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Is it Easier to Be Sober in a Warm or Cold Climate?

Is it Easier to Be Sober in a Warm or Cold Climate?

Is it Easier to Be Sober in a Warm or Cold Climate?

I’ve spent a lot of time in The Bahamas and Russia. Florida and Michigan. All of those places seem to be fueled by alcohol. I have been drunk in all of them and watched others be drunk too. In tiki-huts on the Exuma Sound, in a gondola on a St Petersburg canal (with a brown paper bag…). At Irish/Polish funerals in Flint and with art guys on Miami lanais. I got sober in Florida. I am living in Michigan now as a person in long term recovery. All of these experiences have made me curious yellow (but watch out where the huskies go…), to answer the burning question that’s been on my mind lately. Is it easier to be sober in a warm or cold climate?


It’s Tough ANYWHERE…

This morning when I got up and looked out at all the white, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to sit in front of a fire and get quietly pie-eyed with a bottle of red wine (or three). The photograph above is not a screen shot from the movie Fargo. Or a black and white pic. It was taken by my intern Monica when I sent her out to get “happy shots of snow”. Sometimes the cold weather is just colorless and melancholy. And there’s a certain beauty…


The best way to sum up what it feels like to be a drunk in a cold climate, is to recount the conversation I had with my Russian, gondola captain. We were in St Petersburg during the white nights and it was light and festive at 3 AM. I asked, “So what all happens during the white nights?”

He said, “Very happy. Make babies and get drunk.”

I said, “Okay. So what happens during the dark days then?” Assuming what goes up must come down…

He said, “Bad. We get drunk and kill ourselves…”

Notice the common denominator…


But in a Warm Climate…



I am heading to Florida tomorrow, and staying at George’s condo on the ocean. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I think about what it would be like to sit on his balcony and get quietly plastered with a bottle of white wine (or five). I’m being honest here. There is something a little missing without the wine – hot of cold, red or white. Yes, I know to play it forwardI’m crawling around on the floor looking for my teeth… I am waking with no memory in a strange bed…


The best way to describe drunkenness in a warm climate, is to reminisce about the pearls of wisdom spouted by my Bahamian boat captain. (What is it about being on the water? In a boat?)

He used to say (apropos of nothing), “Shake it like a bowl of soup girl! It’s all good. Tings’ happen.” This, while opening another bottle of Marilyn Merlot and popping a jalapeno stuffed olive. Looking out to a horizon so spare and azure, you could see the arc of the earth…

It’s all about the motivation…


Excuses, Excuses…

Happy. Sad. Cold. Warm. Vacation. A hard day’s work. Party. Funeral. Excuses, excuses – no wonder 1 in 10 people have a drinking problem. No wonder the relapse rate is so high. No wonder I think about it when the sky turns white. Or when the sky is blue as a robin’s egg.


No need to move my friends. It moves with you. The momentary yen. The memories like tea candles in a mud puddle.


Today I’m not drinking because I’m driving to warm and sunny Florida. Duh…


How come you’re not drinking?


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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar
    Who the hell has time to drink?
    Dec 16, 2016

    It’s too too easy in Acapulco. The challenge is to NOT drink. I accept the challenge. I win.

    • Marilyn
      Dec 30, 2016

      What, by the way, are you doing in Acapulco for the winter? Not fair. But I also know how hard it is to not drink in those kinds of places… Take care. Have fun. Sip a gassy water for me!

  2. Avatar
    Dec 17, 2016

    Certain sensual stimuli of weather sometimes set off the oddest craving in my brain. The cold chill in the air with a snow covered scene yearns for a warming toddy, a warm breeze yearns a dewy icy filled glass of Chardonnay. Often times they are feelings of nostalgia I think. My mind and body recreating and being reminded of scenarios in the past. When it’s warm you drink, when it’s cold you drink. For myself, any time and any weather was appropriate for a cocktail. There is a certain connection though between weather, sensatory perceptions and driking I have yet to grasp. Often times the inkling for a drink will come out of nowhere. When it is raining I think to myself wouldn’t it be nice to hole up in a cozy restaurant swirling red wine in my glass over dim candlelight. But as you stated the feelings pass as fast as they come. Whenever I envision myself imbibing in what seems like a perfect scenario (i.e. In front of a roaring fire with a glass) I try to recreate it in my mind to make it more acceptable. It’s winter here in Ohio so the snow is adrift. I try to picture myself rather than with wine, but a mug of tea in front of the fire being calm, collect, with my wits about me. Removing the wine from the picture takes away the fear of what would follow after the “picturesque” scene; nothing but desperation, ugliness, and shame.

  3. Avatar
    Bob White
    Dec 20, 2016

    “…tea candles in a mud puddle.”

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