about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Why I Quit Drinking.

I’ve been asked to write this post for almost two years now, and for whatever reason, I just haven’t been ready.  (I appreciate your patience!)  I am finally comfortable enough with the journey that we’ve been through to find the words to share it with all of you.  Here goes…

A Little Bit of Background.

To make a long story short, and in the interest of privacy, I’m giving you the slightly abbreviated version (but don’t be fooled – this post is looooong).  I grew up in a loving and wonderful home that seemed almost perfect until I was 15.  That was the year my parents got divorced and my whole world unraveled around me.  Not soon after, I reached the age where high school kids start getting drunk at parties and wondering what alcohol is all about.  But having seen what substance abuse had done to my family, I made a promise to myself that I would never let alcohol be something that affected my life again. 

I didn’t drink a drop through all of high school, even though my friends started drinking and the temptation and opportunity were always there.  Even so, I went to parties as the designated driver, and never minded the constant questions I got from others as to why I didn’t drink.  But as comfortable as I was with it in high school around my close friends, I was incredibly nervous to start college in a sea of total strangers.  I remember coming home at Christmas break and celebrating New Year’s Eve with my high school friends who asked, “are you still not drinking?”

Mid-way through my freshman year, I joined a sorority and my social calendar suddenly got a lot more full.  At our very first sorority party, I ended up deciding –why not? – and drank a few beers.  I realized that drinking was actually really fun, and that it gave me the social courage that had inhibited me so much before.

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The rest of college was pretty typical.  I drank – a LOT.  But it was college and drinking was the norm – I was no different than anyone else.  I sucked at beer pong, but I owned the table in flip cup, and I was always down for a drink off. 

Drinking was never a problem for me, but it was certainly the focus of most of our college activities.  Looking back now of course, I see it all differently.  At the time I didn’t realize just how much time I spent planning drinking activities and recovering from late nights.  It all seemed normal, and since everyone else was doing it I never gave it a second thought.  My friends and I had four years of constant fun and parties.

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Casey and I met in November of 2005, and as is the case for many relationships, ours was fueled by meeting up in bars, happy hours, and dinners over a bottle of wine.  We were a great team and I was excited to have a new boyfriend who was always up for something fun.  As our relationship grew and we got closer, Casey encouraged me to get into running and working out.  The early days of dating and too many happy hours had helped me pack on a few extra pounds. 

As I started to get healthier and more focused on fitness and nutrition, I realized that drinking became a lot less tempting, and a lot less important to me.  The combination of my new healthy lifestyle along with the fact that I was simply growing up, ended with me passing up drinks and offering to be the designated driver more and more often.

The Tipping Point.

To make a long story, short – I had drastically scaled back my own drinking, but Casey was still drinking like a college kid.  Again, it wasn’t really much different than what his friends or anyone else was doing, but I had gotten tired of the party scene and the issues that come along with drinking too much alcohol.  The disconnect between our feelings on drinking was starting to affect our relationship.  And the more we got into running and fitness, the harder it was for us to justify the unhealthy drinking activities planned on our weekends.

On top of a pretty heavy drinking habit, Casey has epilepsy.  The closer our relationship grew, the more nervous I got about his potential seizures and slip ups with medicine after a few drinks.  Finally, after one long out of town weekend of too much partying, Casey came home and told me he was done.  No more drinking – none, zero, nada.  He said that he had seen others head down similar paths, and he wanted to stop himself before he went any farther or lost any more time. 

He never came out and asked me to stop drinking, because I volunteered to do it with him before he got the chance.  There was no big last hurrah or anything of that nature.  It was just over, plain and simple.  I’d had my “last drink” a few days before, and didn’t even know it at the time.  Giving up alcohol is similar to giving up meat – you make a decision and you stick to it. 

The weeks and months that followed were difficult and awkward.  People didn’t understand our decision, and we felt very socially isolated and unsure of how to spend our time.  We overcompensated, and went out to dinner, movies, or other activities every weekend.  Whether you consider yourself to be a big drinker or not, I can promise you this – you’ll never understand the role that alcohol plays in your life until you cut it out completely.

There is only one big negative that I have discovered since I stopped drinking.  The hardest part about being a non-drinker is other people’s reaction to the decision

The Social Paradox of a Non-Drinker.

“Why don’t you drink?”  People don’t get it.  Everyone wants a story, an explanation.  No one judges you when you tell them you’re not into drugs, but alcohol – that’s another story.  The first few months of our new non-drinking lifestyle were really tough – thank god we had each other. 

We both had friends who didn’t understand, friends who always thought of us as fun partiers, and apparently not much more.  We had other friends who rallied around us, making sure we felt comfortable and respected.  I guess that’s why the saying goes “you find out who your friends are…” 

But for the most part, people are really freaked out by non-drinkers.  Someone mentions an upcoming wine tasting or beer sampler dinner in front of you, and suddenly a tension fills the air.  But would they care as much if I was not drinking because I was pregnant?  Giving up alcohol by choice makes people uncomfortable.  And to be perfectly honest with you, in nearly two years of not drinking, we have both found that those who are the least comfortable around us, are also those who struggle the most with drinking themselves.  I think that they think we know their secret. 

There have been many occasions where I have felt left out and excluded from dinners, parties, and other occasions.  Afterwards I’ve been offered “I didn’t think you’d want to come because you don’t drink.”  Even if the intention was good, the effect is always hurtful.  Maybe I would have gone, maybe I wouldn’t have – but the choice should have been mine.

I have no judgment for those who drink, and for the most part I don’t mind being around it.  Just as I will sit at a table with meat eaters at dinner, I have no problem hanging out with friends over a table of beers.  That is, of course, if they invite me. 

Despite the social reactions we  deal with, quitting drinking has been the best decision I’ve ever made.  And even though I’ve given you all this back story, it’s not important why we quit drinking.  The important part is why we’ll never start again. 

A Better Way of Life.

While you may not believe me (and I don’t blame you – I wouldn’t have either), life without alcohol is so SO much better.  Like I said, until you remove it completely, you don’t realize how much time and energy you spend planning to drink – seriously.  Please understand, I don’t want to be preachy.  I just want to show you that a life without alcohol isn’t as unfathomable as it seems.  We have discovered so many wonderful things as non-drinkers.

I am never too hung-over to get up early and run.  I never have to wonder how I will get home from a party because I can always drive myself.  I never have to plan my workouts early in the day, because I know I’m going to happy hour in the afternoon.  My bar and restaurant spending is down to almost nothing.  My body always feels clean and happy and healthy.  I dropped an additional 7 pounds when I stopped drinking.  I am always in control of my thoughts and actions.  I feel empowered by making a tough decision and sticking to it.

I started drinking when I was 19, and quit by the time I was 27.  I’ve experienced both sides of the fence, and ultimately settled into life on the sober side, where after a year and a half, it finally feels peaceful and comfortable to write about today.  For me, life is too precious to waste on being wasted.

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328 Comments so far
Leave a comment

JT (The Faux Foodie Girl)     at 8:36 am

I commend you for your choice and like you said it’s your choice and others should respect it.

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Chelsey     at 8:41 am

1) I would have never guessed your age!!! (you gave it away) That’s also another benefit of not drinking. I find when I look at my friends who are drinkers, they look so much older than they actually are.

2) I too, have a family who was affected by alcohol. It’s so hurtful to see my mom, aunts and uncles affected by this as they had to grow up in an environment that was less than healthy.

3) I totally respect this post. It is defiintely hard to tell people “I just don’t like to drink” – they always look at me like I’m crazy. I’m not as strong as you though. I will occasionally end up having a glass or two of vino.

4) You look good in blue – your eyes really pop out!!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

haha, I am OLD!

and I’m wearing blue today! thanks :)

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Annie     at 8:48 am

I really REALLY like this post! I have been curious about it for a while, so I am happy you cleared things up. I have been scaling back on drinking since I graduated from school, and since scaling back I have realized that almost every social situation revolves around drinking. I am trying to come up with fun alternatives to present to people aside from just going to the bar, but it is proving to be harder than expected. Either way, I loved the post, and I admire your decision!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

sorry it took me so long! :)

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Colleen     at 8:51 am

I’ve been reading for a while, but never commented. I too am alcohol-free, simply because my body feels so much better without it! And it was interesting that you mentioned Casey’s epilepsy because I have a low threshold for seizures, so perhaps it was a subconscious decision I made? Thankfully I have a husband who couldn’t care less (and who drinks very infrequently himself). We recently went to a party with a bunch of other people our age (late 20′s) and I just flat out told one girl that I don’t drink, and another girl gave me an odd look, but someone else said “good for you!” (in a sincere tone). I really don’t see what the big deal is – if someone told me they didn’t eat meat I wouldn’t look at them like they had three heads. But you’re right, some people are uncomfortable by those who can make such a strong decision – and stick to it!

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Megan     at 8:53 am

H! I’ve been a follower of your blog for sometime now and I just wanted to thank you for this story. It takes a lot of courage to quit drinking because like you said, drinking is a social activity and it brings people together. Every occasion seems to be celebrated with a drink. And while I don’t judge people who drink, because I do too, I can understand how you can easily feel left out. I applaud you and your husband for sticking to your morals and not drinking just because it’s what everyone else does. I also loved your quote – “life is too precious to waste on being wasted.” Very cool post!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I don’t judge them either, it’s definitely a personal decision.

Thanks! :)

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Roberta     at 8:55 am

Great Post! I too gave up drinking and find myself in same situations as you. I have many friends that question my decision as well as leave me off the invite list to many things, at first it bothered me but realized that my passion for running and cycling makes my decison all worth it not to mention my bank account is happy:) I have to say that I have more fun hanging out at coffee shops then I ever did at bars. Thanks again for the post.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

LOVE coffee shops! :)

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Callie     at 8:56 am

Wow. What a fantastic post. I actually have been struggling with this decision – I have drastically cut back, but my husband is known as quite the partier/drinker. We have talked about trying to give it up cold turkey, but all the reasons you discussed have held us up. So much of our social life revolves around drinking. I’m really trying to change that reality, and realize that even if every one else is drinking, I don’t have to! I’ve actually discovered one of the best excuses, “I’m not drinking tonight – I’m training for a half-marathon and I have a five mile run in the morning.” It worked like a charm at my class reunion last week. :) Thanks for sharing your story!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

that IS a great excuse, that i have used too! my husband was a big partier too, but eventually realized that it was catching up to him. while the social problems are very real, the benefits outweigh them – i promise! :)

good luck with that half-marathon!

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Madison     at 8:57 am

Loved this post. I basically quit drinking once I graduated from college and have also found some social situations to be “awkward”. Some friends probably think I am “less fun” but I can’t even begin to explain how much better I feel. Pounding out a 15 mile run on Saturday morning before most (hungover) people have even woken up is so empowering. Plus, I have saved sooooo much money… More money=more Anthro or J.Crew shopping! Kuddos to you, Emily!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

you said it, not me… :)

I totally agree with you though – I get home from long runs and see Facebook comments like “uuuugghh so hungover” and feel so reaffirmed in all of my decisions.

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ann     at 8:59 am

Emily,

I want to thank you for your honesty, I agree with you-that your health is worth it. You have such a commitment to fine values, even when it goes against what others are doing. I commend you.

Ann

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thank you! :)

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Allie     at 9:05 am

i’ve read for a while, and you know i never even noticed that you and your husband don’t drink! maybe because it’s not such a central fixture in my social life, but it’s never even crossed my mind; you have such a vibrant and full life without alcohol.

thank you for sharing this. i recently said to someone that i was dating that i didn’t want to have a drink that night. i don’t drink a lot at all, and i didn’t really feel like it. i told him i didn’t need to drink to have fun, and things don’t need to revolve around drinking (also, i am not young- i am into my 30s, so way past the college fun years). i think he was a little taken aback, but i for my way of life, which is active and healthy, i am fine with a glass of wine with dinner when i feel like it, but i just don’t feel like social time = drinking.

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Anne P     at 9:07 am

Interesting post! Thanks for sharing and good for you. I’m definitely happy to not be drinking like I was back in college. It’s great to not have to worry about hangovers anymore, especially when I need to get a morning run in! Fitness and eating healthfully is definitely my priority now, not partying. It’s just not worth it to feel like crap for a whole day after! That said, there’s nothing like a glass of wine with friends :) I don’t think I’ll ever give that up!

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Megan     at 9:07 am

I have been reading awhile but never commented. I really like this post and totally respect your decision and the fact that you stick to it.

I also never drank in high school – and actually didn’t start until I turned 21. After that it was all downhill – especially when I spent a summer interning at a radio station. I still enjoy going out and having a beer every once in awhile – and, I usually wind up falling TOTALLY off the wagon about once a year. But, mostly I value my free time too much to want to spend my weekends hungover or feeling like crap. I find bars too loud to even have a conversation with friends – so, what’s the point? It sort of kills me now to think back about how much money I wasted over the years on tabs. My husband has never been a big drinker, so, it is no big deal to him – but, I am totally at the age where if I am not drinking, people assume that I am pregnant.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

we have saved a LOT of money since we quit drinking! people don’t realize how quickly it all adds up.

and trust me, when we first stopped there were a LOT of pregnancy comments. so annoying.

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Beverly     at 9:07 am

Nice post Emily! Excellent perspective. I am just starting to understand the social pressure revolved around food and how to gracefully explain that I am trying to live a vegan lifestyle. I am very much getting the same reaction from friends as if I said I am not drinking. I think I would lose some friends if I stopped drinking. It is so sad and I am partly to blame. Thank you for sharing. I will carry your story with me as I make my way through the social hurdles.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

the friends that you would lose are not much of a loss if they can’t support you making healthy grown-up decisions. just remember to stick to what makes you feel good and proud. :)

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers     at 9:08 am

This was a fabulous post- I love your writing and how your able to so clearly state your thoughts. :) While I haven’t quit drinking, I can relate to so many of the things you said. I seriously, seriously cut back on drinking after college- I just got sick of it. I never realized how many hours I spent feeling disgusting until I didn’t do that anymore. I’m one of the few of my friends (husband) included that drastically cut back on drinking, and the reactions I get when my plans don’t revolve around getting drunk are astonishing. Thanks for sharing this, and good for you for sticking to what you want & what you believe in face of others negativity. They better start inviting you out!!! :)

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Jen     at 9:08 am

This post is awesome, Emily! Thanks so much for having the courage to share your story with us. I know it must have been so hard!

I’ve gone through periods- years at a time- without a single drink. I’ve just never liked alcohol to begin with because it dehydrates me so much. But, the social pressure from friends- even at age 28- sucks. I hate how people always say “wine or drinking in moderation is good for you”. Those studies are SO flawed.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thanks Jen! it’s so nice to find new friends who feel the same way! :)

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LindsayH     at 9:11 am

emily, i love this post.
i don’t drink. people always ask me why and the real answer is: i just don’t. it’s not a part of who i am. i don’t like the way drinking makes me feel, so i don’t do it. i SO don’t think it’s a big deal, but other people seem to!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

:)

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Teri [a foodie stays fit]     at 9:12 am

Such a great post. As a non-drinker myself, I totally associated with everything you wrote. I’ve never been a drinker so it’s not like it’s a new thing for people, but it is always hurtful when people exclude my husband and me because they assume I wouldn’t want to come to a dinner/party/etc. where people will be drinking. I’m always surprised by how shocked and curious people are by the fact that I don’t drink. But it’s worked for me this far and it’s not a healthy habit, so why start now? Anyway, thanks for sharing your story!

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Stephanie     at 9:30 am

Thank you for this post. Its nice to know I am not alone in the non-drinking world. Everyone else in my life are drinkers, including my bf. I even find that people will try to force me to have a drink while out and don’t respect my decisions (it happened only a few weeks ago…I am 26 years old getting called lame, etc). It can get frustrating, but I do my best to surround myself with the understanding good friends in my life. I am happy going to bed early and sober in order to wake up at 5 am to run. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Me either! :)

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HJU     at 9:31 am

Hi, Emily!
I am a faithful follower of your blog, but have never posted. Thank you for sharing your experience! I, too, am a non-drinker, actually I am a recovering alcoholic and have been sober and active in AA for 7.5 years. Got sober at 26. I agree that other people sometimes have difficulty with the idea of a non-drinker, whatever the reason. I am open about it, but people don’t know how to react- I too have had the ‘I didn’t think you’d want to come’ scenario.

Good for you and Casey for doing what feels right, and is healthy for you!! There is nothing wrong with alcohol if it works for a person, but it is important to recognize when it does not.

I am training for my third half marathon starting Monday- look forward to reading your training posts, too, in the next few months. Thank you!! :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks so much for sharing YOUR story – that is awesome! We have some close friends in the program, and I’ve seen it literally change their lives completely, for the better. I have found that many people find sobriety in later years after wasting so so many precious early ones. Congrats to you for figuring it out at 26, and good luck at your upcoming half-marathon! :)

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Laine @ Beets, Butter and Mountaintops     at 9:33 am

Thanks for sharing.

I’m 38 and I have a friend from High School who still drinks like she’s 19. I don’t see her a lot because hanging out in a bar all night is not my idea of fun (although I do drink). Her facebook status updates are things like “Who’s meeting me? I need a drink after this day”…then at midnight some sort of nonsensical post…then the next morning “ugh, should have gone home earlier.” and on and on.

Meanwhile, my other friends from High school are posting about their early morning boot camp or the 5K they are training for or their kids.

