There is a massive gap between boring teetotallers and wild, fun consumers of alcohol – or so Britain’s drinking culture would have us believe. So I decided to ask 3 non-drinkers a few questions and invited them to ask me and two other drinkers questions in return, to find out our true habits and to swap honest opinions.
Let Them Be Small
Has a personal blog about her adventures in motherhood, which also features product reviews to help other mums out there. She is a wife and stay-at-home mum to their young son. ‘Owns’ two cats and is establishing her own handmade business.
Lorraine The UnCheshire Wife
A lifestyle and personal blogger living in Cheshire, a wife and a mum to one. “Before I was a Mum I enjoyed a drink, we often had friends round for parties and I would entertain them with comedy songs and magic tricks. Quite often the next day I would think “Why did I do that?” but it was fun.
Rachael We 3 Three
A lifestyle and personal blogger living in the North, Rachael is a mum of one who’s ‘loving life’.
Chrissie (myself) Partner to ‘The Bloke’ living in Manchester, total night owl, lover of dark rum, wishing I was a mum to many animals.
Hannah HB Beauty Blog
Multi talented beauty blogger, beauty therapist and hairdresser.
Kate The Beauty Hot Squad
Advertising Graduate and beauty blogger living in Liverpool. A lover of music, films and shopping. Has a major thing for Katy Perry and Disney cartoons.
The Teetotallers POV
Was there a specific reason you became tee-total (or never started drinking)?
Lorraine: After I had my son I just couldn’t drink, not only because alcohol made me feel ill but I was always worrying it was like neglecting him, even though I would only have had one or two drinks. I was never a wine/spirits drinker.
Rachael: No one specific reason…Just never really saw the ‘need’ for it tbh. I saw how destructive/damaging drinking can be growing up so never really thought it was really worth it.
Sarah: When I started seeing my husband I used to drive most places, so not drinking became second nature (we lived on opposite sides of Manchester). Then I have been pregnant for much of the past two years, so again it’s just the norm – I can’t think of anything worse than a hangover and two small children! I do now have the odd drink, but it is literally a glass of wine, or a small lager.
Have you ever got drunk or wished you were for some dutch-courage or to wind down?
Lorraine: If I go to a wedding or formal event I am never comfortable so a couple of drinks can just take the edge off enough to relax. I much prefer casual events.
Rachael: Yes I’ve been drunk ;0) I don’t feel I need alcohol to give me confidence. I feel like now I’m a mum my life has moved on to an event where going to clubs/pubs/having hangovers doesn’t feature anymore.
Sarah: Nope, I’m not sure it would help me.
Does not drinking ever become an issue in social situations, regarding peoples attitudes?
Lorraine: Yes, quite often when all the girls get together at my friends house. They all drink quite a lot over the evening and they keep suggesting I have a drink & why don’t I stay over so I don’t need to drive home. i prefer to go home as they all end up extremely drunk & it’s no fun then. They say it’s boring not to drink.
Rachael: Not for me to be honest. I socialise mostly with people who don’t drink or people who don’t ‘need’ to drink at every occasion. I’ve never been made to feel odd or uncomfortable for not drinking.
Sarah: It can be, once people have had a fair bit to drink and are a little tipsy they can mither and moan at you to have just one, but most people accept the choice to not drink. It can also be an issue if out for meals and some people are ploughing through bottle after bottle of wine, and all I have had is an orange juice… often there is an expectation that a bill will be split. That annoys me a little and can cause a bit of hard feeling.
Why do you think society glamourises drinking and equates it with having more fun?
Lorraine: I think because your inhibitions relax and people tend to join in more without worrying. I think all the glitzy adverts showing glamorous parties are so fake.
Rachael: Because as a nation English people are apparently reserved so people buy into the belief that drinking will relax them and make them more interesting. it’s ingrained in our culture that any occasion requires alcohol so it is ‘weird’ without it.
Sarah: I think we live in a consumer driven, hedonistic society. We, as a society, are looking for the next thrill, and don’t always consider the cost, ie: hangover, embarassing self etc. I wonder how many people regret drinking as they did?
The Drinkers POV
Do you feel more relaxed/confident after having a drink?
Chrissie: I used to be really awkward as a teenager and drinking oiled my brain quite a bit making me more articulate and witty. I get quite hyper on cider and beer so not exactly relaxed, no, ha!
