“Never trust a man who doesn’t drink,” runs the saying and it is certainly true that I find myself thinking people who come to boozy social occasions and who don’t partake are slightly “odd”.
Or, at least, I used to. For the last two and a half years I have significantly cut down my drinking – mainly because I have found that a large volume of exercise takes away the need to “self medicate” in this way (eg., by leaving more relaxed).
As a result I now find myself sometimes turning down the opportunity to go to social events because I don’t want to drink (not least because it makes going for a run or to the gym more or less impossible – drunk running might not be an offence but it’s not fun).
There just is not enough alternatives to alcohol available – not least because sugar-filled soft drinks are not much of a step up in health terms.
And then there is the social stigma – why be the one you “don’t trust”?
Dominic Conroy and Richard De Visser at the University of Sussex have written about the social stigma of not drinking alcohol and have found that changing attitudes could make a significant difference in young people’s alcohol consumption.
So maybe all those public service ads that emphasise the negative consequences of drinking need to be balanced by both new drinks and new images for “non-drinkers”?
Though, it has to be said, a cold beer on a hot summer’s night is hard to beat.