I have not had a lot of experience drinking alcohol. I have drank alcohol on many different occasions, but never more than one beer or more than three shots of any given thing. This isn’t for any religious reason or particular belief; I don’t drink much because I don’t think alcohol tastes very good, I have never really desired to achieve any particular feeling that alcohol might provide, and mostly because I don’t want to be unable to control my thoughts and actions. I have heard several people over the years tell me things like, “I wish I hadn’t drank as much as I did...I shouldn’t have started drinking in the first place...I can’t remember what I did...I don’t want to remember what I did...I think I’m going to regret this tomorrow...and I don’t want to do that again.” That is the side of alcohol and other abuse-able substances that really scares me. If a chemical, or combination of chemicals, has the ability to impair my ability to think and act then how will I know when will I am going to lose control? Then when that happens, what am I capable of doing?

While I haven’t had a lot of experience drinking alcohol myself, I feel like I have had enough experience with other people who drink plenty of it. I have seen people, including friends and strangers, become confused, hilarious, paranoid, loud, happy, angry, affectionate, insensitive, excited, violent, honest, forgetful, lonely, rude, embarrassed, regretful, sad, embarrassing and profoundly stupid all with the help of alcohol. There are times and places in which these behaviors can be rather inconsequential (notably indoors with close friends), but oppositely there are times and places in which these behaviors can be reputation destroying and life-altering. With that in mind, I think the act of drinking should be approached in a measured and responsible way. Especially here in Mongolia, where alcohol and alcoholism are an unavoidable part of everyday life.