I don’t trust people who don’t drink!

3 Jul

1:11 pm

Picture it: it’s beer o’clock and I’m trying to get the office to go out for drinks. Some people still have work to do, so will join later. OK. Some people would prefer to stay on and finish work that could be done tomorrow. UM…All right. And, some people…don’t want to go. WHAT? You don’t drink? Huh? Wait, WHAT? You don’t WANT to drink?

This was back in my early 20s. It started back then, this distrust and dislike, really, of nondrinkers. And, year after year, like chapters in a book without end, this, MY STORY, kept growing. My early 30s, graduate school, journalists who should have known that drinking was as much a part of the curriculum as First Amendment law cases: What, you’re not sticking around to drink for another three hours? It’s only midnight, bars are open until 4, dudes. And now, mid-30s: What, you have to go and grab food? What, you don’t drink at all? You have kids and a husband to go home to? Wait…What the FUCK are you doing here? Oh, it’s the company Christmas party, I suppose you were invited.

I remember being baffled, really, when coworkers, fellow students, roommates, and friends didn’t want to go out drinking. (Now I realize that maybe *I* was that annoying drunk who, even back in the day when I didn’t black out and go batshit nuts on their asses, was stupid flirtatious, ridiculous repetitive, and simply Not That Interesting.) Baffled, yes. Annoyed, too: how could they rain on MY Parade? And distrustful: don’t they realize how much FUN they’re missing? Don’t they understand that THIS is where the deals, so to speak, are made?

And, I won’t deny it: I had MUCH different relationships with coworkers, let’s say, with whom I drank after work. Of course, we became actual friends. More than that, we were able to let our hair down, get to know each other outside the cubicle. And, a lot of the time, drinking after work led to positive things, like interoffice romances (where else did you meet men if you were in your 20s in the ’90s?), business partnerships, and if anything, a lot of hilarious–and good–memories.

Would I take back all the experiences that were brought by drinkin’? Not those of my 20s, that’s for sure. My early 30s, though, at least a good portion of them. I think I did myself more harm than good by staying at the bar from 5 pm to closing at 4 am–with my fellow grad school classmates, who were, actually, judging me because every turn was really a test, not a game of who could drink the most. I lost out, for sure, when my drinking after work at one job led to me being fired for missing two entire work days because I was, um, being held in a cell with 20 other women waiting to sit before the judge on public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest charges (and worse, I’m sure; I never asked the lawyer).

A part of me now totally gets my old boss, who simply never touched alcohol. I hated her for that, but I can actually appreciate her choices now. I GET those people who declined going out in favor of going home to cook dinner and get ready for another day of work. I GET those others who came, had three beers, and left…because, um, they were drunk and it was a school night.

What I don’t get is why I feel like THEY won, and I LOST. I’m bitter, I guess, and in a way, I’m bitter a little bit toward them for NOT TELLING ME TO GET MY ASS HOME. You’re a smart girl, why are you doing this to yourself?, I wish I had heard more and louder. There must have been friends who said this to me, but for the most part, in my 20s and 30s, when I was getting worse and worse, everyone else seemed to not really care. Or, maybe they were just thinking, “I’m glad it’s her and not me.”

In any case, it’s pretty clear that I’ve lost my distrust of teetotalers now, and know the answer to the question, Why don’t you drink? What I don’t know the answer to is, What took me so long to figure it out?

9 Responses to “I don’t trust people who don’t drink!”

  1. Chicago July 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    This is a really good description of how things looked for me (and how my mind worked) in my 20s-mid 30s too. Really excellent writing. I haven’t commented in awhile but always read your blogs and I’m so glad to see that you are kicking ass and building a strong sober life. I’ll hit one year on 7/29 and I remember finding your blog very early on in sobriety…helped tremendously to read your entries and feel less alone. Keep kicking ass, sister!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 6, 2013 at 3:37 am #

      Chicago! Wow, seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Congrats on your YEAR coming up–awesome stuff. Glad to hear from you, and you keep kicking ass, too!

  2. carrieonsober July 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Because we don’t see clearly until we remove the rose tinted specs we were wearing when it comes to alcohol. Denial is so much more than just the lying. It’s a beast that lives in us and squashes down emotions, clarity and common sense. It overrides our intelligence and we are not even aware it’s happening!
    Only we can remove denial and we have, we got it’s number now!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 6, 2013 at 3:41 am #

      Yes, denial…and a lot of fear. Fear of doing things that, well, scare us. For me, fear of expressing anger, resentment, negative feelings–guess what? Explosion time when I drank! But, we do what we have to, and it was a good coping skill while it worked…and helped us get the courage to face things sans the cover-up. So, good for us! xxx

  3. markwars1972 July 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Are you writing about you? Or about me? Wow, spot on.

