It’s been drilled into us since elementary school. Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol impairs your judgement, and you’ll make reckless decisions. After a night of partying, your liver hates you and you know it. You get it. You’ve heard it before, from public service announcements and surgeon general’s warnings.
The busy super-mom winds down with a bottle of wine. The serviceman or woman comes home from active duty and finds relief drinking with high school buddies. The office worker consistently has one too many cocktails at company happy hours. We rely on alcohol in times of stress to help us decompress and wind down. And while one or two drinks can bring on a buzz that seems to take away all your woes, alcohol doesn’t work as a coping mechanism long term. Here’s why:
There’s a bottle of wine on your top kitchen shelf collecting dust. You’re thinking of taking it down, rummaging through your kitchen drawer for the corkscrew. Or there’s not. There’s a beer in the crisper in your fridge, nestled in between over-ripening apples and kale you bought when you felt optimistic at the grocery store. Or forget the wine, forget the beer. There’s a bottle of whiskey, gifted by the coworker who forgot you aren’t drinking anymore. There’s the glass of chardonnay offered up by a stranger with a smile, and sometimes it can feel handed down by the powers that be.
You thought you left peer pressure behind when you outgrew those high school football buddies, but Sam from marketing is here to tell you otherwise. He’s urging you with every bit of his bad suit, toothy grin, and slicked back hair to take a shot with the rest of the staff. Or maybe you don’t know a Sam, but you’re reuniting with an old friend for dinner. Great conversation is flowing, but they are hating that you won’t take them up on their offer to split a bottle of Merlot be.
Whether you’re trying to kick an addiction, be there for someone who is, or just plain live healthier, sleep is crucial to reaching all your goals. If you're having trouble sleeping, it affects everything from your sex drive to your memory. But if you’re reading this, you don’t need me to tell you that sleep is important. You get it, right? So why are you still tossing and turning, obsessively flipping your pillow to the cool side, serenading your cat, or scrolling through your Netflix queue at four in the morning? Where are all the sheep and why can’t you count them? What is the problem, and more importantly, what is the solution?
It’s a big, boozey world out there. From mimosas at brunch to cocktail hours, it can be hard to imagine living alcohol-free. But for some folks, unclenching that glass is like taking off a winter coat they didn’t know they were wearing. They can feel the sun on their shoulders for the first time. Before you decide if a liquor-free life (or day, week, or month) is for you, let’s explore the awesome things that could happen when you stop drinking.
“I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the new year's” ― Henry Moore
“True forgiveness is when you can say, "Thank you for that experience.” ― Oprah Winfrey
If you are a friend or family member of someone struggling with addiction, you may find yourself constantly walking on eggshells. You might monitor your conversation to avoid saying the wrong thing, carefully observe the addict’s mood, or pander to their needs. And yet, aren’t they the one causing the harm? Why are you apologizing and hoping for their approval? What sort of crazy vortex have you fallen into, and how can you climb out?
‘Tis the Season to Stay Sober and Sane!