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Actor Stephen McGann, who stars in ‘Call The Midwife’, has highlighted the problematic nature of pressuring someone to drink alcohol.
In a Twitter post, Stephen, 55, shared his ‘seasonal request’ for festive revellers to be more sensitive to those around them.
As Christmas gears up again, a quick seasonal request. I choose not to drink alcohol, but there are plenty of people I know out there who can’t drink through addiction. This is a hard season for them. Tip: if someone politely refuses an alcoholic drink, don’t keep asking 🙂 x
— Stephen McGann (@StephenMcGann) December 8, 2018
Almost one in five (19%) of British adults either haven’t consumed alcohol in the last year or classify themselves as non-drinkers, according to a survey – so people choosing to abstain from alcohol is hardly unheard of.
Despite this, Stephen appeared to touch a nerve among non-drinkers, who quickly shared their own experiences of being pressured to drink.
Some associated alcohol with going through a difficult time in their lives, while others said they abstained due to a previous addiction.
I get called boring when I say no to alcohol. I went through a dark time with it so I’d be too scared to go down that route again
— Darren (@JustDarren85) December 8, 2018
4 years of not touching a drop..I’d rather be safe than go back to it all.
— Darren (@JustDarren85) December 8, 2018
One individual shared that their job prevented them from drinking alcohol.
This!! Please be respectful of everyone’s choices even if they aren’t aligned with yours!
Mine, I can’t because of my job and people say “ah they’ll never know”
Me: at the risk of my job? No.
But I’m called a rule follower and scoffed at.
— Girl on the Fly (@girlonthefly17) December 8, 2018
Others revealed they chose not to drink alcohol for health reasons.
In addition to this very good reason, there’s also the fact that repeatedly offering alcohol puts folks in a position where they may feel pressured to reveal private medical information (illness/medication/pregnancy/etc). In my case, I can’t drink on my meds. Please stop asking.
— MASHFanficChick (@MASHFanficChick) December 8, 2018
I don’t drink a lot because I don’t want to consume the empty calories. This will actually make my mother angry on Christmas Day. But it wouldn’t be a family gathering without my mother being irrationally angry about something
— Cobble King of Calderdale (@JohnBaker1975) December 8, 2018
Thank you for saying this. I choose not to drink due to migraines and just losing a taste for it. It’s irritating when I decline in a social setting and someone asks, “are you sure,” Or “why not?” Or sticks their drink in my face and asks if I want to try a sip.
— Gina🎄 (@genxgina) December 8, 2018
The thread also highlighted the problematic nature of asking someone if they aren’t drinking because they are pregnant.
And don’t presume they’re pregnant if they’re not drinking!
— TwistedDoodles (@twisteddoodles) December 8, 2018
Or realise that if they are pregnant, there’s a reason they haven’t told you yet.
— Spelled with a See (@SeeMack_ie) December 8, 2018
Many had found their decision to not drink interrogated by others, or had felt judged in social situations.
Thank you! When people react with shock at my non-alcoholic drink request, I feel almost like I’m not part of the “fun/normal/adult” group. I’m thrilled with my choice not to drink, but it does make me dread some holiday stuff.
— E.Killilea (@FierceEmmy) December 8, 2018
It’s true. I politely declined a drink at a work function. The woman then very loudly asked if I had a problem with alcohol. I felt like the whole room was looking at me. And since it was work-related I couldn’t say what I was thinking.
— UrKillingMeSmalls (@Stacy_g52) December 8, 2018
As we become increasingly aware of the effect alcohol can have on our mental health, Stephen’s 600-comment-long thread is an important reminder that there are many different reasons people choose to abstain from alcohol, and often these are reasons they may not want to admit to in public.
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