Sunday, 10 March 2013

Just a splash

My taste for alcohol has always been limited. I enjoy a glass of wine, possibly two, but that's more than enough. I've never understood those vast hordes of people who like to drink as much as possible.

I watch them reeling out of pubs and then collapsing or vomiting or shrieking obscenities and I wonder for the umpteenth time what the attraction is. Especially when the next day they'll also have a crushing hangover and be struggling to function normally.

As a twenty something, I fell in with a crowd of heavy drinkers and started to drink as relentlessly as they did. But after several appalling hangovers, when I felt at death's door and ready to top myself just to end the misery, I resolved to be more sensible and limit myself to what my body could cope with rather than beating my liver to a pulp.

Of course heavy drinking is so common that the drinkers seldom see anything wrong with it. They think heavy drinking is completely normal, if anything more normal than a strait-laced, priggish refusal to keep gulping it down. I know what they're thinking - I'm a wimp, a girlie, an abstemious nerd who doesn't know how to let my hair down and have a good time. Well, each to their own, I guess, and all I can say is that their meat is my poison.

Heavy drinkers have no trouble justifying their habit. What could be more natural? They just enjoy drinking to excess. They enjoy being drunk. They need it to drown their sorrows, to escape the agonies of daily life. It loosens their inhibitions, relaxes them. It helps them to socialise. It's sexually liberating. So many good reasons for knocking it back.

I suppose my attitude is that I want to experience life as it is. If life is difficult, then I'll find ways of making it easier. I'm not looking for an escape, a way of blotting out reality so I don't have to deal with it any more. If I'm shy or nervous, I don't want some artificial Dutch courage to feign a confidence I don't have. I'd rather admit to my shyness and overcome it in my own way.

Whenever someone says "Go on, have another. It won't kill you" I just think, "But what's the point?"

23 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

I feel that too, and about drugs. It is fascinating to wonder why so many people do enjoy it though. It might help that I don't much like the taste of alcohol...

John Gray said...

I always enjoyed wine a little too much..... Since December I have had noneatall!

Nick said...

Jenny: That's probably a very good thing that you don't like the taste. It's saved you from a lot of medical complications in later life.

John: That's very self-restrained of you. But it'll give your liver a well-deserved rest!

Wisewebwoman said...

One word comment, Nick, Chief Normal of the Normies:

ADDICTION.

I is one.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: Chief Normal of the Normies - I like it. Though if you scratch the surface, I'm very far from normal....

Yes, addiction. I think we've had this conversation before! It's bloody hard to break an entrenched addiction. Bloody hard indeed.

Secret Agent Woman said...

You really do spend a lot of time imagining what other people think about you!

I was a heavier drinker in college, but for some reason have never had a hangover. Of course, I was never the vomiting sort, either. These days, I drink wine and beer, but not a crazy amount. I just have no interest in being drunk.

Nick said...

Agent: Not the first time I've been told that! In fact most of my blogmates have told me at one time or another! Well, I'm interested in other people's reactions to me, they can be enlightening....

You've never had a hangover? You don't know how lucky you are. It's a horrible experience.

Bijoux said...

I stick with beer and wine. Always felt sick, and sometimes vomited, after drinking hard liquor.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Spirits are treacherous. Because the measures are small, it's easy to have too much without realising and suffer the consequences.

Roses said...

I like a tipple at the end of the day, but I'm a bit of a lightweight, so it doesn't take much to push me over tipsy.

I'm too mean to drink until I throw up, I find the experience unpleasant.

I sometimes don't drink, I sometimes do.

Grannymar said...

I enjoy a drink and occasionally have a second, but that is it. In fact, the better the company, the less I drink!

Nick said...

Roses: Me too, I react very strongly to alcohol, one reason why I don't have very much. Indeed, what's the attraction of drinking until you're chucking up?

Grannymar: I agree, if the company is sparkling and witty, who needs a drink to enhance it?

eryls said...

I never suffered from hangovers until I was in my forties, so I gave up alchohol pretty much altogether. I just had the odd glass of wine when I was with friends, which was rare. These days I love a pint of Guinness with music, a glass of wine with supper (not every day, it's too expensive and too fattening), and the odd rummy cocktail when the sun is shining, but I really dislike being drunk.

I can see why so many people get annihilated so regularly; escaping from life's problems for a little while, especially when all around you do the same, must feel so much easier than solving them. Bloody sad though.

Nick said...

Eryl: A sensibly restrained approach to the demon drink! That's remarkable that you only had hangovers much later in life. True, escaping from problems often seems easier than trying to solve them.

Nick said...

Eryl: I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but all Wordpress blogs are losing my comments. I think they're all going into the spam box....

eryls said...

You were in my spam, goodness know why! I've now released you.

Nick said...

Nick: Weird, huh? What is it about me that turns me into spam? It must have been that reference to Monty Python....

Rummuser said...

I come from a family of people who take their drinking very seriously. As I write this at just short of 7.00 pm, just about every single one of them will be having a glass of something or the other in his/her hand as it is the sun downer time.

I was like that too and would have alcoholic drinks for lunch and after 5.00 pm no other liquid would go down my gullet. My car was known as the car with the bar.

On May 22, 1999 a very dear young person asked me to stop drinking alcoholic drinks as she did not like my drinking. In a moment of weakness I promised her that I will not drink any more and I have not since that day,

I do not miss it one bit. All my friends and members of a very extended family, think that I am bonkers, but I enjoy their company but will not drink with them.

No big deal,

Nick said...

Ramana: Good for you being so determined and not succumbing to all those who think you're very odd. Does that dear young person realise what an influence she had on you?

Rummuser said...

Yes. She is now a grand mother! Her son is an alcoholic getting in and out of trouble and that is slowly killing her and her husband who is my god son.

Nick said...

Ramana: A grandmother, how about that? A great shame about her son though. Such self-indulgent behaviour.

Liz said...

As a non-drinker I certainly agree with you.
I admit there have been times when I've wished I drank! So it's probably a good job that I don't - if I were to turn to it at times of difficulty.
On the other hand a drink might make me better at relaxing and conversing at parties.
And things are always so much funnier when you're drunk, apparently.

Nick said...

Liz: I must say I don't find drink helps me to relax and converse. It's much more likely to make me either grumpy or sleepy. And it doesn't make things funnier either in my experience. It really does very little for me.