"I want to be, if I can, as sure of the world -- the REAL world around me -- as is possible. Now, you can only obtain that to a certain degree, but I want the greatest degree of control. I've never involved myself in narcotics of any kind. I don't smoke, I don't drink, because that can easily just fuzz the edges of my rationality [and] fuzz the edges of my reasoning powers, and I want to be as aware as I possibly can. That means giving up a lot of fantasies that might be comforting in some ways. But I'm willing to give that up in order to live in an actually real world, as close as I can get to it."
– James Randi
I was a complete teetotaler my entire life, up until I was about 28 years old. My first and foremost reason for not drinking was pretty simple: I hated the taste of alcoholic beverages. To this day, I hate the taste of beer and wine. I'll never understand why so many people willingly drink that stuff. It's obviously not just to get drunk; there are other ways to do that with a better taste.
Those teetotaler years of mine included my years in college. I realized a long time ago that whether or not a college has fraternities and sororities, whether a college is religious or secular, state or private, big or small, co-ed or single-sex, one thing is for certain: you will find no shortage of underage drinking there. For the record though, I was in a fraternity as well. Contrary to popular stereotypes, drinking alcohol is not a requirement for being in a fraternity, and I wasn't even the only brother there who didn't drink.
Drinking didn't look all that fun to me, either. During my freshman year, I'd see students who'd drink until they passed out, wearing pants soaked in their own piss. Or some who were still awake, but puking to death over a toilet at four in the morning. I saw that and said to myself, "Yeah, that doesn't look like a fun time to me."
When I think about it, another reason why I didn't drink, was for the sake of maintaining that title of being somebody who didn't drink. It was one of those motivators that was more so in the back of my mind. There was an element of non-conformity mixed into it for sure. Drinking wasn't a taboo thing; it was a "normal" thing I saw among the people I knew. So not drinking was sometimes just more blasphemous to people than not being a Christian.
At college though, I'd be sitting around at parties while everybody else drank and danced. I came to the realization that if I was going to get laid at college, I'd either have to start drinking or start dancing. Remembering the classmates with their heads over the toilets at 4:00 AM, I opted for dancing. I realized that if your goal in dancing is just casual dancing for social events (as opposed to public performance with choreography and all that), there's really not much to it: move to the rhythm while not looking like a complete idiot. And it worked -- I got to talk to the women, which in more than enough cases led to sex. Mission accomplished, sans intoxication.
But when it came to alcohol, every now and then I'd get curious. I'd see all those bottles lined up behind a bar and think "Surely there must be SOME combination of these that I'd tolerate the taste of". I did love Coca-Cola, so I tried a Bacardi and Coke, then at some point a Jack in Coke. These didn't really do anything for me.
It wasn't until I was on an airplane ride to see my parents for Xmas, that I tried a Crown Royal with Coke. I tasted it, and I was sold. I realized at that point that I could no longer consider myself a non-drinker. This was something I could see myself buying in the future. In the years since then, I've found a few other drinks that I enjoy. But again, Crown Royal is what sold me.
I have never been drunk, nor do I have any desire to get drunk. I've certainly gotten light-headed, and at when that first happened, I said to myself, "I realize where this is going. I don't like it.", then stop drinking for the night. This means on average I have one drink when I'm drinking.
And on that note, all this talking has left me dying for a Crown & Coke.