Updated: Feb 19, 2020
I don't drink alcohol. Not because I am an alcoholic, but because I know too many who are. I stopped drinking alcohol the day it almost ruined my relationship with my husband. The day he gave up alcohol was the I day I did, too. And it's been the best decision we've made. Since we have quit, it has opened my eyes to the heavy drinking culture that exists, especially amongst women. Now that you know why I stopped drinking, here are just a few reasons why I continue to make that choice.
I don't drink because of each client who has sat in my chair and shared their struggle with alcohol; how it ruined their life, their relationships, their health. I work with predominantly women, and most of my clients are women, too. When I share with them that I don't drink, I open the door for them to share their experiences with me. We talk about the pressure put on us to drink, and how we can change the dialogue. I walk away from each of these conversations with tears in my eyes, grateful for these women who trust me enough to share their stories.
I don't drink because I watched my own family fall apart because of alcohol. I watched family, friends, and neighbors would drink every summer night on our front porch. How a beer or glass of wine with dinner turned into two or three or more. How bottles piled up in our recycling bin. I watched as social drinking turned into name calling, throwing things, and screaming matches. I watched as marriage ended in divorce. And I watched as family became an addicted.
I don't drink because I don't like the feeling of being sick because of it. I know I am not the only one who has been sick from alcohol, felt the hangover, wretched over the toilet praying that it would soon end. The day I ended up in the hospital for alcohol poisoning wasn't even enough to stop me. I didn't NEED to drink, but I felt like I HAD to because all of my friends did. I didn't want to be left out.
I don't drink because it saddens me that we, as mothers, are told we need our "mommy juice" to deal with our children. Being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's also the most rewarding. To think that I might miss something wonderful through a cloud of alcoholic haze is enough to keep me sober.
I don't drink because I don't believe that it's necessary to have a good time, as marketers will have us believe. I can't even count how many times I've mentioned that I don't drink and heard, "Don't you like to have fun?" Or been left out from invitations because I'm perceived as a "party pooper" or "too conservative." I used to grab just one or two drinks when I went out just because I liked the taste, but now, I don't even want to. And I hate that because I don't, I am judged.
Drinking has become so steeped in our culture that we've turned a blind eye to the problems it can cause. If you are one who can enjoy a drink, responsibly, on occasion, then I support your decision. All I ask is that, for those of us who choose not to drink, we are offered the same support and respect in return. I love the evolution of Mocktail Bars, and non-alcoholic mixers. If you see me out and about with a beverage in my hand, you can bet it's one of those.
I recently found this blog post, from a woman who is way more eloquent than myself. Worth the read for sure.