Drinking and Choice

Doing my dishes, I remembered a conversation I had at a local bar and it gave me a “WTF??” moment in terms of how I thought of the idea that people who get so drunk they can’t remember are always responsible for it. I mean, we often hear about being careful around one’s drink due to date rape drugs being put in it. And, yeah, it means that if I’m out I only leave my drink with a friend I’d trust my life to. But I always had this assumption in the back of my mind that if it was just alcohol, that the person’s personal responsibility — even in the face of peer pressure — was paramount.

I’m not so sure anymore.

See, this is a story I heard — verified by one of the men involved calling up the one who had gotten drunk when I expressed concern over his health since no one had heard from him. I’ll call the drunk guy Peter (not his real name, in fact if I use any other names they will all be fake). According to the guys at the bar, Peter has health problems so he shouldn’t drink. The other night they decided to get him drunk — again, after expressing concern I was assured many times that Peter had expressed interest in drinking, though given their actions I’m skeptical in terms of what kind of pressure they put on him.

To his knowledge, he only had two beers. Maybe with his meds it would be enough to push him to the “I don’t remember anything from last night,” point, but maybe not. But, see, he didn’t really just have two beers. The second one was spiked by these friends of his — most of whom, if I understand correctly, have known him for over a year — with a shot of some really strong liquor. His drunken state was recorded on audio and has been passed around for laughs.

It really upset me to hear about this, though I don’t think I really connected with why until just now. This man was given a certain amount of alcohol without his knowledge for the express purpose of getting him drunk, it was potentially dangerous given his medical condition, and his subsequent behaviour was recorded and used to give the perpetrators of this act something to laugh about.

Thankfully it doesn’t seem that any longstanding harm was done, though I don’t know if he knows about the recording. He may or may not know about the extra alcohol he was given by now, and that may or may not bother him. But it bothers me. Because, even though he’s okay and even though nothing more “serious” happened to him aside from being humiliated by his “friends,” the implications of that kind of situation — and the possibilities for harm — are immense.

And this, of course, is all passed off as “good fun” by those who perpetrate it.

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7 thoughts on “Drinking and Choice

  1. Our company sexual harassment training last year went over a date rapist’s MO. They don’t always go for drugs, sometimes they do that. Sometimes they just ply their date with alcohol, keep buying her drinks. After a few, she agrees to a few more because her judgment’s shot, and then a few more and she’s forgotten how many she’d had and this nice young man, a friend of a friend of a friend who’s been buying her drinks offers to drive her home.

  2. This story is so terrifying. I find myself more and more aware of the lack of safe space that comes with normalizing these kinds of situations. “Good fun”…pff! That whole culture of putting people in danger at the expense of a few laughs is…well, you know.

    Anyways, thanks for the awesome comment – yeah, my stomach flipped too when I read what her sig.other said. And you know, my dad also asked me about shaving my legs once – was very concerned as to why I had stopped (even though it was just a lazy hiatus!) – at one point he suggested that women do it because it makes them feel cleaner, just like men shave their faces. Sigh. I probably argued till I turned blue in the face, to no avail. I want to believe that one day, he’ll get it.

    I’m so motivated to post soon! thank you!!

  3. I am under the impression that much of what could be considered “normal” frat boy humor has the potential to be more harmful. Not to sound judgmental; I base that on experiences of friends/acquaintances.

    This, however, is all the worse because his choice was taken away from him.

  4. This is exactly why I usually don’t go out drinking with people. I do not want “friends” to try to get me drunk so I can fit in with them, and so far none of my friends who drink have convinced me that they will respect my wishes in that regard.

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