Recently a comment was posted where someone asked why I don't drink. I do seem to mention it in a number of posts, mostly those where I'm complaining how hard it is to find a girl who also doesn't drink, but I suppose I've never explained why. I also don't do drugs, smoke, or take medicine.
I've never had a drink in my life. I went to a private school in Andover, Massachusetts for middle school and I don't think anyone there drank. Maybe they did and I was blissfully ignorant. I remember one kid got caught for smoking and it was a huge controversy.
After middle school my family moved to Austin, Texas and I went to a public high school. My first day there I got lost and happened to have wandered behind the building. to my surprise there was a huge mass of kids smoking cigarettes and pot. One such kid, a Junior, picked me up and put me in a trash can.
Nowadays I guess most people start drinking early, in middle school. I missed that phase and all of a sudden EVERYONE was drinking.
In high school none of my friends drank. I consider meeting those friends to be one of the best things that ever happened to me for a number of reasons.
At the end of my senior year in high school, not one of my good friends was a drinker. I had made friends with the biggest druggie in school, and other people who drank or did drugs, but none of them were part of my core group of close friends.
Then I met Julie. I wrote about her in the story of how I became a pick up artist. She and I went to a party that her friends (who all drank) were throwing. When I walked in I was happy to see my friend Sumaya. But she wasn't acting like she usually did. She came up to me and started pawing at my stomach while talking. It was odd.
Then I looked around and realized that there were bottles of alcohol. She was drunk - for the first time, as it turns out. Aware that I was uncomfortable Julie pulled me into the bathroom with her while
she made a phone call - and that's when I kissed her for the first time.
Over that summer and during the next year as freshmen in college, my friends began to drink and smoke pot. It made me furious. I was so proud to be the group of people who were too cool to drink. We were happy and had more fun than anyone, and we didn't need alcohol.
To me, alcohol is a crutch. So is a great deal of modern medicine. Both cure symptoms rather than problems. People drink, and it's usually for a reason : lonliness, depression, insecurity, stress, or the worst of all : boredom. I've rarely seen people drink for reasons other than those. Some people drink because it goes well with food, and that isn't bothersome to me.
As my friends began to drink and I saw them, I saw them act like idiots. They were transformed from the people I knew and loved into boring idiots. They would laugh at things that weren't funny, stumble around, and generally make fools of themselves. Some of them would say things that they'd surely regret. Often times they'd get too close to people's faces and talk about things that person didn't care about. I was that person sometimes.
When I saw the effect alcohol had on my friends, I was even less interested in trying it.
I did try it, though.
I don't know if it's out of insecurity, a desire to improve my life, or because of the challenge, but it's very common for people to try to get me to drink.
Julie called me one night before she was going to come visit. Over the past couple weeks she had been pleading for me to try wine. Knowing I never would, I told her that I might. She asked if she could bring a bottle of wine over. I said no.
She did anyway. She also brought a corkscrew and two glasses in a bag. She had bought the bottle on the way, and I thought that was adorable. I agreed to try a sip. After all, she had earlier quit drinking for three months to get me to like her.
I was worried I would like the wine and become a drinker. Maybe I would become one of those bumbling idiots who can't hold company with sober people.
She poured the Reisling into the glass and showed me how to swirl it. I felt like an aristocrat. I sniffed the wine as she did. She took a small sip and showed me how to "chew" it to extract the most flavor.
I took a sip and chewed it. All of my worries were immediately banished - this stuff was disgusting. I was shocked, actually. I really thought that I would like it and would have to then force myself not to drink.
But it tasted like rotten fruit and gasoline all mixed together. She was also surprised that I didn't like it, and urged me to try another sip. I wouldn't.
Another time I went to visit my friend Lindsay. She had a friend over who was sitting on the porch in front, drinking a red icy drink. I introduced myself and she offered me a sip.
"Oh, no thanks. I don't drink."
She laughed, "It's not alcoholic."
I knew it was. But then again, why would some girl I just met possibly try to trick me into drinking? It made no sense at all, so I took a sip. It wasn't as offensive as the wine, but was certainly alcoholic.
Later I accidentally drank a sip of mimosa because I thought it was orange juice : gross.
A vodka or something clear on the rocks that I thought was water : gross.
Katya was drinking a red wine that she claimed was fantastic. She'd made a strong effort not to drink so I figured I'd indulge and try it. Gross.
