Maybe you’re expecting a research based article about the physical and/or mental effects of drinking alcohol. Heading: ‘’One class of alcohol is just as bad as smoking a sigar/using party drugs’’. The truth: I have literally no idea. I started thinking more and more about the ‘no drinking concept’ since a patient of mine (cool woman, motor driver, tattooed) told me she quit drinking some years ago. She made me think about why I drink alcohol (1 up to 6 glasses at a party – once in 2 weeks – , 1 to none at home, each month).
I paused with drinking alcohol two weeks ago. It’s about my own thoughts and the way I feel. I am not comfortable drinking without thinking anymore. Not because someone told me to, neither because it was a national-quit-drinking-alcohol week but because I realized I once started drinking without a particularly good reason. I have got this flashback of myself: -13 years old- sneakily drinking a breezer with my friends before going to the club – just because it’s fun to do things which are not allowed. This definitely was one of the things my parents wouldn’t like to see me doing at that age…
This far I experienced my social environment kind of ‘’forces’’ me to keep drinking. A lot of social event are strongly connected with alcohol. Socializing on a terrace, a birthday, BBQ, clubbing, going out for dinner, festivals, traveling & getting to know new cultures (French wine, Belgian Beer en maybe some Russian Vodka?)- I almost can’t imagine one of these events without drinking alcohol. It has a strong connection in my head with having a ‘’good’’ party, ‘’feeling social’’ or having some ‘’delicious’’ dinner.
Another example: apparently everyone knows that it is not the best decision to let your kid drink alcohol before the magical 18 years has passed. So, when this number is in sight you will will give him or her some drinks for his/her birthday – Kid, you’re grown up now! You are an adult! You can join our great grown up world and drink wine with your dinner!
I believe this age must have been set because some research showed our brain is almost done developing itselves by then. -doesn’t this say something about what you think about your own or your child’s brain?- Didn’t we do more research about ‘’the brain’’ decades ago and discovered that it never really stops developing, that it keeps adapting itself all the time to its surroundings and to where it is exposed to?
I realized that stopping (some time) with drinking alcohol could become a challenge for me. An example: I don’t like to explain that I am a vegetarian while having a dinner with (particularly new) friends or colleagues. I don’t really want to become that much more ‘’special’’ person in the room by not drinking alcohol neither at a taste-beer-event with my friends, not drinking…Party-pooper!
At the other side: it can also bring a beautiful way to turn this subject around. Why do you eat meat? Why do you drink alcohol? Why are you the person you are at this moment? What are your goals in life? Do you believe in life after death…Hmmm…might be digging too deep here ;-).
I do absolutely love the short time effect of alcohol
Yes, don’t get me wrong! I get giggly, more funny (I believe and…, hey, me friends say’’!) more confident and social and I dance as a professional. Besides: my Spanish and German language skills get so much better… Alcohol can create ”special” moments and connections with the people around me. I care less and it makes me feel good. So what can be wrong with all that? Relaxation is also good for body and soul…
Right? Please just don’t touch my precious alcohol!
Well, I found out that I might not like those short time effect over the long term disadvantages. Today it’s the 15th of june. I started writing this article 2 weeks ago. My last glass of red wine found place with a date on a regular Friday evening. I was doubting about this order. Why red wine instead of some water? Did I want to feel more comfortable? Do I like the taste of wine that much? Didn’t I want to show weird behaviour to the guy in front of me? While ordering the wine I actually already made my decision about writing and, specially, experiencing this ‘’test’’ I was going to put myself into for some time.
There is a BUT: I have been in Spain, last week. The place where everyone enjoys a glass of ‘’cerveza’’ or ‘’tinto de Verano’’ as a part of their daily life. I stayed in a hostel were we were welcomed with a glass of Sangria. Wine and beer are actually cheaper than a glass of lemonade there. I kept ‘’strong’’. I would have loved to get to know these alcoholic cultural traditions by tasting it, but I didn’t. Instead I saw it as an kind of competition with myself: let’s see for how long I can be stronger than the environmental pressure which I feel because of the invitations and that what surrounds me. A few days later I arrived in Lisbon. I payed for a dinner -including unlimited amounts of alcoholic drinks-.and I choose to drink water instead (‘’what a ‘’pity’’ of the money’’ – what a great feeling for my mind the day after).
It was all good until dessert time. The mother of our hostel came in with some typical Portuguese drinks we had to try. Special dessert glasses were already set on the table. There were some nice, new people around me (including a hot Brazilian guy).
So it didn’t took that long before it became 0-1 for alcohol: I lost the ”competition” with myself. I tried some of her special dessert wine. The next morning I got up early. I felt I drank some glasses the day before by the way my mind and body felt. Less energetic and a bit nump.
So, what now?!
Instead of feeling I ‘’lost’’ this competition with myself I feel more convinced I am doing the right thing for me. I will go for less (not none – I believe) alcohol because I like to feel energetic everyday and enjoy caring as good as possible for my body and mind. I choose the long term benefits above having some sort short them gains. I am so happy to have my focus on learning and experiencing new things everyday. Like improving foreign languages, dancing salsa, sports, seeing a new city and improving all kind of skills like filming and editing, I am just way more productive in life when I skip alcoholic drinks more often -(I wasn’t such a big drinker over all…)- I will feel happy to tell people my less-alcohol-story when they are frowning there eyebrows about my 10th order for a Crystal clear. Even if it is only to let everyone dig deeper in their mind about why they ever started drinking at all.