So much is written about young people and alcohol, we are always quick to point our fingers at binge drinkers immediately assuming all young people that like to party like to drink. But it’s not true. Mamamia reader Sally* writes
“‘I am a 21-year old student. I love music and concerts, socialising, books, movies, travel, summer, meeting new people, and learning. I am not religious in any capacity; I do not believe in God. I am confident and have many friends, and I love to go out with them and have a great time laughing and being young. But I’m often told there is a strange anomaly about me: I don’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or take drugs. I have never done any of these things, and when I say never, I mean the most alcohol I have ever consumed would be the % within cough medicine.
People have often told me I am ‘so strong’ to ‘resist’ the peer pressure, particularly as a teenager. I could never respond to this quite on par because quite honestly, I have never felt pressure, although that’s not to say people haven’t tried to get me starting drinking, and I don’t think that will ever end. Although I am happy with who I am and am socially confident, I am starting to feel more and more alienated and lonely and even ‘weird’ because I don’t drink.
I don’t drink because I have no desire to. It’s as simple as that. But people never seem to accept this, even fellow non-drinkers, because our reasons differ. I am not a Christian, but this is a fairly automatic response when I tell someone I don’t. They conclude I must be. I understand the assumption. This goes hand in hand with people guessing I have had a traumatic experience from alcohol myself either in drinking, or from family. I am very fortunate to not have had this at all. I equally understand this assumption. What I don’t understand is why people can’t/don’t seem to be able to accept that I simply don’t want to?
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with people who drink: all my friends do, my boyfriend does, etc etc, and you will never hear me mentioning I don’t drink unless asked and/or it’s relevant. I don’t preach. I don’t get on a soapbox and cry the evils of alcohol. I am not into alcohol-bashing.
I am just basically at a point where I am desperate to see/hear if there are other people my age who don’t drink, or people who didn’t drink at my age, and not for religious religions etc, but because they just never wanted to? It seems silly to suggest there aren’t, but I’ve honestly never come across people who are young, into popular music, books, etc, who are quite social and enjoy going out, and who don’t drink.
I am beginning to feel like a weirdo and I am seeking to hear from people who don’t drink, to find out why, and to hear your experiences.”