Diaries Magazine

Alcohol and I

Posted on the 24 April 2017 by Tlog

For the first time in my life I decided to abstain from something for lent. I am not religious and only wanted to do this as a new experience, to reflect on myself. I decided not to drink alcohol from the first of March until the 13th of April. I thought it’d be tough so I tried to convince family and friends to join in. I wasn’t too successful and found only one friend to share the experience with. I asked my closest friends to understand and support me rather than picking on me. I think this was a key to make this an easy success for me.

I was drinking alcohol ever since I was around 16 years old. It became normal, it was what you did when you went out and met friends. Where we first started to drink beer mixed with all kinds of lemonade, we then switched to straight beer, wine and later on to harder alcohol. Together with two friends we used to meet almost every week in the basement to drink Jägermeister. Nothing seemed wrong about this at the time. Nowadays, I can’t imagine drinking Jägermeister anymore. It tastes disgusting but back then it felt cool I guess. Maybe it was peer pressure, not amongst us friends but of the outside world, of the extended circle of friends, the ones drinking even more. It was a way of conformity. I think even though we were drinking a lot, at some point we were still mostly fairly responsible. Taking care of each other. Of course now and then we tested our limits and failed miserably.

Back to today. The decision not to drink alcohol for a period of time was received pretty strangely. Almost unanimously the people reacted with questions like “Why would someone voluntarily abstain from alcohol?” and “How can you be at a party and not drink?”. Since a couple of years ago my mindset about alcohol had changed a bit. I was drinking more for the taste and pleasure of it. In my view I didn’t need to drink it to feel comfortable or to be able to dance and be relaxed when going out. I was observing my surroundings and just thought I don’t want to be this super drunk guy. Well more than once I have probably been anyways. Happens to the best of us.

A couple of weeks before this experiment started, I met a guy. We talked and later he invited me for “a beer”. When it came to ordering the beers he then told me that he actually stopped drinking alcohol one year before. I didn’t feel the urge to ask why. I just thought that he will have his reasons and that’s fine. This is how I thought others would react to my not drinking policy. Maybe it was the fact that people knew me as a party drinker, someone who isn’t shy to drink a beer, Tequila or Gin and Tonic. You name it. But still people do these things all the time, however it seemed weird to my friends that I would do it. Says a lot about me I guess. It is sad but now I know this and my friends also know that I am capable to have fun without alcohol. For me it was important that I still participate in parties and go out the same way I did before. After all, I didn’t want to drink alcohol and then to avoid my friends and change my daily life.

Now the alcohol free time is over and I think it has changed my view on alcohol completely. I still really much like beer and don’t want to abstain from it completely. I have the idea to at least reduce my alcohol consumption and see it more as a medium of pleasure. Meaning paying more attention to the quality and taste of the beer. It also got me thinking of why we young people are so obsessed with alcohol. Seeing it as weird and irrregular if someone doesn’t drink, that people need to get drunk before they can enjoy going out. We grow up into a drinking culture where only few of us manage to escape it. It is almost as if there is no option for not drinking. To me it feels like a mixture of peer pressure and killing of social awkwardness. Loosening up. Getting the kick. Becoming more socially involved. It seems almost weird to start a conversation with someone while being sober. After all you can blame the alcohol if it takes a wrong turn.

I am no expert on all these matters so I won’t go on any further. I just want to say in the end that I am really happy to have done this. It gave me some insight to how I do things. It opened my eyes in a way for a different way of doing things. I might not change totally after all but at least I am more aware of what is going on. Ordering a glass of water here and there will definitely not hurt me and I think I can appreciate my drinks more. I think I will even repeat this experiment just for me and maybe somehow I can make someone think about all this.

Cheers!

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