I honestly don't understand how people become drinkers. Alcohol is so incredibly foul that it baffles me that people bother to aquire the taste. I ate a bite of a 100 year old egg, a Chinese delicacy which consists of a egg which is buried in the ground until it rots and ferments and turns black and green.
It was better than any alcoholic beverage I've ever tried.
And then there's the issue of control. I like being in control of my life. I make some sweet decisions.
Alcohol takes away control.
I don't need or want the things it offers. I'm already secure, inhibition-free, happy, unstressed, and have enough great friends to prevent me from being lonely or bored. What could I possibly gain?
What if I did like it? Would I become one of those pathetic drunks that no one wants to talk to who annoys everyone? Maybe. Nearly every interaction I've ever had with someone who was drunk was awful.
Those that were bearable would have been far better if they weren't drinking. Oh god - and the "man, we were so wasted..." stories. There is no good story that begins that way.
I'm constantly thinking about my future, and how actions I take now will affect me. Why give drinking a chance to develop into a habit that I might struggle with for years?
Think about this : is there anyone who you have ever respected MORE because they drank? Is there anyone who you've respected more because they DIDN'T drink?
And how about the health benefits? Sure a glass of wine a day is supposedly good for you. So is grape juice and a million other things. Also, the health benefits are miniscule compared to hundreds of other easier health tips that could be taken to heart.
I'm not trying to convert anyone here. If you drink and you're happy about it, then that's great for you. I recognize that there are benefits to drinking as well. For example, the best bite of your steak is the first bite because steak coats your toungue in a film that inhibits taste. Red wine dissolves that film.
If you drink, though, I hope this gives you some perspective into why I chose not to drink, and at least gets you to consider why you drink (feel free to answer that in the comments - I'd love to hear it).
Personally, I'll never drink or do drugs. There's just too much liability for too few benefits. I also like being one of the few who was strong enough to never give in and try it. Cheers!
I stumbled on this site by chance, thought I'd post. I'm a bit older and have been around the block (and the world) and will offer a slightly different perspective on drinking:
I'm going to bypass the condescending nature of the post and my opinion of your (Tynen) lack of experience in both life and beverages.
Your reasoning can be summed up as follows: Alcohol is imbibed as a medicine that treats symptoms (depression, loneliness, etc.). Medicines that treat symptoms are not cures. Therefore, alcohol is not a cure. Since it isn't a cure, tastes bad, and has negative consequences, alcohol should never be imbibed.
You could just as easily apply your logic to exercise. People exercise as a medicine to relieve stress. Exercise relieves stress without getting rid of the stress' cause. Since it doesn't get rid of the stress' cause, requires lots of unnecessary work, and results in a multitude of ligament injuries, people should never exercise.
Replace "tasting your first drink" with "sprinting your first 50-meter dash" and you could just as easily write an article about how disagreeable the experience of exercise was the first two times you were talked into giving it a try - the concept is no more ridiculous than what you have posted.
The fact is that different people do different exercises, for different reasons, with different results. The same is true of alcohol. Some may drink because they are lonely, just as some people exercise because their self-image is low. Does the motive always negate the act? Is drinking bad because its motives stem from negative emotions? And if so, then is drinking good when its motives stem from positive ones?
Either way, you don't know anyone's motives but your own. Therefore, your decision to staunchly avoid drinking primarily because you believe that its motives stem from self-image or other deep-seated emotional problems is actually very telling with regards to your own psychology and self-image. You seem to be afraid that the tail is in danger of wagging the dog, or in other words, that if you drink, then the action indicates that you do have emotional problems. This would mean that a man who is free of any emotional problems, who then drank, would retroactively have to be viewed as emotionally damaged because he chose to imbibe alcohol. Rational logic reveals the absurdity of such a notion; however, it does suggest that you are afraid of confirming an emotional deficiency that you suspect yourself to have. What this is, no one but you can know.
And while some people drink for negative reasons, it's my experience that many more drink for positive ones. I know for certainty that I myself am in that category, and no teetotaler is in any more of a position to say otherwise than my own brother - none know but I.
You will probably go through life without tasting and appreciating a truly fine beer, and for that I honestly pity you. But, at least you are your own man, and for that you deserve more respect than one who drinks solely for conformity's sake (however misguided your rationale may be).
