I’ve thought about this over the years – the fact that I don’t drink anymore. I’ve sometimes wondered if I “don’t drink” or if I just happen not to have had anything to drink for a good long time.
At this point, far past the “I’m pregnant” and “I’m breastfeeding” disclaimers (those of you who have seen my towering sons will know just how far) I figure I probably don’t drink.
Mostly this is just nothing in my life. I don’t think about it.
In addition to not drinking, I also don’t wear perfume, and I don’t drink coffee or tea. These are things I don’t spend money on (for myself – I do buy coffee and tea for the other important people in my life). They’re just non-things for me.
Now and then the not-drinking thing comes up, but it’s very occasional. Like when I first saw my one of my best friends from university after fifteen years and I told him I don’t drink. He was incredulous and worried. He was pretty sure I’d be no fun, uptight, etc. He asked if I’d been born again.
He tried, a few times, to get me to drink, to the point where I let him give me half a glass of red wine, which I eventually poured down the sink.
Tip #1: If somebody tries to force you to drink, just pour their alcohol down the sink – they’ll stop giving it to you – I promise.
I could tell you all the reasons I don’t drink but a) you’ve heard them all before – it’s not like I invented not drinking, and b) probably the biggest reason I don’t tend to go around saying I “don’t drink” is I’m afraid other people will hear it as judgment. It’s not. Most of the people closest to me drink. They like the experience of drinking alcohol (at least, I hope they do). I don’t. It’s not complicated.
Tip #2: If you choose not to drink, that’s your decision. As long as you live in a place where drinking is legal, and as long as others are consuming responsibly – don’t be a judgy-pants. Of course, also don’t take any crap from anyone else about you not drinking – they’re not allowed to judge either – refer back to Tip #1.
The reason I’m writing this now, is I just read this story which declared “Giving up Alcohol Opened my Eyes to the Infuriating Truth About why Women Drink.”
So, disclaimer – this is one woman’s viewpoint and, also, I believe she possibly had an alcohol problem (which is a totally more complicated thing than what I’m talking about here), and she is absolutely entitled to her opinion, but all I kept thinking was, “You have so been hanging out with the wrong people.”
Tip #3: If you don’t want alcohol to be central to your life, and you don’t want to be judged for not drinking, don’t hang out with people who make alcohol central to their lives.
Is it a big deal that I don’t drink? Not to me. Do people make it a big deal? (Very) occasionally, but so what? Is not drinking the best life choice for me? Absolutely.
End of story.
Tip #4: If you don’t want people to make a big deal about you not drinking – don’t make a big deal about it yourself. The best way to order a non-alcoholic drink at a restaurant is just to order a non-alcoholic drink. Done. Order taken, non-alcoholic drink will come. At a social gathering when offered a drink, you say “I would love some water, thank you.” Done. Easy. Most people – believe it or not, don’t really notice what you’re drinking, and most are fine with keeping the good wine for themselves if you don’t want it.
Why am I writing this now? I’m not really sure, but I guess it was triggered by reading the above-mentioned story that just made it seem like the world is out to make you drink, and it’s a huge deal not to, and this is a massive socially fraught topic.
*second disclaimer – I get that if you’re a recovering alcoholic it may feel like the entire world is geared to drinking, because you’re so acutely aware of it. Fair enough.*
What I really want to say is for most of us, with no addiction issues or complications, coffee or no coffee – no big deal. Alcohol or no alcohol no big deal.
It’s your life – figure out what you enjoy, what makes you feel good, what doesn’t get in the way of you doing the things you want, and do it.
Keep it simple.