Why I’m A Gay Man Who Doesn’t Drink Alcohol.

bartender_161951Being gay and drinking alcohol go together like Mary Kate and Ashley. Or so most people think.

I’m a gay man and I’ve never had a drink. When I was a young boy, my father gave me a sip of his beer. But that’s it.

And when I share this information, other gay people are usually dumbfounded. And that’s because so much of gay culture – from brunch (which everyone knows is the gayest meal of the week) to pride and parties – centers around the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol has become a backbone of our community. In fact, the modern gay rights movement even started in a bar!

Of course, straight people drink, too. But gays out-drink our straight counterparts by some 16%.

And I get it. It’s easy to see how growing up in a homophobic or traumatic environment could increase the likelihood that someone might seek to reduce their stress through alcohol consumption or even alcohol abuse. The dots are easy to connect. But instead of being an opportunity for introspection and self growth, the conversation around alcohol consumption is often reserved for punchlines and jokes.

When I was around 14, my grandfather made me promise him that I wouldn’t drink. It had nothing to do with me being gay. Instead, it was because his father was alcoholic – and my grandfather didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps. Considering that genes are responsible for about half the risk of alcoholism, I understand my grandfather’s motivation. And for me, the decision not to drink was a simple as keeping a promise to someone that I love.

Many sober prides and festivities later, I’ve kept my promise. And though it was never my intent, I’ve stumbled into enjoying the benefits of sobriety. With the average American spending 1% of their income on alcohol, my wallet has benefited.  With alcohol hindering muscle growth and function, my body has benefited. And with excessive alcohol consumption leading to a whole slew of problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, colon cancer and many more, my health has benefited.

I know the benefits of sobriety because I live them. But from the outside looking in, I can see how the occasional drink during dinner might be nice. But I also can’t help but wonder if alcohol is really deserving of the throne we’ve placed it on? What has it really done for us as a community or as individuals? And are those benefits really worth the price we have paid (and continue to pay) for making it so central to our culture?

I don’t have those answers. But maybe you do. In the comments below, let me know.

 

 

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Comments

  1. I don’t drink because I’ve been a victim of alcohol related domestic violence. I also don’t like the taste of alcohol. I don’t care how many fruity sweet or sour flavors they make. I still taste it and it tastes like poison to me, and it is when you think about it. It doesn’t loosen me up and make me break out of my shell. If someone wanted to do that, make me laugh. If you can’t make me laugh, you arnt going to make me do much of anything else.

    When I look at friends on FB posting every week that they are going to the club, but complain about bills, I think in my head, “well maybe if you didn’t piss your money away at the bar every week…” Literally…people are pissing their money away.

    Alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana; More dangerous than eating a pound of bacon every morning for a year straight; More dangerous than handguns; Globally kills more people annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), than HIV, Tuberculosis, and violence related deaths combined.”

    Alcohol has done nothing for society but destroy families, destroy our health and feed depression like a cancer. When I was younger I used to drink socially. But after being a victim of domestic violence in an alcohol related incident and seeing how it affects people and their lives, I’m convinced that alcohol does more harm and has zero benefits to be gained from it. I don’t know what benefits you were referring to in your blog, but I cannot see any benefits to either the gay community or society in over all.

  2. I usually think you are annoying but this is a very nice article and a good example. You have earned a lot of respect by me. I am gay and have also recently quit alcohol as much as I could. It is hard to quit alcohol, harder than it has been for me to quit cigarettes, because there is so little support for it. Because there is so little support for it every support it gets is very welcome. People have been asking me: “but do you still go out?”. Yes, I go out every weekend 2 or 3 times. I like to go abroad in the weekend, but would not have the energy to do so if I would have drank alcohol. I feel more energetic during the day. Energy=happiness. Not drinking alcohol makes me a happier person. And I still have fun at bars, except for the annoying people questioning me about why I don’t drink alcohol. They are so cumbersome. I am more attached to my energy level, muscle mass, and clear mind than I am to alcohol making it easier to socialize in bars, which, actually, usually backfires on me when I drink too much. I am also proud to have quit alcohol. I look up to people not drinking alcohol. That is why I respect you for telling this about yourself Davey Wavey! All the best!

  3. I am happy for that you never drank any alcohol. That is awesome. As a nutritionist I am sure you know drinking in moderation it does have some health benefits though (one or two alcoholic beverages… One being a 12 oz standard beer, 5 oz glass of wine, or 1.5 oz of hard alcohol in a mixed drink).

    It is a shame that so many of our community abuses alcohol though. I have to say I have on occasion myself, honestly. I know the risk of over overindulging though, so I understand not wanting to drink at all…

    Much Love to Your as a friend or follower.

