Why I’m not drinking right now

I recently noticed that I have inadvertently spent the past year abstaining from any alcohol, and today marks exactly one year since my last drink (thanks, Google Photos, for the reminder). This was not a deliberate choice. This time last year, there definitely wasn’t any formal “I’m quitting” decision. But a year later, here we are.

Rather, I have just low-key decided that I’m not drinking “right now.” When presented with a drink, I’d simply respond with “no thank you” or “no thanks, I’m good” or “a water would be great.” That “right now” turned into a year and counting.

I’m not here to convince anyone that alcohol is bad. Sure, I could very easily cite some research that states how alcohol affects your sleep, how it often derails weight loss efforts, or *insert statistic here.*

But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here because I know there might be someone reading this that has contemplated at some point in their life what positive, credible role drinking serves in their life right now or for their fitness and health goals. And maybe that person has thought that choosing not to drink at all is reserved only for people with severe, life-threatening dependency issues with alcohol. For the rest of us, “moderation” is the one-size-fits-all answer.

We’ve been told this by beer commercials and health magazines alike. So sweeping is this prescription of “moderation” we hardly question it.

My only goal here is to say that moderation can also mean a year and counting without drinking. Moderate drinking is often defined as 1 to 2 drinks per day. I guess I’m in the “zero” drinks category, but that still feels unfair to people like my partner, who has not had a drop of alcohol in eight years and whose sobriety is very much a part of his identity. His decision to not drink is final, forever, case closed. Mine is… open. It seems that neither decision is wrong, but we just don’t have the language to define the differences. As a society, we’ve grown to accept sobriety as a necessary decision in order to combat the unrelenting forces of addiction, and in only the rarest of cases. But we seem to have a much harder time accepting sobriety as an unfixed lifestyle choice in the absence of alcoholism. It’s… uncomfortable. Kind of a downer. Lame. Have a little fun, would ya?

As of now, I’m not sure when my next glass of red wine or NorCal margarita will be. It could be a month from now or ten years from now or never. All I know is that, for me, right now, I am enjoying alcohol not being a part of my equation. So, I’m not drinking right now.

Moderation does not have to mean “I only drink on special occasions,” “only in social situations” or “only when I’m realllllly stressed out.” The truth is, I no longer associate alcohol with having fun, being social, or with relaxation. So for me, moderate drinking actually means that I don’t drink unless I see it fitting in with my life and what’s important to me. Right now, a drink is just not jiving with that.

There aren’t many resources for people for whom “moderation” looks a lot like sobriety. Rightfully so, there are many resources dedicated to addiction and recovery. There could always be more. But it’s my inkling that people who just “aren’t drinking right now” may need some level of support and to know that they, too, are not alone in their decision, either.

So, let me know in the comments: are you in the “zero drinks” category? If so, let’s bust that vague designation wide open. I’m sure we all have different stories and perspectives to tell. If you’re not in that category, have you ever thought about deliberately not drinking, for any length of time and for any reason? If so, what kinds of resources would you need to feel supported in that decision? Let’s talk about it.

-Coach Caitlin

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4 thoughts on “Why I’m not drinking right now

  1. Moderate for me is maybe a drink every few months. I’ve never been a big drinker and when I do have a drink, I’ve usually been slightly pressured into it or I’ll have a few sips of my husbands drink. No particular reason for not wanting to drink. I dont find it particularly relaxing or anything that I NEED and quite frankly I prefer waking up feeling good and well rested rather than bloated or hungover. Like you, it’s not an active choice other than I dont need or want it right now. Plus I find it annoying for it to be a social obligation. It should be perfectly acceptable to go to a work or social function and not drink and be able to say “no” without having a reason.

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  2. So I think I would classify myself in the same category as you coach. I’ve never been the one to drink. If you were to ask me, I’d classify myself as a light social drinker. I mean, when I go to the doctor and have to fill out one of those questionnaires, I can’t even answer it because it doesn’t have once every six months or so. I drink more so because of the taste. I will NEVER drink to get drunk. In fact, I can’t even tell you what “drunk” feels like because I honestly don’t know 😂. So to sum it up, I enjoy a drink when it fits into my life? I mean, when I do drink it’s not even a full glass. That’s how light I do drink. I have two bottles of Ice wine from Europe that’s still sits in my cupboard 6 years removed from living there. So maybe that depicts how often I do drink 😊

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  3. Thanks for sharing and a needed topic. I married a “sober alcoholic” at the young age of 22. I stopped drinking completely in support of his decision to be sober. What I discovered was that alcohol wasn’t needed to be social or funny or to relax etc. Even after we divorced years later I still didn’t feel the need to drink. When I moved to Minnesota (from NJ) I did start to drink wine. I don’t know if it is the heavy culture of drinking here or a time in my life with more opportunities to drink. My kids are grown and on their own. ( I have never understood drinking in front of children) since beginning CrossFit I have examinedy my drinking. 2 glasses of wine on a Saturday night my effect my workout on a Sunday morning. Is it worth it? Did the wine give me a bang up evening? Did it help me relax at the end of a long week? I know better. Thanks again for sharing

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