Exercising and drinking have very different effects on the body. Exercising not only conditions the muscles to work hard, but also conditions the brain to work hard by practicing goal-setting, self-discipline, and gaining satisfaction and confidence from goal-completion. These are all ways which can help you develop the tools to release stress because if you have strong goal-setting and self-discipline skills, then you are better equipped to follow through with a solution to the cause of stress.
Alright. Let's MadLib this by substituting "drinking" in for "exercising" in the first paragraph, and see what happens!
"Exercising and drinking have very different effects on the body. Drinking not only conditions the muscles to work hard, but also conditions the brain to work hard by practicing goal-setting, self-discipline, and gaining satisfaction and confidence from goal-completion. These are all ways which can help you develop the tools to release stress because if you have strong goal-setting and self-discipline skills, then you are better equipped to follow through with a solution to the cause of stress."
Except exercise is medically approved as it maintains overall health and wellness (alcohol does exactly the opposite), makes you look and feel good (while alcohol makes you feel more attractive when in reality you're attractive just as you were before drinking -resulting with you looking like a fool because of it). And ofcourse overdoing exercise and doing it wrong could cause injuries, but there is balance in everything, so if you have enough sense, you'll know that if you never did any exercise it may not be a good idea for you to go on and take for the first time 50 meter sprint without any preparations.
Furthermore, Tynan's argument that people drink because of "loneliness, depression, insecurity, stress, or... boredom" is actually a fair argument based on simple induction, and, I believe, on a very representative group of people who drink and spoke to Tynan about their reasons.
Here I can complement this representative group because in my lifetime of meeting and talking to people who drink - and there has been a lot of them (I've even worked in a bar), I have never met a person who drinks because non of reasons cited. And sure NO ONE will ever admit having a problem and openly tell you that they are depressed, lonely etc, but sure, you can easily induce reasons that they actually give you to any of reasons cited.
You can enjoy a glass of fine whine or fine beer, but that's just a matter of taste. And if you can actually pity someone because of their taste, then I pity you, because you appreciate something that harms your body rather then appreciating your health.
Damn just realized this is a really old post lol mb
Not bad at all! It's a strange thing to find someone of drinking age who has never really drank anything! It's incredibly difficult and almost a stigma where I'm from!
same here. I don't drink, and that lowers my social standing a LOT. It is hard to make friends on campus if you prefer to stay in on Friday instead of getting wasted. I have no problem with people who drink, and I don't really mind the taste, but I don't want to drink. I know I am not the most mentally sound, and I don't want to hurt anyone.
I am usually quiet and happy, but I harbor violent thought. Some people like me don't drink because we are afraid of what would happen if our inhibitions were lowered. Think about that next time you see someone trying to pressure someone else into drinking. there is usually a reason that they don't drink....
Oh...my...gosh. Where have you been all my life? This post is EXACTLY how I feel. Your comments on how "alcohol is a crutch" and that every drink you've ever tried is "gross" is spot on. I feel the same way and it really saddens me that too many people drink. They try to justify it by saying they only "drink socially" but you can socialize WITHOUT DRINKING. In fact, as you mentioned with your old group of friend, I feel you can actually have more fun socializing without drinking! I would MUCH rather sip on a soda, juice, or a slushie from Sonic than alcohol. You're article is amazing. Thank you.
Dude rock on! I absolutely, completely agree with you 100%. As I read your post, I felt that it was me who wrote this things because that is exactly how a felt. My story is different. I came from another country. I grew up in a great pain free, happy environment. Somehow all my friends before are just "good friends". Similar to you, we never drank and we had fun even w/o alcohol. I migrated here in the US when I was 17. OH God I was shocked! But even though I know it will be harder for me to find friends if I don't enjoy drinking or any self-destructive behavior. I chose not too. I just believe that drinking is for superficial people. Like you, I was so disappointed when I found out that my high school friends starting drinking. I thought that they are different. I guess not. Anyways, just wanted to tell you that I'm completely happy and contented with my decision. Believe or not I feel happier inside because I choose "NOT TO" drink. By the way, I tried them too and they totally taste like crap.
