Craft beers don’t make you as cool as you think
If you looked at all of my years of drinking combined, it was a lot of terrible and cheap alcohol.
Like most cases of alcoholism, I started young
When I was young, it was ‘cool’ to be the one who could bring alcohol to a party. We would get excited regardless of what it was, even if it was Smirnoff Ice. Hell, we’d even drink Steel Reserves just to get drunk really cheap.
As I got older though, it wasn’t ‘cool’ to drink the cheap stuff anymore. If you were seen walking around with bottom shelf liquor, you’d be labeled as an alcoholic. If you did get alcohol in a plastic bottle, you’d have to justify it. It’s not for the taste, it doesn’t matter for this drink I’m making. Yadda Yadda. There would be a number of reasons that you might get cheap alcohol and none of them made you seem like you had your life together.
Fast forward to when I was 24. This was before I admitted I had an actual problem with alcohol. I followed the trends and did everything I could to be a normal person who drank. I developed an expensive taste and drank fancy cocktails or whiskey.
I learned a lot about the types of liquor and what their alcohol percentage was. I knew how to make most cocktails and was reading books on learning how to make more. I wanted to be the mysterious woman in the back of a lounge drinking from a martini glass.
But all of that made me feel even more like I might have a problem. To me, knowing that much about alcohol that I knew how to make several cocktails was an insight to my growing alcoholism.
Then I discovered craft beers.
Craft beers make you feel like you’re a badass
It’s not like they were never there, but the scene in Austin, Texas exploded a few years back. Everyone was making a craft beer or opening a brewery suddenly. But the concept behind it didn’t scream alcoholism. It was entrepreneurship and being a badass, it was a new take on a drink I barely looked at before. I had always associated beers before with Corona, Bud Light, etc. Basically all of the beers I had seen my dad drink as I was growing up.
To me, craft beers were also a symbol of strength. How could you not be a badass drinking a beer called “Sit down or I’ll sit you down”? It was 10% alcohol and if you could handle drinking one of those, you weren’t seen as an alcoholic, you were seen as someone who could handle their alcohol. A tough person.
The more I drank craft beers, especially IPAs, the more I could handle in one night. I took pride in knowing that I could drink most people under the table and a lot of people supported that pride. I would get compliments about it even. We would see who could drink the most beer at the highest ABV. For years I held on to the fact that I was the only female in my friend group who could outdrink some of the guys. I thought it made me cool.
Craft beers gamified the growing alcoholism inside of me. It’d be a quest to see what new beers I could find and which ones would get me drunk the fastest. Movie parties at the Alamo Drafthouse would have a random draft that they would sell out of frequently. Even 5ks and 10ks would give you a beer at the end. Beer was everywhere in my life and it always felt like a reward.
It’s not normal to drink at every meal.
Where I live, you’ll see people drinking alcohol with every meal. With how big our craft beer scene is, it’s hard to run out of new beers to try. I hid my alcoholism behind those things. It was normal for me to drink at 8am because a lot of people around me were also drinking mimosas or beers. I would think that because others are doing it, it must be okay.
It’s not normal to drink at every meal.
Before I gave up alcohol, I had gone to a craft beer festival and it was a lot of fun. The energy of the brewers who had spent so much time crafting a beer that they loved. Crowds that were excited to support their local breweries. They made drinking seem so normal and I was able to blend in with them.
I thought that if I was drinking beer under the guise of supporting local craft breweries, I could hide the fact that I would out drink people. That it was exciting to try different beers so it’d be okay if I had multiple.
Since I wasn’t drinking a 12 pack of lone star every night, it wasn’t noticeable. But my 6 pack of beer had a higher percentage of alcohol than lone star. And I would drink all 6 some nights.
But it was fine. It was a craft beer.
Part of my eagerness to go sober was that I didn’t want to play the game anymore. I didn’t want to compete for who could drink the most beer in one night. I was pre-gaming before going out with my friends so they couldn’t see how much I was drinking.
I’ve been sober for over 100 days now and I still miss the craft beer scene. It was exciting and I loved trying all of the new beers that would come out. But the benefits I get from not drinking far outweigh any excitement I had from drinking craft beers.
If you’re interested in my journey, here’s the good and the bad of my journey through sobriety.
What sobriety means for me: The good and the bad.
It’s not always good things. At least, not yet.
And if you’re meeting me for the first time, I’d recommend my very first blog when I decided to go sober.