Drinking Kept Me Sober

It was a very good thing for me that I grew up with my parents owning a bar.  I believe it is one of the saving graces of my life.   Because of it, I abhor the thought of drinking alcohol.

I had a front seat view of the world on a drunk.

And it did not appeal to me in the least.

I saw people who I knew to be smart, hard working, strong individuals turn to slobbering, babbling fools after drinking.   Literally:  slobbering and/or babbling.   Drool out of their mouths.   Incapable of stringing words together to make a coherent statement.  Not always mind you.   But often enough out of a variety of people that it shook me.  To.   The.   Core.

I think I’ve written about this before.   But that’s okay.  It bares repeating.   I may possibly have a bit of OCD.    I’ve lived, happily, knowing my boundaries.  I like knowing what I am going to do and how I am going to respond.   That’s not to say I haven’t had my spontaneous moments.  I have.  But for the most part my life is within my grasp.   If I stumble over what I’m trying to say it’s not because I’m toasted.  It’s because I stutter and falter.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that if I had not seen what I saw as a youth I would likely have tried drinking.   I have probably consumed less than 50 ounces of alcohol in my entire life.   That includes medicine that would have alcohol in it.

But what I saw as a youth scared me.   It scared me at a young age when I noticed people I respected as adults who acted like goofballs when they were drinking.  I admired cool, calm, smart, hard working, sensible people.  I feared sloppy, wobbling, out of control adults.  That did not seem normal to me.  Especially when I would see these same people appear normal one time, and unable to control their own bodily functions the next time I saw them.

I remember sitting in a booth at my parents bar.  The booth was orange.   And I remember knowing almost everyone in the bar.   And I remember feeling actual fear when someone who was drunk would approach me.   I didn’t fear they were going to do something.  I feared they would be silly, goofy, and not their normal selves.  I feared they would be sloshing their mugs of beer and it would spill.  I feared they would be loud and bizarrely cheerful in a way that seemed really fake to me.  Not that everyone who had a drink in their hand acted like lunatics.   But everyone who had a drink in their hands had the potential to act like a lunatic.

I could not understand as a child, and it’s not gotten any more clear as an adult, why anyone would want to lose that ability to control what they say.   What they do.  The ability to keep their spit in their mouths.  I don’t get it.  And I feared being like that.

I still fear that and I don’t drink.   Can you imagine if I did drink?

I’m glad that bar gave me a window to look at what I could have looked like.  If I had chosen to drink.