Spoiler Alert: You don’t need to drink alcohol to have fun.
I haven’t drank alcohol in 3 years now. Well, I’ve had one cocktail and on two occasions drank half a glass of prosecco. But apart from that, I’ve abstained from alcohol. I have my reasons. In fact, I have several reasons for why I don’t drink. My reasons include both health and personal choices. Life without alcohol is pretty fab. But the thing that reaaaally grates on me is how much people judge you for not drinking alcohol. Here goes a little list of things that happened when I stopped drinking alcohol. The good and the bad.
- FRIENDS CALLED ME BORING
Okay so, when I first gave the alcohol-free lifestyle a go, I was still in university. My friends at uni couldn’t quite grasp that I didn’t want to drink anymore. Apparently not wanting to spend every Friday and Saturday night getting blind-drunk made me boring. But honestly, I can probably list 7514 other ways I’d prefer to spend my evening than getting wasted. It doesn’t make me boring. I just find the fun in other things.
- HANGOVER-FREE LIFE
The best part about not drinking alcohol is not waking up with a hangover. Every morning after a night out with friends, I wake up feeling fresh as a daisy whilst they’re all nursing a hangover. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do a smug little victory dance in my head. Hey, I’m allowed to gloat every once in a while! It feels great to wake up feeling refreshed. I really don’t miss the post-night out days of waking up stinking of last night’s £1 shots and jagerbombs, shakily reaching for paracetamol and water and not knowing if food would be kill or cure.
- YOU CAN STILL DANCE WITHOUT ALCOHOL
This may come as a shock to some people, but not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean not having fun. Seriously. The fact that people automatically assume that you can’t have fun because you don’t drink infuriates me more than anything. Like mate, I can get up on that dance floor and have a little boogie just as much as the girl spilling her glass of Prosseco everywhere. If a song comes on that I like you can bet that I’ll be up there dancing. Please don’t assume that being sober means I don’t understand what fun is.
- NIGHTS OUT ARE CHEAPER
Instead of spending £10 every time I want a cocktail, I now spend £0 for tap water or about £2 for a soft drink. So really, my nights out are ridiculously cheap. Which means I can spend that money on other things like clothes, travel or whatever the hell I want to spend it on. Last year I spent £38 on a solo-trip to Belgium whereas 18-year old me would have spent more than on one night out drinking. Whilst nights out might be cheaper it does mean having to justify my drink choices to complete strangers. Even the bartenders give me weird looks or stab fun at me when I ask for a tap water. Like woah okay, this girl just wants to stay hydrated.
- PEOPLE JUDGE YOU
Okay, this point has probably being concurrent throughout my last 4 points. But it’s true. When you stop drinking alcohol, people start judging you. I’ve had total strangers mock me to even my own family making out as though I’m satanic spawn because I’m sober. For the first couple of years of being alcohol-free, I avoided going out because it really impacted my anxiety. I was terrified of being judged. Now, however, I don’t care and I’m pretty damn proud of myself for battling the anxiety surrounding it. I’ve learnt to brush off the negative comments surrounding my personal choices. Instead I’m focusing on my own little bubble of happiness!
People can say what they want about me for not drinking but I’ve had my fair share of alcohol-fuelled nights out. I’ve created wild and somewhat reckless drunken memories. And I’ve had my years of drinking myself into oblivion. Now, I’m over the alcohol culture and I’m happy knowing that I don’t need to drink to enjoy myself.