Ordering fruit juice at a bar always elicits curiosity. If I’m with a new group of people, one of their first questions is: ‘What are you drinking?’. There’s often an assumption that everyone drinks alcohol. If you’re not drinking, people want to know why. Friends know I don’t drink as it doesn’t mix well with my medication (Enbrel injections for rheumatoid disease and Actonel tablets for osteoporosis). But should I tell people I haven’t known long the reason why I’m alcohol-free? It shouldn’t be an issue. Lots of people (without chronic illness) abstain from drink for health reasons or because they’re into sport. Others might have addictive personalities and stay off booze. That’s their decision. I don’t judge others for drinking alcohol or not but I’ve noticed that some drinkers (not my friends) find it hard to have a ‘teetotaller’ in their presence. They crack jokes about ‘Needing to watch their intake’ and so on. I’ve explained that I don’t miss it and if I want a great substitute, I know an amazing alcohol-free wine that tastes and looks like the real thing.
Taking my reason for staying sober out of the equation, I feel much better without it. RA/RD and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome make me feel tired enough already without adding hangovers into the mix! Being teetotal doesn’t mean you have to stop socialising. However, not drinking means more time to explore other activities that don’t revolve around a pub!