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cave canem

Teetotaler young adults--how rare?

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Please do not quote.  Thank you.

My daughter is in college.  She hopes to marry some day. She is Christian. She is a teetotaler.  She wants to marry a teetotaler.    

She has found college males who don’t drink to be very scarce.  When I was in college I knew plenty of guys who didn’t drink at all. 

Do you know any college males who stay away from alcohol?  How unusual do you think that is?

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I know men who don't drink at all - they are a tad beyond college age so I don't know if they were the same in college. There are people who cannot metabolize alcohol, so there is bound to be someone.  What are other criteria in order of priorities? I get that nobody wants to be married to a drunk but there are probably a few guys who drink a beer now and then but don't get drunk.  How does she feel about that?

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Maybe try a variety of campus ministry groups? Or you're saying even in those there's a lot of drinking? Ugh.

Not like it's a guarantee, but the campus where dd is is dry. (christian college, you'd get the boot) 

At least she's seeing it upfront. Where dd is, the person might not be honest and hasn't really hit that issue to know where they are.

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LOL that's funny, because pretty much everyone in my circle are teetotalers. 

Haha, I don't know. It's just the norm to be a teetotaler in some christian denominations and circles. 

Edited by PeterPan
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I have only known 2 people in my life who just straight don’t drink ever.  I don’t think it’s common to never drink ever. 

I do know/have known many people who are very light drinkers    

 

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Alcohol for many is a social lubricant.  In the age of anxiety it doesn’t surprise me that you observe fewer people who don’t drink in college.

My caveat emptor: I went to the school voted “driest university in the country” every year I think they’ve had that category 😂  so my thoughts on the subject are hypothetical rather than practical.

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Just now, Targhee said:

“driest university in the country”

Is it actually dry? I think when I visited Purdue they said it was dry, which was an utter crock.

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Just now, PeterPan said:

Is it actually dry? I think when I visited Purdue they said it was dry, which was an utter crock.

No, really it is very dry... Even though drinking (even when you are >21) violates honor code and could get you kicked out there are still some who drink, but no, it’s *really* dry.  Each year they get the award the school creamery has special chocolate milks on sale to commemorate 🤣

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12 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

Ithere are probably a few guys who drink a beer now and then but don't get drunk.  How does she feel about that?

Not good enough for her.  She can't stand the smell, doesn't want the substance in the fridge, just really against the whole thing in her family life.

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So just as a suggestion, maybe she should plan on grad school and go to a dry christian college? Might increase her pool of guys. Maybe not, I don't know. But in theory it should. If the school has an expulsion policy for drinking, then you would think the majority of people staying aren't doing it.

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13 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Maybe try a variety of campus ministry groups? Or you're saying even in those there's a lot of drinking? Ugh.

She has been a student at two colleges and has been in several ministry groups, and the guys all drink.  They drink during Bible study.

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My college kids and their friends don’t drink. It doesn’t seem to be that unusual at their college, a state school in the midwest. They are all engineering or computer science majors and very focused on their studies, so maybe that makes a difference?

Dh and I don’t drink, either. We both grew up in families of heavy drinkers, so alcohol has no appeal for us.

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Maybe she should start a dry club that does outings for fun with no booze.  Might tend to lead the dry people her way—there probably are some.

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Some people might drink when younger and then stop.  Do they have to have been teetotalers for life?  Ie.  not finding someone at this young age doesn't doom her to singleness for life. 

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(Said kindly) Maybe she needs to hang with a different crowd.

 I have a number of young folks that work for me doing tech work - about half don’t drink alcohol.  They have wild parties fueled by board games and Coke Zero.  Many of them are musicians in their spare time.

Which isn’t to say that all musicians or gamers or tech people are teetotalers any more than students at Christian colleges or any place else.  But if she is finding mostly drinkers in her crowd, she needs to look for a new crowd to hang with.  Maybe ones hit a common interest in something where drinking is a handicap rather than a social expectation.

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I feel like I've read recently that alcohol use among college students is actually down in recent years, but I couldn't seem to find if that's true or not. Of course, when something that's high goes down, that doesn't mean it's nothing or uncommon. And binge drinking is definitely still an issue for college students.

Others have some good ideas above. There are definitely non-drinkers out there. She probably needs to look for a very different social group though.

