On Alcohol and Autism

I drink alcohol. That’s not any kind of confession. It’s something I’m open about. I like to drink. How can I not? Have you drank cider? Cider is incredible, pure, sweet, tart. Then there’s the power of a good dark beer or a nice bold cocktail. Alcohol tastes incredible and I feel no shame in being a fan.

That’s not what this entry is about though. This is about the effect of alcohol, not the taste. Alcohol’s effect is well known. It’s been incredibly destructive. It does such damage. And I’m going to theorize that has a lot to do with why I’m not the most common among my autistic peers in drinking.

Why is it that so many autistic people disdain alcohol? I’m not saying this is universal.  In fact I just saw a beer recommendation from a friend. But it seems to be fairly common that we hate how being inebriated feels.

Inebriation is an odd feeling. Kendrick Lamar compared getting deeply drunk to swimming in a pool. He’s not wrong. Drinking is to disconnect from your senses. Nothing registers as intensely. Not shockingly it’s a bit unsettling when you’re used to all your senses being turned up to 11.

Is that a good or bad thing? For me it’s honestly nice having the volume down a bit. I like the experience of everything being a bit calmer and less intense. There’s also the not unpleasant stimulation of blood rushing to the skin as alcohol lowers the body’s temperature. A buzz feels nice. But that can be intense for us. Loss of stimuli feels odd. The buzz is a weird feeling. I get that.

Then there’s the mental element. Alcohol reduces our inhibitions. And that’s kinda scary for us. We thrive on control. We’re not exactly graceful sober. A lot is lost. Oh and the risk of blacking out, which is terrible and needs no further explanation.

So considering such risks, I get it. It’s divisive and it should be.

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