How can I avoid drinking and still have a social/dating life?
January 29, 2006 1:44 AM   Subscribe

I have a urinary tract disorder that makes it difficult for me to enjoy alcohol. How can I keep this from affecting my social/dating life? Warning: [more inside] contains discussion of my "man parts."

I am a male with interstitial cystitis. For years, I was misdiagnosed with prostatitis, which meant that I could not enjoy anything resembling an active sex life. I'm currently taking elmiron, which is great, because it means that I can now have an orgasm without experiencing severe burning pain in my nether-regions. Yaaay!

The problem is that alcohol negates the effects of the medication, and greatly exacerbates my condition. If I drink before I have an orgasm, I'm more or less guaranteed a "flare up." Even if I only have one or two drinks, it is still best for me to wait a day or so before having sex.

So here is the deal - how can I avoid drinking without effecting my social/dating life? I'm in my late 20s, and drinking is the most common social activity for people my age, especially when it comes to dating. I feel like someone who doesn't drink is viewed as being "stodgy" or "stuck-up."

Any sort of suggestions are welcome, from alternative activities to ways of resisting alcohol when one is in a bar/party situation.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Talking about bar situations: in my experience, it's not the guy who decides to not to drink that's "stuck-up", but rather, the guy who also doesn't want anyone else drink and/or spends a lot of time telling his companions "how funny drunk people are". In either case, that is where the other people get you're-looking-down-your-nose-at-me feeling.

Keep a club soda in your hand at all times, and politely decline any offers. You should be fine.

Having recently come to the realization that I have turned into a hard core barfly (at 23), I too am looking for alternative activities. Not as easy as I thought it would be. I wish you luck.
posted by Famous at 2:04 AM on January 29, 2006

Lemon, Lime & Bitters is your friend. There's maybe half a drop of alcohol in there and I'm assuming that won't affect you.
posted by polyglot at 3:13 AM on January 29, 2006

Don't worry about it. I don't drink and I still manage to have fun amongst drinking people. (It's actually a lot more fun for me because I then get to see their drunken antics and remember them all >;) )

As Famous said, you'll be fine. If someone doesn't respect your choice not to drink, you're better off without them.
posted by divabat at 3:21 AM on January 29, 2006

Plain ol' coke looks a lot like Jack 'n Coke. And besides just tell people that alcohol interferes with your medication. There's really not much better of a reason to avoid the alcohol. (PS also, it's a great story to tell people!)
posted by ruwan at 5:32 AM on January 29, 2006

I think that the idea not to be judgemental of the drunkards is probably the best thing for you.

Also, if you're not in a public transport area, being the Designated Driver is always a good thing.
posted by k8t at 5:48 AM on January 29, 2006

Just say, "I'm taking this prescription and I'm not supposed to drink".
posted by elisabeth r at 6:09 AM on January 29, 2006

Orange juice, straight up. Who's to say it's not a real screwdriver?
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:15 AM on January 29, 2006

"I'm taking this prescription and I'm not supposed to drink".

Problem is that most people then assume you are on antibiotics. If they think that it can be the death to your rap if you are trying to hook up with the ladies.

When I was in college, many moons ago, I was going to the beach with a friend and I was on anitibiotics for something. My friend made me swear up and down not to say that to any girls lest they think I had some STD.

I too suffer somewhat from interstitial cystitis, but I take a different med (Betel maybe) and I was never warned about the alcohol problem. Mine flares up when I have caffeine more than anything.

I still agree with most people here who say (and I am paraphrasing) "Fuck what people think." A club soda and lime can be refreshing and look like a G&T.

Good luck.
posted by terrapin at 6:53 AM on January 29, 2006

I can't believe that there are still people out there who would push the subject after you politely decline for ANY reason. I know plenty of people who are recovering alcoholics who simply don't drink, no matter where we are, and it has taught me never to push a drink on to anyone.

Even as the friend of someone who doesn't drink, it can be easy to slip and forget ("This wine is delcious. want to taste it?" Oops..). But then all they have to do is say "no thanks" and I my memory is refreshed.

Pretty much everyone ought to know that if you offer a drink to someone once and they refuse, then they must have their reasons, no matter what they may be.

Mentioning that you are on prescription medication is an affable enough excuse because many, many kinds of medication react poorly to alcohol. Of course, if you are talking to someone who is already drinking, be prepared to face questions about the details.

If you have the desire and will power to hang out in a bar or something for social reasons and not drink, why should anyone care?
posted by hermitosis at 7:52 AM on January 29, 2006

This question wasn't exactly the same, but there's a lot of good discussion of similar issues in there, as well.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:58 AM on January 29, 2006

As for "alternate activities" where you can mingle with the opposite sex, maybe try sports leagues? A lot of bars have volleyball leagues and you can probably find a local softball league just about anywhere in the country. Where I live we even have kickball and four-square leagues. Those are both usually sponsored by a bar.

There will still be alcohol when hanging out after games, but the main focus would be less strictly on the drinking. Make sure you pick a co-ed league though :)
posted by divka at 8:15 AM on January 29, 2006

Yeah, I go out with people all the time, and I never drink (mine's for non-medical reasons), and no one ever questions me about it. And it has never once hurt my chances with "the ladies" as it were.

Although I will admit it's a little wierd when I go out to a nice dinner with a girl, she gets a wine, and I order a coke or something, then is definately a good time to order something like a club soda with lime, as others suggested above. But basically, if you're out with anyone who doesn't like the fact that you don't drink, then just move on.
posted by KirTakat at 8:20 AM on January 29, 2006

We have plenty of friends who don't drink and still go out with us allthe time. We just know its their preference,and whatever the reason, we really don't care.

