Just saw that Longreads featured my Bold Italic essay in this! So flattered!


My alcohol story seems like a non-story: I grew up in a home of teetotalers. We did not imbibe alcohol, nor did we discuss it. My mom’s parents are Southern Baptists, so her upbringing was the same. Alcohol made my dad sick, so he avoided it. I was a nerd in high school, which meant: no parties. My conservative Christian college punished drinking on-campus with suspension. For years, I viewed any alcohol consumption with intense discomfort: a mix of fear, suspicion and a self-righteousness that almost destroyed several friendships. I never had more than two drinks at a time, and I’ve never been drunk. After I graduated, I stopped drinking altogether—maybe half a hard lemonade once, but that was it. It’s been well over a year since I had my last drink, and the bar in town knows my penchant for Shirley Temples.

So, I don’t drink. Why? I see…

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