I’m Not An Alcoholic—But I Still Avoid Booze, And Here's Why

by Shaye Wyllie
Originally Published: 
Four glass beer bottles and a red background

You know how some teens just can’t wait to turn 21 so they can drink? Yeah, I wasn’t one of those kids. When I turned 21, alcohol wasn’t the first thing I thought about. Hell, now that I’m almost 30, I still don’t think about it often. Sometimes I go to an event with an open bar, and I ask for a soda. Which I guess for some could be kind of shocking since I run an Entertainment site called Popcorn and Tequila? But drinking just isn’t a big deal for me.

And it has a lot to do with my family’s history with drinking.

I’ve never really told anyone this, but before I was born, my dad was a heavy drinker. I’m not sure if he was an alcoholic or not, partially because I’m too scared to even ask, but I remember my mom admitting that that’s why he has so many kids. She said something along the lines of, he’d drink, and then he’d go be with XYZ. And that made me realize that yeah … he was probably an alcoholic. P.S. — Don’t worry, “XYZ” was before my mom, in case you’re wondering what kind of crazy childhood I had.

One day, I’ll ask, but to be honest, my dad’s not the only one who had (or should I say has) a drinking problem in our family, so I feel like I don’t actually need to.

I’ve seen my uncles drink heavily. My cousin and half brother are pretty much alcoholics, even though no one will actually admit it or say the word out loud.

So, growing up, I saw my fair share of alcohol-fueled fuckery. And while I’m fortunate enough to have never been harmed by anyone, just seeing what alcohol does to others is enough.

Since alcoholism “runs in the family” I tend to stay clear of it.

I mean, I drink, but only occasionally, like if I’m out with friends or if I’m celebrating something. Rarely ever alone, and never when I’m in a bad mood. Specifically because of my family’s past, and how easy it is to use drugs as an escape.

I’m self-aware enough to know that alcohol as an escape from my problems, or current bad mood, doesn’t actually fix my problems, so I stay clear of it, in fear that one day, I’ll turn into an alcoholic, like some of my family members, who I know turned to alcohol due to stress.

If we’re being all the way honest today, I’ve had a bottle of tequila for over a year that’s still not finished yet.

It just basically sits here and collects dust. And it’s good tequila, don’t get me wrong, but theres’s really no need to drink every dang day just to finish it, or just because it’s around. So it sits, and it waits for me to finally pick it up again and mix it with some lemonade.

However, I don’t just stay clear of booze because of my family’s history. Alcohol also makes me tired. So by the time my kid is in bed and I can have a glass of wine, there’s really no point in me drinking. Unless I plan on not waking up on time the next day.

So when my older brother makes fun of me because this tequila bottle still isn’t empty yet, I shrug it off. Make fun of me all you want, but I’m still not gonna drink that thing any faster. Hell, the only reason it’s almost empty is because he drinks it when he comes around. *ahem* See, the alcoholic tendencies are strong around here.

Which is why I’m proud to say, that as someone who drinks, I’ve NEVER had a hangover. Yup, I’ve never been “drunk drunk.” I have no problem going out with friends, having a drink, and then calling it quits once my body has had enough.

That buzz you get when drinking isn’t a great feeling for me. It’s probably why I’ve never had a hangover. As soon as I feel a buzz kicking in, I’m begging someone for a glass of water and dying for some cold air. I’ve been known to walk home from parties so I could soak up as much cold air as possible, and by the time I finally get in, I’m sober.

I stop when I know it’s time to stop. Regardless of who thinks I shouldn’t, or what people say.

Peer pressure is a b*tch, but I’m not HER b*tch, so I have no problem saying no.

Which is why, when it comes to wondering why people don’t drink … I just don’t.

Over the last 20+ years on this planet we call Earth, I’ve learned that not only does “everything happen for a reason,” but also that people do things for a reason, whether they admit it to you or not.

So questioning why some of my friends drink and why some don’t isn’t my forte, because you know what? You don’t HAVE to be in recovery to not drink. You don’t have to be an alcoholic, or have a problem, to say no to booze. For some, alcohol can make them angry, anxious, or tired, and not everyone likes the way they feel after drinking.

Some people are struggling with family issues they don’t speak on.

And it’s not my place to judge anyone for not partaking in things just because I do them.

So the next time someone says they don’t feel like drinking, or they don’t drink at all — don’t look at them like they have four heads! Honor their strength to say no to peer pressure, and keep it moving. Don’t make it a big deal, and don’t ask why … unless you’re friends and genuinely curious, because sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as “I just don’t want to.”

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