I rarely drink. I’ve just never been into it and whenever I do, I immediately regret it’s effects on me. I find it hard to concentrate on what people are saying to me. And, of course, there have been worse effects than that.
Environment plays a role in how much we drink. When I started a new job a few years ago, I was invited out with the “cool” crowd. They were big drinkers. I figured I’d try that out to fit in. I invited them over since I never want to drink and drive. I drank as much as I could and woke up to a hangover which was very unpleasant. THey noticed I was a “lightweight” and basically kicked me out of the group. It ended up for the best since they were “mean girls” and all ended up quitting by the year’s end and the workplace become a much better environment.
I realized that I haven’t had a sip of alcohol since leaving cohousing a year and a half ago. I’m just not into it. Of course, another group didn’t seem to like that here at the beach too. The beach seems to have a party atmosphere. But at cohousing it was easy to drink. First off, I didn’t have to drive home. Second, it was around a lot. One person even got up and opened a bottle of wine (okay, a box) at a meeting at the common house when he realized it was going to be a long one. (He has since decided to leave cohousing to have more free time in his life and for his young family).
I have some suspicions that all the drinking didn’t help us in our efforts of being a healthy community. Some people drank more than others (that I can see). I saw another person take some swigs of a local wine when she was upset about a kerfuffle with her neighbor that hour. I just figured I’d have to up my drinking.
So last night I had my first drink in a long while. I chose to try one because I was in charge of a meet up group in a restaurant to catch the parade route. Meet up is a great app to meet new people and do social events. The problem is that a lot of people RSVP and then don’t show up. It could be for getting lost, change of plans, or I didn’t show one time because I couldn’t find parking. Either way, it’s hard to get a table at a restaurant when they ask how large your party is. I am honest and say maybe 2 or maybe 7. This restaurant was no different – nervous I was taking up table space during a busy parade night. I figured I better order a lot and spend a lot of money to make up for the lack of people. I ordered a fancy drink. Then some people came.
Immediately I regretted getting the drink. They didn’t drink and I could feel my mind clog up and speech slur. I felt like an idiot. I also stayed after everyone left to make sure I drank enough water and got rid of that one drink before driving home.
I”m not trying to judge anyone. I just don’t like drinking. I have my other vices, to be sure. But atmosphere makes a difference. For college, I chose a dry campus so I wouldn’t be around a party crowd. It was the right decision. Cohousing, you don’t get to choose your neighbors. At other intentional communities you can. I’m just thankful that drinking is not part of my life now and I think I met some nice people last night who also don’t make drinking a priority. I’m done with getting fancy drinks. If I need to spend money, I’ll get a virgin one or another appetizer next time.
By the way, the holiday was a lot of fun! Creative floats and lots of lights and holiday cheer.