Why Do We Drink Alcohol?
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but:
I don’t drink alcohol.
In 2019, I had approximately five drinks.
In 2020, I had two drinks.
In 2021, I will be having no drinks.
I am in an inquiry lately about why humans consume alcohol. While I’ve had my fair share of great memories while drinking, I find myself feeling more and more physically ill when I do. While there’s ample research to suggest that one glass of wine can be good for you, I’ve found just as much if not more research to advise against alcohol consumption. It got me to thinking.
Let’s look at the different typical reasons for drinking, and why they may not make sense.
Connecting more deeply
I think it’s pretty commonly known that alcohol can bring down people’s defences and can provide a space for authentic relating. When inhibitions are low, so are your filters for expression, and your truth is more readily accessible.
This also brings up the point of lowered inhibitions in general, which humans crave because, I think, we all feel some level of inhibition on a daily basis. We have to adhere to certain social and societal rules, which is exhausting. We want freedom from that, and it’s easier for alcohol to be the cause, rather than our own rebellion (aka, authenticity).
As someone who teaches communication, conscious relationships, and intimacy, I know I find much more fulfillment from the ability to communicate and connect deeply while sober. It takes a certain level of strength, courage, vulnerability, and self-love to connect at this level, and when you find someone else with the willingness to meet you there, it’s nothing short of magical. So, while this state is available with alcohol consumption, this takes little to no personal and interpersonal self-mastery. Reaching this while sober, on the other hand, requires a level of personal and interpersonal development that is just plain old good for the planet, and humankind.
Basically, the ability to connect deeply, and to live one’s truth without inhibition, are both traits I aspire to be regardless of what I’m drinking. When I imagine everyone else having the same abilities, I imagine a more free, real, happy, easeful world.
Medicating the pain
For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been great friends with alcohol. I never felt called to sneak it before I was of legal age, I never felt a strong affinity for it (except for that one year in university), and I’ve never really used it as a medication in times of immense heartbreak or stress. I noticed my desire to numb and dissociate — and sure, sometimes distance from your pain can help you chew it off more easily, bite by bite. But I grew to love learning how to process my emotions, and approach my problems head-on. Numbing with alcohol just felt like robbing myself of building the skills to face my problems.
Alcohol and self love
My parents did a beautiful job with me regarding alcohol. When the topic first came up in our household, my parents were relaxed. They saw me run every day, play sports, and prioritize my health. They said something to the effect of,
“We’re not worried about you getting into that, or drugs. You know it’s not healthy for you, and we know you don’t like being unhealthy. It wouldn’t make sense for you to get into that stuff. It’s as simple as that.”
And that stuck with me.
I know many people who do their self-care — whether it be a bubble bath or a pedicure — with a glass of wine. But I always related to alcohol as something that wasn’t healthy for me, and so, it didn’t feel like self-care. Avoiding alcohol, to me, was an act of practical self love.
That’s not to say that people who drink don’t love themselves, or that alcohol is bad. But I do find it curious that more people don’t have an apple-carrot-beet juice with their bubble bath. That shit is delicious, and it has the opposite effect on your liver. Even if you don’t feel sick, your body expends so much energy to detoxify itself when you drink alcohol. So, why do we consume drinks that we’ll have to recover from, during our self-care practices? Is this not backwards?
What’s your mission in life?
Bigger than personal health, alcohol has never really forwarded what I care about in life, in the bigger picture. I care about being a damn good coach, transforming lives, healing relationships, and profound connection and intimacy with the people in my life. I also care about showing up to each of these callings feeling fully capable, present, and vital. Alcohol has never given me any of those things — but it did occasionally give me confidence. Which brings me to my next point…
I always saw alcohol as something that represented a level of freedom of expression that I wanted to access while sober, and drinking to access that way of being never taught me much. Learning to be that way of being, just because, was much richer and sweeter. This included confidence; why would I drink to feel confident rather than learn how to feel confident while sober? This inquiry actually assisted me in becoming a Transformational Coach. I wanted to guide people along their journey to authentic confidence and personal freedom, which led me further to relationship coaching, and showing people how to create relationships from being their most authentic, powerful selves.
Beyond confidence, alcohol is linked to an enhanced experience of fun and play. But why not learn how to be fun and play, as an expression of your true spirit? This is who we are when we’re babies, and it’s naturally in us. Again, this inquiry is another reason why I became a coach.
Celebrating with alcohol
I also never really understood why people celebrate with alcohol. Why champagne, instead of a raw juice or something? I’d rather say cheers with a longevity tonic than with something that makes me nauseated. Does this not make sense?!
Or, if you’d like to feel that heart-opening vibe while you celebrate, why not try something truly beautiful and sacred, like cacao? Not only is cacao a natural heart-opener, but it also helps lower blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes, reduces the risk of heart disease, and reduces inflammation. Alcohol contributes to the formation of most of these.
In certain countries, instead of saying cheers, people say “Salud!” or something else that literally means, “Health!” to celebrate or cultivate wellness. So, why not cheers to a drink that actually fosters that?
I’m not saying that, for the rest of my life, I will never, EVER drink alcohol again. Because I honestly don’t know. But I do know that for most of the time, and for the foreseeable future, I haven’t been and won’t be consuming alcohol. And I love it that way.
To me, the funnest solo time, events, and parties have been where everyone is engaging in a healthy, activating, or awakening activity that benefits the emotional, social, and physical health of everyone.
I’ve gone to countless gatherings where everyone is consuming things that nurture their spirits and bodies, are fuelling their self-love, and are therefore more readily available to be loving towards others. That’s right, the more love you show to yourself, the more love you show to others. I know, this is ground-breaking new information. And what’s more is that, when we know how to deeply love ourselves and others, we have a way better time. Is your mind blown yet?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we prioritized facing our problems, and learning how to process our emotions? Wouldn’t it be amazing if our self-care practices involved replenishing drinks? If we only consumed what fuelled us for our mission? If we learned how to be confident from our core? If we celebrated with contributing to our health?
And really, y’all:
Has too much carrot juice ever ruined a family?