Why I Hate Alcohol

I haven’t had a drink in 30 years. Not even a beer. Suddenly one day I realized that I had never left a bar feeling better about myself. And then there was the time when I was 17 and woke up in the trunk of my car. No idea how I got there. Fortunately the lid wasn’t closed.

Over the years, with the benefit of sober clarity, I’ve come to hate alcohol and everything it stands for.

Because of my father’s love of alcohol, I never knew him. I never knew what it was like to feel safe, protected and loved by a father. Because of his alcohol I grew up on welfare, and wound up living in a tent. Because of alcohol I was thrust into a nightmare of sexual abuse. Because of alcohol I never felt confident or self-assured, and was never taught that I deserved good things, or how to choose a decent man to share my life with.

Alcohol not only devastates the drinker, but everyone who is sucked into his or her destructive orbit.

Drunk drivers kill people every single day, and often walk away from those accidents unscathed themselves. They leave children without parents, and parents to mourn their children for the rest of their lives.

I HATE it when alcoholism is described as a disease. Granted, some people are more predisposed to be alcoholics than others, but in my opinion it should be described as a mental health issue or an addiction at most. It’s a disorder in which the individual makes poor choices, and is selfish, selfish, selfish to the point of not caring about the havoc that those choices wreak on family, friends, and the wider community.

I also resent it when people try to pressure me into drinking. They are uncomfortable in indulging in this habit if everyone around them isn’t doing the same, so I get to be bullied, as if I have to apologize for doing what is right for me.

Sure, there are those out there who can drink socially and in moderation. But if that’s the case, why bother? Alcohol, even in moderation, takes away money and time that could be better spent elsewhere. Alcohol is a waste. And those responsible drinkers in question help make drinking seem socially acceptable, and that only encourages alcoholics to remain in denial for that much longer. A certain percentage of society will survive Russian roulette, but does that mean that they should show others who might not be so lucky how to play the game?

Alcohol gives people the liquid courage to be cruel, to be bullies, to be violent and to humiliate the people they claim to love. Alcohol makes you look like a fool. Alcohol destroys families, weddings, reunions, holidays, birthdays, funerals, graduations, concerts, parties, and untold numbers of public events. Alcohol encourages criminality and causes suicides. Alcohol destroys businesses, ruins livelihoods, causes homelessness, devastates relationships and undermines trust.

Alcohol is a fluid wall that you thrust up between yourself and the people who want to spend time with you. It’s a sword that you use to strike out at others. It makes you feel that screaming and shouting and hitting and hurting are acceptable. And in the end, alcohol will leave you all alone in the world, with nothing but your own regrets to keep you warm as you survey the chilling destruction that you have caused.

When my father died his cold, lonely alcoholic death, they found in his wallet a picture of my mother on their honeymoon—a woman he hadn’t had any contact with in 25 years. What a sad and pathetic reminder of what could have been. What should have been.

[See also my blog entry, Another Rant About Alcoholism.]

alcoholism-quit-drinking

(Image credit: sharecare.com)

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90 thoughts on “Why I Hate Alcohol

      1. When I first went away to college, and everyone was going wild and crazy with their newfound freedom, I found all that stuff boring because I’d already done it. I think they thought I was hyper conservative. Little did they know.

      2. I was in the Navy by the time I was 17, and could legally go to bars on the base. They sold beer from vending machines in the housing quarters. I had to keep drinking till it just wasn’t fun any more.

  1. I saw myself going down a nasty road that ended with my boys being in the exact same position as you…it stopped me being an idiot but I still drink…so maybe it didn’t…

    1. Well, you can still stop, you know. I hope you do. I’ve always regretted not having a father. You can choose to be a fantastic father to your boys. It’s a choice you’ll have to wake up and make every day, but you won’t regret it.

      1. I like the taste of a cold beer on a hot afternoon, I like the taste of gin when I meet up with a particular person, I like wine…I like the sounds it makes when it’s opened and poured! I don’t think any of these things affect my fathering skills.

