This morning I read a couple of very powerful blog posts. This one is about hunger (physical and emotional), and how western women are culturalized to deny our needs for sustanance. This one is about the modern woman’s relationship with alcohol.
Both of them are very intense reads, and both struck a deep chord within me.
Let me be very clear right up front: I’m not sober. I go for very long stints without drinking though. I do this for personal reasons, but all of them can be lumped into two categories: good for me physically and good for me psychologically. I feel more like “me” when I’m not drinking, I’m less anxious, I’m happier, I get more done. Probably because I am not medicating myself with alcohol. I’m a hell of a lot goofier too, which is one thing I really like about me.
It’s hard not to drink. First of all, I like the way different alcoholic beverages taste. I love how different drinks taste with good food. If I am drinking these days, it’s a good bet that a fabulous meal is also involved.
Secondly, alcohol seems to be a really big part of the Austin experience. I plan where and when I go places now. I know if I’m in a no-drinking phase that if I go to brunch there will be interesting bloody mary and mimosa concoctions. Happy Hours (even official ones for work) are about alcohol, not soda water and lime. It’s hard to avoid it….so lots of times just staying home works better for me.
Thirdly, the tech industry has a love affair with alcohol. It is a staple at every event (even ones I’ve planned). At the last big conference I attended, it was cheaper to buy beer than it was to buy a bottle of water (no soda water available at most of the events). I’ve had interviews that we basically bar crawls to see if I could keep up (huge red flag to which I should have paid better attention). I’ve been shamed for not drinking, by managers and friends. It’s really hard to passively avoid drinking, it’s almost as if you don’t drink, something is wrong with you.
I don’t really get that. For me, not drinking is a very personal thing. I am doing it for me, for my own personal reasons. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Because of that, I don’t care if others drink. It does help that I have a network of friends who also are not drinking. We encourage each other before big events, and share all sorts of tips to make it through the parties that are bound to be booze-fests without drinking. But I need to be really clear: not drinking accomplishes my personal goals, and no one has to change in order for me to meet those goals.
Except me. I totally need this change.
So I have a huge favor to ask. I’m not trying to kill your vibe by not drinking. Please don’t go on about all the reasons why I *should* endulge. If I’m not drinking, your persuasion really feels like bullying to me. So please, don’t. I swear I’m not silently judging you.
Let’s just all enjoy each other’s company, no matter what fills our cups.