Alcoholic Beverages Taste Horrible
Alcohol is also one of the most destructive drugs that is socially acceptable.
I remember being 8 years old and sneaking a sip of my uncle's can of Budweiser beer he usually kept in our refrigerator when he came to visit.
Being a child, I was curious about this beverage I was told was only meant for adults. And of course, nothing encourages a mischievous kid more than being told the object of their curiosity is off limits.
So late one night, I sneaked into the kitchen, grabbed my uncle's can of beer out of the fridge, and triumphantly took a sip of what I thought would taste like amber-colored soda.
Instead, the what assaulted my young taste buds is what I imagine horse urine must taste like. I have been a non-drinker of alcoholic beverages ever since.
My disdain of alcohol is indiscriminate: beer, wine, champagne, liqueurs, spirits, cocktails, mead, ale, vodka, gin, tequila, etc., it all tastes revolting to me.
Due to my revulsion of it, imbibing alcohol was not one of the major temptations of my youth. But growing up, it quickly became apparent to me how drinking it is deeply ingrained as a "normal" activity every adult is expected to engage in at some point.
Drinking alcohol is expected when having a meal, celebrating an achievement or milestone, and most definitely during social functions like parties.
It also becomes the go-to crutch for stress relief. It is the rallying point from which one can commiserate misfortune and loss. In fact, "drowning your sorrow" is a longstanding idiom for using alochol to numb one's pain.
People are expected to offer and serve alcohol to guests visiting their home, and so on. If you think about it, the drinking of alcohol permeates our cultural zeitgeist like few other activities.
But as a non-drinker, it is just plain odd. Even stranger is how people react when they discover you do not drink.
When I attend social events and refuse to drink, it is as if I stepped out of a flying saucer. You get stunned, deer-caught-in-the-headlights looks that herald a barrage of incredulous questions:
"What do you mean, you don't drink? As in never?!"
"Are you an alcoholic?!
"Are you in recovery?"
"Do you have a medical condition?"
"Do you have some kind of allergy?"
"How do you get through your day?"
"Is it a religious thing?"
Yes, people have asked me these exact same questions - as well as many more - whenever they discover my non-drinking status. In their eyes, my strangeness is cemented when I reveal the main reason for my alcohol-free lifestyle: my hatred of its taste.
At this point, kind, though misguided, people vow to introduce me to the one alcoholic beverage they are certain I will enjoy - if I will only be "open-minded" and give it a try.
I always politely decline and continue to enjoy my glass of water, juice, or soda as everyone else shakes their heads in disbelief at my refusal to join the cult of Colt 45.
Honestly, I do not judge anyone who drinks. But for me, drinking has never had much of an allure.
The whole "getting shitfaced" thing - especially as a means to celebrate or commiserate? The appeal of it escapes me.
People drinking themselves into a stupor, behaving outlandishly, losing time, puking their guts out, and suffering the next day due to hangovers? All while they frame the experience as "having fun?"
Yeah. No thanks, I'll pass.
I have witnessed individuals blow up careers, damage their personal relationships, and destroy their reputations all due to alcohol.
I have watched a former close friend of mine succumb to using alcohol to get through life's stressors. It gradually altered their personality until they were unrecognizable to me.
I have also known people who have lost loved ones or have been grievously injured due to others being under the influence while operating machinery or driving a car.
Chances are you know someone whose life has been adversely affected by alcohol, too.
And yes, millions drink responsibly and are not alcoholics. But many people are - even if they have not admitted it yet.
Also, people who are not alcoholics can and do make irrevocable mistakes after only one instance of being inebriated. It only takes one time to get drunk and say or do something you may regret when sober.
Alcohol is a drug, but despite the devastation and suffering it often causes, it is still mostly unregulated and universally socially-accepted.
Like a lover, people long for when they can have their next drink. They look forward to it with sensual anticipation and desire.
And even though it frequently leaves them in emotional and physical disarray, they eagerly return to alcohol's embrace like a person who can not extricate themselves from an unhealthy relationship.
For me, alcohol is an extremely toxic and distasteful partner I am glad I have rejected.