A while back I was reading an article about Drinking over on Danger and Play. Mike was talking about going on a year of sobriety and was making fantastic points. My favorite of which was “Drinking was expensive”. This got me thinking about my own expenses with alcohol and how I could save money. Then I started thinking about how his points meshed with my own experiences.
I have a pretty substantial background in drinking and feel I can speak with some authority on the subject. For one reason, I have a drinking problem myself. During the 2nd week of my 30 Days of Discipline review, I wasted a day because I was so hung over from the night before. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I have also worked in a beer store for years and have seen first hand what happens when people become addicted to alcohol. When you are in your 50’s and buying multiple cases of beer a week, it’s not pretty.
My problem with drinking is that every now and then I’ll binge drink like a lunatic. Sometimes I’ll get in such a mood of wanting to rage that I’ll just keep drinking and drinking. The more drinks I’ll have, the less control I’ll have to stop drinking. This lack of control extends to everything else as well. When completely sober, you may force yourself to control a crazy thought you had like telling someone the truth. That goes out the window when drunk as a skunk.
I’m not on here saying I’m an experienced drinker as some sort of badge of coolness. I’m saying it because I know what I’m talking about. I’m pretty embarrased about getting shit faced drunk a bunch of times. Bragging about your drinking skills is a really big schlub move. No one is impressed. Besides, whatever kind of alcohol feat you have done, it’s not ever going to top this guy.
Drinking is for the most part extremely bad for you. A lot of what is focused on in the self improvement field is the negatives. I wanted to cover exactly why I think you should skip drinking, but I also wanted to touch upon some instances in which drinking is beneficial.
-Drinking takes away your reason
There are things in life that most normal people don’t do, mostly based on fear. Some of these things are good such as talking to new people or doing something that would make you self conscious. Other things are bad such as being crazy, jumping on bars, or generally being a menace. In any case, your reason is stripped the more alcohol you consume. Your reason provides fear to you and despite all the “no fear” bullshit going around, is a good thing to have.
That same reason that is being stripped away also provides you with other things that are useful in your day to day activities. You will become dumber when drunk. You will start speaking in gibberish if you drink enough. Most importantly, you will lose the ability to say no. These are all bad things obviously.
-Drinking is a short term way to medicate your problems
The stereotype with drinking is that people turn to the bottle when something really bad happens to them as a coping mechanism. This is true, but what isn’t discussed is it’s also a coping mechanism for life in general.
I’ve always been of the opinion that people that are partying are also subconsciously trying to deal with their problems, it’s just masked by the fact that they seem to be having a good time. After the party is over, it’s back to reality and they have to deal with doing work or being bored. This is most evident with the lifestyle of those with 9-5 jobs. On the weekend, they go out and rage hard trying to forget that they have to work the next week.
-Drinking wreaks havoc on your endocrine system
I’m not a scientist, so I really have no way to know about any of this except to go on pubmed and look it up, but what they are saying is that alcohol can seriously affect your reproductive glands which will cause a decline in sex hormones.
What does this mean in laymen’s terms? It means your testosterone levels will plummet. What is the point of lifting in the gym if all you do is destroy the hormones needed to get bigger? Not only will it destroy your hormones, but your blood sugar and bone density will be affected as well. This will lead to you being fat and weak, which has a synergistic effect with a loss in hormones to generally make you feel horrible.
Another factor leading to your testosterone going down is hops, one of the main ingredients in beer. Hops are the flowers of a plant that have been used in beer for the last couple hundred years. They are so estrogenic that they are being considered for treatment of hot flashes in women.
-Drinking destroys your liver
Your liver has to go into overdrive to process all the alcohol in your system. The more alcohol you drink, the more your liver is being destroyed. This is extremely bad because you need your liver to live.
Fortunately your liver has an incredible ability to heal itself over time, but once it gets beyond a certain point, there’s no coming back.
So if you are someone who is chugging liquor every day, understand that it will eventually kill you through liver damage.
-Drinking causes you to have a hangover
When you are going hard on the bottle during a night, 9 times out of 10 you will be hungover the next day. Hangovers pretty much cause you to lose a whole day of productivity. When you are throwing up all day, you feel like shit. If you are feeling like shit, there’s little chance that you will get up and do something productive with your day. Trust me on this, I’ve lost a lot of days to hangovers, nothing gets done.
If you’re like me and you are getting up there in age past your 30s, hangovers start to last more than one day. Sometimes if you go too hard, you will get the dreaded two day hangover. This is horrible as now you have lost two days instead of one.
While hungover, a lot of the times you will feel the need to throw up. This is bad for so many reasons. The acid from your stomach can damage your teeth. Your muscles around your throat and chest will be strained and will hurt. It’s also generally disgusting to throw up. These are all great reasons not to drink.
A hangover causes you to lose your appetite. This isn’t really your greatest concern during the hangover, but the combination of throwing up and not eating will absolutely cause you to lose weight. That’s not good for staying in shape.
Having to do anything during a hangover is excruciating. If you have to do something of importance, you are really in a bind. During one of the worst hangovers of my life, I had to drive across Philadelphia to pick up my friend for a softball game. We then drove from Philly to Malvern, and I felt like dying the whole time. I ended up pitching one of the best games I have ever pitched. No clue how that happened.
