The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 26

Moving to Poland and not drinking vodka

roade85 4 | 21
26 Nov 2015 #1
This is a serious question. I recently made a long post about potentially moving to Poland in the near future. I am American and currently live in Germany. One small reservation I have is that I do not regularly drink vodka and usually avoid hard liquor in general (esp whiskey). I appreciate vodka and like it, but I've had problems- just very bad nights I really can't afford to repeat anymore- resulting from hard alcohol and I made a decision in the last couple years to normally stick to beer and wine.

I'll still have some hard liquor in a controlled, comfortable environment, like a family gathering (of my own family). Going out in Poland though, the Vodka shots sometimes are constantly circulating, and it's hard to avoid. I wouldn't want to offend people by turning this down, but honestly, I just can't handle Vodka like Polish people can, even girls tbh. In general, Europeans just handle their alcohol much better than Americans.

My worry is that this would be akin to living in Germany and not drinking beer, or living in Italy and not drinking wine. Obviously there are countless people in Poland who don't drink at all, or only drink beer, etc, but I'm a little worried about it being such a widespread thing that it becomes a significant social problem, or problem with future girlfriend's family, etc. Or do you think it would just be a minor annoyance/obstacle?
26 Nov 2015 #2
It won't be a problem at all. Not drinking alcohol is nothing wrong and it's actually a thing you can be proud of :)
26 Nov 2015 #3
roade85 I am polish I grew up in Britain but I found my culture forever present (Down the Polish club) when it comes to drinking one shot of vodka at a time, this was ok when i was a youngster, but nowadays i don't want to be doing it anymore, instead of drinking a bottle of vodka I limit myself to one bottle of wine.

When I moved to Poland i was back in the culture of the one shot all over again, I was honest with my hosts, all I said was that I found that for me excess alcohol was causing me problems, I was honest and this was accepted by my neighbors and friends. Just say it the way it is for you, being a **** head is not part of the Polish residency requirements.

Dougpo you back from the pub yet?, you can probably help this guy out too.
delphiandomine 87 | 18,086
26 Nov 2015 #4
or problem with future girlfriend's family, etc.

Could be a significant problem. From your other post, you're looking for a "family-orientated" girl, which means that her family will be very traditional. That means the father-in-law is likely to be able to knock back a serious amount of vodka, and you'll be expected to hang with him.
OP roade85 4 | 21
26 Nov 2015 #5
The father-in-law thing is not really that big of a worry for me, I probably shouldn't have focused on that. Yes, maybe I'd get stupidly drunk, more than him, but getting drunk casually hanging with people I know and trust has never been an issue, as far as doing anything I'd say I genuinely regret. Honestly, 100% of the bad nights were when I have been single, looking for girls, and out at night at a bar or party, usually a bar/club.
smurf 39 | 1,952
26 Nov 2015 #6
Tell them your allergic to the grain used in vodka and can only drink beer.
26 Nov 2015 #7
your allergic to the grain used in vodka

Two words: potato vodka.

Two more: plum brandy.
Jardinero 1 | 402
26 Nov 2015 #8
This is a serious question.

Really? I was wondering whether you are joking or not....

Could be a significant problem.

If ever - it would be in a family of alcoholics, to be precise. By that time any sensible person would have realised what a serious mistake they are making and would be making a run for the front door...

That means the father-in-law is likely to be able to knock back a serious amount of vodka, and you'll be expected to hang with him.

'Tis stereotyping at its worse, d. Many people do not drink hard liquors, some don't at all.
Hardly anyone would insist to get a foreigner to drink if they weren't into it.

potato vodka.

Such as Luxusowa or Chopin...
nothanks - | 631
27 Nov 2015 #9
Not to sidetrack the thread but "Polish girls are attracted to foreigners" because one reason being they don't drink as much/often. In the past decade, DUI offenses have become harsher while recreational drug offenses have lessened. Most Poles have an alcoholic relative, so the culture is steadily changing. Not to mention some cities have banned drinking out in public. Many of these changes occurred before the Euro 2012 Tournament, to clean up the scene but also conform to other nations social norms.

As long as you aren't always cold stone sober, it should be fine. "Admitting your weakness" is probably the wiser move regardless so you aren't being challenged to prove yourself.
27 Nov 2015 #10
Not wanting to drink gallons of Vodka is not a weakness, especially if you want to avoid PBS (Pickled brain syndrome)
nothanks - | 631
27 Nov 2015 #11
For the record, Slavs have a gene that lessens hangovers. This is why we drink more but more precisely longer. Especially the ability to drink the following morning/afternoon. This many times leads to dependency
Dougpol1 30 | 2,567
27 Nov 2015 #12
Dougpo you back from the pub yet?, you can probably help this guy out too.

Yes.. but had a night in with guitar pal and craft beers......

The truth is, as we all know, it depends on the circle you are in. I would have nothing in common with the shot brigade. we have all had nights out with drinkers of different habit, and if you are out of your comfort zone then the OP is not exaggerating, and he needs to steer clear.

He is right to say that you can get in all sorts of situations..... For example, some say that they can get in trouble/ wasted with Bob Hope, but that has never happened to me, but all sorts of shenanighans have sprung up with vodka, the obvious and not so much.... nothing original there. but for me it was a case of regret.

Beer or whisky - still wasted, but aware I was boozed. Vodka, a big no-no for me.

If the OP has vodka drinking pals and he wants to make a go of things, there is only one solution. His "pals" love the

He has to change his drinking habits. They're not going to, and why should they? Meaning, he can't go drinking with those pals. They wont get into trouble boozing.

