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Why I Don’t Drink

Fact is, I don’t drink alcohol. For those reading this who don’t know me personally (and I guess that’s the most of you), that is a completely new fact you can stash in your ‘random-things-to-know-about-Jess’ bank (which I hope is only metaphorical because otherwise I’m flattered, but no.).

Brief background, I was raised in the Salvation Army by a Salvation Army family. Since the Salvation Army is a charity as well as a church and due to its history of helping people who have drinking problems, Salvation Army soldiers, those who wear a uniform and are active within the church, do not drink alcohol. This puts me in a slightly unique position of not only having parents who don’t drink, but grandparents on both sides who don’t either – so genetics are probably not in my favour anyway.

I’m not a Salvation Army soldier and in many ways the Salvation Army doesn’t play much of an active role in my life any more. However, the decision to not drink has been something I’ve decided to keep – which, considering the lack of self control I have in terms of pacing myself when eating a chocolate bar, is probably only beneficial.

Why is that?, you may ask. Well, luckily for you that’s what this blog post is all about.

It’s a common question you’re asked when you don’t drink. Most of the time people are genuinely curious and accept it quite easily. But sometimes people aren’t satisfied and demand more and more explanations to justify my decisions until they are satisifed. So I’m writing this blog means that I’ll also have a url to give the particularly curious.

1. The Taste 

Now it is not as if I haven’t tried alcoholic drinks. But as one unused to drink, it doesn’t matter how flavoured the drink or how strong the alcohol, the first thing that hits me like a sucker punch to the face is that it is alcoholic – and to me that tastes absolutely vile. My friends usually have either one of two responses to this,
1. “You’ve got to drink enough until you don’t mind the alcohol anymore”
or
2. “You don’t drink alcohol for the taste”
Which, with the greatest amount of respect, isn’t much incentive to waste £3 on a bleurgh half pint of beer, when I can just get a full pint of lemonade for £1-50. (Side note, you know you’ve been living in Norway too long when you don’t consider those London prices expensive any more!).

2. It’s Expensive 

And don’t give me that “you’re in Norway, everything is expensive” argument because alcohol is more expensive than soft drinks the world over. I’m a student with crippling student debt studying Viking Studies, I don’t need to call a psychic hotline to know that money is not something which will feature heavily in my future. If alcohol is something you enjoy then it’s worth it. But for me – I’d rather put that money towards things like food, rent or half-decent shampoo.

3. I Am Far Chatty Enough Without The Use of Alcohol

I was born to a mother blessed with the gift of striking up a conversation about absolutely anything with absolutely anyone. I think my dad has mixed feelings about it – if only because it means that it can take thirty minutes to walk a ten minute stretch of the high street. It’s not too much of a surprise therefore, that I similarly am not picky with talking to people – my friends will be too happy to tell you about what they call “the puppet man incident”. I know for some people, alcohol is a form of social lubrication; a way to loosen up and talk to people easier. But I’ve never really needed that.

4. It’s Healthier

Let me just start by clarifying: I am not the picture of perfect health. I most definitely do things that aren’t considered healthy – but not alcohol. With so many things I already worry about in life, I am very okay with my kidneys not being one of them.

5. I Like Being In Control

This reason’s a bit deeper I guess. There are two occasions where I have been drunk. Both times I was with people I trusted and in a place I felt comfortable. I wanted to try it and see what all the fuss was about. Due to my non-drinking nature, it didn’t take very long to get me drunk – which was good because, as stated, I don’t actually enjoy drinking. This also meant that it didn’t take very long to completely sober up either – and I then couldn’t be bothered going through the whole process all over again. For the short time I was drunk though, I was basically stereotypically white girl drunk; I giggled a lot, stumbled around and got very loud. It was ok, I guess. But not really worth the effort.

And I much prefer having control over myself. I would rather make stupid decisions due to my own stupidity rather than something else influencing them. Plus blackouts, loss of motor skills and casual vomiting don’t sound exactly sound enjoyable.

6. I Just Don’t Want To 

I could give you all the reasons in the world to justify why I don’t drink, but frankly it all comes down to the fact that I just don’t want to. And really, that should be enough.

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