“You’re no fun”: Living sober at 26

**Trigger warning**

I live my life pretty soberly–no drinking, no drugging, etc. It has been difficult at times explaining this to people, or hanging out with people who do take part in this behavior. Tellings someone, “I don’t drink because I was raped by an ex who used alcohol as a way to weaken my defenses” isn’t always something I feel I can say (if ever). My relationship to alcohol has always been fairly negative. I grew up with my mom being a drug and alcohol counselor, so I would often hear horrendous stories. My mother stopped drinking quite some time ago, when she became a Buddhist. My dad rarely drinks, as he says he’s “too sensitive” for it. Therefore, alcohol was never really discussed as a “positive” thing in my upbringing. My brother is probably the only one, out of the four of us, who drinks regularly.

Sometimes, I feel like I don’t know if I’m being over sensitive to someone’s drug use, or not. I often act judgmental–something I don’t want to be–when it comes to others and their use of substances. I mean, it’s not like I’ve always lived a sober life–it’s something that has happened within the last three years. It’s still really difficult to find sober people my age to hang out with. The thing to do on a Saturday night is to go out to a bar/club and drink–finding people who don’t want to do that is far too difficult than it should be.

Men I’ve dated have often seemed let down by my personal choice not to drink or do drugs. I had an ex tell me once that he wished he could have known me when I drank, because we would have had “fun.” It always seems like such a big deal to them. Many of them say they want to get drunk with me, which leads me to question their motives. Also, why is it that they have to get drunk with me to have fun? Who is that fun for? Is it fun for them, because they know my defenses will be weakened?

I have many reasons why I don’t drink, they include:

-Having been raped (as stated earlier)
-Wanting to live a healthy lifestyle
-Wanting to stay “in control” as much as I can
-I’m on Zoloft for anxiety, and the two don’t mix well
-I rarely like the taste of it
-I’ve heard too many “horror stories”
-Addiction runs in my family
-I want to remember things
-I hate hangovers and throwing up

I have difficulty knowing the difference between addict behavior and “normal” behavior with people, since I don’t participate in it. I do know that I can’t surround myself with anyone who is “on something” the majority of time. If this is too difficult for someone, well, tough shit.

Basically, I’m still trying and learning and figuring all of this out. I do have strong opinions on it, and all I ask is that those opinions/beliefs are respected.

(initially posted at: lachristagreco.com)

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  • jss

    This is a bit of a tough answer, but I think you just have to be more selective about who you hang out with. You can find people through religious groups that prohibit drinking (Buddhism) or health/fitness focused social activities and groups (yoga classes, for example, are likely to have a lower proportion of drinkers than other activities). For dating, a lot of internet dating websites will let you screen people based on their (self reported) drug use habits. It will be harder for you to find people, but in the end I think that’s probably easier than dealing with people who aren’t supportive of your choices.

    • jayn

      It’s also possible you might just luck into a group who’ll respect your decision. After high school, I can’t think of a single instance where anyone ever more than offered drugs or alcohol (the summer I spent around habitual drugs users I got several apologies for people mistakenly passing me joints). I understand if you prefer to try and meet people who don’t use intoxicants at all, but there are some who do who are perfectly respectful of one’s choice not to use. So there is hope.

  • http://feministing.com/members/fledglingfem/ Bethany

    I applaud you for your restraint. I know there have been times I have used alcohol as an excuse to do things I normally wouldn’t, and it’s probably a good test for whoever you’re dating to ensure they actually care about your well-being. Be strong, I’m sure you can find someone through a dating site who either drinks very rarely or not at all. Good luck.