The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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12:30pm on Friday, 23rd January, 2009:
I've made various references in QBlog over the years to the fact that I don't drink alcohol, and occasionally hinted at some of the reasons why this is the case. They've been spread around a bit, though, so you have to look hard to find them. This means that people may have the nagging suspicion that the reason I don't drink alcohol is because I'm a recovering alcoholic or something, which isn't true — the only alcohol I've ever had was that given to me socially when I was young by other people.
No, here are the actual reasons I don't drink alcohol. There are six:
1) I don't like the taste. I really don't like it - it's like rusty nails but with a gag reflex. I can detect it in minute quantities, even in things that have their own strong flavour and that you wouldn't necessarily know had alcohol in it (eg. vinegar, although I'm OK with that if I use it sparingly).
2) I don't like the personality-changing effects. Even if alcohol tasted like strawberries, I wouldn't drink it because of what it does to people: it turns them into other people. I'm perfectly happy being who I am, thanks very much, and I regard with alarm the prospect of temporarily turning into some kind of bogus-me who does things I don't want to do, but whose life I have to live vicariously. For most people the effects are the very reason they do take alcohol — they want to be "brave me" or "witty me" or "stupid me". I don't want to be any of those, though, I just want to be me, therefore I avoid stuff that would have that effect (which includes all other recreational drugs, of course).
3) I have all sorts of "processes" running in my head the whole time, that I've set off to do things for me. If I lost control of them or lost track of them, or, worse, set up new ones and forgot about them, it could take me weeks to clear them up. I realise that this isn't going to be much of a problem for most people, but it is for me...
4) I never get headaches. I've never had one and I hope to continue that way. I am aware, however, that people who consume alcohol sometimes get hangovers. Hangovers involve headaches. Would my natural defences mean I wouldn't get hangovers either? Or would a hangover break my defences and then I'd start getting normal headaches? I suspect the former (my maternal grandmother's father never had a headache, and as a Scot used to like his whiskey); however, I'm not about to risk finding out.
There are some health effects of alcohol to which I don't want to subject myself. I know there are supposed "health benefits" to drinking a single glass of red wine every day, but I don't buy them. Minor increases in oxidants and minor thinning of the blood don't pay for major increases in risk of damage to internal organs and brain cells. Besides, there are better sources if I were being really serious about it. Also, alcohol is also a source of energy, and I'm overweight enough as it is...
6) There's another powerful reason, but I'm not going to tell you what it is. Maybe in 10 or 20 years...
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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (firstname.lastname@example.org).