The Drinking Problem

By Christina Kim - April 20, 2015

I don't have a drinking problem.
Seriously, and I am telling the truth, because I just do not drink.
(I am referring to alcohol; hard liquor, wine, beer, etc, definitely not plain water, juices or tea).
I don't have a problem with that, at all.
The problem is the people who find the problem with me not drinking or consuming any form of alcohol.
That, is the biggest problem of all, with the whole drinking matter.

Our society is engineered in the way where professions and the field industry in which we work in are being stereotyped by the standard expectations set based on the nature of the job.
That, is not specific only to work, I am sure, for the whole universe is just driven by the stereotypes which exist from the early beginnings of civilization anyway.
Actors and actresses are expected to possess good looks, heights and body weight; designers are supposedly quirky yet flawlessly stylish in their appearances, scientists and engineers are usually those with spectacles, while pilots should not ever don spectacles, doctors and nutritionists are the healthiest walking machines and many more.
While many are also alcohol lovers and take to drinking for relaxation, there are still those few specific groups which many often associate with the idea of being specialized drinkers; whereby alcohol is part of the deal breaker and they never fall victim to the snares of the strong potion comprising the family of alcohol-infused drinks.
Public relations, corporate players, management, sales and marketing, entertainers and the likes are those making up the population of the drinking experts, or those who are most likely to dabble with alcoholic drinks.
A lot.

They are naturally assumed to be good drinkers, and well, they must drink.
They should drink.
After all, the nature of their jobs revolve around building rapport with their internal and external customers driven by the countless meetings and interactions initiated by all the parties involved.
Of course, that does not mean that when one meets someone from this industry, the image that runs through the mind conjured up of that person is that of him/her holding a beer mug or wine glass having a good laugh while being red in the face, and also a little on the wilder, or fun side.
That is extremely stereotypical, and judgmental.
Well, almost.

It is such a common impression that it is almost synonymous with their personalities and lifestyles.
Heaven forbid if they were to say that they do not drink, or if they were even to just say, refuse a drink.
It is incomprehensible.
It is unacceptable.
It is almost, next to impossible.
Jaws would drop, pupils would dilate and silence would fill the air; at least at that moment when someone from that field says they do not drink.
It was like making an announcement that they are about to die, soon.

I can vouch for that, for I was from a field where everyone drinks.
Everyone can drink, and everyone somehow just never refuses a drink (well practically no one else, except me).
I have managed to create that surprise, or rather, shock element, whenever I make that announcement, that "I am sorry, I do not drink"
Just that seven words could have nearly stopped the world from spinning and just freeze time, as everyone just had their stares transfixed on my face.
It is as I say, almost like I just made an announcement that I am going to die; which I think, most people would still laugh it off first.

"I am sorry, I do not drink"
Well, they still laugh at the statement because they thought I was just pulling a prank or just merely refusing it at that moment.
(After their shock moment, of course).
When I solemnly repeat the seven words, shake my head and pushed away the glass/mug are they inclined to believe me.
At least, I thought so.
The problem officially begins.

Words and questions would come, with that good natured humor element in them initially.
"Why don't you drink?"
"You just don't drink here, is it? You still do drink, don't you?"
"Are you kidding, that can't be true!"
"Are you allergic?"
"What's wrong with having a drink or two?"

Persuasions follow, with many constructing that convincing pitch just to get me to drink.
The harmless persuasions could turn a little different sometimes (or most of the times, depending on the type of person I am dealing with) with that slight displeasure noted in their vindictive tones.
It could be demeaning to my whole being; when they hurl sentences like,
"How can you even survive in this field, if you don't drink?"
"How are you even hired?"
"You may be sacked (or some would even suggest that directly) for not drinking"

It is just kind of sad sometimes, why people simply cannot take a simple no for an answer, or just accept and respect other's decision.
Especially when it comes to drinking.
I think everyone has their own rights to decide for themselves, and that is one I stand by most of the time.
Come what may, abusive words or condescending statements; I stay unperturbed and unnerved by their words.
I filter their words which often fall on ears which I have deliberately set to deaf mode, despite their continuous harassments and sometimes, even threats.
I think it is just a matter of professionalism that one does not mix the two matters together.
If drinking can be perceived as a form of relaxation and just to socialize with others outside work (that's why it is always taking place after work, isn't it?), then why bring work into the conversation to turn things toward the tense direction?
Work and leisure do not mix; well, theoretically and respectfully so, and it is quite inappropriate to use one on the other.
At least, in my own humble opinion.

I don't let them get to me, though once in a while, they can get rather personal.
It became like a judgment of my personal character and who I am in general; just because of my stand.
I was alienated because of something I said no to.
I don't let them affect my principle still; for who sets the wrong and right anyway.
Besides, I make my own decisions for myself.
If I don't want it, I won't do it.
It is as simple as that.
I am not angry at these people; for I think it is just a matter of perspective from each individual and sometimes it could be the nature of the society which created such an impression.

I don't drink alcoholic drinks but I still kept the banter alive when I am with those from my field.
I still get my work done.
I don't need to explain my allergies to the whole world.
Even if I don't have an allergy, I still do not need to explain why I said No.
Simply because, I have every right to decide when to say Yes and when to say No.
It is my decision to make.

I stay by my principles; besides I did not harm anyone by not drinking anyway.
The whole world may see the right one way, and I may the only one who sees it this way, so be it.
The rules are not purely defined by anyone and for matters/decisions pertaining myself, I think I am still in charge of making that call.

I think people should be more respectful.
You may not get why I just don't drink; but who needs to understand everything in this world anyway.
Just like men could never understand why women shops and shops and yet never have anything to wear or why men are so obsessed with their cars, football and action-packed movies.
I don't see that fascination with mechanical stuffs, but I don't judge.
So, it would be good to just be fun and mindful sometimes.
I get my job done and I am still who I am; even without alcohol in my system.

Let's just accept, after some good humor.
If you really want to discuss about it, well, we can schedule an appointment to discuss why I don't get your fascination and mine.
You explain yours, and I will explain mine.

It's just like drugs or guns, there are those who take it and most, who just don't.
Or a better example, pungent-smelling durians; some love it and some just simply loathe it.

It is, really an elementary explanation; it is simply,  just a matter of preference and self-decision.

I don't have a problem with you drinking, or having too much to drink, so why do you have a problem with me Not drinking?

That too much to drink and how you behave after that, well, is another matter altogether (though I have met really good drinkers who are just naturals), and the effects of alcohol...

Well, let's leave the judgments aside and just conclude that it is all about one's choice, shall we?

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