Benny's Adventures

What’s the deal with alcohol?

Recently I went to a beer tasting festival, the Big Lick Beertopia, and had a good time hanging out with friends. The two friends each obtained some number of tastes while I chose to be the designated driver.

That set off this strange statement from a new acquaintance I met at the festival:

“Man, I could never do it. You’re a good man.”

What?

I was a bit taken aback mostly because I don’t feel it’s some grand sacrifice on my part (I dislike the taste of alcohol) and I’m not any different simply because I choose not to drink alcohol.

There are two main approaches to alcohol, I think:

1. It tastes good.

People like to drink what they find tastes good. For me, I gravitate toward chocolate milk while some prefer the taste of some alcoholic beverage. If someone told me I couldn’t drink chocolate milk I would be upset. On another note, I don’t find someone to be different for not liking chocolate milk or choosing to not drink it at any given instant makes someone better or worse. Consider this situation:

Person A is at the supermarket. A grabs some 1% milk.

Person B notices this and says, “Man, I could never do that. I can’t not drink chocolate milk. You’re a good man, my friend, you’re a good man.”

That seems ridiculous to me. In any case, there is a difference – consumption of alcohol has more obvious effects than chocolate milk. This leads me to my next point:

2. People drink alcohol for its effects.

Don’t misunderstand. I am not a blind templar for alcohol prohibition. Rather, I acknowledge that alcohol has its benefits and drawbacks. Just read through the Wikipedia section and you’ll find some positive and negative effects with the negative mostly dealing with consumption of too much alcohol. I’ve seen people drink responsibly and people drink irresponsibly. Responsible use of anything is acceptable, I would claim, because that implies an understanding of the risks and effects on close people and a calculated decision with the big picture in mind. That’s a stricter criteria than it may sound like – I find a lot of people can’t drink responsibly, mainly for the following point:

The idea that not drinking is not possible is immature and irresponsible. I was certainly not a fan of being unable to try different drinks to perhaps find some I can tolerate or maybe even like but I felt I had a social responsibility to ensure my friends would have zero chance of driving under the influence and furthermore I wanted to be a good friend and ensure their good time. I of course derived satisfaction from this so I don’t claim to be altruistic but rather I made a deliberate choice after analyzing the situation.

Let me reiterate that I have no problem with drinking alcoholic beverages. I DO have a problem with the idea that some people feel like they cannot live without it. It’s not necessarily a judgment of character as alcohol can modify the brain and its behavior not to mention the brain inherently having great variability in will power and obsessive personality. What I most take issue with is the idea that I am different in some way or the exception for choosing not to drink. I believe it ignores the core of the issue – that people drink what tastes good for them – and instead latches on to a culture that I am not a part of. I do not buy beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages at home but I am not superior or inferior to my friends who live downstairs because of that.

It’s just different. And that needs to be okay.

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21 June 2012 - Posted by | Life, Thinking | , ,

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