Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol Any More

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol Any More

The worst part about not drinking is having to tell people you don’t drink.

It’s difficult because drinking usually occurs at a time when it’s socially acceptable to drink; situations where not drinking is a little bit strange. On a Friday night after work. Someone’s leaving their job. Maybe someone’s celebrating?

Why are you not drinking? Is my thing not meaningful enough? Am I not important enough to you? These questions are asked.

Or at a buck’s night, where you’re expected to cut loose. Or a work related function where you and a potential client are supposed to drink together and build the connections made when you buy one another beers and create those shared stories that usually occur when you’re short a few brain cells.

You’ll be offered a drink; someone will ask to buy you one -– a friendly gesture — an outstretched hand waiting for the handshake that never comes. This is the difficult part, because it’s extremely tough to say ‘no’ without sounding condescending, or lying about being a designated driver or, in some small way, bruising egos.

Of course no-one gets visibly upset when you don’t accept. Just a short “fair enough” and everyone moves on quickly. But a small barrier now exists. You’ve refused to sign a simple social contract. You are on the outside of a circle. Some take it well, and gracefully, but even then you’ll be asked the question:

Why not?

“A Scotsman that doesn’t drink?” is how it’s usually phrased when directed at me. “That’s a first.”

Then the completely polite “if you don’t mind me asking . . .”

And of course I don’t . . .

“Why don’t you drink?”

In the beginning

I have so many reasons for not drinking. Some take the form of stories; some are simple, subjective preferences on my part. Others are objective facts.

But I remember the first time I stopped drinking. I was 21. I also remember the first time I got drunk.

I was 12 years old.

I grew up in Scotland and everyone drinks. It’s cold, wet and miserable — what else are you supposed to do? But, ironically, the first time I got drunk it was sunny by Scottish standards.

The sun blasted 24C and it was a long weekend. My friends and I hung out with the older kids, and approached one with hair on his back and fluff on his chin, the one with the best chance of getting served in the lax convenience store with a booze licence.

“A two litre bottle of Olde English please,” we chanted in unison.

Dear God, our poor pre-teen livers. In Scotland you start early. My brother got drunk for the first time when he was 10.

I sloshed around, trying to hold down this foul cider. The longer the day went, the more rancid the drink became; losing its fizz, increasing in temperature. It wasn’t long before I was barfing it back up, alongside the Weetbix and Fruit Pastilles I had eaten that morning.

So that’s reason #1. I can’t hold my booze. Literally. I cannot hold it inside my stomach. It simply rests there, dormant, until my body decides to lurch it out violently, a volcanic eruption of stomach acid and undigested carrots. The second time I drank I barfed all over my Mum’s couch and thought it was a good idea to hoover up the vomit with a vacuum cleaner and cover up the smell with a healthy spray of Lynx Africa. That didn’t work out so well.

Crippling decisions

I was 21 when I first stopped drinking. And it all started with a nipple cripple.

Actually it started in a bar, with a drink. Several in fact. I had slammed back a fair amount, as had a group of my friends, including my brother, who was 18 at the time.

Things got a bit rowdy, in a seemingly friendly way. Seemingly. As someone who is now deathly sober in such situations, I can tell you there’s always a taut tension amongst those who are visibly drunk, the feeling that civility is teetering on a sharp precipice. One wrong word, one poorly timed stare, a single clumsily bumped shoulder and that delicate structure crumbles into a mess of verbals and fisticuffs

So it all began with a nipple cripple. A simple joke. My brother thought it would be funny, and it was. People were laughing. I thought it would be funny to throw the remainder of my drink over his brand new shirt in response. That wasn’t quite so funny.

The slap from my brother that followed was even less funny. It was painful. And deathly serious.

Then it spiralled out of control.

It was the first and last time I ever hit my brother in the face with a closed fist. Two punches — a double jab aimed directly at his jaw. Probably the worst thing I have ever done as an adult. Definitely the thing I most regret doing. If I could take anything back, it would be those two punches.

Instantly our friends pulled us apart. A bouncer tossed my brother out the front door and I followed immediately after. My brother waited by the door. As it opened he launched into a headbutt that caught me square on the eyeball.

Then, complete chaos. We scrambled down the street, brawled in the middle of a main road and hit the deck. I kneed my brother multiple times in the back; he punched me from the ground position. Eventually we managed to wrestle each other to a drunken standstill.

We stumbled home for 15 kilometres, 100 metres apart the whole way. It took two and a half hours. Hurling abuse at one another the entire time; tragically, pathetically drunk. Dizzy from booze and beating the shit out of one another.

In the morning my Mum went mental. I decided I didn’t want to drink ever again.

The love train

And then there was the time drinking made me fall in love, and made someone fall in love with me. That’s reason #3. What was I thinking?

I was 23. I had been living in Japan for a year and a half, miles from Scotland, far removed from the threat of nipple cripples and headbutts. I felt more at ease with the idea of throwing back booze once in a while. No big deal. It was difficult to make friends in a strange land without lubrication, so I felt justified, and drank most weekends.

For Valentine’s day I had decided to surprise my girlfriend. I bought us tickets on the bullet train to visit Kyoto – a trip we’d frequently discussed, but never followed through on.

“We’re going tomorrow!” I said, excitedly. She threw her arms around me. We’d been together for two months.

That night I went out with friends. It started with some drinks, and continued with more drinks. Things got a little out of hand. Before long, I stumbled with leaden feet back to my girlfriend’s apartment and collapsed onto her bed. Within seconds I was sleeping the glorious sleep of the drunk.

If I miss anything about drinking, it’s that incredible moment when you finally hit the bed, the world spinning uncontrollably around you then… Nothing.

Glorious.

I woke up hours later. It was 11 o’clock. Our train was supposed to leave at 11.30. My girlfriend was sitting, still in bed. Arms folded.

“What the hell, why didn’t you wake me up? We’re supposed to be at the station,” I said, frantic. Scrambling out of bed.

My girlfriend dead-panned. “You said we weren’t going anymore.”

She stared at me. Cool. Unforgiving. Holding back a torrent of rage that could burst forth at any second. I couldn’t remember anything. But she couldn’t forget.

Apparently, two hours before, I had woken up, wandered aimlessly around the apartment for 15 minutes and then informed my girlfriend that we weren’t going to Kyoto anymore.

At this precise second I was tremendously hungover. My girlfriend was furious.

“No, no, no!” I protested. “Why would I say that? I wouldn’t say that.”

I must have said that. But I couldn’t remember.

We made it to the station,an hour late, and jumped on the next Bullet Train headed to Kyoto. I spent most of the trip throwing up in the toilet. Because we were late and on the wrong train, my girlfriend had to buy two new tickets.

This was unknown to me at the time. I was too busy vomiting my guts out.

At one point during the trip, in between dry retching the bile from my stomach I looked up at the girl patiently waiting while I puked into a bin and I sort of fell in love with her.

Months later she told me that she couldn’t understand why she hadn’t just dumped me, this stupid selfish boy doing this thing that horrible people do. She was mortified and considered it her worst nightmare. The only way remaining made sense, she reasoned, was love.

So she made the rational decision to fall in love with me. As I wiped drool from my chin with one-ply toilet roll in a petrol station toilet.

The reservoir of memories

The worst part about not drinking is having to tell people you don’t drink. But the best part about not drinking, without a shadow of a doubt, is not drinking.

