Reasons why someone might not drink alcohol
- Personal choice
- Trying for a baby/undergoing fertility treatment.
- Pre/post surgery.
- Undergoing chemotherapy.
- Health conditions (such as cardiovascular illnesses, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol).
- Liver disease.
- Diabetes – especially if taking medication such as insulin.
- Requirement of employment.
- Supporting someone with addiction.
- Overcoming alcoholism or other addiction themselves.
- Diagnosed mental health disorder.
- Medication (some antibiotics, such as metronidazole, mean alcohol must be avoided).
- Low immunity (immunosuppressed/autoimmune diseases).
- Nutritional choice (for example, alcohol is less tolerated on the Keto diet).
- Driving on the day.
What should you not say to someone who doesn’t drink alcohol?
“Just have one”
This can be said in a bar, on work nights out, or when meeting friends socially in a pub. However, Alex Walker, founder of Bee Sober CIC, explains it is harmful, as some people stop drinking because they are addicted to or dependent on alcohol.
“Not everyone can limit themselves to just one drink. Having none can actually be easier than setting rules around drinking for many people. Also, you do not know the reason they don’t drink. It could put someone in a very difficult position if you are pressuring them to drink. For example, if they are very early on in a pregnancy but don’t want to disclose it yet.”
“I don’t need to stop drinking”
“This comes up in most conversations when someone finds out you don’t drink anymore. It insinuates the person not drinking had a problem, and it is offensive,” says Walker.
She highlights that saying this is wrong because it assumes the person stopped drinking because they needed to, which isn’t always the case.
“Just because someone chooses not to drink, doesn’t mean they are judging your drinking or need information about your intake.”
Human beings are naturally inquisitive, so it’s understandable why you want to ask questions when someone tells you they don’t drink, especially if everyone else you know actually enjoys drinking. However, enquiring why someone abstains from drinking is invasive, particularly if you don’t know them well.
Walker says that if a person does not disclose their reason for not drinking, they most likely have a reason for that. Perhaps it’s a personal matter they do not wish to discuss.
“Some people will gladly offer the information and welcome questions, but if they don’t, don’t ask. If they told you they didn’t want a cigarette, you wouldn’t feel the need to ask them why not.”
“Come on, live a little”
When someone stops drinking, they can fear that others will find them boring. This can make them feel self-conscious if someone says this after a few drinks at a bar – as if they’re being the ‘party pooper’. However, Walker says stopping drinking can be a big decision for someone. It might have even been a life or death situation.
“Telling someone …….