Over Christmas and New Year, a huge amount of alcohol is consumed, as everybody gets in the festive spirit. As somebody that isn’t sipping prosecco at festive parties, I really do stand out like a sore thumb. I tend to order mocktails when I’m out; usually a cucumber, mint and elderflower cooler goes down pretty nicely. Firstly, because they’re super fucking tasty, and secondly, people presume it’s a cocktail and don’t bombard me with questions.
Naturally, people twig I’m not drinking, whether it’s when I’m ordering at the bar or they ask what I’m drinking. Surprisingly, it’s a really hot topic, especially for people that I’ve only just met who want to ask personal questions.
Here are a few phrases I hear a lot since giving up drinking, some welcome, some not.
1. “Why don’t you drink?”
No, I’m not pregnant. No, I’m not driving. No, I’m not ill. No, I’m not hungover. No, I’m not religious.
I believe you shouldn’t ask someone why they don’t drink – it’s none of your business and I don’t owe you anything. Turns out, I’m the only person in the world that feels this way. People want to know why you don’t drink and some will pressure you. I’ve learned that those that mind, don’t matter and those that matter, don’t mind.
Casey Tommy actually sum this up beautifully on Thought Catalog:
“You’ll have some people tell you how unbelievable proud they are of you, and you’ll have some people tell you they don’t think you can give up alcohol. You’ll even come across those fine human beings that might try and test your tenacity by attempting to trick you into drinking. What other people say or think doesn’t really matter, but ultimately, whether you want to tee total your little heart out or lush yourself into oblivion, it’s your choice.”
2. “You don’t want a shot, do you?”
Everybody double-checks I’m not going to suddenly change my mind and get involved with shots. You’ll be surprised to hear, this doesn’t actually irritate me at all. Perhaps because I used to hate the taste of shots, and now I’m quietly relieved when I chime in with “I don’t drink alcohol!”.