    • Yeah….You are all forgetting about the alcoholics who’s addiction derived from their genetical pathway. I appreciate the positive intention behind the blog, but this is no different than throwing shade at someone who is fighting to make right. And by make right, I mean works towards not getting bombarded and attacked by members of his own community. Acceptance and support instead of meh, no?

  4. Doug Faulkner says:

    alcohol has given me some of the most fun times of my adult life. It’s a joy I’m so glad I experienced. Ine of the things I’ve learnt is to try and be even about most things. I’d have loved to of heard this position articulated from someone who’s genuinely enjoyed alcohol as much as they’ve enjoyed sobriety.

  5. Jerry Sloan says:

    Alcohol is made to sell not to drink!

  6. Once at a party a friend of mine wondered:
    How on earth I’m a poor student and still go abroad on vacations 4-5 times a year?!
    My answer was:
    “This bottle of your fancy wine can be a one way ticket with Ryanair!”
    (Alcohol in Norway is extremely expensive!)
    I grew up in a religious family and I honestly had never seen anyone around me drinking so it was never been a part of my culture and never missed it.
    But then I moved to Europe eight years ago. And It became clear to me from the first time I went clubbing and saw how drunk young men behaved that I will never make it a part of my life. Never!

  7. “If you’re not drinking alcohol you’re not enjoying yourself/ not a real man”. It’s an attitude that is common in gay and straight culture. I’ve had lots of fun whilst sober. I don’t need alcohol to make me a “real man” whatever one of those is!

  8. I had to stop drinking 5 years ago. My life was miserable I lost all my friends my job was suffering my13 year relationship was on the outs. I was turning to drugs (meth). I was dead inside. I had to make a decision to find help and stop the pain and suffering I was causing others and myself.
    It was the best thing I have ever done. And the hardest. Yeah our community is based around drinking I get that. It was a hard adjustment. Many people didn’t understand why I stop. I saw who my true friends were.
    I love my sober life. I get to live life to the fullest. I get to feel my emotions. I’m always myself. I love and respect myself and other.
    There are good days and not so good days and I wouldn’t change it for any drink.

  9. As an alcoholic in recovery with over 5 years sober, I admire anybodys ability to just not drink. I’ve made promises to both my parents, grandparents, teachers, boyfriends and even Judges that I wouldn’t drink. I have an utter inability to leave it alone.
    Saying you know the benefits of sobriety because you live them is a very bold statement coming from from someone who has never depended on a bottle of vodka being next to your bed so you can function in the morning. Or who has never waited outside a liquor store at 730 in the morning for the owner to open up so you can stop shaking. For someone whose blog reaches so many communities and practices inclusion, that statement feels a little offensive and irresponsible. Knowing the benefits of sobriety because you live them, implies to me that you know the depths of insanity and hell of alcoholism because you’ve lived them.
    Sent with live and compassion,
    Michael.

  10. Oh you’re gay and you don’t drink? What do you want, a fucking medal? Plenty of people choose not to drink and just manage to get on with it without writing a 300 word blog about it

  11. Nice preaching, but you meant to say deserving of the throne we’ve place on it, not placed it on. Where are you placing the throne? Grammar, my dear, will get you further than a chiseled body. Look no further than to George Takei, a very old man with impeccable grammar. xxxooo

  12. This is just an insulting article towards anyone with an actual drinking problem.

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  17. Love this!!

  18. I just want to include, I have been reading some of the comments here and I strongly disagree with some of the negative remarks. I am a mother and wife who battles my own drinking problems. Like your grandfather, I always tell my daughters not to drink when they get older. My thought is if I drill that into their heads now they will listen, like you. I am sure you make your grandfather proud!! Thank you for sharing this…literally made my day.

  19. This is great place

  20. Joe Wheeler says:

    Great that you speak on the non-drinking issue. I rarely drink and actually had a frustrated EX of mine require me to mix a cocktail for friends once. It was ridiculous. People get caught up in the culture that surrounds them and the first four letters of culture are … CULT. It saddens me to see people feel obligated to participate in the draining practice of drinking.
    Don’t believe the hype. You’re find as you are. If you’re numbing with alcohol, it’s a slippery slope. Talk to a therapist or take an online course – Brene Brown has great online courses at her site Courageworks.

    Davey, I’m considering a move to RI. What do you think? I hear you grew up there. Best, J

  21. John Hughes says:

    I’ve been a teetotaler all my life (just never liked the taste of it). And believe me, when you tell people in the gay culture you don’t drink, they’ll congratulate you, then ignore you as they go on to their dinking cliques. You really don’t get invited to the gay “events”, but that’s okay. I’ve seen people die and lives ruined by this barfly lifestyle. There is nothing wrong with going to the bar at all. You just have to do things in moderation.

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