About nine years ago I gave up drinking alcohol. The only alcohol I now consume is a small amount of wine in the weekly Eucharist. Other than that, I don't touch the stuff.
Without going into an overly long biographical sketch, during my twenties I became increasingly addicted to alcohol. I took up brewing beer as a hobby in order to justify it. I lived in Slovakia where alcohol is an integral part of much of the culture. Then I moved to Wisconsin, where drinking is also endemic.
But the primary responsibility is with me. I have a problem with alcohol. If I drink some, my brain wants more. Lots more.
So one day while talking with a counselor about my depression, I finally admitted that I was drinking. My counselor's immediate response: "Are you ready for yesterday to have been the last time you drank alcohol?"
My stomach rolled over, I swallowed, and then I said, "Yes. Yes."
Since then I haven't been drinking, nor do I intend to ever take it up again. I don't participate in any programs like AA. I have been blessed in simply being able to stop. I know others have different stories, so my story is neither prescriptive nor valorous. It's just how my story has gone.
I have mixed feelings about how to talk about drinking with those who still do. Clearly some people can drink without needing to drink to excess. Good for you.
However, because I have seen alcohol destroy so many people and so many families, it is hard for me to encourage drinking even to people who aren't addicts.
Mostly I recommend that people not drink, either because of the temptations, or because of the impact it has on others.
I also love the clarity of mind I have since quitting. I sleep better. I'm healthier, period. I know, there are some moderate health benefits from drinking red wine, etc. However, overall I don't see any real benefits to booze, I mostly see the harm.
So I tend to say, without moralizing it (or trying not to moralize it) that life generally speaking is better without alcohol. And I thank God for the freedom I have as a non-drinker.