Last week, we wrote a post called Six Reasons Why Women Like to Drink. This week, it’s time to explore five compelling reasons why they don’t (like to drink). We’ll leave it to these talented women writers to explain–women we’ve interviewed during our nearly four years of blogging at Drinking Diaries:
“I see alcohol as part of living a full life until something goes horribly wrong in your constitution. My analogy is that bread would be the staff of life (unless you have celiac disease); drinking is a part of life unless you’re an alcoholic.” –Julia Sexton, food writer
“I like the feeling of the first or second drink. I choose not to drink because once I start I don’t know when I am going to stop and the consequences of the 3rd, 4th and 5th are not really that cute or sexy. The repercussions of the 6th, 7th and 8th are downright disastrous!” –Eva Tenuto, creator of the TMI Project
“There was always a certain point in the evening when I’d feel just perfect, like how I imagined humans were built to feel: my boobs grew like three cup sizes, I felt one with my friends and the universe, I could handle anything, I could play. Without a drink, I didn’t know how to have fun. In retrospect, I think that perfect feeling alcohol gave me was presence: a brief flight from time, when I neither dwelled on bitterness of yore nor worried some fear fantasy. Only problem? That peaceful feeling was soon overwhelmed by an invisible beast who seemed to burst out of my ribcage with a mission to consume whatever alcohol I could scrounge up. Didn’t matter who was in the way.” –Kassi Underwood, writer
“I go somewhere else, as if there’s a separate realm removed and apart from the “real” world. An invisible barrier—it’s an adult version of a child’s secret hiding place. That’s if I’m lucky. Then there are the wines that put everything on dim, and on those days, the wine travels to a different place, and I go deeper, further into the darkest corners of my own head, which can be a threatening place made of words that come back to me, my own and others’; turns I made or didn’t take, a gaping emptiness of how did I get here. A chasm of feel-sorry-for-myself-ness.” –Jill Talbot, author of Loaded: Women and Addiction
2. Because it diminishes their social skills or makes them do things they might regret:
“I’m not a great sleeper. But when I drink in the evening, insomnia’s a sure bet.” –Linda Yellin, author of The Last Blind Date
“But for me, drinking just brings out my belligerent, indiscrete, attacking side. And it also makes me incredibly sleepy.” –Gretchen Rubin, author of Happier at Home
“I loved the way it seemed to give me access to a world I would otherwise not be able to inhabit: it made me feel like anything could happen in a given night. The problem, of course, was that anything could happen in a given night.” –Anna David, author of Falling For Me
“The problem with me is that booze turns me into such a freak show, it actually costs me my ability to choose. Well, I guess I do have a choice technically but it’s not “drink or don’t drink” it’s like “live or die.” When I drink, a switch goes off in my brain that is like “keep going at all costs and don’t stop,” and really that train leads to drugs rather than just more drinks, because I prefer drugs to drinking. I’ve tried to control it so many times and I just can’t.” –Lesley Arfin, author of Dear Diary
“But it’s also true that drinking doesn’t solve anything—it’s just masking and numbing whatever pain or fear may be hiding beneath that warm blanket. It’s not a solution, it’s just a balm.” —Laura Barcella, author of Madonna and Me
“The oblivion. The (false) sense of freedom. Falling into the abyss. Putting your cares on infinite hold and watching the night rush toward you and embrace you, folding you into a comfortable void. It’s no way to live—you miss out on a lot and neglect yourself spectacularly when you live in an ocean of alcohol—but I do miss that instant release valve. The problem is: Once I tap into that vast non-consciousness, I don’t want to come out.” Sasha Scoblic, author of Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety
“[Alcohol gives you] that false sense of wellbeing.” –Martha Frankel, author of Hats & Eyeglasses
4. Because of the hangovers.
5. Because they don’t want the empty calories.
And I’ll leave the final words to Susan Henderson, author of Up From the Blue, who captures perfectly the double-edged nature of alcohol: “I have a healthy respect for the power of alcohol. It’s a little bit like the ocean–there’s tremendous beauty and pleasure to be had at the ocean but it can also pull you into its depths or take out a dock in a storm. So I respect its strength. I don’t go to the ocean when I’m weak and I don’t swim out farther than I’m capable of, and I’m kind of the same with alcohol. I don’t drink it if I’m in a self-hating mood and I don’t lower my defenses when I’m not around people I trust. I don’t have any desire to drink to the point where I’m not in control, but I’ll enjoy it with a meal, and I’ll let it take my stoic nature down a notch when I’m with a good friend.”