I don’t drink alcohol.
It’s such a normal statement but you wouldn’t believe the shock and disbelief you get met with when you tell people this, especially as a young 20-something university student.
It’s weird when you go out with friends, turn down the offer of a drink and have everyone look at you like there’s something wrong. There’s not. I just don’t drink alcohol. I think what’s weird is that I have to explain that there’s no reason for my choice to abstain from drinking – It’s not a religious choice, I’m not pregnant, I don’t have a medical condition and I’m not a recovering alcoholic. I just don’t see the fun in getting drunk.
It’s crazy to me that it’s more acceptable in today’s society to binge drink regularly than it is to abstain from alcohol. Binge drinking is a new cultural norm and apparently, that’s just meant to be accepted and bought into.
I’ve witnessed, both in person and through the media, the damage that alcohol can inflict. I know friends and family members who have battled alcoholism and alcohol caused diseases or have seriously injured themselves under the influence, I went to school with someone who drove a high powered vehicle while drunk and killed themselves, I’ve witnessed a one-punch attack right in front of me on a night out. All incidents that have not only impacted the individual themselves but friends, family and even strangers around them. All incidents that wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for alcohol.
Yet somehow this is just accepted as part of today’s societal norms? Crazy.
I don’t want to obey cultural norms and drink because apparently that’s the only way you can have fun. I don’t want to have to drink because everyone else does. I don’t like that. I’d much rather stay sober, enjoy the night knowing that I’m not putting myself or anyone else at risk and wake up without a hangover and a million regrets.
It’s often remarked that I’m wasting my youth by not enjoying it. That I’m not living up to the university student life. I couldn’t disagree more. I’m living my life to the fullest, enjoying making memories and spending time with friends and family, albeit sober, and enjoying the university life. I don’t think alcohol makes any difference. I also don’t think alcohol consumption should be a marker of a life well enjoyed.
I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t want to. It’s really just that simple.