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The only people I know who don’t drink ever are either recovering addicts or from families with at least one alcoholic. My husband and I drink very little and neither of us has ever been drunk. It was definitely something important to us when we were looking for a spouse and was fairly rare at our college. I know lots of people like us. But people who completely abstain, I think are quite a bit rarer. Even my dad who had a sister die from alcoholism and never drank beer, wine, etc. would participate in sharing an alcoholic ice cream drink among a group of family members when out to eat for a special occasion.

For me at least, the attitude toward alcohol was probably even more important than the actual quantity consumed. The idea of drinking to get drunk or thinking drinking is cool is still completely foreign to me. I also can’t comprehend the amount of money some spend on alcohol.

Edited by Frances
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My husband and I don't drink. Our parents don't drink. My siblings don't drink. My oldest is 16, but my kids who are old enough to have a real opinion don't intend to drink. Many people in some of our circles don't drink, but in another circle we are probably the only ones who don't. I get how it could seem all one way or the other depending on the social group. Maybe she could meet someone through a dating site?

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Granted this was a long time ago, but when I  was in college, most of my friends were from church. None of us drank. After college, my husband was in Bible College and and an intern pastor. He wasn't allowed to drink, at least not in public. When he was a licensed pastor, we weren't allowed to drink at all. We both signed a statement with the denomination saying we wouldn't. I know not all the pastors and wives took it seriously but nearly all did. Is there a seminary near you? Maybe she could try going to a Bible study there? t

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

I have only known 2 people in my life who just straight don’t drink ever.  I don’t think it’s common to never drink ever. 

I do know/have known many people who are very light drinkers    

 

Yes.  A very light drinker is easy to find in Christian circles.  But complete abstinence is rare, especially in light of scripture.  And those who wouldn’t be legalistic about it are not the ones you’re going to hear talking about how they don’t drink, know what I mean?

At our fairly conservative church, I’d say 80% of the congregation has a few drinks a year.  Probably a third have one or two a week.  But we haven’t had issues with drunkenness coming under church discipline in the time I’ve been here.  The only complete non drinkers I know are professors at the local Christian college, and that’s only because  they’re required to abstain as part of the terms of their employment.

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can depend upon major.  neither of my sons drink at all. hung out with those who didn't drink.

2dd - quit crew because she was expected to hang with teammates - who spent their weekends getting drunk.

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Tell your dd I totally get where she is coming from. I haven't drunk at all since my mid 20's - you wouldn't think it would be such an unusual thing.

My dd20's crowd all drink. My dd21 doesn't, and is on a campus with a lot of mature agers, international and Muslim students, so the culture is a bit different there.  I have read somewhere that drinking rates are going down among the youth though - maybe she just has to wait a bit.

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1 hour ago, Frances said:

would participate in sharing an alcoholic ice cream drink

See, I'm so out of the loop, I don't even know what an alcoholic ice cream drink IS, lol. 

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My DD is a teetotaler as am I, My DH only drinks rarely - like maybe a beer every few weeks.  My oldest son has many Muslim friends that he made at Uni, most of them are teetotaler. Maybe your dd could make some international students and Muslim friends. 

 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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She will probably need to change up her social circle.  Most people *do* drink.  She may have to consider how hard of a line this is for her.  Is someone who used to drink but now abstains ok? If not, that will make her dating pool smaller.    

I am considered an absolute weirdo because I am an agnostic who does not drink, (I'll have a glass of champagne at a wedding or special event, but that's it).  People hear "Doesn't drink" and assume I am deeply devout.  Then they hear "agnostic" and cognitive dissonance sets in, lol. 

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As far as I know DS20 has never had a drink and doesn't plan to. He's on a medication that makes it unwise, plus I think his Aspie brain decided years ago that alcohol is something he wouldn't do, and that was that. DH isn't a drinker. I wasn't, except on my dentist's advice I did very briefly try a nightly glass of wine to prevent teeth clenching a few years ago. It didn't last long. Neither DH nor I have any moral issues with drinking responsibly, and DS23 does drink and we're okay with it. I simply don't want to drink my calories and don't particularly enjoy the taste of alcohol, and DH is a bit of a control freak and doesn't enjoy the taste. So maybe DS20 got it from us and maybe it's his own thing. But . . .  it's unlikely he'd ever be found on a Christian college campus. He's at least an agnostic, and perhaps an atheist. @MissLemon -- I suspect the label of agnostic fits both DH and I the best, too (although DH may be more atheist) but for us that has nothing to do with drinking or not, no more so than it has anything to do with us choosing to be kind, moral, law abiding people.