He will.
InPolska 9 | 1,805
27 Nov 2015 #13
Unfortunately in so many Polish circles, a man not drinking (a lot) is not considered like a "real man". Unfortunately too, alcoholism is not seen as a disease by still too many Poles.

To OP: if you don't drink, congratulations and please don't change your habits! :)
johnny reb 50 | 7,193
27 Nov 2015 #14
I'm a little worried about it being such a widespread thing that it becomes a significant social problem, or problem with future girlfriend's family, etc.

I think you should be your own man.
If you don't want to drink vodka then don't.
You don't have to apologize to anyone and soon your peers will not even give it a second thought that you are not throwing one back with them.

It might even be a blessing by setting an example for someone that shouldn't be drinking vodka themselves or may feel pressured like you and want to stop themselves from doing this.

Stand strong and be your own man. Alcoholics = Losers

Unfortunately too, alcoholism is not seen as a disease by still too many Poles.

Alcoholism is not a disease, it is a weakness.
Roger5 1 | 1,443
27 Nov 2015 #15
roade85. One guy goes along with the crowd and gets pressurized into drinking vodka when he doesn't want to. Another guy says, "No thanks, I'll stick to beer. I want to do stuff tomorrow." He sticks to his word and watches amused as the others deteriorate into drooling apes. Who's the real man? By the way, women will notice, in a good way. Another thing. Why mix in those circles anyway? Civilized people wouldn't judge you negatively because you refuse to poison yourself.
27 Nov 2015 #16
You could avoid completely the comments by driving, saying you're on medication, or after trying to refuse say I'll have a 'symbolic shot' and say in advance you're not having more than one, take one shot just sip it and just refuse to down it in one - each time the new round starts just say hey I don't need one this time.... The last option shows you are symbolically trying to join in. If you keep getting pressured then find some new friends that respect the fact you have your own mind.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,861
27 Nov 2015 #17
alcoholism is not seen as a disease by still too many Poles.

it is not a disease it is a condition brought on by drinking too much.
A disease is eg, leukaemia
OP just say NO!
The kind of vodka drinking that I have witnessed in Poland is just downright dangerous tbh.
landora - | 197
27 Nov 2015 #18
I must say that I witnessed much more heavy drinking among the Brits in the UK, then in Poland.
Many of my friends rarely drink, or only drink beer.
So really, stop panicking.
27 Nov 2015 #19
@dolnoslask; where in Britain were you brought up ?. Just curious.
smurf 39 | 1,952
27 Nov 2015 #20
potato vodka.

How the f!ck have I not come across this??? And me being Irish too! I wonder is it like poitín?

plum brandy.

That's sliwowice yea? Feckin evil, evil stuff.
OP roade85 4 | 21
7 Dec 2015 #21
Thanks for the replies. A lot of interesting info here. Plum brandy sounds good but maybe for me better with just a meal.

Not panicking, not 'not my own man.' I'm my own man, but when you're with a group and you meet for a coffee or a cigar or whatever, it's usually expected that all will be partaking in the activity on roughly the same level. Maybe I hang with the wrong crowds, but there are people who I consider to be good people who are worth being friends with, including people in my family, who also are sometimes relatively heavy drinkers. So to me that's not a deal breaker, but I'd like to work around it a little if possible. About the real man stuff, I've never had that questioned so it's not a worry.

It was and is only a minor concern and wasn't even close to a make-or-break thing, but couldn't really think of any other way to put it. As I said, it would actually be a bit of an issue to move to Germany and not drink beer, or move to Italy or France and not drink wine. But it doesn't seem to be quite as pervasive in Poland, or if it is there is usually an acceptable alternative available at the times I would be looking for one.

It stemmed from nothing I'd seen, but from a story I heard about Polish house parties from a British girl who was living there (I've never been to one and have only been out late at bars 6-7 times), where a lot of eating goes on, but shots are also taken with the food basically in rounds, and it's something pretty much everyone joins in on, and that people don't get that drunk because of the food (where I maybe would anyway). And these are people I consider to be normal. I'll cross that bridge if/when I come to it, but doesn't seem like it will be any kind of a major issue regardless.
daim 5 | 24
7 Dec 2015 #22
Many men and women here don't drink vodka. I would argue beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage.
terri 1 | 1,663
8 Dec 2015 #23
At one time, (during the communist era) vodka was the only drink available.
Nowadays, people have a choice...I've heard that some people even drink Whisky.....
8 Dec 2015 #24
Yeah lately last cpl of years I have noticed same but they kill the whisky drinking it with cola.
Dougpol1 30 | 2,567
8 Dec 2015 #25
they kill the whisky drinking it with cola.

"They" are generally Poles who have been to America, or are vodka drinkers gone sophisticated. The Poles I know in Tri-City who are whisky drinkers never ever do that, and know far more about whisky than I ever could (born of a Scottish father, and something of a whisky drinker in my own right, for my sins)

There are maybe three or four whiskys (and we are not talking the no names here ) that deserve the (separate glass of) cola treatment, Amy Winehouse style.

Those are: JW/Bells/Dewars/Grants..... the rest should all be drunk straight, no ice (another American crime), a little Highland Spring water if you must......
pawian 225 | 24,601
3 Oct 2020 #26
Not drinking alcohol is nothing wrong

In August we went to a wedding and were sat at a table for 7 of whom only 2 guys drank vodka served for us. The rest were either non-drinkers or drivers. I saw more drinking at other tables, also the one where my adult sons were sitting. Apart from vodka, two kinds of wine were served. But we stayed till morning and I didn`t see anybody really stoned. I must admit I was in huge shock. Amazingly cultural event in Nowy Sącz.

Home / Life / Moving to Poland and not drinking vodka