Today, on St. Patrick’s Day, I am writing down a more complete answer and explanation to a question I am regularly asked.
I don’t drink alcohol, never have, not once, and I am not going to start. When I was around 21, I never felt compelled to start drinking since I was never much of a ‘partier’ and didn’t see the attraction of getting drunk. I have been pressured to drink many times, but I was never interested in doing something because somebody or society told me to. Now, I choose to teetotal because it is part of my identity.
When I was younger, my peers seemed to drink because it was fun to get drunk. Now, they tell me that it helps them loosen up in social situations and they enjoy the taste of wines and craft beers. Using alcohol to improve my performance or the way I feel in a social situation is definitely something I never want to rely on. I like knowing I can do something without paying for a crutch. I talk to strangers, dance when I want to, and regularly speak my mind. Knowing I can controllably do that when I choose is very powerful for me.
I don’t mind when people drink around me nor do I consider myself better or more virtuous than others because of my decision. Though, I am disappointed by those who abuse alcohol and disrespect the city and an entire holiday, for that matter. Living close to bars that cater to 21-year-old drinkers probably doesn’t help my disappointment with drunken behavior.
Overall, I am very happy with my decision and I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything worthwhile. So, if I see you drinking at a bar, I’ll be respectful of your choice and if you’re respectful of my choice, I’ll be more than happy to toast my glass of water with you.