Let’s explore some polarities together. For example, what influenced you to either try alcohol or never to try it?
Newton’s Third Law of Motion, one of my favorite quotes, states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Have you noted that polarity occurring in your own life in relation to your decision to drink or not to drink? I know that it certainly has impacted my life.
Quantum Physics talks a lot about the polarities demonstrated in Bell’s Theorem. As one author states, “Paired particles are like identical twins in their polarity. If they fly apart and the polarity of one is changed by an experimenter, the other changes instantaneously.” I will explore how that applied to the actions I took in relation to the consumption of alcohol. What about you? Please feel free to comment below to share how this act of polarity applied to you.
What do I mean by polarity? An on-line dictionary defines polarity as “a relation between two opposite attributes or tendencies.” The following example sentence was supplied: “He viewed it as a balanced polarity between good and evil.”
So how do you view the act of drinking? Do you consider it good, bad, or somewhere in between? My views on that topic have certainly changed through the years. My current stance is that I don’t drink. This is not due to scruples. It is due to three factors. First, I don’t like the taste or smell of alcohol. Secondly, even the smallest amount of alcohol found in some medications such as liquid Tylenol or Nyquil give me the feeling in my legs and stomach as if I have a painful case of menstrual cramps. Lastly, most alcohol is on the expensive side. I would much rather spend my money on a restaurant meal, a pretty outfit, or items needed to fix up our house.
My experiences with alcohol are akin to the swing of the pendulum. For the first many years of my life, I was on one end of the pendulum. Then I tried the other end of the pendulum. Now, I am somewhere near the middle.
I did not touch a drop of alcohol for the first 23 years of my life. I recall that there were several high school parties I was not invited to because I did not drink. Even my high school boyfriend refused to bring me to one party due to my decision to remain sober. He told me that they would be too embarrassed to be around someone not drinking when the rest of them intended to get wasted. I recall feeling left out as I didn’t like the idea of my boyfriend socializing with all those drunken girls. Even so, I felt proud of my decision not to drink for what I perceived to be moral reasons.
At age 23, I accidentally took my first drink when I was at a disco in St. Louis, Missouri. My paternal grandfather had taught me to order tonic water with a lime so as to give the appearance of having an alcoholic drink. After dancing several fast dances, I left the dance floor feeling hot and thirsty. I grabbed up my tonic water with lime and took a huge gulp. I spent the next several minutes gasping and choking as I had accidentally picked up somebody’s glass of straight vodka with lime.
Oh, no! I had violated a taboo. At age 12, I had promised my church that I would never smoke, drink, take drugs, or commit premarital sex. I violated the last taboo while attending college. Suddenly, I had violated the second of those four taboos. I was no longer a member of that church, yet I had kept most of that promise for many years. I suddenly began wondering. Did I not drink simply because my parents and my church told me that it was wrong to drink or was I not drinking because I did not think it was right to drink? I was certainly no longer a child. As an adult, it was time for me to reevaluate that decision and discover my current motivation.
I decided to explore the polarity of that decision. I spent the next few years trying sips of all kinds of alcoholic beverages. Other than a strawberry daiquiri and Seagram’s Wild Berry Wine Cooler, I couldn’t find any other alcoholic drinks I liked. The brother and sister-in-law of my former husband of eight years, 1987 to 1995, were wine connoisseurs. They ordered all kinds of wines through the years, trying to find even one that I could tolerate. I felt real motivation to drink wine as I perceived that enjoying a glass of wine with a loved one would feel very romantic. Also, I received a lot of peer pressure from this couple to drink.
I finally gave in to their peer pressure on a snow-skiing vacation my husband and I went on with his parents and his brother and wife. I got thoroughly drunk from drinking four glasses of Seagram’s Wild Berry Wine Cooler. While playing Pictionary, I made a lot of sexual innuendos as I tried to guess the content of their drawings. They thought I was hilarious as I normally was very discrete. It felt really fun and enjoyable until I got choked. The coughing fit that followed did not feel fun at all. The room spinning around when I tried to sleep that night did not feel fun. Lastly, the hangover I experienced the next morning did not feel fun.
I recall going on a cruise where a couple at my dinner table spent more money on their alcoholic drinks that week than they did on the cruise and plane fare combined. I discovered that the combination of Cranberry Juice and Ginger Ale tasted just as good as that Wine Cooler flavor I enjoyed. Lastly, even the slightest taste of alcohol such as you would find in Liquid Tylenol and other medicinal items that contain alcohol make my legs feel heavy and weighted and gave me the uncomfortable feelings akin to menstrual cramps. Therefore, I decided to hang up my drinking hat for all time and only drink soft drinks, juice, dairy products, and water from that time forward.