The above stories are all good reasons not to drink, but the best reason is far simpler – I never really enjoyed it. Sometimes I drank because I was bored, other times I drank because I was in an uncomfortable situation but, for the most part, I just drank to fit in. And that may be the worst reason for doing something you don’t enjoy.

I find it very easy not to drink and for that I consider myself very fortunate. The only difficult part, as I’ve mentioned above, is telling people I don’t drink. I’m always worried that people will think I’m being judgemental, or condescending, despite the fact that – more often than not – I’m the one being judged.

But if at any time I do feel tempted, I have a reservoir of memories to ease that urge — the gurgled vomit of Weetbix, carrots and fruit pastilles; falling in love with one-ply toilet roll dangling from my chin. The punch I wish I could take back.

Drinking can be a fun thing for a great number of people — and I have absolutely no problem with that — but it will never be for me.


This story has been updated since its original publication.

Comments

  • It’s unfortunate that Alcohol is so addictive, because that make it along with Tobacco a deadly obsession for those who have trouble breaking the habit. There’s no doubt that it is an excellent social lubricant, but it needs to be curbed as much as possible without actually banning it. Unlike Tobacco booze has been around since we first figured out that rotting fruit will give you a buzz,so it will be hard to completely stop it’s use and we really can’t ban it. What we need to do is unfortunately going to piss the pubs off because they won’t make as muck money, but it needs to be done, I’m talking about closing pubs early, while people are still thinking like reasonable human being and not supermen and complete numbats.

    • Sorry but i disagree with your comments on so many levels.
      first drinking experience at 8 yrs old, it was my first time drunk, didn’t enjoy it and didn’t drink again till i was 16.

      However i love going out and getting wasted these days, i spent an entire year drunk (literally, only time i was not drinking was when i was asleep), had no effect on my work or personal life other than the fact that i was apparently more fun.
      I had no adverse health effects, and now 5 years on I’m still healthy as humanly possible. (according to my doctor i have the liver of someone that’s never drank in their life), Successful career and a functional relationship
      Booze doesn’t need to be curbed, morons need to be curbed, why close my pub early because some people who are normally naturally violent get that way after a few? people need to take responsibility for themselves, and stop blaming “laws and society” for when you cant manage yourself.

      If drinking isn’t for you that’s great, some people have a better life without it, however i don’t believe people should be able to decide how and when i drink.

      • So you are saying, go ahead, get plastered, it’s OK to drink yourself under the table. Just because you apparently had no ill effects…. You’re an idiot
        Drinking is and should only be a social lubricant. This need for kids to go out and turn themselves into complete disaster areas is a major problem these days and no doubt that young bloke that was killed with a drunken punch by an inebriated tool would have gotten home safe. Close the pubs early enough to let them get home safely…!

        • Actually your Dr has no way of telling that. All of the liver function tests only come up positive if you’re in the early (or late) stages of liver failure.

          It’s great that you didn’t experience any negative effects from a year of binge drinking though. I think I’d be dead after doing that.

          • WAHHH! That was meant to be in reply to DNR’s post, not Timmahh’s. Goddamnit, fingers.

        • only the socially challenged need a lubricant, most doctors/psychologists will tell you drinking to be social is a bad idea.
          Don’t drink if you cant, plain and simple.
          Call me an idiot because i don’t get angry when i drink? nice try troll

      • That moron who gets drunk and gets violent can kill someone who doesn’t want to drink and has no beef with that drunk moron. I’ve been in plenty of fights, both drunk and sober, and most of them could have been avoided if not for alcohol. Some were my drunken fault, I didn’t throw the first punch but didn’t get they didn’t like my “jokes”, but others where I was coming home from work and on a tram being abused by a drunk moron who decided he didn’t like my weight and was going to fight me unless I changed on the spot. I fought back, but I shouldn’t have had to, I wasn’t the one drinking, I had no reason when I left work to think that I should be on the lookout for a moron.
        The government does need to do something about this issue, it’s not just those who drink are effected, there are innocent people who are effected.
        Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a drink, whenever acceptable (I wouldn’t drink before a road trip, an exam or when a new project was due at work) but there are people who are negatively effected by my drinking, I recognise this and decide to not drink that much. Unfortunately, there are people who do not want to drink less because they are more violent, they see it is “not their problem” and think “Oh I’m fine, I’m not violent” until they are.
        You may not be violent DNR, but there are those who are and they should be disallowed from drinking too much, but we can’t just choose those people since it’s discrimination and there is no way to determine them until it’s too late, as such, it’s society’s responsibility to moderate everyone. Just like speed bumps, I don’t speed so I shouldn’t be subjected to speed bumps. However people do speed, necessitating the speed bump. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need speed bumps or moderation laws, but this isn’t a perfect world

  • “Drinking can be a fun thing for a great number of people — and I have absolutely no problem with that — but it will never be for me.” – I’ll drink to that sentiment!

  • Thanks for sharing your story.
    I sometimes feel like being a tee-totaler, and I’m ok with that – and I don’t recall anyone ever making a bit deal out of it. My wife doesn’t drink alcohol (and never has).
    Alcohol in excess is not fun.

  • I don’t drink, I’ll probably never drink and you know what. I’m totally fine with that, why can’t everyone else be?

    Serrels is correct, you get looked down on for not drinking, you’re less of a person, hell even less ‘Australian’ for not getting have a cold one. Most of my girlfriend’s friends dissaproved of me because I didn’t drink (not that I care what they think).

    My girlfriend, she drinks and when we order a drink at dinner it’s usually a beer and a Coke or some other non-alchoholic drink. Without fail, they always bring me the beer, her the other drink. It’s the norm, that the man is the drinker, he must drink.

    All of my parents, grandparents ands cousins drink with two exceptions, my Mum and my brother. I’m part Italian, I should be drunk right now shouldn’t I?

    I don’t have a problem with drinkers, I’m dating one, all my family and friends drink, 99% of people in Australia do. I do have a problem with people who abuse alchohol, just as anyone should, as above if you drink to much or can’t handle it turns you into a person you’re not.

    Being the sober person, always, I see it all the time.

    So who am I driving home then?

    • +1 to the “who am I driving home then”. Being the dependably sober person between the ages of 17-22 has basically made me the go-to designated dave.

      • Only ever do it if you want to, you don’t ‘have’ to drive them home. I don’t trust people enough in my car anyway, they always spill something.

        • I’m the kind of person that likes doing favours, but hates being expected to. However, if there is any reasonable risk of someone vomiting, they aren’t allowed anywhere near the car, and certainly not inside it.

  • “You’ll be offered a drink; someone will ask to buy you one -– a friendly gesture — an outstretched hand waiting for the handshake that never comes. This is the difficult part, because it’s extremely difficult to say ‘no’ without sounding condescending, or lying about being a designated driver or, in some small way, bruising egos.”

    Don’t say “no”, say “sure, I’ll have a coke” or a juice or a coffee… People get used to it pretty quick. It’s just a pain buying them a round when it costs three times more 😉

  • nice article. i can relate to it. I’m someone who has spent the last 10 years being very social, often drinking & partying til all hours. Then a few years ago something changed. I fell in love with photography & realised how expensive it was. So I decided to stop drinking so much & put that money towards this new hobby. Anyways that was years ago & nowadays I hardly drink, I’m that guy who stays for one or two after work on a friday & then escapes home before things get out off hand.

