I Don’t Drink. So What?

Christmas was a time to ‘eat drink and be merry!’. New Year was also a time to drink to the future – and to the past – to new starts and new memories. But what if, like me, you don’t drink? (Alcohol I’m talking about here, not just liquid in general. If that was the case, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog post). Before Christmas, I took my frustrations to Twitter (as we so often do these days) and the reactions and replies I received prompted and inspired this blog post and I wanted to think and talk about alcohol. Why I don’t drink it, why it’s okay not to drink it and why oh why some people look at you like you’ve got 3 heads when you tell them that actually, it’s Christmas and I’m still not going to have a drink.

i-dont-drink-so-what

The tweet that ignited this burst of inspiration was this one, pictured to the left. Now, before I start, I think I’d better clarify that I don’t drink. I don’t drink wine, I don’t drink beer, I don’t drink spirits and I don’t drink cocktails. I won’t 15590003_10211345234096900_8210233484884966609_nsay I’ve been teetotal for X amount of years now because there has been brief moments over the past few years where, *gasp*, I have drunk some alcohol but as of right now, I honestly cannot remember the last time I had any. I don’t think about it, even during social conventional periods – like Christmas, New Year or my birthday.

I stopped drinking around the time my anxiety started. My anxiety was sparked by a awful bout of the flu in 2011 – if you need more information on that, I wrote a post on it here – and, I was so ill, I constantly felt dizzy, light-headed and sick. Does that remind you of anything? I felt so awful during that period that when I got better, the thought of drinking alcohol and having that sensation again was jut a no-go for me. And that, more or less, is the reason why I don’t drink.

Now I don’t feel like I need to justify myself and the reasons why I don’t drink. To be honest, it’s nobodies business and the fact that I don’t drink does in no way affect you and your drinking habits. I’m not judgemental to those who drink and those who drink a lot – before my anxiety started I was a big drinker and I loved nothing more than going out with my friends and getting drunkety, drunk, drunk. I know how much fun it can be, I’ve been there, I’ve done it. But I don’t any more. So why do other people feel the need to judgemental about those who choose not to drink?

I can’t speak for everyone who doesn’t drink as I’m sure there are plenty of stuck-up, snobby people out there who feel like they are above and beyond people who drink and get drunk but I am not one of those people. And the majority of us aren’t. We don’t judge you so being asked why you don’t drink and being told, “go on…” isn’t just incredibly annoying but it’s also disrespectful to others and their personal choices.

Christmas can often be one of the worse times for this. With most people letting off steam, drinking with families and15673040_10211345233976897_606581194576446903_n friends and often drinking a little more than usual, those of us that don’t drink stand out like a sore thumb. But, the fact that it’s Christmas really does make no difference to us and telling us to, “go on have a drink, it’s Christmas“, is just a naΓ―ve and frankly pointless comment to make. You wouldn’t say, “go on, have some turkey, it’s Christmas“, to a vegetarian, would you? So what makes one of those things okay and the other one not?

I’ve quite literally lost friends over the past few years because I don’t drink or enjoy going out to pubs and clubs anymore. I didn’t realise that my old friendships were so focused on those things and it does make me sad. I’ve heard things like, “just have one, it’ll make you feel better” and, “go on have a drink, it’ll make you less anxious“. And I can’t help now but roll my eyes at those comments. So, with Christmas and New Year out of the way now I wanted to write this post for anyone who, like me, doesn’t drink and didn’t drink over the holidays.

Also, for anyone who has someone in their life who doesn’t drink – please refrain from making these ignorant comments. Leave people to their own vices. Curiosity is okay but judgement is not. Especially for something that has no impact on you, whatsoever.

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51 thoughts on “I Don’t Drink. So What?

  1. I’m so glad to hear that I’m not alone! I’ve been old enough to legally drink in the U.S. for almost four years now, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I don’t like the taste of alcohol; not even when there’s some sort of flavoring in the drink. I took a sip of passion fruit-flavored soju not too long ago, and I still didn’t like it. I’ve seen what alcohol can do to people, in particular to writers when they are at a really low point in their lives. As someone who aims to write for life, I can’t bear letting alcohol get in the way of things.

    So thank you, THANK YOU for writing this post. I’m so glad there’s more of us non-drinkers in the world.

    • Alcohol definitely isn’t for everyone and so what if you don’t like the taste? I personally think most tastes disgusting, too! There were some drinks I loved when I did drink and I probably would still love them now but I would just prefer to opt for a non-alcoholic cocktail or something like that! Alcohol can for sure get in the way of things like writing too, I would imagine.

