I recently wrote up a little story for a friend’s upcoming project about how a lot of alcohol isn’t vegan (yup). If you want to know more about that, then stay tuned! I’ll link to it once it’s live.
In the meantime, though, I got to thinking about my relationship with alcohol and thought I might explain why I don’t drink. I actually get asked about this a lot, so I thought I’d explain why I hit the hot cocoa over the vino after a long day.
I just wanted to make a disclaimer that I don’t judge others for drinking, nor do I mind if others drink around me. Booch is as hard as I go for a rage, but if you want a nice glass of wine or a drink when you’re out, I support you doing whatever makes you happy!
I simply thought I’d share why I don’t drink, since sometimes not drinking when you’re in your 20s can feel sort of isolating, since drinking is the norm these days, in hopes that others who don’t drink (or don’t drink often) realize they’re not alone. And also to sort of explain to those who may not understand my choice why I make it.
There are several reasons why I don’t drink, so I’m just going to list them here for your enjoyment.
1. I honestly do not enjoy being intoxicated, nor think being drunk is fun.
Winery tour in France, summer 2012. Please notice how awkward I look holding wine lol.
Being intoxicated just isn’t a good time to me. I know that’s hard for a lot of people to understand, since so many find it relaxing and enjoyable. But personally, it makes my anxiety go wild.
I’m not shy about the fact that I have mood disorders. And alcohol brings out the worst in them. I’m not a fun, happy drunk.
Alcohol causes me to lose my inhibition pretty quickly (helloooo lightweight). As I lose control of my body/actions/words, I feel anxious about being out of control of my own body and emotions. This usually leads to an anxiety spiral and a flush of panic, which doesn’t exactly make me the life of any party.
Also, alcohol is a depressant, and it definitely impacts me as such. If I feel depressed or sad about something, alcohol amplifies that feeling x100. I will sit and ruminate about it and even when I’m no longer buzzed, I’ll still feel more down than normal.
My mental health is something I work really hard to manage as best I can, and sometimes still struggle with despite my greatest efforts. Alcohol is a quick way to offset any progress I have made, and, for this reason alone, I find it totally unappealing.
2. I don’t like the taste of most alcohol.
more my style
I’ve never been the type of person to seek out consuming things my tastebuds don’t enjoy. And almost all forms of alcohol falls into that category.
Even though I’m from Wisconsin, I never been able to get into beer. I’ve tried sips of so many kinds – from IPAs to Ales to Stouts – from both large manufacturers and craft breweries. None of them do anything for my taste buds. In fact, I find them rather icky, and even small amounts of beer upset my intestines and to acid reflux and diarrhea.
Hard alcohol tastes like bug spray to me, no matter how much mixer is used to hide it, so I’d genuinely prefer a virgin cocktail over a “regular” one from a tastebud perspective alone.
And then, there’s wine. Now some wines I can actually get into taste-wise.
After studying abroad in France with NYU and going on winery tours, I can appreciate the flavors of some pinots (just call me Ramona), and some roses. I especially enjoy what I call “juice wine” – the super sweet roses that literally taste like sugar.
However, wine, even in teeny tiny amounts, gives me massive headaches. Combine that with the fact that I don’t like the feeling of being intoxicated, and wine is simply no longer appealing to me. When I want something semi-dry, tart, and sweet, I simply reach for a Kombucha instead. 🙂
3. I’m cheap. And I’d rather spend my money on other things.
Honestly, this isn’t really a reason I don’t drink. But it is a big bonus of not drinking. I see from friends and family how much beers and wines and drinks out and about add up! With my limited infinite student budget, I’d rather splurge on things that do give me joy – like a nice iced soy latte, or 4 scoops of vegan ice cream from Van Leeuwen.
4. I have a sleep disorder, and have been told to avoid alcohol by doctors.
free birthday champagne at my bday dinner at Odd Duck in 2016. had a sipped and gave the rest to the fam
I have sleep paralysis. If you don’t know what that is, basically it’s a sleep disorder where you wake up and feel paralyzed but your brain is awake. When it happens, you can’t breathe, move your limbs, or speak. Basically, it’s terrifying. I usually snap out of it in a minute or two, and from what doctors say, it’s apparently never been known to actually harm someone seriously, but holy cow it is scary! (And was especially terrifying before I had a diagnosis/knew how to manage it).
The best way to keep my sleep paralysis in check, per doctor’s orders, is consistent sleep schedules, and no alcohol.
5. I associated alcohol with a dark period of my life.
The only time I really experimented with alcohol was when I was going through some pretty gnarly life events. And/or before I was firm and comfortable in my choice not to drink, I’d sip like, a fourth or a half a drink to try to seem to try to seem ‘cool’ to a guy or new friends in college (I am literally rolling my eyes so hard at this version of myself right now I CAN’T EVEN lol).
I never got into the stuff for all the reasons above, but still, even the smell of it just brings me back to time periods I’d rather not relive.
6. A lot of alcohol isn’t vegan
Stay tuned for more on that later ;-0.
So there you have it: 6 reasons why I don’t drink. Yes, it can be socially strange and occasionally isolating to not drink, and yes, a lot of times people don’t understand my choice. But I’m fine with that. Proud sober sister over hur.
By best advice for people who don’t drink is to just be firm and confident in defending your choice and not worry about what other people think. Really, anyone who genuinely loves you won’t care. You don’t have to compromise yourself for anybody, and if you do, they’re probably not worth having in your life.
I’m here to assure you there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t drink alcohol. Just like some people don’t drink coffee, some people don’t drink alcohol. It’s all good in the hood no matter what you fill your cup with (#teamhotcocoaandboochoverhere).
That’s all for today! Hope you enjoyed. If you have any other questions for me, and/or nutrition or environmental health questions for future posts, drop them below, hit me up on Twitter, or on Instagram.
Have a good one! I’m off to play with my new Ninja blender :-). Get AMPED for some great recipes.