(Of course, the legal drinking age is 21 so this shouldn’t be an issue until about your senior year in college, but we all know many people drink illegally underage, so we’re going to talk about it honestly so you can learn how to make smart and safe decisions.)
If you missed Part I: If you Choose to Drink check it out here first!
Along with regular exercise and healthy food, choosing not to drink alcohol is really one of the best things you can do for your diabetes. And I’m not saying this as your mom or as your doctor, but as a person living with diabetes who has in the past had drank to the point of drunkenness on the weekends during my sophomore and junior year in college and as a person who now chooses not to drink—and I’ve seen the difference it’s made in my health.
But the hardest part after choosing not to drink, especially during high school and college, is having to say “No” over and over and over every time someone offers you a drink. Saying this once is never enough. For some reason, it really bothers the average high school/college friend when you tell them you don’t want to drink alcohol.
At first, I was not very good at standing up for my decision not to drink. It’s not that gave in to the pressure, but I felt bad for saying no and for not being “more fun.” My quiet reluctance to drink was always responded to with something like:
“Why not? C’mon! Loosen up. Live life! Don’t be such a square! Just have one!”
These people (often not people you would consider good friends if they’re pressuring you to do something you’ve said you don’t want to do) are desperate to convince you to drink. Part of it, you may find, is that they themselves feel guilty for drinking so often and are actually a little jealous of your self-control and determination to be healthy.
Another reason is also that they just do not understand how much more of an impact alcohol has on your body as a person with diabetes compared to theirs. Granted, alcohol really isn’t very good for anyone, but for us, we know the damage is magnified.
And I’ve tried to explain this to people when I’m being pressured to drink, but it doesn’t really work. And it definitely doesn’t work if they’re already drunk.
It gets very annoying. At the peak of my annoyance, I decided to deal with the pressure a little differently. I decided to be blunt. Sometimes a little sarcastic for fun. Always straight forward. And most importantly, proud of my decision, because I know in the end my body will be healthier than theirs.
The first time someone offers me a drink, I say, “No, thanks. I don’t drink.”
If they pester me after that I might say, “I don’t drink because I have diabetes and I want to live a really long time.”
If they continue to bug me after that, I’ve said things along the lines of, “Listen, whether or not I drink has no impact on how drunk you are, so I don’t see why you care.”