Why I don’t drink much alcohol but I’m mostly ok of you do

Raised as a Southern Baptist Christian, I always thought any drinking was wrong. It’s not necessarily my parents that taught me that, just the culture that existed in the Baptist church in the 80s and 90s.

So when I became an adult I still believed drinking alcohol was wrong, or even a sin. Naturally, I didn’t drink because of that. As the years have gone by my opinion on drinking has changed and I think that’s a good thing. Instead of just blindly believing one thing or another, I’m learning why I am the way I am in this area.

It mostly started when I moved to Nashville and began making friends, and some of those friends (who were/are Christians) would drink a beer at a party, or drink a glass of wine at dinner or a special event. I wondered if they were just rebelling, or was this issue less black and white than I’d grown up believing?

Long story short, I rarely drink except at special events like a wedding and I’m mostly OK if you drink, too.

For the longest time I was uncomfortable when anyone asked why I don’t drink or if it’s OK if they drink while I’m around. I didn’t want to come across judgy or “holier than thou.” The truth is I can’t stand the taste of any alcohol I’ve ever tried. White wine? Red wine? Shots? Whiskey? Beer? They’re all gross to me! no offense 🙂

So do I have a problem with you drinking? Probably not. But the other day it occurred to me that there is a scenario where I would have a problem with you or me drinking… and here it is:

Why are you drinking? If it’s because you like the taste or it helps you relax, fine. But if it’s covering up or helping you escape real life… well then yes that’s something I wouldn’t support, for you or for me. Because what you drink isn’t as much of an issue as what it’s masking (if anything).

I remember when this ‘aha’ moment came to me, and I’m glad it did because to know the reason behind someone downing a glass of wine or chugging a beer, I have to know that person better than an acquaintance. It’s a challenge for me to be more social, and to be a better friend.

I remember traveling with a crew from CMT where we’d have a remote shoot in Arizona, or California, or some tiny town in Kentucky. I loved spending time with them because they were all genuinely good people. In fact, lots of times one of them would buy a round of shots for the group and we’d have some sort of moment where we all raised a glass for a toast (usually before the shoot because afterwards we were exhausted and just wanted a long sleepy date with the hotel bed!). These moments were instrumental in my thoughts on drinking, as well, because each time I had a choice. Would I join the crew in the toast, and take a shot of the throat-burning, mouth-tingling drink of choice, or be so rigid that I can’t bond with them in this way? I sincerely believe sitting out would do more damage to my relationships with these men and women than joining in and creating memories from these memorable trips.

What are your thoughts on alcohol? Have you experienced anything you’re willing to share about why you drink, or why you don’t drink? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

-Out of the Wilderness