Flicking the tv on tonight I found a Jay Z montage style affair with inspirational words flashing up about “making things”. I was wrong if I thought it was an advert to encourage youths to get a job. I was wrong thinking it was a fashion ad. It was a Budweiser advertisement. Strange to me that advertising of cigarettes is banned but alcohol is not only allowed but the propaganda is permitted to glamourize it.
I drink, sometimes. I’m not teetotal. I don’t have religious beliefs that bar me from drinking (see what I did there?) I don’t have an addictive personality so I have to abstain to avoid not being able to stop. I don’t take the moral high ground because I’ve had a horrific experience when drunk. But sometimes I don’twant to drink. Just like sometimes I do.
On a recent night out I could justify my order of lime and soda water because I was on pain killers. In that case it’s okay. Don’t do yourself a mischief by drinking with medication. Truth is that I wasn’t planning on drinking anyway. I didn’t want to queue for a taxi amongst couples who can’t keep their hands off each other (and I use couples in the loosest sense of the world; mostly their relationships date back to twenty to ten). I didn’t want to spend all of Sunday feeling as rough as toast and not wanting to remove my onesie, or last nights make up for that matter. I didn’t want to not remember what I’d said to who. I didn’t want to feel my heart beating fast on Monday morning when I checked my fast balance app. But had I not been taking the painkillers the night would have become a series of “Are you sure you’re all right’s?” and “Go on, get the car tomorrow’s”.
Actually, I really like my friends. I can listen to them talking for hours over tea. I can dance with them in my kitchen at 2 in the afternoon. I can tell them I love them on a Wednesday because I’m overly open like that and they’re well used to it by now. I don’t need to drink to enjoy their company. In fact, the best compliment I’ve had recently is that someone forgot I wasn’t drinking on a night out. That must mean that I’m fun without it?
In a world where the media glamorises alcohol it could be easy to forget the blaring realisation that it’s not all fun. In 2012 50 to 80% of crimes involve alcohol. Accurate statistics are impossible to locate but binge drinking has also been linked to a higher risk of rape, as well as mock jurys showing that there is some (undeserved in my opinion) responsibility attributed to the victim where he or she is drunk. Drink Drivers caused 280 deaths in 2011. So why is it that when I say I’m not drinking tonight, everyone is asking why I don’t just have one?
And all this isn’t to say that I’ll never drink. Or that I’ll look down on those who want to. Have a bottle on a weekend. Have a glass every night. Go out and take shots on a bar and let it dribble down your chin and on your chest. Take selfies where, in the cold light of day, you can see that your eyes weren’t focussed. I will sometimes. When I feel like it. But when I don’t, it’s okay I’m not miserable, I’m not not okay, I’m not going to have a rubbish night.
I just want to choose not to drink sometimes, and sometimes I want to choose to drink until I think I’m Beyonce.