(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)
On Christmas Day, while spending time with family in the central Virginia county where I grew up, I was caught off guard when one of my family members expressed concern for the amount of alcohol I consume (not that day in particular — I wasn’t drinking — but in general). It turns out that this person, who is also a Facebook friend, tends to take note when I update my status saying that I’m going to a bar, or to a party with friends.
The question bothered me a little bit, but only because I don’t want this person thinking I have a problem. I’m proud of the fact that I take care of myself and I like to think that I do a pretty good job. I eat right, I’m at a healthy weight, I exercise, I pay my bills on time, and there are a fair amount of people who enjoy spending time with me. I think those are all things to be proud of.
The question came up because I happened to mention that I’d had a few drinks at my mom’s house the night before. “I’m glad you brought that up,” the family member said. “I’ve been meaning to tell you that I notice you have an awful lot of status updates about going out drinking. I think you drink too much.”
“I don’t have a drinking problem,” I said.
“That’s what anyone would say if they were confronted.”
“Maybe so,” I answered. “But in this case, you’ll just have to believe that I’m telling the truth.”
What is the truth? The truth is that, yes, alcohol does play a role in my social interactions. When I meet new people through online dating, bars are a common meeting place. When I go out with friends or co-workers after work and on weekends, we tend to consume alcohol.
However, just for the fun of it, I’m going to run through some reasons why I know I don’t have a drinking problem (all of which I could — and should — have listed in person the other day, but I tend to form more coherent thoughts when I’m writing rather than speaking).
1) I don’t drink every day, and just because I go to a bar doesn’t mean I’m getting hammered. I do have self control; I can stop at one or two.
2) I very rarely have a drink when I’m at home by myself (maybe once every few months).
3) I’ve never woken up and not known where I was, or gone home with someone because I was too drunk to know what I was doing — hell, I don’t think I’ve ever made-out in a bar with someone I’ve just met.
4) I have the same drink most of the time (rum and diet coke), because I know how much I can handle, and how I feel when I’ve had enough.
Do I think I’d know if I had a problem? Yes, I’m pretty sure I would. I imagine that all of the things I listed above would be the complete opposite — that I would lose control, that I would drink for the hell of it and not just because I was having fun. I appreciate that this family member cares enough about me to bring up a concern, but I also hope he realizes that I’m not the kind of person who would enjoy relinquishing control.
What kind of role does alcohol play in your social interactions?
AV Flox on BlogHer: Drunk on You: Alcohol Disinhibits, But At What Cost?
Crazy Sexy Life: One of Terri’s recommendations to reduce family stress over the holiday season is to “know when to say when” to your alcohol consumption.
Banned in Hollywood: 10 More Signs You Drank Too Much (humor)