Hannah: Honestly I do. Well, saying that, it depends on the company. If I’m around people I don’t know I’d definitely have a drink to calm my nerves and loosen up a little bit.
Kate: I wouldn’t say more confident but it does relax me after a long week of being tightly wound in work.
What do you think of people who don’t drink?
Chrissie: I do admire and respect people that have never felt they need a drink to bring out their personality. That’s true confidence.
Hannah: It’s absolutely fine, everyone is there own per on and honestly, I wish sometimes I could go out and not be tempted to drink, I think it’s great!
Kate: I think it’s their choice. I know some people think it’s weird but i understand why it might not be for some people.
Do you think people who drink have a better time at parties?
Chrissie: Maybe at first for nervous people but I know a mixture of drinkers/non-drinkers and they all just seem to have an equally good time. I remember a few times though when people have got so drunk they’ve made an ass of themselves, before passing out early on, leaving some of the sober ones dancing until dawn, haha!
Hannah: No not necessarily, I think people who drink let loose a lot more and drinking does give you more confidence but it doesn’t mean they have a better time. I have friends who don’t drink sometimes at parties and they’re the life of the party most of the time! It depends on the person.
Kate: No, the party is what you make it and I’ve been to many a party where some of the most lively people have been sober.
If attending a big social event where you only know a few people, would you need to have an alcoholic drink for confidence?
Chrissie: That is the last thing I’d want to do as I can sometimes loose the filter between my brain & my mouth when I’m rather drunk. That definitely wouldn’t fill me with confidence! I’ve had to build up real confidence since I’ve been attending blogger events on my own.
Hannah: Almost definitely! I would definitely consider having a drink to allow myself to relax a bit more, I’ve had a couple of drinks before dates before now to help me relax.
Kate: No, if I’m anxious I tend not to drink at all. I can get very loose lipped after a few drinks and that doesn’t make the best impression if there are people there that you don’t know.
Do you sometimes wish you hadn’t drank due to your behaviour afterwards?
Chrissie: At least once a week during my 20’s, ha! It got to the point where I’d built up such a tolerance to alcohol I was having to drink massive amounts for it to have any effect, so when things did go wrong, they went really wrong! A few years ago I promised to stop getting drunk for a few months. Since then I’ve found a balance and I either just drink to appreciate the taste or at most to just get tipsy rather than wasted. I have a lot more fun!
Hannah: Yes!!! Not so much now I’m older but when I was younger and the aim was to get as drunk as possible and then regret everything you did the next morning I definitely regretted drinking so much then. Now I know my limits a bit more and don’t tend to do or say things that I’d regret, although don’t get me wrong, saying that, I do occasionally wake up and think “Whyyy did I say that!?”
Kate: I try not to regret things like that but i can pinpoint one time in my life that I do wish I hadn’t been so childish whilst drinking.
Have you gone out socially intending not to drink but then succumbed to peer pressure?
Chrissie: At least once a week during my 20’s. Not peer ‘pressure’ as much as mates saying stuff like “I know it’s a work night but the cocktails were 2 for 1 so here you go” “Ooh thanks, cheers!” Now I’m in my 30’s If I’ve decided to give my body and brain cells a break, I’ll definitely stick to that.
Hannah: I often go out with the intention of not drinking and a lot of the time I manage not to, mainly because I live so far away from anywhere we socialise so if I choose to drive it’s not really an option to get a taxi later if I change my mind. If I didn’t drive then I’d probably never go out and not have a drink however bad that sounds?! (Obviously I’m meaning girls nights out here and not just taking my Grandma for afternoon tea – although a glass of prosecco at lunch sometimes does just happen!!) but in response to the question, i have before now gone out with the intention of not drinking and ended up doing for one reason or another.
Kate: I wouldn’t say peer pressure, it doesn’t take much to sway me but I know how to pace myself if that does happen.
Pretty varied responses there but some surprisingly common ground found between drinkers and non-drinkers when it comes to social situations. I shall be resisting the urge next time I’m tempted to say to someone “Oh, go on have a cocktail, you can always leave your car in town.” I have to add that, like Sarah, me and The Bloke also hate people ordering massive amounts of wine and then cheekily expecting to split the bill equally with us, tsk. Some silly myths busted, such as the one about alcohol helping everyone with their confidence and no, teetotallers are definitely not boring!
So whatever you fill your glass with – cheers!