The incoherent ramblings of a teetotaler
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You might be surprised by some of the things people come out with when they hear you took the decision at 18 (after a few years of illegality…sshhh) to not drink alcohol. And how much you’d have to justify that decision to others: particularly in your late teens and early twenties when the peer pressure to drink can often be quite overwhelming. Peer Pressure and Social Norms The decision itself was an easy one and not anything that ever felt life-altering. Over time, it became something I did’t even think about. So why put down on virtual paper something which to me is no longer a big deal? Because at times it was a big deal; often, as a young adult, it was hard to deal with the societal pressure and the lack of confidence in certain situations, when a bit of Dutch courage would do the trick. And because I’m always asked to give the reason why I don’t drink. I’m interested in sharing those experiences and exploring why people don’t seem to question alcohol consumption more; to think about whether everyone actually enjoys it and really needs it, or whether it’s a habit that’s become so ingrained that there’s no getting away from it. I question why it needs to be considered a major decision I have taken and why I need to give a reason for it. When did drinking become such a rigid norm and why does it need to be something that I “don’t do” rather than something that I don’t choose to do? I choose not to do drugs, I choose not to watch football, but neither of these things seem to define me in quite the same way that my choice not to drink does. The societal pressure I talk about isn’t so much scores of people trying to force shots down your throat as how hard it can be to enjoy certain situations when you’ve not had a drink, when everyone else around you is getting drunk. I’m not on a soapbox at this point, critiquing people’s decisions on their alcohol consumption. But I do wonder why more young people don’t take a step back and consider whether it’s just a norm they’re conforming to. And whether if more people didn’t choose to drink frequently, or even at all, that societal pressure I mentioned wouldn’t exist. Dutch Courage and Dancing Sober
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