What Is The Point of Drinking Alcohol?

My relationship with alcohol is a fraught one

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Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash

Yesterday, I went to meet up with an old friend. I was back in the UK after a few months away and it would be a good chance to see him again.

As is the case when meeting up with someone here in the UK, you tend to go to a pub. There’s nothing wrong with that, they are great places, but there is one problem.

When you enter a pub, it’s expected that you will be drinking alcohol. The culture in the UK looks down on people if they don’t drink. As if they have some kind of issue that needs fixing.

Normally, I wouldn’t have been so apprehensive about going into a pub, but I recently went a whole month without drinking alcohol. The effects of this were fantastic.

I felt fitter and stronger. My mind felt much clearer and I woke up fresh and ready to attack the day. All of this was playing on my mind when I was in the pub deliberating whether to drink a beer or not.

In the end, I caved in. A few beers after a month of none would do no harm. That was the way I justified it to myself.

While I enjoyed meeting my friend and catching up, I didn’t particularly enjoy drinking the beers. Granted, I have a soft spot for Guinness, so it was nice to have one after a while.

But, once it got past that point, I found myself enjoying the beer less and less. I began to question why I was bothering to drink something that offered little to no satisfaction, just because it was social custom to do so.

I think it’s time I reconsidered my relationship with alcohol.

Drink Up

Drinking alcohol is strange when you think about it. We drink numerous amounts of alcohol in a row. While this may sound normal, do you do this with any other type of drink?

I can’t remember the last time I drank 6 pints of water over the space of 6 hours! You just wouldn’t consider doing something like that. Yet, when it comes to alcohol, a lot of us don’t give this a second thought.

We just go along for the ride and carry on drinking. If you wouldn’t drink that much water in such a short amount of time, why would drink that much alcohol instead!?

It is strange and I’m sure more of us would like to curb our alcohol consumption, but don’t do so out of fear of breaking social conventions.

Alcohol is very much a social juice. It is the beverage that we turn to when we go out with friends. It’s rare to hear of people of meeting over glasses of water, rather they will meet up and have a few beers.

However, something is missing here for me. While I enjoy the odd beer, long gone are the days when I enjoyed going on wild binges and getting blind drunk.

Some members of my friendship group still enjoy doing this. Even though we are approaching our thirties, they still like to drink with reckless abandon, thinking they are 18.

I just don’t see the point anymore. Alcohol is a substance that takes and takes and takes, but it doesn’t give anything positive. The only thing it gives is health issues and a serious hangover should you drink too much of the stuff.

During my month off from drinking alcohol, I felt great. There were no days where I felt like moping around because of the after-effects of drinking too much. I felt like I was in top shape every single day, which is unusual.

Whenever I drink alcohol, I always suffer the following day. I feel lethargic, I have a headache and all I want to do is curl up into a ball and stay under the covers in my bed.

This is no way to live my life and is one of the reasons that I drink less and less. Life is simply too short to waste days because you’ve drunk too much alcohol the night before.

I think it’s time to consider the role alcohol has in my life.

Time To Give It Up?

I don’t think giving up alcohol full stop is the solution. I tried this when I was 18 and went six months without touching a drop. While it was certainly better for my health, I think moderation is the way to go.

I alienated a few of my friends by doing this and I didn’t go about in the right way. While I am better equipped to deal with being teetotal, I think to reduce my intake as much as possible is a better course of action.

I do enjoy drinking Guinness and cider sometimes, I just don’t enjoy drinking to excess. The worst feelings for me around alcohol are when I overdo it.

As I mentioned before, drinking a lot ruins the next day for me. It’s just a complete and utter waste and considering that I am self-employed, it’s not good to have too many off days.

Alcohol is a dangerous substance and one that is hard to avoid. If it had been created recently, there is no doubt it would have been banned due to the health and societal problems it causes.

However, it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Therefore, I have to adapt to this reality. I have to steel myself to say no when I don’t want to drink and enjoy myself regardless.

The simple fact of the matter is that I am better in every single way when I don’t drink alcohol. No part of my being is better when I drink alcohol than when I don’t.

I have thought this for some time now, it just took taking a month of the stuff for me to realise it.

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I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com Join my email list -> https://tomstevenson.substack.com/

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