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    Wine, Wine Everywhere-So, Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

    By Kristen Houghton     

    We’re waiting, with a group of close friends, for a table at our favorite bistro. Two of the men are carrying the “new” bag that seems to be popular today-the wine bag. All around us, we see other couples and groups of friends with similar bags, some fancy designer cloth ones, others simple colored paper. There are even some “twosome” bags carrying a “bottle of red, bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite, thank you, Billy Joel.” Enough variety there to make everyone happy.

    An hour into our meal and I see the restaurant is filled with happy, convivial patrons. Everyone seems pleasantly buzzed. Conversation and laughter float around us. The little world inside the bistro is a contented one.

    But at the table next to us there is more than a pleasant buzz going on. The buzz has turned into slurred speech and a raised voice. A man is loudly complaining about his job. One of his buddies apologizes to our table by saying this is his friend’s “whino-voice” because, “he whines when he drinks wine!” No big deal he says.

    “What’s the big deal?” he asks us.

    But it is a big deal. His friend is drunk.

    My friend comments that you can’t “become an alcoholic drinking wine.”

    But you can; alcohol is alcohol. While a glass of wine may not be as potent as a glass of hard liquor, if you drink a large enough quantity of it, the effect is the same. The path to becoming an alcoholic by drinking wine is on the same road as whiskey or scotch.

    Today’s films extol the consumption of wine. The character is modern and upscale if he or she is shown drinking wine out of a fancy glass. We tend to see drinking wine in 2008 in much the same way as movie goers in the 1930’s saw cigarette smoking-it’s a sophisticated thing to do. The symbol of the wine-bag has replaced the silver cigarette case as the new status symbol for “with-it” diners.

    But while drinking wine in moderation doesn’t have the same health hazard as even the most moderate smoking habit, it becomes a danger to health when the person drinking it becomes addicted to the false feeling of calm and the lack of inhibition the alcohol brings. More and more is needed to keep the buzz going until you can’t function or feel like yourself without it.

    We have become the wine generation. Wines from places like Australia and South Africa are in vogue; new, exciting flavors for the sophisticated amateur sommelier’s palate, just waiting to be tasted. The belief is that wine is innocuous. How can something that is good for you cause you any harm?

    Our conscious mind doesn’t see wine as a real alcoholic beverage. Many of us growing up in families who came from countries like Italy, Spain, or France remember dinners where wine was always on the table. As children, we were given a little bit of wine in our soda or juice. No one saw anything wrong with it. Even pregnant women were encouraged to have a glass of wine to “produce strong blood for the baby.” Wine was good for you.

    Even though it has been proven that drinking red wine can be beneficial to your health, medical experts are very quick to caution that if a person has a “problem” with alcohol, then dark grape juice, or red and black grapes, will produce the same benefits as any wine.

    As we’re having dessert, the owner of the bistro sends his usual complimentary glasses of Sambuca around the restaurant. The wine-drinking man at the next table attempts to bring the glass to his mouth, but instead dribbles the liqueur down his shirt. He thinks this is hilarious. No one else does.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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