It’s reported that nearly 29% of Americans do not consume alcohol. The reasons why vary. Some people don’t like drinking and don’t participate. Others are in recovery from alcoholism or addiction and have made a conscious and deliberate choice to stay sober. Others have health conditions or take a medication with which alcohol is contraindicated.
However, many of these alcohol-free adults experience social rejection when they voice to others that they don’t drink or decline drinks at parties. Let us know below why you think this is and then continue reading to learn more about social pressure and changing the stigma.
Social Pressure to Drink
“Just one won’t hurt!” People say. Or, “It’s a special occasion!”
Ultimately, if someone says that they don’t drink, they shouldn’t be questioned. We don’t know other’s circumstances, and if a person has set a boundary, it’s important to respect it.
Still, nearly 50% of individuals report having been pressured to drink within the past year. Another study of more than 39,000 people showed that more than 63% said they have had problems with alcohol or drugs in the past. For these people, a drink may mean the difference between recovery and relapse.
In many cultures, alcohol is a focal point of celebrations. Champagne toasts at parties, overflowing mugs of beer at sporting events, and wine at dinner. Remember that each person is an autonomous individual with the prerogative to drink or not to drink.
Changing the Social Stigma
Those who don’t drink but often feel pressured or rejected when they don’t may isolate themselves from social situations. They may decline invitations to parties that they would otherwise attend to avoid the pressure and rejection.
To help change the stigma associated with not drinking, the solution may be more simple than you think. If a person declines a drink when offered, or isn’t drinking in a social situation, don’t ask why, and don’t continue to ask them if they would like a drink.
Choosing to have a glass of wine is okay. And choosing not to have one is too.