Though I’m not opposed to an occasional drink, I have spent the majority of my adult life sober. As a teenager, I made a promise to myself not to drink until I was 21. I wanted to set an example for my future children, but I also grew up with way too many alcoholic relatives. I witnessed firsthand the problems that drinking can cause in families. To me, that just wasn’t worth it.

Once I turned 21, everyone else had been drinking for years and were already over the clubbing and bar scene. That was just fine with me. I jumped straight into adulthood, where I sometimes have wine with my husband, but hardly ever drink when he is deployed.

So yes, sometimes I cringe at the amount of drinking jokes among military spouses. Grown women act like wine can fix every problem; some men act like beer is necessary at every social interaction. Did you have a rough day? You deserve a big glass of wine! Having a party? What sort of drinks should we bring? Running a 5K? There will be a beer tent afterward! Going to a parade? Better start pre-gaming at 10 AM!

Like you, I find that a little bit crazy. I have a variety of friends, and most of them drink sometimes. I’m used to being the sober one in the room. Sometimes it’s amusing, like when you watch everyone else make fools of themselves. Other times it’s annoying, like when you try to have a persuasive argument with someone who is about to pass out. Either way, I have been there…and I’m guessing you have too.

Everyone has their own reason to be sober

Let’s be real here: not every military spouse drinks. It’s a personal choice, much like your decision to follow a particular diet plan. After all, there are plenty of reasons for anyone to be sober today:

  • Maybe you aren’t 21 yet and you want to follow the law for personal reasons like I did.
  • Maybe you are pregnant or breastfeeding and don’t want alcohol to affect the baby.
  • Maybe you are driving and don’t want to risk your life or endanger others.
  • Maybe you are taking care of your children and want to think clearly.
  • Maybe you are taking medication and your doctor warned you not to drink.
  • Maybe you are trying to lose weight and know that alcohol isn’t part of any diet plan.
  • Maybe you don’t like the taste of beer.
  • Maybe wine gives you a headache.
  • Maybe you once tried to chug an Irish car bomb and found it to be disgusting.
  • Maybe you never want to throw up again.

Whatever your reasons for staying sober, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. You shouldn’t have to defend your choice not to drink. After all, no one else is explaining their right to have a few beers. Your reasons are your own. Whatever they are, they are good enough. Stick to the choice that is right for you, even if it isn’t the popular one.