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Why Adding Cocktails to Your Emotional Mix Might Not Be Working

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A cocktail at the end of a rough day is an understandable indulgence. If it becomes routine, you might be coping for parts of your life that are out of balance.

In my experience, alcohol is a depressant. It dulls feelings and muddies our thinking. Sure, a celebration with drinks might feel exhilarating, and that’s the idea, but it might also be robbing you of some of the good feelings in addition to making your recollection of the event somewhat less sharp. In regular drinkers that is usually some of the effect, they are seeking. The goal might be stated as “relaxation” but the underlying issue could very well be unresolved feelings of anger or sadness. Sure, you might just love the taste of wine, but if you’re seeking the comfort of a bottle nightly, you might want to look at some of the other things in your life. Perhaps there are some underlying issues you are avoiding.

There have been several times in my life when alcohol played a role in my own avoidance.

In high school, for example, when my father was accelerating his own demise with alcohol, I took to drinking for entertainment and escape. It was the early 80’s so there was a bit of pot going around our school as well. Sex, and drugs, and rock ‘n roll, without much sex. But we took to our recreational drinking with gusto. I recall an afternoon, my senior year, a few weeks before graduation. The spring weather had released all the budding trees and cool breezes and a group of my friends decided to skip school on a Friday and meet at my father’s house. He was at work and his wife was traveling, so we had his large house and swimming pool to ourselves. And his liquor closet. By the end of the afternoon, we decided it would be cool to climb the radio/tv tower behind his house. Drunk and stoned we climbed about a quarter of the way up the rickety, swaying, tower. We were happy, high, and stupid. Fortunately, on this journey, nobody was hurt. I still see one of the guys from time to time and we both still remember the vivid afternoon of debauchery. It was a memorable buzz and a celebration of our closing high school career. It was also a way of self-medicating my depression about my father’s drinking.

[read the rest of the story in The Third Glass –  Available Now on Amazon.]

The Third Glass - By John Oakley McElhenney

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