Why do people get upset when I don’t drink alcohol?
Why do people get upset when I don’t drink?
We live in a distorted reality where the regular consumption of a proven carcinogenic is considered normal.
Conversely the people who don’t want to drink to the poison are considered strange, unsociable and boring.
If aliens visited this planet from another world and observed this behavior they would think we were deranged. Perhaps we are?
Actually people who don’t have a problem with alcohol probably don’t get upset when you refuse a drink.
However, individuals who are also addicted respond aggressively to anyone who refuses to proliferate the social proof that drinkers find comforting.
The human body responds to alcohol exactly as you would expect it to respond to the ingestion of any poison. It makes you feel ill, before eventually forcing you to vomit and expel the offending substance.
No matter how defensive a drinker gets about his or her use of alcohol. At the back of their mind they instinctively know that one-day the habit must stop, one way or another.
The thought of this is terrifying to the addict and rather dealing with the painful issue head on he/she prefers to stick their head in the sand, ostrich style.
Part of the way in which a drinker explains away the entirely illogical behavior of drinking poison for fun is to point out that everyone around them also drinks.
Social proof is a commonly used component of human decision-making. We tend to default to the position that other people around us know better than us. We will often follow the crowd even when we are sure that they are wrong.
This has been proven in social experiments time and time again.
However, only one of the individuals was a genuine participant in the experiment.
The other members of the test had been instructed to look carefully at the identical pieces of string and confidently confirm that the third piece of string was longer than the others.
In nine out of ten cases the genuine participant, having watched twenty other people point to the third string, also went on to confirm that it was longer than the rest.
Drinkers use the social proof of other drinkers to ease their nagging doubts and worries about continually ingesting something that they know to be fundamentally harmful.
So, when you come along and refuse to drink the poison you cause dramatic psychological pain to the other person.
It is unlikely to be recognized by them on a conscious level but their aggression towards you is a direct response to the sensation of pain.
Anyone who has quit drinking and been on the receiving end of this sort of thing will confirm that ‘aggression’ is not too strong a word.
I was once confronted at a Christmas party by a woman who claimed I was ruining the party for everyone, because I refused to drink.
I questioned how my choice of drink could have an impact on the fun of other people.
This was a mistake, because trying to debate with drunk people is like trying to make an igloo in the desert… pointless!
She claimed that she couldn’t fully relax and let her hair down because she was aware of me watching her and being judgmental. I am not sure where this insecurity came from but she looked pretty bloody relaxed to me already.
In my book ‘Alcohol Lied to Me’ I tell the story about my friend the air hostess who thought I was ill because I refused the free alcohol she was offering.
I have also had male friends call me ‘gay’ because I refused a drink. How by choice of beverage has any bearing on my sexual preferences I will never know.
Human beings are motivated in all areas of life by only two forces.
Firstly, the need to avoid pain and secondly the desire to achieve pleasure. When you decline an alcoholic beverage and indirectly cause this person psychological pain, they must respond in one of the two ways.
Of course they could choose to also stop drinking and move towards pleasure.
However, this is not the path of least resistance and so they are more likely to try and remove the pain, in this case you and or your behavior.
If the drinker can get you drinking then the social proof is restored and the pain will go away.
If that fails they may just avoid you and ergo also avoid the pain your behavior is inflicting on them.
No matter what they say to you, no matter how offensive, manipulative, cajoling or personal they get – remember this is their problem and not yours.
The process of stopping drinking without using willpower is one of slowly de-cloaking the dark magician and revealing the truth about the drug.
You can see this slowly happening with cigarette smoking. Not so long back cigarettes were seen as glamorous, sexy and a fundamental part of being sociable.
More and more these day’s smokers are banished to stand outside in the cold to take their drug. It is seen more as a dirty habit than a social activity.
While smokers still have the social proof of other smokers they no longer have the approval of society as a whole.
Unfortunately the alcohol industry is about twenty to thirty years behind the cigarette industry.
Booze manufactures are still allowed to advertise, and say pretty much anything they want.
Their packaging is free of graphic warning labels and the product is freely available, not an under the counter item as cigarettes are increasingly becoming.
There is an incorrect assumption that cigarettes are more harmful than alcohol.
The truth is nicotine is the sixth most addictive substance on earth an alcohol is the second, just behind heroin. Alcohol kills someone every 90 seconds and it is this fact that drinkers don’t like to be reminded about by teetotalers like you!
Stick to your guns (or cranberry juice) you are not the one doing something strange. The people who drink poison for fun are the ones out of whack with reality.