I’m tee-total, not boring

"I don't drink alcohol, get over it."


Mark, 22, has recently finished a degree in English Literature at Liverpool John Moores University. He enjoys travelling, reading, drawing and playing music.

I think of myself as your average 22 year-old; I’m very much into going out and socialising with friends, but within the past couple of years I’ve gone off the idea of drinking alcohol.

Some people accept my decision. To them I’m far from abnormal and have a certain level of self-control, yet to others I’m something of a spoilsport in the pub or at a party, and this upsets me.

I’m seen as the loner, the odd one out, whatever it is you want to call me. By not having a drink by my side I’m consciously making a statement to those around me, which in turn (and this is their belief) makes me a bore and somewhat detached from the fun and frolicking that forms part of a good old piss-up.

Yes, I admit I’m purposefully choosing to detach myself and I admit I don’t want to get into a state where I talk absolute irrelevant crap to some random stranger and then feel ready to spill out the remains of my dinner at any second, but that is my decision and is that really such a bad thing? Is it not possible for me to simply enjoy myself without having to drink?

Now I know what some of you might be thinking, not everyone who goes out intends to get to that stage and that’s true, but the pressure and need to consume alcohol in certain social environments is undeniably everywhere, from a quiet night in the local, to sitting on the terraces, right up to a funeral gathering. If there’s a scenario where you’re out with people and you choose to sip on a coke rather than a Carlsberg, you are always likely to hear those all too familiar words: “Why aren’t you drinking?”

To some non-drinkers all this is just mildly annoying, which is fair enough, but for me it’s becoming ridiculous. Yet despite this, let me re-iterate to people that I’m really not trying to make an argument against people drinking alcohol. I mean I understand that we are all different and react differently to alcohol.

However the idea that people are seen as boring without a pint or a shot of vodka in their coke, is actually quite sad to me and is perhaps, if anything, more of a reflection on the image of alcohol within the UK itself. In which case, should we (by which case I mean non-drinkers) put these questions we hear down to ideas we all absorb through advertising and the media?

Well the answer is probably yes. After all, more often than not people relate drinking to good times and great experiences. Adverts focus on showing how wonderful every beer soaked, vodka driven moment is.

And so you see that is my point exactly, there aren’t obligatory laws on having to have an alcoholic drink and behave in a certain way anywhere, so why do so many of us constantly feel this need to have to do it and fit in? Many of us drink for various reasons but for me there’s nothing worse than being with or seeing someone drunk simply for the sake of having to do it. And why does this unwritten code of drinking behaviour force so many of us to judge those who aren’t complying? My advice at the end of the day is simple, if you feel happy with a Schweppes or a Stella then that’s your choice, but please don’t judge others by their decision.


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Updated on 29-Sep-2015