I have had many awkward moments at events because I rarely drink alcohol. I was reminded of this last night when I went to Patritti Wines as there are many non alcoholic options in this winery.
I remember walking into a networking event at a very flashy ‘pop up’ rooftop function centre and was handed a wine voucher to get a couple of glasses from the sponsors – when I asked if there was any non alcoholic options, the host was horrified that I wouldn’t want the wine and took a couple of steps back in disbelief. So you don’t want wine? NO! This wasn’t a bar where they would have access to soft drinks easily like other venues, they hadn’t even thought of it as an option. My friend also had the same experience – tap water it was.
I survived, but the point is here it didn’t leave a good taste, i felt shamed and I certainly didnt feel welcomed or connected. The reason why people don’t drink is varied, and over the years it has been a lot more accepted.
Other times I have..
– felt like a teenager being peer pressured and told what’s wrong with you!
– yelled at and backed into a corner when someone’s had a little too much – who do you think you are – you think you are sooo good not drinking (obviously something to look at there)
– ‘oh it won’t hurt you to have a drink once in a while’. How do you know that? – what if one drink leads me to spiral and heads down a destructive path
– the conjoling, convincing, comments constantly not to mention the badge wearing about how many drinks you’ve had is very very tiring and energy sapping.
I am okay with others drinking alcohol, that’s not the issue, it is the tiresome justification that’s difficult.
I am pleased that most of the time now there are many many options and event organisers have thought about it. I think we need to still be aware that the comments around alcohol can have an impact – and our words and approach to it matters.
There are many reasons why someone chooses not to drink – mental health, history, behaviours, culture, finance, health, addiction, pregnancy…the list goes on.
As the end of year social functions and events ramp up – lets be supportive and respect that there are many reasons (that you don’t know about and are none if your business) as to why someone wants a soft drink or a sparkling apple juice (as pictured) instead.