What part of No don’t you understand?

In the UK figures suggest that the majority of adults drink alcohol at varying levels so as a ‘non-drinker’ I have some years found myself in a minority.

So what?

Well, there are a number of potential challenges facing anyone who wishes not to drink alcohol but wants to continue socialising with people who do drink alcohol. It is not my job to tell people what to do or how to behave, they are responsible for that and if they choose to drink alcohol that is none of my business.

However for some people that I meet, they are reluctant to accept that I choose not to drink alcohol from a place of knowledge rather than abstinence. They also have no understanding of the significant difference between the two.

And why would they?

Drinking alcohol is so ingrained in our society that we don’t really ask much in the way of questions about it. Reports show that alcohol has destructive potential if we drink too much of it, but alleged health benefits if we drink ‘just enough’ although the health benefits are being brought into question more frequently now.

Many people get uncomfortable if you decline to drink alcohol with them. They will often feel that you are questioning their decision to drink, almost as if you are holding up a mirror and momentarily asking them to take a really close look at what they are doing.

It is seen as much simpler (for them) if you just say yes and join them. They may subconsciously be aware that as they drink alcohol and you do not, their ability to hold a rational conversation with them will actually go into decline, their chemistry will change and they become increasingly more likely to say something that they may later regret.

Often it is assumed that if you are not drinking alcohol then there must be ‘something wrong with you’. Little thought is given to the fact that maybe you are more capable, confident, have good social skills and have taken the time to invest in learning to overcome the very issues that meant that alcohol was required in the past in an effort to hide them.

If a person decides to decline alcohol it could just be that they have enough knowledge of it and are sufficiently comfortable in their own skin that they have decided that they just don’t ‘need’ it.

Have you ever thought about joining them for a ‘drink’?

2 comments for “What part of No don’t you understand?

  1. 1 August, 2011 at 14:57

    Dirk, many thanks for your comment. As mentioned the decision to drink alcohol (or not!) is down to individual choice and in my view needs to be respected. However, the mind altering nature of ethanol (alcohol) means that we can never be sure where our decisions will go, even after one drink. Even after years of predictable behavior with alcohol, it is not possible to be certain that the next drinking session will have the same outcome as all of the previous ones and that intake will always be limited. In fact the only certainty is that the interaction of the human mind and alcohol is unpredictable. Glad you enjoy the articles.

  2. 30 July, 2011 at 13:30

    I have always had difficulty with drinking as I do not react well to alcohol. Whilst I never stopped completely I limit and pace myself. However I have not had any bad reactions to it – possibly I have the right kind of friends. In fact, I decided many years ago that I would not drink at lunch except possibly when I am on holiday.
    The reaction has been interesting as many people followed my example. Others chose to have a glass of wine, but certainly the amount of alcohol consumed is always limited.
    Of course if you do go out with a group whose main mission is to get plastered, you are probably better off giving them a miss until they have a more constructive mission.
    Thanks for the interesting articles.

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