    & now i realise that people, when drunk , are idiots, therefore when drunk, i am, an idiot. & I’m much happier for that realisation.

    • “& now i realise that people, when drunk , are idiots, therefore when drunk, i am, an idiot. & I’m much happier for that realisation.”

      Perfectly put.

  • What a well written article.

    I agree with a lot of this, and it’s the same reason that I don’t binge drink. I don’t feel the need to completely avoid alcohol altogether, however (though that might be necessary for some people who lack self-control after one beer).

    The thing is, I enjoy a beer or a wine with dinner or while watching a movie. But social binge drinking lost it’s appeal for me shortly after my teenage years.

    The benefit of being able to have one beer with dinner is that I can balance out the social benefits of accepting a beer offered as a handshake, I can enjoy it and then I can stop. But, again, this isn’t for everyone. The best thing you can do is to make your own decision about how much you like to drink without basing it on the common social practice.

    Thanks for sharing Mark.

    • I’mm the same. I binge eat like nobody’s business, but binge drinking to me is like binge eating to a thin person. I get over it really fast. I consider this to be a good thing.

  • Interesting article. I’ve just had a 6 month period off the booze. I did it to give my body a complete break and to facilitate training for my first half marathon. No one gave me a hard time for it. If your social circle is built on the common interest of boozing then maybe that would explain the issues people can have?

    I’ve resumed drinking because at heart I enjoy it. I’m an introvert and find socialising with some drinks a much more pleasant experience. Also I enjoy the drink itself – a good whisky/scotch, beer or wine is a very pleasant thing to have. Some people enjoy cheese or chocolate. For me alcohol can be savoured in the same way.

    No doubt portion control has something to do with this. A bender for me is a bottle of wine over a night. People I know can easily knock back 3-4 bottles of wine or a bottle of spirits – that would just never be something I’d do – i get too sick in the guts.

    I also have never experienced most of the issues Mark mentioned – never been in a fight while drunk, never had blackouts. If I had those issues I’d probably quit for good like Mark.

    • I think in the UK and in Scotland, where I grew up, it was always a bigger deal that I didn’t drink. Like I said, it’s a pretty subtle reaction, but you do put yourself on the outside of a circle when you don’t drink.

      • I think maybe not as big as Scotland or the UK but the drinking culture in Australia is pretty strong now more so than ever. So not as big as the UK, but still big here.

        • agreed. I think it’s a bit like this in Australia. I nitially my friends were a bit shocked & I found myself excluded from many events, but they are slowly coming around & accepting me as a non (or very light) drinker.

          • I know it’s spelled differently, but your surname doesn’t help matters

          • haha, tell me about it.. I remember in primary school; teachers used to always have a little laugh @ my surname.. wasn’t til high school that I realised; & then the drinking began….. 😉

          • My recruiter for the RAAF in Perth was called Jack Daniels. Not a word of a lie.

  • I rarely drink these days, and even when I do, it’s only one or two. I got over that feeling of loss of control, I’ve made many stupid decisions while like that or said some embarrassing things (like dropping the c bomb in front of my in-laws).

    Being sober at parties, you really get a sense of how stupid people get while drinking and spotting the people that really shouldn’t drink (because they get violent, depressed, etc).

  • I’m 22. I don’t drink, never have.

    Being an Australian teenager who doesn’t drink, and who doesn’t like being around drunks, is awful because you’re punished for doing the right thing. All your friends seem to do at parties is drink. That’s it. That, and interrogate you for the millionth time on why you don’t drink.

    When somebody asks you why you don’t drink, there is no correct answer to that question. You always come across as condescending, or preachy.

    It also cause a weird sort of paranoia after a while, because deep down some part of you begins to suspect that the only reason you’re invited to any party is because you can be guaranteed to be sober enough to drive. You have to be confident to the point of arrogance to stand any chance of fighting off such thoughts (which thankfully I am).

      • Not moral superiority, no.
        While people are free to make their own decisions and mistakes, I genuinely believe choosing to drink alcohol is the wrong decision for anyone to make.

        There is not a single alleged benefit to alcohol on an individual that cannot be better achieved through other means (means which don’t compromise body or mind).

        The most common justification for the use of alcohol is as a performance enhancing drug for social situations. But if you can achieve naturally, through study, training and discipline what others take drugs to achieve, are you not better?

        • There are numerous health benefits to the occasional drink, especially wine, plus the ability of it to help you relax if you are feeling naturally stressed.

          I have nothing against non drinkers – I usually have a beer every couple of days but can and do go weeks without a drink. I rarely drink more than 2 or 3, even on special occasions.

          I think that claiming Alcohol is always a bad decision is one I could say about a lot of other things – fat, salt, chocolate, dangerous sports.

          • Your view is narrow-minded because you are considering it only in terms of tangible effects like health or social enhancement. I’ve got a friend who has a similar view – she doesn’t drink because she believes it’s detrimental to her health.

            The thing is, like many things we enjoy, it is something that you might find pleasurable, but comes with a negative trade off – and that’s all it is. Consider the hypothetical that it is clinically proven that drinking a glass of alcohol a day would shave 2 years off the end of your life. Many people would make the choice to continue to drink alcohol and have a slightly shorter life – because drinking is something they value – and enjoying the time they have is a value. It’s not something that has to be justified – we all do it. The friend of mine in question runs lots of marathons. Arguably, she is abusing her body by pushing her limits, and her body will age faster as a result. She pushes beyond the point of healthy fitness and her body suffers short term consequences (injuries) and will most likely suffer long term consequences. But it’s something she enjoys and something that enriches the time she has. She knows the consequences, and she accepts them – the trade-off is worth it.

            Alcohol might not enrich your life, that’s fine, all the more power to you for it. It’s not something you value, so the health consequences and risks are not worth it for you. For others it might be different. It’s a question I believe that everybody should ask themselves about lifestyle choices like this. Do I value this enough so that I will accept the consequences? Does it enrich my life enough so that the benefits outweigh the risks for me personally?

            You’re also just plain wrong for one point by the way – you can’t have the experience of being drunk without alcohol. It’s as simple as that.

          • You can, but it’s probably worse because it involves being smashed really hard in the head and killing many, many more brain cells. It hurt but it was the same feeling

          • As I have said (maybe elsewhere in this article), I don’t begrudge anyone making their own decisions, so long as they are informed decisions.

            However, I stand by my point that it is always the wrong decision to drink alcohol, the reasoning being that is provides no unique BENEFITS, and plenty of negatives, no matter the dosage. If you want to relax, you can meditate. If you want to be more socially confident, practice talking in front of a mirror, test jokes out on close friends, etc. If you want the health benefits of resveratrol, which alcohol actually inhibits, just eat some grapes.

            “The experience of being drunk” is not a benefit any more than “the experience of breaking a leg” or “the experience of not blinking for 10 minutes”.

          • Every single alleged benefit of wine can be gained from other sources that don’t damage your body at the same time. Often resveratrol is cited, as a benefit of red wine. Alcohol actually inhibits your ability to take advantage of it, and you’re better served just eating some grapes.

            And no, the same thing cannot be said of fat, salt or chocolate. Every cell in our body needs fat, and likewise salt is a natural part of our diet. Any negative effects chocolate has can be worked off through exercise. The same cannot be said of alcohol.

