I drink alcohol (Irish family line, teenager in the 90’s, middle class)
I enjoy drinking alcohol. I gain value out of it. No apologies. Not one.
I allow it to feature in my life but with the moderation necessary for me personally. All year. I won’t be partaking in Sober October. Or Dry January. Or any of the UK public health campaigns urging people to abstain from alcohol.
I’m not being flippant. In my previous life as Probation Officer, I worked in the Substance Misuse Team for two years. I’ve seen how alcohol can wreck lives. How alcohol, likely to be available on any street corner, can be more physically and psychologically addictive than Class A drugs.
And more commonly and covertly, how alcohol can trigger risk taking behaviour, cause self destruction, elicit self loathing, destroy relationships.
I feel alcohol and I have come along way together. There was a time when we had a complicated relationship – we didn’t respect one another. Or maybe I just didn’t respect myself.
But now, it’s pretty simple. I appreciate alcohol for its positives. And I place limits on it to avoid its negatives.
Awareness is the key. One or two drinks might be relaxing. Two or three may be fun. Four or five is rarely worth it. Not drinking can totally work too – I can drive, I’ll save money, I can still have fun.
Occasionally, I drink too much and feel affected the next day. But even then, it’s a very conscious choice and the decision is that the positives outweigh the negatives. Because, on the rare occasions I choose to overdo it, I’m sure as heck going to enjoy myself at the time. No guilt, shame, or ‘beer fear’ here. If there were, I simply wouldn’t create that situation. No-one forces alcohol down me. I’m in control, not it.
The truth is, if I felt I needed to do ‘Sober October’ it would be a red flag that I needed to change my whole attitude to alcohol.
There are varying views and health stats about abstaining vs light drinking vs moderate drinking. But only you can figure out what practices are the right ones for you – all year round.
Cheers for reading
A Tidy Mind