Why I Don't Drink

Photography by Rebecca Carpenter

I have to start by saying that this post is almost a sequel to one I wrote four whole years ago on the same topic, but I realise may now be lost in the never-ending maze that is my blog and the weird stuff I wrote four whole years ago. So I wanted to re-write it. From the point of view of 2019 Jordan, who still doesn't drink.

As someone who has once been a university student who didn't drink, the concept of being the 'odd one out' isn't exactly new to me. Throughout my time as a student - a job title that is pretty much stereotyped as being 70% intoxicated at all hours of the day - there were many reactions to me not drinking. They ranged from mild concern, to confusion, to downright rudeness.

"Are you sick?"

"Is it a religious thing or...?"

"So you're boring then?"

I want to make it clear from the onset that I do not have a problem with people who drink as, like most things, it is a lifestyle choice. When you tell people you don't drink you are met with this attitude that you must feel an overwhelming hatred for all people who drink and even the sight of a glass of wine might send you over the edge. It's cool everyone, you can drink. You can even drink in front of me!

However, the absence of a drink in your hand has this kind of anti-social connotation to it which I have experience first hand. I remember my mum telling me when I went out, "Just have a glass of something in your hand, doesn't matter what it is, otherwise you look like you don't want to be there."

If I'm honest, I'd rather have a box of McDonald's fries in my hand.

I have actually been what I would describe as 'properly drunk' once and it was the worst experience of my life. I will never forget waking up the following day and having to do a 9 hour shift on a Sunday with the worst headache I've ever felt in my life. I've been 'tipsy' twice from drinking my only drink (Pina Coladas, for the record), at which point I just stopped having my drink and went with water so I sobered up.

I find it kind of mad that alcohol has this kind of reputation as being a 'thing that everyone does once they turn a certain age and therefore you must do it as well'. Because after all, alcohol is in its own right an addictive substance. It's a substance that has the ability to change you considerably, to wipe your memory and make you do things that perhaps in hindsight you didn't want to do. So why are we expected to all share in this strange ritual?

After all, I'm perfectly capable of making rather questionable life choices while I'm sober thank you very much.

Also, alcohol is expensive. Like crazy expensive. I've witnessed people spend hundreds, if not thousands on one night out, a night out they didn't even remember the next day and all I can think of is the fact that I could have had a short break in Italy for that price.

I feel quite lucky that I have my fiancé who doesn't drink often and when he does he only has one or two. I've actually never seen Tom drunk because of this. However I still find it hard sometimes when friends all go out together but don't invite me because I don't drink, even though I'd really still like to have gone.

If you don't drink, you're not boring. The same way as if you don't like going out at all, you're not boring. Everyone is different. Everyone enjoys different things and if you're enjoying how you spend your time then that's all that matters. I hate the idea that so many people feel forced to take part in drinking related activities for fear of being isolated or frowned upon. It needs to stop.

I'd love to hear your stories about not drinking, whether it's you who doesn't drink, a friend or maybe you're thinking of stopping. Let me know! x