I Don't Drink, But We Can Still Be Friends

by Colleen Dilthey Thomas
Originally Published: 
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I had a drinking problem. I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit it. After years of binge drinking, hangovers, and all around unattractive behavior, I gave it up. Ten years ago I took my last sip of beer and my final drag of a cigarette. Sober life suits me. I’m a mother of four and don’t really have room for alcohol in my life. But just because it doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it’s not OK for you.

For some people, my sobriety makes them uncomfortable. Just because I don’t have a wine glass in my hand, they think I’m judging them. That’s simply not true. I don’t care what other people do. Alcohol is fun. Alcohol is relaxing. And some of it is downright tasty. Happy hour after a long work week is a great release. I love that release too, I just have it with a Diet Coke instead of a Chardonnay. Trust me, I can still talk and laugh and gossip with the best of them even without a cocktail.

There is another huge benefit of being friends with a non-drinker. I will quickly volunteer to be the designated driver. I’m not being pushy, or bossy, or holier-than-though, I’m just in a better position to drive. Let me! And go ahead and imbibe and have a fun night away from your troubles and relax. I’m happy to do it.

I promise, I’m not judging you. I also don’t just assume that you get wasted every day because you drink in front of me from time to time. But I will probably be the first to tell you if I think you’ve had enough. I definitely will be the one who takes your keys or calls you an Uber. I love and care about you.

I want to spend time with you. I want to be invited to girls’ night out. I’d love to come to your party and make great memories with our friends. I look forward to my family’s annual Pig Roast and opening my home to our family and friends even if I’m not tapping the keg. Don’t think that if you’re invited to my house I won’t serve you a cocktail. I promise we will have plenty of booze and delicious food and friendship. Our parties are just like everyone else’s.

I’m not better than you because I don’t drink. My laundry is piled up in the mud room just like yours and I still yell at my kids. I’m like your other friends, and I want to be accepted as so, that’s it. So let’s ditch our husbands and our kids and head to that cute new wine bar. My only request is that you let me pick you up and that they’ve got plenty of Diet Coke on hand.

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