Hello.  My name is Emily and I am a Schmalcoholic.

I know you all know what an alcoholic is.  I am not one of those. Alcoholism is a serious disease from which I thankfully do not suffer.  However, I have been showing symptoms of alcoholism’s little cousin – schmalcoholism — you know, the goofy one no one takes very seriously.  All signs suggest that schmalcoholism sets in when you reach your 40’s.  It very well may be contagious, as many friends close to me seem to suffer as well.  You know who you are BUT just in case you don’t, here are some distinctions:

  • Schmalcoholism most often afflicts parents of school age children but can also strike earlier or later depending upon the situation.  Many of the sufferers are Type A and believe that we are better equipped to deal with our kids and their antics after a drink or two.
  • Schmalcoholics probably average about 2-3 drinks during the week and another 4-6 over the weekend.  When asked by our doctor how much we drink, we lie underestimate and assert that we have 1-2 glasses of red wine each week (because that’s good for you, right).
  • Schmalcoholics are often avid fitness buffs.  After having several drinks on a Friday night, it is not rare to see one of us sweating mojitos at the gym the next morning.
  • Whereas, alcoholics will drink anything in a pinch, schmalcoholics are much more choosey.  For instance, I refuse to drink anything that tastes like lighter fluid.
  • Schmalcoholics all have at least one spirit that conjures up reeeeeeeeeally bad memories and near death experiences.  We don’t drink those spirits anymore.
  • Though clearly unspoken, schmalcoholics equate drinking with youth, vitality and some level of coolness.  We like talking about what we are drinking as much as we like actually drinking.  This symptom is especially true with men and their micro brews.
  • Schmalcoholics enjoy pina coladas although some are afraid to admit it.
  • Like alcoholics, schmalcoholics will drink at any time during the day but ONLY in the correct context.  We will gladly choose the bloody mary or mimosa at brunch.  It makes us feel sporty.
  • Schmalcoholics are largely social drinkers.  We don’t like to drink alone, but we will get started early if the day warrants it.  And by early I mean 4:00 p.m.
  • Schmalcoholics will, on extremely rare occasions, overindulge and immediately regret it, incoherently mumbling words that sound like “I’m too old for this shit” or “I should know better at my age” as they lie with their cheeks on the cool bathroom floor.  Still, at our age, a hangover constitutes serious bragging rights as if to say to the world, “I can still tie one on and feel like complete crap the next day like I did when I was 30!”
  • Schmalcoholics never DUI.  In fact, schmalcoholic couples will go to great lengths to make sure one person is the designated driver.  When out at a party, the query “are you alright to drive?” is repeated annoyingly incessantly and pervasively throughout the evening.  Schmalcoholics are not idiots.

So there you have it.  I must be clear that there is NO SHAME in schmalcoholism.  For those of you who were scared to come forward — or even unaware that you had were a schmalcoholic – it’s okay.  In fact, I was thinking that perhaps we need our own support group to work through some of the issues we face in light of this diagnosis.  If you think you suffer from schmalcoholism, feel free to join me later this evening around 5:00 p.m. for a discussion, healing meditation and perhaps some chips and guac.    BYOB — we would love to hear from you.

A happy weekend to all MoB readers!

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