Alcohol, and that innocent glass of wine

Sunday, October 31, 2010
I went to a party last night. It is not normally the kind of party I usually go to, but I went because me and my husband love the couple that were putting it on. They are nice people, good friends to us, and we think they're great, and some of the nicest people we know.
We were warned by our friends that it might get a bit boozy late into the night, but that was ok, because we'd likely leave early anyway, to relieve our babysitters. I do have to add here that these friends and the people at the party are mature, respectable adults who hold down  incredible careers in highly-paid jobs, and are seen as very successful in the eyes of the world.
But something happened there which has made me feel sick to my stomach, and it's not because I have a hangover. Because I don't drink alcohol.

When we arrived, things were warming up.
My husband and I chose a long time ago not to drink wine/beer/spirits. There are a few reasons for this, but one of them is that because of the line of work my husband is in, he has seen the results of lives wrecked and ruined because of alcohol. I know that we are in the minority on this (and that there are many 'names' for us non-drinkers), and in a nation where the alcohol culture is widely spread across the social spectrum, it puts us on the outer, socially (which is narrow-minded in my opinion; because, if you look at it from the other side of the coin, I don't think they are strange or boring because they choose to drink); and I know that many people excuse the drinking of alcohol by saying that it is the people who mis-use it, not the alcohol itself. But alcohol does things to the brain - it suppresses impulse control and turns the most respectable, sensible people into silly, foolish ones who have little or no judgement. (And I do realise that the effects of alcohol are different in individuals. Some can take many drinks and still be lucid. Others can have one and lose control).

For example, last night a very nice lady that I met, and liked, had lots in common with and spent most of the night talking to, had only had 2 drinks (because she was driving), but even with that she was what I would call drunk enough to be spitting in my face when she talked and spilling the family secrets.

I am not going to go into detail about what happened after we left, but today the lives of two people we love are in tatters because some of the nice, respectable, mature, successful  'friends' that were at that party thought it would be fun to ply one of our friends with shot after shot, glass after glass, jelly after jelly (actually, I'm so naive I didn't even know what a 'jelly' was until last night). A nice, reasonable, decent person turned into someone out of character, because their friends thought it would be fun to watch and see what happened to someone who normally doesn't drink that much. I actually watched one of these so-called 'friends' force a vodka jelly down the throat of our friend.

And so today we are feeling distressed and saddened, and wondering how we can help these two dear people that we care about. Maybe I am naive. Maybe I am a wowser, but I am glad that no part of me or my money has been invested into an industry that can do this to people.

Right. I've got that off my chest now, and I can step off my soapbox.

Normal, non-alcoholic blogging will resume tomorrow.


Cottage Tails said...


I have no idea what a jelly is.

I'm a tea toatler - never really been into party's with smoke & grog.

Shame about the friends. Hope it gets worked out.

Love Leanne

Clara said...

I have no idea what a jelly is either. My husband and I never drink either. Drink does horrible things to people. I knew someone who was an angry drunk - he would get angry when he was drunk and attack women :( And he didn't even realise what it was doing to him. I have to say that I do not and never will understand why when you ask a drinker if they had a good weekend,they say "yeah... it was great! Can't remember anything about it, but it was fantastic". Nope, can't comprehend that... I'd choose fun I can remember any day of the week!

Clara said...

Been thinking more about what you wrote here... Do people realise that doing that to someone who doesn't want to drink that much is actually assault? A crime that could be taken to the police! I'm a bit like you - shocked by this kind of thing.
Really, adults can be more daft than children (who are only silly because they don't have maturity and the knowledge that comes with age... adults can't hide under the same umbrella).

Anonymous said...

I never drank at all prior to coming to NZ :-) am am partial to a bubbly or an NZ sav blanc now, BUT have never been intoxicated and never intend to be. My husband was raised with wine on the table from infancy, being Italian and he also has never been drunk and cannot understand why people would do so to themselves.

Our family also witnessed what occurs when people get drunk just last week when a couple we are friends with had an almighty blow up after one had gotten spectacularly drunk and subsequently turned up on our doorstep (drunk and driving - yikes) looking for the other.

Freaked my teens out seeing an adult like that.

Raewyn said...

I have just discovered your blog Rachel and just wanted to say that I totally back everything you have said in this post. We do not drink either. But we have 'been there and got the t-shirts' in our youth. I abhor what it is doing to our young folk. And I hate that so called mature folk are having such a negative influence on the young people. You are so not alone in your thoughts and beliefs!

Mother of Pearl said...

I'm not from NZ, so I don't know the culture there. I am from a rather conservative part of the States (we still have "dry" townships around here). But I will say this - being sheltered or naive can be a really good thing.

So sorry you had to go through that and see that dark side of human nature played out in front of you.

Sarah of 'Catching the Magic' said...

Sorry to hear you had to experience that - and I would have been left reeling too. Hope all is okay now, Sarah

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