It’s sad to see what happens when alcohol becomes your life, and I can imagine how hard it would be for my friend to think about stopping since her whole identity and community of friends is involved in that.

I for one would rather be in bed by 10 and up early and biking than wasting entire weekends feeling like garbage!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

The older I get, the more I can see the vast differences in lifestyle and happiness as some friends have grown out of drinking and others have not. But I think it takes stepping outside of drinking yourself to really realize that.

I love going to bed and waking up early now too! :)

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Sarah @smshum     at 9:35 am

I want to thank you for writing this post. I made the choice in high school that I wasn’t going to join up with the drinkers, and I’ve stayed firm on that decision. I drank once when I was thirteen years old, and not once since then. It’s been almost ten years.

It’s surprisingly difficult to socialize without alcohol. Like you, my name usually doesn’t get brought up for many invitations because people assume I don’t want to be around drinkers. Dating is difficult because most men my age want a girl who will party with them. It’s a challenge, for sure, but it’s a choice that I am proud of myself for making and those close to me support me in that.

So thank you, again, for putting this post out there. It feels great to hear someone else voice what I deal with.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I imagine that dating would be very difficult. That’s awesome that you have stuck to your decision as well! :)

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Katharine     at 9:44 am

Emily, I LOVED this post. Your honesty is so refreshing, and something to be admired. Like some other commenters noted, I haven’t even noticed that you don’t drink, probably because it’s something that has become a smaller part of my life than it used to be. I never drank in high school either, it just never appealed to me – in fact, I think it scared me a bit, how it can allow you to lose such control. But then when I hit college and joined a sorority I fell into those same patterns. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, either, but it’s interesting to look back with a new perspective. Again, thank you for sharing this. :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Katharine! Since we were in the same sorority, clearly you know what I’m talking about. It all seemed so normal at the time, right? :)

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Katharine Reply:

Exactly! It was totally normal at the time, but not something I’d do again. :)

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Anne     at 9:48 am

Wonderful post, Emily! Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. Kudos to you and Casey both for making that decision and sticking to it together!!

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Allison     at 9:50 am

Wow, what an amazing, inspiring story. Thank you for being brave enough to share it with us. I’ve been bouncing the idea of quitting drinking around in my head for over a year now. It’s interesting, the thing I struggle with the most is drinking in a casual, social atmosphere – having a glass of wine with my family at dinner, or a beer at happy hour. It’s easy for me to have one, and the next thing I know I have 4 more and wake up with a headache. I don’t really struggle with the college “binge” drinking anymore, it’s more the fact that I’ll only want one drink and then I end up having more even though I don’t really want them. I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this, I just wanted to let you know I think you’re so strong for making this decision and sticking with it and I really appreciate knowing that there are other people my age who have been able to make the decision.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I know exactly what you mean. I was by no means an alcoholic or had a problem, but there were always times that I ended up drinking more than I intended. The thing most people don’t realize is that the difference between ONE and zero is the whole point. As long as you drink one, no one singles you out. Thanks for your great feedback! :)

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Help Meghan Run     at 9:52 am

Thanks for the great, great post Emily! I very much identify with how you feel and since I’m still in college, I face a lot of questions, too. It’s always a much bigger deal for other people than it is for me!

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Kelly     at 9:55 am

Great post. I have cut out most alcohol. I was sick of always being hungover and did not like the feeling of being too drunk and not in control. I now rarely drink mixed drinks or beer. Only wine. I always stop before I am at the point where I start to feel too tipsy. I know it’s not the same as quitting cold turkey, but I do understand where you are coming from :) I love waking up early on weekends and getting things done..and drinking too much just gets in the way of that!!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

now i love weekends because i am so productive! :)

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Therese     at 10:07 am

Good for you guys for sticking to your guns regardless of outcome. It is a shame that people do that to others but at least you know who your real friends are. I don’t drink as much as I used to and it’s gotten to the point that I just don’t want to. I like to have a couple glasses of wine or share some beer with friends on occasion but it doesn’t happen all the time and I don’t like that out-of-control feeling of being drunk anymore! I think I’m all the better for it!

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Katie @ Life... Discombobulated     at 10:12 am

What an awesome post! I definitely had my share of alcohol-induced fun during college, too, but now that I’m getting older I am a rare drinker. I enjoy a glass of wine or a really good beer every now and then, but it’s just not worth it anymore to waste an entire day recovering. There are so many more important, fun, and fulfilling things I’d rather spend my time doing. Thanks for such an honest and open post!!

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R @ learningasichop.wordpress.com     at 10:17 am

I, too, never noticed that you didn’t drink. I think you’re absolutely right that people’s reactions are the hardest. I drink a glass of wine here and there but never binge drink and very rarely spend my time in bars. People who do tend to think I’m a weirdo. Oh well.

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Maria     at 10:20 am

What a fantastic post, Emily. I’ve also struggled with some of the same issues that you have as I drink very minimally, but have friends that still go out and party every weekend. I have definitely felt the pressure to get crazy and drunk while out with these friends, when I’m completely fine with one drink for the night. I applaud your ability to stick to your decision!

Maria
kaleandcupcakes.wordpress.com

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Ginna     at 10:21 am

Love this Emily! Believe it or not I never drank in HS either. Of course u know what happened in college. I admire your courage and think it is crazy that people judge people who don’t drink. My husband and I Rarely drink. Maybe a glass of wine or beer a month or every other but very rare. We too just don’t feel good after it. Good for you guys!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I thought this would be funny to read for the people who knew me in college. :) You’ve definitely seen me at my best and worst! Glad to hear you came out alive too. :)

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MA* Reply:

Hahaha I love how ginna said “of course you know what happened in college” :)

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Ginna Reply:

LOL. We don’t need to rehash any stories! U guys have definitely seen me at my very worst!

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Kristin Reply:

If these people would have seen all of us at the bars or awesome dorm room parties, they would have lots of stories.

I basically quit drinking after college, I wasn’t in to that scene anymore. Also, once I got sick I gave it up. My meds don’t allow so that always works as a good excuse. I have had a beer lately, but that is extremely rare. Emily, I’m proud of your decision!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

haha i know, right? scary! thanks kristin! :)

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Tara (Food for Fuel)     at 10:27 am

Great post, Emily, and a very difficult topic to confront. I struggle with the same issues. While I have not completely given up drinking, if I choose not to drink when we go out with friends (because I want to get up and run early in the morning), I’m seen as the buzz kill and people just don’t understand my perspective. My boyfriend and I gave up drinking (and sweets) for 30 days a few months ago, drinking was his challenge, sweets was mine, but I couldn’t believe how many people stopped inviting us to things, then saying the next day, “we’ll plan another get together when you can drink again!”
Society puts way too much emphasis on drinking as a social activity. While I do think it’s fun to go to happy hour or have a nice glass of wine with dinner, I don’t feel like I should have to drink outrageous amounts of it in one sitting to prove myself.
In any case, I commend you both for your strength and determination. I’m definitely going to have my boyfriend read this post.
Thanks, Emily!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

While I wantd to touch on it, I also didn’t want to make my post any longer. But Casey has found that being a male and quitting drinking has been MUCH harder – the reaction is very cold, and typically involves telling him that he is “not really a man” or something to that effect. He’s great at brushing it off, but it’s amazing what some people are willing to say.

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Ginna Reply:

Emily- i cant imagine how hard it is for Casey! I know that my husband has had people ask him if hes a real man if he doesnt drink beer and watch sports! Crazy huh?

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Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)     at 10:31 am

Good grief, I can so relate! I appreciate your honesty and your decision! I grew up in a house where drinking happened a lot. I mixed drinks for my parents when I was 7! As kids, that young, we were given little drinks when frozen drinks were blended and everyone was having a great time! We were aloud to drink at home when we were around 14. My mom was not an alcoholic, but there was a time when she would be classified as a drunk in my opinion. It almost destroyed my parents relationship. I was never really interested in it. I don’t have a problem with others drinking, but I just don’t care about it. Everyone always wants to see me drunk and it bugs me. I don’t judge you for drinking, so why in the world would you judge me for not. I think they want to look down on me because they think I am going to look down on them! I have really worked hard on being healthy and I feel great. Why in the world would I want to waste my calories and my energy on drinking. That is my choice and I feel good about it. Not to say that I don’t have the occasional drink at special occasions, but as a part of my life…alcohol is just not part of it. Thanks for sharing Casey!

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Lindsay Reply:

“Everyone always wants to see me drunk and it bugs me.”

I could not agree more, Sarena. Like you, I just don’t care much about drinking. I haven’t drawn a hard line on the topic, but I rarely partake, if ever. I just don’t like it enough to justify the expense and the physical/mental side effects. There are plenty of other things that I’d rather spend my money on.

While I have no problem hanging out in bars or going clubbing with friends that drink, the reaction I receive is far less embracing. I often hear the same complaint/comment- “when do I get to see you drunk??” I never know how to respond… “Uh… you’d see me, slightly off balance and a little more chatty.” What’s the big attraction?

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jessica     at 10:32 am

Great post, Emily! Love your honesty and insight. You are so right about social situations revolving around alcohol. I struggled throughout college trying to fit in without drinking just to get drunk. I was so ready to graduate and move on from that mentality. Now I enjoy a glass or two of wine on the weekend and it’s perfect. Anyway, good for your for making a decision and sticking to it. If people can’t respect your decision then they’re not a friend.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

most of my close friends have been totally supportive. the few that we lost were in hindsight, probably not a “loss” afterall…

thanks!

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Neen     at 10:56 am

Wow great post – i’ve been dabbling in giving it up for the past couple of months, things have scaled back to almost non existent and i LOVE it! maybe i’l make the tough decision soon x

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

once you make the call, you realize it’s not that big of a deal. only to others! :)

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Sydney     at 11:15 am

This was an awesome post! I don’t drink and never have and I hate when people look down on me for that. It’s a choice I’ve made and I wish people would respect that or at least consider why I’ve chosen not to drink rather than thinking I’m strange. After seeing what alcohol does to people, I have no interest in putting it into my body and it frustrates me when people think I’m lame just because I don’t drink. I think you can have plenty of fun (if not more) when you aren’t drinking! Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your story!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

you’re welcome! :)

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M     at 11:19 am

Wonderful post!

I too never noticed that you are a non-drinker,I think for many of us it’s no big deal and a no brainer.But on the other hand it is a big deal in the fact that you made a firm decision in the midst of peer pressure.

There is nothing more upsetting than seeing alcohol ruin lives(even today I saw an actress was just caught Sunday in a DUI that killed a woman whose car she hit.And this actress has two wee ones under 3-a tragedy all around …..due to alcohol.)

Seeing how some people become very disturbing or depressed when drunk is very sad.It is very sad when children grow up with a drunk parent.

Thank you for your honesty and all the best.I think having a glass of red wine can be a treat and is good for the heart(in moderation only!)and
I have no issue with that part of it.I do think many people have a gazillion reasons not to touch a drop(for some family history,past abuse,medical issues,religion,they don’t like it,find it affects thier health etc etc)and I commend all for doing what is best for them.

I like people who take a firm stand in what they believe in.You two are obviously a loving couple who care enough about each other to make life changes when it is best for one or both.Kudos and please continue such honest and frank posting-absolutely love it!Bravo!

I find that when I keep it casual and joky in saying I don’t want a drink when offered people loosen up. I also find when one turns down a drink it will influence another to also do so at that event.Makes it all more comfortable,although I do think others really don’t care (but of course some may harbour a bit of awkwardness for sure if they have some issues around the subject themselves,but that just makes me feel a bit of empathy for them!)

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Jennifer     at 11:28 am

You have articulated your thoughts beautifully. Alcohol affects so many things in our lives, and we for some reason as a society, accept those changes. I really hope you continue to write this blog for a long time. Your healthy cooking, loving relationship and positive attitude is contagious. Since I’ve been reading your blog, I am motivated to cook cleaner and live fuller. I walked right past you and Casey in Cininnati (where I was also running the flying pig) and should have stopped to say hello, but I was too shy to.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Oh man! You totally should have said hi! It would have made my day after that awful run. Hopefully I wasn’t still puking by the tree when you saw me. :)

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Ashley     at 11:35 am

This is such a wonderful post! I was never a big drinker, but after a medical diagnosis in 2007 I quit entirely. I did not have to quit drinking. I chose to as a way to control my health and my diagnosis. I have never regretted it. While my friends and family completely understand and support me, I have definitely had some acquaintances question my decision. Thank you for such an honest and thought-provoking post!

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Lyndsey @ I'm Lyndsey     at 11:42 am

Emily,

I can’t believe how similar our story is! I didn’t drink all of highschool until after I graduated, it’s continued until I graduated college. Once I left though, being healthy has been my main priority. I definitely stopped getting the invites to places, but I really don’t care. I’m still trying to lose weight and I know how detrimental drinking can be to that. Anyways, it’s just great to know there are others doing the same thing!

<3

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Jackie     at 11:43 am

Thank you, so much for this. I never really noticed that you didn’t drink…(anonymous reader, never commented, etc. :P)

I’m 18, almost 19, and I’ve decided that alcohol just will never really be apart of my life. Not sure why other than it gives me a headache, and I’ve experienced the hurtful things people can say when under the influence.. My mom said something to me while she was drunk that, unfortunately, I will never forget. I’ve forgiven, but that’s beside the point. :) What the point of this comment is, is that SO MANY of my friends, and my own sister, want to know why I just don’t drink.. They try to shove drinks on me, they question me, and it always makes me wonder, why do I HAVE to drink? When did that become a right of passage for all human beings? They make drinking seem like breathing, and that I chose to suffocate myself..

I am like you. I don’t mind those who drink. I don’t mind being around it. I’m normally not because I’m not invited, but whatever.. I don’t judge others for drinking, and I just wish they didn’t judge me for not drinking. So, thank you for this post and letting me and others know that we aren’t alone. :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog     at 11:45 am

Thank you – so true. I try not to live so defensively and just relax, but it can be exhausting! :)

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Tina     at 11:46 am

So proud of you and how you were able to present this in such an understandable way!!!!!! The “not getting invited because you don’t drink” is sooooooooooo common, unfortunately.

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Shelly @ EpicOrganic.net     at 11:48 am

Thank you for sharing, Emily!! I was beginning to think I was a mutant. I stopped drinking 8 months ago, after 3 years or so of heavy drinking every weekend, and another 15 years or so of being known as a party girl (I’m now 35). Social invites have dried up – friends say they didn’t think I’d want to come out because I don’t drink. That same tension you described fills the air when I am at a “drinking event.” I don’t understand it – I’m not uncomfortable, so why are they? I think you nailed it – the ones that are uncomfortable feel like I know their little secret. And it’s probably true. I think, at least in my situation, they’re the people that could stand to take a good look in the mirror. But I don’t preach; to each his own. My decision to not drink was 2-fold. It came after a night of drinking where I was really disgusted with my behavior and disappointed in myself. That was 8 months ago. I felt like I really hit bottom, and did not want to drink anymore. 2 months later, I went whole-foods organic and started running. 3 months after that, I went vegetarian. Now, I’m feel so healthy and so good and vibrant that I don’t want to ruin that feeling with alcohol. I’ve lost 50 pounds, and while I still have 50 to go, I feel wonderful. I don’t drink soda or other chemical-laden crap; why would I drink alcohol? Why would I do that to myself, my body? I’m doing very well, aside from occasionally missing some of my friends. It’s hard sometimes, as I’m single and like I said – I feel kind of like a mutant. I don’t know any other non-drinkers, or any other vegetarians, or any other runners. So I get my sense of belonging by reading blogs like yours :) Because that makes me know that I’m making the right decisions for me – and that I’m not alone! Thank you!

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Dan     at 11:48 am

I surely do miss you and its things like this that made you being a friend I enjoy having and just having the privilege of knowing.

-dan.

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Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life)     at 11:59 am

What a great story! I don’t judge you for not drinking- that would be as silly as you judging me because I do drink. I’ve tapered off a lot from college, but love a dirty martini or glass of wine on the weekends. Kudos to you for your healthy life style! :)

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LC     at 12:01 pm

Thank you so much for this honest post, Emily.

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Theresa     at 12:01 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so inspiring to hear and see that you made the conscious decision to be healthy and good to your body.

My Dad also made the decision in his 20′s not to drink because he grew up in a family with an alcoholic father. At first when I was in high school I thought it was so strange, but as I get older I really admire that decision. Because of him I have not struggled with the desire for drinking and partying like many of my friends. I still enjoy a drink every now and then but it is not a central part of my life at all. It is hard to see friends and family that you care about become so dependent on alcohol and partying. Something my Dad has talked about that is interesting is that people often say they have more fun when they drink, but really, if you need alcohol it isn’t really fun at all.

Thank you again for sharing your story and encouraging me to live active and healthy lifestyles. I love your blog and read everyday!

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Lee     at 12:03 pm

My husband and I (it feels weird saying that, we just got married on Saturday!) didn’t drink for the month of January and I completely experienced that social awkwardness and pressure from friends. A lot of our friends would try to get us to drink anyway. It’s very similar to the way people try to pressure you (or me, rather) to eat meat since I’ve become vegetarian.

While I do still drink, it’s just not as fun as it was when I was younger. I actually feel very guilty when I get drunk and that’s something that I’m struggling with. Plus, hangovers are like five million times worse when you’re in your 30s.