So I had tried the decision to never drink. Then I had made a determined effort to find alcoholic beverages I could enjoy. Finally, my pendulum balance landed on the intake of carbonated beverages. For breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, my chemical vice of choice is Diet Cola. I am totally addicted to the caffeine. I even go through withdrawal symptoms if I don’t get sufficient amounts of caffeine in my system.
My parents never drank at home. I believe they only drank at weddings when champagne was being served. My brothers and in-laws drink some. I have some friends who really enjoy alcoholic beverages and some who never drink at all.
My husband made his decision not to drink mostly due to the price. Every now and then, he might order a Piña Colada or a Slow Gin Fizz if we go to a Comedy Club. His favorite uncle was an alcoholic. One time, my husband witnessed him being whiny and crabby and clumsy after a big drinking session. My husband decided that he never wanted to be seen making a fool of himself like that.
I have a funny story for you. When I went to Norway on a college abroad, I spent one week with a farm family. That first day, they served a mid-day dinner made up of meat, potatoes, Swedish Turnips, and carrots. They brought out two heaping platters of this delicious food. I took enough from both plates to totally satisfy my appetite. Afterward, the mother and their college-age daughter returned to the kitchen. I had visions of them bringing out some dessert. I almost always save room for dessert. To my chagrin, they had totally re-filled those two platters with more meat and vegetables. That’s when I recalled reading that traditional Norwegians consider it very rude if you refuse to take seconds. So I partially filled my plate and managed to eat it all. Then, the two of them returned to the kitchen and rummaged around again. This time, they really did bring out dessert. I was so full that I had to take a three-hour walk so I could make room for another meal that night as Norwegians eat four times a day. During that meal, as they kept trying to push more food on me, I repeated over and over again, “I am full.” They looked at me with very odd expressions on their faces. Finally, the daughter said, “I don’t understand. We did not serve you any alcoholic beverages
. How can you be drunk?” It turns out that the word full translates to the word drunk. I asked what you should say instead to indicate that there is no more room in your stomach to eat. They said you should say the Norwegian version of “I’ve had sufficient.”
I returned to Norway five years later to live for a short while with a different family I met the first time there. The father was an alcoholic. He was a very crabby drunk. Sometimes, I would go to a disco with their two oldest kids, age 19 and 20. I still remember the drunken Norwegian men lurching around who would either spill beer on me or refuse to take no for an answer as they tried to drag me onto the dance floor. I learned to say: Stik! Deg er full! Deg er full! This translates as “Go away. You are drunk! You are drunk!”
My step-grandfather had been an alcoholic for 70 years. His family had lost most of their money during the depression. He used the alcohol to self-medicate himself from the pain of that loss. He would stay up until 5 a.m. every morning and consume one bottle of Thunderbird Wine over the course of those early morning hours. All too frequently, the alcohol would inspire him to leave my grandmother nasty notes for her to read the next morning. Sometimes, he would stomp into her bedroom at 2:00 in the morning and rant and rave at her. Since she used a walker to get around, she was not able to easily escape his wrath.
A 16-year-old nephew of a good friend of mine got stopped twice by the police in the first three days after he got his driver’s license. The first time, he was convicted of joy-riding and speeding. The second time, he was convicted of a DUI. A few weeks later, he and some friends of his robbed a convenience store of some liquor. Whether his friends influenced him to drink or they influenced him is unknown.
Additionally, you hear on the news and read in the newspaper of incident after incident where someone driving under the influence of alcohol either got hurt or killed or they hurt or killed somebody else.
Given all these stories, I am just as glad that I am not a drinker. Of course, that is simply my view of the world. Just because my decision works for me, that does not mean this decision works for you.
So, what about you? When it comes to the polarity of drinking alcohol – What influenced you to either try alcohol or never to try it? Where do you fall on the continuum between those two states? Please feel free to share your stories in the comment box below.
http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/GBSSCI/PHYS/CLASS/newtlaws/u2l4a.html – Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
http://www.csun.edu/edpsy/Gowan/introz.html – Bell’s theorem: Paired particles are like identical twins in their polarity. If they fly apart and the polarity of one is changed by an experimenter, the other changes instantaneously.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/polarity defines polarity as “a relation between two opposite attributes or tendencies.” This website gives the following example sentence: “He viewed it as a balanced polarity between good and evil.”