As a youth, I did all the ‘wrong’ things. I didn’t go out and party all night long. I stayed in my room and read books: poetry – everything from Homer to Sylvia Plath; religious writings – the Talmud to the Bhagavad Gita; and philosophy – Plato to Wittgenstein.
Regarding philosophy, I remember being particularly taken with the writings of Nietzsche. I can’t have understood them very well though. I became an anti-alcoholic out of what I saw as support for the idea of the superman. I thought it meant achieving your goals based on the power of mind alone – mind independent of any chemicals I might choose to throw at it. Wrong! Nietzsche did champion Dionysus after all…
For many years after realising my mistake, I imbibed with an almost wilful defiance. I might not have put the ‘bing’ in ‘binge drinking’, but it wasn’t for the want of trying. That period in my life came to an end a few years ago however.
That I don’t drink (much) alcohol anymore is not out of a misunderstanding of the teaching of a nineteenth century German philosopher or anything pseudo-elevated like that. I simply prefer a clear head in the morning to a befuddled one in the evening. That’s it.