Since this is on my tab, I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is McKenzie, and I am a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Having just finished my freshman year, I’m back home in the Fox Cities. If you need a visual, use the back of your left hand as a map of Wisconsin… imagine a YOU ARE HERE dot just south of where the thumb and forefinger come together.

In many ways, I’m the typical Wisconsin native – a cheesehead, still wondering what to do with the Brett Favre jersey in my closet. I’ve been on more than one school field trip to a dairy farm (though I’ve never “tipped a cow”). FYI, farming is far from primitive – machines milk cows nowadays. I know the lingo like the back of my Wisconsin-shaped hand: that thing in the hallway that provides a steady stream of drinking water is a “bubbler” and if you “come’ere once” we can go “up north” for the weekend. I’ve “tailgated” at sacred Lambeau Field and harassed my share of Viking fans. We won the Super Bowl and The Bears Still Suck.

There is, however, one way in which I differ from the typical Wisconsinite, and it is for that reason that I have created this blog. In Wisconsin, beer is a big deal. Not that that’s a bad thing – beer put Milwaukee on the map and Miller Park in Milwaukee. Many small town breweries and families take pride in creating one-of-a-kind craft beers for local, regional, and even national distribution. Think New Glarus’ “Spotted Cow Ale” or Leinenkugel’s “Honey Weiss”. Taverns are social centers where people gather to watch the Packers, Badgers, Brewers, and Bucks and we have more bars per-capita than anywhere else. Beer is social. Beer is culture.

Then there’s me: I don’t drink and I have no desire to. I used to think it was because I was sheltered; after all I went to small Catholic schools for 12 years of my life where “say no to drugs and alcohol” presentations were frequent to an almost annoying degree. Having spent a year at a college with a not-so-secret partying reputation, I can honestly say that’s not the case. I’ve gone to parties, I’ve been designated driver, and I still respect those who make decisions different from my own. I DO NOT judge; decisions are individual. Plain and simple, drinking is just not my thing.

My family respects my decision but every once and a while my relatives will play the “what if” game with me. What if you’re with friends you trust and it’s only one beer? What if you’re with family and Auntie so-and-so offers you a sip of her Bud Light Lime? My answer is always the same: just not interested. Some may like the taste. Some may enjoy the buzz. I would, in all cases, rather have an orange soda.

And so I’m out to find people like me. People who just aren’t interested. People who understand what it’s like to feel a little bit of cultural disconnect. People who may have had a difficult time meeting friends at college or in the workplace who feel the same way. My mission is to simply share stories and provide a safe place for those who choose to share in return. There will be honesty, struggle, and tips on alternate ways to spend your Friday night. That said, some posts may be controversial; some may upset those who are more comfortable with Wisconsin’s beer culture. Again, to those who do drink – whether in small or party-sized amounts – I respect your decisions and encourage you to be safe. So here’s a toast to a new blog – A Shot of Sobriety. One… two… three…!

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