One thing that always gives a Mormon away is that we don’t drink alcohol. It’s bound to come up when we’re in social situations. Some people don’t really know what to think of it, but there are many different reactions. At my husband’s office holiday party one guy asked me while we were sitting on a party trolley and alcohol was in abundance, “I mean, it’s a personal decision right? You’re not judging me because I’m drinking and you’re not, right?” My response to him, “Of course, I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
Many of my husband’s coworkers get together in bars and clubs. Even though he doesn’t drink he still goes along and enjoys the company and down time. I don’t run into the situation as often because I’m with my son most of the time and not many people drink at play dates. I hate the idea that people may feel that I am not drinking to either prove a point or to show moral superiority. That is not the case at all. I don’t drink for myself. It is a personal decision that is between God and me. That’s not to say that I have my own opinions about the negative affects of alcohol. Driving drunk? I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that it’s not good. Getting hammered every night or every weekend? Probably not a great idea. Addicted to alcohol? Get help. I’m a nurse as well a Mormon. I did rotations at a chemical detox facility. Alcohol can have extremely harmful effects on the mind and body. But, to be honest I really don’t think that social drinking has a huge societal or health impact. I still don’t drink.
But, just because I don’t drink alcohol and I think it can have negative health and societal effects does that mean I am judging everyone that drinks? Absolutely not. Do I think people are bad because they drink? Not at all. I understand that alcohol is a huge part of many people’s culture and I am not going around thinking, “sinner” every time I see someone drink. We can be friends even though we choose to live different lifestyles. You can have your wine or beer or your drink of choice and I’ll have my Perrier with lime and we can have a great time. I went out to dinner with some girlfriends this weekend and we declared that it was a judgment-free zone. We can each eat as much or as little as we want and we’re not going to judge each other on it. That’s how I see it with alcohol. I think we’d all prefer a judgment-free zone. I know I do.