I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink.

My neighbor recently borrowed my juicer. He often starts a new diet, and this time he decided on a juice diet. Being past my juicing phase, I gladly let him have a go. (I stopped juicing because it didn’t make sense to me to throw away all the fiber.) Shortly after he borrowed it, he said he’d decided not to use it after all, so I went by today to pick it up.

“Why no juicing?”

“I found this diet where I’m allowed two glasses of wine a night.”

“Yes, cutting out the alcohol is an easy way to knock out some empty calories.”

“Oh, I won’t stop drinking entirely,” he said. “It would put a damper on my social life. But I am down from five glasses a night to two. This diet works with my lifestyle.”

“You could drink sparkling water.”

“Not really.

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I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink.”

I looked at him hard. He was dead serious.

“That’s the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.”

“In business,” he said, trying to explain himself.

“Some people you shouldn’t trust when they are drinking. And some people are alcoholics and don’t drink. They can’t. It’s a disease.”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me now obesity is a disease.”

He was standing in front of the door, blocking my exit.

“Okay, you’re really pissing me off,” I said. “Open the door.”

He let me out and I went home and dropped off my juicer and put on my running shoes. I was angry and I needed to think. I needed to run it off.

When I returned home, four miles later, I Googled “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.” I didn’t understand his philosophy, and I wondered if it’s common amongst heavy drinkers. I thought it was just a line of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. But it’s not. Some people actually believe that if you don’t drink, you’re not willing to share who you really are. And if you’re not willing to take off your supposed mask by having a few, you therefore are untrustworthy. So my neighbor is more trustworthy after he’s had a few? He was more trustworthy when he got drunk at my place one night and suggested we have a neighborly roll in the hay?

I think his lack of trust in the non-drinker is asinine. Or as I said to him: the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.

I wish it had occurred to me to say at the time, “Mitt Romney doesn’t drink, and you voted for him.”

So how do non-drinkers deal with people like my neighbor? If you’re doing business with someone who ascribes to this philosophy, how do you handle it?

Personally, I’m beginning to think the guy is a total dick.


  • So, is it fair to say that you won’t be socializing with said neighbor anytime soon?… 😉


  • I think your belief is spot on! My not drinking has nothing to do with my unwillingness to open up, and everything to do with me thinking alcohol tastes yucky. I also suspect your neighbor is yucky.


  • At the risk of sounding like Junior Therapist (ha ha), I wonder if this mistrust of others who do not drink is really a reflection of the person not understanding sobriety or not drinking. We tend to demonize what we fear or don’t know. He might not trust *himself* when he drinks, so he turns it around and puts the onus of mistrust on you. I don’t know, there’s something fishy and deeper than this airy fairy thing of not trusting teetotalers…there is certainly fear in there.

    Regardless, I find that people that disturb me like this are people I have to put out of mind…not let them take up rent in my head. I am the one who suffers, not he, when I let it fester. I am going to meet a lot people like that, but I have to look at it from the point of view of someone who is ignorant of alcoholism or what it’s like to be an alcoholic.

    But I am glad you jogged it off. Better than having him jogging in your mind all day. Very productive!

    great post!


    • I definitely think there’s a fear, there. Or he’s giving himself an excuse to keep drinking heavily–“I have to for work. I couldn’t forge the business relationships I have without drinking with clients or potential clients.” The rigid pronouncement is what made me angry. Not willing to consider how silly he sounded. He definitely is ignorant, but does not believe that he is. Best to walk away. Or better yet, run!


  • Ah, he’s just parroting a line that makes him feel macho. My guess is that he’s never thought it through, what he’s really saying. I think you gave him something to think about.


  • Put me in the catageory of untrustworthy cause I chose not to follow my father’s pattern. I suppose I was suppose to beat my wife in a drunken stuper in front of my kids. oh heck lets wack them around some too. When I read that line, I thought like you did and actually really upset me cause I made what I consider a “wise” choice. Normally I don’t care if people drink or not, but I consider him to be an asswipe. Hope you tell him about his vote too.


  • What an incredibly strange, limiting, weird philosophy to live by. I think it says more about him than anything having to do with someone drinking or not drinking.


  • I learned a long time ago…that some drinkers are ‘your best friend’…NOT, they of course think they are…
    and…one can not have an intelligent conversation with a drunk, wet or dry…and I don’t even try!
    Live your life, your way!


      • I think you’re close to the reason behind the comment with this. I struggled with social anxiety issues for years, and the easiest way to deal with them was by drinking around others to get my mind to a state where it was too confused to realize it wasn’t comfortable. Problem was the anxiety got more intense if the other person wasn’t drinking. I’d think they were judging me, or having an awful time because they weren’t drinking. It’s a sloppy mindset to deal with, and a symptom is often pulling out this old cliche to justify one’s own problems

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting insight, Danny. I think that’s it: if we’re drinking and they’re sober, we think they’re judging our drinking and we start doing some self-judgment of our own. It is a sloppy mindset. Social anxiety is the pits.


  • Thank you for making me laugh out loud with this post! I’m sure it wasn’t funny when that idiot said those things to you. Let us know if he says something dumb again so that we can continue to assassinate his character on the blogosphere!

    Liked by 1 person

  • How does my not liking that fact that David Petraeus resigned as Director of the C.I.A., weigh in on your subject about ‘I don’t trust and man who does not drink’? Mr. Petraeus’s affair and ‘drinking’ are considered faults of human character unworthy of position. I totally disagree.


  • I have heard this term many times. I never used to drink, then I developed an addiction for a couple of years, now I just occasionally drink. I first heard it when invited to a pub with some work colleagues when I was about 25. I had grew up around alcohol but I had never been interested in alcohol. I was asked what I wanted, and I said “just an orange juice”. I was then informed by the person who was ordering the drinks “I won’t trust you from now on. I don’t trust a man who doesn’t drink”. I have heard it many times since, mainly from men who drink at least 5 days a week. No coincidence!

    I agree it is the fear of something, or someone different. I am a long time Vegan and get a similar distrusting reaction when people realise I don’t eat meat, dairy, or wear any clothes of animal derivation. I get told “You’re extreme aren’t you?” I always reply “So not wanting animals to suffer is extreme is it?”

    I have been teetotal, I have been close to becoming an alcoholic, but I have never concerned myself when at either of these extremes at the drinking habits, or otherwise, of any other human being. Live and let live.


    • Very well said, Patrick. I apologize for the late reply! Fear of those who are different than us. And also fear of those who highlight things within ourselves we may be unhappy with.


  • I agree with Iceman – Your neighbor is just parroting something that sounds macho. But have we not all done that from time to time? Remember “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” Wow — didn’t we think we were cool?

    As for your neighbor — he was drinking a bottle of wine every night? Geez, you gotta know he wasn’t thinking very clearly. His brain was already on the way to being pickled. Yikes!


  • James Crumley talks about this. How a person who doesn’t drink is likely self riotous. Always knowing right from wrong. And how there is a certain sense of humility a person gains when he “kneels before a toilet.” He’s an excellent writer and very funny. This is of course not to be taken totally seriously as there are recovering alcoholics who probably know better than most these lessons in humility. It’s really just a funny line drinkers like to use.


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