I’ve been doing this whole awkward, “omg why don’t you drink” explanation for years. I can remember being in high school when it was “cool” to go to parties and drink, but I always just offered to be anyone’s DD instead. I didn’t even go to my own prom because I spent the night driving drunk teenagers around. Except back then, I truly don’t recall getting as much pushback from NOT drinking as I do now at 25. It’s a weird thing, isn’t it? I’ve always wondered why my decision not to consume alcohol affected other people so much. It was almost like I OFFENDED them if I didn’t want to partake. As you can imagine, from 21-24 I was avoiding social drinking settings like the plague (still do) but it wasn’t until I went to therapy that I started to uncover why it still makes me so anxious and uncomfortable years later. It had just been one of those things that I “accepted” because I’d always done it. I had become the non-drinker. And even more so once I started having stomach problems, it gave me an easy out to reply to people when they started pressuring me at bars and such. Some people were worse than others, but they always wanted to know WHY. And truth is, I didnt even really know why that fear was there until recently. But it was still an excuse to tell someone who was incredibly persistent. I’ve even gone so far as to LIE about being pregnant because some guy on an airplane one time would not stop attempting to force me to drink.. fucked up right? Anyway. My relationship with my father was never good to begin with, however, when violence would occur in our household it was almost ALWAYS following drinking. I saw him become someone different. It made me wonder as a child, “why does drinking alcohol do this to my dad?” And so it birthed a negative association. My first boyfriend who drank alcohol around me became almost a different person. Not necessarily “bad” just different. And it scared me. Who was the real person? Was it intoxicated? Was the statement, “the truth comes out when you drink” true? I began to hear the phrase in highschool, “I didnt mean it I was drunk” or “I dont know what happened I was drunk” you WHAT? You lost consciousness and don’t know what happened? You cheated because you drank too much? Yup. That was my first boyfriend ever. Not that I’m trying to put blame on him, for god sakes we were only 16, but let me tell you something, you don’t forget that. My first serious relationship, I noticed similarities. Who he was when he was drinking was not who he was when he was sober. In this scenario, he wasn’t abusive or a cheater. In fact; he seemed to love me MORE when he was drunk which to be quite honest, I think fucked my mentality up even more. What was true? What changes when you drink? Again, terrifying to me.
Now, I’m not sitting here saying that every single person changes when they drink..I’m just explaining my reasoning for not drinking and why it makes me uncomfortable. No matter what way I look at it- if you’re “having a few drinks with the guys” or literally out getting shitfaced, I can’t shake the images of my drunk father on the floor of the garage screaming at my mom. I cant shake the amount of times I’ve heard “I was drunk, I’m sorry” and the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach that I get as people around me start to become intoxicated. I will never be okay in social drinking situations. I cant act “normal” because inside, my anxiety is screaming. The more someone drinks, the worse it gets and has even brought me to tears in some situations. I’m afraid. Plain and simple. I’m afraid of who someone will become. I’m afraid of my past. I’m afraid of what could be said, or what could be done. And sometimes I dont even know what exactly I’m afraid of, which is the worst part. So please. The next time you think about asking someone “why!!!???” when they say they don’t drink, please reconsider. When someone says they are “sober” no one replies with “well why were you addicted to drinking or drugs?” We just don’t do that. We respect their decision. And I wish that could be said for the people who just simply choose not to drink as well.