Edited by Pawz4me
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My son has always said that he wasn’t going to drink, didn’t have any interest.  He turned 21 last week and it sounded like he was considering having a drink or two (with his dad, lol.) I don’t know if it happened.  I don’t know if he will always refrain.  But he definitely WAS a college student who didn’t drink.

(All 4 of his parents drink, and I come from a family of bartenders/bar owners, and none of us are religious. This is all of his own volition. He is also an aspie.)

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Neither dh or I drink. Three of our four kids don’t, though each has tried alcohol before. Two had it once or twice and the third drank a bit for a term in college. But that was five years ago and she hasn’t had anything since then.  If your Dd wants to marry someone who has never tried alcohol it might be difficult to find, but if she’s willing to marry someone who has tried it but no longer drinks then it’s probably going to be easier to find. 

Of course there’s no guarantee that any person won’t change and start drinking. 

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10 hours ago, cave canem said:

Please do not quote.  Thank you.

 

 

 

I was your daughter. My husband grew up in a family where the adults drink wine on occasion, but are still good Christian influences.

My husband is not ACTUALLY a teetotaler -- but he's had a grand total of three glasses wines in the 15 years we've been married.  The beer he likes is not easy to find and he hasn't wanted to spend the money on it. When we got married we  talked about the issue. 1) I decided I was being too legalistic in no alcohol at all. 2) He agreed not to drink to excess and not to drive impaired.  And we just passed 15 years.  Our actual problems have been more like too much time spent on the computer, etc. Nothing to do with drinking at all.

Edited by vonfirmath
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Well...they definitely exist because I married one.  He just can’t stand the taste of any alcohol.

I do think that finding someone who doesn’t drink, ever, not even the occasional glass of wine with a nice dinner or a beer once in the while with the guys, is an unrealistic standard. Even at my dry Christian college where technically students drinking any alcohol was forbidden, most students over 21 still had the occasional glass of wine or cocktail.  

I think she’ll have to decide how important this really is to her. There are many, many men who don’t want to go out drinking every weekend. Probably even most. But someone who never has alcohol, ever, is much harder to find. 

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DH and are are teetotalers, as is my family of origin. No beer, no wine, nothing, never.  It's just not my thing, and DH comes from a family that struggles with all sorts of addictions, so he chooses not to risk it. 

I feel like, in the last 10-15 years, I'm seeing social drinking much more accepted amongst my religiously conservative friends.  I recently went to a (child's) birthday party and adults were offered alcoholic beverages -- the preacher and his wife were having a drink. That's something I never would have seen, growing up in this denomination.  Also, I think the "mommy wine culture" has totally normalized drinking, as well.

I'm rambling, I'm sure. Anyway, all that to say that it's becoming "not a big deal" to groups where it once was. 

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A lot of young adults are pushing for no-booze and low-booze options. You can even find bars now that serve zero alcohol. They’re called sober bars. The customers are people who want to socialize but without the alcohol in their drinks. 

https://www.popsci.com/engineering-alcohol-free-drinks/

https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2019/06/13/No-and-low-alcohol-beer-We-do-not-expect-category-growth-to-abate

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1 hour ago, vonfirmath said:

 

I was your daughter. My husband grew up in a family where the adults drink wine on occasion, but are still good Christian influences.

My husband is not ACTUALLY a teetotaler -- but he's had a grand total of three glasses wines in the 15 years we've been married.  The beer he likes is not easy to find and he hasn't wanted to spend the money on it. When we got married we  talked about the issue. 1) I decided I was being too legalistic in no alcohol at all. 2) He agreed not to drink to excess and not to drive impaired.  And we just passed 15 years.  Our actual problems have been more like too much time spent on the computer, etc. Nothing to do with drinking at all.

I am curious why the OPs dd doesn’t want it in her life at all.  I totally get being like @vonfirmath and her Dh....but OP is it a religious reason? Or is it like me with toothpicks.?  They make me shudder...I believe if a person needs to use one it should be in private...not walking around with it hanging out of their mouth.  

