Today, I have a thirst for honesty: Why is not drinking alcohol such a big deal?
It’s funny how people want me to justify, to explain not drinking (mostly when I’m in Stockholm). The simple act of swapping wine for a soft drink provokes strong reactions in people – derision, suspicion, defensiveness, and pity.
But even though I personally don’t like it, I appreciate that many people do. I’m happy to be around people drinking, which is a luck, since most social occasions revolve around it. I watch them getting drunk with interest. It’s like a weird version of the seven dwarves: chatty, slurry, giggly, shouty, dizzy, sleepy… then poorly.
There is a strong drinking culture here in Sweden, after all. The pressure to drink, as an undergraduate is enormous here in Stockholm. I must say, I felt it more here than in my home town in Paris.
It can isolate you socially. When I tell them, I don´t drink, they assume I am boring or some sort of extreme religious (out in a bar showing some legs… mmm… not so religious, right?) Anyway, you might attend parties at a bar or Friday drinks but you become redundant fairly quickly because you’re not drinking and everyone else is.
And I’m totally cool with that, but so should the frustrated person who looks at me like I’ve just threatened to drown a sack of kittens when I say, “I won’t be drinking alcohol.”
I might get looks of pity and a confused shrug. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that my life would be so much easier if it included the buffer of alcohol. And as a Stylist, Parisian, Fashionista, Frenchy, you name it. Shouldn’t I be a quasi-drunk tragic in order to tap into my true inner Hip girl style or whatever?
People often take it personally when you say you don’t drink. Never understood why…
Another serious matter that caught my attention around the alcohol phenomena:
In Sweden, the issue of bullying is a serious matter. We talk about bullying at school, at work. But actually, bullying is also occurring towards people who don´t drink. No matter what their reasons are… people won´t let them be and respect their choices for being sober to the point that they pressure them, harass them, never let go of them until the sober ones will surrender and start to drink.
Thankfully, I’ve never had to deal with that level of social torment. Maybe because, I´m a tiger, and you better be watching out if you try to harass a tiger!
I´ve been asked on and on but it seems hard to get it. That it is as simply as being a vegetarian. It´s a personal choice of a lifestyle.
If someone, around the table would say “ sorry, I don´t eat meat” would people still try to force him/her to eat a piece of an entrecôte?! It would be rude, right ? Well, I don´t see any difference by thinking it is ok to do it when it´s come to alcohol.
Friends who have cut alcohol for a particular reason (detox, sickness, fitness…) have all told me it’s an enlightening experience. Why not let them be and respect their new path?
I could understand how alcohol might have its “benefits”. Sugar and caffeine might be comforting, but they do nothing to lessen the ache of a broken heart, or numb the pain of your endless stream of thoughts when life is bringing you down.
I went through all my pains that life put me through without injecting some alcohol in my blood in order to ease my hurtful moments. And I am very thankful for that. Truly, you are more than ever alive by feeling all these tough emotions during these rough times. And you also feel stronger by having gone through them without using some “consolations drinks”.
Alcohol is an escape; a temporary fix in these situations. And you will always have to face your path while sober again. The only thing you actually do to yourself is making the healing process taking more time for you to get to see some lights again and you only feed your body with even more intoxications. That´s all you do.
Alcohol has never solved any heartbreaks nor sleeping with a bunch of guys or girls but that´s another topic.
Cocktails don’t always need alcohol to impress
A sober girl is sexy and cool! So own it girls and be proud of being a non-alcohol drinker. There are plenty of yummy alcohol free cocktails out there. And mostly stand for your values and principles!
The glass you are holding in your hand while you are out does not define you; you are as fun and cool with a virgin mojito as much as with a cosmopolitan.