This is a post which has also been published for a work blog about wellbeing as part of a Christmas series.
Christmas is traditionally a time for an excess of food – chocolate, puddings, cheese. It’s a time for parties and connecting with people, re-connecting with family and spending time together. By association, more alcohol is consumed and, as a non-drinker currently, this can be problematic.
I’m not teetotal, I simply don’t drink at the moment. I stopped in August after I had changed roles and had a fabulous holiday in Italy. Before then I had drunk a couple of glasses of wine last Christmas. Before that, it was May 2017. In the past, I’ve gone for 2 years without drinking alcohol and now I just don’t feel the need to have a drink to enjoy myself.
At Christmas, this position is polarised.
The expectation to drink at Christmas can be much stronger. Common phrases I hear include:
• Go on
• Why not have just one?
• How about a small one?
• What’s the harm in a drink?
• Are you sure?
• Is it a religion thing?
• You must be on antibiotics
It’s gone so far that some people have become aggressive in the past and I’ve been served spiked drinks before now. Some people just don’t understand that I didn’t want to drink alcohol.
Right now, I simply just don’t.
When I started running a few years ago I found that alcohol had an effect on my training. Since I tend to have a race in the calendar in the future most of the time, I also tend to be not drinking.
If you want to have a drink, I won’t judge you; I enjoy a drink as much as anyone (especially if it’s good dark rum), but please don’t set expectations that I should drink because you are.
Please don’t assume that, because I’m not drinking alcohol I’m not having a good time.
Please don’t think that I’m not happy to contribute to a whip or kitty if I’m not drinking but ask me beforehand.
Please don’t tell me I’m setting an example. I’m not role modeling anything, I’m just being me.
Please enjoy yourselves at Christmas.