Why I don’t drink

It somehow happened that I effectively became a teetotaller. Except for an occasional sip of wine (usually proffered by someone else), I consume no alcohol. I have no religious reason for such abstinence – Jesus famously turned water into wine, after all. My choice is a (possibly exaggerated) reaction to the countless people who consider getting wasted a sensible way to pass the time.

Reasons I don’t drink

  1. my liver loves me for it (yes, yes, I know a small amount of alcohol is good for you, but see the next point).
  2. I am staging a protest – the one who doesn’t drink gets noticed, possibly ridiculed, or complimented, or perhaps just curiously probed as to his motives. All this is good and makes it known that I support a more sensible way of life.
  3. Drunk people are not funny or interesting. They’re pathetic and disgusting.
  4. Being drunk makes you a danger to yourself and others. (Surely I do not need to elaborate)
  5. Drunk people do stupid things like dance on tables and hooking up with strangers.
  6. I have a bad enough memory as it is; I don’t need to wake up with a hangover wondering what I did the night before.
  7. I can feel honourable, misunderstood and superior, and relish every moment of it.
  8. Drinking in excess is vulgar, uncultured, and childish.
  9. Alcohol is expensive. Copious amounts of alcohol are more expensive.

These reasons are all well and good, but the number one reason that I do not drink is this:

10.   I am absolutely terrified of not being in complete control of my every action.

I do not understand why people seek the release of drugs and alcohol. I do not see why they want to give control of their life, even if temporarily, to the intoxicating influence of these substances. From an economic perspective I cannot judge them, of course – let them do what brings them the most satisfaction.

I have been under the influence of valium (or something similar) once or twice in my life when I had to undergo operations. I hated every second of it. I was aware of my mind numbing, of my will to control myself subsiding, burying itself somewhere, going to sleep and refusing to wake up. It was an artificial calm that came upon me – a calm caused by the inability of my fearful, jittery self to communicate with the rest of me. It was horrible.

I admit that there is nothing inherently immoral about being drunk or stoned (Go lock yourself in a padded room where you can’t do anyone any harm when you want a smoke). But to me it seems that seeking this release from your life, from your responsibilities, is just setting aside, temporarily, things you need to deal with in any case. Go watch a movie – that seems a far more sensible means of temporary distraction.

To always be present, to always be responsible for everything you do, this seems to me a far nobler way to live. I cannot hope to convince anyone else of this – but neither can anyone else convince me otherwise.

Arguments I have heard:

  1.  Aren’t you curious? Yes, I am very curious. I’m also curious as to how dying feels. Not going to try that any time soon.
  2. I only drink until I’m tipsy, just to be more sociable. If you need alcohol to loosen your tongue – perhaps you should go see a psychologist rather than say stupid things to other drunk people.
  3. It’s fun, for everyone. Good for you. Go have “fun”.

For more or less the same reasons as mentioned above, I will not do drugs and I will not allow myself to be hypnotised. I seriously do not understand why hypnotists get any volunteers. What on Earth are they thinking? (The only experience they get out of it is people telling them after the fact how stupid they looked. Who wants that?) As for all those people who sensibly use alcohol, that is to say, in moderation, I have no quarrel with you.

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  1. #1 by Thomas on 04/01/2013 - 9:39 pm

    Pretty interesting! Miriam had been wondering whether you principally didn’t drink alcohol or whether you just didn’t like it. I mostly don’t drink because I don’t like beer and don’t like most wine much either, and people always think it’s cause I’m religious. Expose me to tasty whiskey however… 😛

    Fun and games aside, I don’t think I’ve ever been drunk. I remember being slightly tipsy two or three times, but that was because the drink was nice, not because I wanted to become tipsy. I did kind of enjoy it – I noticed myself acting slightly differently, mainly in that I just talked more. But it’s not something I would want to take any further than I already have, because while a slight lessening in self control that you get from a bit of alcohol is kind of like the euphoria of winning a race or of staying up all night doing something fun, I can kind of see what the extended edition would be like, and I think it would be scary.

    As for your arguments, I am most persuaded by 1, 4, and 9. But in truth my main reason for not drinking much is that I simply don’t like most of the alcohol on offer. If there was alcohol that tasted like an Innocent smoothie, a milkshake, mango juice, or hot chocolate I would go for it. (And indeed, the times I came across such drinks were the times I got tipsy ^_^).

    • #2 by johandp on 05/01/2013 - 6:14 pm

      Yeah, those cooldrinkey drinks are dangerous. Thankfully, cocktails are really expensive or I suspect a lot of people would get drunk just on them.

  2. #3 by Enid on 05/01/2013 - 10:06 am

    Baie snaaks, veral nommer 3! Bitter goeie artikel, ek stem 100% saam!

  3. #4 by S. Gielen on 14/02/2013 - 2:41 am

    So have you ever considered drinking in moderation? You’re talking about drinking as if it’s binary: you either don’t drink a drop, or you’re completely drunk. A parallel point could be “I don’t eat, ever, because before you know it you’re as fat as the average American”. Which is obviously not true — look at the average European or Asian. 🙂

    • #5 by S. Gielen on 14/02/2013 - 2:51 am

      Off-topic: I made myself curious there and found out the difference in average weight between America and Europe isn’t all that large: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_weight#Average_weight_around_the_world — just felt I should drop that here now that I haven’t been mocked for it yet. 😉

    • #6 by johandp on 14/02/2013 - 9:53 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment – feedback is always appreciated :). I in fact have no problem with drinking in moderation, in principle. However, not drinking at all (or in my case only drinking inconsequentially small amounts) is of course safer. I don’t really wish to find out where my “limit” is in terms of alcohol consumption, either accidentally or on purpose. Also, I am trying to make a point that one does not need alcohol to have a good time. As for your analogy, it is flawed in that we need food to live, but not alcohol.

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