People drinking during the day are very unpleasant (to me)

Alexei Sorokin
3 min readSep 28, 2023

Today I met with a schoolmate from a quarter of a century ago. I attended a boarding school in England, and several months ago, he reached out to me with a potential consulting project for the company he works for. Last night, he flew into Miami, and, conveniently, I am in Florida now so we had lunch in Delray Beach. My friend wasn’t drinking, but he had come with a buddy who had two beers during our lunch. My friend’s friend lives in Miami, but he’s from Belgium (does that explain the drinking?!)

It was very hot, and the beers looked lovely, actually. I love cold beer, especially IPA. You’d know I’m not a sobriety fanatic if you've read my writing long enough. I advocate for moderation. In fact, I often get annoyed reading patronizing sobriety stories in the spirit of you-are-an-idiot-if-drink-alcohol. I’ve enjoyed beer and wine for decades now. I’ve had “dry” stretches, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I enjoy a drink almost daily. It’s one of my indulgences, and it contributes to my overall well-being. It’s okay to have some indulgences, even if at face value, they are “bad” for you. That alcohol is bad for you, I don’t doubt. I’d be healthier if I didn’t drink at all.

I have certain rules, though. I always have my drinks in the evening. For one thing, I would never exercise with alcohol in my blood. I run every day, so that’s one constraint on my alcohol consumption. No running, no alcohol. I do a lot of running in the afternoon or evening, so drinking before that is out of the question.

But even my running aside, I acknowledge the damaging impact of alcohol. What’s a pleasant relaxation in the evening is a damaging fatigue during the day. If I had a beer (let alone two beers) during the day, I wouldn’t be drunk. But I’d be totally dysfunctional. I’d need a nap for sure. I have enough struggles with focus without alcohol and can’t imagine clouding my mind or adding heaviness to my body during the day.

So I was looking at this guy, especially when he was progressing with his second glass of beer, and really disapproving. I guess he was my age, and he looked fine overall, notwithstanding some signs of aging that I also have in my forties. But it was as if his drinking made him older, especially when he took off his sunglasses. I can’t quite explain it, but it felt like his looks or skin had an extra layer of something. I can’t put my finger on it. Some color? Extra fat? Fatigue? Something in the eyes?

I’m not making judgments. The guy wasn’t alcoholic! Maybe he had no commitments, and his tolerance for beer is much higher than mine. Still, it wasn’t the first time, I caught myself feeling nearly disgusted by the sight of people — men or women — drinking during the day. It’s not much different from seeing people smoke.

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/