  2. Carole Lewis

    I didn’t start til I was 31, and the addiction was all consuming. I drank in New Year;s Eve by myself with the three children asleep in the other room. The next 6 months were a fog. Somehow I got up went to work came home and drank my self to sleep. My Daughter not quite 10, managed her older brother and younger sister. She washed, fed, laundered, and did everything necessary for the family to get to school and work. One day, the fog lifted and I saw the world again and the wonderful life I could have or the hell I could bestow on my self and my children. I chose life. We don’t speak of that time, but I am thankful every second of every day for my children and the strength they showed while I was emotionaly in an alternate world. They are wonderful people in spite of who I was for awhile.

  3. Fantastic article. I love this quote because this is why I quit:

    Alcohol gives people the liquid courage to be cruel, to be bullies, to be violent and to humiliate the people they claim to love. Alcohol makes you look like a fool.

  4. Geoff

    Great article. I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t want to support the alcohol industry. I hope more and more people will boycott alcohol to reduce the harm it does.

  5. I appreciate this post. I’m surprised to discover that I also hate alcohol, and I am glad to read your take on it. This helps me to see some of the reasons why it’s not for me and why it bothers me! I feel a bit odd realizing my feelings, but they are what they are…

  6. Pingback: Another Rant About Alcoholism | The View from a Drawbridge

  7. KerrickM

    I put wine in soups that I am heating up, and that’s it. Decided when still in teens that I’d steer clear of all funny stuff–largely because I feared it would make me tell secrets I don’t really want known. I’ve never regretted that choice. There is no history of alcoholism in my family, but I figured I’d just stay on the safe side.

  8. Pingback: Turn to your Neighbor and say “Neighbor?” “Turn Up!” | Life of Addai

  9. Junior

    We are alike, you and I. I also grew up under lack of love which was no foundation at all for the growth into a healthy adult. I don’t solely blame my parent’s drinking for this but it was clearly a contributing factor. Atleast cleaning up the mess myself makes me stronger but I won’t be using alcohol as a stain remover.

  10. krentz

    I never started in the first place. If I’m honest, it always makes me feel a little disappointed when people who profess to hate alcohol are always talking about how they ‘quit’ and ‘changed their lives’ and what have you; for a lot of reasons, most of which are pretty fundamental (and admittedly messed up). The worst thing is my experiences probably weren’t as bad as yours, but I have a lot of pent up outrage at what I can only perceive to be the injustices of life and nowhere to really channel them. How is it possible to judge someone for trying to better themselves? Apparently my subconscious manages it. I suppose it’s a remnant of the existential loneliness I often felt in my childhood; the fact that people have to learn things I have almost always considered obvious and self-evident only serves to reinforce the gulf I feel between myself and people who, at their core, probably aren’t as different as I used to think they were.

    My father was a clinical alcoholic, and, while he was never abusive, he was often emotionally distant, and combined with his hours working away from home it caused significant friction in my parents’ marriage. My mother, on the other hand, barely touched a drop until I was about 12, at which point she opened Pandora’s Box and kicked off the beginning of the hell that was to be my teenage years in stylish fashion. She is not an alcoholic, but was a compulsive binge drinker, and I ended up bearing the brunt of all the abuse, insanity, and emotional blackmail. I liked to think I was invincible, and I sure felt it at the time, but unbeknownst to me it left a pretty deep wound and enforced a deep-seated hatred and suspicion at the irresponsible and selfish multitudes who would choose to escape their problems at the expense of others around them. I don’t profess to be perfect myself. In fact, quite the opposite, and I own up to that fact. But the ways I deal with my issues, no matter how maladaptive, will never draw others into my self-created maelstrom. In truth, I probably push people away too much.

