That awkward question for everyone who chooses to be sober. Whether you've had problems in the past or whether it's simply a lifestyle choice, the idea of not drinking seems to baffle most people. In my almost two years sober I haven't had to deal with this question too many times, but this past weekend I had to deal with it full force.
I was out at a bar with a friend, doing my thing, and a guy I was talking to brought up drinking (not too random as we were in a bar). I said it wasn't something I did and his reaction was, "What do you mean you don't drink? Are you Mormon or something?", no I am not Mormon random guy at the bar. I followed that with saying it was just something I didn't do. He of course kept pushing. "lifestyle choice?", he asked, "Yes, lifestyle choice", I replied. He kept right on pushing when he said "You mean like AA lifestyle choice?". At this point I decided I was going to give him exactly what he was digging at so I told him "YEAH, like AA lifestyle choice". At this point in the conversation his face changed and I thought he would finally be satisfied with my answer but no, he kept going. He said he didn't believe in AA and asked if I could just have a glass of wine with dinner, he asked if I believed that in 20 years I would still be an alcoholic. Without getting worked up I answered all of his inquiries with no shame around who or I guess what I was. After all of this, he finally left it alone and I was able to finish my cigarette in peace, (thank goodness).
I have no problem about owning the fact that I have a problem with alcohol. I have no problem answering people's questions around the subject, but in this situation I felt like the information shouldn't have been pulled out of me in the way it was.
It absolutely amazes me how some people react to the fact that I live a sober life.
Many think it is amazing and congratulate me while others are completely confused by it. Most of the time people will back off when I tell them I don't want a drink and some will keep pushing, telling me I can handle one drink (yeah, because these strangers I meet when I'm out know me so well).
I could have taken anger from the other night, but I am choosing to see the lesson in it all. People will question what they do not understand and what we can do is answer their questions, creating a learning situation. I realized there is no point in getting worked up, I will undoubtedly deal with these situations for the rest of my life so why get upset? Why ruin my night?
Take what people say with a grain of salt. Sobriety is a foreign concept to a lot of individuals. Answering what may feel to you are ridiculous questions only helps to spread awareness around the disease of alcoholism. As I always say, awareness is everything. With increased awareness the stigma can be decreased and maybe one day choosing to be sober won't completely blow somebody's mind. One conversation and one question at a time is all it takes.