At the start let me say, I’m NOT a “recovering alcoholic non-drinker,” nor someone who avoids alcohol for religious reasons. I once had two beers at a restaurant at the urging of a friend, and on another occasion had one sip of red wine which I almost ejected across the room. I didn’t have any bad experiences with alcohol growing up either, but I was exposed to it. My father would have an occasional beer during the week and sometimes a little whiskey on the weekend, but he rarely got drunk, and when he did he was a happy drunk.
It’s one thing to be a recovering alcoholic, or have religious reasons against it — people can respect and sympathize with those reasons for abstaining. But to have never started drinking and have no desire to do so? That raises eyebrows, can be socially isolating and some people even get offended. They act like I’m standing in judgement of them, when I’m not at all. This is just the choice I’ve made for me, not for them.
I work in a nightclub (we don’t serve alcohol) and I’m around drunk people (and people on worse things) but I’m use to it. Some drunks can be amusing, you even run into a hilarious one on occasion. But then you have the ones who can’t hold their liquor and puke. I don’t like that I’ve started very interesting conversations with total strangers that quickly went downhill once the alcohol started flowing. But the vast majority cause no problems; they’re just out to have a good time, let loose and relax. I’m all for it.
Still, I’m glad I don’t drink for a number of reasons I probably take for granted as a non-drinker.
–It’s expensive for one thing. My budget is tight enough, and I don’t want to try and fit alcohol into it as well. The idea of blowing an extra $20-30 every weekend at a bar on something that’s literally going down the toilet is too much. I cringe when I’m hear the cost of some drinks (plus a tip of course). Does that drink come with a new car? Years ago I would drive home a buddy who sometimes racked up $80 on his tab in one night, for himself alone, and that was usually on a week night!
–It doesn’t jive with my long-term health and fitness goals. I try to take care of myself and beer is just another example of drinking empty calories. It’s essentially liquid carbs. It’s just one less thing I need not worry about avoiding. Then there’s hangovers. After a big night you feel like crap, your body has been put through the ringer and needs time to recover. Not much motivation to exercise right after that. Not even to go on about the harm it can do long-term.
But ya know, the big secret is I don’t _really_ avoid alcohol because of these well-thought-out reasons. I just don’t like the taste and never have. It’s a natural aversion I never took the time to overcome. And I’ve never thought an “alcohol buffer” or escape from my problems would do anything to fix them.
I don’t smoke or do drugs either, but I hate to sound high horse about it. I’m not trying to — it’s just me. I understand some people enjoy it, and good for them, I enjoy jazz, ham sandwiches and walks at 3am. It doesn’t need to be personal, I don’t judge people who can enjoy it and keep composure. So when someone says they don’t drink, don’t assume they feel superior.