What it’s like to be over 21 and not drink

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By: John Sargeson

“Why don’t you drink?”  “What do you drink at parties?”  “Why do you even go to bars or parties if you’re not going to drink?”  These are just some of the questions that people will ask you if you tell them you don’t drink, especially if you are over 21 years old.

I am 24, and I decided last October that I did not want to drink anymore.  I got too drunk at a party and did not enjoy it.  I didn’t have a ride home from where I was, so I had to stay at my friend’s apartment (which I hate doing, because I don’t like staying at places I’m not familiar with).  After that, I decided that I would just not get drunk anymore so that somebody always had a way home.

Does driving drunk people around all the time suck?  Yes, yes it does.  From all the yelling in the car, to the random girls (and sometimes guys) crying, to all of the gas that I use driving all the time, it gets old.  But at the end of the day, I like to know that people who are drinking are safe.

I was never a big drinker to begin with.  I’m not sure why that is—I understand why people like to drink.  After a long week of work or school, it’s just something that helps people relax and spend time with their friends.  I would be lying if I said that I don’t have a drink every so often, but I stick to just one.  I know the rule that says for each drink, you are supposed to wait an hour to drive.  This is why I have just one when I drink.

To be honest, I just don’t like being drunk.  I am the type of person who likes to be in control of my actions, and sometimes drinking impairs that.  It’s that simple.  That’s not to say that I judge people who like to go out every weekend.  I would just rather sit at home with some friends and watch movies or something else, instead.

The life of being around people who drink often and being the one sober person in the room is interesting.  Often, people ask me why I choose not to drink, and my answer is always the same:  “I like to make sure someone has a ride home.”  What is odd, however, is when people try to convince me that not drinking is weird.  I get things like, “You don’t like being drunk, because you don’t do it enough.  If you would just drink more, you would like it better.”  To that I say, “Well that doesn’t make much sense, but hey, whatever helps you have fun.”

The fact of the matter is, I would rather be the sober one in a room full of drunk people and know that someone is responsible than join in on the “fun.”  I like being the one who people look at as responsible.  Even though I use a lot of gas driving people home after a night of drinking, the price doesn’t compare to the safety I am ensuring.

Drunk driving is no joke.  It is a stupid thing to do, and you are putting not only yourself, but other people on the roads in danger.  I cannot be more passionate about this.  So here’s my advice to anyone who does not like drinking:  be the person who is willing to drive intoxicated people home.  It will get annoying, but at least you know that your friends are safe.

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