            Beyond any of this, none of them affect personality, or brain function, beyond their being a source of energy.

  • I’ve never been a drinker because I don’t like the taste, and I’ve never enjoyed the buzz from alcohol enough to get over not liking the taste.

    When people are (in my opinion) rude enough to ask why I don’t drink, I tend to tell them I’m a mean drunk. It’s sort of true – I tend to turn into a bit of a jerk – but giving the impression that I morph into some kind of violent psychopath stops them asking any more questions, and seems to compensate for some of the machismo I’ve lost by not joining in on the booze-fest.

    • “I’ve never been a drinker because I don’t like the taste, and I’ve never enjoyed the buzz from alcohol enough to get over not liking the taste.”

      This, so much. A few years ago I was hanging out with some friends who were drinking and one of them commented on how bad the stuff tasted. I asked why they were drinking it if it tasted so bad and his response was “you don’t drink for the taste, you drink to get drunk.” I just cannot get my mind around that.

      The other thing is that I’ve found I drink alcoholic drinks the same way I drink anything else – only when I’m thirsty. I just can’t throw back half a dozen beers like most people seem to (I have tried once or twice).

  • Totally respect your reasons for not drinking and I think a lot of people are jumping on the not-drinking train, so hopefully it will become more socially acceptable as time passes.

    However, with respect, it doesn’t sound like drinking was the problem. It sounds like you drank TOO MUCH. Eating too much is bad for you. Gaming too much is bad for you. Anything, really, is bad for you if you don’t know how to consume it correctly. There is a medium ground of drinking that sounds like you never really discovered before 23. But there’s a wonderful pleasure in sharing a glass of wine with friends, or having a cold beer after a hot day gardening. I used to watch too much TV. I didn’t solve this problem by absolutely eliminating TV from my life, just by moderating it.

    I think three good reasons to quit drinking are:

    1. It’s expensive. If you want to save money, this should be the first thing to go.
    2. It’s unhealthy. If you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol is your worst enemy.
    3. It causes insomnia. For some reason alcohol puts me to sleep but then wakes me up with a weird sort of energy around 3-4am and I can’t get back to sleep- It sucks.

    So I support giving up drinking, there are many good reasons for doing it, but your reasons for doing so sound like someone who had a bad apple once and now refuses to eat fruit.

    • Yeah, I agree with this. I have no problem with people drinking at all.

      The fact is, I simply don’t enjoy it. That’s the overwhelming reason why I don’t do it.

      Thanks for the awesome comment 🙂

    • I’d like to add to this, drinking, even lightly and in moderation, is believed to cause long term disease in the liver and kidneys, and through them, skin and other vital organs. It is poison.

      I have no issue with people drinking, so long as they are honest and informed of the potential consequences.

      • You are forgetting that alcohol is actually regularly consumed by humans unintentionally. Things like cooking spray, fruits, pasta and pizza sauces can contain amounts of alcohol.

        Consuming alcohol is also common in the animal kingdom and even beneficial to some species (ie. ants and bees), so I have a problem with your assumption that consuming alcohol is wrong.
        Its also likely that consuming fermented fruits and liquids have been common practice throughout human evolution.

        I don’t drink and have never drank as I don’t find it an appealing human behaviour. It is of zero-benefit, and provides no advantages over not drinking. I disagree with it (for myself), not from a moral perspective, but from a logical one.

  • Woooo, BOOZE! *Starts throwing things around the room*

    In all seriousness though, while I drink, and while I will give people crap for not drinking, the majority of my friends don’t drink, and that’s fine by me.

    I had a 21st dinner with my old school friends, and no alcohol was drunk at that(a friend and I went out and had a single beer each afterwards, but that was it), and that wasn’t a decision by me, that’s just what my friends did.

    So, what I’m saying, is I’m going to keep giving you crap, Serrels.

  • I really enjoyed this article. I don’t drink for pretty much the same reasons that you outilined in your article (obviously I have different analogies), so you’re not alone, if it’s any consolation.

  • I didn’t used to drink at all, but alcohol’s social lubricating powers are too useful for me to ignore. I rarely drink to excess – only when I feel safe, and I’m with friends I truly trust. And “excess” is a relative word – I’ve never drunk so much I had to throw up. I close off and fall asleep long before that stage.

    I’ve also found that if I’m dancing, a single drink will get me to loosen up without affecting my balance or coordination at all. Great to get into the groove of things, then water all night after that.

  • I feel unwell if I have even a mouthful of alcohol, and my inability to drink has caused me more strife than having an actual drinking problem. I’ve developed a severe phobia of drunk people. I’m consumed by guilt for “failing” to be a “normal” 20-something Australian. I’m so worried that drinkers will judge me for not drinking that I end up judging them instead purely out of paranoid self defense. So I’m always so relieved to hear there are other people who don’t drink, because sometimes it feels like I must be the only person in the world. Thank you.

  • I haven’t had a drink since 2008, was never much of a drinker at the best of times but all the cons outweighed the pros. I didn’t like the loss of control, the missing time too. Also I found it sort of a depressant. I was not fun to be around while drunk. Final straw was when I walked home on New Years Eve and rolled both my ankles. Vowed never to drink again and I haven’t since…

  • Respect your choices. I really don’t like drinking. All getting drunk does is make me sleepy and mentally sluggish and messes with my balance and reflexes, and that sort of dulling of mental and motor control is not something I enjoy, and annoyingly I’m a complete lightweight so it only takes me two or three standard drinks to get there. I’ve not yet found a drink where the taste is compelling enough to make that payoff worthwhile, and so would prefer not to drink.

    And yet, I’ve very much found that not drinking is a strain on the social contract as you said. I would take a coke and still socialise, but it always remained an issue. I never understood why everybody thought it was so important we all get drunk together. It was never fun. Especially considering they all turned into idiots and started sharing stories that just made me think less of them. I’ve also come to suspect some of them are alcoholics, because all they talk about is their favourite booze, things they did while drunk, and when and where they will get drunk next. And somehow that makes me the socially unacceptable one. It’s like most of the population is incapable of having fun unless alcohol is involved.

    These days I take one drink and nurse it for as long as possible, and it helps, but I can’t get enthusiastic about booze like most of my friends and coworkers and family. I hope one day it becomes a little more socially acceptable to be a teetotaler. Thanks for sharing your reasons.

    • As you say man, never really understood the appeal of getting trashed either and it does hurt the social scene.
      I have a couple of drinks these days but mostly on my own: years of being the only sober one at a social gathering has made me really dislike the company of drunk people. And hate giving people lifts :/

  • Good article Mark.
    From the sounds of things in your story and the comments, to many people there is no difference between drinking and getting completely smashed. I know many people like that – they can never just have “a” beer. If they drink they drink until they are hammered.
    A bit of self control can go a long way.

  • I came in here expecting to see a bunch of yobbo Gizmodo commenters (you know the ones I mean) verbally kicking the crap out of the author for being a ‘teetotaller’ and ‘telling the rest of us we can’t have a good time’.

    What I found was a whole lot of really thoughtful and brilliant people giving thoughtful and brilliant responses. Thanks for making everyone’s day a little nicer, guys!