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The only people who I know that never drank were recovering alcoholics or Baptist. This is not a knock on one particular denomination, but the Baptist churches I attended preached against alcohol usage. On our campus there was a Baptist Student Union. I never attended, but I would be surprised if members were drinking at all, much less during Bible study. 

My parents, who were not strictly religious, rarely drank. I think the bottle of Boone's Farm sat in their fridge for a year at time. As a teenager, I remember being surprised at how allowed alcohol was in other christian denominations. 

 

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6 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

The only people who I know that never drank were recovering alcoholics or Baptist. This is not a knock on one particular denomination, but the Baptist churches I attended preached against alcohol usage. On our campus there was a Baptist Student Union. I never attended, but I would be surprised if members were drinking at all, much less during Bible study. 

My parents, who were not strictly religious, rarely drank. I think the bottle of Boone's Farm sat in their fridge for a year at time. As a teenager, I remember being surprised at how allowed alcohol was in other christian denominations. 

 

 

I am Baptist. Even among Baptists, it is becoming more common. Not on church grounds, no. But people discuss having a drink without worry about censure. And joke about it.

 

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I don't think younger people drink as much as my generation did, but they do drink some.  We allow our older teens to drink at home, but they really don't.  They may take a sip or two occasionally, but it's not their thing and I notice their friends are the same way.   I don't think I know too many teetotalers.   Even Baptist drink occassionaly now days and it's the most attended denomination in our area.

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3 hours ago, Annie G said:

there’s no guarantee that any person won’t change and start drinking. 

This is true on so many levels. I have friends who shifted as a couple later. It was usually as part of a shift in overall religious view.

 

10 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

recovering alcoholics or Baptist.

Around here Southern Baptists drink. Bible churches in general don't drink, unless they go Reformed. Bible Methodists don't drink and I would assume most in the holiness don't drink. Never really occurred to me to ask, lol. 

Support groups for schools and issues will have drinking get togethers, which isn't actually inclusive but whatever.

Went to a dry bar, some kind of christian comedy club, when I was in high school. It was weird, but they may have come a long way, lol.

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8 hours ago, MissLemon said:

She will probably need to change up her social circle.  Most people *do* drink.  She may have to consider how hard of a line this is for her.  Is someone who used to drink but now abstains ok? If not, that will make her dating pool smaller.    

I am considered an absolute weirdo because I am an agnostic who does not drink, (I'll have a glass of champagne at a wedding or special event, but that's it).  People hear "Doesn't drink" and assume I am deeply devout.  Then they hear "agnostic" and cognitive dissonance sets in, lol. 

I’m the same, but since the agnostic part very rarely comes up in real life, I have no idea what people think when I don’t drink.

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If it is just the smell on the breath that bothers her, then any potential love interest  could just brush their teeth and use mouthwash. Just like someone might after onions or garlic. 

But she sounds more adamant about it than that. 

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When I was in college decades ago, there were very few teetotalers, male or female, including in Christian groups. The latter were just more moderate.

DS19 just started college - almost everyone he has met drinks some.

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12 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I have only known 2 people in my life who just straight don’t drink ever.  I don’t think it’s common to never drink ever. 

I do know/have known many people who are very light drinkers    

 

Right. I think I maybe know one person who never ever drinks...and barely know them. 

9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

See, I'm so out of the loop, I don't even know what an alcoholic ice cream drink IS, lol. 

Oh - so good! Usually a version of a mudslide..basically a milkshake with Bailey's Irish Cream and/or Kahlua coffee liquor. But zillion and a half calories. I don't drink them for that reason, but I have been known to top a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream with coffee liquor. 

38 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

 

I am Baptist. Even among Baptists, it is becoming more common. Not on church grounds, no. But people discuss having a drink without worry about censure. And joke about it.

 

Isn't there an old joke  about this? Like, if you take one Baptist fishing with you he'll drink all your beer, but if you take two baptists they won't touch it because they won't want to get caught by another baptist?

What about LDS? I know they don't have caffeine, so I'd think no alcohol too, right? If so, a trip to Utah?

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Other reasons people don't drink is because they believe the harmful effects outweigh the health benefits. This is why I don't drink. Has nothing to do with religion.

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1 minute ago, BeachGal said:

Other reasons people don't drink is because they believe the harmful effects outweigh the health benefits. This is why I don't drink. Has nothing to do with religion.

