I have pretty much been an open book regarding usage of drugs and alcohol, even since my high school days. My parents never pressured me directly or inquired as to my usage of either of the substances, despite being exposed to them before graduating high school. My exposure to marijuana was extremely limited; only in my later years did I realize what some of those people had been smoking. However, at more than a few parties, a friend or two of mine would frequently have access to/would be drinking beer. This was not an unusual phenomenon, but despite being offered, I never felt an urge to have any.
Reaching my undergraduate years, upon some inquiry into my state of alcohol consumption, I was encouraged to ‘get drunk’ one night with some friends at the fraternity they were pledging to. This was the first time I finally decided I was going to go forward with the endeavor to consume some alcohol. I consumed a liter’s worth of Mothers’ Peppermint Schnapps before I got a buzz; my friend was a bit shocked by this endeavor, and felt the urge to continue the imbibing until he was sufficiently satisfied with my degree of drunkenness. What soon followed was my first (and worst) foray into the realm of beer: ‘The Beast’.
I had had some noxious beverages in my youth…V8 happened to be the worst thing in my recorded history of beverages in my mouth. This ‘beer’ now took the cake. I was ruined on beer for years! For the next three years until I came of legal drinking age, I stuck to solely mixed hard alcohol drinks.
After turning 21, my friend Anneli helped me back into the realm of beers with some resistance on my own behalf. Thankfully, she shared a similar taste for some of the darker beers I now have come to greatly appreciate. After many a night of Long Island iced teas, I finally came around and tried some Amberbock. It was much more palatable than ‘The Beast’ had been, and so I began warming back up to beer again.
Shortly thereafter came Killian’s, followed by Leinenkugel’s even heavier beers, and an ever expanding array. Coming to Buffalo, a coworker exposed me to the bliss that is Spaten, and shortly thereafter to the realization that eisbocks existed and were equally delicious! After discovering much of the local brewing scene in combination with other regional breweries to the Northeast (especially those producing Belgian-style beers), I have essentially been in a beer heaven of sorts ever since!
The only other drug outside of alcohol that I’ve even experimented with was marijuana. It took me until I was nearly 30 to do so. My present roommate smokes it on a semi-regular basis, and left a standing offer of joining her any time I wished. One dejected and stressful afternoon, I was royally pissed and cranky with life, so I said fuck it, let’s see what this is all about! Fifteen minutes of attempts to smoke some cheap weed later, I really wasn’t that far off from where I started. This killed any and all notion that smoking it was beneficial in any sense of the word. That happened roughly a year ago; I have had no urge to try it again since.
My drinking habits varied throughout life since the college years. College was primarily social drinking; my sources were connected to the social circles at first, and once I was of age, I drank infrequently on my own at home.
After getting married, the beer consumption dropped off significantly. Holly didn’t drink beer, and I didn’t have a regular group of people that I could go out and drink with; it was an infrequent event saved for the just as infrequent social parties.
When the separation came around, I didn’t think I would change much in my drinking habits. Boy, was I wrong. Rob encouraged a regular, weekly meeting for beers and dinner, and on more than one occasion we’d turn a regular night out into a near binge-drinking night. I started having a couple beers with dinner once or twice a week. Every now and then I’d imbibe into drunkenness on the stressful, depressing days. I wallowed a little bit, and alcohol sometimes eased the pain. Often, it did not. I never got to what I thought was an alcoholic stage, but I had glancing worries that I was using alcohol as a crutch to escape the pain and rejection I was subjecting myself to during that first year of separation.
Fast-forward a year later to having a roommate. I figured I’d have to control my drinking more then. I really didn’t; I still had my depressed episodes, and indulged far more than I should have. I learned quickly (and repeatedly, ugh) that I can’t handle two 750-mL bottles of wine on an empty stomach. Another eight months of finally ripping myself out of that depression into something more like a normal life, the ‘depressed nights’ of drinking were now gone.
Since righting myself back upright, the beer still comes out occasionally on non-social affair nights, but usually they’re ‘shitty day in the lab’ types of nights, or celebratory in nature. I don’t keep beer as frequently stocked in the fridge (partly because my roommate has an unnatural ability to consume random tasties in there), but I’ll keep some around when I get the hankering for a delicious beer or two.
Wine? I love the stuff…but if I don’t consume it within a week, my roommate’s into it. Must. Hide. The tasties!