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.

21 June 2012 Posted by | Life, Thinking | , , | Leave a comment

   

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