-Drinking is really expensive
Unless you go to a dive bar, drinking is super expensive. Cocktails will usually run you around ten dollars, and craft beers will go for five dollars. The funny thing about drinking is that the more you drink in a night, the more you will want to drink. Because your reason is getting shut down, you will start buying more and more drinks. This really adds up after a while.
I’m not too sure about other cities, but every bar in Philly has a million craft brews. Because of the variety and the fact that Bud/Miller/Coors taste like piss, the obvious choice is to go with a craft brew and try new stuff out.
Personally, when I go out drinking, I usually just crush beers. Let’s say for a conservative amount that I drink 6 beers on a night out. At five dollars a pop, on two weekend nights every week, that comes out to $3,120 a year. Think about what you could do with that money!
I’d like to hammer this point home for a moment because if you have been going out to bars for any stretch of time you already know that drinking is expensive. After a night of drinking it’s easy to just rationalize your spending away as a weekend night having fun. As I have shown though, that behavior really adds up. Everyone out there complaining that you have no money to start a business, are you really trying hard enough?
If your solution to this is to go to dive bars, then good for you. Generally they are cheaper, but not by much! If you do go the cheap route at a dive bar, the in vogue drink is PBR. Hey, I’ll drink em, but let’s be honest hipsters, that stuff is really bad.
Obviously the solution here is to not drink. However, if you find that you just need a beer every now and then, consider making your own. Making your own beer and wine is the best bang for your buck. It’s also a great hobby to get into.
-Drinking is sometimes caused by peer pressure
Ahh peer pressure, it harkens back to high school when you tried to fit in by doing some stupid shit that everyone else was doing. No one wants to succumb to peer pressure, and yet, a lot of otherwise mature adults still fall victim to peer pressure when it comes to drinking.
What is it with groups of drinkers that if they see someone not drinking, they are fascinated? They just have to go up to the non-drinker and ask them what’s up as if something was wrong with them? I have seen this first hand a number of times. The thinking is something along the lines of, “Why isn’t this guy drinking? He must be a huge pussy.” They will then go over and ask, not wondering the real reason, but as a non-direct way of calling them out. Passive Aggressiveness at it’s finest. No one likes to be pressured into doing something, so just rise above this high school behavior.
Sometimes the pressure comes from within though. You see everyone around drinking going crazy partying and wonder why you can’t join in on the fun. Maybe I’ll just have a couple drinks to get a buzz and before you know it, it’s blackout city. Easy solution to this is to make it a point to not drink one night. During the night notice how everyone slowly but surely goes insane and realize that had you been drinking with them, you would look just like them.
There really aren’t too many pros to drinking. Let’s face it, poisoning yourself on purpose to get an altered state of consciousness isn’t a great habit to get into. That being said there are some circumstances in which drinking can be used for good. Use sparingly.
-Drinking can foster creativity
Because alcohol can lower inhibitions, this will sometimes lead to coming up with new ideas you wouldn’t have thought of before. There seems to be a very specific window for this to work. You don’t want to be too drunk as you’ll be out of your mind.
Be wary of this technique because the things you come up with may not be something you want to go out and publish immediately. You may notice when sober that what you came up with was completely insane. Sometimes you may need a little insane though.
The best way to do this is to have a little late night brain storming session with a couple beers every now and then. Write down your ideas and form a couple bullet points fleshing them out a little. Then when you wake up the next day take a look at your notes and discard anything you don’t need.
Edgar Allan Poe was supposedly a huge drunk, and he came up with some really creative stuff, so there is some precedent to this.
-Drinking may be your only form of sanitary liquids to consume
Let’s say the apocalypse hits and the water supply is drying up, sure you could go down to the local well, but is that water clean? Back in the day when they didn’t have sanitary drinking water, the safer option was to drink something with alcohol in it. The alcohol would sanitize all the bacteria and parasites and was also tastier than water.
Here’s a fact for you, John Adams would drink cider every day. In fact, I imagine bars from that era were so much better than we have today. Just a bunch of dudes getting liquored up and talking politics instead of watching television like we have now. Side note: I hate televisions in bars.
So if you’re ever anywhere where the water is questionable, drink liquor and you’ll be alright. Just don’t drink to much.
-Drinking makes weddings bearable
If there’s one perfectly acceptable place to get sloshed, it’s at a wedding. Just try to imagine a wedding without alcohol for a moment. Weddings are hard enough to stomach with alcohol. If you took that away, it would be horrible.
Here’s the thing, guys don’t actually care about weddings. Sure, they’ll go through the motions in the vain hope that this will somehow lock down their girl, but on the inside they really don’t care. I was at a Whole Foods one day and this couple was meeting a wedding planner there. I overheard everything they were saying. The girl and the wedding planner were going on and on about all the details of the wedding, and the guy was just sitting there nodding his head with a glazed look on his face.
Seriously, if you are planning a wedding, bring some damn booze so that all the male guests can get through the event. This is even in the bible. If there’s one thing you can learn from the bible it’s that not having enough booze at your wedding feast is a huge sin. Don’t make some dude reveal he’s the son of god and change a bunch of water into wine. JC really took home brewing to a new level.
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