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Carol     at 12:11 pm

I never post comments on blogs that I read. I should, but somehow never do. Your entry today was so well written and I felt compelled to commend you for it. It was not preachy at all. I am also a non drinker as I grew up in a household where it was labeled “wrong,” and I experimented and have discovered I just don’t need it. Not that I agree with my parents’ views on drinking, I just don’t have a desire to drink, much like I don’t have a desire to meat either. Thanks for sharing.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thank you so much!

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MA*     at 12:21 pm

Obviously I know your story, but felt compelled to comment on the excellent writing, presentaton, and explanation of your and Casey’s decisions. Very nicely done! Love you even more today than I ever did at a bar party :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

xoxoxoxox

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MaI     at 12:21 pm

Your post is honest and admirable. Thank you for sharing your story. I am one of those odd anomalies, I never really liked alcohol. I drank twice in high school, and a bit my first semesternof college. Although some may say this is a baby excuse, I think the reason I never got into it was because I hated the taste, yes even wines, it just made me pucker up my face in distaste.

Fortunately, my boyfriend, who I met my first year of university is also not a drinker, and while it meant we mostly spent time together our first few years, by my last years of university, and as I got more and more active I found alcohol didn’t keep us from social interaction anymore.

Today I might have q glass of wine once a month or so for special occasions, but I might also just stick with water, I would say I average less than ten glasses of wine per year. The true value of my experience however is that I have been saying no for so long I don’t feel awkward, plus everyone coves that I can always be counted on to drive them home.

Sure it can be awkward at times, and I am fairly certain most restaurants hate that my boyfriend and I always stick with water, but we are happy that way.

I am glad to know that other people out therre understand e benefits of not drinking.

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Stephanie     at 12:33 pm

I find it kind of sad that people are so judgemental about a personal choice like not drinking. My husband rarely drinks at all (maybe a Smirnoff once a month if that), and all of his friends poke fun at his decision. He had a bad experience with tequila and decided the drinking scene wasn’t for him.

I definitely don’t drink like I used to (in fact, I’ve had a 12 pack of Sam Summer sitting in my fridge since early May, and I’ve had 2 bottles)…mostly because I can’t fathom waking up at Noon or after the next day, but this is an individual choice.

I applaud you for making the best decision for you. It takes a lot to avoid peer pressure in friendly social situations.

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Crystal     at 12:41 pm

I am glad you wrote this. I know how awkward it is being a non-drinker for no ‘real reason’. I haven’t had a drink since 2008 and have no desire to have one. My husband does drink beer but that is his choice.

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Jamie     at 1:09 pm

Hi Em,
Long time follower from Cincy.. I have never been a drinker and have never been drunk; in fact, I find that I have a lot of fun without alcohol.. like you, I always have to explain myself when with a new crowd that doesn’t know me or my convictions.
I hope your post will educate others and inspire them to maybe give up the drinks just for one night..thanks for such an honest post.. you continue to encourage and inspire me!
~Jamie

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Mehnaz     at 1:10 pm

Hi Emily! I’ve read your blog but never commented before. This post really struck a cord with me and was deeply inspiring. I think you should submit it to The Drinking Diaries: http://www.drinkingdiaries.com/. The only other person who has written about your view is Gretchen Rubin and since you are my age it is so much easier to relate to what you are talking about.

I find there’s an increased pressure to look “cultured” through drinking with my friends. Maybe it’s being a 20-something (versus the kind of drinking I did when I was in a sorority too) but if I refuse to drink wine and go to wine-tastings, I really get that vibe that I’m just not sophisticated enough. Reading your affirms my belief – fine cuisine does not mean alcohol is a must! Mehnaz

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

very cool – thanks for the link!

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Ida     at 1:17 pm

I totally agree that the worst part about not drinking is other’s reaction to it. I do enjoy a glass of wine every now and then, but I don’t ever want to be drunk again. I hate hangovers and worrying about rides home. i guess people feel that by not drinking you are judging those who do, but it’s really all about you.
plus by not drinking I have room for an extra piece of dessert, which is SO much tastier than beer IMO:)

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Rachel @ FitFunandFabulous     at 1:23 pm

I’ve NEVER been a big drinker. I’ll drink occassionally (1x a month TOPS) but nothing more than that. I hate the way it makes me feel physically, and makes me really emotionally charged.

People ask me constantly why I don’t do it, and I think it makes people uncomfortable to hang out with me at bars and such because they don’t want to get trashed with a sober person right there, but it doens’t really bother me either way. Drink if you want!

But there’s no overarching reason why I don’t do it besides the reasons I listed. I just don’t like it! It tastes yucky, too.

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Melissa @ HerGreenLife     at 1:28 pm

Thanks for the honesty. The drinking/non-drinking divide can be tough on relationships. I found that as the social lives of my college friends revolved more and more around alcohol, we spent less time enjoying other things we had in common. Alcohol definitely changed things, and not for the better.

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Christa     at 1:31 pm

Emily,

Thank you so much for this post. I have been reading your blog for a while now and have always enjoyed it, but this post takes the cake.

I stopped drinking late last year after dealing with an illness. I agree with pretty much everything you said. I feel SO much better without it (and did my fair share in college, too). I am now 25 and find that some people don’t think anything of it, while others think I’m a real stick in the mud.

I hope this post will give others in a similar situation the confidence and motivation they need to quit, if that’s what they want to do. Alcohol is definitely not necessary to lead a full life.

-Christa

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Becky     at 1:34 pm

What a fantastic, honest post! I have never been a big drinker, but for awhile I participated in the drinking and games at parties, etc. Since I decided to live a healthier life, I barely ever drink. I just don’t care for it all that much. I continue to be amazed by how uncomfortable this makes other people. Either they see me as a “stick in the mud” or they feel awkward about their own choices.

My boyfriend and I have experienced alcoholism in our families, so less drinking works for us. Glad it’s working for you, too!

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Faith     at 1:38 pm

Thanks for sharing your story!

I never drank in high school or even in college (went to a private school where it was forbidden!), but as a result, I had a group of friends who knew how to have a blast without drinking.

As I get older, I enjoy the occasional glass of wine, but stories like yours remind me how important it is to enjoy everything in moderation and to remind the younger generation of the fun of sobriety!

:) Love your blog.

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Kelly     at 1:40 pm

Emily, this is such a great post and I have such respect for you and Casey to do what is best for you (both individually and as a couple). I’m sure this is really difficult since so many social situations practically revolve around drinking. Even though I’m not a non-drinker, I admire people who are able to have such self control.

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Marie     at 2:02 pm

My thoughts exactly! I dabbled with drinking for about two weeks and just didn’t enjoy it. Since I started working out all I can think about is putting healthy things in my body and alcohol is not on the list. It doesn’t bother me to be the only one not drinking, but it does bother me when people complain that I’m not and refuse to except that I don’t want a drink. They are the ones with a problem. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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Alaina     at 2:10 pm

Hi, Emily! I’m fairly new to reading your blog, but I definitely want to commend you for having the strength to stop drinking, inspite of what must be MOUNDS of peer pressure.

I actually JUST turned 21, and while I do occasionally enjoy going out for drinks, I know what you mean when you say that so much of our social lives revolve around it. It’s actually kind of sickening how few college students can have fun when they aren’t drinking. While I do abstain more often than most of my friends, I can’t imagine myself quitting quite yet, in spite of the fact that I feel the same way you do about being hungover, wasting time, and wasting money. I’m young, but I hope that soon enough, my friends and I grow up enough to recognize the merits of the kind of decision that you have made. Thanks for sharing!

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Karen     at 2:17 pm

Hi Emily,

I came to visit a couple of months ago via Kath’s blog and have since become a regular reader. I’m a decade older than your typical demographic but immediately connected to your voice on the basis of our simliar eating styles/habits and your great writing skills. I recognized immediately you were more wise beyond your years, and now I understand the source of some of this maturity and level headedness.

Thank you for this beautifully written, insightful and brave post. I especially love the overall theme of self empowerment – your fierce commitment to values that matter most to you, being true to thyself. Your story is such a good reminder that each one of us has the power within to make (tiny or grand) changes to create optimally rewarding lives for ourselves.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thank you karen! i think i am a decade older than my typical demographic sometimes too. :)

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Sarah     at 2:35 pm

Emily,

This is a wonderful post! Thank you so much for being so honest! I have also stopped drinking. I will have a glass of wine here or there but maybe once a month? It has been amazing. And not that I was super crazy to begin with but your body really does appreciate you!
I am so excited to see all of the amazing comments, it makes me feel so much better about my decision.

Sarah

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thanks sarah! me too :)

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Chelsea     at 2:36 pm

Thanks for the post! I too never drank in high school and waited until I was 21 to drink. Even then, I only drank a little bit here and there. I actually grew up in a household where no one drank, so it was relatively normal for me to not drink in high school.

The one thing that always worried me was how in the world was I going to find a boyfriend or a husband who felt the same way about drinking that I did? But you know, it all works out. While I didn’t date a whole lot throughout high school and college, I met husband in grad school, and he’s a non-drinker, too. He’s totally social and a huge extravert, and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t want to drink because he doesn’t want to miss a beat when he’s with his friends.

We haven’t encountered too many awkward moments with friends when we don’t drink in social situations – though we learned really fast that when we have parties at our house that are bring your own beer/wine, we need a wine key! We made that mistake once, and now we know how to be more hospitable hosts.

Thanks for sharing!

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Sara     at 2:51 pm

There’s another one out there! YAY! I’m not the only one! I’ve struggled with being the non drinker all my life. Why can’t people just accept it? Why can’t we meet up and have snow cones instead of some shots?! Kidding but you know the feeling. Awesome post.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

i LOVE snow cones! :)

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Heather     at 2:55 pm

KUDOS!!! It IS hard when people give you a hard time about not drinking. I drink on vacation, like a fun fruity drink, and my husband doesn’t drink at all. We have NEVER been drinkers and college got rough at times and I sometimes felt isolated, but now looking back as a “grownup” I see that I didn’t really miss much! I don’t like not being in control of my actions for sure! We have never planned things around drinking since we don’t drink, ya we still go out to eat and go to gatherings and parties, but we hang out with a different circle of friends who do not make us feel uncomfortable. GOod for you, stay strong!

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sirenjess     at 3:39 pm

Thank you for sharing this with us. This was an amazing post. I think it’s just harder for others to understand the concept that you can be out with others and not drink. Yesterday was a friend of mines birthday and all the girls were going to happy hour. I didn’t go because well I didn’t feel like drinking. I had just gotten out of a two hour session of working on my IT band and drinking was the last thing on my mind. I do occasionally drink but I now prefer not to. I turned 30 this year and had a huge party at a bar because that’s what was expected to happen. My husband just kept pushing it and in the end all I really wanted was to have a small backyard gathering. Good for you for being so strong!

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Christin L.     at 4:03 pm

I love that last line. I haven’t had a drink in almost 3 years, and that sums it up beautifully!

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Lauren (Lauren Loves Good Food)     at 4:17 pm

Emily, this is an awesome post! I’m still really struggling with the reactions I’ll get from people if I tell them I don’t drink, ESPECIALLY because I’m turning 21 next week :( I hope with time I can find the courage you have.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

happy brithday! you are awesome!! :)

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Em     at 4:27 pm

Emily, kudos on another fantastic post! As another Emily from Cincy (HP represent!), I have the same struggles. I was never a big drinker, and actually the only reason I started drinking was that I was tired of being excluded from events. It can be really tough not to drink, especially when so many outings at our age revolve around alcohol. And I agree with you completely-the exclusion seems to be based more on other people being worried that you know their secret..Thanks for sharing your story, it gives me hope that there are others out there like me :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

i miss hyde park!!

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Erin     at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the post, Emily! It’s a great one, for sure!

I’ve never been a big drinker. (I can count the number of times I’ve been drunk on…one finger. And I’m almost 30.) Maybe because I never have been, no one really thinks any differently about it when I pass up the beer for the soda or sparkling water, but it’s really a non-issue for me, socially speaking. Others drink around me with no weirdness, and I’ve never felt left out of a social situation. Mostly it’s handy because I can always be the DD! :)

Every once in awhile, someone will say, “I know you don’t drink…” which isn’t strictly true. I do drink occasionally, but very rarely (maybe once a month?) and hardly ever more than a single drink. Even when someone comments, there’s no judgment or awkwardness there. They’re just commenting.

It’s interesting to read others’ experiences with social problems related to not drinking, since that’s not been my experience at all. But then, as I say, it might be because I’ve never been a drinker. I imagine that folks are reacting more because they view your behavior shift as a judgment on them–which it’s certainly not, of course, but people are egocentric and weird. ;) Since I’ve never really been a drinker, there’s no reason for people to view my behavior as a commentary on theirs–it’s just one of the things that makes me me…and most people either (a) don’t notice or (b) don’t care. Or both!

But kudos to you and Casey for following your instincts, whether that means drinking or not!

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Laura     at 5:01 pm

Thank you for this post, Emily! I am a fellow non-drinker and experienced many of the same reactions as you and other commenters. Throughout college and even in the year or two after college I had people who literally said they were “on a mission to break my good girl image and make me a drinker” (or a variation on that theme). I found comments like that to be insulting– I would never “go on a mission to keep them from drinking.” Image (i.e., being a “good girl”) has nothing to do with choosing not to drink. I choose not to drink because I don’t care for the taste, how it makes me feel, or the added expense.

While I don’t mind other people drinking (in moderation) I made a choice not to serve alcohol at my recent wedding (my husband only has a glass of wine once in a blue moon so he didn’t care either) because I didn’t want tipsy or drunk people there after witnessing embarrassing moments at other weddings. I got chided for it by some, but I have no regrets.

Glad I discovered your blog in the last few weeks!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

we quit drinking 5 months before our wedding, and decided to just go ahead and serve alcohol anyways. i dont regret it, but it was EXPENSIVE considering we didnt even drink it ourselves.

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Amber K     at 5:19 pm

I have to be honest, I usually skim through posts that promise to be “long.” But in this one I read every word. I don’t completely abstain, but I also wouldn’t consider myself a “drinker.” I don’t mind turning one down, and I don’t mind having a sip.

I think it is awful that people can be so uncomfortable and judgmental. But I guess it is that way with a lot of things.

I respect you both so much for not only making good choices for yourselves and sticking to them, but also for sharing your stories.

Thanks.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thanks for reading! :)

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maria @ Chasing the Now     at 5:19 pm

This is a great entry. I personally drink socially on occasion (less than once a month, and not even every month) but my husband does not drink at all and never has. It does make social outings awkward occasionally and we have been purposefully not invited to events before, just like you mentioned.

Thanks for the great post. You made some excellent points.

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anne     at 5:58 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I really liked your closing statement: For me, life is too precious to waste on being wasted.

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Mom     at 6:19 pm

Emily,
I am so proud of you for having the courage to write this post. I know how private you are. I think you should have a great sense of accomplishment that you and Casey were not only able to make such a major lifestyle change(in today’s social climate) but were able to put it out there for all to see. I am proud of you, too, that you were able to inspire so many heart felt comments from your readers. Your writing is sincere & genuine and it shows. You are an amazing & accomplished woman.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thanks mom! couldn’t have done it without you :) xoxo

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Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 6:49 pm

What an amazing post. You and Casey are so inspiring! I’m a moderate, responsible drinker and I’m not thinking of giving up alcohol but I completely respect your decision and I love how non-judgmental you are about the whole thing.

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Jocelyn     at 7:39 pm

Hey girl. Love this post I really enjoyed this post thank you for the effort and honesty. Can I tell you that I have not really drank my whole life, two days ago was my 21st bday and lets just say it was not the normal 21st. It was so nice to get dinner with my friends have a glass of wine and call it a night. I will never drink large amounts and I don’t really like it at all. So good for you!!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

good for YOU!

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Kristin     at 8:31 pm

I understand completely how you feel my parents don’t drink and most of my family doesn’t. It’s interesting how when family/friends do drink that is sometimes what events become about. My family does all holidays, weddings, parties, everything without alcohol, so even though I do drink occasionally, normal events associated with drinking aren’t. I’ve never been a huge drinker, and still to this day I only drink because I like something, such as a glass of a wine, or a beer here and there, but I don’t drink to get drunk-as a lot of people do. I also know what you mean about being the Sobba Sista, I still play the designated driver, even going out to bars, I figure I’m there to have a good time, and drinking doesn’t matter. Some people may find not drinking obscure, and not understand it, I think it’s just because those people don’t know how to have fun without the alcohol. So congrats to you for doing what is best for you and thank you for sharing.

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Christie     at 9:27 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. It really opened my eyes about the way we (and myself included) treat one friend of mine. He does not drink and we have been known to make fun of him about it. Reading your story really helped me understand his decision better.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Christie – I’m sure your friend would love to hear that too. :)

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Jennie     at 10:27 pm

Good for you for making a decision and sticking with it, that takes courage. I made the decision to quit drinking back in January, but haven’t been as strong as you have, lately wine has been working its way back into my weekends. Alcohol played a negative role in my family life when I was growing up and I seem to have inherited the tendency to overindulge, which means that it is up to me to break the pattern. I agree with you that life without alcohol is much better, and I am inspired by your post to recommit myself to cutting alcohol out of my life completely. Thank you for sharing your story, I am sure it will have an impact on many who read it.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I hope so! Good luck :)

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Tieghan     at 10:39 pm

I really like this post!! I too I have decided to not drink. I will be attending collage next year and am quite nervous as to what people with think and say. I hope they can respect my decision. It is something I feel very strongly about! Thanks for the awesome post it made me feel much more comfortable with my decision.