If your friends are good friends, neither will they. If they try and pressure or guilt you into it, I think its time to see who your true friends are.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 8:42 AM on January 29, 2006

Red bull? non-alcoholic beer? and a teasing comment for any lady that asks why you're not drinking..
posted by ruelle at 8:59 AM on January 29, 2006

In my experience it's not a big deal. I've never been a teetotaler but I've known a couple people that still enjoyed going out to bars. One of them was a fitness model who'd only drink juice or usually water but never had a problem with anybody else was imbibing. The other is my best friend who grew up in a household where alcohol was a problem.
posted by substrate at 9:27 AM on January 29, 2006

I'm not sure what your question is. Are you looking for social activities that don't involve drinking or are you trying to be an inconspiquous teetotaler?

If it's the former, explain that you have a heart condition and drinking could kill you. Whatever you do, give a reason. If you give no explanation, people could assume that you're an alcoholic or maybe on some serious psychiatric meds that clash with alcohol.
posted by malp at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2006

Go out anyway, don't drink. It'll take some willpower if you enjoy drinking and get offered drinks, but really no one who's reasonable will fault you unless you're at a bar alone. In that case, pick a bar that may serve some food as well so you have occasion to order things that aren't soda -- and tip well.

I have a number of friends who haven't drank that much -- didn't want to reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics, currently on antidepressants that exaggerate the effects of alcohol, trying to lose weight so they've cut back. It's never been a problem, especially if they're attempting to be social with a group. The worst case is that you might get tired of drunk friends and want to leave because they're being loud and obnoxious.

In the worst case, you could be honest if really pressed. Most people are going to prioritize getting off over getting drunk and it's really enough information that they're going to feel sheepish for having asked.
posted by mikeh at 10:27 AM on January 29, 2006

I know a couple of people who don't drink because they are fitness fanatics. Alcohol interferes with weight loss in a big way and it easily causes weight gain if you're at your ideal weight. If you want to avoid medical excuses, you could always say that you're getting in shape/maintaining your shape/training for some athletic event (pick the choice that makes the most sense to you).
posted by rhiannon at 10:29 AM on January 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

If you're dating people into the bar scene, order gingerale or cranberry juice (possibly quite beneficial for the cystitis), and explain that you're driving, or recovering from yesterday's hangover, or whatever. I have a friend who gave up booze to lose weight not - a bad reason at all. Be unobtrusive, but you know that.

Try dating that doesn't involve bars - dinner, movies, hiking, ballroom dancing, whatever. If you go to dinner, order a half botle of wine if she'd like some, and just don't drink it. A guy who doesn't drink is not a turnoff unless it's a judgmental thing.
posted by theora55 at 10:41 AM on January 29, 2006

So here is the deal - how can I avoid drinking without effecting my social/dating life? I'm in my late 20s, and drinking is the most common social activity for people my age, especially when it comes to dating. I feel like someone who doesn't drink is viewed as being "stodgy" or "stuck-up."

Why do you think that? Maybe just be upfront with your date and say "I cannot drink due to a minor health problem." Although, that may send alarm bells off in the woman. I dunno... it sounds like a pretty sensitive thing. Best wishes to you.
posted by nickerbocker at 10:47 AM on January 29, 2006

Just say you're allergic to alcohol. It does happen and it's close enough.
posted by kindall at 11:12 AM on January 29, 2006

Don't say you're a designated driver unless you actually want this responsibility and are willing to drag your friends' drunken asses out of the bar.

If are you willing to be a DD, then tell the bartender. Some bars provide free non-alcoholic to designated drivers.
posted by luneray at 11:37 AM on January 29, 2006

Don't make a big deal out of it, but when asked, just say you're not drinking for a year on a bet. You stand to win x-hundred dollars from some guy if you make it to 12 months.

"I'm doing it for a bet" is a universally-acknowledged good excuse for just about anything.

And don't worry about the socialising part. You'll probably be amazed how much of a contact high you get just from being around drunk people.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:39 PM on January 29, 2006

I was going to suggest that you tell people you're allergic to alcohol, but then I saw kindall already suggested it.

I'm suggesting it again. It's close enough to true as to make no difference. You can quiet a rowdy drunk by explaining that it's a side effect of interstitial cystitis, which he will not have heard of.

You can also quiet a rowdy drunk by pushing their face into the bar, depending on the kind of bars you hang out at.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:00 PM on January 29, 2006

Not totally related to the question, but just re: some of the replies - if you're on Elmiron I'm sure you're already aware of the effects of diet on IC, but do take it easy on the "lemon, lime, and bitters" and the cranberry juice (oh god no!) and even the Coke! The constraints of what I can drink with my IC can turn this into a difficult problem - water really does look like water but anything else runs the same risk of flares as alcohol can. I do find gingerale usually tolerable in small amounts, so sometimes I get it in a small glass with ice and nurse it, as if it's liquor. It's definitely handy for keeping away curiosity or questions, which are really the last thing you usually want on an evening out. Explaining to someone that you have a bladder disease is really low on the 'recommended ways to pick up people of the opposite sex', I'd think, given how well it's gone over for me just in casual social circles.
posted by livii at 3:36 PM on January 30, 2006

If they're really you're friends, they want you to jiz comfortably.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2006

If they're really you're friends, they want you to jiz comfortably.

This made me laugh for a looong time. Wow.

posted by Famous at 6:25 PM on January 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

My aunt is allergic to alcohol, so she drinks cranberry juice. Try that... the allergic excuse, not my aunt. Anyway, yes alcohol allergy does exist.
posted by umlaut at 11:05 PM on May 25, 2006

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