Updated: May 19
I hear stories all the time from people who tell me that they are constantly questioned "why aren't you drinking?".
Here's the deal.
It's none of your business.
Do you hear me? None.Of.Your.Business.
Nobody should have to explain why they aren't drinking. They are not trying to be anti-social, nor are they trying to exclude themselves from activities, nor are they judging YOUR drinking or trying to ruin your fun.
Are they pregnant? Maybe. (None of your business) Are you an alcoholic? Maybe. (None of your business) What's wrong with you? Nothing (None of your business) Don't you want to have fun? Sure (but I don't NEED alcohol to have fun!)
A person's decision to not drink alcohol has nothing to do with you and your choices! Nothing. This is not about you. In fact, what I have found from my very own personal experience is that the people who challenge me the most about not having alcohol in my life are doing so because they are questioning their own drinking. Every time!
They question me and ask how I can possibly have fun, be a parent and get through life without a drink...and then within minutes or maybe a few days or weeks, I'll get a call or text or email saying "can we talk? I think I might have a problem?".
The truth is, I have more fun without alcohol! The truth is, I don't miss hangovers or the guilt/shame of the night before. The truth is, I don't mind being the designated driver. The truth is, I love waking up and actually being able to recount every detail of my life! The truth is, I love myself and my life without alcohol more than I ever did with it!
The truth is alcohol is a sneaky little bitch of a drug...for some of us. Maybe not for you, but for millions of people, alcohol will destroy them, their lives, their families. So, if you are one of the normie's who can drink responsibly, drink like a lady or a gentleman or drink and not worry that you'll embarass youself (or die)...good for you! Go on wit cha bad self!
But that is not my truth...
The truth is, I'm super open about my sobriety, but others aren't quite ready to be (nor do they ever need to be) AND when you question them, it's hurtful and insensitive. Badgering someone who might think they have a problem with alcohol or someone who already knows it, is treading dangerously into muddy waters...quite frankly, very deadly waters.
I've seen the badgering take people running right back to alcohol because the shame that you've just put on them is real. The fear of missing out on what you call fun, brings on a level of anxiety that will easily land a drink right back into the hands of someone newly sober and/or considering sobriety. Hell, I've literally seen wonderfully, beautiful friends with decades of sobriety turn around and lose it all.
My decision to be sober has nothing to do with you and your decision to drink.
Here's a few facts about alcohol.
1. Alcohol is a depressant.
2. Women who are dependent on alcohol are 50 to 100 percent more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than men who are dependent on alcohol.
3. Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to develop alcohol dependence later on in life.
4. Alcohol use is a significant risk factor for dementia.
5. Alcohol is the most highly abused drug in the United States. According a 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health, 7.2 percent of American adults have an alcohol use disorder. This is more than 27 million individuals. If you are struggling, you are certainly not alone.
6. Ten percent of drinkers consume over 50 percent of the alcohol.
7. Alcoholism is progressive. People don’t have one drink and suddenly become alcoholics. Dependence develops over time, leading to more severe health problems and loss of control.
8. Alcoholism has a genetic component. If you have an alcoholic parent or grandparent, you are four times more at risk of developing alcoholism than individuals without this family history. However, many with alcoholic parents do not become alcoholics, either because they choose to abstain or they do not have triggering environmental factors. The numbers are about 50-50.