There’s a chance this could be WATER

“No, thanks, just water for me.”

In America, when I say I don’t drink, my conversations often end. People turn away to someone who can relate to their experiences. When I say I don’t drink, people assume I won’t join them out at a bar or a party.

“No, thanks, just water for me.”

It can be difficult to be the one only ordering water, Shirley Temples, and non-alcoholic drinks — not because I mind the drinking, but because I mind feeling left out (so glad there’s now a term for this, I’m looking at you, FOMO).

Do you remember the last time you felt left out? You may have felt just a slight twinge of nerves, a little less oxygen filling your lungs, or in desperate need of distraction.

“No, thanks, just water for me.”

Before you ask, yes, I do have my reasons for not drinking.

I want to tell you why I don’t drink, and see if we can start a conversation from there.

1. To be honest…I never really got it. Like every teenager, I was susceptible to the power of persuasion, but in the case of alcohol I was never hooked.

2. I am Muslim. Islam prohibits any substance that alters your perception of what is going on around you. While I may not do everything perfectly, I do try to live my life as ‘right’ as I see it, and I have always been afraid that alcohol will cloud that.

3. To a non-drinker, alcohol just smells like chemicals. The lingering smell after the sweetness of most drinks dissipates, and what’s left behind smells like chemicals to me.

4. Blacking out terrifies me. I have a pretty good memory; not perfect, not photographic, but my memory is pretty tip-top. I like knowing around what happened around when.

5. I have seen far too many people change under the influence of alcohol. I honestly don’t know who I’d be with alcohol, so it’s easy to be me without it.

6. Here’s a twofer: Calories and cents. Why drink those empty calories when I could actually enjoy real calories in a milkshake? Also — money. My milkshake is (almost always) cheaper and yummier.

To this day, I have not had a sip.

I read a quote once where the speaker claims that “saying no for so long has made saying yes impossible.” I get that now.

While drinking is common, I have never imagined a life with it.

So let’s start a conversation, maybe over drinks. I’ll stick with water.

Originally posted on Medium @coloredglasses


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