Hi, I’m Kelly and I’m not an alcoholic; I’m a non-drinker. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to change my mind. I used to believe that I would never want to live anywhere but New York. That I would never marry or have children, or ― most frightening of all ― get a tattoo. Now I live in Seattle. I’m planning a wedding while daydreaming about baby names. And I have half a dozen tattoos.
I’m not an alcoholic but I do not drink alcohol
But the most momentous, life-altering thing that I’ve changed my mind about has also been the most difficult and complicated adjustment yet. I never envisioned my life without alcohol. And yet here I am, at the age of 31. Writing this with a glass of chai by my side instead of wine.
Over the past year, I slowly but radically changed my mind about alcohol’s place in my life. Ultimately deciding to become a non-drinker. This was an unexpected development to both myself and the people around me ― not because I had a drinking problem, but because I didn’t.
My Relationship with Alcohol
My belief that only alcoholics need to quit drinking was the barrier that kept me from ever analyzing my relationship with alcohol. Instead, I drank socially for more than a decade, bolstered by everyone around me doing the exact same thing.
I never questioned the strong drinks (more vodka than cranberry) that my older boyfriend would ply me with in college. Never questioned the fact that all of the worst fights I had with loved ones were preceded by drinking. I speculated that my health was being affected by some undiagnosed condition. PCOS, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression. Not the very normal drinking habits that I saw reflected in my friends and family and in the media I consumed.
Also like many others, my alcohol intake increased during the pandemic. A glass or two of red wine, previously a bright spot at the end of the occasional hard day, suddenly became the only bright spot in a life that had become extremely small, stressful, and dull.
Then three things happened at once. We moved apartments. I decided to do Dry January. And I joined a friend in reading and discussing Holly Whitaker’s “Quit Like a Woman.”. Any one of those things would have been fantastic for shaking up my routine. Together they managed to wrench me free of alcohol’s grip in a way I’d never experienced before.
Inspired by Quit Lit
Since reading Whitaker’s book, I’ve become keenly aware not only of alcohol’s downsides but also of the societal rejection she predicted. Whether it’s thanks to the work of quit-lit writers like Whitaker and Annie Grace, the rising trend of celebrities like Drew Barrymore, Chrissy Teigen and Real Housewife Luann de Lesseps publicly renouncing alcohol, or the increasingly hard-to-ignore proof of alcohol’s role in breast cancer, hormonal disruptions and mental health issues, more and more women are becoming sober-curious.
Read more at www.huffpost.com on why I’m not an alcoholic.