Yes.  But do you require it of all the people around you?  I don't drink (multiple reasons - none of which have anything to do with religion) but I don't bat an eye at the few times a year that my pastor husband has a drink.  He doesn't get drunk and we don't run in circles that revolve around alcohol.  If I was with a partner that got drunk that would be a problem for me - drunk people have affected me deeply in my life.  And if he always wanted to be in social circumstances that involved alcohol that would be a problem for me too - mainly because it would always make me the odd man out and non-alcoholic drinks in bars are super expensive!  But very rare drinkers are easier to find than total teetotalers, I think. 

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7 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Right. I think I maybe know one person who never ever drinks...and barely know them. 

Oh - so good! Usually a version of a mudslide..basically a milkshake with Bailey's Irish Cream and/or Kahlua coffee liquor. But zillion and a half calories. I don't drink them for that reason, but I have been known to top a small scoop of vanilla ice-cream with coffee liquor. 

Isn't there an old joke  about this? Like, if you take one Baptist fishing with you he'll drink all your beer, but if you take two baptists they won't touch it because they won't want to get caught by another baptist?

What about LDS? I know they don't have caffeine, so I'd think no alcohol too, right? If so, a trip to Utah?

 

Never heard that joke. Now the jokes are Baptist to Baptist though.

 

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6 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Yes.  But do you require it of all the people around you?  I don't drink (multiple reasons - none of which have anything to do with religion) but I don't bat an eye at the few times a year that my pastor husband has a drink.  He doesn't get drunk and we don't run in circles that revolve around alcohol.  If I was with a partner that got drunk that would be a problem for me - drunk people have affected me deeply in my life.  And if he always wanted to be in social circumstances that involved alcohol that would be a problem for me too - mainly because it would always make me the odd man out and non-alcoholic drinks in bars are super expensive!  But very rare drinkers are easier to find than total teetotalers, I think. 

 

I don't mind if others drink around me at all.

My response is to those who are wondering if people abstain for religion. Sometimes it's for health. I don't mind if others make a different choice.

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5 minutes ago, BeachGal said:

 

I don't mind if others drink around me at all.

My response is to those who are wondering if people abstain for religion. Sometimes it's for health. I don't mind if others make a different choice.

I figured that you didn't.  i was just piggybacking off of your comment.  😉 

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I feel like attitudes towards drinking have changed a lot, too.  When I was growing up entrenched in the evangelical world, alcohol was absolutely forbidden. Not even champagne at a wedding was acceptable.

20 years later there just isn’t that attitude.  It seems to have shifted to a glass of wine with dinner, craft beer on a Saturday type of lifestyle.  I could be wrong, but I have just seen a lot of relaxing attitudes about alcohol in the Christian community. Drunkenness is not acceptable, but craft beer and classic wines are the hip thing to do.

one of my best friends in college had the same hard line—she did not want to marry a man who drank alcohol, ever. Part of it was religious and part of it was that she was convinced her non-religious dad was a closer alcoholic(he enjoyed beers with the guys on weekends, but she was so black and white that any regular alcohol consumption was alcoholism).   She also wanted a man with a commitment to no debt and similar educational levels and religious beliefs as her. It’s been 20 years and she still hold to her high standards. Unfortunately she has never met anyone who met them.

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I had to look up that word. *blush* We just call those Mormons. 🤭 Really though, active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't drink. Nobody in my family drinks. Most of the people I closely associate with don't drink. I also attended the #1 stone cold sober university. It really is dry. 

People that DH works with thought it was odd at first, but they don't give him a hard time about it. Even when their social gatherings include alcohol. 

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I don't drink and didn't in college.  Maybe I was mature for my age but my paternal grandmother was an alcoholic and my mom confessed to having an issue with drinking at one time (and so stopped) and I knew I had a tendency to depression. So I never touched it.  Since then I have learned my mom's birth father was also an alcoholic. My mom currently is addicted to pain pills (she does have a prescription, but it is an addiction). I have told my kids that they would be wise to avoid alcohol. There is alcoholism on their dad's side (grandmother's side) and on both grandparents' sides on my side.  It's just not worth the risk IMO.  

I found people in campus ministry in college generally didn't drink. However there were plenty of people who did.  

Nowadays if I had a girl I would be concerned about drinking for other reasons (like her drink being spiked with something).  That probably happened in the 90s too but I am more aware of it now.  

 

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