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Emilyeatsclean     at 10:47 pm

Great post!! I respect your decision and I hope other’s in your future path do to. Thanks for sharing your story!

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Jessica     at 10:58 pm

It makes sense. Glad you shared. :D

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Katie     at 6:49 am

Hey,

I’ve been a reader for a while but I just wanted to toss my two cents into the ring on this one…

I LOVED this post. I quit drinking two years ago (wow, has it been that long?) for a number of reasons – I was getting more into running, and hated being dehydrated on a run, I have some (lots of…) stomach problems that made drinking a bit of a game of russian roulette as to how I’d feel when I was drinking and the next day, and I have some family history of alcoholism that I knew I wanted to avoid from the get-go.

The roughest thing for me now is that the majority of social events at work are “going for a beer”, and I’m less and less interested in sipping my water as my colleagues hit the sauce.

Other than that, its been pretty easy! I’m behind my choice 110% so I never question what I’m doing or have a problem saying no.

Thanks for your post- nice to know there are others out there who are prioritizing healthy living over drinking!! :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

awesome! :)

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Marika     at 7:14 am

Thank you for this post! I’m another reader who was hoping you’d share about why and how you quit drinking.
After reading your post, I started to think about whether I have any non-drinking friends… it took me a few minutes to remember one of my closest friends did quit drinking a few years ago! My point is that she’s still exactly my same friend and always a fun and caring person to be around… “non-drinking” doesn’t count as a personality trait!

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Sarah     at 7:27 am

Great post! You rock!!!

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Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries     at 9:28 am

Emily – this post is awesome. I’m still a drinker, but constantly say I’m going to “quit”. Then I don’t. Truthfully, I enjoy beer. But, I want to quit the excessive part. I’m over parties and the bar scene. I simply want to enjoy a beer because of the taste. Thanks for the reminder that I CAN do it!

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Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales     at 10:40 am

I can totally relate to this post! I have never been a drinker and I have spent my entire adult life being looked at strangely when I say that I don’t drink. People always expect a deep and meaningful answer to the question of why I don’t drink but the truth is there isn’t one and I think that makes people even more curious. I just don’t like the idea of not being in control of myself. People never respect my decision not to drink and they always try and cajole me into trying some as if I am missing out. I wish they would respect my decision and understand that this is a choice that I have made.

Thanks for this post. I now feel like I am not the only non-drinking adult on the planet!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

alway being in control of myself is my favorite part. i’m a control freak! :)

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Molly     at 11:44 am

Hi Emily,

Like everyone else, thank you so much for this wonderful post! I am an occassional drinker, but this post really resonated with me for two reasons: 1) I hate bars 2) I used to go “dry” in college for my sport (it was a team decision).

Going dry in college (i.e. giving up alcohol while in season entirely) was a wonderful experience. The majority of my friend were not on my team but were entirely supportive (probably because they knew we were going for a national championship). It was during this time though I also learned how to handle the problem of “social situations” and the answer seems pretty obvious now… we created our own. Our team frequently went bowling and a lot of my drinking friends would still come along! If they wanted a drink, they could have it, but the activity did not at all revolve around alcohol. I have since taken this method and applied it to my life now (as I said, I do drink, but despise the bar scene…I cannot hear anyone talk!) I frequently just suggest other activities for group get-togethers that don’t include booze. Whether its bowling, pedicures, sunbathing (okay, I know this is bad for you, but its fun!), dinners/concerts, it has made life so much easier. That way, if they do decide to go to a bar, I don’t worry that I’m “missing out” on socializing. I know I’ll catch them later in the week and can simply unwind on my own or with my boyfriend. The best part is that I almost always can find a friend who isn’t in the mood to drink either, so we can get more quality one-on-one time and save money by simply hanging out and watching tv/movie.

Overall, I really think you found a great balance, but I can totally understand how socially for some it can be tough. I learned that by creating other options, people are usually more than happy to do things other than the bar, but they usually do not think of it themselves.

Also, your blog is amazing! I’m so glad I stumbled across it!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

i’m glad too! welcome to the blog! :)

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Veronica     at 12:59 pm

Wow! What a great post…thanks for sharing! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and have never commented. My husband and I are also not big drinkers, and we struggled with the social aspect of it too (not being invited because we don’t get smashed etc.) But, now it’s not a big deal…alcohol isn’t really an issue anymore and I never noticed that you were a non drinker :) I found that alot of the comments I got were from people who were self conscious about their decision TO drink, almost like they needed others to join in to help validate their choices. I don’t really care if people drink or not, that’s their decision…just like I made mine. Anyway, just wanted to tell you I love your blog.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thank you! i know what you mean about the validation -we’ve experienced the same thing.

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July Goals « Vegan Whoopies     at 11:25 am

[...] am not going to drink alcohol this month! I read a great post on The Front Burner blog and I could totally relate. I by no means have a problem-I have a few [...]

Julie @ Pickley Pear     at 5:04 pm

You are very courageous to tell your story! I enjoy hearing stories like yours. Nothing had to ‘happen’ for you to make this decision.

I have drastically cut down on my drinking, and do it socially now, not to get ‘wasted’ anymore. I can’t handle being hungover and useless. I do enjoy the occasional glass or wine or cold beer.

Thanks for sharing :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

thank you!

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Winnie     at 12:02 am

Thank you so much for writing this blog post. It spoke right to my heart and it is something that I have decided to do as well. We are the same age so I feel like it is great to know someone else who believes and is living the life outside of drinking :) Love the blog!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

awesome!

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Eva     at 11:00 am

Emily,

Thank you so much for this post. I have never had a drink in my life and it’s for much of the same reasons you have iterated here. I find that the only struggles I have are with other people’s reactions . . . lot of them think I am judging them if they do drink or they just don’t get it and constantly bug me about it. Bu, it is definitely a part of who I am and a choice that is right for me.

Thanks again,

Eva

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Eva! :)

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Mellissa     at 12:41 pm

I truly respect your decision, congratulations on choose the life that best suits you!

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Mayura     at 2:14 pm

It’s interesting to read your experience with this. Thanks for sharing it! I never really understood the fascination that most people have with drinking. I tried to get into it in college, but I could never bring myself to have more than 2 drinks (I just feel really sick if I keep going), never liked the taste of most beers (especially the cheap stuff that most college students can afford) and have never been drunk! I didn’t see how going to a noisy bar where it was usually too loud to really talk to anybody, getting drunk, and either passing out or throwing up or watching other people do it was FUN. I’m in my late twenties and I’m happy to not have to even pretend that I enjoy drinking and partying at bars any more! When I go out to dinner or to a party with friends, I sip my way through ONE glass of wine or beer, usually with food.
It’s true though that a lot of people don’t really grow out of it. I see people well into their thirties still bar-hopping and getting wasted on weekends. I think to many people the bar scene is the only way they know how to socialize.

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Bronwyn Coyne     at 4:07 pm

Thanks for this post.

I come from a sober family. I drink, I am in University and for the most part, it’s a social activity for me. My family isn’t sober because they at one time over did it, or drinking had a horrible affect on our life, it’s more my parents just don’t really drink. My dad has the occasional beer, and my mom reacts badly to alcohol so she just stays away.
While I have enjoyed drinking alot (often too much) in the past, I’m at a point where I honestly have more fun being sober. The clubs and bars and social situations where you feel like you have to be drunk just don’t appeal to me anymore.
But I have to admit I’m afraid slightly of the judgement that might come with making the choice to not drink. It just seems like “everyone is doing it” (and by it I mean drinking). Thanks for writing a post that explains you’ve CHOSEN sobreity not for any other reason then to just be sober, it’s very refreshing. It’s nice to know that there are people out there who don’t plan around drinking.

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Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards)     at 5:28 am

This is an amazing post. I am SO glad I read this because it is near and dear to me as well. I drank a bit in college like most, but then I moved to Mozambique (Peace Corps) in September 2008 (21 months ago) and since then I have all but cut alcohol out of my life, even though it remains the biggest social motivator like in the States. For all the same reasons that you mentioned, I just feel better when I am not drinking. I am not opposed to the occasional glass of wine or beer, I just don´t really LIKE alcohol in the first place and especially not the way it makes me feel. But I am moving back to the States in December and I have been nervous because I know American life in my mid-20s is going to be a lot more awkward as a non-drinker than living in Africa. But I am motivated to follow what it is that I want instead of social pressure. Random question, do you have any suggestions for good mocktails to order out at the bar? Like tonic and lime or anything like that? I like to have something in my hand, maybe I am just not confident enough to deal with it yet but it helps me feel better, I just don´t know what to order at the bar besides water! :)

Again, thanks so much for sharing.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Whenever I go to bars with my friends, I always order mocktails! Favorites are club soda with lime or club soda with raspberry. Usually bartenders are very nice to non-drinkers, and typically give the drinks for free!

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Kath     at 10:34 am

Beautifully written post love!

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Sue     at 4:44 am

What a great post! Congrats on your decision!
I have never been a regular drinker because I just don’t like the taste of beer, wine or liquor. And I don’t take alcohol very well, I get sick very fast. Sometimes when I go out I’m in the mood for a cocktail and just have one, but most times I don’t. But that has never been a big deal! My friends are the same, sometimes they drink alcohol, sometimes they don’t. It doesn’t matter at all! We can have lots of fun without a single drop of alcohol!
I’m sorry that people give you a hard time about your decision. I’m so lucky that this has never happened to me.
I know a few people who have been alcoholics for decades (!), some of them even died because of it at a very young age, leaving their children behind. That makes me so sad!
Ah, and I never drink a single drop when I know I have to drive! Drinking and driving is one of the worst thing you can do!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you! That’s great that you have such a supportive group of friends. My close friends have been wonderful, and to be honest, it was more Casey’s friends that didn’t understand. I think guys have a much harder time finding thigns to do without alcohol!

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Michele     at 10:56 pm

I totally agree. I have a history of alcoholism in my family, and if I were to drink at all, I probably would become addicted in a snap.

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Chrissy (The New Me)     at 5:23 pm

Thanks for writing this. We have similar stories – I too did not drink until college due to a family history of alcoholism, and then went a little crazy once I started. Last year, I gave up drinking for a month and ever since then, I’ve drastically reduced my drinking. While I still have a drink or two socially, I hardly ever drink enough to have a hangover, and drinking water instead of wine is easier than ever. Kudos to you for sticking with your resolve, even when the rest of the world doesn’t quite understand.

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jess     at 3:01 pm

Mmmm, great post! I don’t drink either :)

Whoop whoop for the teetotalers!!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

haha :)

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Kristyna Tchir     at 10:27 am

Wow, that is a really excellent post. Good for you! I have found personally, after a time too many of being depressed+drunk (=seriously bad combination) in my early twenties, that it’s something I just don’t need in my life. I may have a glass of wine or beer occasionally but honestly I really dislike being drunk.
Since becoming a vegan a year ago and cutting alcohol almost completely out of my life, my circle of friends has changed (not to mention lessened) dramatically. I’m okay with that though because now I have found new friends who have similar lifestyles to my own who motivate me to continue making great decisions.

I just recently discovered your blog and I have to say…I love it! Your posts are so thorough and the personal experiences you’ve shared are so genuine. Thank you for being so inspirational! :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank YOU for being so nice! I’m so glad you found the blog :)

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Rebecca     at 9:18 pm

Good for you! :) Even though i’m young and i haven’t experienced actual drinking, i know that beer is not good for anyone. It’s just empty calories and that often leads to weight gain. I’m a vegan and i do not put any hydrogenated anything or anything not nutritious into my body and i believe that beer and wine don’t have to be consumed for a good timee! Being drunk just makes people vulnerable and stupid. Not fun, at all. Also, people getting sick and throwing up from binging is not cute. Gross. When i’m older, i’m never going to lay my hands on a beer and hopefully wine. I may have wine once or twice.. but i don’t plan on having it. Water’s the way to go! :) Andd.. the healthiest. You have taught me more than i had known about alcohol and what it does to you so thank you! :) Please check out my blog if you have time it would mean the world to mee.

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Jennifer     at 10:27 am

I love this. Thank you for sharing. It is incredible.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thank you! :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking     at 1:47 pm

I’ve never been a drinker — in part because, as a Christian, I want to present a certain behavior to others (not that I think there’s anything wrong with a Christian who drinks in moderation occasionally), and in part because my family also has alcoholism in its history.

Thanks for sharing this!

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Kristina     at 11:06 pm

Thank you for this post! I read it when it was originally posted and I searched for it again today as I have just made the commitment to myself to stop drinking. I am, by no means, a big drinker. In fact the only time I do drink is when I am out with others. In reflection I realize that the biggest reason I drink is because that’s just what you do when you are around others that drink and when I chose not to, I’m often bombarded with questions. When my response is “I just don’t feel like it today” it’s often followed by rolled eyes or rude comments but you’re right, it’s by those who have their own issues with drinking. I am committed to a healthy lifestyle…I workout 6 days a week…I’m training for my 8th marathon…. I’m a vegetarian…I take my vitamins…I eat organic foods…and I don’t drink. This works for me and makes me feel good about me. Thank you for sharing your journey to healthy living. I enjoy your blog!! You are inspiring!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Kristina, that is awesome! Congrats for making such a huge commitment to your health. :) You will find that you settle into the lifestyle and it becomes second nature.

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Leanne @ Radiant, Balanced & Fit     at 12:57 pm

What an amazing read :)

I’ve never been much of drinker so I can relate to other people acting uncomfortable around you once you gave up drinking.

I rarely drink and when I do I always get people in my life saying “Oh finally, Leanne’s letting loose and having a great time”… Um, excuse me, but I don’t have a stick up my butt normally. I laugh easily, loud and often, I love going dancing (even sober.. shockingly!), and I’m full of love to give. Drinking shouldn’t make or break a person.

Thank you for posting this and hopefully it’ll make a couple people realize that the worst thing in the world isn’t being sober.

Plus I don’t have to spend a million dollars on cab rides thank you very much!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Leanne! I love sober dancing too. :)

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Lindsay     at 4:34 pm

I read this article today and it made me think of your decision…thought you and other readers might be interested!

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/09/07/tf.quit.drinking.friends/index.html?hpt=C2

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Wow – thank you SO much for sharing. One of the best articles on that topic that I’ve seen to date. I passed it along to friends and family! Thanks again :)

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Jill Wolfe     at 8:30 pm

Emily, thanks for your post, the honesty was inspiring. I too, gave up drinking and can relate to most of what you said. I lost 40 pounds in the last few years and started a blog recently. Waking up and being able to go for a 5 mile run is such a treat! Thanks again!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Totally agree. Glad you liked it! :)

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Stacey     at 8:46 pm

I LOVE this post :) Thank you so MUCH for sharing why you made your decision and how hard it was. Like you and Casey, my boyfriend and I first met at a party, and then planned every meet-up after that at a party, or somewhere we could drink. Our “getting to know each other” months were filled with druken nights. They are fun memories, but as we’ve grown as a couple and as individual persons, we too see that it is not important in our lives anymore. I have a beer one night a week and that’s it. I don’t want or need more. And half of the time, I don’t even finish that one beer. I can totally see where you’re coming from. People don’t understand when someone isn’t part of the “norm” by choice. I salute you and your husband :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Stacey! That’s how we started too. It’s crazy how much we’ve changed together over the last few years.

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katherine     at 11:41 pm

so glad i stumbled across this today. i have quit and starting drinking several times. living in wine country doesn’t make not drinking very easy, but i feel so much better when i don’t drink and this time i am going to stick with it. thanks for the inspiration! it’s all about making the choice and sticking to it!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Happy to inspire! Good luck to you :)

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Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 11:15 am

This post is fantastic. You have one of the (if not THE) best written blogs. I love catching up on all your older posts!

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Oh wow – thank you! :)

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Cindy     at 4:44 pm

You are very courageous to write about your journey to being sober. I’m glad you shared. Please keep up the good work, you’re inspiring me, one blog at a time, to become a runner :)

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Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers     at 3:14 pm

i just now read this post and LOVE it. my fiance and i are not big drinkers. sure, i drink on occasion and have a good time, but it’s not something that occurs in our everyday (or every month) life. i sympathize w/ you about friends not understanding. if i ever say i don’t feel like drinking it’s my TRUE friends that don’t question it. the people who are hardcore drinkers are the ones who seem to make me try to feel guilty for not kicking back a beer (or 5). :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks Julie! :)

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Liz     at 6:13 pm

Thank you so much for this post – and to all the commenters – where do you live?! I wish I could be friends with all of you.

I have been struggling with the idea of giving up drinking “just because” for a while now. My parents met in the program (their first date was the AA banquet) and I have overindulged on more than one occasion and regretted it. I have never and will never judge anyone else for drinking – it’s such a personal decision that I wouldn’t dream of it.

So, it stands to reason that not drinking would be a good decision – but the social stuff is what scares me. This past weekend, I managed to go out and dance (I LOVE sober dancing!) and escape too much commentary from friends. But in the past, the peer pressure has been overwhelming. I know I can have and be a ton of fun without drinking, so do people really have so little faith in my to think otherwise? I suppose that’s why those friends drop off.