    I even tried drinking myself in University and went out to a couple of clubs; not to excess, as I have a deep-seated fundamental aversion to anything that might result in my loss of conscious agency, but enough that I could say I had tried it, no matter my reluctance. It felt so hollow. There was no human connection there, no meaningful discussion, nothing of any real substance. Just people using each other as means to an end, mutual social gratification on a superficial level. I couldn’t understand what the attraction was. I probably felt lonelier in those groups than I ever have in solitude.

    Anyways, I’ll spare you from any further ramblings and hope you have the good grace to indulge these, but I wanted to thank you for your views and honesty. Perhaps the irony is that I have yet to even reach 30 years of being here, but… I wish more people felt as you do. I feel more strongly about alcohol due to my experiences with it, but in many facets of life I feel that people show hallmarks of the same kind of selfishness, the taking of people for granted, the lack of introspection or insight, or the cavalier attitude of “I’m gonna do what I want and ain’t nobody gonna stop me”. It’s a shame, truly, but I relish the exceptions I stumble upon.

    1. Let me start off, Krentz, by saying that I was really moved by your comment. You really should write a blog. I think you have a lot of ideas and feelings and opinions to express, and not only you would benefit from their expression. I truly believe you could be part of a healing narrative. More than anything, people derive comfort from the fact that others feel the way they do, but not everyone has the profound writing talent that you so obviously have. A blog would be a perfect place to channel that pent up outrage. I’ve used this forum more than once for that very reason. I wish I could tell you that the wounds heal. They don’t. But with some effort on your part, here’s what I know can happen: You can figure out how those wounds cause you to react and interact with the wider world, and having that knowledge can help you change for the better. I had forgotten how lonely I felt in those drinking groups. I’m glad you reminded me. It helps to reinforce the fact that I’m in a much, much better place now, and making better choices.Here’s another beautiful thing about blogging: I can tell you that more people feel the way we do than you might think. Of my nearly 1000 blog entries, this particular one is the most popular by a landslide. I’d really love to know how people are finding it. There are days when 20 or 30 people read it from all over the world. That stuns me. I hope you will continue to make the effort to reach out to others rather than push them away. It may not feel like a natural thing to do at first, but with practice I suspect that you’ll find that you quite like it. You are a communicator. You should be heard. I’m sending you best wishes and letting you know that you’re not alone.

      1. krentz

        Hey there. I also wanted to thank you for your kind words, as well. I was in a pretty strange headspace when commenting, and in retrospect wasn’t entirely sure how well my words might have been received, but I’m glad to think there might have been some relatable sentiments. As I’m sure you can already tell, the bones of contention I have with some socially acceptable mindsets and behaviours (and some unhealed wounds for that matter) extend beyond the simple abuse of alcohol, but it makes for a convenient scapegoat not only due to my personal experience with its darker sides but I also feel it’s symbolic… or symptomatic? – of other things I “don’t quite get”. The irony, of course, is that I enjoy a casual drink every once in a blue moon, but only sparingly; not to the point of drunkenness. Haha, and as an aside, when I do a Google search for “I hate alcohol”, you’re the first search result! I’m sure that accounts for a lot of the traffic to this page, though I’ll certainly peruse some other of your posts as well.

        Apropos writing a blog, I don’t know. Maybe I should. It would be as cathartic as it would challenging, I suppose. Regardless of my state of mind, linguistic expression is one of the things I’ve always found to come naturally, particularly in written form. It’s a little strange, because I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with several kindred spirits (more online than off, in all honesty) but there are often subtle yet profound differences in personal beliefs and ideology that, while educational and often catalysts for personal growth, are not always fun to circumnavigate. I suppose I’ve always been something of a dreamer, but the omnipresent tinge of dysthymia is a new and unwelcome addition. I’m grateful for your honesty, anyway – that wounds don’t heal, or perhaps not quite in the way you might hope for them to. In a sense, accepting this can be quite freeing, as it absolves you of the compunction to flagellate yourself for failing to live up to your own unattainable standards. I’m just not sure yet on how I’m supposed to transform my feelings and experiences into something positive, as I’m always afraid of the things I’m carrying around causing undue pain to the people I’d be trying to help. I’ve always thought, “if I can’t be part of the solution anymore, then at least I won’t contribute to the problem.” Too absolutist? Who knows.

