Is There a Twelve-Step Program for Non-Drinkers?

Hi, I’m Abbie Taylor, and I’m a non-alcoholic. You won’t hear that at an AA meeting, but it’s my story. Like any kid, I wanted to drink and loved being in bars when the opportunity arose. 

In 1971 when I was ten years old, while traveling from our home in Tucson, Arizona, to Sheridan, Wyoming, to visit my grandmother, Dad and I did some bar hopping in Durango, Colorado. Although I couldn’t drink anything stronger than Coke, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the saloons we visited and anticipated the day when I could chug-a-lug a beer along with the rest of them. This experience inspired the poem, “A Memorable Stop in Colorado,” which appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. When we got to Wyoming, I was disappointed to learn that children weren’t allowed in bars, but that didn’t deter me from wanting to drink. A few years later after my family moved to Sheridan, one of my favorite country songs was Tom T Hall’s “I Like Beer.”

On my nineteenth birthday when I finally came of age, my parents took me and my younger brother Andy out to dinner, and for the first time ever, I was allowed glass of wine. To my utter dismay, it tasted awful. “You’re supposed to sip it, not chug-a-lug it,” said Andy. Where he got that knowledge, I’ll never know, but even with just a small portion in my mouth, it still wasn’t very tasty. Dad ordered me a wine cooler with 7-up, but that was worse. During the next few days, I tried beer and other drinks, but they were no better. I couldn’t understand why people loved such foul-tasting beverages. I finally resigned myself to the fact that I’m  a non-alcoholic which is better than being addicted to strong drink.

One summer when I was single and living on my own, I invited Dad to come with me to the park for a concert. I packed a picnic lunch including sandwiches, a can of Dr. Pepper for me, and a bottle of beer for Dad. However, I packed the wrong kind of bottle opener. You don’t have to be a mathematician to know that Dad plus a bottle of beer and no way to open it equals disaster. To make things worse, the concert never happened. Dad was a good sport, though. Afterward, he took the bottle home where he had the right opener. For more pleasant memories of spirits consumption, check out the Icing and Ink blog. Happy drinking!



Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at:

10 thoughts on “Is There a Twelve-Step Program for Non-Drinkers?”

  1. Thanks for the comment you left on my blog a couple weeks ago. 🙂 I enjoyed this post as well as the poem about the Coke and hot dogs in the bar on the way to visit your grandma. Wine has never tasted good to me, and I don’t like the taste of hard alcohol either. I’ve found that I like darker beers now and then, but I can take ’em or leave ’em.


    1. Hi Mandy, it’s nice to know someone who also isn’t much into alcoholic beverages. I sometimes feel self-conscious when I’m in a restaurant with a group of people I know, and everyone else orders something alcoholic so I usually say, “I’m the designated driver.” Everybody chuckles because we all know I can’t drive due to my visual impairment. Everybody has a good laugh, and the mood is lightened. Thanks for your comment.


  2. Hi. I’m Bruce Atchison and I’m addicted to rabbits. I once had 5 of the mischief-makers. I’m down to one now. I still feel an almost irresistible urge to hug and pet a bunny. They’re so sweet. God overdid it when he made rabbits so cute. Even so, I have to stop adopting them since I can’t get decent vet care for the dears. I have no transportation and there’s no Greyhound or disabled person’s transport here. I hate to see bunnies suffer more than I hate to be without them. I have several realistic stuffed toy bunnies. In future, when the urge to snuggle gets too great, I’ll love on one of those. Right now, I’ll cherish each moment with my darling Deborah and try my best to keep her healthy.


    1. Hi Bruce, welcome to rabbitaholics anonymous. Here’s the serenity prayer you must memorize. Lord, grant me the will to love rabbits, the sense not to take on more bunnies than I can handle, and the wisdom to care for my furry friend(s).


  3. I understand what you are sharing. I drank for alcohol from 1973 though 1978 when I was in college and a commissioned US Army officer on active duty. I enjoyed the fellowship and atmosphere with my classmates and then coworkers. In July of 1977 I became a Christian. I quit drinking within a year. My friends were shocked when I went to the Officer’s Club with them and only ordered a Coca-Cola. They started questioning if I was really their friend and suggested I thought that I was better than them. I missed their company. For my fellow officers I ultimately became the designated driver before we knew of such a term.


      1. My dad was an alcoholic. When I saw what it did to him, I wanted nothing to do with booze. Though I won’t refuse a glass of wine at a fancy dinner, I don’t actively drink.

        As for designated drivers, I got a free pepsi when I went with friends to the bar once. We had a good laugh about it since I’m legally blind.


  4. Bruce, because of my visual impairment, I had similar experiences when I was out with sighted friends or family members. When everybody but me ordered something alcoholic, I would usually say, “I guess I’m the designated driver.” I never got a free soda, but we always had a few laughs over that quip. Fortunately, nobody ever took me seriously.


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