There’s a new term emerging, sober shaming.
So what is sober shaming?
It’s when you decide not to drink and your friends & family give you a hard time about it.
Let’s get this straight… You decide to do something healthy for yourself, get control of your habits, lose a little weight perhaps, save some money, and you’re getting harassed for it? How could this be?
Why is alcohol the only drug we have to apologize for not taking?
A recent article from Yahoo Style UK* reported that 64% of men who drink between the ages of 18 to 60 were shamed by their peers and family for cutting back or stopping altogether.
We have heard the stigma of having an addiction, but a stigma for not drinking? This seems crazy, but it happens more than we would like to admit.
For those that are trying to be mindful of their drinking, this can be another hurdle to cross.
Let’s look at a real-life situation with a guy named Jim. Recently Jim admitted that his drinking was interfering with his work and home life. He was keeping up with his responsibilities at work but wasn’t performing to his usual 100% effort. He was hungover or sluggish most mornings, and the work wasn’t as polished as it once was. Jim’s wife was also noticing his behavior at home. He had become distant, spending most nights in his study alone and drinking his scotch. It was now a problem that he recognized and knew he had to address it.
Jim told his buddies that he was taking a break from his drinking. He heard the usual, “Oh come on; it’s just one! Don’t be such a prude! What are you straight-laced now, Jimmy-boy?”. This was hard enough on Jim to make this lifestyle shift, and now he had to hear the backlash from his friends. Surely his family wouldn’t treat him this way too. He was wrong.
Jim’s brother-in-law, Al, also gave him a hard time as they played golf together for the first time since Jim’s abstinence. They would typically have a few beers while smoking their cigars on the course, but when Al heard Jim give up alcohol, he teased him relentlessly. He knew Al was just playing with him, but it hurt Jim. Why did he feel guilty for not partaking?
The idea that someone would harass someone for not drinking seems foolish, but it happens.
The sober shaming is something that is under the radar. The ones affected typically are too embarrassed to say anything back, so they keep it hidden, just like they hide their drinking in the first place. This is an unnecessary vicious circle.
Until society fully accepts that not everyone needs to drink, this will be an ongoing problem. The mission of GrayTonic is to end this stigma. It’s not just ending the stigma of addiction, but supporting those choosing not to drink for various reasons.
People who choose not to drink for medical and health reasons or those who are mindful of their consumption feel the pressure from peers and family in addition to society. It’s time for it to end. There is nothing wrong with those choosing to abstain or not partake in drinking alcohol.
If you would like to support this movement of ending the stigma and end sober shaming, consider joining Question the Drink movement. You can join the private Facebook page, Question the Drink℠, and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop.
Together, we can change societal views and provide long-overdue acceptance.
*To read the full Yahoo Style article, click here.