I’m a teetotaller. I don’t drink alcohol and I’ve never been drunk. I made this decision years before it was even legal for me to drink and even to this day, I have no real interest in it. It is just simply a choice that I have made.
As I’m sure you can imagine, over the years, paths crossed, people have questioned my choice, claiming that I must not have tried the right alcohol, that my tastebuds will get used to it or that I’m just weird for not following the status quo. During my teenage and uni years, I got used to it. Part of university culture is “student” nights and drinking yourself silly so that you can’t remember who you slept in the pub toilets. I ignored the peer pressure and got on with my life. I didn’t need to justify myself and while I chose not to drink alcohol, I would still go out. I’ve been clubbing and on bar crawls and I still sit in pubs and talk the night away with my friends, the only difference is the drink placed in front of me. I left uni 4 years ago and the topic of drink faded into oblivion as my peers grew up and realised drinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So it took me by surprise when my decision to drink was called into question a few weeks ago, for a hen party no less.
Do you want to know why I don’t drink? I don’t drink because I grew up in a household where, as a family, we would be down the pub every Friday night. I’d watch my father consume pint after pint and be woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of him vomiting in the bathroom. Those memories haunt me. His recklessness with alcohol also triggered my emetophobia which subconscious made a link between alcohol and vomiting and plagued my life for years. I’ve never wanted to put myself in a position where I end up being exactly how I remember him. I also hate the idea of not being in control of my body or thoughts. I pride myself in being honest (some times a little too honest) and realistic, I don’t need a stimulate in my system to make me any more ‘lose’ or confident (the typical comebacks I get when I express my desire for a Pepsi Max).
When this comment was made a few weeks ago, I really struggled to bite my tongue. It bothers me it no end how it is seemingly ok to question why someone doesn’t drink, to belittle them for that choice. It is an insult to claim that I’ve ‘just not have found the right drink’ or to pass me off as less fun than someone who does drink. A) you don’t NEED alcohol to have fun and B) my personality is not dictated by the fluids I decided to put in my body.
Why is it socially acceptable to put pressure on someone to drink alcohol? If I was a vegetarian, you wouldn’t pressure someone to go to steakhouse. You wouldn’t assume that I was less fun because I’d chosen to have veg in my pizza rather than pepperoni. They have made a choice to exclude meat from their diet. The key word; Their. And regardless of what you think, whether it is something you could personally do or not, you have got to respect their decision. You don’t walk in their shoes. You don’t walk in mine. My choice is nothing more than my choice and if I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything than neither should you. God forbid should I ridicule you for drinking. I’ve seen alcoholics bleeding from their mouths but it is never my place to judge nor would I dream of it.
I’m 27 years old and yes, I have never been drunk and have no desire to break that streak now. Yes, I’ll go out and order a mock-tail (mock piña colada any day). Yes, I can have fun! Yes, I am human and I have feelings just like anyone else. No-one has any right to be offended by my decision. Respect and move on, there are greater things happening other than what I decided to drink.