Saturday, 17 August 2013

Bucking the norm

Will it ever become the norm NOT to drink alcohol, I was wondering today?  

Other things change:  tattoos, once an exception are now mainstream. Smoking, once the norm is now more the exception. 

Alcohol intake seems to have become more the norm than ever before. Is it the state of the world driving everyone to drink?  Can people not cope with life without 'dutch courage'?  To stand up and say 'I am teetotal' these days would be met with howls of incredulity (at least amongst 99% of the people I know).

I find it increasingly annoying that it is such an effort NOT to drink alcohol; or even to talk about not drinking alcohol. I was pretty impressed with myself that I managed to go to a regatta in Ireland, of all places, and not drink anything for four days.  Anyone involved in sailing or Ireland will appreciate the challenge of doing this without being taken away by the men in white coats.

This morning I was chatting to a couple of girls at the fitness studio and saying that my leg has been pretty painful the last couple of weeks, and perhaps I should cut out any alcohol in case it's blocking the effects of the painkillers.  "Nooo," said one of them, "You need to drink MORE!"

It's as though it's some kind of automatic response to anything - "Drink more, drink more, drink more, baaaaa, baaaa, baaaa...." Is it because they drink more than they perhaps should, and subliminally feel bad about it and react by telling people to drink more? Is it because they think people who don't drink are 'boring'? (don't get me started, I recently nearly wrote a whole blog post about the concept of 'boring').  I'm no goody-goody and enjoy a glass of wine in an evening, and perhaps a tipple of whisky or port or Baileys, depending on what is in the cupboard. But I now hate being even remotely drunk (even just to the state of thinking I'm not really fully in control of my faculties and would struggle to bother fighting back if I had to) and I actually have a lot more fun on a night out if I stay stone cold sober. 

Others just don't seem to grasp this concept at all and it is so tiring when it is necessary to constantly refuse a drink; or in some cases make sure the Coke I ordered does not have rum surreptitiously added to it.

Before the howls of protest and 'don't be so boring' start, I don't begrudge other people drinking at all, as long as it doesn't detrimentally affect others' wellbeing.  Just don't make me feel like a pariah when I don't want to join you - let me have my Coke / orange juice / water / one glass of wine without making a big deal of it, because I'm a lot more fun when I'm not pissed off!

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