In the final analysis, while the main topic here is about drinking alcohol, this is only partly about drinking alcohol. The significantly larger topic is about (a) having a value that is different than that of the others around you and (b) finding your way to hold your resolve and stick to your principles when they differ from those of the others around you.
In your case, it happens around the alcohol. You made it quite clear where you stand, and you are also very clear that you need to maintain your integrity on the issue.
For me, it happens around being a vegan. I’m very secure in my reasons for being a vegan, and there is no amount of meat-eating around me that is going to change my mind. People can say what they want, and feel what they want. How they respond to my veganism is their issue, not mine.
Being different from the crowd can also happen around a multitude of other topics: people are watching this or that very important “big game” that I don’t care about, or watching a TV show, or Star Wars movie, or anything else that is meaningless to me.
I have, over the course of living to the age of 68, given careful consideration to my life and all the choices I have had to make. My attitude has been not to preach, not to explain why unless asked, and not to criticize others for their choices.
Maybe it’s reaching this age that makes it easier not to care what others think. There’s that, and there is also knowing that, as a retiree, my life is not going before anyone else for a performance review. There’s just me, living my life as I know best for myself, and not needing to have the approval of anyone else for the way I live it.
Sarah Jane, I think that the older you get, the more comfortable you become in your own skin, and the easier gets to stand your ground when your values differ from those of others around you.
Thanks so much for writing this and for sharing your thoughts.
Wishing you the best!