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Hi, everyone. Firstly, I apologize that this is so long - I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read through it all.

I've seen a lot of threads that are similar in topic. Like many other Asians, I have Asian Flush in every sense of the term: the dizziness/lightheadedness; the headaches; the pressure; the nausea; and at its very worst, a pounding heart rate and serious trouble breathing, as if I had asthma (which I don't.)

I'm a 24-year old Korean girl - very extroverted, and blessed with a great life - great job, solid relationship with boyfriend, all that stuff. But recently, I've been finding that my lack of alcohol tolerance has been hampering my social life, and lately, it's been making me feel isolated, and therefore, depressed.

Before I go any further though, I want to reiterate a few things. I am not looking for a "cure" or a work-around for Asian Flush. I don't *want* to drink, or build a tolerance, just for the sake of being social, because the bottom line is that I will never be able to do it, no matter how hard I try. It'd be like running a race to which you'll never be able to cross the finish line, and to me, that's a waste of time and energy.

To give you some insight about myself (because maybe I will find other people who relate): I used to be able to drink a bit in college, and I only drank purely for social purposes. When everyone around you, especially all of your friends, are drinking and having a good time, why wouldn't you, right? I found out quickly, though, that I was intolerant; after one particular incident in college where I drank way more than what my body could handle, I literally thought I was going to die, and have stopped drinking for the most part since then, except for a girly fruity drink or one small shot of something clean on special occasions.

Because I had no choice but to be sober, social outings with friends eventually became not only boring, but a burden. After a while, one grows tired of always being the one helping your drunk friends stay on their feet, or throw up and not pass out in the bathroom. You're there to enjoy yourself as well, not babysit for someone else's lack of self-restraint, y'know?

I was okay for a while, but going out to clubs and bars wasn't really my idea of fun anyway, so I eventually stopped going out at all... and here is where I'm stuck. Most of my friends are around the same age as I am, if not older. And coincidentally, something like 95% of them all enjoy the clubbing and drinking scene. Even my boyfriend, whom I treasure amongst everyone else, enjoys to drink and likes to go out to bars on occasion. And when they all do decide to go out, I want to go out too... but I know that ultimately, I will not have any fun at all, because I'm a) always the ONLY sober one and b) will have to babysit everyone else.

I also feel like I'm too old to be so vulnerable to such indirect peer pressure. Usually things like this don't bother me, but lately it does, and sometimes I don't understand why. Perhaps it's because that, while I believe I am more mature than the average 24-year old, I am still 24, and yes, at my age, I do want to have fun and have an active social life (which I think is in fact, very healthy.)

At the same time, I am also someone who's witnessed many bad situations occur because of the lack of self-restraint. Some of my friends have called me a rather judgmental person, and I don't really know if I can help that. I don't really see why it's so difficult to be able to drink and have a good time without losing your self-control.

Maybe I just need new friends - swap out my current social circle with one that is more compatible with my interests. But that's easier said than done, and I'm not sure if replacing all of your friends for something that is actually just one aspect of many is the solution.

I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who's in this position, but I am at a loss on how I should deal. Is there a way I can enjoy myself with the friends I have, without having to drink myself or to become someone or do something I don't like? Isn't there a happy medium between somewhere? I am hoping to call out to people who are in similar positions like mine, where you don't want to "cave in" so to speak, but also maintain a social life regardless of your own intolerance.

Thanks in advance to everyone and their time.

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I had a similar problem with drugs. I had to leave all my friends and wife behind when I quit. It's hard, very hard. Keith Richards said he quit when he realized he wasn't really having fun drinking, he was just a "slave" to it.
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it took me a long time to realize you can't go through life with a monkey on your back. i sweat and feel paranoid when i drink...yet its not socially acceptable to not drink on a date. life is hard.
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Has anyone figured out a way to deal with this? I'm in the same situation, and I think the things that bother me the most are that I feel like people are judging me when I'm not drinking, and two it can be kind of dull to just chat with people who are drunk when you're not...I know there's a way to deal with it though....I think there's a solution to every problem! But if anyone has found a useful way of dealing with it, or maybe even just having someone to relate to would help, but please share! Good luck!
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wow, no one is actually reading this girl's post.

i have a very extreme intolerance, i couldn't even do a shot, i would be puking in 10 mins. i used to be able to drink a bowl of alcohol in college. nothing's wrong with my liver, it's in tip-top shape, actually. it just happened for no reason.

there is really no good solution to spending time with the same people. besides that, it gets worse when you're expected to go along for work functions, and 1) can't leave without it having repercussions in the workplace 2) no one will leave you alone about not drinking, 3) even though no one is all that comfortable around you because you're the only one there who'll remember all the stupid stuff everyone else is doing.

