It's strange, there's a huge obsession with drinking in our culture, and I couldn't see how intense it was until I stepped out of it.
When I was young, drinking was a right of passage, something you aspired to get to do when you were older. Dabbling in it in the younger years, gradually binging in college into early 20's when I was finally "of age". I remember on my 21st birthday, the goal was to drink 21 drinks, thank god I got sick before that came to fruition. But the point is, drinking had a
sense of allure about it even as a kid. My parents were never big drinkers around me, but in society, alcohol was around, it was saturated in our world so even as kids we admired those who were old enough to partake.
What's interesting, is that once you pass the threshold into "adulthood" and into the "land of the drinking" if you will, society tells us you're never supposed to leave. Once you cross over and partake, only people who have major issues or diseases leave, everyone else stays for life. Or so we're told. Why is this? Why do people feel forced to stay? When did alcohol become such a coveted piece of our adult life that the idea of not partaking was terrifying? We've idolized "drinkers" and put alcohol on such a pedestal for so long, that society still covets the idea that alcohol is the elixir to all. Think about it, people drink when they're celebrating, people drink when they're stressed, people drink when they're grieving, when they're heartbroken, lonely...the list goes on and on. The problem is, alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet. It's 2nd in line just behind heroin. Read that again, it's 2nd in line just behind heroin. Do you recall thinking about heroin as a child? Dreaming of the day you would be old enough to imbibe in such a drug? I can say with certainty, the answer is no. I can also understand if calling alcohol a drug makes people uncomfortable. Society doesn't want us to know or recognize alcohol as a drug, as long as we keep saying "drink responsibility" we can continue to cover our eyes to the fact that alcohol is also a Type 1 Carcinogen, which means it is known to cause cancer. With the world being so focused on health and living a non-toxic lifestyle, seeing alcohol for what it is would cause a massive stir, so instead we ignore and keep pretending things like cigarettes are worse for us and "at least I don't smoke". You get my point.
So here's the thing. I do think more and more people are wising up. There's a movement happening all around us, people are asking questions and getting curious. They're seeking to live their best lives and to reach new successes, new heights, new versions of themselves. Many have taken the "forbidden" leap to the land of the alcohol-free living and are shouting from the rooftops how amazing it is (myself included!). Just as someone decides they want to test out not eating gluten or dairy, people are deciding to see what all the hype is it about with taking a break from alcohol. LET'S ENCOURAGE THEM!
people's opinion of us drinking (or not) has nothing to do with us
I've noticed I get two types of reactions when I tell people I don't drink. I either get "oh wow, okay, you sure you won't have just one?" or the "awesome, good for you" reaction.
I've started to pay attention to the reactions and this is what I have come to realize. The people who react in a way that seems disappointed, are either 1) so completely brainwashed by alcohol (still) that they truly have no idea alcohol is toxic or 2) are grappling with their own insecurities about their drinking and me not drinking only emphasizes that they are (which I don't care, they can drink away if they want!). And the people who have started to get curious on their own, or are taking other amazing steps in their life to be a healthier, more vibrant version of themselves, are genuinely happy for me. They typically have a very enthusiastic reaction and then follow-up later with curiosity or more congrats on making such a positive change in my life. Both reactions are okay by the way, I have come to realize people's reaction to whether I'm drinking or not has literally nothing to do with me. Their reaction has everything to do with them, and that's theirs to sort out.
Now just because I'm used to the array of actions I get from telling people I don't drink, doesn't mean it came easy to learn how to tell people. Next blog I'll give some helpful hints on the best ways to tell people you're not drinking, especially in the beginning. Whether it be for the night, for a month, or forever, it gets easier and easier to tell people. After all, mark my words, the movement is happening.