I’ve been a teetotaler all my life, I have had the occasional drink when I’m just too tired of having a coke or a virgin mojito, aka the overpriced lemonade.
But it’s time for those who don’t really enjoy drinking to be seen and heard. Because I’m done having to explain and I’m honestly done with the sugar drinks I’ve had to consume (and I hate sweet things!)
Once you hit 18 or 21, whatever the legal age is in your country, most parts of life involve alcohol — friends, uni, work, networking, dating, romance — especially if you’re in a city like Singapore or London.
When I was 17 going on 18, every single one of my classmates were excited about having their first drink. I couldn’t care less. I was busy moping about my miserable life, trying to move out of the country (took me only the next decade).
I’ve been a stubborn odd one and thankfully, I’ve never felt the pressure to drink and have been comfortable admitting it.
What’s annoying are the questions that come after.
And especially if you’re brown skinned, the immediate responses that infuriate me are “is it your religion?”, “you’re parents don’t need to know”.
What makes me even more irritated is the “You’re such a good kid” spiel I get — drinking alcohol doesn’t make you bad nor does not drinking make me good.
And you have the “You’re not fun” idiots— sorry love, maybe we have different ideas of fun.
I also absolutely hate the “it’s not fun to be drinking alone”, well I’m not going to change for you. And I don’t want to be made to feel guilty to not allowing you to enjoy a drink.
Why can’t we just have a good time respecting each other’s preferences — you have a beer or a glass of wine and I’ll have a soft drink or maybe even just water. It doesn’t stop us from having a conversation or enjoying music. Shouldn’t that be the social code of conduct?
I’m tired of meeting people at bars or pubs, having to say I don’t drink and then having to explain why. Because there is no dramatic back story. It just doesn’t bring me joy. It sparks joy for some of you, it just gives me anxiety.
I hate the feeling of losing control. I hate the bloatedness. I don’t get the “high”. I’ve never been drunk because I never want to feel that loss of control. Not gonna lie, I do have the occasional compulsion to “have a drink” after a tough day but most days, I don’t really need one, or want one.
But see, I don’t need to explain myself every time I’m out at a bar or a pub or dinner. It’s my choice — just like how you have a go-to drink of choice.
I don’t care if you drink, I want you to drink because it makes you happy. I just ask the same of you.
I’m tired of people insinuating that I’m missing out on life if I don’t take a shot or smoke a joint. It’s simply not an experience I want to have. If it’s fun for you cool, it’s just not enjoyable for me.
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. Let’s normalise teetotalism.
Next time, someone says they don’t drink, ask them what they’d like to have instead. Please don’t ask why or worse, don’t tell them why don’t you just try or don’t be a spoilsport.
And bars and pubs, please do better with those non-alcoholic and low alcohol choices.