I was reading a young yoga instructors rant on Instagram yesterday, where she was claiming she never wants to put the poison of alcohol in her system again. She mentioned peer pressure, being called a party pooper, and basically being shamed into joining the drinkers in the group with their drinking. Full stop.
Alcohol Is a Drug
Let’s get clear about something right upfront. Alcohol is a depressant. As you consume more alcohol your overall systems (emotional, mental, spiritual, physical) are being suppressed. In the recreational use of alcohol, this has a slight euphoric effect. We feel a bit high with the first few drinks. But as we continue to consume this powerful drug, the fun turns sanguine. We begin suppressing the good stuff as well.
As an addictive substance alcohol stands alone as an acceptable vice. People love to drink. Drinking = happiness, celebration, relaxation, recreation. And drinking is probably one of the most harmful habits we can acquire. As we come to rely on the euphoric properties on a more regular basis, our brains become conditioned to think that “fun” doesn’t happen without the inclusion of drinks. How many of us come home from a hard day at work and “reward” ourselves with a drink? I’d guess the number is very large. And alcohol companies are working to keep their image glamourous and hyper-happy.
What I’ve noticed in partners who drank on a regular basis is that alcohol became somewhat of a required additive. Friday and Saturday nights were for drinking a lot. The other days of the week were lighter drinking. But a lot of their attention and energy would go to “what are we going to drink?” And it was often a given, that there would be alcohol consumption on a daily basis. I am a bit worried about that habit, but I have also seen people who can manage to drink regularly and be “okay.”
She Doesn’t Have a Problem with Drinking
In my relationship with a drinking-enthusiast, I was concerned about how much she was drinking. She was not. (Actually, she was concerned about it, and liked the idea that she was dating a man who “didn’t drink.”) My friend summed it up for me. She doesn’t have a problem with her drinking. You have a problem with her drinking.” He was right. And he was also defending his own vice habits a bit.
The bottom line on your own drinking: if it’s not bothering you, and you’re happy with where your life and health are heading, you’re good.
The bottom line on someone else’s drinking: if their drinking is affecting your relationship or your respect for the other person there IS a drinking problem, but it might only be yours.
The bottom line for couples and drinking: if the drinking is affecting the relationship, you might want to look at how to change or modify the patterns.
[read the rest of the story in The Third Glass – Available Now on Amazon.]