Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Monday, October 06, 2014


Monday, October 6, 2014


I stopped drinking hard booze when we went to Utah for two weeks in August of 2014. I drank 2-3 glasses of wine every evening. I did not miss the gin or scotch, except a few times when I got a mild urge to sit down and have a cock tail, my habit after 5 PM. I continued the wine diet for the rest of August and until September 29th. Gary and Fred came to dinner and I bought a bottle of Jim Beam and served us manhattans. I finished off what was left in the bottle by Monday the 29th. I had had a martini at lunch with Spellman on Friday, September 12. I went back on the wine happily through today.

I noticed after I drank manhattans with Gary and Fred I did not feel good, slept poorly and felt drunk at night when I got up to pee. I feel and sleep better after the wine.

I recently bought a Keurig coffee maker. The coffee comes in a little plastic shot glass sized container, which pops right into the machine. Hot water flows into the little container and out into a cup as real coffe and is quite good. It is quick to make, no mess or fuss and does not waste coffee. I have a cup after my nap and it holds me until wine time just before or during dinner prep. That cup of coffee seems to take a way that habitual desire for a cocktail at 5 PM plus.

My plan is to continue with the wine, have a cocktail occasionally or if we go to a nice restaurant.

John Spellman made the point with me one day at lunch that he decided to give up cocktails when realized it was a habit more than a desire to drink alcohol. That feels right to me, especially that is how it is working for me since early August.

When I drank hard liquor, I was often irritable and argumentative with Ann at dinner in the evenings. After she called it to my attention some years ago, I was able to control that behavior quite a bit but not perfectly. After wine I have not noticed that aggressive behavior. I must continue to pay attention to that, however.

Our grandfather Reinemann drank heavily and may have been an alcoholic. I know this only from family lore. He would leave cousins Dick and Phyllis on the porch of a saloon while he went inside for drinks.  My mother said Grandpa failed in the bar business because he was his own best customer. When Dad read the poem Crossing the Bar at Grandpa’s funeral. Mother said, “Grandpa seldom crossed a bar without going in.”

Mother and Dad drank regularly and often. I remember they drank rum and coke, but have no memory of any other booze they drank. Mother, when she wanted a refill of her drink, lifted her leg and said “Warren, how about one for the other leg.” I threatened to have that carved on her tombstone.

During the college and seminary years, we drank beer and some cheap gallon bottles of red wine. In Bronxville we were given fine cocktails and scotch at the homes of our parishioners. We did not drink much at home with the growing family, Leigh in 1956, Sarah in 1958 and Jessica in 1960.  We were in the Bronx when Jess was born.

Lillian and I started drinking gin martinis when the children were young in the Bronx. By five PM, they were tired, dirty, crank and sleepy, and so were we. We picked up Dee Barrett’s appellation that this time of the day was the arsenic hour. We had martinis instead. Mosholu Lightening was the name we gave the cheap gin we bought at the Mosholu Liquor store around the corner from the rectory. We drank regularly and I continued after our divorce in 1969. I drank mostly scotch, Ballantine’s.

During the Trinity years and afterwards, I took on manhattans and martinis with single malt scotch, Glen Livet, on hand for a breather. Ann would drink wine sparingly and reluctantly.

Brother Edwin and his wife Pamela have regular cocktail time together. Pam likes white wine with ice-cubes, Ed vodka martinis. A lovely custom.

At this time in my life I like the ease with which I have made the switch to wine from booze. I certainly don’t close the door to an occasional cocktail.



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