Several years ago I stopped drinking alcohol. Yet it always comes up in social settings. Someone offers me an an alcoholic beverage. I tell them “I don’t drink alcohol”. They then ask “why not?”
I’ve been asked the question hundreds of times. I’ve tried giving different answers over the years. It doesn’t really matter what answer I give. It usually leads to a boring conversation. Probably because it’s a boring topic for me.
To clarify, I don’t care if other people drink alcohol. I don’t go around telling them not to. Giving up alcohol was a personal choice I made. Yet it’s still awkward when someone orders me a drink, tries to hand it to me only to find out that I don’t drink.
I also don’t enjoy explaining my personal choices to people I just met. I don’t mind if a friend or a relative asks me. Because they probably care about the answer. Yet I’m often asked by people who just met me and are surprised to hear I don’t drink. The answer I give will depend on the mood I’m in…
“I just don’t” after which I’ll change the topic of conversation
“For health reasons”. I don’t use this one often because people will tell me about the “health benefits of wine” that they read about in a news article. Or people will dig into it further and ask more questions.
“Why do you drink?”. I’ll only use this response if the person is annoying or I’m in a mood for arguing. By the way, most people who do drink can’t really give a good answer. Most answers can be summed up as “it’s what everyone else does”. In other words they drink because it’s a socially common behavior and they’ve never really questioned it. Some people will say “it’s fun” or “it helps me let loose”. To me this is a more thoughtful answer.
Now that I’m done with my rant, I can actually answer the question. Here is why I don’t drink…
I hate the late night cravings for junk food after a night of drinking.
This is a common issue for people who drink and try to eat healthy. They usually stick to their healthy eating during the week. Then they go out on a Friday or Saturday night and get drunk. The alcohol weakens their willpower. So at the end of the night they end up eating something that they regret the next morning. They do this for several weeks in a row and then wonder why their body isn’t getting leaner.
I hate the hangovers and lack of productivity the next day.
In my early 20’s they were mild. Around my mid 20’s they started getting a lot worse. After a night of drinking I physically felt like shit. And mentally I’d have brain fog. I often got nothing productive done the next day.
I hated drinking in moderation.
Before giving up alcohol I tried to drink in moderation. I tried sticking to one drink a night, maybe two. I hated doing this. It wasn’t fun. And in many ways it was harder than giving up alcohol all together. The first drink would often weaken my willpower making it harder to say no to a second drink etc.
There are no health benefits of drinking alcohol.
Alcohol is empty calories. It has no positive effects on your body. Drinking alcohol is a common reason why people plateau or can’t lose weight. It’s also a common reason why they can’t lose the last 5 or 10 pounds.
You might come across news articles about the health benefits of drinking wine. Yet all those benefits can be achieved by taking equivalent nutritional supplements. The supplements pack the beneficial nutrients without any of the empty calories.
The social benefits of drinking alcohol (i.e. the pros) don’t outweigh the cons.
Alcohol is often referred to as a social lubricant. It lowers people’s inhibitions. It helps them open up and be more social. For many people it’s a social crutch. They need a drink or two to let loose and have a good time.
To me this is problematic. I’ve met many people who’re fun and interesting at night when they’re drinking. Yet I’d run into them during the day when they were sober and they were very boring.
For me, a big benefit of giving up alcohol has been improving my social skills. It forced me to find ways to have fun, make jokes and tell interesting stories without needing a drink first. It forced me to make a conscious choice to lower my inhibitions in general.
Will you ever go back to drinking alcohol?
I get asked this question a lot. I don’t plan to in the near future. However I might start drinking again when I’m older.
Do you think that people who drink alcohol are losers?
No. Many of my friends drink alcohol. And who am I to judge? I think drinking alcohol is fine as long as it’s a conscious choice you’ve made. In other words you’re not just doing it because it’s what everyone else does. I also think that for some people the social benefits outweigh the negatives.
Can you still have fun in a bar or night club?
Yes. I still have fun at bars and night clubs. When you think about it, alcohol is just a social lubricant. It’s not really why people go to bars or night clubs. The conversations, the music and the dancing are the fun features of those settings. And I can do all of those sober.