Why I Don't Drink
Neal O’Grady – @NealOGrady

Why I Don't Drink

I essentially don't drink alcohol. Don't get me wrong, I've given it the old college try many times, and I don't hands-down refuse to ever touch it. I have red wine or a cocktail every so often, and I'll try the taste of different beers/drinks if a friend offers. I don't completely abstain, but it's highly infrequent, and low quantity.

People often assume I don't drink either due to religion, wanting to feel morally superior, that I'm a recovering alcoholic, or I had a rough childhood experience involving alcohol. It's definitely none of these reasons. Almost everyone will at some point ask me why I don't drink, which is fair considering it's engrained into human society. I often either say "I don't like it," or "It's a long list of things." I say the second one because I know that no one wants to hear a list of reasons why someone doesn't drink, when you're already three beers in. I don't want to preach, I don't care if anyone else drinks. It's a choice I've made for myself. But here's that long list now:

The List

  • It makes me feel groggy and uncomfortable. It doesn't make me sick (although I've definitely been to that point), it's just the slight feeling of intoxication just makes me feel hazy and slow, and just bleh.
  • Alcohol does not increase my enjoyment of activities. It does not make me substantially more social or more likely to do crazy things. I remain in control of myself, and generally I'm actually less social because of feeling off.
  • It is expensive. A night out with friends at a bar, with cover, shots, beers, and shitty food can easily hit $50 to 100. There is a longer list of things I'd rather spend $100 on, ones that I have something to show for or have enriched my life. A night I barely remember is not one.
  • It dumbs you down. Alcohol is a depressant. You slow down, you slur, you say dumb shit, and you learn nothing from it. I'm not trying to numb away my life or even my evening, I want my brain to be as active as it can when I engage with friends and strangers.
  • It has no long-term benefit to my life. Getting drunk will almost never change my life for the better. I won't have any deep realizations about my life or the world, or accomplish anything other than dancing, saying dumb shit, spending money, and wanting more alcohol.
  • I generally avoid things that can lead to daily dependency, which is why I also don't drink much coffee. I've never actually had or purchased a full cup of coffee. I've tried it and don't like it. Instead, I'll drink teas, generally decaf. I don't want to rely on a drink to be able to have energy and function. I don't want to feel dependent on that to be able to socialize and have fun.
  • It's unhealthy. I believe in maintaining a decent level of health and fitness. I've had my father and uncle die of heart attacks. One also had type II diabetes, and the other also had lung cancer. As for me, I was overweight until I was 20 years old, hitting 300 pounds at my peak. Alcohol is bad for your liver, and your waistline.
  • The day after is not worth it. Feeling like shit for a day or two because of one night of blurred fun is not worth it in my opinion. I have shit I want to do, and I don't want to feel like my head was hit by a bus the night before.
  • It turns some people into monsters. Otherwise apparently level-headed and enjoyable people will become belligerent, abusive, or sexually aggressive after a few drinks. Alcohol leads to many, many bar fights. You think you're tough, you're quicker tempered, and you don't have the inhibitions to tell you not to punch people or grab that girls ass. And people use it to excuse this dreadful behaviour.

Don't get me wrong

I go to clubs. I enjoy a myriad of intoxicants. I enjoy hanging around people that are intoxicated--to a point. Alcohol, for one, helps many people lose social inhibitions, allowing me to meet the person that they hide beneath insecurities. They say and do entertaining things they wouldn't do otherwise, and I have a clear head to enjoy it and mess with them with. I have no qualms going to a house party or a club and be the only person not drinking. I'm used to it. I enjoy it better being sober. I probably also enjoy myself more when everyone else is drinking, because I know they're enjoying themselves more, and they loosen up. I feed off their social energy, and people don't even remember/notice I'm not drinking until I tell them.

That's me though, I don't push my way of life or philosophies on anybody. People ask me, so I figured I might as well write out the list if they want to see it, and also I used writing this post to help me analyze and justify this life choice.

Not much of a drinker? Or are an staunch supporter of the drink? Let me hear about it in the comments below.

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