    I think as my disease progressed I just found friends that were in lower and lower positions in life so that I never really noticed how bad I had become. I turned 40, eight months ago and it was a real wake up call. Most 40 year-olds weren’t doing the things I was doing without carrying some pretty strong labels. I just didn’t have the sense to realize that I was carrying a label too…”ALCOHOLIC”.

    The person I am now would never have been invited to any of my social outings. That’s a good thing.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 6, 2013 at 3:47 am #

      Love the last line! In my case, the person I am now would be invited…because they know I won’t black out and do something stupid!

      These days, I’m starting to equate my “bottoms” with my “wake up calls.” And, isn’t an awakening a GOOD thing, the best, highest consciousness we can achieve? It’s like, it finally clicked; we finally become aware and said, No more! It’s our highest self, at these so-called bottoms, you know?

      Congrats on your 100-some days! Rock on!

  4. carrythemessage July 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    I think many of us had our 20’s and beyond like that. At first it’s ok because everyone else is getting hammered or at least having more than just a few. We feel ok, we fit in…for the most part. I knew already by 20 that my affiliation with alcohol was already abnormal, but was in no way ready to give it up. It took me 20 more years of stuffing poison down my gullet to see how bad it was.

    And because of all those good times (and there were – who we kidding. But it’s only at first, never later), that i associated alcohol with socializing. I couldn’t go near another human being without having some sort of what I thought was liquid courage in me. How would I find the courage to speak to someone? I didn’t like myself, and thought I was all thumbs in the social department and figured who would talk to an idiot nerd like me? But fortified with the good juice, I was able to break that barrier down. But as we know, it’s false. It’s temporary. And then it tumbled downward. Where I would be at once chatty I became an outright boor. Where I was feeling a little up, I became unnaturally and off-puttingly over the top. Where I would be reflective, i became morose and negative. Not exactly good social skills.

    So I have had to break that association between booze and socializing. It took me some time – no choice as drinking was no longer on the menu for me. Slowly by little I started to get out of my turtle shell. Baby steps. I am still on baby steps…but I can actually go to a party and not feel like a big loser. I still feel awkward at times, but my mind doesn’t jump to “I need vodka NOW”. I just think of other things or (gulp) initiate conversation with the person who looks as frightened as me…ha ha. Seems to work.

    But to your post, for sure, there is nothing wrong with the non-drinkers. They’re the safe ones 🙂

    Great stuff…


    • Drunky Drunk Girl July 6, 2013 at 4:12 am #

      Paul, awesome comment, as usual!

      Well, I still haven’t been able to break that link. I mean, for me, it’s more a feeling of boredom, and lately, a feeling of BEING boring. Like, where did I go? I have nothing interesting to say, no witty, wine-fueled “conversation pieces.” A part of me likes my new self-control, but sometimes, I just feel deflated when trying to converse while out. And, you know, at 100-some days again, I don’t have that long. I still feel disappointed when I think, Oh, dinner sans wine? Eh. Oh, a party at so-and-so’s…sans wine…when everyone else is drinking? One huge Ehhhhhhhhhh… It’s been hard, and I’ve become somewhat of a hermit, but…it’s going to take time to “understand” socializing sober, for me.

      Yeah…a post to come about nostalgia. I really miss my 20s–my drinking was, as far as I can tell, relatively normal. I never blacked out, I don’t remember ever drinking alone, or thinking about drinking, really. I LIKED it A LOT, especially beers after work with coworkers–and was distinctly aware of how much EASIER socializing became.

      For what it’s worth, you seem like you’d be a GREAT person to chat with at a party!

      -DDG, aka, Jenny Oliver (haha)

  5. Brandon July 11, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    1 – I’ve never really heard of people who became successful because they drank. I’ve wanted to be successful since I graduated HS.
    2 – My parents never drank around me growing up so it wasn’t the “sensational escape” most teens make it out to be for me. I think a lot of kids get excited about bar hopping and drinking because it’s seen as cool and they want to fit in, etc.
    3 – When I was 19 working in a retailer quite a few of the other teens, particularly the girls, were floored that I didn’t drink. They assumed I did because I was such a laid back guy and got along with everyone. It led to conversations to really see if I was telling the truth and a lot of invitations by girls to buy me drinks and go out. I guess they were excited at the prospect of seeing me disarmed. It actually made me feel good about my decision not to drink.
    4 – When I actually did go to a 21st bday (I was three months away from 21) with rampant underage drinking I saw I was one of only two to opt out. There was so much collective stupid in one room that the birthday boy, a diabetic, went unconscious during the party from all the drinking and needed medical assistance. I felt like I wasn’t missing anything at all by the time I called the ambulance, told the drunks what the medics told me (that he could have gone into a coma) and left home.

    I just turned 26 and still haven’t had a drink. I’m also still single, though. Not drinking pretty much takes you out of the dating pool, but its okay with me. I’ll find my girl sooner or later when I least expect it.

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