  • I gave up drinking when I was 18. Half a bottle of Jim Beam Black Lable, straight from the bottle in 20mins, after a few bongs = 3 days of puke. It may have been the worst 3 days of my life, but I don’t regret a thing! I don’t miss drinking at all!

  • Good article although I’ve had plenty more reasons to quit and still do 😉 The reactions you’ve mentioned are fairly common but stick to your guns and people will respect you more for it. There’s also excuses to like Febfast, Dry July (and even Sober October). Last time I did one of these lasted for 3 months and it had a postive effect on some of my friends who wanted to try it 🙂

  • Great to hear a voice against alcohol – the socially accepted drug of our time. The reality is that alcohol is a chemical poison, and the big question to ask is why do people knowingly poison themselves? This is bad enough on it’s own, but it’s positively devastating when you consider the social cost of alcohol through violence, car accidents and health problems.
    When you drink it is no longer the true you – it changes you chemically for the worse. When people find out that you don’t drink, this is very exposing for them ie it asks them to look at their behavior and what they might be hiding from through drinking. Hence the range of responses one gets from uncomfortable acceptance through to full rejection. One day we’ll look at socially accepted drinking the same way as we now look upon socially accepted smoking for relaxation in the 50’s and 60’s – it’s not only harmful, its ridiculous.

    • Dean you ask a question and then steadfastly avoid answering it.

      Why do people drink? It’s not like they enjoy hangovers, impaired senses, nausea etc. It’s because people feel good when they drink (not necessarily to excess). It can make social interactions much more pleasant. Some people, like me, enjoy the flavours and mouthfeel of a good beer/wine/spirit.

  • I have 1 or 2 beers after work on Friday and I don’t punch people or spew the next day.

    The real problem is a lack of self discipline – not being able to drink in moderation.

    • you’ve actually struck at the root of the point. The problem isnt alcohol in and of itself, its the human element that is unable to handle it.

  • Excellent article Mark, and very honest to put it forth as well, because as you can see you speak for a lot of people.
    I enjoy social gatherings, but i never go out to drink. I’ll have 1 or 2 drinks the entire night, which also leaves me out in the “Outer Circle” because the rest is getting plastered and i’m not.
    i just don’t enjoy the experience, i drink the drinks i do because i like the taste (Some beer is amazingly tasty)

    i never understood the point in going out to get drunk, what’s the point? why is it fun? beer does NOT taste as good on the way back up again, neither does those chunk of taandori chicken or the burrito.

    i guess what i’m trying to say is WELL WRITTEN MARK, you’re now my number one hero.
    I EVEN BOUGHT YOUR ACTION FIGURE:
    http://www.gofigurecollectables.com.au/browsermain.php?link=view&prodid=184&uid=&pname=Shaun%20of%20the%20Dead%2012

  • I think you are missing the difference between drinking alochol and getting drunk off of alochol.

    Drinking alcohol is fine.Having a beer with dinner or a wine with someone for a celebration is fine.
    Drinking an entire case until you throw up and make an asshat out of yourself is something else entirely.

    Your bad memories and stories have nothing to do with drinking responsibly, its drinking to excess.
    Sure one leads to the other but its like saying that getting into a car means you will have a crash. It doesnt. It just means you need to be responsible to avoid it.

  • You should hear recycle bin (the council bins, not the Windows desktop icon) night around our area… All you hear is the sound of empty bottles being emptied into the truck.

  • I am 19, never had a drink and never plan to. For me its just something that never interested me. Ill agree that the hardest part is telling people you dont drink, and ignoring those who try to peer presssure you into doing it.

  • I love a drink, me.. But lately I’ve learnt the joys of restraint and I find I enjoy drinking responsibly more than just getting balls out drunk.
    I know this isn’t the case for all people, but I gotta have a vice, and it’s better something like drinking or smoking than something more destructive. It helps that I’m a generally happy drunk too.

  • Wow! Great article and even better comments! I’m a non-drinker myself. I didn’t know there were so many others out there.
    I have worked as a bouncer and man you see that alcohol is the main cause of problems with people in night clubs. So after they cause trouble we throw them out onto the street or into a taxi.
    Now I drive taxi’s and oh boy! Now I have to put up with the drunks for the half an hour that it takes to get them home with their messed up directions (if they can even remember their address at all) and them wanting to puke.
    Some people say oh we need a vice, if not alcohol then what? well smoke weed man. Who the hell gets pissed off when they’re high lol?
    But seriously can you imagine how many less fights and problems there would be on a friday or saturday night if people smoked instead of drank? Whoa!
    Another funny thing is I got a Muslim friend who doesn’t drink because of his religion and when people ask him why he doesn’t drink , he lies and tells them this story
    “When I was a kid my dad would get drunk and beat up my mom.”
    The girls give him all the attention lol

  • I have no issue with people who don’t drink and take issue with people who press the issue. I generally don’t drink, but also don’t NOT drink. I’ll have a beer at a social occasion, I’ll have wine with dinner. I haven’t been drunk in some time, simply because getting blasted is a waste of alcohol. I have a pretty good tolerance, but three beers is enough social lubricant for me. Some people drink more, other people drink less or not at all. That shouldn’t be a thing other people worry about it, that’s a personal decision.

    Sometimes at a business dinner I’ll cut myself off after one glass of wine and that’s met with surprise. No, I’m not drunk, and don’t want to be. I had some of the pinot grigio and it was lovely, but now I’ll have a coke. Thanks.

    It’s probably easier to not drink at all than it is responsibly. Every drink you have makes it harder to say no to the next one.

    • “I have no issue with people who don’t drink and take issue with people who press the issue.”

      To clarify, because that was poorly worded and might be read the wrong way, the people I take issue with are the ones who try to goad non-drinkers into drinking. I have one mate who has a low tolerance and one mate with a high tolerance. High Tolerance friend rips on the Low Tolerance friend for not drinknig or not drinking enough. I have to make sure I get him to cool it, but not in a way that might hurt Low Tolerance friend’s pride.

  • I was never much of a drinker, but I did, it would be to excess. I usually enjoyed drunken the nights, but as with most, would regret it the next morning.
    The day I got my probationary drivers licence 6 years ago was the day I decided to stop drinking. There wasn’t some major event or catastrphe that day, I simply decided that that piece of plastic in my hand was more valuable than a few enjoyable nights (and horrible mornings). I didn’t want to risk losing it.
    I haven’t suffered socially for that decision. My friends and family all understand. And that’s all that matters. And with the exception of one celebratory night 2 years ago, I’ve stuck to it.

  • Great article and even better to see things like this being published. I have just turned 30 and have been a non-drinker since I was about 17. I completely agree about the strange looks you get or the immediate distrust when you tell someone you don’t drink. Saying “I’m designated driver” or “I’m on anti-biotics” allows the questioner to simply label your lack of drinking as temporary, so they still feel safe and secure in their own drinking. I’ve never judged anyone, but for some reason if you’re a non-drinker, most people see you as someone who can’t be trusted – an outsider.

    I never had a reason for not drinking initially, I just though it was a bit of a waste of time. I always had a great time socialising and going out with friends, I just never felt the need to add alcohol to enhance the experience. For me, not drinking was never about choosing not to do something I wanted to do, the fact I never really started made it so much easier. I don’t spend even a microsecond thinking about alcohol in my day as it has never been something I have done. Most people who learn I don’t drink seem to grapple with the idea that I miss it or I’m depriving myself of some kind of enjoyment. I usually reply with something like “well you’ve probably never tried heroin, and if not, you wouldn’t miss it”.

