Cool, refreshing champagne flowed over my tongue and swirled down into my stomach. The poison alerted my body’s defenses but there were none available to fight the onslaught. My brain was drawn to the sweet taste as the immediate buzz the alcohol created tempted my rational thoughts into submission. My empty glass extended outwards to be refilled by my jubilant mother as the clock ticked 15 minutes into the New Year.
While in high school at a New Year’s Eve party, I drank rum and Coke into oblivion. From that point on I realized that to me, drinking alcohol was pointless. Because of this, my liver had not made alcohol dehydrogenase for a while (ask me about this and horses sometime).
Twenty years later, my Mom was visiting us for the holidays. Matt was asleep and Kathy and I had invited some friends over. Mom was a party girl and to this end, had bought several bottles of the bubbly stuff. Being a vet, I knew I could be called out any time and so I firmly, and repeatedly, said, “Mom, no thanks. I don’t want to drink and drive.”
We all celebrated as midnight was reached and I could see disappointment in my mother’s eyes each time she offered me champagne. At 12:15 I broke down. “Geoff,” she said with a little slur to her speech and a twinkle in her eye, “no one will call now. Just one glass for me?”