Who are we really harming when we drink alcohol?
Who are we really harming when we drink alcohol?
I would be willing to put money on the fact that as a human species we have the basic intelligence to understand and dare I say agree, that when we drink alcohol we know that we aren’t necessarily adding to or supporting a healthy body, mind or lifestyle.
We may have mastered such reasoning as "it’s only one", or "if in moderation it’s ok", however that justifying word ‘moderation’ is simply a sneaky way of discounting the truth that on some level we do know it’s not doing us any favours.
By drinking that one, or just a few, we are almost too eagerly seeking to take the edge off life – to relax, de-stress and socialise our way to a sought-after merrier way of being. We all work hard to earn our reward and the right to unwind with a few cold ones or a nice glass of red at the end of the day… don’t we?
Of course, these are socially acceptable ways of behaving. But acceptable – why? Because the masses do it? However, if we were to bring some honesty to the table (or bar), would we be willing to consider that we are using our preferred poison to alter our state of being and therefore the way we feel?
It is somewhat interesting that this socially accepted norm is seen as a positive thing – it is a poison that we are ingesting after all. It becomes an outlet, a social lubrication and in not too unfamiliar cases a ‘drown the worries away’ type of attitude and solution to life and its many stressors. No doubt a way of life that many can relate to at some point.
Our so-called human intelligence arrogantly tells us that what we do to ourselves is of no harm to another. However, how many situations and ill-behaviours have we heard of – or more accurately stated, personally lived – that have directly impacted not only ourselves but also harmed another when reminded of:
the time you had an alcohol-fuelled argument with a loved one and deeply upset and hurt them
the time you chose to drink and drive and by doing so put your family, friends and others on the road in danger
the time you had been drinking and cheated on your partner
the time you had been drinking and vomited in the taxi (or any other place that caused damage and required someone to clean up after you)
the time your child wanted to connect and play with you but you were more interested in a drink and zoning out in front of the TV?
And to make it extra personal, how about:
the time you said yes to an offered drink simply to fit in and be seen to be doing the right thing
the time you used alcohol as a sexual lubricant because your relationship was lacking in any true connection
the times you used alcohol to drown out the all too familiar feelings of discontentment and anxiety
in your seeking the intimacy you so crave, the time/s you used alcohol to numb yourself to the point you were willing to have sex with a stranger just so you could feel wanted (but in truth were simply being used)?
Yes indeed, we label the drinking of alcohol as a time of celebration, of weekend relaxation and dinner parties galore, but seldom do we get to the sober truth and honesty of what we are really choosing when we drink.
We have mastered a level of irresponsibility and dis-ease that says; “do not go there; don’t tell me that my sweet reward is not only harming myself but is also ill-affecting those around me”. Chances are most have already stopped reading this article as who wants to be told something they are not yet willing to hear?
When considering the possibility of no longer drinking, I seriously doubted that it could be achieved. My whole life revolved around my weekend and the alcohol-fuelled ‘fun’ that came with it. It was a frightening consideration to question how I would get by without something that had been responsible for many so-called ‘great times’ that I could no longer remember. The irony was not lost on me.
But I knew that the way I was living was not it.
And it bothered me that I needed a substance to feel confident. A baby doesn’t enter this world lacking in confidence, so what had happened or been chosen along the way?
Why did I stop?
My choice to stop drinking nearly 10 years ago – although challenging at the time – was no doubt the greatest gift I could have given myself. The health and healing benefits speak for themselves and I have a deeper awareness, clarity and joy that had been long lost in the trappings of alcohol. I no longer contribute to an ill-consciousness that perpetuates alcohol abuse.
It opened my eyes to just how far I had been nudged, masking and dulling the enormous wisdom and beauty of being connected to a world and humanity that is worth having your eyes and heart open for.
It was simple: I came to a point of realisation and honesty that there was more. More to me, life and more to this drinking ‘culture’ that plays a direct hand in behaviours that are harmful to ourselves and others. I wanted to understand why I was choosing to align to something I knew to be unhealthy and unsupportive.
My relationships were lacking in connection and I wanted to be free of the drinking trap that was keeping myself and a great percentage of the world numb, dull, checked out and therefore not truly engaged with life. I no longer wished to ignore the unsettlement in my body; an unease and tension that I was missing something. And ultimately, I wanted to return to a way of being that I knew to be truly healthy and vital, experiencing and feeling life as I once did as a child.
While we sit merrily minding our own business, thinking our accepted social behaviour of ‘a few drinks’ doesn’t contribute to this mess that is right in front of us but we are conveniently blind to, there is something bigger going on – a deep and devastating dishonesty about the choice we have made to normalise a behaviour that has disconnected us from not only ourselves and our loved ones, but also from life as we truly understand it.
We all know the health consequences of using alcohol, which we mostly choose to ignore. However, do we ponder on the issue of how and why we rely on a substance to feel a certain way – one that alters our state of being? A precious being that is naturally born pure, complete, full of joy and certainly not reliant on a substance to change the way it feels? A substance that plays a hand in and is responsible for many abhorrent behaviours, from domestic violence to alcoholism to abusive relationships?
It is time to dig below the surface of what the spirit of alcohol brings into our homes and bring an awareness to the bigger picture of what is truly going on.