Monday January 11th, 2021
I was inspired today by @clairei47 and her most recent post https://gettingsobernow.wordpress.com/2021/01/10/bag-of-tricks/ Bag of Tricks.
On Saturday I was doing my usual routine of drinking coffee and thumbing through my fave Saturday paper, The Globe and Mail. I came across this Winter Survival Guide with an illustration of a young couple happily playing chess in pyjamas and sipping red wine, and it kind of made me angry. At a time when I think many people are struggling with their alcohol intake simply because there’s not much else to do, we’ve all been stuck inside for almost a year now, and tons of people are battling anxiety, depression, etc., as a result of the pandemic, promoting alcohol as the answer to everything does not seem wise. Never mind those of us who actually have alcohol addictions! The picture suggests to me that it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, if you want to get through this most horrible of winters, you better just drink. Flipping through the pages of the Winter Survival Guide there were at least two more illustrations of activities involving alcohol. In @clairei47’s last blog post, she talked about how she quit smoking a decade or so ago and after a couple of years she felt like a non-smoker. She was wondering if she would ever feel the same about alcohol now that she’s non-drinker. But also questioned whether the pervasiveness of alcohol would ever allow her to feel that way.
I was contemplating her thoughts and came to the conclusion that no, with society as it is around alcohol, I will never just be someone who doesn’t drink. I will always be someone with a problem, or who can’t drink. People don’t accept others being non-drinkers. There has to be a reason, like you’re pregnant, you have an illness, you’re Muslim, or you’re an alcoholic. In contrast, people who are vegetarians don’t have to have a reason. They can just say they decided not to eat meat anymore. Same goes for Vegans, those who have gone gluten free, and even those who have decided to cut sugar from their diets. In fact those people are applauded and admired! But for those of us deciding to cut alcohol from our diets, I feel that it will forever be viewed as weird, and we will always be asked why. I don’t think I’ve EVER asked a vegetarian why they’re a vegetarian, because a) it’s none of my business b) I don’t really care what someone else eats and c) isn’t it obvious why? They don’t want to eat meat. So using the same logic, isn’t it obvious why I’m not drinking? I don’t want to ingest alcohol. Full stop. Maybe that will just be my answer going forward when someone asks why I’m not drinking I’ll just say, “I don’t want to.” then stare at them blankly 😐.
Why do we have to declare ourselves as having a problem with alcohol in order to explain not drinking? I also have a problem with chips, but I never find that if I take a pass on the chip bowl at a party that anyone asks why or tries to push me to eat chips. Imagine I had to declare upon arrival at a party that I have a problem with chips, particularly Sour Cream & Onion, and I will therefore not be eating chips tonight and please don’t try to make me eat them. There’s just such a strange phenomenon that happens around alcohol in our society and culture. Everyone knows it’s not good for you, many of us also know that we drink too much and should probably cut back, but we’ve been so brainwashed into believing that we should be drinking basically all the time anyway. Got something to celebrate? Drink!! Aunt just died? Drink!! It’s summer and the sun is out? Drink!! You’re struggling through a Global Pandemic? Drink!!
I will say however, that it’s a relief to see there is gradual change happening. I think that with more people coming forward and being vulnerable, sharing their decision to stop drinking, it’s beginning to gain more acceptance. I truly hope that this continues and that someday we will all feel more comfortable saying no to alcohol and not feeling the pressure to explain.
Happy Monday everyone! Xx