        Still, I’m pretty sure that falls well outside of the scope of this post and would perhaps be better addressed in one of my own, should I ever get around to it! Thanks for your sentiments and I wish you much the same.

      2. Dysthymia is something I’m painfully familiar with, but try to step past an all or nothing mindset. You can give to people without giving them all of you, baggage and all. And what you give will have value. You can reach out to people without intending a full blown, intense relationship, and that contact will be valuable, too. Lean towards the things that make you uncomfortable. There are often lessons there. I hope you will write a blog. If you do, send me a link to it. I’d love to read it. Hang in there…

  11. Omed

    Alcohol and bad experiences/messing up are in my opinion two separate entities. Sober people mess up on a daily basis too and we can loose sight of this if our stare is fixed only on that old alcohol stain. The social exclusion of becoming a teetotal is real but its a price worth paying when necessary.

      1. Brian

        You’re right. But what I’m saying is that alcohol is designed for the fool because when it comes to ‘feeling good,’ it just isn’t the answer.

      2. Omed

        There is a whole different type of power in messing up sober than under the influence of alcohol. Evil (devils soup) go away!

      3. olmed

        Brian. Sorry, English not first language. What I tried to say was: Knowing that you messed up without blaming it on booze gives a feeling of empowerment..

  12. lyn sutton

    I suffered most of the same abuses as you but none of the perpetrators were drinkers…however they were from families where they suffered abuse/neglect at the hands of alcoholics…so worse than the damage of second hand smoke, alcohol’s negative reach is far wider. Because i have a life threatening allergy to alcohol and have never been drunk or tipsy it was easier for me to reach your level of hate toward the poison. I didn’t allow it or cigarettes around my children and never felt the need to apologize or explain to company for their perceived inconvenience. If anything I expect them to try and justify their need to expose us to the potential dangers their drinking and smoking pose.

  13. lyn sutton

    I had an uncle show up drunk to my 10 a.m. wedding brunch because he knew I wasn’t serving liquor. Can’t tell you how many “friends” and family I kicked to the curb over the years because of my zero tolerance policy. I’m actually allergic to the tobacco plant too so consider myself lucky. If everyone developed an allergy to tobacco and alcohol we’d have a lot less suffering. Wonder if any research scientists are covertly working on a pill or virus that will make that happen.

  14. lyn sutton

    Yet people continue to ignore the signs. My body decided to take over so I can’t ignore them. I carry an epi pen and inhaler in case of exposure. While it’s no fun losing consciousness while choking on one’s tongue I don’t regret the allergies.

      1. lyn sutton

        I empathize…I’m restricted to white chocolate but what’s the point? I miss brownies and triple chocolate Ice cream sundaes and truffles and….your body is just being cruel now.

  15. April

    Your article has helped me to see. I’ve been struggling over the past ten years with this issue. After reading your article I am put to shame….your article really made me see alcohol/me in a different way & I’m ready to say “no more!!!” Just that & thank you. I’ve been through so many abuses in my life & I don’t have to drink them away…I can be healthy & happy…especially with no alcohol…otherwise I won’t know or be able to feel or recognize True happiness…thank you so very much for this wonderful article…p.s. sometimes I wish my alcoholic mother wasn’t in my life & memory….you may have been spared more pain than you know by the absence of your father…just a thought & bless you for being you.:)

