The Problem With Binge Drinking
One month ago today, I decided to quit drinking. It's something I've been contemplating since the beginning of the year, and have toyed with practicing off and on. In 30 days, I've had one drink. I had an Old Fashioned on my birthday. If you know me at all, you know that's a feat. I mean I used to be the host of "Drunk Talk" podcast after all.
I used to drink a lot. Mainly because it's easily accessible and everyone around me drinks. At comedy shows people would just buy me drinks before and after my sets, even if I said not to. At my work we pretty much get free drinks. We're only supposed to get one free drink but, come on, we're all friends here. It's also all anyone does to hangout. You go "grab a drink." It's an activity. You don't just go bowling, have movie/game night, or go to the beach. There has to be wine, liquor, or beer in some part of the activity or it won't be any "fun".
I have a long history of abusing alcohol, as do many people my age. In fact most of the people around me abuse alcohol. We don't even realized it's classified as abuse. We don't wake up needing a drink. We can even go without drinking. That's not the issue. The issue is that when we do drink, we literally abuse it. We're having a few glasses of wine. We had a couple of shots and a few drinks. We're relaxing after a long week of work.
"It's my Friday"
If you're like me you tell yourself "I can have just one drink" which may be true, but how many times can you not? How many times do you catch a buzz off of that first drink and you have another, and
another -- and oh! Now we're doing shots!
Drinking alcohol as an activity has become such a social norm. People literally don't know what to do for fun without alcohol. If you tell someone you don't drink anymore, they look at you like you're crazy, and also boring. "Well I guess we can't be friends anymore. What will we do to hangout?"
Everyone drinks and hangs out after work. It's hard being the one that doesn't. You're the weird one that isn't social anymore. It's not that I can't be around alcohol. I'm around it all the time. The reason I don't hangout with my friends while they're drinking is because, since I've stopped drinking I go to bed earlier now. I wake up early, I eat healthy, I exercise, and I work on my career before my "day job" starts. I don't get hangovers anymore, I'm not sleep deprived. My motto to get through the nights where I did want to stay and have a drink was "A night of drinking is wasted time and calories." It's not the time hanging out with friends that's the problem, it's the next day when you're hungover and unable to be productive that it becomes a waste.
Ugh, hangovers.When you're drinking like that 3 or more times a week, you're wreaking havoc on your body. You're by all means of the definition, poisoning yourself. A hangover is your body telling you it's dehydrated. Worse, your liver now has extra detoxing to do so it's not doing it's regular job because you've added alcohol to the work load. Along with other health consequences you don't even think about because you're young. Not only does alcohol age you prematurely, women that drink alcohol regularly are at a higher risk for breast cancer. Alcohol also raises your cortisol levels. I was wondering why I was so moody, had belly fat, kept catching colds, and couldn't sleep even though I was bogged down with fatigue. Aha! My excessive alcohol intake was the culprit!
By the way, I can still do all of the same things to hangout, just minus the alcohol. I won't say or do anything embarrassing, I'll remember everything from the night before, and I'll still be up at 8am to workout. I also have a better personality when I'm not drunk. We all do. Alcohol, contrary to popular belief, brings out the worst in people. You aren't more fun when you're drunk, or a better dancer or singer. You aren't more relaxed, you're obnoxious. Sorry to break it to you so bluntly. :(
Now this isn't a whole piece against alcohol. We all know red wine has been proven to be healthy for you, in moderation. And maybe you enjoy a good beer, or like me, an old fashioned. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm just calling attention to the normalcy of alcohol abuse in our society, and maybe giving one of you reading this a wake up call to your own behaviors. It's what I needed after all. If alcohol has a negative impact on you, maybe consider easing up on the binge drinking. Find things you like to do, and try doing them sober. There's a whole level of life you're missing out on when you're hungover all of the time.
Take care of your body.
Drink in moderation.