  2. Drink is most certainly not the only way to ‘be merry’ at Christmas or any other occasion.
    I’m not teetotal, but I rarely drink. It makes no difference to me as I’ll have a good time no matter what!!! Stick to your hubs. Some people are installed so blinkered in their views!!!

  3. This is a bloody brilliant post. I have so much respect for you for speaking out about this as you are very right that it is your choice what you drink and nobody should ever have a say in that. It frustrates me that celebrations have been so closely linked to alcohol and it makes me sad that people seem to have forgotten how to enjoy themselves without a drink in hand. Please keep writing posts like this, they’re really good πŸ™‚ xxx

    • Thank you so much for such a lovely comment and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I will bare that in mind and definitely try and think of more topics like this to write about in the future (: And I agree, alcohol is the first thing people think about when it comes to celebrations, parties and any sort of event really. It’s great to have it there as an option for people who want to drink of course but it makes me sad that it does seem to be the main “focus” more often than not xo

  4. I very rarely drink alcohol and I’ve also lost friends because of it! I remember I told a former friend that I’d never been clubbing before (not my scene), and she was so shocked by that, she seemed to feel sorry for me even πŸ˜› It’s worse when you’re a shy person as well, because in my experience, people who drink believe it’ll loosen you up a bit.

    • What?! That’s outrageous. For some people, alcohol would definitely make them loosen up and be less shy but it doesn’t for everyone and that’s okay and people really need to respect that, sometimes!

  5. I drink sparingly occasionally and I have in the past drank and been ill. When I choose not to partake; which is more often than not, the behaviours of people when drink is consumed and loss of inhibitions is embarrassing. Please I have been there not that I ever drink/drank huge amounts… but the effect is often exacerbated if you are small, light, unwell, hyper excited or depressed. If you take medication, if you have eaten or not all the above effects how the body responds to alcohol. It is not always true that you are drunk because you drank vast amounts. I prefer to weigh up how I feel and what situation I am in and then I make a decision on that… so please don’t coerce me call me SAD or say I’m a lightweight, because I am an adult free to make my own choice on a given day. That was an Ellen broadcast to anyone who has read this post and agrees I Don’t Drink So What has an opinion. Thank you.

    • I agree with you, it does depend on your personal health and well-ness and circumstances on how alcohol will affect you and everyone will be affected differently and you’re absolutely right that some people can drink a huge amount and not feel as drunk as someone else who has only had one drink and is starting to feel tipsy. I’m not focusing on how much people drink; each to their ow, I say but regardless of how much an individual drinks, they shouldn’t make people who don’t drink feel bad for not drinking.

  6. I’m with you 100% on this! I have a drink occasionally, but I normally offer to be designated driver because alcohol doesn’t bother me that much and I’d rather make sure everyone else gets home safe. Even worse is when people encourage you to have ‘just one more’ when you’re driving – UGHHH

    • Oh no I bet that’s annoying as well! Fortunately, I’ve never had that. When I drank, I didn’t drive yet and when I did drive (a week after I turned 18, how convenient!) I never went anywhere I would drive to anyway.

  7. I completely agree with this. Like you I had a period where I did drink and got drunk, though not deliberately (don’t understand why people do that) but for the past 6-8 years or so I’ve rarely drank at all. I had a bottle of wine in my fridge for a whole year that I’d only had one glass out of. I like some alcohol but rarely ever have any, it’s nice but I’m really not bothered whether I have it or not, I can be just as happy without any. If I’m out and driving home no one has any problem with me not drinking so why should it be any different if I’m not driving. As you say, people need to respect the decisions and choices of others and stop trying to force them to change their minds. The sooner people stop thinking that they have a right to comment and judge other people for the way they live their lives the better.

    • Absolutely agree! Although when I drank, I did actually enjoy getting drunk and the whole process of it. But this was when I was 18, in college and what I was “supposed” to be doing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with liking being drunk, as long as it’s occasionally and you don’t end up relying on it, you know?

  8. I don’t know the taste of alcohol. I don’t want to drink ever.I had a big college life, got so many chances .Bt I fight to myself.i could control myself.It is not easy bcz this age no one is stand my side.all youth are addicted in Alcohol. Bt I won….won for myself.

