I was never much of a drinker and in fact I am pretty much a teatotaller for a variety of reasons. Seeing alcohol in any situation is rarely good and it has an effect on children and relationships especially when the habit is hidden.
I grew up in a lower middle class environment in Southern California. I remember my parents having friends who were a little rough around the edges. While I never saw my parents drink much, I remember get togethers with other families where the Coors was flowing the smell was obvious. It was gross in a cigarette kind of way. My parents smoked when I was young and that smell was a big reason I have never considered smoking a cigarette or anything ever. The alcohol smell was nasty but not as bad and it seemed more socially acceptable. It took a little more life experience observing others for me to see the effects of excessive alcohol use and for me to decide that taking a drink was rarely going to happen if ever.
Fast forward to high school and you see kids drink and I had friends who clearly liked to brag about how much they could drink. Over time, these were kids I wanted no part of for a variety of reasons. Once in college, kids who had never had any freedom began to drink like alcohol was water often with consequences that involved injury to personal embarrassment causing them to withdraw from school after a bad weekend that they regretted. Watching an 18 year old kid back his bags and leave school for good because of what he did while drunk and how the other kids made him feel even more shame is not something I would wish on anyone. Other than having half a bottle of Corona with some chicken wings or a wine cooler while trying to be social, I would never drink to the point of not being in control. Having a girlfriend cheat on me using alcohol as an excuse cost me a relationship that obviously was not as meaningful as I thought. Alcohol is a life lesson and you need to ask yourself how it fits in to your life and that of someone you might marry.
Simply put I am not a big fan of alcohol but to each his own as long as they do not cause harm to others. What people who drink do not understand, is that alcohol is something that effects relationships and children. While alcohol use by others use might be something men can ignore in social situations, they cannot ignore its use by a woman who you want to be your wife or who is already your wife.
One of the difficulties of being a non drinker is that people who find out you are non drinker either think you are all high and mighty or they hide their drinking so as to not feel inferior when they are around you. This is typical even if you don't insult or judge a woman you might meet who does drink a bit more than you would. As a man you have to be able to spot women who have problems with alcohol before you consider getting married and having children. While the woman you marry is not the woman you divorce, you cant go into a marriage worried if your wife has an alcohol problem or fail to spot it if she does develop one after you have been married for awhile.
Once you are married to someone, you want the secrets between the two of you to be minimal. A secret can be fine if you know your spouse will never find out about it or if it is one you will accept the end of your marriage if they do, but alcohol is not one of those secrets that are easy to hide. Seeing bottles of liquor in your cupboard that aren't yours yet never seeing your wife drink around you is a problem. Having your children say they saw mommy drinking or even finding bottles around the house is a huge problem and will stick with them. As a parent do you ever want your children to see you drink to the point of being drunk? Do you want your kids to think you sneak your drinks? Of course not.
If you and your spouse are both drinkers and its out in the open, any problems that exist regarding behavior will play out with full disclosure directly or indirectly. That is for another post. However, when one spouse hides their alcohol habit and you are aware of it, your relationship is going to end or at the very least be filled with resentment as you will not think you know the person you married.
In addition to the bad behavior alcohol enables, its hidden use can be an indication of other problems or secrets that may exist with an individual. You do not want that person to be your spouse. If alcohol use is not a big part of your life or you in fact are basically a non drinker, you need to vet a woman for her alcohol habits before you consider marrying her. While you cannot change what she might become after you marry her, you need to have your eyes open to the habit. There is nothing good about drinking beyond the occasional social drink and if you are on a different page as to whether a certain amount of use by a spouse is proper, then you are going to have problems down the road.
Little secrets are a sign of big secrets in a marriage and nothing good is going to come from that down the road especially when there are children involved.
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