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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why I don't drink (alcohol, that is)

As I mentioned to a family member yesterday, sometimes it's easier to see imaginary demons on the outside than it is to face the real ones that reside on the inside.  No where that more true than when the subject is substance abuse.  For me, this has translated to almost 15 years of nearly complete abstinence from alcohol.

Allow me to digress.

Like most "red blooded American teenagers", I did my share of breaking the law via consuming alcohol underage.  It was stupid then, and if I could get my hands on a DeLorean time machine I would most certainly go back in time and dope slap myself upside the head more than a few times.  That trend of drinking continued into college, where I entered what I would call the "major leagues" of alcohol consumption.  Nothing screams over-indulgence like a college dorm party.  From there, I would drink from time to time, but the physicality associated with drinking became problematic:  the older I got, the more I would end up feeling really, really sick afterwards.  

I think the physical reaction to alcohol was trying to tell me something.

That "something" was a lesson, if you will, about not necessarily what alcohol (or any abused drug for that matter) does to you body in as much as what it does to your mind and your spirit.  I've come to learn and appreciate the fact that such things create a fiction for you...they amplify whatever nonsense is in your  head into proportions that wouldn't ordinarily be allowed in a non-inebriated state.  Bitter and angry?  Getting drunk will make you super bitter and angry.  Funny, but that doesn't sound like much of a help to me.

Residing in the back of my head also is the fact that I had a father who, for all intensive purposes, spent the better part of his life incessantly trying to escape demons in a bottle of booze. For the record, the demons always seemed to find him anyway (that's what happens when they are actually on the in...not out...side).  Growing up there was no greater insult that my mother could hurl at her sons than to say "don't be like your father".  On one hand, that's a pretty horrible comment to make; on the other, it was a simple phrase with a ton-o-meaning:  face your reality...whatever it may be...with your head firmly planted on your own head.

So why don't I drink?  Well I don't like the taste of booze for starters.  And in fact I will have a glass of wine once or twice a year.  Mostly though, I don't like what it represents.  I happen to like my reality, well, real.

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