Articles Written By Dale Lee

Learn More To Do More Project

A Few Experiences Of A Teetotaler©

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Put glass in your hand

Person was too drunk to tell the difference between a taxi and a police car

A teetotaler can’t hide at a party

You will do things sober that most people have to be drunk to do

College history class report on making moonshine

Teetotaler and dating options

Woman at a party wanted to know why I was not drunk

Picnic with lots of beer and no ice for water

Airline little bottles of liquor

Not drinking

Going out to eat lunch with coworkers when drinking is part of the lunch

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A Few Experiences Of A Teetotaler©


Put a drink in your hand if you are not drinking. This is advice I wish someone had given me before I learned it the hard way. I cannot explain it. It seems to me that many drinkers of adult beverages are made uncomfortable by a person in their presence that is not drinking an adult beverage or is not holding a glass. Teetotaler is a word used to define a person that does not drink adult beverages.

I have recorded a few experiences I have had when I have been thrust into the limelight as a teetotaler. May these experiences convey to you the emotional struggle of trying to live the life of a teetotaler.

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I did not know the decision I made as a teenager to not drink adult beverages would have an on going impact on my life. I did not choose to be a teetotaler.

Since I have been stereo typed as a teetotaler, I tried to try hide my teetotalism. I found that I did not have to say a word for my teetotalism to become public knowledge at a party. It was almost like I was wearing a scarlet “T” letter on my shirt.

Being thrust into the worlds of social drinking and drinking while on a company sponsored trip as a novice teetotaler was a shock to my mental state of mind. How could not doing something separate yourself from your friends and work colleagues? It can.

A person not drinking at a party will quicky be noticed. At the first parties I attended, I would only get something to drink until I was thirsty. I soon learned that it was wise to have a glass in your hand. A glass in my hand reduced the questions about why I was not drinking.

Some social drinkers have a cynical approach to the teetotaler, because they are jealous of the person that is strong enough to say “NO.” The social drinker that speaks against drinking at his church does have a problem with the guilt the teetotaler brings out in him.

The teetotaler only affects the real drinker before he has finished his third drink. After that, the real drinker’s main concern is making sure he has something with alcohol in his glass.

There seems to be a few people that feel that one of their life’s goals is to get non drinkers to drink an alcoholic drink. After several encounters with these people, I learned to not allow my drink to get out of my sight, and most of the time I would not let the drink leave my hand. If I did not fix my drink, I would not accept the drink if I did not see it being prepared. I wondered what if I was allergic to alcohol or I was a recovering alcoholic. Certainly the people are irresponsible if they add alcohol to a person’s drink without the person knowing what was done.

At a party I am quick to get a glass in my hand that contains a liquid that is a shade of brown. I prefer ginger ale, because I do not like its taste. Ten ounces of ginger ale can last me an hour or more. I stay away from Coke and Pepsi, because I like their taste.

A simple phrase like “liquor or alcohol does not agree with me” seems to satisfy most people that ask about me not drinking. You can play with a person’s mind by saying something like “I have to be very careful with alcohol, because I want to milk a cow when I get drunk.”

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For a Tennessee History class in college, I decided to write a report on making moonshine. I had grown up hearing about making moonshine and bootleggers. I had not seen real moonshine. I had heard my father talk about a church where he held a yearly revival in August. Sometimes people would be in the yard of the church selling moonshine while he was preaching in the church.

I went to the library at Belmont University and found no books on making moonshine. I went to the Nashville public library, and it had no books on making moonshine. I realized I had a problem. I had no resources. I looked through the phone book looking for a department of the State of Tennessee that sounded like that it had jurisdiction over arresting people for making moonshine. I got a couple of telephone numbers and made the phone calls. I finally found the correct department and made an appointment to visit the office.

When I arrived for my appointment, I found that I was treated with suspicion. I was quizzed as to why I wanted to learn how to make moonshine. I showed them my college ID and explained the topic I had chosen for my Tennessee History class report. I realized that they had no interest in helping a person learn how to make moonshine if they were planning to actually make moonshine. The person agreed to let me look at the books they had in the office, but I could only view the books at the office. To my surprise, the department only had three or four books that related to making moonshine. The books had copyright dates in the 1920s and 1930s. The books were thirty plus years old.

I learned how to make moonshine, about the dangers of drinking moonshine that is condensed through a car radiator, how different people added “stuff” to give a special taste to their moonshine, and that it is not against the law to make moonshine. It was against the law to sell untaxed whisky. Some of the “stuff” that people added to give a different flavor to the moonshine is fruit, nuts, road-kill, spices, insects that fell into the mash, etc. The road-kill did not sound good to me.

I later lived in Bristol, Tennessee. Moonshine was made in the hills and mountains near Bristol. Several times during conversations about moonshine, people became puzzled as to how did this teetotaler know so much about making moonshine. I never told my secret.

A man I knew in Bristol said he knew of a small bridge that if you went under the bridge and left a quart jar with money in it, you could come back in about an hour and the jar would be full of moonshine. I never learned the location of the bridge.

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I attended a party a fellow worker held for the people that helped him move and his new neighbors. He had lived in Florida and had jumbo shrimp flown from Florida for the party. The shrimp were huge and very delicious. There were plenty of soft drinks and liquor to drink. The party started about eight o’clock.

