real life

"I'm 26-years-old and I've never been drunk. And yes, I mean never."

Confession. I’m 26-years-old and I have never been drunk.

In fact since I was 18, I haven’t had a drop of alcohol.

Most people I meet find this fact about me fascinating. It often always starts an intense line of questioning about why I don’t drink. Confusion about what I drink when I go out. Disbelief about the fact that I have never been drunk. Smug assumptions that I must have got terribly drunk at some point in my life and sworn off alcohol. Conclusions that it’s all an elaborate lie and I simply must be pregnant. And so on, and so on.

Why I don't drink

Oh right, you're still asking questions. Image via Giphy.

Don't even get me started on special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays and weddings when the line of intense questioning is followed by "oh come on, it's Christmas, so and so's special day or Susan's niece's dog's birthday".

The questions are predictable and although they used to drive me crazy, I have now learnt to plaster a smile on my face and answer them all politely, whilst reminding people that I can always be the designated driver. A shout out to my mum and dad for teaching me manners.

But that wasn't always the case.

For a very long time I found the questioning about my choice incredibly uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that as a teenager and even into my early twenties I used to tell people that I was allergic to alcohol just to get them off my back.

Why I don't drink
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What I should have said. Image via Giphy.

Because not being able to drink and choosing not to drink garner completely different responses.

In case you're wondering, being allergic to alcohol is a real thing, it's called ~ drum roll please ~ alcohol allergy.

My decision not to drink happened out of fear and continued out of habit.

As the eldest child in my family I was the first to go to parties where underage drinking was a regular occurrence. Before one of these parties when I was 16, my mum made me promise that I wouldn't drink.

A promise that I happily accepted because the possibility of getting drunk terrified me.

I had heard horror stories from people at school and I really didn't want to vomit, embarrass myself in any way or disappoint my parents.

There was also the fact that the small amount of money I earned from umpiring netball was spent on my insistence of owning a pair of Havaianas thongs in every colour (I had over thirty pairs at one point for those wondering).

Why I don't drink
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The stuff of my teenage dreams. Image via iStock.

And aside from experimenting with a couple of Vodka Cruisers and some sips of wine when I was 18, I have remained loyal to this promise.

Now that I am adult, I understand that it is possible to have a couple of drinks without getting drunk, yet I have a number of reasons for why I don't drink alcohol and never plan to.

1. The taste.

The couple of times in my life where I have tasted alcohol have left me far from impressed.

Despite the enthusiastic reassurances from many that over time I would become accustomed to the taste and that I need to give alcohol a chance I simply have no interest.

The concept of forcing myself to drink something that I find unenjoyable in the hope that I will soon find it enjoyable seems ludicrous to me and I am more than happy to stick to my non-alcoholic alternatives.

Apple juice anyone?

Why I don't drink

Yep. Image via Giphy.

2. Losing control.

This is going to make me sound incredibly uptight but the concept of losing control due to alcohol just doesn't sit right with me.

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The line between 'I'm having a really good time' couple of drinks to 'I may have reached my limit' seems to be a little blurry and I have seen far too many people suffer the consequences of this.

Embarrassing consequences. Painful consequences. Did-Sunday-even-happen consequences.

All consequences that I have no interest in experiencing, ever. (Post continues after audio.)

3. I just don't get it.

This point isn't particularly complicated. I just do not understand the concept of drinking alcohol.

Is anyone really that thirsty?

I have been out with friends and have watched them down three, four, five drinks over a few hours and I have to admit that I find it all a little confusing.

I find it confusing because I could think of nothing worse than drinking that much liquid over the space of a few hours because if I did I would need to go to the toilet a lot, I would be bloated and I would have no room for food.

Why I don't drink

Food glorious food. Image via Giphy.

4. Health.

I am far from a health freak. Chocolate is a staple in my diet and I also believe that cheese on biscuits is a suitable meal.

Yet despite these poor meal choices, I also try to actively avoid things that are bad for me because being sick sucks.

Although some research suggests that there health benefits to drinking certain amounts of some alcohol, the potential negative side effects of alcohol consumption still far outweigh the positives for me.

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Drinking water has never stopped me from having a good time and it's working wonders for my body at the same time.

Win, win.

5. The money I save.

My reasons for not drinking alcohol have zero links to anything remotely financial; however, a definite bonus of not drinking alcohol is the money that I save.

While others are forking out their hard earned for an overpriced drink with their meal, I am throwing back water for FREE.

When my husband (who also doesn't drink alcohol) and I go out the cost is not even in the same ball park as our alcohol drinking friends.

These savings have really helped fund my wardrobe expansion over the years.

Ka-ching.

Why I don't drink

Making it rain. Image via Giphy.

6. The entertainment I get to enjoy.

Finally, not drinking allows you the opportunity to remember with clarity the events and conversations that transpire when those around you are under the influence.

When people's filters are down, you are guaranteed entertainment.

Further to this, you are generally in a pretty powerful position the morning after, not that I have ever abused this.

So this New Year's, you will find me having a great time whilst drinking water - or possibly a soft drink if I'm feeling really fancy.