A Brief Meditation on Drinking

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Drinking doesn't have to be a taboo endeavor, but it is important to be careful and learn from those who have made alcohol related mistakes before you (or even just learn from your own past). I'm not saying don't enjoy yourself, but there is a lot of merit to learning your limit and how to make sure you follow it.

We all drink (well maybe you don't!) for different reasons at different times in our lives. Whether it's to loosen up, because you like to try different concoctions for taste's sake, to unwind after a long day, to become a less inhibited dancer... We can't necessarily say one reason is less valid than another. Alcohol is a drug of sorts that alleviates certain anxieties and fulfills our desires. When dealing with "drugs," there is a comfortably effective "dose" and an uncomfortable and dangerous "overdose" just past it. Learning your limit is a bit like learning what your "prescription" is. (I mean technically no alcohol is probably the healthiest -- but you know what I mean. We're avoiding overdose.)

I drink, I'd say, a small to moderate amount of alcohol. Maybe an average of 2 or 3 drinks per week at this point in my life. Usually when I'm out with friends or going out to dinner with my boyfriend. Besides that, I'm content not drinking at all. This is admittedly not how I always was.

When I was working at law firms, I felt very stressed and out of my element. I was working purely for the monetary value of it, got no creative or altruistic satisfaction from my work day, and left feeling underwhelmed, exhausted, and high-strung. To quell my anxiousness and unhappiness, and just to unwind from my commute and workload, I would have about two drinks every night as soon as I got home. On the weekends, I would treat drinking itself like an activity with the end goal of feeling "less". I was essentially losing control over my alcohol intake, and although I didn't act particularly recklessly while doing so, I know that it can easily get out of hand for a lot of us in that way.

My advice in maintaining a friendly relationship with alcohol is to:

  1. Not try to finish the drinks you get as fast as you can. I know it sounds silly, but a lot of girls will get a drink and consume it like water. Almost inevitably (especially out/at parties) another drink will end up in your hand & you'll do it again. While you have your clear head, try to recognize the importance of finishing your drink slowly, and having water after you're done. It could save you from blacking out at the end of the night and keep you out of situations you could regret.
  2. Don't shame yourself too harshly for drinking. Having too much to drink is not a good idea, but if you make yourself feel horribly guilty the next day, you're bringing bad energy into your mind that could cyclicly cause you to seek out drinking more. Acknowledge that it happened, understand that you did the best you could in your circumstances, and just say "I'll be better at it next time."
  3. Take care of your mind and body outside of restricting your alcohol intake. Learning to generally respect your body will make you feel naturally inclined to drink less. Instead of saying "Ugh, I can't drink.... I'm 'taking care of myself'," you'll be saying, simply enough, "I don't think I want to drink tonight. I'm fine without it." Exercise, meditating, eating right, and surrounding yourself with positivity will make you feel like you are in control of life and don't even need to drink.
  4. If you feel like you are losing control in a dangerous or unhealthy way, don't be afraid or embarrassed to tell someone (a therapist, family member, AA rep, or a friend). Being self aware is a huge deal, and could save you humiliation or bodily harm in the long run. 
  5. Most importantly, don't be scared of SAYING NO. Peer pressure is real! You may not even want to start drinking sometimes, but you feel inclined to do so because all your friends and family are doing it. You think you'll be fine because you don't usually like to drink anyway, but sometimes that makes it harder to know when you should personally stop. If you don't want to start drinking one night, just say "I'm gonna pass/ I'll have soda/ I'm not drinking tonight." If anyone says that's a dumb idea, then they probably just want to feel better about their own drinking habits and you shouldn't take it personally. Usually though, no one cares if you say no and will respect you for being honest.
Drinking in moderation can be fun, don't get me wrong! But I know that being in control in any aspect of life is much better than not. Keeping a positive relationship with drinking is easier for some than others, but is always worth the effort. 


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By Dayna Frazer