About ten o’clock that evening, I noticed a woman watching me. About eleven o’clock, I was sitting on the fireplace’s hearth when she came over and sit by me. I wondered what she was up to. She was a little tipsy and was slurring some of her words.

She looked at me and said, “I want to know your secret.” I had no idea what she was talking about. I ask her to tell me what she meant. She told me that she had been watching me drinking during the party. I did not act like I was drunk, and I did not talk like I was drunk. I told her that I was glad my method for controlling how the liquor affected me was working. She was very serious about learning my secret. She wanted to be able to drink and not get drunk. I did not tell her my secret was that I was not drinking any liquor. I was only drinking Coke, Pepsi, etc. I was drinking a lot, because the food was salty.

I have wondered if she ever told people about the man she met at a party that was drinking a lot and never got drunk.

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On my first business trip after I finished college, I got to fly first class. I found out that I would get free drinks. I listened to my traveling companions talk about their favorite drinks. I decided I would get the two little bottles of whisky for souvenirs for the trip. I decided on Jack Daniels Black Label and I do not remember the other one. I was sitting in front of the man that loved Jack Daniels Black Label. I got my little bottles. When he told the stewardess what he wanted, she told him I got the last bottle. She said she did have Jack Daniels Green Label.

He got very upset with me and demanded that I give him my bottle. If he had asked me, I would have given it to him. Since he demanded I give it to him, I refused. For the rest of the plane flight he was unhappy with me. Since I was not going to drink the content, I did not care which brand or type of whisky I had for a souvenir. During the trip, I learned a lot about alcoholic drinks.

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Many companies have a rule about not drinking during lunch. One place I worked did not have that rule. Most of the people did not drink at lunch. From time to time, a person would return from lunch in a tipsy condition.

I had a boss that liked to go out to eat at lunch which often included at least one beer and go for a drink after work. I do believe that my very limited participation in the lunches and not going out for a drink after work was a factor that hurt me at review time.

I had another boss that was a party animal and a big drinker. He admired me for standing up for what I believed. Even though I did not participate in the activities he liked, he respected me and did not allow it to influence my evaluation.

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On a business trip to Atlanta, Georgia, I went out with the group at night. We ended up at a lounge. The other people in the group had several drinks that night. As we left the lounge, one of the men decided that we were too drunk to drive the car to the motel. He had forgotten that I was not drinking. While the group was having the discussion about being or not being too drunk, a car drove by us while we were in the parking lot. One man said that we should get the taxi that just drove by. I had a good laugh. The “taxi” that drove by did have a light on the roof, but it had Atlanta Police written on the side of the patrol car.

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At one party I was at as a single man, I had a woman say to me. RYou will do things sober that most people have to be drunk to do.” I like to have fun, and I did not think I was into doing unusual things.

There was one thing I did that night that may have influenced the woman’s comment. For a reason I do not remember, some of the men got into a contest as to who could do a forward roll. Being tipsy can cause a forward roll to become a lateral roll or a diagonal roll. Some could not complete the roll and ended up laying flat on the floor. One person ended up in a three-point stance. He was balanced by both feet and his head being on the floor in the shape of a triangle. I decided to go a bit farther and did a backward roll and a kicked out into standing on my feet. People were amazed that I was able to do it. So was I. I had not done it for at least ten years.

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Adult dating often involves activities that having a drink is part of the activity. Types of activities that normally involved a drink are:

Going to a club.

Going to a bar.

Having a drink with a meal.

Inviting a date to your home for a drink.

Taking a drink to gain courage.

Drinking at a party.

Going to a professional ball game.

I did not make an issue that I did not drink. I found that my dates would follow my lead. When asked what I wanted to drink at a restaurant, I would choose ice tea or a cola. I found my dates would follow. I believe that all women I dated were social drinkers and had ties to a church. I got the feeling that the women I dated were relieved that drinking was not part of a date with me.

On dates, I went to movies, ball games, parks, malls, restaurants, rodeos, church activities, single organization sponsored activities, cook meal at my home, fairs, etc. I did my best to make sure my date had a good time.

I did not find being a teetotaler to be a limitation when dating. At a meal, I could buy dessert instead of paying for overpriced drinks.

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I served as a programmer-analyst on a project for a company. The head of the user department for which the project related invited the five people on the project team to a cookout at his house. We were to bring a date or wife.

It was on a hot day in the summer, and there were several coolers with a variety of iced beer. After being there for about an hour, I asked where I could get a coke. I did not know what a problem I was causing when I asked where I could get a coke.

No plans were made for a person that did not drink beer. All ice had been used to ice down the beer. There was no ice in the freezer. The host did not have anything else to drink other than beer. I had my choice of warm water or rinse of some of the ice in the coolers. The ice had trash frozen in it. I decided to drink warm water.

My date did not know what to do. She was a social drinker, but she did not drink when we were on dates. I told her that it was it was OK with me if she drank the beer. My date said that the cold beer did feel good. The warm water did not hit the spot with a hamburger on a hot summer Saturday.

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Being a teetotaler enables me to:

Not worry about getting drunk.

Have no need for a designated driver.

Not have a hangover.

Not have to worry about doing something I may not remember doing.

Not worry about getting a DWI traffic ticket.

Laugh at the behavior of people that are tipsy or drunk.

Be sad about the preventable damage drunks and heavy drinkers do to themselves and other people.

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Date last changed: 12-28-2007