  9. Hallelujah! Finally, there is someone who gets me! I love to go out here and there but I rarely drink, because I just don’t want to. It’s enough for me to sip on my Diet Pepsi, you know? I don’t need alcohol to have fun. So many people claim that they can’t have fun without it. It’s totall bullsh*t if you ask me. They have never tried to!
    I hate when people look at me all judgemental and ask “Why?!?!”, as if they can’t believe a young girl doesn’t want to drink. Ugh!
    Thanks for sharing that!!!
    Sabrina

    • I get you, I get you! It’s quite sad that people can’t have fun without it. It really is. There are so many other things to do OTHER than just going to a pub and getting drunk / drinking. There’s a whole world out there that doesn’t involve alcohol and doesn’t need to involve alcohol and some people aren’t even prepared to experience it because they feel it won’t be fun.

  10. Awesome post! πŸ™‚
    I don’t drink and never have done purely because I don’t like the taste, and have no interest in getting drunk, and people do find it really odd. I’ve had people try and pressure me into drinking before, and seen as I don’t try and pressure drinkers into not drinking, I’d really like to be treated with the same level of respect.
    At the end of the day, it’s individual choice and no one should be made to feel lesser because they do or don’t drink. Plus you don’t always know the reasons why people don’t drink – I have a friend who doesn’t drink because her mum died from problems relating to alcoholism, and it put her off.

    • Yes! “I don’t try and pressure drinkers into not drinking and I’d really like to be treated with the same level of respect” is absolutely perfect and sums up basically what I was trying to say in this whole post in one sentence haha! I love that and you’re totally right. It works both ways, so why are the people on a certain side more respectful than the others? I don’t get it. And you absolutely don’t know the story behind why some people don’t drink. Image someone pestering and pestering your friend to drink then being told that’s the reason why she doesn’t. You would be mortified.

  11. Love this post. Sometimes I feel like my life is split into two parts – the part where I went out and got drunk every weekend, and the part where I don’t. I know which part I prefer. On the very rare occasions I see the people I used to go out with, I get the constant ‘why you not drinking?’ like I’m somehow ruining the night because I’m having a glass of Coke! They’re of the opinion that you need alcohol to have a good time when you really don’t. All you need is some good friends who get you, a massive pizza and lots of ice cream ☺ people need to be more accepting of other people’s stances on drinking. Whether you want to or not, it’s up to you!

    • The fact that some people make non-drinkers feel like they’re ruining someone else’s night by not drinking is just ridiculous. It has no effect or impact. It’s irrelevant, really. I don’t understand how more people can’t adopt the, “each to their own” attitude and just be done with it!

  12. This post was so needed! I don’t drink, and it’s not for any other reason than I haven’t yet found one I like. Okay, two reasons, I also suffer from extreme headaches on a daily basis, so why would I risk triggering one of myself? I loved your comparison with a turkey and vegetarian and it is so true – why is it just against those who don’t drink that society has a problem with?

    I’ll stop now before I go into a massive rant myself, but thank you for this beautiful post, and looking at the comments, it seems a lot of people feel the same way. Everyone can make their own decisions!

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment and yes, lots of people do feel the same way and I’m so pleased to see! Fair enough if you haven’t found any alcoholic drink you like! There are some I would probably still like, as I did back when I was a drinker but I just wouldn’t chose it now. There are nicer drinks than those with alcohol in- in my opinion anyway!

  13. It’s another sign of the times, judging people for xyz or lack thereof. A trend that is becoming the norm in today’s society to be judged or judge others for every last little thing in their lives. Even if it doesn’t effect the judger in any way shape or form. And it’s becoming rather annoying. Sorry people have felt the need to begrudge you for just living your life as you want. Usually, it’s the people who spew the most are the most unhappy with their own lives.

    • Oh gosh, I totally agree with you and there’s another big rant for another day I think! Everyone is so judgy and so opinionated about what everyone else is doing – it is annoying. I don’t mind people offering advice or information but forcing things down you throat is always a no go.

  14. Thanks for writing such a great post! I don’t drink either because I’m not particularly interested in alcohol and since I turned vegan – although it’s possible to find vegan-friendly alcohol – it’s a bit of a hassle. I find it easier to just not drink and while my close family and friends are fine with it, I’ve often had people do a bit of a double-take when they hear I don’t drink. This post resonated with me because I remember being at a family party a year or two ago and my great auntie asked me multiple times if I wouldn’t have a drink, saying ‘oh go on’ when I declined. She didn’t bother to hide the fact that she was disappointed by my refusal and seemed to think I wouldn’t have any fun if I didn’t have a drink (which wasn’t true at all!). The only point during which I wasn’t having fun was when she was trying to force me to have a drink! πŸ˜› Thanks for sharing this! πŸ™‚

  15. I don’t drink simply because I hate the taste of alcohol. Luckily, I don’t get too many comments on this from friends on family. It is difficult going out with new people when they kind of side-eye you for not drinking. Mostly I do think it’s people who think YOU are judging THEM because they are drinking and are for some reason insecure about it. Let’s just all agree we can all drink what we want, right?

