An Honest Chat About Not Drinking
It’s been a year now since I decided to cut alcohol out of my life for good, which has been a huge achievement for me! Not that I necessarily drank heaps before I decided this, but for health reasons and the sake of my own mental health, I chose to be alcohol-free. I moved from the USA to Australia three years ago, so I obviously still drank at this point. That’s how I made friends here, going out and getting wasted most weekends to have “fun.” Everyone I was associated with here in Australia was a drinker, so I joined the bandwagon. But I never really understood how people could live this way, constantly going on benders and drinking day after day.
Now its 3 years later and I look back on the beginning of my time in Australia and seriously don’t know how I lived the lifestyle I did. Not only was it toxic to my body, it was making my mind spiral out of control all while trying to deal with anxiety and depression. No thank you! I had very close relationships with friends from this time in my life that I eventually had to turn away from because our values just didn’t align, and that’s okay!
So, enough of my rant! I want to tell you that its okay to be the Non-Drinker out of your group, or while being out, or even traveling. If you have a good grip on being alcohol free and have set your mind to it, you won’t feel any need or pressure to drink. I feel that sometimes people who choose not to drink may find it scary or uncomfortable to tell others that they don’t drink. This has happened to me just recently…
I just got back from a two-week holiday with my partner and some friends. My partner doesn’t drink either, but our friends do and they were so keen to get after the night life while we were away. Before we left, my partner told me that our friends may ask us why we don’t drink and that they may be weird if we just say ‘we don’t want to/we don’t drink.’ I immediately was taken back because I am so okay with saying it, because I don’t look at it as a problem. And that’s when it hit me. THIS is the problem. Having to come up with lies and reasons as to why I don’t drink…like what?!
I’ve reflected on this for quite some time now and the drinking culture that surrounds us constantly is sad. It’s pressuring. It’s questioning. It’s judgemental. It’s concerning to say the least. By no means should anyone feel the need to lie to someone about something as silly as not wanting to drink alcohol. Some people like to drink. Others don’t enjoy it. Simple as that. Yet, its far from simple. There’s this need to be drinking all the time, at almost any event or place. There really isn’t anything that doesn’t include alcohol anymore…like doesn’t it just get exhausting having to live up to this culture? Maybe for some, it doesn’t!
I genuinely hope that people start talking. This is something that needs to be talked about and seen as ‘normal’. Right now, we just put up with this culture and are left in the background. Well, let me tell you! The Non-Drinker Community is strong and powerful, and that is just as amazing as anything else. So, if you don’t drink, EMBRACE IT! Tell people that. Don’t shy away or come up with excuses or reasons why. Its your choice. And that’s the end of it.