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I'm 24 and have always been sober. It frustrates some people, but I'll continue to do so.

Woman drinking a non alcoholic beverage
The author is 24 and has never had a sip of alcohol in her lifeCourtesy of the author
  • I've never touched alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs and don't plan on it.

  • Almost everyone has questioned my decision.

  • I've learned that as long as I'm confident, nobody will sway me to do something I don't want to do.

I cannot recall a day when I had any interest in taking a swig of an alcoholic beverage or trying out a new drug. I had always been able to have fun without them, so when I turned 21, I didn't see a need to start using them.

Even when it seemed as though most of my peers were engaging in those activities (even from as early as middle school), I never felt that I was missing out or wanted to try to see what it felt like — even when I was not invited to a single party until my freshman year of college.

Now I'm 24, and I'm totally sober.

People seem to take my decision personally

One thing I've noticed that happens a lot when I tell people who do drink or smoke that I don't is that they take it personally and become visibly offended and frustrated by my decision. I never understood how this could happen, as my choice has nothing to do with theirs.

Even some of my closest friends and family members have said things to me along the lines of "Drinking doesn't make you a bad person, you know?" I never said it did, nor have understood the correlation I feel is projected onto me about how not drinking must mean I think they are bad people — because they are not.

Some people even go as far as to tell me that I just must think that I'm perfect since I don't drink. I've never had that thought. I don't think drinking takes away from a person's moral goodness. I also engage in habits that may not be the healthiest, like eating desserts daily or spending too much time on my phone. I'm not sure why people put so much moral weight on drinking.

I can still have fun

I completely understand the feeling of wanting to share activities and bond with someone, and I feel like I can still do that even without alcohol.

For instance, when I attend some of Disney World's festivals at Epcot with some friends, and they try alcoholic beverages at the various booths in the world showcase, and I don't, I am still able to participate in the fun with a non-alcoholic option or snack. When they say things like "One day I'll get you to drink around the world with me," in a forceful tone, it makes me sad that I feel like they won't fully enjoy my presence until a drop of alcohol is consumed.

Even though they don't force me to drink, backhanded comments like that feel like a violation of respect. I feel like they should respect my choices without trying to convince me that I would be better off making the choice they are — especially when it comes from friends and family.

For me, it's about being in control. I don't like the thought of letting go of my rational state of mind for even just a second to alcohol or drugs. I realize that may be extreme for some people, and maybe it is, but it's what makes me feel comfortable, and I won't apologize for that. I don't question people when they tell me that they drink, except if it's for matters of safety when it comes to having a designated driver or ensuring they are not going to black out while we're together or afterward.

Even though some people may try to make me think again about my decision to stay completely sober, I'm not going to change my mind. I am content with the choices I make and feel that those who don't understand don't need to.

Read the original article on Business Insider