First some clarification. I am not a former alcoholic, and I don't abstain from drinking for religious reasons. I have simply never had an alcoholic beverage in my life. Not when I was younger, not two weeks ago, not ever. I typically don't go around advertising this fact, but as you can imagine the subject has come up, oh about a billion times in my life and probably 100% of the questions that come after that statement can be boiled down to this one question: "but how do you survive?!?" Well, it's a combination of food, water, exercise, and the like, but I'm going to tell you why and how its all magically possible. To do that, I'll just attend to the myriad of questions and comments I've gotten over the years?
1. Why don't you drink?
When I was eleven, I got a phone call that my best friend was in the ICU. She had apparently gotten off her bus, and proceeded to walk across the cross walk when a drunk driver hit her in broad daylight. He was so drunk that he dragged her body down the street about 3 blocks before some bystanders managed to corale the car and stop him. Because of this, she ended up in a halo where doctors have to drill 4 screws into your skull and place this metal device that looks kind of like a halo around her to stabilize her spine. She also had vast amounts of road rash (flesh torn off by scraping the cement), and several broken bones. She was lucky to be alive and to be able to spend months recovering where as you know, many never get that chance. This moment in my life impacted me a lot. I felt even at eleven that I never wanted to be the reason someone was in this position, and so in that hospital room, sitting next to her battered and broken body, I swore I wouldn't drink. Now I realize I was eleven then, and believe me I know there are tons of people who can and do drink responsibly (my friends being those people), but I suppose like becomming a Vegetarian for some people, it is a choice I made and have just stuck to it.
2. How can you know about alcohol and how you'll handle it, if you've never tried it?
I have this crazy thing called free will, and it says, I don't have to try anything I don't want to. Plus, its not like you can experience the drink through me, so what would be the purpose of you getting to know that information.
3. People like you seem really immature to me. Like they refuse to grow up.
Does drinking help me pay my bills, maintain a job or friendships/relationships, live in my house, and take care of my family. No, it doesn't. I do that, alcohol free.
4. You must be a bore at parties.
When you were 20 or some young age before you started drinking, when you went out you didn't need alcohol 'to survive,' you were whatever type of person or partier you were without a drink in hand. I've always been outgoing, and I love to dance, but again, for me, I don't require a drink in hand to do that. When I say this, those same people often scoff only because they refuse to believe that this can be possible only because they cannot go to a party or a wedding or an event without getting a drink and doing what they do with drink in hand.
5. How do you socialize? I bet people don't invite you to the bar?
My friends love me for me, but also because they can drink at a bar or club without worrying how they are going to get home safe b/c they know they have a designated driver. Other then physically seeing someone ordering a drink and drinking it, or being drunk, how do you know anyone in a bar is drinking or if they are doing what they are doing because of a drink. You don't.
6. How about I buy you your first drink or here, have my drink.
Peer pressure to drink was intense in my college/high school days. Every party there was alcohol and lots of it, but to avoid the, have a drink questions, I have forever followed the advice my brother gave me after he gave up drinking for a month to help cut weight, and that is to go to the party/club/bar and grab a solo cup or whatever glass people are drinking and fill it with water, juice or soda. People just naturally assume you are drinking because you have a cup and they are drinking. Totally worked.
7. Sober people always seem so judgmental
I have never in my life told any friend or stranger not to drink. The only exceptions have been when someone tried to drive drunk which I would hope anyone would try and stop. You be you. You drink whatever it is that makes you happy. I don't say a word or judge you for it because that is your life choice. Turn the camera around, and the opposite apparently is not true. Some people literally consider me to be some sort of threat to their way of life, like I'm just sitting in a corner scowling at them. I give zero f--ks what's in your glass. I'm worried about me and what I'm doing.
8. Come on, you must have wanted to try a drink
I've thought about it sure, but I can't miss what I've never had.
9. What about dates, how do you handle that
How would anyone handle someone who just sat down and told them they were sober after years of being an alcoholic, you don't then hand them a drink. I typically order my own beverage and then somewhere down the line when or if it comes up, I tell the truth and if someone wants to dump me over that, then they aren't worth having in my life. This has never happened because I'm pretty sure alcohol isn't the thing that makes you love someone and want to be with them forever.
10. You must have a lot to black mail people with being sober and all all the time.
Have I seen things, yes. Have I heard things, yes, but do you keep people around who tell all your secrets and your private business to the world. No.
So how have I survived all these years with not a drop of alcohol? Just fine. Being sober or not drinking is your choice and you should never feel pressured to do what you don't want to do. Sure alcohol plays a part in a lot of the social things we do in life, but it shouldn't prevent you from socializing, or finding friends, or success. I mean, I've never had a hangover, never had to pay for alcohol, I've never been unaware of how I got somewhere, I've never risked my own life or others driving drunk, and alcohol has never contributed to a health issue or weight gain. Pluses for me. I've often found that people who would judge you for not drinking are often insecure about themselves or something they personally are doing in their lives. My not drinking should not in anyway affect what you have chosen to do with your life. The older I have gotten, the easier it has been because there is just less pressure to go out and get drunk, have 'fun' or whatever, but it is very possible to survive high school and college without a drink if that is the choice you want to make.