almost unbearable in the early stages and even after it goes away I just don’t like the feeling of having facial hair (again, could be a sensory thing related to autism) and honestly I don’t really like the way it looks on me.

On the other hand, I’m a terrible shaver (I always manage to cut my face to shreds) so I’ve found a middle ground of using a beard trimmer on the lowest possible setting ever few days (thus leaving the ever so slightest amount of stubble, which I can get away with as my facial hair grows fairly slowly).

Alas, it’s for a good cause (prostate cancer awareness) so I’ll gladly put up with 30 days of beard itch and irritation. I don’t know how I get through it but somehow I do every year. Alas, here’s 30 days of growth on me. Get a good look because you won’t see it again until next November:

With that, here in a short bit it will be back to my normal tiny bit of stubble. I can’t wait. 😛