*stands up* Hi, my name is Tim, and I am teetotal. *takes a deep breath* So, I am 21, at University, and one of those rarest of species, a teetotal Student. I.e. (for those that do not know the term) I don't drink alcohol. In fact, I never really have, and friends express shock as I tell them I have never been drunk. I used to be proud of that fact, but much less so now. Almost everyone else that I know does drink, to a greater or lesser extent, which got me thinking 'why?'. This is not the 'why do they drink?' why though, for those reasons are easy to see. It tastes nice, they enjoy it, and so on. So long as their drinking does not impact on me why should I give a monkeys? This is the 'why don't I drink' why. So, lets start from the beginning: I grew up in the South Wales Valleys, where young kids (>10) going out of an evening to 'go down the park and get pissed on cider' was the typical form of recreation. Many reasons for this, but they don't really matter in this discussion. My parents never really approved, and being a rather precious child I would never join the kids my age. Yes, I would still lie about my alcohol consumption to seem 'normal', as did many in all likelihood, but apart from trying lager at 13 (and hating it) never touched the stuff until the day I moved to South East England (14). And to this day didn't regret not joining them. However, that decision may have resulted in a great deal of the bullying I did experience in the final year of my living in Wales. They came to believe (rightly as it turned out) that I was as straight-laced as they come. When we moved to SE England I started playing Rugby with the local team. Now, as anyone who has played rugby will know, alcohol plays a very large part in 'team building', yet it was at that time that I decided to assert that I 'didn't drink'. The reasons that I gave, and still give to this day are... 1) I don't like the taste. Rather weak really, there are so many beverages out there that I haven't tried that I cannot really say this with any real knowledge. 2) My half-brother (whom my parents say I take after a lot) is a selt-loathing/depressed drunk (possibly prone to suicidal feelings), and my worry is that I will take after him. This is all very well, but there are many things that my bro has gone though that fate willing I will never have to, so that is not really much of an excuse. Though I played for two years, and had a lot of fun doing so, I think that to a certain extent I didn't embrace it fully, and that resulted in my quitting the team. Not by any means because they wanted me out (in fact I was just starting to really find my feet and play well consistantly), but rather I just felt uncomfortable in social situations. This extended when I went to Uni, when I had the perfect opportunity to just go out and give things a try. And yet, I still clutched onto my teetotal-ness like a shield. So, I am wondering if I simply don't drink because it is the easy option not to. This is not to say that drinking alcohol per se is somehow 'harder'. Rather that it is very easy to draw a line in the sand from the outset by saying 'I don't drink' and having done it for so many years it is more difficult to let someone in. Saying No 100 times makes saying Yes once all the more difficult. And does this impact on my social life in more fundamental ways. For many years I have said to myself and others that even when I don't drink I can have just as much fun at social gathering as others. I think it is more of the case that I am deluding myself into thinking that however, and by going out of my way to make it clear that I don't drink I put up a barrier that stops me from really enjoying myself. It has also allowed me to find an easy way of refusing or escaping social situations, even with friends that know me well. I use it as a crutch for my introverted leanings, and because it is so easy to use I can use it to justify decisions without really looking at myself as really a problem. It is mayhap this more than anything else that has contributed to me being single for so long. Many of my friends, and certainly my family, admire me for my abstinence believing I have have great willpower, mentioning 'peer pressure', and 'how big a part alcohol is in society', but I tend to think that they are foolish to do so. By letting my nature dominate my decision making in similar ways, I have denied myself a great number of experiences. Be they beneficial or not. And so I have come to the conclusion that my attitude has been harmful rather than helpful. There are plenty of people that do drink and can control it, the vast majority in fact. And also it has lead to my intolerance of errors that people make. Errors that I could never make as I could never be in the same position. An intolerance not truely justified. And to bring up another question, who is the better man: A man that has a habit and controls it, or one that never let himself be tempted into the habit, and has missed out on so much because of it. So, what is the point of this rant I hear you ask? Well, it is two-fold. One is to hear your opinions (am I right, or is this just another delusion ), especially the opinions of other teetotalers. The other is to ask if moral decisions should be treated as absolutes, or rather the decision making process should me made from a position of strength through knowledge and experience. Thanks to all those that read and respond. *sits down* My apologies for the rather selfish way I wrote this .