1. Alcohol has been used as a special and sacred celebratory beverage over
many centuries. Most native cultures have had fermented drinks for their
rituals and ceremonies. This continues with traditions and celebrations of
all kinds - weddings, anniversaries, dates, ballgames, flying, and harvest
faires. Alcohol does help to relax the body and mind and calm the
inhibitions. However, many people feel the need to celebrate daily (now,
that would be partying or escaping). Excesses over time lead to problems,
yet occasional wildness may free the soul.
"Reduce excesses, but not excessively." Argisle
If you are concerned about your drinking habits, consider keeping a "drink
diary" for the next month. Write down when, how much, and in what
circumstances you drink. How does it make you feel immediately and the
morning after? Honestly look at how drinking affects your life. There are
many healthy ways to celebrate life! Playing sports does this, as can
drumming and dancing with your friends. While we used to have rituals, now
people get drunk to deal with life, and then get in their "deadly" autos
risking lives on their way. And many also use painkillers and other drugs to
deal with their daily lives, which further affects their abilities. Or they
overuse their credit cards and mismanage their lives and have their families
suffer. Realize that drug problems of all kinds are diseases, and should be
dealt with as such.
2. In evaluating how alcohol affects your life, look at the following
issues: Do you drink more when you're sad or upset about something? Do you
mainly drink in social situations with friends? Does alcohol help you
express yourself? How can you address these emotional issues without relying
on drinking? Can you say NO when the time is not right for your personal
imbibing? Healthy use would be a social drink or two with preparation before
and balance after in terms of hydration (alcohol is dehydrating) with water
and the right nutrients.
"No is On Backwards." (Argisle)
3. Consider the negative effects alcohol might be having on your health. Is
drinking aggravating an existing condition, such as obesity, digestive
problems, joint pains, or depression? Do hangovers affect your performance
at work, or keep you from things that you want to do? Alcohol irritates the
liver and the intestinal lining. It also lowers immunity, dehydrates the
body, and impairs judgement and performance, as in operating machinery and
driving a car. It also alters healthful participation in relationships.
Alcohol is the number cause of traffic fatalities, especially of innocent
people. What is your awareness and responsibility for your own body as an
example to self, loved ones and friends?
4. Alcohol may have some positive attributes as well. Doctors may recommend
it to reduce heart disease risks, as it helps raise the good HDL
cholesterol. However, it also raises total cholesterol and has more negative
effects such that health conscious practitioners would not recommend regular
consumption. Alcohol is also addictive. Thus, it takes some work, both
physically and emotionally, to heal from this potentially destructive habit.
For example, a liver transplant, if you could get it, is quite costly and
5. In terms of reducing your alcohol consumption, if you notice that you
tend to drink at certain times of the day, plan other activities, such as
exercising, during that time period. Consider ordering water or other
natural drinks in restaurants, and during social occasions. Take a break for
a couple days; if this is very difficult, you likely have a problem and help
may be necessary. Contact your doctor, counselor, or look up the AA
(Alcoholics Anonymous) chapter in your area. Know that it is usually
difficult to give up something; it?s better to add something healthful, like
walking and breathing. It also helps to talk to others who have recovered
from their addictions and see what they did with their extra energy; helping
others often helps you as well.