ANYWAY, thank you so much for sharing this. It made me feel like so much less of a freak.

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Haha I know what you mean – where ARE all these people? I know exactly how you feel, and you’re definitely not alone. The first few days, weeks, months can be tricky – but they are worth it. Good luck in your journey!

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Jennifer     at 4:54 pm

I stumbled upon your story about why you quit drinking and it struck a chord with me.

I’m 29 years old and I’ve always been overweight (until I lost about 80lbs about 5-6 years ago). I work and struggle everyday to be healthy and to be active and make smart choices. I was your typical college sorority-girl…binge drinking my way through a 4 year education. I worked in a bar after college before I entered the “real” workforce. Even though I still drink (although not as much as I used to), I still go as far as not eating all day so I can get drunk quicker and more efficiently when I do go out.

I met my boyfriend Logan almost 2 years ago. And although he is a whopping 7 years younger than me, he does not drink. His father is an emotionally and physically abusive alcoholic, and Logan has had no contact with him in the past 8 years. Logan understands why I drink, but he has never liked it. And I know deep down, he wishes I wouldn’t drink at all.

At most, I drink once a week (always on the weekends), and I will have anywhere from 1-5 drinks. I feel conflicted because I am a responsible adult who can have a drink or two…but I understand his struggle with alcohol and often contemplate giving it up (especially since I am so conscious of my body and being fit). I appreciate your honesty and your story and hopefully one day I can come to a decision like yours.

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Amanda Reply:

Hey- I’m reading all these comments because I am trying to take the leap too. I’m 7 years older than my bf too, I am starting counseling soon to kick the habit for good once and for all How are you doing with it now? (you may have written this comment a long time ago;)

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Lindsey     at 4:13 pm

I’m so glad I found your blog! I found it today and I was bouncing around getting a feel for your personality when I found this post. When I quit drinking, I did it because of the many people in my family who are alcoholics and I felt a sort of “current” pulling me in when I drank. I knew it was only going to get worse. I quit so I wouldn’t become an alcoholic and you are 100% right. Life without alcohol is SO much better! You’re done with your morning run before your friends who drink are even up and out of bed. You really do find out who your true friends are – and who are just “drinking buddies”. You have time to do things you would never have time for when you were spending all your time partying. People definitely look at me like I have 2 heads when I say I don’t drink anymore, but they just don’t know what THEY are missing :)

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Helena     at 9:43 am

I just love that last sentence! Thank you for sharing your story, I think it’s really courageous of you :)

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Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks! :)

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Amanda     at 3:07 pm

I just stumbled across this post, and it is really incredible. I really don’t understand the judgement and actions towards people who do not drink. I had a friend of mine recently share with me that she quit drinking because of religious reasons, and it took her about eight months to tell me. She said people get really weird around her when she shares the information and didn’t want our relationship to change. That fact just broke my heart. I would never think differently of anyone for not drinking, just like I don’t think differently of anyone for not eating meat, dairy, gluten…or smokers…or anyone else who has made a choice (good or bad) that takes their health and well-being into their own hands.

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Kaci Higgins     at 1:43 am

I just wanted you to know that you are truly an inspiration and said everything perfectly. I am a 22 year old college student (only one semester left!) who has never touched alcohol or drugs because of the negative effects my family and ultimately I have endured. It’s always so comforting and surprising for me to meet or hear of others who also abstain from alcohol. Thank you so much. :)

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Erica D (Gratitouille)     at 6:51 am

This is a much-needed perspective. I’m a junior in college, and a rugby player. I’m so grateful to have the maturity to recognize that drinking is only as fun as the community that you surround yourself with; therefore, I hardly ever drink much at parties. If I feel like getting drunk, I might once in a while by way of shots. But for the most part, I’ll be dancing on a table and no one has to know that I’ve just been sipping a soda.

I get flack sometimes, but thankfully I’m not shy anymore about my decisions. If someone asks, I tell them the truth (usually just list off why I don’t like beer) and go about my business. Most of the time, they don’t believe that I’m sober because I look like I’m having too much fun! It’s all about the atmosphere; alcohol is not required.

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Abby     at 8:55 pm

I just saw this post on your “2010″ post.

I don’t drink either! I will ocassionally have a beer or a glass of wine, but those are rare. But I have never really drank. My mom worked with people convicted of DUIs and many of them had alcohol problems, so I was raised knowing how dangerous it was. My first drink was on my 21st birthday, but by the time I was 21, I was already really into running and being healthy, so I knew it would never have a place in my life. My husband and I are not partiers at all, and I definitely feel isolated sometimes. When our friends are out bar hopping, we’re in watching a movie. I have ALWAYS felt that people think you need alcohol to have fun…I hope that I can prove that to be wrong. Because I certainly am the one waking up feeling great the next morning, not the people who were drinking!

Thanks for this post! It’s good to know that we’re not alone!

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Juli D.     at 9:29 pm

Very interesting and a great post. I appreciate you sharing since it’s a different point of view than most people see. Although, I have a different point of view and do not want this to come off snarky or negative – honestly it’s just how I approach it. I am a microbrew fan and wife of a homebrewer. We do NOT drink to get drunk. We drink and create beer to appreciate and enjoy the flavor of beer. Much like a chef would cook to appreciate and enjoy the flavor of food. I think people would like at me like I had two heads if I said, “I’m cutting out food with flavor from my life, because I have a family history of obesity and diabetes and I see my friends and those around me eating too much.” To all things in life, I tend to think an “everything in moderation” approach works best. BUT, I think it takes great strength to recognize a problem and cut it out of your life – which it sounds like you did. I do not think beer is a bad thing and I do not thing food is a bad thing. I think abusing either to the point that it affects your life (or those in your life) is a bad thing and something that would need to be adjusted accordingly. But as you might view someone on a boring diet trying to lose weight and say “Food has so much more to offer! It can be healthy AND taste good and be so much more enjoyable!” to the non-microbrew drinker I would say “Beer is complex and can taste so unique and amazing – there is so much more out there than Bud Light! You can healthfully enjoy good beer!”

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gas     at 9:59 pm

I quit drinkin 21years ago. Basically its a just say no proposition. If they ask I just say it makes me feel good for ten minutes and like crap for 20 hours But I still likes my fun!! As you get older it won’t be an issue. No one will care

I read a lot of food blogs and I kind of get tired of yet another rendition of OMG chocolate ale!!! And then the colored girls sing: that ale looks amazing!!! Kind of like those oats look amazing!!! I like oats much as anyone BUT a bunch of oats mushed in a bowl ain’t amazing just tastey That kind of prose just wastes my time.

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MaryBe     at 10:14 pm

Thank you for sharing. This had to be a difficult post to write. People seem willing to understand and accept recovering (non drinking) alcoholics, but have trouble understanding people who just don’t drink. Strange isn’t it?

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Cilla     at 10:21 pm

Here via your 2010 post :)

Your observations about the social implications/experiences of being non-drinkers strikes so close to home on my side. My husband and I have been non-drinkers for just about 10 years now, and I was nodding my head all through reading that part of your post. (I’ve even had the, “What, are you an alcoholic?” question before).

In the end it’s a personal choice and way of living that we’re happy with, too.

Happy New Year, Emily.

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suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic]     at 11:43 pm

I go thru phases of drinking a lot and then not at all. I have friends who drink and don’t drink, but they are always welcome to the events that I plan. And many of them do attend. Even if they aren’t having alcoholic beverages, they’ll still come out to the bars and hang out. :)

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terry     at 11:26 am

Congratulations — I’ve tried to quit totally so many times and my friends instead of being supportive are like you said, almost judgmental that something is wrong if you don’t drink. This is what I needed to remind me of the benefits and new commitment for 2011 — thanks for sharing

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colleen     at 1:37 pm

i’m also here via your 2010 NYE post… just wanted to say that i am in LOVE with this post. i don’t drink either and get super frustrated that people give me such a hard time about it. i’ve stopped trying to explain this to them because in reality, i shouldn’t need to.

i’ve been reading your blog for a short time and have enjoyed it so much – but after reading this blog, i am an even bigger fan :)

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Mimi     at 11:25 am

Although I drink on occasion (as in a glass of wine once or twice a month) it is far from the focus of my life. I think it just struck me how quickly people can forget that there is such a thing as fun without alcohol.

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Jessica     at 6:22 pm

I love this post!

I too, starting drinking at 19. I drank a lot in college and just recently started cut back (since October). I think I am just growing out of it. Eating healthier is probably helping somewhat too. I’m not sure if I will give it up 100%, but it’s not as important to me as it once was.

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kami     at 1:48 am

I loved this. I posted it on my FB because I thought it was very inspiring. I don’t drink, and never have, because of religious convictions, so I loved reading your journey because even though it is so different than mine, we feel the same. I am so glad you’re living a happier, more vibrant life without alcohol. You’re an inspiration to many!

Love the blog by the way!

finding my niche

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Amanda     at 10:36 pm

Emily – just wanted to say that I get it – I have not had a drink in 6 years…being able to get up early and not feel that headache, big or small, and workout is fantastic. No better way to start the day! As far as the social piece – the first bit is tough and friends some friends may disappear completely, however it is amazing the friends that somehow begin to pop into life. Those who value the healthy living and could care less about the party scene become the core – at least in my case. Best of luck with it…glad you have a spouse who together you can walk the path of health and well being together.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Amanda! I totally agree with you. The benefits far outweigh any social drawbacks, and now that it has been over 2 years, it has just become second nature to us.

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Kaci     at 11:31 am

I have been reading your blog for about a year now, checking for posts at least twice a day and I love it. While I do understand your decision and the personal history that it springs from this post framed alcohol consumption in a largely negative light as though it is a strictly drink to be drunk pastime. The references were primarily of the frat boy ilk with the exception of the beer tasting reference. As I said I really do love this blog but I think those of us who enjoy sampling the taste of different wines and beers should not be lumped in the the natty lighters.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Kaci – thanks for reading for so long! Interesting perspective on the subject. I actually don’t think I lumped anyone in with anything – I was simply talking about my own experience. To your point, I have honestly found that beer samplings and wine tastings are usually grown-up versions of college drinking. But maybe that was just the case in my social circle at the time. The point of the post was not to make anyone feel bad, but more to show that it is possible to live a normal, social life without the comfort of alcohol.

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Shanna Reply:

I kind of agree with Kaci. One of your arguments is that “life is so so much better without alcohol.” Yet everything that you describe isn’t just “drinking” it’s binge drinking. One drink at dinner isn’t going to give you a hangover or have a detrimental effect on your ability to get up early the next morning. Just as one cupcake isn’t going to make you obese or give you diabetes, it’s all about moderation. Some people choose to imbibe with moderation as alcohol is an important part of their lives (such as the home-brewer and beer aficionado who commented) and some people choose to abstain. I would hesitate to say that one is “so so much better” than the other.

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Delisha Bellamy     at 11:40 am

I just found this blog entry yesterday, I’ve been debating for a year to give up drinking because I also enjoy running and marathoning (and martial arts^^). I find drinking to be a real set back to fully enjoying these as much as possible and being able to recover quickly. And yes, I have friends who go out just for drinks and the last time I tried to give it up, it just ended up being so much pressure, what’s the deal? I know I feel soo much better when I don’t drink so I’m going in for long term this time. This was very encouraging, thank you :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Delisha! Glad you found the post helpful. It is definitely tough at first, but so much better (for me) in the long run. It is so nice to wake up for a run and always feel 100%!

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Carrie     at 1:22 pm

I liked this post, and found so much to be true about the alienation of friends issue! My boyfriend gave up drinking about a year and a half ago and has had a hard time dealing with his friends basically “forgetting” to invite him to events. It’s either that or he gets invited to a sit-in-a-booth-and-drink-into-an-oblivion drunk fest and he turns it down because he’d be bored out of his mind.

I keep reminding him that he can’t expect them to change their ways just because he quit drinking, but also it might take some effort on his end to make some man-dates and do OTHER activities since they still just primarily go out to get drunk on the weekends.

I barely drink partly because I’ve started working out and partly because Phil does not drink anymore. I totally love that feeling of getting up early on weekends, NOT being hung over and ACTUALLY getting some stuff done! And when you think of all those calories you would consume in a night, oh man it’s just not really worth it.

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Valen     at 11:19 am

I will be turning 21 in February and up until now I haven’t tasted alcohol. I haven’t had much exposure to others my own age, but when I did I realized they are into underage drinking, drugs, smoking, and sex. They would tell me how wasted they got over the weekend and went to the ER. I was ignored a lot by them because I wasn’t into what they were, but I new what I wanted, a happy, HEALTHY life. Anyway, I’m glad that you have a healthier lifestyle now. With my birthday around the corner I am considering (just barely) having a drink and this is because I’m very shy, doctors want me on drugs, and I thought maybe I could just have an occasional glass of wine. But I’m not so sure, I know its not good for the body, mind, so really I would be stupid to not just forget the idea. But Americans do lots of things that destroy our bodies, like sugar for example. But then again, I don’t eat that either. I’m done rambling. Love your blog, you are a role model

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Dawn     at 8:38 pm

I do not drink by choice either. The only difference is that I have NEVER had a drink. My family was torn apart by alcohol. I made a choice at a very young age that I wouldn’t become what people in my immediate family had become.

I couldn’t agree with you more about the fact that people have a problem with you when you don’t drink. I have experienced that my entire life – especially in college. So many people believe that in order to have fun, you must consume alcohol. Unfortunately for them, they are missing out on so much more!

Thank you for a great post, a great blog and some awesome recipes!

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Elena     at 7:53 am

Thank you for this post! I am a college student who has made the unpopular choice not to drink. I never have, beyond trying sips of my mom’s various wines and beers when out to dinner, and testing the bourbon and whiskey used to make bread pudding over the years. All added together, I have probably not even had enough alcohol to fill a shot glass. But this has been more than enough for me to know that I absolutely hate it. “It’s an acquired taste!” –> the guaranteed response to my first demurral of “I don’t like alcohol.” So then I have to get into the awkward explanation of my life philosophy that if I can’t have a rocking good time while in my right mind, I should change my situation, not my mind. Which sounds like I am criticizing them…

You are so right about the reactions to not drinking. In high school, people didn’t get too hung up about it. But once I got to college, even my friends from high school who were totally supportive then are almost annoyed with me for my continued refusal to drink. I never told them they couldn’t drink in front of me, any more than I would ask them not to eat a shrimp cocktail in front of me (I would of course prefer that they did neither, but it doesn’t seem like an appropriate request). I have had people that I consider to be very close friends try to bully me into having a beer or glass of wine with them. Most of them have finally gotten over it- apparently three years of polite refusals are finally getting through. One of the friends who was the worst problem has finally turned the corner and seems to totally get it. And she gave me insight into the reactions of most people: people want to be around those who are on their level. Just like I would frankly rather be around those who are sober, drunk people are more comfortable being around those who are drunk.

While it is a little distressing to know that this kind of behavior continues after college (I was hoping that once the novelty of drinking wore off, so would the pressure to do so), it is also great to hear about success stories. I love your points at the end about the benefits to a sober life- it dovetails nicely with explanations about my vegetarianism as well. It’s always been hard for me to explain both my non-drinking and my vegetarianism without sounding too preachy, and my standard non-offensive answers (I don’t like the taste, and the idea of eating meat creeps me out, respectively) sometimes are just fodder for people who are feeling argumentative. Talking about how much better it makes me feel seems to be a nice bridge between the two.

Again, thank you. (And sorry for the life story in comment form! I’m a tad passionate about the issue…)

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BIOCHEMISTA     at 5:47 pm

Hey girl. I really enjoyed reading this post for the first time. In college I was the saaaame way as you. I can’t believe I invested so much of my life – HUNGOVER! When I moved to DC and began med school I saw the situation differently. Something clicked. I was studying metabolism, detoxification, etc. and yet KILLING my liver. I knew my “college years” were over and I had to grow up.

Today I still have the occasional drink on weekends, or a small glass of red wine with dinner but it’s more about the experience of trying a new wine or having a margarita once per month with friends, NOT the experience of being completely wasted and hungover the next day. At the wine party last night for example, I probably tried 6 different kinds of wine but only a tiny bit each, equaling up to about 1 (or maybe 2) glasses max. And that’s the way I like it. Today I woke bright-eyed, cleaned the apartment, and went out for a long run.

I wish more of my friends could experience a similar realization. Because I still have MANY of them that drink (and live) like they’re 21. And I’m starting to feel like we have nothing in common..

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TrishaFoodie     at 9:08 pm

As a 20 years old non-drinking college students, your words have helped remind me why I make the choices I have. Not only am I thrilled about your food, I am excited to read about your life choices and how they have helped shape you into the person you are today. Thank you!

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Lisa     at 2:06 pm

I’ve read this post countless times over the last few months for inspiration. The only reason I still drink is because I live in New York City, where the party culture extends well into people’s 30s. I haven’t enjoyed nights out at bars for years, so I’m going to stop drinking for Lent and just never start again. It sounds like a cop-out to use Lent, and maybe it is, but most of my friends (including my boyfriend) don’t understand this choice and I know it’s going to affect my social life in a big way. Lent is a good way to deflect pressure and weird looks because my friends will never question it.

Thanks for writing this, Emily, it’s great to know that so many other people feel the same way I do!