  16. Pingback: How This Blog Has Touched Me | The View from a Drawbridge

  17. deborahedrake

    Hello from a loyal reader of your posts who comments sometimes too. Your sharing here is many things: direct, eloquent, potent, honest, vulnerable, and for all that authenticity it is potent. You channel some wonderful wisdom and insights and humor in so many of your posts. How you spend your quiet time up there tending the drawbridge is really something wonderful. As for the gratitude you feel for how many people you reach and impact as you say in your most recent post this morning, I suspect you impact more people than you will ever know–because not everyone comments. Some read and take it in silently. Some say thank you because that is their nature. I am glad you don’t have writer’s block. And, given that I am part of the Be A Loving Mirror team (Family Recovery Resources) I really appreciate this piece and wonder if you would be willing to have your post reprinted in a weekly newsletter? I must make it to Fresh Ground Stories the next time you know you are able to come. I want to meet you face to face. This is a post that keeps on giving…Bless you.

    1. I would be honored beyond words if you shared my posts in your newsletter, any time at all. I only ask that you include a link to my blog, and of course, not profit from it, as I might get around to publishing an anthology in the future. I’ll be at this month’s FGS on the 28th. I’d love to meet you! -Barb

      1. deborahedrake

        I will of course make sure that all readers are directed back the the wonderful source that you are. So, Jan 28th it is. I have been wanting to meet you since we first exchanged comments via meet-up. What Paul produces is a wonderful thing. What you write here is a wonderful thing. When you are ready to produce that anthology, let me help you for it is what I do for others. I love your essays. Totally. Deborah

  18. Chis Smith

    I enjoyed your article, and I agree with you. I hate alcohol as well for many reasons. However, I totally disagree with the part of the article in which you talk about how much you hate alcoholism being described as a disease and talk about poor choices, selfishness, not caring, etc. Obviously, you were never addicted to anything, and you do not understand addiction or the road that leads to it at all. In my opinion, you should never speak about something you do not understand. That being said, I am not sure it whether or not it should labeled a disease, but hat’s not really the point. The point is alcoholism and all addiction for that matter is something the one gets sucked into on way or another. No addict wants to be an addict nor do they want to hurt their loved ones. They actually do not know they are being selfish, or even making bad decisions until its too late. You will never understand this unless you lived it. Addiction is hard, very hard. I feel there is nothing harder on the planet to overcome. Never judge someone suffering from addiction, because you do not know the path that led them to their dark place.

    1. `Thanks for your input, Chris. You still haven’t convinced me that alcoholism is a disease, and after having known me for the space of one article it’s interesting that you assume I know nothing about the subject simply because I disagree with you. I will say, however, that I do quite often write about things I know very little about. That’s the beauty of having a blog full of opinion pieces. If you’re looking for a peer reviewed, scholarly article, look elsewhere. And I am willing to concede that addiction is very hard. I’m not suggesting that one simply “snaps out of it”. But I also am very strong and sincere about the fact that even if you’re finding yourself in that hard place, you need to take responsibility for your destruction in all it’s forms. You’re not going to get a free pass here. Sorry.

  19. Alice

    I was so happy to read this. I feel the same way but im made to feel like a freak by everyone around me. People are just not confident or comfortable enough with themselves to have a good time without it. They need to “relax” “take the edge off”. I can do that just fine being around friends and family.

  20. Angie Lindsey

    I read this because I didn’t go to my company Xmas party tonight. I didn’t go because they offer all you can drink alcohol and it’s free. I hate what alcohol does and the only reason everyone goes is to get drunk. I wanted to go to enjoy a meal and spend time with friends but I knew if I went I would get drunk. You are right time drinking is time wasted. To me being around people drinking is no different than people doing other drugs. I hate the remorse and shame it causes and how it wrecks your body and mind.

