I drank a beer & I liked it

Sung to the tune of my least favorite Katy Perry song.

I know next to nothing about Katy Perry, aside from a few song lyrics. And I have no idea whether she actually kissed a girl (and possibly liked it), nor do I really care.

But I have a confession to make.

Today, I drank a beer and I liked it (two, actually).

Those who know me well know that I don’t drink alcohol. I haven’t for 5+ years now (with one or two exceptions).

I have my reasons for making this choice years ago, and I’m not going to get into all of them. That’s a face-to-face discussion we can have at another time, if you truly care to know. But I will say this…

One reason is because I saw alcohol as a hindrance to achieving something I believe in. This is 100% a personal decision, and in no way implies that alcohol is a bad influence on anyone. Nor does it imply that alcohol hinders people from achieving their goals.

We all make decisions on how we move through life; what we choose to believe in; and we act accordingly. For me, alcohol didn’t fit into my way of life.

Another reason is because I don’t like the way it tastes. I’ve never had a beer that I enjoyed. Not one. Ever.

Today changed that.

With a little encouragement (and financial support) from a friend, to go along with a good bartender who gave me a free sample of what appeared to be apple juice… I decided to have a few beers.

It was a cider beer (or something like that). Apparently, there are different flavors of cider beers. And they contain just as much alcohol as most other beers (sometimes more). And this one tasted like apple juice.

Debunking previous reasoning

Now that reason #2 (taste) has been overruled, I still have the more deep-rooted reason #1 to consider. Even though I’ve found a beer that actually tastes good, why drink it if it still doesn’t fit into my way of life?

Because I’m taking my “way of life” a little too seriously. And alcohol isn’t as much of a hindrance as I used to believe (if any at all).

I can become addicted to things a little easier than some. And occasionally I take things to the extreme. But this certainly doesn’t have to be one of them. My all-or-nothing approach to alcohol was misguided.

Shortly after giving up alcohol altogether, I began to notice the respect I garnered. It feels good to have others’ respect. This reaction from others began to influence my decision-making. I didn’t want to start drinking again because I was afraid of losing the respect I had gained from my peers. I felt as if the second I took a sip of alcohol, I could no longer tell people that “I don’t drink,” and I’d lose some of that respect I carried around for years.

Childish? Yeah, a little. Self-serving? Definitely. But it’s the truth, and it’s humbling to admit it.

The real truth

I can still lead a life of inward-looking reflection. A life inspired by many of the Eastern religions. A grounded, well-balanced, compassionate & forgiving life. A life of great purpose, discovery & exploration. A life of respecting others for their choices, just as I know they’ll respect me for mine (alcohol or not).

“Stop being so damn serious all the time”

I put that in quotes because I’m sure someone has said those exact words to me at some point. Probably a few someones. Multiple times.

I also used the word “damn” which I don’t normally like to do. “Darn” is much more my style. But letting a harmless word like that slip through is just another part of this exercise.

And that’s a phrase I’m going to use on myself in the coming weeks & months. While there are many stone-cold-sober moments I have created that are the farthest thing from serious, there are moments like the one tonight at the bar where I need to let go.

The moral of the story

Great people (and adorable dogs) riding bikes in an awesome city on a fantastic weekend with incredible weather… celebrating birthdays, Saints named Patrick & the color green… with a little apple juice on the side…

If that doesn’t fit into my “way of life,” than I have much more serious problems than a few glasses of beer.