A large proportion of people in Scotland who are teetotalers (alcohol abstainers) feel stigmatized simply because they don’t drink, concludes a study supported by the Scottish government.
The research for the Scottish Executive found that 42 percent of non-drinkers “are made to feel socially unacceptable and ’odd’” because they don’t drink.
This is not good news: Societies in which there is strong social pressure either to drink or to abstain tend to have a high rate of alcohol related-problems.
A number of societies have low rates of alcohol-related problems with most of their members drinking and doing so frequently. Among Italians, Greeks, Jews, Spaniards, Portuguese and many others around the world, most people drink daily but experience very few alcohol problems. These groups all share three major keys to success in preventing alcohol problems:
People who choose not to drink should never be asked why they are not drinking, should never be coaxed or encouraged to drink, and should never be made to feel odd or strange because of their choice.
Similarly, people who drink in moderation should never be made to feel as if they were alcohol abusers, doing drugs, drinking a “poison,” or otherwise be made to feel odd or strange. “Live and let live” is the best policy for abstaining and moderate drinking.
Filed Under: Abuse