I’ve lived a bit of a sheltered life if I’m honest. Firstly, the revelation that I (still) don’t have any tattoos or piercings came as a huge shock to most of you. So, here’s today’s big clanger: I’m almost teetotal. Here’s why…
Before we start, I say I’m ‘almost teetotal’ because I virtually am. I only really have a drink on special occasions, like Christmas, NYE, or (occasionally) birthdays. And even then, I don’t drink to excess, only having one or two tipples. I thought I’d publish this post now because it’s nearly Christmas, and this question comes up a lot at this time of year!
While this isn’t the most interesting of stories, it’s one of those things that makes you feel like you always have to explain your reasoning to people, so here we are.
I just want to stress that I’m not judging people for drinking here. There’s nothing wrong with drinking in the same way that there’s nothing wrong with not drinking.
Firstly, I have a pretty acute case of emetophobia (a fear of being sick, if you weren’t aware) – so drinking to the point of making myself ill really doesn’t appeal.
It’s so bad that I freak out after just seeing or smelling what somebody’s thrown up on the pavement after a night out… So, why would I willingly choose to do that to myself?
It just doesn’t make sense to me to knowingly make yourself ill. (I’ll admit, there was one time years ago when I came pretty close to that point thanks to too many cocktails and wine, but seriously, never again.) Plus, hangovers sound awful. I wouldn’t fancy doing that to myself, either.
The majority of my family aren’t big drinkers either. So I haven’t grown up in an environment where drinking is a crutch to my parents or where they have an unhealthy relationship with booze.
I know that I’m lucky in that respect, especially because it probably subconsciously taught me that you don’t need alcohol to have fun. You don’t need it to wind down after a hard day. You don’t need it just because there’s some booze sitting in your fridge.
I have encountered a few people throughout my life who have a few issues with alcohol and seeing their clear dependency and reliance on drink, it always unnerves me. When you see, first-hand, what someone is doing to themselves by drinking too much, it’s horrible.
Binge drinking is so common, and it’s weird when you’re on the outside of that aspect of our culture, looking in.
‘Fun’ – is it, though?
Society, in general, reinforces the idea that excessive drinking is perfectly healthy. Alcoholism, whether it’s a highly-functioning case or not, is prevalent in Britain and beyond, even when it’s more obvious than ever the risks that it can do to your health.
A bottle of wine to yourself after work every day to ‘wind down’? Totally normal. A six-pack of beers to yourself on a Saturday afternoon? Again, fine. Boomerangs with your girls and your cocktails as you get increasingly drunk every single weekend? Fun.
If it’s a one-off thing, it’s fine. But if it’s happening regularly, then let’s face it, there may well be an issue lurking beneath the surface.
Yet I’ve often felt, throughout my adult life, as though it’s those of us who don’t drink much that are viewed with more suspicion than those who really go for it. People really judge us for not drinking, honestly!
We’re not psychopaths, I promise. There’s nothing wrong with us. We just don’t want to drink. It really isn’t that hard to understand. There’s genuinely no need for people to make such a big deal out of it like they generally do.
Just because we’re defying social norms doesn’t mean to say you have to keep questioning us, judging us or even trying to push us into drinking.
When you’re an outsider, and you’re seemingly in the minority, it gives you a clearer perspective on things. It enables you to see just how many people there are out there who rely on drink and have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and it’s just so sad.
Far too sensible/boring.
I’ve always been too sensible for my own good, granted.
To me, booze is such a money drain. When I was at uni, the mornings after student nights, we’d often have 9am lectures. Most of my course mates would come in looking dreadful and claiming to feel even worse, and then they’d brag about how they blew £50 on drink in one night, as if that’s a good thing? Call me too sensible (because I know I am) but I genuinely can’t fathom why anyone would want to waste that much money on something that’s going to end up down the drain in one way or another. It seems daft.
Some of them drink drove to lectures as well, about four hours after they got home from their night out. Thankfully they never killed anyone. (Please don’t even get me started on the sheer selfishness of drink driving because we’ll be here all day…)
Plus, because I don’t drink very often, when I do, I’m a complete lightweight – literally getting tipsy on one small glass of wine – much to the amusement of friends at uni. Their advice was to drink more because I’d learn to tolerate it and handle it better. Without being rude, I didn’t heed their advice because I wouldn’t have been able to pick myself up off the floor if I had…
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It just doesn’t really appeal to me. In the same way that setting fire to my hair doesn’t. It might seem odd to a lot of people, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Nor is drinking, so long as you’re doing it responsibly. (Yeah, I’m aware I sound like a granny.)
And contrary to popular belief, we are capable of having fun at parties without being drunk. We just occasionally get tired of ending up as the designated driver all the time, having to carry drunk friends home or tending to the drink-related injuries of said friends.
I’d honestly rather have coffee, tea, or just water instead of a glass of wine – and that’s honestly nothing to be ashamed of.
Perhaps we all need to stop judging each other on our decisions around alcohol? (Despite the fact that I’ve sounded a bit judgemental at points in this post… Sorry.)
At the end of the day, whether we choose to drink or not is our own decision, and it’s nobody else’s right to tell us what to do. They may mock, they might try and persuade us that we’re wrong, but we’re doing what’s right for us – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
Where do you stand on this?
*Photos from unsplash.com