…alcohol, that is. I’m still drinking, like, just generally: water, juice, diet soda, etc. In case you were worried.
This post is meant mainly as a public declaration of intent. I know my exact reasoning isn’t too important; most people would be satisfied with a simple “because I don’t want to drink” and leave it at that.
But because I love to navel-gaze, I’ll list out my reasoning in more detail here. It’s as much for myself as for anyone else. But perhaps you’ll find it interesting.
- I don’t like the affect alcohol has on me. Never have.1 It’s hard enough for me to be a good and interesting person when I’m not inebriated; why make it even harder for myself?
- I’ve recently started medication that is not recommended to be taken with alcohol. Admittedly, from what I’ve read online, it should be fine if I limit myself to just one or two drinks at a go. But my experience has been that it’s easier to resist social pressure to drink by refusing alcohol altogether rather than by saying that you want to limit yourself to X number of drinks.
- The social pressure to drink, and a lot of the culture surrounding alcohol consumption, has always made me uneasy. It was super alienating to me in college, and I was depressed to find out that things stayed pretty much the same (or intensified, actually) after graduation. I know a lot of people associate alcohol with happiness and good times; for whatever reason, it’s kind of the opposite for me.
- 2 I’ve often worried whether my distaste for alcohol comes in part out of a kind of self-serving judgmentalism — like that maybe I look down on drinking because doing so makes me feel somehow superior to people who drink, and that this is a terrible instinct, and that I really just need to chill the fuck out, get over myself, and enjoy a brewsky. And I dunno — maybe I should. But here’s another take: I’m a pretty unassertive person; my instinct in confrontations is always to back down. In particular, if I do try to assert myself against someone, I’ll always feel like I’m somehow being a jerk about it. So e.g. if someone is persistently trying to get me to drink and I refuse, I’ll end up feeling bad about it, and consequently bad about myself. But — wait, what the heck!? That’s crazy!! It’s my dang decision whether or not I want to drink. If the other person somehow feels slighted by that, that’s their own weird complex that they need to deal with. I.e., instead of seeing my refusal of alcohol as some kind of negative self-serving superiority thing, maybe I should interpret it as a positive self-assertion self-identity sorta thing.
- Although I’ve grown some taste for beer, and cocktails can sometimes be okay, I generally don’t like the taste of booze.
- Considering all the above — i.e., drinking isn’t really a thing I’m into — it seems kind of silly to go and spend a lot of money on it. Or any money, really.
Here’s the funny thing: in my mind, none of these reasons totally precludes drinking altogether. If I ruminate on a single one of these points, I could totally imagine an occasion where I might happily indulge in a quiet beer or cocktail or whatever. But when I look at the reasons lined up like this, I’m pretty comfortable about swearing off alcohol altogether. I really don’t think I’ll miss it much.
- Full disclosure: I’ve never gotten really trashed; the largest number of drinks I’ve in a single night is maaayyyyybe four? So I might be knocking something before really trying it. But honestly, I feel pretty OK about extrapolating from previous experience on this one. ↩
- WARNING: This point is kind of psychoanalytical and self-analysis-y. So, um, get ready for that? ↩