I have never been a drinker. My dad drank a fair bit when I was younger. As far as I know he was never an alcoholic, but he certainly didn’t set a good example either. When I got to high school and heard the stories of my classmates’ drinking misadventures (without even witnessing most of the behaviour first hand), it pretty much sealed the deal on me never wanting to do that.
It took me until my early 20s to figure out that just because someone drinks doesn’t mean they are going to cause trouble or be a jerk. I have many friends who drink, and also smoke weed (which I also don’t do). I basically decided that I would find ways to have fun while sober because I wanted to remain sober at all times. I really didn’t want to get drunk. And I never have been.
This past new years eve while in the company of trusted friends, I decided to test the waters very delicately, so I had one glass of a mixed drink, and that single glass affected me enough that I stopped. The feeling of losing my focus and concentration and being a little bit spaced out was very unsettling to me. I probably get the most anxious in my life when I feel like I have no control, and the only thing that helps is knowing I have my wits about me and can problem solve or plan or think on my feet as much as possible to get through. So when I drank, and I lost those wits, that was for me pretty much the ultimate loss of control.
It scares me to think that some people can’t function without alcohol. It saddens me that many people feel they can’t “have fun” without booze. I wish them all the best in that one day they will be more in control of themselves and their lives and their happiness. I don’t mean this post to be preachy or holier than thou, but I do largely see alcohol as a social and psychological crutch that I’m extremely thankful I’ve never had to resort to.
But western culture certainly isn’t shy about drinking. St. Patrick’s Day just came and went, one of my least favourite “holidays” precisely because of the danger it creates. And I have been chastised, pressured and ridiculed plenty of times before (mostly as a teenager), for my hardline personal stance on alcohol. I’ve lightened up, but I still think the world would be better off without it.
I’ve told people before that I’ve never been drunk and have gotten responses like “what is WRONG with you?!” or “that’s it we’re going to get you drunk RIGHT NOW”, or possibly just the mildly insulting “really? seriously? you’re kidding right?”. If you don’t understand why these responses are all wrong, then this next thing I’m about to share will hopefully give you some perspective.
This brings me to microaggressions.
Microaggression is a theory that hypothesizes that specific interactions between those of different races, cultures, or genders can be interpreted as small acts of mostly non-physicalaggression. Microaggressions can be described as, “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people.”
I’ve seen a few posts about “microaggressions”, they typically correspond to race or sexuality, but I have now found one that speaks directly to abstinence from drinking as a lifestyle choice, and this is my anthem folks.
So, if you want to be less of a jerk to any friends you have who don’t want or like to drink, you may want to read the list and stop saying any of those things you have said in the past.
Thanks for being considerate, and respecting that not everyone has “fun” the same way you do. And as always, remember the golden rule.
This post originally appeared at Curiosity Crossroads.