Hipstercrite Life

A Story About Drinking

I rarely drink anymore.

Because of that, this post is spawned from the fact that I spent most of yesterday morning barfing up the Janis Joplin– hemp seed veggie patty, Tillamook cheese and avocado- at Austin’s beloved burger spot, Hopdoddy. I had three drinks of tequila and my body was all like, “WTF is this stingy crap going through my veins?” and decided to violently discard whatever it could find resting in my body which was mostly seeds and nuts. Lemme tell you, seeds and nuts feeling like freakin’ barbed wire travelling up your windpipe at the speed of sound. Between the liquor and the texture of the nuts, it feels like someone taking a Brillo Pad and going, “Scrape, scrape, scrape! Wee, wee, wee!”

When you get out of the habit of drinking, things like instant naptime or ralphing are common.

I never was a big drinker to begin with.

Considering I come from a family of non-drinkers that have the ability to drink two sips of wine and then laugh for five minutes while they try to find their belly button, drinking to get shitface or blacking out was never a goal or desire. I can probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve thrown up from drinking alcohol in my adult life. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a temporary dependency on alcohol when I first moved to LA due to my difficulty coping with my new found freedom, job and lifestyle. I spent many evenings hiding in my bedroom drinking until I got tired, taking pictures of myself drunk and writing the most emo and embarrassing “WHY WON’T SOMEONE HOLD ME?!?” journal entries over and over.

I was 21 and LA was the first place I ever drank. Yes, I was one of those nerdy assholes that didn’t try alcohol until she was legally able. I shit you not, I was sitting at a table next to my Academy Award-winning actor boss, Lindsay Lohan, Wilmer Valderrama, the Olsen twin who wasn’t in rehab at the time, a recently dumped and very Charles Mason-looking John Stamos and a couple of my boss’ business associates/friends. We were crammed at a private table at a restaurant owned by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore and I had absolutely no clue why I deserved to be there. Everyone was drinking and I tried to slink as far under the table as I could to be invisible. Everyone was having a blast, except for John Stamos who was talking about spending his days sadly fishing off his balcony and wanting to date twenty year-olds because they’re not jaded, and myself. I was not drinking and felt extraordinarily uncomfortable. It was that night that I decided I must learn to drink if I was going to work in the entertainment business. That opened the flood gates to finding a nice, cozy dependency at home when the goings got tough in the City of Angels.

My drinking at home alone tied directly into my unhappiness with my job and life and I wasn’t too worried about my behavior for I knew it would pass once I came out of my self-indulgent early twenty-something “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!” phase. After moving to Texas I drank less and less, though I discovered that more people drank socially in Austin than in Los Angeles. For the first time in my life, I felt an unspoken peer pressure to drink socially because beer essentially grows on trees here in Austin. I tried to learn to drink more in public and I also learned to drink beer, but I found myself not enjoying my time out because so many people were loaded. How many DWIs people had were a common and casual topic of conversation and drinking until 3 or 4 on a Monday night was natural. Everyone is entitled to their own life, but that lifestyle was not me and I didn’t want to pretend that it was. Since then I rarely drink which has become a thorn in my side at times. I’ve actually been told by a former boss that he didn’t “trust me” because I wouldn’t drink margaritas with him during a business lunch. I often find myself not able to let loose and enjoy myself in certain social situations that involve loud music and large crowds. I know that if I drink in these sort of social situations, I would chill out a bit, but these days, I’m just not feeling the booze anymore. The fear of looking like a uptight turd overwhelms me and I decide to go home.

I didn’t stop drinking because of the previously mentioned scenarios. I simply stopped drinking because I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I’m a sleepy drinker so it can become problematic when I’m out with friends and I find myself wanting to curl up like a cat on someone’s lap.

I’m also no longer 21 and happy with my life and who I am.

A friend once suggested that maybe I don’t like to lose control of myself. I was a little miffed at the comment, but I think he may be right. It’s the same reason why I never have and will probably never do drugs. Wanting to be successful at something for my entire life, I’ve found that giving myself over to a stimulant or depressant that alters my brain for a certain amount of time is only a hindrance. Believe me, I wish I could be as romantic and messed up as Bukowski or Hemingway. But alas, I’m stuck as the teetotaler who occasionally throws up vegetarian burgers.

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  • Reply Aasim Syed February 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    As someone who is on the other end of the spectrum, and who is struggling to come closer to your end, I found this piece inspiring and nice. Thanks, Hipstercrite!

    • Reply hipstercrite February 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      Thank you, Aasim!

  • Reply Laura February 8, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Interestingly enough, I find myself wishing daily that I wasn’t too responsible to quit everything else and spiral into a drunken bukowski-esque writing stupor.

