I'm writing this node because I noticed the proliferation of alcohol related nodes here on E2, and went looking for the alternative. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but my searches didn't turn up a single result. Nothing! I was somewhat surprised by the absence of information relating to what is, for many, an important personal decision, and decided to do something about it. So here goes.
I don't drink, and I don't plan to. I know I'm not alone in this, although I can't speak for other people in describing the reasons to avoid alcohol. Perhaps they will happen upon this node, and speak for themselves. What I can, and will, do is outline my own reasons for staying dry. Firstly, but largely least importantly, I am 17, a minor here in Nova Scotia. I have a healthy respect for (and perhaps fear of) the law. Still, if I wanted to, I could drink underage without many problems. Honestly, sometimes it seems like that's when the most drinking gets done.
Which brings me to my second point, copious drinking. I don't mind someone having a drink or two with a meal, or what have you, but this is rarely the sort of drinking engaged in by those around me. Drinking is regarded somewhat like an occasion in itself, with groups of people congregating simply to drink. If I were to drink underage, I would be likely to drink with friends, and thus would probably be drawn into events like this, and fear of this is one of the major factors keeping me away. People lose themselves when they're drinking like this. Respect for other people drops away, people become boorish, and frankly I'm uncomfortable to even be around people who've had this much to drink. I don't want to be like that.
Still, things like these are really only comparatively minor issues, compared with the two major ones that really put the nail in the coffin for me : alcoholism and body tissue damage. These are real, serious complications that a good many people can run into, and yet people ignore them. Alcoholism, especially when avoided and ignored, can slowly destroy people, and break them apart from their loved ones, not to mention their money. I've often found myself to have quite an addictive personality, so I feel that this would only be a larger problem in my case. Furthermore, addiction leads to increased consumption, which in turn leads to damage of crucial body tissues, especially the liver, but also the brain and blood vessels. These are documented facts, and all these conditions can kill. Even if I didn't die, I don't want to spend my twilight years with my mind slipping away because I spent fifty years drinking, killing my nerve cells. Again, on a personal level, because I am diabetic, I already have poor circulation, which would only compound all these conditions. So the biggest reason not to drink, for me, is that I don't want to die.
So that's about it, for me. Congratulations if you managed to read all that. I speak from the perspective of someone who has never drank. Perhaps someone who's experienced the Alcoholics Anonymous program, or some similar system, could add their experiences to the node?