I am not a drinker. And I don’t mean I am not a heavy drinker or even that I drink in moderation. I mean I don’t drink. Ever. When people hear this they’re
surprised dumbfounded because really, how many 20-somethings say this when offered a beer? When I go out with my friends, mine is the only Schweppes or Perrier (with lemon, please) among the beers at the table.
When I lived in the UK my boss was quite taken aback at the fact that after five years in France I wasn’t hooked on champagne intravenously. I actually like the idea of champagne. It’s pretty, bubbly, it feels funny on your tongue and the golden hued liquid looks so chic in those skinny flûtes. So very glam! But taste-wise, my taste buds are not impressed. Nor are they by Merlot, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. A rough, unpolished lump of coal I am, yes, and I fear I shall never turn into a diamond as far as my taste in wine goes. But I am perfectly at peace with this because much as I love Paris, the French joie de vivre and bohemian lifestyle, my honest opinion is that nothing good ever comes from drinking. Unless you consider making a fool of yourself, questionable one night stands, peeing in the kitty litter box (I actually know somebody who did this under the influence, you can’t make this up) driving recklessly and vomiting for 24 hours afterwards something good.
Much as I may respect and like you, when you’re drunk that admiration takes a nose dive and you’d better hope I don’t see you hung over with your head over a toilet, reeking of putrid metabolized ethanol because to me you could not sink any lower.
Seriously. Nothing good can come of drinking. You may think that the few hours of exhilaration and inhibition-free partying are worth the whole morning-after nastiness and long term effects, but really, what does that say about you? The sans alcohol you. Something might be amiss if you find you cannot enjoy yourself without being inebriated.
You may also think that getting drunk every once in a while never hurt anybody. Everybody does it, right? Nobody’s getting sick. Well here’s where knowing just a little bit about how our bodies work will tell you otherwise. Yes, you recover quickly after a night of heavy booze especially if you’re in your (roaring) 20s. But even if your liver gets the job done, it doesn’t mean it’s doing it happily. Your liver is working in a cubicle, sorting out the piles of papers you’re constantly shoving on its desk, getting grumpier with every ounce of liquor you ingest. Then in your 30s you begin struggling after every hangover and start telling yourself “man, I’m getting old”. I know people my age who by now are downright alcoholics. The saddest part is that they’re actually proud of it. You probably know their sort too, the ones you crossed in the dorm hallway and who told you with a sense of weird satisfaction and pride “man, last night was wicked! We got sooo wasted!”. Fast forward 7 years and they’ve got DRUNK spelled in big bold letters on their foreheads.
Here’s where you tell me that drinking in moderation is not the same as being an alcoholic. And I agree. I am not a drinking Nazi. The choice I’ve made is my own, and I’m not trying to impose it on anybody. But I am really not fooled by the argument that a glass of wine with a meal is good for you, that it contains antioxidants, blah, blah. No, that shit won’t fly. Yes, wine might contain antioxidants but it’s still alcohol. A drug which has no beneficial effect no matter which way you look at it. So why not drink berry juice instead – more antioxidants, no alcohol. Because people like the numbness in their brain afterwards, that’s why.
The thing with me is that I don’t like the taste of any alcoholic drink I’ve tasted so far. So why pretend I like beer when I think it tastes like crap? Why pretend I’m fancy and order wine with my salmon en croute when really, I would rather have just water? Why endure the burning of my throat with vodka-based cocktails when I know they’re not doing me any good whatsoever? I don’t need to shed my inhibitions and start shouting when I’m out with my friends – our inhibitions are there for a reason: to stop us from acting like idiots. I don’t need alcohol to enjoy myself and I want to be able to remember clearly every moment worth remembering. How else would I get material for this blog? Ha!
A brilliant artist I know once said this regarding drugs: “I like how my brain works. I don’t need a bias in perception”. Word!