Let’s start this tale by saying, I’m not a complete teetotal. I’ll raise a glass of champagne for a toast with the best of them. But I’d say 99 per cent of the time, I don’t drink alcohol. I used to drink. A lot. I drank from being aged 15 – me and my friends sneaking fizzy wine or cider out on to the park, spinning around to make ourselves feel even more drunk. I practically kept Orange VK in business throughout uni. I even drank until I passed out and couldn’t remember how I’d got home, or why I had a huge rip in my dress and only one shoe.
I’d much rather order a lemonade or cranberry juice, than sip on a vodka or wine.
It’s simple. I don’t enjoy the taste. I don’t enjoy the feeling of losing control. I don’t handle hangovers very well and I have too much on to waste the next day to a bad headache and feeling sick. And I’m pretty confident in the fact that I can go out and have a good time without drinking.
Other people, however, can’t sometimes seem to grasp that.
I don’t ever ask why someone does drink, but I can’t tell you how many times a puzzled face has stared back at me questioning why when I ask for a soft drink and not an alcoholic tipple. People act as if I’m a leper. Or pregnant. I’m neither.
People are curious as to why I don’t drink and that’s absolutely fine, I get it. But the reaction I’ve had from certain individuals whilst sat around a dinner table like the huge abnormality in the room irks me to say the least. There’s being curious, and there’s being unaccepting. The latter isn’t cool.
I would never question why someone smokes. To be honest, I wouldn’t even question why someone takes drugs because it’s not my life, it’s there’s to do as they please. But there seems to be a stigma attached to not drinking, signalling you’re a complete bore because you’re not partial to a glass or seven of Sauvignon. And that’s far from the truth. I feel like I’m still fun to be around, I’ll still join in all the fun and games – hell, I’m even partial to a little beer pong, just swapping the cider for coke.
And the thing that makes me laugh is, it’s all a facade. I’ve been out with friends before, all of whom drink, and I’ve ordered lemonade the whole night. Except, whenever anyone asked, I’d say it’s a vodka lemonade. No questions. No judgement. Just me and my fizzy lemons, happy as larry. It was easier than going through a night of…”Just have one”, “Don’t be boring” or “I don’t want to be drunk and you not”.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love going out, I love dancing, mocktail in hand, but I also love waking up the next day, opening my laptop, writing a blog post, snapping some photographs, running errands and generally sorting my shit out. I know my body well and I know if I’d have had so much as two glasses of wine, I’d be feeling sick and wanting to waste the day on the sofa, eating bad food, regretting the night before.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while and I figured it might ring true with one or two of you reading this. I don’t care who drinks, who doesn’t drink, who drinks naked whilst eating pickles. I just don’t care. And neither should anyone else. Don’t be made to feel like the odd one out, or feel uncomfortable because of a lifestyle choice you’ve made. Now I’m off to fix myself a pineapple juice on the rocks if you don’t mind.