Alcohol is the legal high. I assume we just believe it can’t be that bad or it would be against the law to drink it. No matter how much we are told how many units are okay though I just don’t think we seem to listen. Everyone it feels is doing it and they mostly seem okay. In fact drinking more seems something that we can boast about. So how easy is it to not drink alcohol?
Your Social Circle and Beliefs About Alcohol
I guess if none of the above resonates with you then none of this applies. Firstly I guess it is your social circle, and what drinking beliefs you are brought up with it. I was brought up with the teach them to drink sensibly attitude (knowing when to stop, to make sure we ate and drank plenty of water, ideally in between; not to mix and so on) but honestly I now think the not drinking at all is the best way forward.
Alcohol and My Children
I’m pleased to say that my oldest two boys (ages 22 and 16) are just not interested. This is despite my upbringing with alcohol that meant the oldest had my relatives dunk his dummy in whiskey and that they have always been offered a small drink (when old enough) at Christmas – but they have always refused. The oldest has tried alcohol (when he was over 18) and doesn’t like it and the younger of the two doesn’t want to try it in case he likes it. The thing is he believes that he’d be stupid to drink alcohol as it doesn’t do anything good for you (not really) but has plenty of negatives that go with it. In fact their attitudes have made me question and change my own beliefs and now I would never push alcohol on my own children (on go on it’s Christmas/oh I bought you some flavoured cider to celebrate letting in the New Year). The teen really didn’t believe that I was capable of going without drinking alcohol so I thought I’d try for a year to prove him wrong. But was it as easy as I thought it would be?
How Hard is Not Drinking Alcohol?
What I actually discovered about not drinking alcohol is that it is really hard – socially. Physically I’m fine – take it or leave it. I only really drank on a Friday night and special occasions I thought so it wouldn’t be a problem. Funny I never thought about how many times a year I could consider something as a “special occasion” and it isn’t just for the good times that I drink.
My Alcohol Free Journey So Far
So far I’m coming up to 10 month alcohol free – minus drinking too much after my Aunt’s funeral (it felt rude not to be drinking to celebrate her life) and one tiny bottle of flavoured cider for my birthday (which was meant to be given me the Christmas before and was going to go out of date).
The “Special” Occasions where Alcohol is on Offer
Have you any idea just how many occasions are “special” enough for alcohol to be on offer? So far alone, off the top of my head even, there’s been when we have been bowling, to the cinema, leaving dos, spas, birthdays, leaving dos, reunions, BBQs, because you’re on holiday, there’s a sunset, after a run (we even got cans of wine in our goody bags!) and even school events!! Not to mention times when you’d expect it – hens, weddings and pub openings/anniversaries.
Drinking Alcohol for the Bad Times
But apart from all the “special occasions” there’s also the shitty days – from a diagnosis of Cancer to just it’s been a plain old long day! Alcohol is seen as either some sort of medicine or a consolation for all that you have been through – like you deserve it.
Alcohol is Pushed on Us
Not only is alcohol seen as an acceptable drink for everything I had never really stopped to see how much alcohol is pushed on us. Supermarkets have a whole aisle (if not more) for it (Waitrose even have a Wine Bar!). Keep your eyes open for it being at the front of the supermarket and how many reasons they can put it on offer (Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve are big excuses coming up). Or just because it’s the weekend. Not to mention the people who ask you what you will do for fun now or try to buy you drinks anyway.
How I feel not Drinking Alcohol
Strangely I don’t feel better for not drinking alcohol – not at all. But I know I must be better for it – physically and mentally. Before I would get drunk and pretend people liked me – now I just don’t pretend any more. We don’t seem to have more money for it either (actually when I’ve been out with my friends and drunk fizzy drinks it is more expensive; especially with the sugar tax) – but I hope it means I’m spending the money on better things (most likely the children). Another thing is seeing drunk people with sober eyes – it is quite insightful. You tend to forget not everyone else is drunk when you are.
I intended not to drink alcohol in 2019 but I’m not really sure if I will drink after that – hopefully if I do it will be the odd “occasion” and not every excuse to have one. I have joined some Facebook groups to help support me with my journey and it interesting to see the different types of people attempting not to drink and their reasons why. It was a lot more acceptable to smoke cigarettes when I was younger and now here in the UK they are hidden out of sight. It has been made harder for minors to buy alcoholic drinks now too – so maybe it is all moving in the same direction.