    I’ve had plenty of fun/funny things happen relating to not drinking:

    – During university I worked in a micro brewery for around 4 years. My first shift I didn’t know the difference between Malibu and Midori. Made for a steep learning curve
    – People would often ask what my favourite of the boutique beers was, to which I’d default to the general favourite and say “most people prefer this one”.
    – I once had a police car pull me over late one night. The police officer asked me when my last drink was, to which I replied “umm…around 1999”. An answer that didn’t go down well

    My father is a functioning alcoholic, which I didn’t realise in my earlier years but has now further cemented my desire never to involve myself with alcohol. I put it in the same category as smoking, that is, something you pay a lot for (financially, medically and socially) that gives you nothing useful or permanent return.

    People have and will always drink, it’s just a human thing to do. I have no problem with others drinking as much or as little as they like, it’s their life and their body. What I do find interesting is the Australian culture that has an ongoing and enduring love affair with alcohol. People always blame violence on too much alcohol or pubs and clubs being open too late, but the real root of the problem is always peoples attitudes and behaviours to each other.

    Anyway I feel this has gone on long enough and now I’m rambling.

      • “Most people who learn I don’t drink seem to grapple with the idea that I miss it or I’m depriving myself of some kind of enjoyment. I usually reply with something like “well you’ve probably never tried heroin, and if not, you wouldn’t miss it”.”

        Heh – I use a similar line when people ask me about being a vegetarian. In fact, some of the distrust and perceived condescension is similar when it inevitably becomes apparent when eating a meal with new people. The “first” conversation is always the same, and inevitably involves me over-explaining in an attempt to assure those who eat meat that I am not judgemental nor have a superiority complex about it.

      • Cheers Mark. It’s heartening to know that people have a similar experience RE: explaining the non-drinking thing.

        The other thing I forgot to mention is that I find in social situations where others are drinking, I always get overlooked for a water or juice or whatever. Mates will grab beers for everyone else, but the non-drinker is easily forgotten about. I am more than used to helping myself by now, though 🙂

  • As a person who decided when I was younger that I would “never drink” as all it did was make you do stupid things – I feel that I need to make some sort of comment on this story. An article on the regret of drinking that non-drinkers are all very much afraid of as am I.

    My resolve only lasted a few years, and why is that? Was it because I needed the lubricant to socialise? Was it because of peer pressure? Was it so I could beat up people at pubs? So I could forget things about the night before? Sure wasn’t any of these things.

    It was the taste.

    There are tastes that you simply cannot get from non-alcoholic drinks and the world of alcohol is wonderful. The aroma, the feel of a good scotch warming your belly – so many different tastes, all subtly different from the last. Never will you be able to enjoy partaking on a wine tour in the Hunter Valley – never have that perfect compliment to your meal. These are all things that that you cannot get from anything but alcohol.

    I endorse the concept of “Not getting drunk”, which really is the message of the article, because that is when it all goes wrong – but one should never completely shut the door on the possibilities that alcohol presents. So to all those people who have placed a blanket rule on themselves and “Do not drink” , it is truly you guys who are the ones missing out.

    Having said that, I need to make a note regarding people whose personalities will not let them enjoy in moderation, i.e. they will be all or nothing. I understand that there are people like that out there, and those who chose the not drink in that instance – good job on being able to resist from the start and I mourn your loss.

  • The worst part about not drinking is the self-loathing. The worst part about drinking is the self-loathing, too, but in a different way.

  • Hmm.

    I enjoy many kinds of drinks, ranging from beer, wine and many single malts.

    I’ve never been drunk. Ever.

    Anyone else in the same boat?

  • I have never drunk and never will, it started because that’s how my parents raised me but now I’m 27 and I look back I’ve never seen the appeal to it
    I guess it helps that none of my family drinks and the majority of my friends outside of work don’t either this helps. But if I do end up going out with work friends they are all mostly cool with it and already no, but I rarely go to pubs etc unless there is good live music ( ie none of the pubs near me)

    There are some major upsides to not drinking too:
    1. Beverages are normally a lot cheaper and you can claim the on your per diems if you are on a business trip
    2. You remember everything and can use it as blackmail later, especially if you video it on your phone.
    3. You are less likely to do something stupid you will regret
    4. You won’t wake up with a hangover
    5. You are much less likely to have liver problems
    6. You can drive yourself home and not have to pay for a taxi (I won’t act as designated driver just so my mates can get pissed, if they do it’s walk home or take a cab)
    7. You can never get booke d drink driving

    I’m yet to see a list of things for in favor of drinking that beats the list above

  • Good article which I enjoyed reading. Fair points in the article and some of the comments.

    I have often thought I would stop altogether, but as per the observation made by others above, it is not drinking, it is how much and where. I rarely drink in public and never on any occasion, either out and about or at home, have more than two standard drinks. Works for me.

  • Nothing wrong with not drinking. A lot of my mates don’t drink, and it is widely accepted by everyone.
    Haters just gonna hate I guess…

    I on the other hand love to drink! :), Specially Scotch, nothing wrong with a good Chivas now and then.
    I try not to turn into an asshole, I don’t think I ever did. Only twice in my lifetime I became drunk
    instead of happy, and these are experiences I would rather forget. Nothing fun about them.
    Especially the blacked out bits I cannot remember and waking up in bed wondering how the frack
    I got back home in the first place.

    It’s fun to drink loads, as long as you know your own limits.
    That way you’ll have the fun you seek from drinking, never black out or puke, and
    you can remember shit in the morning. Sure you might get a slight headache. One panadol will fix that.

  • I did the whole “go out and get smashed” thing as a uni student, but many years later I’m a rare drinker.
    I can go months without touching alcohol and when I do it’s just the one drink and I’m done.

    I get the raised eyebrows and the odd comment at various events, but I like being able to drive myself home rather than fight for a taxi, and I certainly don’t miss the hangovers, or wasting the next day recovering and especially don’t miss seeing the photos of the stupid crap I did while drunk.

    • Oh wait, that never happened. So strange that alcohol is such an ingrained part of our society despite it’s very obvious downsides, yet, weed which has time and time again been shown to be far less harmful than alcohol and tobacco is illegal. I don’t drink for very similar reasons to those discussed here, I would rather smoke up with some friends and play vidya games or watch retarded movies. Shit even if I go out its somewhere like the zoo or something , yet this behaviour is criminal.
      My own agenda aside, good article.

  • I stopped drinking about a year ago, my friends still give me crap about it. I mainly stopped drinking because i started competing in triathlons and wanted the extra energy of a weekend to train harder, instead of being in bed hungover.

    I’m now the super fit an healthy one, while they all wonder what my secret is….. purely a better lifestyle without 10+ drinks a week.

  • I never been a big drinker. I don’t like the taste of beer so that helps. I’ll have the occasional glass of rum and coke but that’s it. As for what anyone thinks of that, I couldn’t give a shit. Anybody who can’t come to terms with not needing to drink to have a good time is not someone who I want anything to do with anyway.

