A confession: I'm not a big drinker. I probably didn't even have my first drink until I was 23 or 24. I think the drunkest I've ever been is once or twice when I got to the point that I was having trouble controlling my speech volume, but never beyond that. No blackouts, never puked, never peed in anyone's shoes, nothing. Probably lots of little reasons for this. Before you say it, yes, I was a nerdy kid who was a stickler for the rules, and that certainly contributed. Not that we partied much, but my friends didn't drink as a social activity in either high school or college, so there was little peer pressure. I also had some bad experiences with alcoholics and users of (hard) drugs, both in the family and out. If you had to ask me what thing in the world I fear/hate most, it's people who are impaired past the point that they can be reasoned with. This includes people who are 1) very drunk, 2) very high, or 3) very (mentally) ill. I have had to deal with all three in my life more often than I care to remember, and each interaction triggers my fight-or-flight response. There is nothing I hate more than spending 20 minutes trying to convince somebody who can barely walk that no, they are not OK to drive, or that no, it's not OK to start dialing everyone in their cell phone, or that no, it's not OK to sleep on the neighbor's lawn. Also, please quiet down because screaming at the top of your lungs at 3AM is frowned-upon. That's not to say that my experiences with alcohol have been uniformly negative. One of the best nights I ever had was a long get-together with three really excellent people at an upscale bar in Minneapolis. All three of these guys are 1) intensely interesting and 2) intensely funny when sober, and more importantly all four of us knew how to stay about 2-3 drinks ahead of sobriety: just enough to enhance the experience, but not enough for people to do stupid shit. But that's a rarity. When I do go out with friends (or friends of friends) who like to drink, I am always - 100% of the time - the de-facto designated driver/minder/babysitter. I'm not even really "designated;" If I weren't there, they would all be drinking just as much, and whoever was most "OK to drive" at the end of the night would probably drive home. Sometimes a cab would be called, but probably not often. Is this normal, by the way? Unlike my excellent colleagues above, these folks get 2-3 drinks ahead of sobriety in the first 10 minutes, and it's all downhill from there. Eventually I'm back to stealing keys, dodging insults and threats of violence for doing so, getting deeply uncomfortable and sloppy hugs from all the guys who "want me to know they really love me, man" and chauffeuring people all over the place trying to convince people not to puke in the car. I have literally driven other people's cars, uninsured, hundreds of miles while they lapsed in and out of consciousness. FOCUS: When have you been the designated babysitter for your group of inebriated or chemically-altered friends? What challenges have you overcome to do so? ALTERNATE FOCUS: How have you, when inebriated or chemically-altered, inadvertently abused your designated babysitter? Did you ever have any lasting consequences for doing so?