about the peer pressure, i'm 28, and the aforementioned workplace? full of people in their 30s and 40s. some people - no, a large majority of people - just don't ever mature. and by mature, i don't mean, get boring or stop partying, i mean, find something else in life that is fulfilling and entertaining and fun, and that you might remember the next day.

the only thing i can tell you is at least, if co-workers or people you don't know but are forced to socialize with bug you about not drinking, tell them you're in AA. that is a damn sure way to make people uncomfortable and back off. it can be kind of entertaining too, to tell stories about when you "hit bottom" and how many days you're counting or whatever.

you might need new friends though...
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I dont drink anymore, and I am actually quite proud when I am able to say to people that 'I dont drink'. Its not so much because of my asian flush reaction - i have been able to cure this via many of the methods found on the internet - however I just do not like the idea of drinking anymore and seem to have a lot more fun going out and socializing while not drinking. I have, however, had to do business with some Chinese associates and not drinking in this context meant that I may possibly offend the counter party to the deal - so I had to drink. In this case I used Pepcid AC and a variety of other techniques to get rid of the Asian Flush reaction and it worked perfectly. Deal closed. If you are looking for a remedy check you
Hope this helps,

Regards,

j

***edited by moderator*** web addresses not allowed
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I actually experience a similar problem as the person who started this post but it's more mental/emotional rather than physical problem, sort of. I was 21 and in a frat in college. I was a heavy drinker which one day almost literally ended my life. I got very drunk one night and somehow wound up on my front porch. I don't have any recollection of the details of how it happened but I fell down 7 steps and hit my head on a cement corner step, rendering my unconscious on the sidewalk at 2AM in a dangerous city. My roommates found me and thought that I was just passed out drunk when in fact something very serious was going on. I was unresponsive the next day and they brought me to the emergency room where I was admitted to the ICU with a traumatic brain injury. My family was told that the chances were I would survive were very slim. The underlying etiology was a massive subdural hematoma with a life threatening subarrachnoid hemorrhage (which is a fancy way of saying that I was bleeding into my brain). Miraculously, after 1 week in the ICU I made an unexpected recovery and was discharged. The doctors and my school advisors urged me to take the school year off and resume my education the next year, I disagreed and went back to school with what was said to be a very small chance of success. I vowed to never sip alcohol again and that semester I got the highest GPA I had ever gotten. The next semester I did so well that I was named to the deans list. A year and a half later I have still not had a sip of alcohol. Amazing story, life changing but, it does have a downside. I am terrified of alcohol, its a phobia that doctors say is related to the trauma. When I say phobia, I mean I cannot be in a bar without having a panic attack. I have become severely antisocial. On the rare occasion that I'll actually force myself to enter an environment with alcohol (birthdays or special events), I can't find anything to talk about and I'm completely uncomfortable. I can only stand it until everyone starts to act drunk and then I escape by just leaving without a good excuse. Going from the sociable party guy to a guy trapped in his room afraid of bars is awful. I don't intend to start drinking every again, but I'm scared that I'll be a lonely guy forever. I don't know how to handle it.
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Man, can i relate to you. I have every symptom you described very shortly after drinking one or two sips. It's really inconvenient and it absolutely is socially isolating. The problem i have is that i am under the impression that EVERYONE drinks and everyone loves to drink, however little or much. I don't like being different from everyone. I absolutely cannot relate to the idea of being excited about drinking, wanting to drink or loving it. I'm watching Intervention on A&E and this guy was talking about how he loves to drink. He said it several times in a row and i believe him. But i don't understand how that's possible when it makes me feel so awful. I wonder what everyone else feels when they drink? So i typed that question in about an hour ago and discovered the term "alcohol intolerance." I looked up the symptoms and couldn't believe it. There was an actual name for what i experience and why i'm so "different."

I don't have any advice for you.  I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this and letting me know that i'm not so extraordinarily different and alone. It's very comforting to know there are others out there. I suspect the number of us is pretty low, unfortunately.

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I honestly think that you're hanging with the wrong crowd.  If you don't like drinking and going clubbing and all your 'friends' do, then find new friends who enjoy doing what you like to do...

That doesn't mean you have to get rid of your old friends and dump your boyfriend, but when I realized that the club scene was boring and useless, after a few years of it, I ended up becoming obsessed with things that better my life, not numbing it (booze, clubbing).

This isn't a joke, but you should try other things.  Marijuana and Psilocybin are both very mentally stimulating; they don't make you feel elated at night and horrible the next morning; there are no hangovers; they don't involve clubbing (paying to go into a dark room and buy overpriced alcohol); and they both help expand your mind. 

The Beatles made their best work with marijuana and psilocybin.

Jim Morrison drank himself to death at 28 years old...


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