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SL     at 2:15 pm

This post really spoke to me. I quit drinking completely just over a year ago and my life is 10X plus better than I could have ever imagined! I had to quit because I had a drinking problem and I spent the early months of my sobriety nervous about my decision and defending it when other people would question. I do agree with you that the people who have the biggest problem with me not drinking are the people who drink the most and may have a problem themselves. People don’t like to be confronted with someone else’s choices if it makes them question thier own. People still don’t understand why I don’t drink and I have just started telling new people I meet that alcohol doesn’t agree with me (which, trust me, is a fact). I find that response is usually enough to quiet them for good. As a young adult (24), the decision not to drink is looked at oddly but I’m sure as my peers and I grow older it will start to become less of an issue.

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karen     at 4:04 pm

Peoples reactions are hard to believe-I never drank in high school but at the end of my freshmen year I started hanging out with new friends a lot and drank with them. The next year I decided I didn’t want to drink anymore…and they stopped inviting me anywhere. I guess it really does show you who your friends are.

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Shayla     at 3:07 pm

Loved this post Emily. I know this was awhile back but I’m just getting to read it now since it was linked to your post this morning. I really commend you for this and thank you for sharing it with everyone. My hubby and I had a similar experience to you two, we enjoyed our wine and would plan “drinking” activities on the weekends. We still do but not to the extreme as to what it was and I’d like to lessen our drinking even more. Although whenever we’re bored and have nothing to do, we always cop to the “let’s go have a drink!” I’d really like to stop this habit, especially since we’re trying for a baby soon and once I’m pregnant we’ll be forced to stop it, but I’d like to start now.

What activities did you and Casey start doing and do now to replace those drinking activities? We won’t quit drinking entirely, we still like to have a glass of wine on occasion, but I’d like to get out of the “let’s go out for a drink” habit. We’re thinking of getting a dog which I think would help (dog parks, play time, etc.) and we’ve started incorporating going to coffee shops which we’ve really enjoyed, but still end up going out for a drink! Haha baby steps I guess… :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

At first we overcompensated and felt like we need to fill all our weekend time – like movies, plans, dinners, etc. Now we totally relish a good meal at home and an evening on the couch with no phones or computers distracting us. But a lot of times instead of the “lets have a drink” we do “lets go out to dinner (and spend less money not drinking!), or we take the dogs for walks, go to bed earlier, and wake up feeling good. :) It’s definitely a transitional process, not something that is comfortable overnight.

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Shayla Reply:

Thank you for your response! Loved your advice and you’re so right in that sometimes is so nice to just decompress and enjoy the quietness and alone time together at home…and I have to remember that going out to dinner doesn’t have to include drinking! Great point and I love that we’ll save money and feel better the next morning! You’re right in that it’ll definitely be transitional and will take time, but I’m excited to make a change for us and will use your suggestions. Thanks! :)

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Kathryn     at 6:20 pm

I’m in college and have become a lot healthier this year. I’ve also become more ethically aware and am vegetarian (usually end up eating vegan because you and ohsheglows have damn good recipes)!

With my new healthy lifestyle and habit of working out 6 days a week I have found alcohol really isn’t appetizing. I haven’t quit drinking altogether, but I don’t like to do it more than once every couple weeks, if that.

My school is a party school and I never noticed how much peer pressure there is. If I say I don’t feel like drinking I have to explain myself to everyone multiple times. Why can’t I just not drink?

Thanks for writing this post!! It’s nice to have inspiration to not give into the constant peer pressure that comes with college.

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Jo     at 4:13 pm

Interesting. But you say your life is soooo much better but you really only mention a few ebenfits. No hangovers, saving money and more exercise… But doesn’t that counteract everything you’re missing out on?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Having been on both sides, I don’t think I’m missing out on anything at all.

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Lisa     at 8:50 pm

New to your blog, and I really appreciate this open and honest post! I stopped drinking alcohol when I met my husband, who has never had a drop in his life. It’s so true – you don’t realize the impact it has on your life until it’s gone. In college and just after, I drank as much as any of my peers, but never realized just how much that was.

Looking forward to reading more from you!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Glad you found the blog! Totally agree with you.

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Meg     at 1:26 pm

Love your posts! My husband and I don’t drink and never have. Most of our friends do, but don’t drink to get drunk like some people do. I’ve never seen the appeal of getting drunk, being hung-over, and not remembering things. Bravo, Emily!

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Amanda     at 1:25 pm

Emily,

I love your blog and read it weekly if not daily and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I’m just now catching up after being in my hometown for the weekend!

I wanted to tell you how much I relate to this story! I’ve given up drinking because I have been diagnosed with epilepsy like Casey (about a month ago). I started having seizures a few months after college ended (October 2007) and have been struggling with them since. I have been on and off of different medicines for the past ~3 years and just this past month my neurologist sent me to a Epilepsy specialist (because I started having them way more frequently than before) and he sat down with me for a loooong time and went over my history EEG’s MRI’s and all that and hopefully we have this thing figured out! And he has officially diagnosed me with epilepsy.

But I have made the decision to stop drinking and really it’s not hard (I love the extra sleep, instead of going out and spending money) but it’s very difficult in social situations and people questioning my decisions. i.e. “You’re really going to quit forever?? No Way!” “Not even one drink” and that really is the most difficult thing, sure I’d like to try the new summer beers coming out or a glass of wine, but water and iced tea really just taste as good! And no hangover! And my boyfriend is still drinking with his friends probably once a weekend so I’m hoping that doesn’t become a problem. But it might, being only a month in it’s hard to forsee the future!

So I totally identify with you and just wanted to say thank you so much for writing this post! I would love to know Casey’s story with epilepsy if he’d ever be willing to write about it, because it’s a lot to swallow for me right now!

Love your blog and I’m totally stealing some of your baby shower decorations and food ideas for my best friends bridal shower in a few weeks!

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Souper Freak     at 10:11 am

Thanks so much for this post! I’m 30 in a social scene that revolves around drinking. I’m just starting to say “no thanks” to alcohol and it’s such a help and an inspiration to hear the story of someone I can relate to. (Where are all the non-drinking cool kids?) Thanks!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Non-drinking cool kid, right here! :)

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Dana @Souper Freak Reply:

Anyone have any particularly good virgin cocktail recipes? I’m thinking Kombucha might give a mocktail some much-needed punch! It has that fermentation going on. Any great ideas?

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Eric Trimbl     at 10:17 am

Imma 24 male who was n a bad car wreck when i was 18 n basically f’d up my head and body..started havin seizures 6 months later and now i cant/dont drink, cant/dont drive, cant/dont act like everyone else my age so imma jus put it out there that living that socially isolated life sucksss ass lol for real i used to be a big drinker n shit and it was fun, did everything a normal kidd would do, then this bitch wrecked her car n put me ina coma for 2 weeks..bad situation….but nah nothin can take the place of a good drunk time, ppl r so used to bein the opposite of sober that bein f’d up is the only way to go anymore sadly said, n if u dont go that way all it leads to is i wish i could do this n that then ur friends sayin they wish u could do this n that….all i’m sayin issss, is it worth it? someone tell me plz, i’ve been seizure free for almost 2 years now w.o a sip of alcohol…..cuz stayin at the bar til 3am whenevv i go bein the only sober 1 sucksssss, idk ppl might not understand my thoughts on this….

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Eric Trimble     at 10:18 am

Imma 24 male who was n a bad car wreck when i was 18 n basically f’d up my head and body..started havin seizures 6 months later and now i cant/dont drink, cant/dont drive, cant/dont act like everyone else my age so imma jus put it out there that living that socially isolated life sucksss ass lol for real i used to be a big drinker n shit and it was fun, did everything a normal kidd would do, then this bitch wrecked her car n put me ina coma for 2 weeks..bad situation….but nah nothin can take the place of a good drunk time, ppl r so used to bein the opposite of sober that bein f’d up is the only way to go anymore sadly said, n if u dont go that way all it leads to is i wish i could do this n that then ur friends sayin they wish u could do this n that….all i’m sayin issss, is it worth it? someone tell me plz, i’ve been seizure free for almost 2 years now w.o a sip of alcohol…..cuz stayin at the bar til 3am whenevv i go bein the only sober 1 sucksssss, idk ppl might not understand my thoughts on this….

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fittingbackin     at 9:47 am

I’m so glad you linked over to this post – I had missed it! I’m finding myself drinking less and less, and driving more and more. I’m just so much more into working out and my hobbies. I don’t mind a drink now and then, and typically drink on Saturday nights, but i’m just kind of getting over it so to read your post at this point in my life was inspiring and to be honest it made me feel less “weird.”

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LauraJayne     at 3:16 pm

I’m really glad I read this post! I live in an area where alcohol is not consumed by a majority of the population because of religious reasons. As I am not a part of the majority faith, I drank, in part, because it created a clearly delineated line – it was part of the the identity of those who weren’t part of the majority faith. I rarely drank a lot – but as I lost weight I found the same thing that you did – that it no longer held the same appeal. I stopped drinking (although I’ll have tastes of wine at family dinners from time to time) and it created a negative reaction in my friends and family members who do drink – like I was somehow separating myself from them and joining the “majority” by abstaining. For me, choosing not to drink has nothing to do with faith, but everything to do with how it makes me feel and me (and others) behave!
Thank you for this post!

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Maria     at 5:29 pm

I read this post about three weeks ago and can’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but it DID stick with me and I needed to read it today to reassure myself that I’m completely normal as a nondrinker. My job requires me to plan social events for my office and the majority of my coworkers like to drink. I get pressure at each event to drink, questions on why I don’t, and they make me feel like I’m not “cool” or apart of the team. Little do they know, my father was an alcoholic and it broke up my parent’s marriage. My Fiance’s father was as an alcoholic and it lead to his death. Drinking in my mind brings up a negative connotation, whereas for others it brings fun memories and relaxation.

Anyway, I was teased again today and I had to come back and read this to remind myself that I’m not crazy and my choices are my own. Thank you for your honesty in this post and having the courage to write it.

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Elizabeth     at 11:07 pm

I went looking for this post because I’ve decided to start off small as far as quitting drinking. I’m embarking on a 21 day challenge and hope to continue from there. Your post really sums it up beautifully. I’m tired of feeling sick the next day or wasting an entire day groggy in bed. And I’m tired of caring around extra pounds or even having to eat less food so that I can drink more. I’m excited but obviously nervous to see how this journey unfolds.

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Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope     at 7:02 pm

I know this post is old, but I love it. I also do not drink…not even socially or a few sips of wine, nothing. I come from a family of drinkers and partiers and it just never appealed to me. I lost my mother in January and stepdad a month ago…all because of the affects of alcohol and other substance abuse issues.

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Susan     at 10:21 am

I so totally understand your post. My husband and I made a decision to quit drinking before I became pregnant with my now almost 16 year-old daughter. Best decision of our life. So much of what you said was as if I was saying it! Thanks for posting and sharing this intimate part of your life with us. I feel sorry for people that continue to drink and “don’t get it”.

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Shauna     at 10:27 am

I’ve been wondering myself how to write about my decision to stop drinking and I love the respectful and reflective way you’ve approached the subject. I’ve experienced the same social exclusion from my decision but it’s a small price to pay for a clean and healthy body and mind. Thanks for this post!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats to you!

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Kristine @ Running On Hungry     at 11:49 am

Excellent post! I loved it! I rarely drink (a glass of wine here and there) because my body honestly can’t handle it and I hate feeling like a muted version of myself the next day. I’ve experienced the same “Why aren’t you drinking?” from people, but most know how into fitness and nutrition I am, and respect that I want to wake up and run the next morning, etc. People who don’t, and who mock me… well let’s just say they aren’t included in my social circle any longer :)

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RhodeyGirl     at 1:19 pm

I don’t know if you addressed this in the comments already, but do you ever have a few sips or cook with some wine or anything? Or have you not had a single sip since that day?

I would consider myself someone who rarely drinks, but when I’m presented with a beautiful glass of fancy wine or an iced cold beer after a day on the slopes, I do partake.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I never buy any wine to cook with since we won’t drink the rest of it, and honestly I haven’t had a sip since we quit. For me, now that it’s out of my system completely, I see no reason to get it back in my bloodstream – even for a few sips!

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Beth     at 5:55 pm

You are one stong lady! I commend you and Casey for your decision. I could give up drinking if I really had it in me, but I love wine and wine tasting too much…I do not drink beer or hard alcohol at all.

It is stange how things happen and the choices you make. I read this post because I saw the 7 links you just posted and had to take a peak :)

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Sandy     at 6:29 pm

I agree with you people treat you different. My husband and I are in our 60′s. Due to illness (brought on by drinking) my husband had to quit drinking about14 yrs. ago. Our lives changed drastically, socially. Old friends (or we thought they were friends) began not including us. They couldn’t handle us because we were sober. It’s a choice and a life that I can live with. We are much happier as a couple and are living without all the drama alcohol can add to your life.You’ll family is blessed that your life will be less complicated without it. It was probably one of the smartest decisions you will make in your lifetime!

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Emily Malone Reply:

In just three years of not drinking, I can already tell it has been our most important decision. Amazing what a difference it makes, and you really can’t realize that until you do it!

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Lisa     at 10:22 am

Hey, I’m really glad you reposted this link. We quit drinking only about a month ago and are realizing a lot of the things you posted about.

I have to be honest, people expect us to still be the centre of the party so I’ve spent a lot of time with glasses of soda water (hold the vodka) at parties and at dinner the wine automatically poured by friends usually sits untouched. It’s easier not explaining beyond a training regimen at this point, but it’s so much more than that.

Your post was at the back of my mind, remembered from reading it months ago, when we made the decision after going overboard one night and being unable to complete our long runs in the morning.

You’re right – so much of our time was spent related to alcohol. Very interesting. PS Feeling so great!

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amy     at 10:23 am

My friends were the same way at first, awkward and always wondering why I never wanted to drink. Telling them I just didn’t like it wasn’t good enough for them, so sometimes I had to go off on a tangent telling them all the horrible things that I just didn’t want to deal with. To say the least, a lot of those friends are out of the picture now and I have new friends who don’t care if I say no, they move on and we still all have fun.

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Laura     at 12:25 pm

I don’t even remember how I stumbled across your blog– maybe Carrots n Cake or Weightloss In the city? not sure.. anyhow this post was fantastic. I’m currently 20 and started drinking at 18 in college. there are so many times when I just want to quit altogether, but it really is a tricky decision that brings a lot of social judgment and as a sorority member myself, I’m still not quite ready for that. But I’ve taken the “almost there” step by always being the closest to sober girl at parties and bars. I hate the feeling of wasting my day in bed the morning after, especially if I have lots of homework or class in a few hours. it’s just not worth it. I loved how seriously honest you were in this post- my friends sometimes poke fun at me for “only” drinking one LARGE frozen margarita. this past year alone since happy hour has been a multiple times a week occurrence, I’ve gained about 10 pounds and been less inclined to work out. being home this summer and not drinking has already changed my health and while i still need to learn to eat less processed foods, I’m ready to go back in the fall and continue drinking less and making healthier bar choices- limiting myself to three drinks TOTAL a night….haha sorry I know I’m posting a lot but it’s kind of my way of getting my opinion out… frustrating situation, is it not?

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Kristy     at 6:50 am

I’m glad you relinked this post. I haven’t been much of a drinker since I was 21 (I’m now 31). I do still have a glass of wine, but never go over 1 1/2. Earlier this year I had cocktails with my sister, I barely coped. I was a mess the next day! I feel hungover even on lack of sleep and no alcohol! And when there are 2 boys who wake early and expect much energy instantly, it’s just too hard. Anyway, my husband has epilepsy and doesn’t drink at all. He did drink a little for a short time, around the time we met over 10 years ago. Then more recently a low volume beer on a summer’s afternoon. Since 2 grand-mal seizures in the last 2 years, not a drop. As a man it is difficult, but he often just blames his meds and people get over it. Has Casey thought of this excuse, or does he not make discuss his condition? I really applaud you for sticking to your guns, and you are completely right, it’s times like these that you find out who your real friends are!!

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Jessica     at 3:12 am

Thanks for writing this post. I am a non-drinker (although wasn’t always) and you’ve exactly described what things are like. I often don’t get invited out (even by my husband) because the only activity is drinking and the goal is to be drunk. It’s hurtful because I like to spend time with my friends, and the assumption is that I wouldn’t want to because what else would there be for me to do other than drink? And I wonder to myself, why wouldn’t you want to have a clear memory of the amazing time you’re having with the people you care about? I don’t talk about this and don’t push my choices or even opinions on anyone – I usually don’t even give a reason for not drinking or I chalk it up to being the DD – but it can get lonely in the non-drinker camp. It makes me sad that so many people don’t honour themselves and trust that they can have a wonderful life without alcohol. I am glad you shared this.

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Cameo     at 12:48 pm

Great post. I made a similar decision when I was 31 and didn’t drink a drop for 2 years. You are right people get weird around voluntary “teetotalers” don’t they? In fact, the thing that got me off the wagon was a new job that requires my taking clients out for fancy dinners and drinks a couple times a month. I realized that I got a lot further with them as potential customers when we all drank. Now I have been off the wagon for 2 years and consider going back often. I guess this is one of those things I will always sort of struggle with. I know I feel better when alcohol is not part of my life, but I hate missing out on all the fun…

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jaci     at 9:19 pm

I’m new to your blog, but I absolutely love this post! I’m 21 and don’t drink at all just because I have no desire to. I try to live the healthiest vegan lifestyle I can, but as a college student I get weird stares and questions not only from friends and peers, but some family members. It’s crazy! I don’t care if people drink or are drunk around me and I’ve expressed that to others but for some reason a sober person around them is often uncomfortable and they feel judged; probably because they are judging me. But, I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!

