Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Why I Don't Drink. Ever.

Not all that long ago, a friend asked me why I don't ever drink.

That question is a little rare for me, but not unusual, as most of the people I know have figured it out by now and either aren't curious or I've already given them some kind of explanation. But I ended up not only explaining it, but kind of examining it as a whole.

Occasionally, it does occur to me that I'm missing out on possibly one of the most ubiquitous aspects of society. People have been drinking alcohol, everywhere, for millennia. And if I ever do become famous, I often think that I'll be known as the writer who doesn't drink.

So why don't I drink?

First, I'd like to knock a few reasons some people might assume off the list.

No, I don't drink because I think it's immoral.

No, I don't drink because I think it's unhealthy.

No, I don't drink for any kind of religious reason.

And no, I don't drink because I some kind of personal vendetta against alcohol.

Maybe it's unnecessary to cover this, but you'd be surprised. Besides the fact that I grew up with the knowledge that I should cover my bases and assume the worst, I also have had some people get slightly offended. Which, I suppose, is not an entirely unreasonable reaction. There's this weird aspect of society, whether perceived or actual, of implied insults, or, more specifically, implied superiority.

And given what assholes a lot of people are and the petty power struggles I see a lot of people get into, maybe it's actual more often than it's perceived. Or maybe that's just my perception. But I've never tried to hold my non-drinking ways over anyone. I sure as hell don't feel superior because of it.  Although I don't really feel superior to most people anyway.

The only thing I think is kind of stupid is when people intentionally drink to puking or black out. Like...come on, really? That can't be fun.

So, let's get started.

It cannot be said that alcohol was not a part of my life. My family likes to drink. In high school, there were some people I hung around who enjoyed it as well. Had I really wanted to, I could have gotten into it a long time ago.

The first time I ever actually tasted alcohol was accidental. I was eight. My grandmother sometimes drank a can before bed. One night, we were watching TV and I had a can of orange soda. I set it down next to her can and then grabbed hers by mistake. I didn't even swallow the beer. I ran to the sink and spat it out.

It tasted that horrendous.

I didn't really have any other experiences with it until after I'd turned twenty one. Sorry to say, there's no big story, no epic tale. I didn't get shitfaced and streak through a parking lot, or almost die from a godforsaken hangover, or blackout, or anything else. I tried some vodka one night, got buzzed, hated the feeling. I'm probably weird, but I don't like that feeling of being slightly dizzy, where my thoughts are easily scattered and everything seems to be very slow. It just doesn't sit well with me. After that, I drank a few more times, not enough to even get buzzed, and just decided I was done. By the time I was 23, I stopped trying at all.

Now, there are a few reasons I decided it wasn't for me.

The first is, like I said, I don't like the feeling of being buzzed or drunk.

The second is that it tastes horrible. All the stuff I've tried has tasted horrible. Now, I'm fully aware that there are ways to make it not taste horrible, as many, many people have told me. However, it doesn't stop there. I'll get to that in a moment.

The third reason is that it's really expensive to drink regularly, and I just don't have the money.

The fourth reason is that I already have enough bad habits. I'm already addicted to fast food and soda, and I already have a hard enough time trying to lose weight and minimize my unhealthiness. I don't need the help of booze making that shit even harder.

Now, the fifth and final reason, (that comes to mind at least), is probably the most important one. It wasn't quite so obvious back during my early twenties when I tried alcohol here and there, but it certainly became more prominent as the years went on: when I taste, or even smell alcohol, my body reacts violently, as if I just caught a whiff of poison or toxic waste. Note that it isn't my mind reacting this way, I don't have anything against alcohol, but my physical body violently rejecting it. Even if I catch a whiff of it nowadays my throat burns for awhile afterward.

Last time I really remember taking a drink was in 2014 or 2015. My wife had a drink she'd put together, something alcoholic and juice, and I took a drink of it, thinking it was just juice. I reacted pretty poorly, my throat closing up briefly, and according to my wife there wasn't all that much alcohol in it. So that really just sealed the notion that my body hates booze. Which I'm fine with.

I don't really talk about it much because it was never a struggle for me. It's not like I overcame alcohol. I was never really tempted to begin with. All the people in my life who drank were really cool about it when it came to my feelings towards it. Every now and then, they'd offer me some, and I'd decline, and that was it, no big deal.

And that's it. That's why I don't drink. I wouldn't even have written this because I don't think about it hardly at all, even though it's still in my life a lot. Most of the people in my social circle drink. My wife drinks. It's funny because some people find that really weird, that I don't ever drink but she does, like it might cause problems, but it's worked out pretty great so far. Plus, she always has a designated driver.

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