Alcohol is Overrated

Off topic. When I was a teenager I could not WAIT for the day I would be able to legally buy and consume alcohol. I imagined a whole new world would open up once alcohol was in the picture.  I would become a sophisticated adult. I would be witty. I would be the life of the party. My life would resemble a beer commercial. My shy, introverted nature would be overcome by liquid courage. I was in for a huge disappointment though because… alcohol is overrated and

I can’t tolerate alcohol.

For whatever reason, my body was not made to ingest alcohol. After too many nights, splayed out on the bathroom floor praying for death or suffering through another booze induced  killer headache, I have come to accept this fact. I don’t care if other people choose to drink. Knock yourself out. I just can’t do it.

At a party, this makes me two things. I am the weird person drinking coffee and the designated driver. I am OK with this, but it seems to bother other people, and usually this exchange ensues…

“Do you want a drink?”

“No thanks, I am good.”

“Commmmmmon, have a drink with us, you need to relax. Reeeeeeeeeelax. Have a drinkie drinkie.”

This is sometimes followed by a person thrusting a beer, glass of wine or tumbler full of vodka into my hands. Gee, thanks. People, please stop doing this! Some people are recovering alcoholics. Some people are taking drugs that don’t mix well with alcohol. Some people are subjected to drug/alcohol testing as part of their job. Some people are pregnant.

Some people, can’t tolerate alcohol. That’s me.

Friends have suggested I go see a doctor to find out what is wrong with me.

What would I say to the doctor? I am suffering because I am unable to consume alcohol, you know, quality of life and all that.

I image my doctor would nod her head and say, “Yes, this is serious. I am going to schedule for some tests and I will refer you to a specialist. I must be honest with you though, this will not be an easy fix. We still don’t know what causes Vocatus Intolerantia. There is a new experimental therapy but if your case is as serious as I think it is – you could be looking at major surgery.”

I do wonder sometimes if I am missing out on something but for now I am happy to be the designated driver because…

I can’t tolerate drinking and driving either.

When I was in grade 2, I was cast as a dancing bell in our school Christmas concert. I spent weeks working on my costume, a red cardboard sandwich board bell, covered in crêpe paper. The night of the concert my Grandmother drove me to my school because my Mom was working late. My Mom was going to make it just in time to see me dance.

I remember that the roads were icy that night. I said to my Grandmother, “Gee I hope we don’t get in an accident.” I remember my Grandmother giving me the business because my comment was bound to jinx us.

I remember sitting in the school gym, with my class, waiting to go on stage and I heard my Grandmother being paged over the school PA system.

I remember dancing on stage to Jingle Bell Rock and looking out in the audience trying to see my Mom and my Grandmother. I never saw them.

These memories are burned into my brain.

My Mom was hit head on by a drunk driver on the way to the concert.

She survived.  Thank God, she survived.

Years later, my Mom told me about that night. The driver staggered out of his truck and over to her window and said, “F*cking women drivers!” My Mom rolled up her window and waited for the police to come. There were no cellphones in those days.

Meanwhile his passenger got into the back of their truck and started throwing their beer bottles into the ditch at the side of the road. My Mom says that they were oblivious to the fact the police had pulled and they were watching him do this. My Mom’s car was destroyed, the steering wheel was broken in two and the top of my brother’s car seat had been chopped off by the hood of the car. That night could have changed my life forever.  Maybe it did?

Please don’t drink and drive.

7 Comments


  1. Being married and boring, I don’t drink much anymore. Also because I’m trying to limit sugary stuff these days.

    Sometimes my husband and I will play drinking games with reality shows, but that’s at home where drinks are significantly more affordable.

    I agree that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to drink, and I’d get pretty annoyed with people telling me to drink if I didn’t feel like it. For now though, I’m my husband’s designated driver so he can have a beer or two when we’re out. Like you, we abhor drinking and driving.
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  2. I agree with you, I am not a big drinker anymore. Not that I ever was, but I would have a glass or two of wine every night to ‘unwind’ from work or whatnot. Before I even got pregnant and had to stop, I remember having a conversation with my husband about ‘why do we live a life where we feel like we need a drink to cope with everyday life?” Just didn’t see right – I feel like so many people use it to just ‘deal’. Anyways, kids came into the mix and now I maybe only have a drink once or twice a month, and I can tell people think I’m odd.

    But yes, drinking and driving really scares me. Even buzzed driving, I notice people think is ok – I can’t stand it and am so disappointed when people I respect do it. It like they think they know better than others. Sigh. And after spending years in New Orleans and several bad encounters – well, I think alcohol just brings out the worst in people and now I tend to avoid drinking situations.
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    1. Yes, the kids change things a bit, don’t they?
      Some people do get mean or act bizarre after a few drinks. I have seen times where people want to pick fights (why? I don’t understand. liquid courage?)

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  3. May you have no idea how much I agree with you. I live in an area of the world that I think people are required to drink and drive, at least that’s the way it feels. Every so often the police run a stop on a major road and they always arrest a minimum of 25 people in only a few ours that are over the limit. To me the fact that they get that many means there are many more in the area and it just sickens me. My wife doesn’t drive if she was one drink, and to be honest my wife has never even finished one drink when she does get one. I don’t drink when I go out so too me I don’t mind driving at all.

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    1. I know what you mean. It is taboo/illegal/potentially deadly to drink and drive but people still do it. I am very careful about who I get in the car with and I do not let my kids go in a vehicle with a driver that has had anything to drink or plans to drink. Drink at home people!

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  4. oh my God, May! I was laughing so hard in the beginning, and just about bawling at the end. Wow. I’m so glad that had a happy enough ending that you were able to see the funny side of people thinking you need to be “fixed” because you don’t drink. That always happened to me, too. “Let me get this straight. You don’t drink. You don’t smoke. You don’t do drugs. What do you do for fun???” (smh) I’m like you. I just can’t tolerate alcohol. To anyone who can, I just beg you to please think of other people and please DO NOT DRIVE. Their families love and need them. Please and thank you.

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    1. I always feel like I am missing out on something when everyone seems to be enjoying a drink or two.
      Drinking and driving is not cool and it is such a hassle to arrange alternate transportation that drinking just isn’t worth the hassle.

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