  • I cut my drinking down to about a 6 pack a week and was working well until my wife and I were invited to a house warming a couple of weeks ago. After about 9 hours, 10 beers, 4 Tequilas a couple of wines and a puff on a joint I was having the time of my life. That was until I didn’t like the look of someone, then the police shut the party down and I suddenly turned into a fucking monster. Nobody got hurt but the following day I was absolutely shattered particularly emotionally. My wife told me she wanted to leave me. She has had enough over the years and I don’t blame her. I haven’t had a drink since and am not sure if ever will.

  • Eh, I’ve just never taken it too seriously. Haven’t really had alcohol since I was about 20, 10 years ago. Haven’t missed it.

    Far and away the best parties I’ve ever been to I’ve been dead sober. It’s about the mood and the group and doing fantastic things together, alcohol doesn’t provide nearly the depth.

    Lived in Korea as an expat for a few years, there was a definite divide there between drinkers and non-drinkers. I was having too much fun doing cool shit sober to worry about hanging out with all the slobs at the bars. Actually, that was the last time I got drunk, about four years ago in Korea, and..it was just boring.

    Plus, alcohol often makes me sleepy quiiiick.

  • I gave up drinking in 1989. I decided that, as I was a P-plater, if I didn’t drink, I could drive more often. Once the two years were up, I didn’t miss it. I sat through 21st birthdays (including my own), weddings and Grand Final days without drinking. Eventually, it just became normal. If you have a problem with telling people you don’t drink, then you care too much what they think.

    By comparison, for me, giving up chocolate was much harder.

  • Nice article Mark. I admire your candour.
    From one Scot to another, I imagine your non-drinking does result in much incredulity from people, as everyone seems to think all Scots are raging alkies. I mean, it’s not as if the Aussies aren’t partial to the odd cold beer or ten :o)

  • I’ve recently cut back a lot on drinking and it’s mostly to do with finding where my limits are and making sure I was getting the most out of the buzz etc from alcohol instead of being a total trash bag. I think that sometimes people saying they don’t drink is like someone saying they don’t like music or don’t like food, it just seems strange and very broad.

    So from another perspective I think that when someone doesn’t drink, people think the following:
    – You aren’t interested in participating in a group activity therefore you’re not interested in the group
    – You aren’t open to sharing an experience (being drunk) with the group but are happy to watch people be vulnerable and that then makes the group feel like you could take advantage and post bad pictures or other stuff
    – You are judging them and their drinking which in turn makes them defensive and judge you
    – You are some sort of repressed person who can’t manage to find enjoyment out of hundreds of different types of alcoholic drinks
    – You can’t relax and ‘just have a few drinks’ and will eventually ‘go postal’ and snap one day instead of letting off some steam
    – You don’t really like the group and stay sober in order to get dirt on them to report back to the boss/coach/ whatever

    Some of these are obviously stupid, but maybe as non-drinkers, if you can manage to ease some of these fears that people have, you’ll find yourself be better integrated into drinking groups, which is what we all want anyways, to be able to hang out with people regardless of who drinks and who doesn’t and be comfortable.

  • Good article – sure provoked a lot of discussion.

    As a stereotypical Australian male, I started drinking with mates in my late teens (I know that’s later than some), and kept up the social drinking and occasional binge all the way to my late thirties. About 3 years ago I had the first of many bouts of orthopaedic surgery, following which I was on strong painkillers and developed a strong addiction to one of them, Tramadol. Drinking didn’t mix at all with that, for me anyway, and somehow I sort of lost the desire to drink at all. It ceased to do anything at all for me, and then after I thankfully kicked the painkiller habit about 18 months ago (the most horrendously painful experience ever – I can’t imagine what it would be like getting off heroin or any of the “hard” stuff), I found that I had absolutely no desire to open a beer or drink a glass of wine. A few times since, I’ve thought that maybe I should try it again for stress relief purposes, but whenever I have experimented it’s left me more stressed than before, even after just one drink. So I just don’t drink at all any more and I don’t miss it one bit. The easiest part about not drinking is not craving it, but I know that my particular situation is different in that respect to many other people. I’m lucky in that sense, and more than happy to have a coke or a juice or whatever instead.

  • Well I don’t drink alcohol any more because I wrote off my near new $50,000 Ford XR6 Turbo, by somehow thinking it would be a good idea to drive home. I never usually drive drunk, but there were no taxis, I wa feeling like shit and just wanted to get home. Supidest reasons ever, but at the time I had control of what I was doing.

    As fate/chance would have it, I lost control of the car in loose gravel that had been spilt on the road on a corner, that I didn’t see until too late (reaction time was of course severely affected) . So anyway I went sideways, didn’t correct in time, and sent the car flying into a ditch at 60ks. Fast enough to write off the car completely as it swung into a tree, just barely missing the driver’s side door, which may have killed me.

    Cops took my blood at hospital and I had to wait 6 agonising weeks to find out what my blood-alcohol level was . Turns out I was 3 x the legal limits and they picked up amphetamines from a pill the night before, so I wa charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and one count of dangerous driving. Needless to say insurance didn’t pay for the car to be replaced. I sold the wreck for $7,000.

    I lost my licence for 18 months and I lost my job over it too.

    So that’s the main reason I don’t drink any more. Becuase I’m a dangerous idiot when I’m drunk.

  • Excellent stuff from Mark. I appreciate where he is coming from and that he is showing his side but not preaching and being sanctimonious & self righteous (unlike some of the commentators).

    I drink. I grew up with drink. Recently I blamed drink for a lot of my “issues” so i quit. Upon quitting, it made me realise that drink was the scape goat (as it often is) for these issues and i need to take control of them on my own or accept them. They weren’t from the drink but I tended to lump them in the pile of “it’s because of drink”.

    I was sober for 3 months. I learnt a lot about who I am and also drink isn’t the “reason”. I continue to deal with my “issues” but now i don’t have a scapegoat, they are easier to deal with and understand. The removal of the blame helped me immensely.

    We are all unique and we all have unique situations. 1 thing doesn’t make us good or bad, it’s a combination of things and understanding helps that.

    You don’t drink? Great. You do drink? Great. Is it what you want to do? Then do it & be happy.

  • I gave up drinking two years ago at the age of 37. I first drank at 12 or 13 and I can’t remember most of my late teen years, high school was a write off and my twenties are a blur. I can’t blame alcohol, because I had a choice, but I do wonder why the most damaging drugs in society – booze and smokes – are so acceptable.

    Coincidentally, they just so happen to be highly regulated and heavily taxed.

    Is it simplistic to draw a parallel between acceptable drugs in Australia and guns in the US? The political and financial similarities are there, or am I a paranoid conspiracy theorist?

    Anyway, I don’t drink because I don’t like the personality changes caused in me and in others. I also have a few alcohol related issues with my liver; a reminder of the “good old days”.

  • I never used to drink at all – I’d seen my parents and relatives drunk enough times to not want to touch the stuff. I also remember asking people at Uni why they went out every night, and invariably the answer was “to get drunk”, something I’ve never understood – “How did you break your leg?” “Well, I had this hammer just lying around, so I figured I should do something with it.” Okay, not quite as extreme as that, but it seems to me to be the same mindset.

