“You’ll change your mind when you get older.”
“How do you get through the week without a pint?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
I think it started at around age 13. My friends started to drink cider on the park. I was always with them but it never felt right to me to join in with the drinking. We got older, the venue changed, the drink changed, the people changed. But the question never did – “why don’t you drink? There must be a reason.” For years, I didn’t know how to answer. I was embarrassed. I thought I was weird because I didn’t want to get wasted. I’d go to family parties and watch as arguments escalated as people got increasingly inebriated. I think about this and I still can’t understand why I’m the weird one for not wanting to be that way.
It was only as I got older that I could fully understand why I am so against drinking. For longer than I have been alive, my father has been an alcoholic. As I grew up I saw his addiction tear my family apart. I saw his addiction tear him apart. I cried and I begged and I screamed for him to stop but even to this day he is still adamant that he does not have a problem. I watched as my uncle wasted away as a result of complications from his addiction. I hear stories all the time of my father’s friends and my uncle’s friends passing away from their addictions.
Now, at 23 years old, I can finally answer the question “why don’t you drink?” Because I am absolutely terrified that I will become like them. I’m terrified that I might start to drink occasionally, and then over time it won’t be so occasional anymore. I’m afraid that I will ruin my life. That is why I don’t drink.