  21. Trent Moore

    Glad to know I am not the only one. I don’t necessarily blame the alcohol I blame the people that choose to you and abuse it. The topic of alcohol causes huge problems in my life, I am the only one I personally know that holds these views so it makes it that much more of an issue. I hate having to go to every social event and because it is the social norm everyone is drinking. My biggest argument against it is that if someone was taking pills more then they were prescribed it would be a problem. If someone was doing cocaine it would be a problem. I even know people to think smoking cigarettes is worse then alcohol. It is because those things are made out to be bad. Never do you see people advertising against alcohol, never do you see this mind set that socially interacting with people with out some substance is normal. That is what my generation has grown up on. I can understand someone actually liking the taste and having one drink, but it is never just that. I hate this mindset we as a society have adopted. We say that being to skinny is bad, being to fat is bad, eating to much sugar is bad. Yet when it comes to alcohol drinking to the point of getting drunk is fine… what gives? Are we a bunch of hypocrites? That is my main issue with people drinking alcohol. The thing is it is not just abusing of alcohol, it is using it in general. For me it is made worse by working in a field where is see the consequences of alcohol many of which you stated. I have seen a kid drown and die because people were to busy drinking. I have seen a 12 year old blame herself because she couldn’t stop her parents from drinking and driving, I have seen a guy die with a bottle in his had because he wanted to drink him self to death. although those things suck it is really just the icing on the cake for me. We have a social problem. We have an issue that the few who do fight against is get criticized when it should be the other way around. But that is just me thanks for providing an outlet for people with the same beliefs Keep On Keeping On.

      1. Trent Moore

        I think that is really why I came here hoping to see if someone can give me a different perspective on the situation I am in. Now knowing how I view alcohol you might better be able to understand the problem I have. I starting dating this girl I have known most my life. Side note (the girl I dated before for 5 years left because she felt she needed to experience alcohol and cheated). But the girl I am with now isn’t what you would call a drinker. Although, she has had her moments in the past but not while we have been together. She does however have the view that having one or two isn’t bad and is fine with people getting drunk because it is only abusive when you become dependent upon it. Our views do not match, and it is causing our relationship to be torn apart. I love and care for this girl but I am not willing to involve myself in these situations she is okay with. My thing is how do I support her in the things that are important to her, when I can’t stand being around people who are drinking even when she agrees not to drink. Has anyone had this issue? If so what do you suggest? sorry to hijack this part of the comments. This has just been a huge issue and I am looking for some clarity. Thanks

      2. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing you’re younger. I’m in my 50’s, so it’s a lot easier to find gatherings where people DO have one or two drinks without making getting drunk their primary goal. If you are in your 20’s, that will be a lot harder, I’m sorry to say. But your peers will either age out of it and lose interest in getting wasted, or they’ll be alcoholics and stay that way for life and be people to avoid. In that way, time and patience is on your side. In the mean time, parties and going to bars and clubs aren’t the only things to do in life. There are a lot of other activities. For example, in this political climate, we need you to march, to resist, to speak out, to defend your rights while you still have them. That’s just one example… Find what’s right for you. Ask yourself what you can do in this world to make it a better place? Answering that question will most likely direct you toward less alcohol soaked activities. Find what feels right for you. It may take more effort to avoid these drunken situations, but it’s worth it. I hope other people are willing to chime in with ideas, too. Hang in there.

  22. Eric

    I’m just now coming off and binge, and never want to touch this stuff again. When you say it makes you cruel and alone that really hits home to me. I’ve gone 30 day stints without it, and always feel so much better when I’m sober. Who I am when I drink is not really who I am. I’m a deeply spiritual person who loves animals and tries to be nice to everyone I meet. When I drink, I’m the exact opposite and just completely a fool. I don’t want to end up any deeper into this or end up alone dying off liver disease or whatever else it could do. Alcohol just makes me feel horrible in exchange for only about 1 hour of euphoria that leads into a week long blackout. Next week I’m taking my dogs and staying in a cabin for a few days to reflect and meditate. I don’t want this to just be another time I say, “never again” then drink 30 days from now. I really do not want to drink anymore.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I think this and a few documentaries on YouTube are going to help me. Love and peace.

  23. West king

    I’m glad someone else has the same thoughts about alcohol that I do. I despise everything it stands for. There is one thing worse than alcohol, when it falls on death ears when you try to explain how bad it actually is.

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