I've literally never had an alcoholic beverage. Never been drunk. Never bought alcohol. Never tasted it. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I made the choice not to drink when I was twelve. I know that sounds crazy, like what does a 12 year old really know about alcohol, but I got a phone call when I was twelve from my best friends mom who told me that my friend had been struck by a drunk driver right after she'd gotten off the bus one afternoon as she was legally crossing the street in the crosswalk.
This guy had been so wasted that he managed to drag her under his car for about 3 blocks before he was stopped. He could have killed my best friend. It's a hundred years later, but even typing that brings back every emotion I had on that phone call. She was "lucky." She ended up with 4 screws drilled into her skull and a halo to stabilize her fractured spine, a broken arm and leg, fractured wrist, and the loss of a lot of her skin. It took a really long time to recover because some random couldn't put down the bottle.
I knew at 12, I never wanted to be a person who could do that to someone because of a substance and the day I was able to visit her for the first time in the ICU made that very clear in my mind. Of course, you grow up. You see people drinking responsibly, and you know that that's not everyone, but it didn't change my mind. I made the choice not to drink and that was it for me. Despite being told that this would hurt my social/dating life as I got older, it never has because my core group of friends and people I date, all who drink themselves, know this about me and have to be okay with it. Period. They've never uninvited me to hang out, and I never stopped hanging out with them if we were at a club or bar because it's my business not to drink and not my business to tell them what to do or not do if they want to drink responsibly or if they are just getting drunk in their own home.
When I went to college, the pressure to drink was enormous. Every dorm party, bar, club, event, house party, there was alcohol everywhere and some people were extremely aggressive when it came to trying to "make me" drink, but it just wasn't for me and having told my brother, who only occasionally drank, about some of these experiences, he told me his trick of filling a solo cup with water or soda and drinking that at parties because people would just assume you were drinking and leave you alone. He was right.
Now as a proper adult, there are far fewer people who care whether I drink or not but on occasion, there are people who feel it's an insult if you don't drink, or they want to be 'that person' who gets you to drink your first sip, or they don't trust you for some reason, because you aren't drinking. It can be annoying, but for those out there that don't drink for whatever reason, know in your mind, that it is your personal choice whether you do or don't drink and that even if you feel the pressure to drink, you can say no if you don't want to. I would never, and have never lectured anyone drinking as to what they should and should not do because that's their choice, but they too need to respect that if you don't want to drink, that's your own choice as well.