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Tiffany     at 11:00 am

I like this post. Like so many in our age group, I can really relate. I was all in for the college party thing. I can’t even remember (literally) how many parties I went to and how many Sundays I lost to hangovers. It makes me sad to look back and see the amazing opportunities I missed in college because I just had to win beer pong.

I have cut way back over the last few years and typically drink no more than 1-2 drinks at a time. (My sister just told me that I was the most sober bachelorette she had ever seen at a party!)

I’ve been considering going no alcohol at all for a while now. My biggest concern is the issue you named…social isolation. My family is huge on happy hours, and our group of friends gets together for dinner and drinks. I’m already the butt of the joke for my vegetarian lifestyle, just wait until I start turning down the bubbly! It’s going to be never ending.

My husband rarely drinks alcohol for the reasons you named…he does not like the way it make him feel, and he struggles with vertigo, so ingesting something that will make him extra dizzy is a huge turn off! It wasn’t until I started dating him that I realized how huge drinking was in my life. I had no idea how much my family drank until I hung out with his. The idea of no alcohol has been slowly growing on me…for physical and social benefits.

I like the idea of just not imbibing. I like the idea of getting up in the morning and not thinking about something stupid you said or did, not having a headache, not having bleary eyes (yes, I get that from two drinks!). Honestly, even though I drink only 1-2 drinks at a time, it concerns me. I have a glass or two of wine 4-5 nights a week. I don’t like those numbers!

Anyways, I guess what I’m saying is thanks for the post! It’s inspiring to read and makes me more comfortable with the decision I have been pondering.

It’s crazy how huge alcohol is in our culture, isn’t it??

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Alyssa     at 1:08 pm

I love this post! I’m so glad to see other people who chose to stop for themselves, not because of health issues. I’m still in college (although slightly older than most – I’ll graduate when I’m 24…long story) and I’ve decided to scale back almost completely on drinking. While I may not stop completely (a glass of wine with dinner with friends or family), I no longer want to go out to the bars every night and get “wasted” like my other friends. And I also feel what you went through: most of my friends either pick on me or make fun of me because I choose to be sober or stop inviting me out to things. It’s sad to think that alcohol was what my friendships were based on, but I am finding my “true” friends, like you did. Thank you for this post and it gives me more strength in knowing that I’m not the only one :)

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Lara     at 12:13 pm

Wow–this post has really got me thinking. I too started drinking late in my teenage years, and made up for it in the latter years of college. Now I have started to cut back but still drink more than I would like. This post has me considering cutting it out completely. Thanks, Emily.

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Lauren - Raw Is Sexy     at 3:12 pm

Hi Emily! I’ve read this post about 3 times now. I read it several months ago, and then again shortly after and again this morning. I don’t purchase alcohol anymore but I do struggle with having just “one glass” of wine when I go out. Somehow it always turns into 3 or the bottle. Last night was one of those nights again where I accepted a social invite and ended up having more wine that I wanted, and have a headache today. So as of today, I am cutting out the wine completely.

It is so counter productive and not in alignment with what I want in life and how I want to feel. I think I struggle the most with what others will say when I tell them that I don’t drink. How crazy is it that THAT is one of my concerns? What others will think or say?! Really. It sounds ridiculous now that I am typing it out.

Anyway, just wanted to say that this post has been a huge rock and inspiration for me and helped me to affirm my new resolve to just get that last drop of wine COMPLETELY out of my life. It’s the only thing I’ve kept in (you know how some people don’t eat meat but still eat fish – I don’t drink but still drink wine) ha! So silly. I will memorize your list of mocktails too! Club soda and lime sounds great right now actually. :)

So just wanted to say thanks. I’ve always been on the healthy wagon but I’m ready to just take this life to a new level.

I think you are awesome and I love all of your posts! xoxo

Lauren

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Lauren! This is awesome, and I’m so glad the post has been helpful to you. I know exactly what you mean about worrying what others will say. The only thing I can really offer is that eventually you get used to it, and don’t really care anymore. Also, your friends and people around you get used to it too, and it becomes normal and not a big deal. Good luck with the wine, and just remember that slipping up doesn’t mean you can’t always try again. No one is perfect. Club soda for the win! :)

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Lauren - Raw Is Sexy Reply:

Thank you! I know the people that really matter and love me will always be supportive no matter what…and people who aren’t, well, I don’t need to worry about them! :) I wrote a post about it on my blog, and put a link to this post of yours there too in case it helps anyone else. Thanks again for being so open and honest about things, it really did help me to make that final push to make the decision. :) XOXO

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Shelly     at 1:26 pm

Thank you for this honest and articulate post. I read it often when I begin to ask myself why I quit drinking. You are right on about not knowing the role alcohol plays in your life until you cut it out completely. Thank you for being an inspiration and I am so grateful to have this post to look at whenever I start to feel isolated from friends or like all the good times in life are behind me now.

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Kaycee     at 11:49 am

This is the first time I’ve read your blog and I stumbled upon this page. I’m actually in the same sort of position you were in in college. I’m a freshman in college and I’ve never partied and drank before. As a high schooler, I hung out with the nonpartier, let’s just hang out kind of people. Even though the year has just begun, I’ve been in so many instances where people have asked me if I drank and have been really surprised that I don’t. It’s a really uncomfortable situation for me to tell them that I just have not drank at all before. I’m a really open minded person, so I’m not against drinking at all. My problem is that one of my roommates drinks and one does not. I feel conflicted in my views of alcohol but at the same time curious and open to experience. At the same time, I feel like I’m constantly being judged, both by my non drinking peers and my peers that do drink.

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Niki     at 5:16 pm

I just recently found your blog and read this post and love it. I drink on occasion but a couple years ago my now husband decided he needed to quit drinking after getting too out of control and it was amazing once he quit drinking the things he found out he could do and have fun without drinking. Wow crazy concept right. I also dislike when people dont understand shy you dont just have one drink?? Everyone makes choices does it really matter what their choice it? Kudos to you and your husband hope you can keep it up.

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Missy     at 9:42 am

I’ve been known to enjoy more than my fair share of alcohol through my younger years however, as I got older I drank less and less. When I got pregnant with my daughter that was the end of alcohol for me forever. I just hate to think my daughter might need me and not being able to respond properly because “mom’s had one too many”. Though he seldom drank, my husband also gave up drinking after one night on vacation with his old college buddies going a little too far and waking up feeling like runny dog poo.

I say all of this because I found myself nodding in agreement more than once when reading about the social “pitfalls” of not drinking. We’ve been excluded from BBQ’s and get togethers because we “don’t party” anymore. The funny thing is – we never told anyone we don’t drink and try to downplay it as much as possible because people are so uncomfortable and yet – we still get excluded.

I imagine as we begin our journey into veganism people’s reactions will be much the same as they were when we quit drinking. Thanks for the post – glad to know we aren’t the only ones!

Found your blog via the FoodBuzz awards and am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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Emily Malone Reply:

So glad you found the blog! :) You are definitely right that changing your diet can provoke many of the same reactions as quitting drinking. Good luck to you both!!

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Karla     at 9:51 am

This post really resonates and hits home for me. I have a mild problem with alcohol-not that I drink frequently but when I do I drink WAY too much and often end up in bad situations.

I am starting to limit myself to have a beer or two or a glass of wine with dinner and I feel like my friends pressure me to come out with them and I cave so easily. You had it right–I wish I had someone to do this with because it’d make going out in college much easier. Hopefully until I graduate in May I can keep limiting myself and then when I’m done with school I will be able to give it up entirely. Nothing good comes out of drinking except I’m more social–but then that’s not who I REALLY am.

Great post, thank yoU!

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Kim     at 11:43 am

I don’t know how, I stumbled on to this post, but I want to thank you for having the courage to write it. You’re absolutely correct, people don’t understand someone’s desire not to drink even one glass. Drugs? Smoke? No one questions. Alchohal or coffee is another story. As someone who has never drank (I’m a Mormon) I’ve endured countless questions and shunned from invites as people assume I wouldn’t want to be there. Sometimes it does hurt, but I’m so glad that at the end of the day I’m healthier and happier because of my decision.

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Hillary     at 8:08 pm

I loved this post, Emily, mainly because it resonated with me very deeply. My boyfriend doesn’t drink (he’ll be 26 next week and has never had a sip of alcohol), and he gets so much crap from other people that it’s actually kind of absurd and uncomfortable. It’s like people would rather he get black out drunk than choose to be sober.

Like you, I drank a lot in college. By the time I graduated, however, I felt like I had been there/done that and started to ease off the drinking BIG time. A lot of my old friends think I started to drink less because of my boyfriend (not true: he’s fine with me drinking), but I think that’s because they can’t fathom the idea that I might no longer drink because I enjoy my life more without it. No 48 hour hangovers, no extra weight, no ridiculous bar tabs. I have the occasional glass of wine with dinner, but I honestly have not had the desire to get drunk in years. If my old friends can’t understand that, then so be it, but it is a choice I feel good about.

Thanks for posting this. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way!

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mi-an d.     at 9:22 am

Hi Emily.
I love this post. I read this awhile back. and I had to re-read it again. I haven’t had a drink in a long time and I really don’t care for it that much you know. Last week, my boyfriend said I’m gonna give up alcohol. And I said, I have been thinking about it too! He’s like yea ok, you’re just copying me. heheh anyways, I just wanted to read this post again to see your viewpoint. And I agree with all of it. My boyfriend is a vegetarian (he’s hindu) so I have cut down on my meat intake since I started dating him and eating about 80-90% vegan/vegetarian diet. I include fish and other seafood in there sometimes. Anyway, life is good and just wanted to share that with you.
Thanks!

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Sasya     at 10:25 am

I have one for you. I’m from Ireland…..and when I became pregnant my ‘friends’ withs kids tried to goad me to drink anyway…..apparently it’s ok to drink while pregnant in Ireland… WTF.
Needless to say it didn’t bend my sentiment to not drink.

In fact I had been cutting down, and eventually stopped a couple of months before I became pregnant (not planned!!) So I think they were just still hellbent on making me drink….I’m not friends with them anymore. Trouble is in Ireland it’s very difficult to find like minded people.

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Sara     at 2:02 pm

Thanks for the inspiration! I am at a point that I want to cut way back or quit altogether & this post helps me realize that once I am over the hump life will be so much better.

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Sneakers2Sandals     at 1:59 pm

Okay now I might be obsessed with your blog. I feel the same way about ‘social isolation’. I haven’t gone cold turkey with drinking but I really don’t drink anymore. I cut out wine bc it makes me feel horrible and at most I’ll have one or two beers just to be social. I tried to go on a 1 month ‘hiatus’ from drinking and it was just so hard to explain it to people. Why do people have to be so pushy about alcohol and why do they assume I’m pregnant just because I don’t want to drink? I feel like some friendships get lessened and some get better after deciding not to drink. I totally agree about feeling great Saturday morning for an early run. I love the feeling :)

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Later by omnimatty - Pearltrees     at 10:26 am

[...] Why I Quit Drinking. | Daily Garnish I have no judgment for those who drink, and for the most part I don’t mind being around it. Just as I will sit at a table with meat eaters at dinner, I have no problem hanging out with friends over a table of beers. That is, of course, if they invite me. Despite the social reactions we deal with, quitting drinking has been the best decision I’ve ever made. And even though I’ve given you all this back story, it’s not important why we quit drinking. [...]

Venessa     at 1:34 pm

Hi Emily, I found your blog when I was looking for a vegan recipe almost 3 weeks ago and love it. You are very inspiring and real. Thank you for posting the story on why you quit drinking. I have been thinking about quitting for a year now because I grew up in a family who drinks heavily and I don’t want to be that person anymore. Your story really brought me hope and I found you made it that much easier for me to say goodbye to alcohol. I read Alicia Silverstone’s book, “The Kind Diet” and that made me (happily) turn vegan on 1/2/12 and I feel amazing. Since then, I found after eating much healthier, I really don’t want to drink plus I lost weight. Green tea and Kombucha have become my new best friends and I would rather have that than spend money on alcohol that makes you feel groggy. You’re making a difference in peoples lives and I hope to do the same too this year. Keep the stories going!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Vanessa! So glad you found the blog. :)

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madam ovary     at 2:06 pm

I came upon this after googling, “how long until you feel glad after you quit drinking?’ and just wanted to say thanks. I’ve got twenty years on you – am doing this at age 46 and I found this really inspiring. I’m not over the edge, not someone you would expect to have to stop drinking, so the reactions of others is very difficult for me. I don’t feel a lot of support, and people seem truly disappointed. So I am on day 13, and hoping to start feeling happy about my decision soon. Right now, it’s not like I’m in withdrawal – I never drank that much…but I was drinking like a “normal” person either. It was just always too important to me.

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madam ovary Reply:

I meant to say I was NOT drinking like a normal person :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Best of luck to you!

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Katie     at 7:03 am

What a great post, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. :)

After a long weekend/week of drinking, I’ve decided to give up drinking completely. My boyfriend already doesn’t drink, so thankfully I feel absolutely no pressure from him. I love the taste of wine, but am tired of what it does to my body. I’m always tired and often feel depressed. At first, I was a little nervous about the social aspect of it (I have a birthday happy hour to go to on Thursday), but I am going to try and do the alcohol-free beer and see how that goes. I still enjoy going to the low-key bars and hanging out, but want to do it without a buzz.

Thank you for being an inspiration. :)

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tammy     at 6:15 am

I really enjoyed this post. My sister has a serious alcohol problem and finally stopped drinking in August (’11). At first I was worried about drinking around her, but she did AA for awhile with her boyfriend (who also stopped) and by Christmas they were both comfortable with other people drinking.

I stopped drinking as part of my New Year’s resolution to loose weight. My drinking was more habit than addiction, but even so, the first couple of weeks were a little challenging. But every day got easier, and I do not miss waking up hung over, and I feel better overall. A big plus was 7 or 8 pounds came off almost instantly.

Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life!

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Teri     at 3:53 pm

Wow – I’m sure that there are many blogs and websites about this topic but this is the first of it’s kind that I have read on a “foodie site”. Thank you. I relate 100%, just struggling to make the jump. It is such a social thing for us especially as we have recently relocated to Portland from CT – oh the wine here! But really…thank you for helping me see the light. I look forward to being able to post my own success story some day soon! I have been a Gluten Free Vegetarian for 7 years, done 20+ day water fasts, juice fasts and so much more but I have not quit drinking for more than a month or so at a time, WTH?!?!?!? Again, thank you :-)

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Beth     at 7:27 am

Thank you so much for sharing! You are a true inspiration!

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Fran     at 9:52 am

Emily,

Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with us. I can relate to your message on so many levels. At first, drinking gave me the excuse to be someone I wasn’t and by the end of my (thankfully) short drinking career, I detested who I became when I drank. One was too many, but never enough. Simply put, my actions and values did not match up. So,at 24, I quit. I have had some help along the way and love the path I chose, even though it has not been easy-simple, but not easy.

Today, I cherish my alcohol-free life as a wife, mother, professional, an athlete-yes I still consider myself an athlete! These feelings of gratitude resonate the most when I look at my daughter. I am thankful that I am not rushing her off to bed so I can drink. I am glad to have the patience to tackle the terrible 3′s – which I am sorry to say, do exist – without a drink. I am grateful that when baby #2 arrives in August, I will be able to parent both children in a loving and caring manner, not worrying about when I can have my next drink.

Seven and a half years ago, I never imagined my life would be what it is today. I can genuinely say I am confident in who I am and in the decisions I’ve made-none of which would be possible if I were still drinking.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Sounds like you have a great story as well! :)

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Maile     at 7:45 pm

Not a critic. Hope my post does not come off that way. Just curious if you have enjoyed any delicious (rich) pinot noir, petite syrah, or zinfandel wines…

I have no doubt that I could give up alcohol if I was giving up domestic beer or hard liquor, but good vino…that is another story. It complements a meal. Or, it is the meal, depending on what I prepared.

Wow! I love your website. I can see the benefit of your lifestyle changes just by viewing the posts and pictures. Fantastic.

Food for thought. I am a pharmacist and work in a hospital. I am unhappy. The profession is dictated by BIG PHARMA and rude physicians. The patient population is mostly people that abuse their bodies by food, drink, and/or drug. Not what I signed up for…

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Emily Malone Reply:

I do love the taste of wine. I just feel that the lifestyle that comes with it – at least in my personal experience – was not worth risking my health and relationships.

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Martin     at 10:55 am

Thanks for sharing this very inspirating story!
I’m was an alcohol addict for years, but now have been sober for 3 years already. Actually it’s not so hard. You can check my blog for tips and personal experience on how to quit drinking http://quit-drinking.blogspot.com/

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Sue Boyle     at 12:24 pm

So nice to read about someone else who has chosen to give up drinking. I just wish I had had the courage to do it sooner. I just turned 44 and about a month ago, my husband and I also gave up drinking. It had become such a large part of our lives; every day a beer or glass of wine, many times two. I was always reluctant to give it up because of the social aspects and also the relaxation I derived from it. I tend to be the nervous type and felt a glass of wine was perfect to relax me after work. After giving it a lot of thought, my husband and I realized that we were depending on it far too much. We now feel it’s the best decision we’ve ever made. I would love to meet some other people that don’t drink. It seems like everyone I know does. In time I’m sure we will. Thanks again for your great post!

