I don’t drink alcohol, and haven’t in years (well, not deliberately, anyway — I was surprised by a champagne punch at a faculty reception a couple of years ago.) I don’t mind if you do, though, and my abstinence isn’t a moral thing. It’s based on the fact that I have a really bad family history with substance abuse, most recently and horribly demonstrated by my brother’s history, and the fact that probably my biggest advantage in most situations is that I’m bright, and that’s not an edge I want to dull. My addiction is food, thanks, and while that may very well kill me too, I think that’s the struggle I prefer to have.
What brought all this on was the fact that the Spawn had to complete an online alcohol awareness course as part of her intake into Flagship U. She passed the various tests easily, she said, but then she told me something I thought was interesting. “After I checked the box that said I don’t plan on drinking in college, the program asked if I’d be interested in leading an organization for non-drinkers, and then if it could pass my information on to the administration!” She declined both opportunities, which is fine by me — she’s going to Flagship for several reasons, but none of them involve chairing some latter-day chapter of the WCTU. (As it happens, there are already latter-day chapters of the WCTU. Go figure.) It’s not like that’s the most important thing about her, or about me, for that matter. Still, I guess it’s further evidence that society seems to want personal choices to become public action.