The social stigma of cutting down on alcohol
“Come on, don't be such a party pooper. One drink won't make any difference.”
Posted on February 23, 2018
When I was in my early twenties, I used to be that judgemental, condescending guy.
I was repulsed by non-drinkers, viewing them as annoying, stiff-upper-lip jerks, afraid of what would happen if they let go of their precious self-control.
I thought that if you don't drink, you pass on having the best time of your life. Because what's more fun than getting drunk and fooling around?
Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.
– Charles Bukowski
Thankfully enough, I eventually matured and realized what an unsympathetic dick I had been. But – even if I had grown to respect other peoples' decisions, I still perceived alcohol as the icing on the cake. In all situations.
The list goes on.
It was like the experiences were not worthy in and out of themselves —
they always needed to be augmented with booze to feel complete.
Now, this wasn't just me. It was commonplace behavior, and how most people around me expected things to be. And, to a certain extent, still do, to this day.
Maybe it's that Sweden is part of the so-called Vodka Belt, but the fact remains: alcoholic drinks are the preferred beverage when grown-ups hang out.
The belief that all adults enjoy alcohol is widespread in western culture, and to know your way around wine, beer, and more elegant spirits is considered to be urbane and worldly.
If you don't participate, you better have to have a valid excuse. And in my experience, maintaining ketosis is not one of them.
I typically find it's easier to lie and say that I need to get up early for work than being honest and say that I don't want to ruin my ketosis. Or that I like to wake up early on weekend mornings since those hours usually are my most productive moment of the week.
I really would like to say that I don't care about what others think and that saying no to drinking is a walk in the park.
But I can't. Because it's not — it's actually a bit of a struggle.
And no, I'm not an alcoholic. Nor do I lack the ability to quit when I drink.
Instead, the culprit is my attitudes, coupled with real or imaginary peer pressure and habits formed over the years.
I've always felt like a bore when I say no. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I used to worry a lot about how others perceived me.
Would they think I'm boring if I say no? Not to mention what they would think if I gave up drinking altogether. What if they think I have a drinking problem? And if I gave it up completely, wouldn't I miss the flavors?
All in all, a ridiculous inner discussion. On a conscious level, I don't care what others think. I have set clear goals for both my training and my nutrition, and I am 100% serious about fulfilling them.
On top of that, we have the apparent side-effects of drinking.
I hate being hungover. I hate feeling slow in the head. I hate being unproductive and see the results of my training and diet efforts go out of the window.
But then we have the subconscious mind, a.k.a. The Inner Little Brat. This part of me still thinks that alcohol is a social lubricant necessary for truly having fun.
The brat genuinely likes the taste of wine, beer, and spirits. And, most of all, he loves to PARTY.
These days, I've nearly expelled this side of my personality. Sure, I indulge myself once and a while, but I very seldom go full caveman.
I've landed in the decision to decline drinks most of the time. But when I think it's a special occasion worthy of breaking ketosis, then what the hell. As long as it's a conscious decision and not the result of social pressure I think it's ok.
As a result, I avoid situations where people get drunk – parties, bars, clubs, and the like. The unavoidable side-effect is that people often see me as some kind of hermit or freak.
But that one I can take. No problem. I already was an introverted hermit anyway.
And I'd rather be an athletic freak fulfilling my goals than a puffy slave to the masses' unspoken rules of engagement regarding alcohol in social situations.
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