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Wiwied     at 7:50 am

I still remember my dad who was an alcoholic and died in a car crash. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. That gave me a valuable lesson. I will not touch alcohol for the rest of my life.

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Emily Malone Reply:

That is so sad. I’m sorry for your loss!

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Ken     at 4:57 pm

I’m on day 22 of not drinking. It’s not been as much of a struggle as I thought. Plenty of seltzer water

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Katie     at 12:20 pm

I wanted to tell you how much of an inspiration you are to me. I’ve been struggling with quitting drinking completely for awhile now, and while I don’t consider myself the “traditional alcoholic”, I do think I drank more than I should. It’s been a struggle but each day I come here and read this post and it helps me realize that a life without drinking is absolutely possible. I’ve been trying to think of fun alternative drinks to order when I go out with friends, but I find it’s much easier to say “no” to a bar outing. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not always fun being the sober one. (Then you start to question what’s really funny now that you see what they really are, ya know?).

So, anyway, thank you so much.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Wow Katie, thanks so much for sharing. I am so happy to know my story has helped. Hopefully your friends support your decision. It DOES get much easier with time. Best of luck to you!!

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Eva     at 1:35 am

Such a great story, thanks a lot for sharing! Since I have started to work as a freelance designer, my alcohol consumption has dropped seriously. I just don’t feel like lying in my bed until 10am when I need lots of work to be done. Same for sport activities, without drinking you feel so much more energetic! (Although I must recognize that I surprised my self at moments at the threadmill with a hangover, still being able to run for 30 minutes haha!)
You have put so well into words the reactions of the people who surround you. It feels extremely good to finally act according to who you are, not to how others want you to be. That’s what growing up is about, and I love it!
Keep on writing, I enjoy reading your stories a lot!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Eva!

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Marie Martin     at 12:47 pm

Hi Emily,
I just recently started reading your blog; in fact, I just started reading blogs period. I have to say I really enjoy reading about your life. I love how honest you are, and how strong you are. What I want to know is where you find all the determination and will power? I have great intentions with things but have a hard time following through.
I know what drives people is different for everyone, but I’m still looking for that one thing to help me get kicked in to gear sort-to-speak.
Thanks for sharing this post :)

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Calvin     at 2:16 pm

What an awesome post. I’ve cut my drinking down to Red Wine a few times a week, and now I’m thinking of cutting that too. I’ve had a few close calls with things that have gone wrong as a result of too much drinking. Not anymore. This is really encouraging. I may be done sooner than I thought.

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Luc     at 12:38 pm

I appreciate this article so much. I am a recent high school graduate who unlike you welcomed temptation and started partying when I was 15. It was all too fun until I started becoming aware of my health and really caring about my body. I stopped partying as I realized how much it really ravages your body and backtracks progress made by healthy eating and working out. I recently also started meditation which has taken away all inclination to drink. Unfortunately, I feel like the only person my age who is aware of how freeing not relying on drinking for socializing is. I often feel isolated as it is sometimes difficult to relate to my old friends when all they plan to do is drink. It feels so freeing, though, as I have opened my life to so many more opportunites and I feel pretty unlimited. This article gives me more inspiration to stick to my guns, as it feels like looking into my future if fall off focus on partying my next few years in high school. Thank you so much for this!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Luc! Glad you found it. You are lucky to have discovered a healthy lifestyle at such a young age!

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Nicole     at 3:13 pm

Lovely post! I wish I could give up drinking, both my father an aunt are functional alcoholics and really I think I could have it in me to be one too. I am 24 at the moment and have partied with my friends since around 17. After uni I totally cut down the amount of alcohol to a sensible level and didnt drink that often. After getting a job where I work with a lot of other young people they started to make me feel old and uncool. I went out with them a few times on wild nights out which never ended well. The last time I went out i ended up falling over onto broken glass and not even feeling it! I scarred my legs and after that i realised i didnt care about being “cool” id rather have a more civilised evening. I havent quit drinking and I am
Not sure I will love wine, cocktails, sake and umeshu too mich but from now on im never getting drunk and limiting myself to a few drinks per evening (i dont go out very often probably only once ever 2-3 months an will probably have 3-4 drinks). I admire that you were able to quit! I wish I could but I enjoy the taste too much. I dont like what it does to my body however.

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Becca     at 7:00 pm

I commend you for sticking with your decision! Since I started running I’ve begun drinking a lot less, and when I do go out for a few drinks, it seems like my friends try to push me to drink more (so I won’t be left out) and don’t really get my explanation that I have an important run the next day and want to do it well, so that’s why I don’t want any more drinks. And now that I get up early for runs on weekends, that rules out staying up late as well, which also is a sort of social no-no. I’m happy drinking less, though!

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Mark Maysey     at 7:33 am

Hi Emily,

Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I can definitely relate to the beginning of this story. My biological parents were both drinkers and as a result I ended up growing up with my grandparents, whom I loved very much. I too avoided alcohol like the plague in my early years, even when I was at the age to legally drink and remained against it till I was almost 30, then I would occasionally have a social drink. However, 12 years ago my grandmother was brutally murdered in her home of nearly 50 years and it proved to be way too much for me to handle. My friends recommended I seek mental help for this and I did once, but felt no one understood. It was during the trial that I started drinking heavily and never stopped. I’ve enjoyed a pretty solid 30 year marriage with a wonderful woman and our life now couldn’t be much better. However there were times when it all almost unraveled as a result of our drinking, she was quite a drinker too, but gave it up 6 years ago. She never once asked me to quit and was my weekly supplier of boxed wine, she would always say you’re fine, just keep doing what you’re doing, your always home and having fun. However on the inside I knew that eventually this would have to stop as it’s now taking a toll on my health, I’m having stomach pains and a foggy head, getting nothing done and I know it’s all alcohol related. Thank you for the inspirational story, I will be needing to read more of these as I make this new choice to be free of alcohol. Mark

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D     at 1:57 pm

Day one for me. One of the things that you said and caught my eye was “I didn’t feel alive”. I don’t feel alive. I work out, I eat healthy but the drinking is playing a huge role in my life and I must stop. I want to feel alive 100%

Thank you for your post. I will print it and carry it with me.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Good luck, D! Day one is a great place to start. :)

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Life's a Bowl     at 5:53 pm

As everyone else above me has said [many times], this is a fabulously written post that wonderfully expresses your reasons not to drink, not to force anyone else to follow in your footsteps. I am not big drinker, maybe a glass of wine on a special occasion, but I hate the way it makes me feel later… Especially since I was diagnosed with lupus a few years ago. I’d much rather wake up to go to the gym or spend time with my family/ friends than be stuck in bed. Very inspiring words!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you!!

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Elise     at 8:35 am

Emily,

Hello! I’ve been a frequenter of your site for a few months now, and I have to say this is my favorite post of yours.
I’ve probably read this post 5 times, and I still get the same feeling I got the first time I read it: “I’m not alone.”
I’m a 19-year-old college student who has never had a drink. I don’t have any religious or moral objections to drinking. I just worry about the way it would make me feel. I don’t ever want to feel less than my best, or unlike myself!
As you probably can imagine, being a non-drinker in college is difficult. I avoid parties. I don’t talk about drinking. When people talk about how hungover they were Sunday morning, I usually smile and nod and try to change the subject. I just can’t relate, and I probably was up early watching Meet the Press or on a run.
My freshman year was a lot more difficult. I felt really alone, or like I had to spend my time goofing off with the other immature non-drinkers I knew. But when I read your post last summer, I realized I’m not the only non-drinker out there.
I get to do so many more things because I don’t drink. I get to feel in control of myself 24/7, something I cherish. I get to wake up with the sun and go for a run. I get to enjoy the quiet halls of my residence hall before anyone is up on weekend mornings. I get to go to bed at a decent hour and wake up with the whole day in front of me.
I don’t know if I’ll be a non-drinker for my whole life, but right now I’m not worried about it. I know what’s important to me, and you’ve helped me feel more confident about my decision. Thank you so much!

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olivia     at 2:57 pm

Hello! I am a 20 year old college student and I go to a small school where drinking is a part of everything. Last year, my freshman year, was the first time I started drinking regularly. I didn’t drink in high school, so when college started I pretty much went crazy. I drank way too much for someone my size and ended up having so many terrible hangovers and not remembering things. I thought about switching schools sometimes because I felt like I had made myself look so stupid. I decided that I didn’t want to live that way, that I wanted to respect my brain and my body. So I decided to drink more moderately (not taking shots, etc) and it definitely made things better, but I really still don’t feel satisfied with myself. I made a rule that when I go out I’ll only have two drinks, and that works fine about 80% of the time. But the other times, like last night, I just mess up. I have two drinks and then I don’t really care about my rule anymore. Yesterday, at my friend’s birthday party, I drank about 8 or 9 beers and felt so terrible in the morning. Most people I know wouldn’t worry about it, but I do and I’m starting to think maybe I should quit drinking altogether. That seems to be the only way I can be totally sure I won’t end up getting wasted and making bad decisions. My question to you is, do you have any tips for someone who wants to quit drinking in the middle of college and whose friends almost all drink? What should I tell people? I don’t just want to make up something.

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www.juliehyde.net     at 12:54 pm

Have just come across your blog and have a feeling it’s going to take up a lot of my time ;) well done on this post. I found it comforting as well as inspiring.

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Jessica     at 7:44 am

I just came across this old post…and so glad I did! My husband made the decision to quit drinking about 2 years ago. I’ve never been a big drinker to begin with (an occasional glass of wine). It’s been really hard socially…it seems like everything revolves around alcohol & many friends are uncomfortable around non-drinkers…it’s been frustrating. Thanks for sharing your experience! We’re hoping to find similar friends who enjoy hanging out without the booze!

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Kath     at 7:17 am

I just recently received a link to your blog so have been checking it out today. I can totally relate to this post. I drank nothing at high school, way to much at university and then decided to stop completely when I was about 25 for various reasons. I have never felt better than when I stopped drinking. No more days and weekends wasted feeling sick and tired. My whole body just feels so much more alive and better off for it. When I stopped I lost a lot of friends – they just didn’t get it and thought it was too weird. But hey – they couldn’t have been very good friends to begin with?! I was fortunate enough to meet a guy (who is now my husband) who doesn’t drink either. We spend the weekends actually doing stuff instead of just drinking it away. But people really do not get it at all. Some people have a serious problem with me choosing not to drink. Worst of all I live in England where drinking is like the national sport. If you don’t drink at all people think you are seriously weird! I think you’re totally right that those who have the biggest problem with you are the ones that have the biggest problems themselves. I’d never though of it like that but I think it’s totally true. It’s really nice to know that there are other people like us out there! Thanks for the blog – it’s great

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sarah     at 5:05 pm

I like everything about this post except for the last line – “life is to precious to waste on being wasted”. This implies that if you drink, you must get wasted, when in fact, people can enjoying alcohol in their lives without getting wasted. This is especially true after college.

I think the post is beautiful until that last line – really brings it down, in my opinion.

Thanks for your honesty – and I really like your blog! Just started reading.

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Judgement Day | Healthy & Happy Hour     at 8:56 pm

[...] I found this interesting perspective on giving up drinking from another young professional blogger, Daily Garnish, that I think you will enjoy. I’m not going cold turkey at this point in my life, but it was [...]

Charles     at 1:45 pm

I was introduced to your blog today by a co-worker. For whatever reason, I opened the two ‘why i quit drinking’ links and read them. I decided then and there that I like you. A lot.

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Matt     at 1:28 pm

Beautiful post!! Well said, and thank you so much for sharing it, Emily!

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Steve R.     at 2:54 pm

Born Broken is an inspirational story about acute alcoholism, a story about hope and belief that there is a better way.

http://bornbrokenbook.com

Born Broken is the story of my struggle with alcoholism, and the different stages of my journey to recovery. It is the story of growing up in a poor white neighborhood called Okieville, with no way out and no hope for a better tomorrow. You will feel the wrenching pains and paralyzing fears of my childhood as I waited for heart surgery to be developed, hoping that one day I could live a normal life like other children. As you travel through this story with me, you will discover how alcohol took control of my life while I was still very young and vulnerable. Yes, most of my struggles stem from chronic alcohol abuse, a disorder that this story will expose for its true nature. It will reveal insights I gained during my climb back into the real world from this deadly disease. How God grasped my trembling hands one desperate night and summoned me out of the abyss that held me captive for so long, one day and one step at a time.
Born Broken is a story that comes out of an era when many believed we only gained from life what we earned, through self-will and strong determination. I view my world from a very different perspective than one in which I grew up. In the 1950’s and early 60’s there was a belief that if you worked hard enough, received at least a high school diploma, a strong willed individual could reach whatever goals they set their mind to. But I was to discover that insights weren’t any more than rearrangement of facts. Sometimes in life things happen for a reason, though that reason may not be apparent.
From the early moments of my birth, everything that happened in my life was inevitable. I needed to experience what I experienced the way that I did. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, there was a mission of self-discovery that needed to be accomplished at any cost. This self-discovery would eventually have a profound impact on my life, altering its direction many times.
This book will concentrate on lost directions, while chronicling my journey through alcoholism. Even though I will use a variety of simple analogies to illustrate my personal experiences, these are just whispers of the true reality of where I came from, shadows left behind after escaping the darkness, the complex moments of uncertainty and clarity that marked my path toward recovery.
I pray that my story will impart a message of hope and courage to those still suffering from this sad disease. I hope that it mirrors the horrors of millions of like people, and shows how I was able to learn the truths that I can now share and write about candidly.
My hope is that my readers will experience a greater understanding of God’s Mercy and Grace, and their own capabilities. It doesn’t matter where you came from in life—where you are headed though is of the utmost importance. Inside this book you may come to recognize similarities to your own life, similarities that many alcoholics have endured over the years.
What makes this story so heart-felt is the fact that I have gained freedom from the obstacles that held me captive for most of my life. How I was able to leave behind problems that had previously shackled me. Agree with me or disagree with me, we should all pray that those who seek help may find God’s Grace.
The world of alcoholism is a darkened abyss, waiting patiently to devour all those who dare to venture beyond its gates. As we listen to those cries of anguish and torment inside our troubled minds, our spirits stay troubled. Without a powerful merciful intervention, who knows what future those still lost inside must face?
Once, maybe even twice in a person’s life, an opportunity may appear that can brush against that person’s soul. It can alter what they were destined to become. It can leave an impression on broken hearts and injured souls. These are the Evidence, the Footprints that God leaves behind. I am one of those blessed individuals who have emerged Within God’s Grace, to share His Merciful and Gracious message.

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Anna     at 4:00 am

Beautiful post. Thanks for the honesty. I don’t know you but just came across this and it was much more helpful to me than you could ever know.

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Kay     at 3:04 pm

I no longer drink. I will be 60 on November 30. Due to studying my spiritual books and my teacher, “Seth” I feel I have restructured my cellular makeup. I don’t like the taste anymore and don’t like the way it makes me feel. I was such a partier for decades. Life of the party. Now, my best friend never invites me to her home anymore. This has gone on for 3 years. It’s sad and it can feel isolating. However, I am enjoying my clear thoughts and I am very healthy. I am the fortunate one! Take care!

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Bree     at 8:43 am

I’ve been reading your blog for almost 2 years and I never knew you were a fellow sober life lover! I completely agree about all the time spent and wasted when drinking is involved. I have never met so many actually interested/interesting people, excelled at hobbies, and loved myself more than since I decided to stop drinking completely. It’s awesome and I am so happy you are sober awesome too. :)

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Amy     at 10:13 am

Years later, I came across this post while looking for a tofu recipe…

I grew up in a family that was impacted by alcoholism and never felt comfortable drinking for that reason. Although I experimented in my late teens and early twenties, by around 25 or so, I was done for good. My husband barely drinks either, and it is true that this seemed to make people almost uncomfortable at times. I figured out early on that the trick to cutting the awkwardness was to just be breezy about it and make it clear that I have no problem with anyone else drinking (which I don’t), but it’s not for me.

When I made the decision to become a parent, there was simply no way that I would place my family and children in the jeopardy that my parents’ drinking placed my brother and I as children. For me, there is really nothing I take more seriously, and with my family background, the risk is far too great.

Fortunately, at 48, I have plenty of contemporaries who don’t drink either, for one reason or another.

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job     at 6:19 am

Thanks for the post. Good, earnest writing. Hope you’re well.

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Amanda     at 8:47 pm

Hi. I loved your story! I just decided to quit drinking myself, and its been 16 days since ive had a drink. So far I feel really good. I have lots of energy I didnt know I was capable of. I’ve been working out 6 days a week from doing nothing and haven’t had to wake up feeling like absolute death for the last 16 days. Which has been nice. I agree that people do give u a negative reaction sometimes. They dont understand. But I had to do what is best for me. Also they dont know what ive been through Also I agree that it is weird finding out how big a part of your life alcohol was. When u stop u notice that it actually defines too much of our every day lives. Its all around us, everywhere u go, almost every social event. But he thing is im not missing out on any of it. I get to experience it and also everything els the following morning. Also I can drive myself home in my car!
Thanks for listening :)

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