    • Reply hipstercrite February 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      Ha. I hear ya. I’m reading Warren Zevon’s bio now and he said that he liked to cause drama in his life so he would have stuff to write about. Maybe that is why artists drink too much?

  • Reply Pandora February 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    My favorite line:

    But alas, I’m stuck as the teetotaler who occasionally throws up vegetarian burgers.

    • Reply hipstercrite February 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm


  • Reply Caitlin t February 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I’m half-with Aasim where I’ve been struggling through a full-fledged drinking problem for YEARS and just kind of getting sober. And, though your experience is very different, it’s nice to read pieces that remind me that it’s normal–and dare I say swag–NOT to drink… So thanks.

    In other curiosities, I’m wondering what your celebrity-ridden past gig was? Not that it sounds fulfilling (you sound much better now) but just because I’m nosy! xx

    • Reply hipstercrite February 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      I used to be a personal assistant in LA! It was crazy. Not for me, but I wouldn’t change a second of it! Thanks for reading, Caitlin!

  • Reply Allison February 8, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I was the same – I didn’t drink till I was 19 (legal age where I live) and it was fine. I am dating a British boy, so we do go out for pints at the pub occasionally – but it’s all in good fun. Except for on New Year’s…were I had my head in the toilet for most of the day after.

    I prefer to drink socially, but don’t worry I never drive. I grew up with parents who are borderline alcoholics and they drink everyday at home, after work. I think I was so turned off by their “I’ve had a hard day, I’m going to drink a bottle of wine now” attitude. I only enjoy drinking when I’m out with friends and the mood is positive. If I’m in a bad mood I don’t feel like drinking – doesn’t make me feel better.

    I loved reading that you lived in LA and were surrounded by movie stars and you never did drugs and rarely drank. I feel like all the stories I hear from LA involve a mountain of cocaine and bottle service.


    • Reply hipstercrite February 9, 2012 at 4:56 am

      Hey Allison. Yeah, I definitely learned that drinking when I felt crappy only made things worse. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Reply Micha February 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Glad I’m not the only tee-totaller at the party. I’m 20 and never really got into the drinking thing (legal age in Australia is 18), even in highschool where (literally) all of my mates were getting hammered every weekend. As my (also non-drinking) Mum likes to say, ‘you don’t need to drink to have fun.’

    • Reply hipstercrite February 9, 2012 at 4:56 am

      You Mum is right, Micha!

  • Reply Guise Faux February 9, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Hey, Lauren, you mentioned a couple of things that indicate you may have a genetic predisposition to alcohol intolerance:

    “Considering I come from a family of non-drinkers that have the ability to drink two sips of wine and then laugh for five minutes while they try to find their belly button…”

    This hints that it may be a common family genetic trait.


    “I can probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve thrown up from drinking alcohol in my adult life.”

    That’s actually quite a bit. I’m twice your age and can count on one hand – three fingers, in fact – the number of times I’ve been hungover or sick from drinking. (Hint: No more rum and coke for you, Guise.) But I have ridiculously high tolerance for alcohol, thanks to the little known Bender gene.

    It’s usually related to how we handle the alcohol-dehydrogenase enzyme, a metabolic deficiency common among Asians but also found among some some ethnic Jews. In terms of dietary and lifestyle adjustments it’s comparable to the lactose intolerance common among many ethnic groups.

    So, you may be one of those elite folks who can truthfully say “Oh, I’ll pass, I’m allergic to alcohol”, without making everyone else at the table facepalm.

    Okay, I lied. They’ll facepalm anyway. Just tell ’em drinking releases your inner She-Hulk. Warn them “You wouldn’t like me when I’m green.”

    • Reply hipstercrite February 9, 2012 at 4:57 am

      Wow. I never thought about it. Hmmm…How could I figure out if I was allergic? Very interesting. Thanks.

  • Reply Carol February 9, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Booze gives you bad breath anyway.

    • Reply hipstercrite February 9, 2012 at 4:57 am

      like Clark Gable!?

  • Reply Ivan Toblog February 9, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Looks like you have a handle on it and are getting a lot of support from others here. So I’ll just say good on ya

  • Reply Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty February 11, 2012 at 12:30 am

    i’m in the same moment. and unfortunately, seeing less and less and less of my still-intoxicated friends. I’m happy to have a glass or two of vino with dinner or during a movie but that’s about the extent of it. Heck! I even have days now where i don’t want a drink at all! And i’ve given up drugs, not that i was ever huge into them…

    …but like you, i’m a sleepy drinker. and by sleepy, i mean that night (which inspires drug use to keep me awake and is no good for anyone) and the next day. It ruins a full 48 hours for me.

    It’s been shocking to see how quickly people disappear when you aren’t just dipping into the local watering hole but at the same time, i’m learning what it means to have friends who WANT SOMETHING from their life. it’s nice. and i feel a whole heck of a lot better.

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