    Ironically, the only reason I started drinking because I hated driving… my parents labelled me designated driver as soon as I got my P plates (very late – 19), but I realised that, because of the zero-tolerance laws, if I had one even slightly alcoholic drink, I wouldn’t be able to legally get behind the wheel. I grew to tolerate the taste, and after one beer I switched back to water, soft drink, or whatever else was available. And going through Uni, as I had no need to drive, I had no reason to drink. Whenever I went out with friends, and they offered to buy a round of drinks, I’d always either decline or ask for a lemonade or something, and the looks people give you… like you’re speaking Martian, or as if you just said you were going to beat some puppies with a baseball bat – like they just can’t comprehend the thought of someone that doesn’t drink. Or worst of all, the “Oh you poor dear, there must be something wrong with you” (obviously implied, not actually uttered).

    That’s not to say that I don’t drink, now – since I finished Uni, I’ve found a couple of wines I like, but I only have a single glass at a time, every other day, and rarely in company, and, needless to say, never to get drunk.

  • I gave up drinking around 19/20. It had become a self-destructive behaviour, so I cut it off at the knees for 3 years. All it took was a deterioration in my social life to bring it back, and a death in the family to make sure it stuck around for a while.
    These days I feel lucky that I can take my time with when it comes to drinking, never in a rush to prove anything.

  • In high school there were the jocks and the stoners/punks. I was tormented at home and could not fit in with the jocks whoalthough they drank, during daylight hours were sober for the most part. 2 of my good friends married guys that became alcoholics. I married a binge drinker with serious self control issues. I know for sure if I was accepted and treated well by my family at home (my dad was a big drinker) iwould have had more sober conversations with people at school who actuallyenjoyed social time spent sober.
    Although I basically got over drinking after college, I still formed those relationships. To this day, old friends want to get together and drink and get silly and hang out…its so lame. I wish I had my family standing string for me. I remember so many nights drinking with the girls at a clubbe ause thats just what we did, and now, even if we do other things like dinner or whatever, the feeling is that its not really fun unless we end up drinking or smoking up.
    But if I was chillin with someone who thought it was enough, I would be ok too. I drank to fit in. I still drink occassionally- to fit in. After a lifetime of friendships like this, I dont see much hope of ‘straight’ friendships

  • I think the best way to stop drinking is to never start. I have never drank before (although I admit I am still underage) and I just don’t see the point in drinking. Alcohol is a drug- more than that, it’s a depressant. I know from experience that living with an alcoholic really lowers the quality of your life.

  • Terrific story, Mark! I have been sober for 131 days and you are right – the best part about not drinking is… not drinking. Waking up every morning with no hangover, no regrets, no lapses in memory, no one mad at me, no swollen eyes, no puking, no cottonmouth, no empty wallet, noone unrecognizable lying next to me…and best of all no lack of self esteem. Fuck drinking!

  • Well said. Everyone thinks I must’ve been an alcoholic to not want to drink. I think what sticks for me is that most people insist that I drink because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable. I tell them that if they feel uncomfortable; I will leave or I venture to ask them “Why?”. Guilt is a common response; especially for my friends with children at home. I tell them, to do what they feel more comfortable with and that I do what makes me most comfortable and I don’t let others force me to do what I don’t want to do. It really makes people think. Unfortunately, TV dictates to us, that drinking is HAPPY. When the reality of it; is that drinking destroys lives. If you makes movie without alcohol…you literally will not get funding. It used to be the same for cigarettes. The scary thing is: we now live in a society that is legalizing pot. Pressures may turn in a new direction for our children and peer pressure is not being addressed as it should…and it proves the fact as it has carried over into adulthood. It’s good to see people who can relate. Thanks for sharing your story. (Pardon any of my iPhone typos:)

  • After a mates bucks I googled not drinking so the idea of not drinking has been with me for 2 years but I was to concerned with what people would think of me to stop completely
    I never drank much but it was how it made me feel that stone in your stomach the next day

    I started with decideding not to drink by myself so instantly I stopped drinking at home and would only drink with mates at the pub , this was a good way to start for me plus I’m sure I saved a tonne of money not buying beers at home

    3 months ago I went drinking with my mates and I ended up ill for a month so for me that was the last straw I decided to stop completely.

    2 months ago was my first non drinking day , my mates bucks party I didn’t tell anyone I wasn’t drinking but I got the jokes thrown my way after they figured it out
    Next was his wedding and the first moment I was there a beer was pushed into my hands by a good mate he was being nice and I felt bad giving it back. people were making a huge deal about it oh just have one blah blah but they soon got over it
    My response was jokingly no thanks I am to old for peer pressure lol

    People make a deal because they can’t have fun not drinking and really it’s all about them
    When I stopped caring what they thought and did what I wanted life makes more sense to me now and I feel empowered in myself

    It’s a massive weight off my shoulders now I’ve made the decision I feel like I can be myself
    I don’t regret drinking for the most part in my 20s but there a a lot of times I wish didn’t happen but there are still a load of good memories
    I decided to not be a anti alcohol person and remember my drinking times fondly but be true to myself now and not drink because that’s what I want to do

    Oh yeah two awesome drinks I’ve been loving
    Fresh lime and soda (bar keeps tend to do these free and the best one squeeze the lime in) alway squeeze the lime soda in! It’s little bitter so it’s refreshing like a beer

    If I’m looking for something else at a party coke with the cherry red cordial grenadine makes a Dr Pepper flavoured drink it’s awesome

    I don’t think I’ll ever drink again good luck if you decide to go down the unconventional path too

    • Hi
      I just wanted to post back again to help anyone wanting To quit

      Myself and my friend haven’t drank for 9 months now.
      I didn’t lose any friends
      Everyone is supportive
      I haven’t been sick in 9 months
      I didn’t miss a party

      Let’s just say my life is so much better for removing alcohol

      If you feel like I did and want to quit do it you won’t regret it no one will hate you and people won’t even notice your not drinking

      One tip never mention it but be honest if someone asks you and if people ask you, you say I don’t drink because I’m sick of it (or whatever reason) be forthcoming and straight I’ve never had anyone try and convince me otherwise

      you don’t need to justify yourself do it and own it

      Good luck
      Krazy

  • I never drink. Honestly, I’ve been a tea totaler for like… as long as I can remember at this point… I’m sitting here, I used to drink mind you, I’m sitting here & I’ve honestly drank about two bottles of wine… & I’m not getting drunk.. I don’t even have a nystagmus… this has been the case the last few times I’ve tried drinking… I used to drink and get drunk & I basically hated it (hangover) but every time I’ve tried to drink to get drunk over the last few years, has failed… I guess I’m a Hemingway or something… it’d be nice if all the info out there wasn’t so sure I was an alcoholic because I honestly think something is awry here… like maybe it’s a health issue I should be concerned about… a health issue other than alcoholism…

  • Seems to me the major problem here is drinking to stupid excess. There is very much a huge middle ground between getting so drunk you fight your brother and teetotaling.

    I am definitely on the lighter end of drinking. I dont often drink at all, let alone heavily. On the rare occasions I have a big night, I’ve learnt the limits of my body, where to stop drinking, where to have water, and when to shut down further drinks. If you go past these positions, you move into blackout territory and thats a bad and stupid place to put yourself in.

    Still some of the most fun nights of my life have been under the influence where I let loose in a way I don’t normally do. And in the last 8 years of my life, I can say I have been blackout drunk only 1 night, my bucks night. Learn your body limits and you dont need to be a teetotaler and still get the benefits of having a great night. I know its hard to have a fun night sober while everyone else drinking around you being rather silly 😀

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