Thursday, December 7, 2017

Attitudes on Alcohol

More Martinis with cats.
Since it’s that time of year when many people get really, really hammered, I thought I might share a few thoughts about alcohol.

I enjoy the occasional adult beverage. That much should be obvious by the photo at the top of the page of me raising a Martini and saying “Cheers!” to my cat Dobbin as well as the various booze-related posts I’ve written. 

However, I do not enjoy drinking to excess. Even though I’m closing in on 50, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been drunk. I didn’t like it, and I don’t like being around people who are drunk. I have only very rarely even been buzzed. To some extent, I credit my mother. She was a moderate drinker with a rather European attitude towards alcohol, and that reflected in her parenting. When I was a kid, it wasn’t a big deal for her to give me a sip of whatever cocktail she was imbibing or a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve. Because of this, alcohol never seemed like some mysterious, taboo temptation to me. When I turned 21 and was legally able to buy alcohol, I was happy to have the option but I didn’t go crazy.

Even more Martinis with cats.
Most of the time, if I drink alcohol at all, I mostly just have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner. Once in awhile I might treat myself to a mixed drink. At various times I’ll even put limits on myself, such as only drinking on weekends or abstaining altogether for a period of time. In fact, I’ll probably abstain for a month or two after the holidays have passed. I don’t do this sort of thing because I think I have a drinking problem. Partially I do it for self-discipline and/or fitness goals. Partially I do it to make sure alcohol stays “special.” I don’t want to fall into the habit of always having a glass of wine or always having a beer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just isn’t the road I want to go down.

Also, as a martial artist, I find getting drunk runs counter to my motivations for being a martial artist. I train first and foremost to protect myself, my loved ones, and innocent beings. If I’m inebriated, my ability to do that diminishes greatly. Besides, one of the key elements of self-defense is awareness of your surroundings. That awareness goes out the window when you’re drunk. It’s also worth noting that alcohol is a factor in about 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S. On college campuses, a whopping 95 percent of all violent crimes involve the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim, or both.

Alcohol itself is not a bad thing. Our relationship with it can be.