Drunk In My Twenties

Did alcohol keep me from asking deeper questions?

Paul Millerd


Photo by Blake Lisk on Unsplash

I stopped drinking for the second time when I moved to Taiwan. I never planned to quit. It just happened. I went to night markets instead of bars, met my now wife who doesn’t really drink, and slowly the desire disappeared.

I found this fascinating. The first time I quit drinking I was recovering from a health challenge with Lyme disease and as I started to recover and be more social, spent more than a year worrying about what people might think about me. I developed stories, excuses, and ways of making others feel comfortable.

The biggest what if I think about is what if I didn’t drink in my twenties? Was that even possible? Would I even have had the same friends?

American Parties & Party Schools

I had not spent a single moment thinking about alcohol until I saw that Budweiser announced it would give people “free beer” if the US met the vaccination goal of 70% of adults with one shot before July 4th. It looks like the US will come up a bit short, but they’re still going to give out the reward (after all, it was a marketing gimmick for people to sign up for their app).

If there is one thing that Americans rally around, it’s beer. Budweiser spent decades pairing its brand with the idea of America itself.

Another thing they paired their brands with was the extroverted ideal. The outgoing person at the center of the party. Drinking was fun. It was upbeat and positive. When I started college, this was mostly what I experienced. It was a ton of fun to be able to drink, party, and hang out with friends.

My school, UConn, was famous for its parties. Here is an excerpt from 1998:

An annual party weekend at the University of Connecticut culminated in a riot early Sunday as students pelted police with rocks and beer bottles and set a car on fire with a flaming couch.

More than 2,000 drunken revelers watched as students flipped a car and threw a flaming couch on it, prompting police to disperse the