  16. Could have written this post myself! It’s my anxiety that keeps me from drinking in any social situation. And believe it or not, I’m a vegetarian and I have actually heard that line about having some turkey because it’s Christmas! It amazes me how people can’t let others have their own decision-making power. How does my non-drinking, non-meat eating hurt them?

    • Oh my gosh you have no had someone say that to you about the turkey and Christmas?! That’s awful but slightly hilarious, like as you said, some people let other people’s decisions have so much of an affect on them for absolutely no reason! Can you imagine being one of those people?! πŸ™„πŸ˜‚ surly you’d be exhausted! xx

  17. Oh yes, yes, yes!! I knew this wasn’t just me, but sometimes it feels like it. Especially loved your turkey to a vegetarian analysis and in the past I’ve had people convinced that the ‘weird thing’ about me must be vegetarianism because not drinking just wasn’t a concept they could cope with.
    Thanks for a great post πŸ™‚

    • It’s DEFINITELY not just you! Vegetarianism or no-drinking-ism isn’t weird! It’s funny how affected other people get at others choices that have no impact on them whatsoever doesn’t it? πŸ™„ xx

  18. Fab post – I don’t drink and can’t remember the last time I really did. I went through a spell when I was 17 of getting really really drunk and I hated it. That out of control feeling. The dizziness. The hangover. I didn’t enjoy it at all. So after a year of that, or less, I decided drinking wasn’t my thing and I stopped. I didn’t drink at uni, I don’t drink at Christmas or NY. I do often get asked, as if it is anyone else’s business. People seem to think I must have some story to tell and I don’t; I just don’t like the feeling drink gives me, and I don’t like drink that much. I’d rather a pint of coke than beer! People can be so judgment of non-drinkers and I don’t understand why.

    • I can resonate with this so much! Yes, the thought of drinking too much and getting that dizzy feeling like I got when I was ill makes me anxious but truth is, I haven’t drunk for so long that now, I just don’t drink because I don’t like it / don’t want to. Like you, I have no story really now. It’s a boring reason but whatever. I don’t mind if people offer – especially people who don’t know I don’t drink. But as long as they don’t keep on when I say no.

  19. Whether someone drinks or not, makes no difference whatsoever to me Jenny. I’m not a big drinker myself. I do get what you’re saying – there tends to be a lot of pressure on people to drink, and for some people it isn’t the best idea. My eldest daughter has low blood pressure and has fainted because of it – worse case she broke her ankle. She has pretty much given up drinking as it doesn’t agree with her, makes the blood pressure problem worse. No one should comment, or pass judgement it’s her decision, and this is true whatever the circumstances. We can all enjoy ourselves, with or without alcohol, and without we have no nasty hangover to deal with!!!

    • I’m glad your daughter is doing what is best for her and her health! It makes no difference to me either but some of the comments I’ve read on this post have made me so sad because that’s not the case in some people’s lives. Why is there a stigma attached to not-drinking? (In some cases). Hangovers… ugh! They were the worst weren’t they?! xx

      • Definitely! The amount of times I’ve ended up feeling the worse for wear. It’s good to be able to stand up for who we are rather than what others expect us to be. Well done for being you. πŸ™‚ xx

  20. BLESS YOU FOR THIS POST. I don’t drink at all any more, which, according to a bunch of my uni friends, is absolutely appalling. In fact, I’ve had so many negative and intentionally pressurising comments like, “It’s no fun if you come out with us and stay sober,” that I’ve resorted to blaming it on health problems (seeing as my genuine reasoning that it increases my anxiety is often just brushed aside as a “bad excuse”). It’s always comforting to know that other people have had similar experiences, and you’ve articulated a lot of my own feelings better than I ever could πŸ™‚

    • “Appalling” πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„ No offence, but your uni friends sound awful and so unsupportive! What a thing to say to someone that they’re ‘no fun to be out with if they don’t drink’. That’s terrible and I’m so sorry you don’t have likeminded friends that realise drinking isn’t the be-all and end-all of a night out. Anxiety is never just a “bad excuse” xxx

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