From the April 1969 magazine.

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

The Sober Truth About Social Drinking

Almost any sport or hobby has a language all its own. But social drinking--which is surely not a sport, and heaven help us if it gets to be a hobby--has developed a vocabulary of deliberate inaccuracy. The Liquor Language is as foggy and fuzzy as its users too often become.

In the first place, there are absolutely no mathematical terms in it. Though all social drinkers agree that the only way to stay reasonably sober is to keep track of how much you drink, they have no words in their language to count with. Social drinkers count their first drink as a "don't mind if I do," the next "a little refill," the third a "just a splash, thanks"; anything after that is obtained by waving an empty glass in the air and calling, "While you're up. Harry." No wonder social drinkers sometimes get less than social. Even the most conscientious of them can have a hard time adding up a refill, a couple of splashes, and several while-you're-ups.

-- Joyce Kissock Lubold

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