I don't drink alcohol. In fact, I have never been drunk. And for some reason, most people find this bizarre.
I have many reasons as to why I do not drink, which I am often asked to enumerate. One is that I cannot even stand the smell of it. The second is that I prefer to eat rather than drink my calories. Third, there have been alcohol related deaths in my family, more than one of which was caused by someone else drunk driving. And fourth, I give a lot of credence to what the Bible says, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1 NIV).
All of that being said, I understand that I am in a significant minority in society and I more or less keep my mouth shut about it. I have some friends who rarely drink, but I know of only one person who literally never drinks, and that is one of my sisters. We are the wild and crazy teetotalers at every party.
My husband has the occasional beer, and while I dislike the smell and question the benefit of this to his health, he does so within reason and in safety. He never drives while impaired, and he never drinks to the point where he behaves like a fool, and I appreciate that. Similarly, he never gives me a hard time that I do not join him.
So, it has been interesting to me that any time I infiltrate a new social setting, be it even something as benign as a new set of coworkers, it inevitably comes up when people bring up alcohol. I never speak up unless asked, but as a matter of small talk, it usually comes to me to give my opinion about what I like.
When I remark that I do not drink alcohol there is surprise and sometimes shock. On several occasions, it has been followed up with, “Why? What is wrong with you? Are you in a religious cult?”
I find it quite amusing that it is more okay and normal for them to make this assumption than it is for me to be committed to sobriety!
Often there are follow up questions like, “Well, you at least drink socially, right?” No, I do not drink. Not when I'm alone, not on special occasions, not when I am miserable or when the world gets to be too much for me. I have other vices, for sure, but they are all milk chocolatey in description!
I did not even serve alcohol at my wedding – to which I overheard quite a bit of gossip. It is my wedding, my money, and my day. Why on earth would I serve alcohol if I don't want it? People thought I was insane.
And yet if I expressed even a whiff of distaste about the consumption of alcohol, there would be comments. I'd be intolerant, uptight and unreasonable.
There is a very interesting prejudice against people who choose not to drink alcohol!