I like beer more than century egg. Respect for not drinking and having solid reasons for it. So when you go to clubs, you just have water?
good post dude. i share the same view when it comes to smoking. why do people smoke? everyone knows the first puff is disgusting, so why keep doing it - strange.
i personally do drink, but not to the point where i will talk like a twat and act like a prat. i enjoy a beer after work or down the pub watching football (soccer). im 22 (so legally 4 years of drinking under my belt - from the uk) and only tried my first glass of red wine a few months ago and yeah, its gross. slowly getting into a nice white wine though. but things like vodka, scotch etc i dont touch.
But i suppose when i do tend to drink quite a bit (birthdays etc), i do act differently, not in a bad way. i begin to come care free to my actions, talking to other people, danceing etc.
You cannot beat getting out of your head once in a while, on drink or whatever. Anything else smacks to me of a fascist lifestyle.
I like the taste of certain drinks. Other than that and having an occasional one, I really don't care to overindulge in it. I have before, sure, but I also understand there's no point in harming your body so clearly by overindulging in it.
I'm just like you; I'm eighteen and I've never taken a sip of alcohol in my life, nor do I plan to. (My choice is not based off anything religious.) I head off to college this fall, somewhere that's both luring and frightening at the same time. I realize the chance of having a drink will be more eminent than ever in the next few years, but I've promised myself to remain steadfast and commit myself to what I know and love best - none of which involves using alcohol or other substances as a prop. Thanks for the article!
I googled "are there people that don't do drugs" because I truly feel like the only one at school. It just doesn't interest me and I don't want that to be my hobby. I might try it, yeah, but like you said I don't want it to control me. I don't drink because 1) i'm only 17 (not that that reason stops people) plus it's not allowed in my religion. I don't mind it but I would like to go wine tasting one day (i think you spit out the wine, right) and probably eat lady fingers coated with rum. I don't know but I really think that finding friends and someone is going to be really hard.
After work I went to get some dinner with Doug and Steve. Doug is one of the engineers at Smiley Media, who you will be hearing about soon due to some incredible plans we have set in motion. Steve, as you may remember owns Smiley Media. Jonah joined us later for drinks and fish tacos (for those of us who don't drink) at Saba, a generically trendy bar downtown. The draw was that its windows look down onto Cedar Street, where the Spasmodics were playing. The Spasmodics are a band who probably deserve some description, but I don't care enough to go into it.
When we were at Saba, I saw some incredibly hot girls. I know that may not seem noteworthy to a lot of readers, but I don't see a ton of hot girls on a regular basis for some reason. That should change.
Anyway, we all decided to go back to my place to watch Lost. Steve, Doug, and Jonah took Jonah's car, and I took mine.
Michael Smith has graciously written up how he decided to quit alcohol by measuring his subjective happiness levels. He runs Teratech, an emergency service to diagnose and repair broken web applications, and he blogs at AbundantMichael.com.
"How I Gave Up Drinking Alcohol By Measuring My Daily Happiness Level"
I was working on my money issues and I was at a festival that I went to every year that I usually drank at. At that time, I usually drank most days and got drunk about once a week. I was practicing connecting and then had one glass of wine and noticed that I could no longer connect until after the "hangover" time for the wine was over a few hours later. (By "hangover" time I mean the dip in energy that occurs after the buzz of the alcohol had worn off)
Then a few weeks later I was really happy about something, I felt 10/10 happy and I decided to have a drink to celebrate. After a few minutes I checked in on my happiness level and I was only 9/10 happy. But I had always thought alcohol made you happier?! I realized that it is actually a mild depressive and it is just the inhibiting of consciousness and worries that makes it seem happier. Plus that it can be a cue for being silly or talkative.
So I decided to see if I could give it up for a year. It was hard because I had lots of sub-habits and cues about drinking. eg "its Friday evening, I am tired after work, I deserve a drink", "I am at a party and want a drink", "I am on vacation, it is lunchtime, I want a drink", "I am feeling upset, I want a drink", "I am feeling happy, I want a drink", "Someone is offering me a drink, I want a drink" etc. There were about 20 of them that I discovered over the first 6 months and I processed each using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) until my desire for a drink was 0/10. (In EFT you measure how intense an issue is on a 0-10 scale then repeatedly tap on the issue until the level is 0). After a year of not drinking at all I felt so much healthier and happier I decided to continue my experiment indefinitely. Now I don't get the urge to drink even if I am around the old cues or with others drinking. And I find I can do silly things, play or talk with strangers without a drink in my hand.