It’s definitely a time of year (holidays) when liquor stores and beer distributors make a lot of money. You might be one of millions of people who enjoy spiking your eggnog with a bit of bourbon. Perhaps, you like to imbibe when you gather with co-workers or loved ones at your annual Christmas or New Year’s Eve party. Then again, maybe you’re a regular at the local pub on Friday nights all year long. There’s nothing necessarily inherently wrong with any of that. Problems can arise, however, when the reasons people drink are not conducive to good health of mind, body or soul.
As you consider what your plans and goals are for 2020, it’s helpful to engage in a personal review of sorts. Analyze your own, personal reasons for drinking to rule out problematic issues such as substance abuse and addiction. What if your review reveals signs that, perhaps, you are struggling with an alcohol addiction? The good news is that there are plenty of support resources available.
Reasons people drink often include stress release
While every individual and household is unique, most people would agree that life in 2020 is busy. Do you hold down more than one job? Are you a single parent? Are you married with several (busy) children? These are typical issues nowadays that make the average week a back-to-back series of events. By the time the weekend rolls around, you’re exhausted. When surveys include questions about reasons people drink, participants often answer that drinking provides an easy form of stress release.
This makes sense. It’s fun to get together with your spouse or friends and knock back a few cold ones. If you work from home, you might even enjoy sipping a glass of wine while you work. (I may or may not do this when my workload, homeschooling and family life gets super busy. ::winks::) Many people say that having a drink or two helps them relax.
Other reasons people drink
If you often feel shy or backward in social situations, you might feel that drinking alcohol helps you feel more confident. A lot of people say that when they’ve had a couple drinks, they’re more comfortable meeting new people or navigating a crowd and making small talk. Some people say that alcohol has another effect on them. When they drink, they feel more attractive.
Peer pressure is alive and well in 2020, and it doesn’t just occur in elementary school. Adults can pressure other adults into drinking alcohol. A brief review of alcohol-related incidents on U.S. college campuses shows that binge drinking is common. If you ask college students why they drink, many will say they feel pressured to do so to fit in with their peers.
Drinking to cope with life situations
Reasons people drink also include perceptions that alcohol can help people cope with problems. It’s highly doubtful that this is true, but the way people feel when they drink might convince them that it is helping them cope. Some people also say they drink to help them escape from reality. Whether drinking is creating a problem in your life depends on several factors. If you’re unsure, you might want to ask yourself a few questions. How often do you drink? How much alcohol do you typically consume at a time? Are you making responsible decisions or placing yourself or others at risk?
It’s not true that the type of alcohol you drink determines whether or not you become intoxicated. It’s also not true that taking a cold shower or drinking coffee can sober you up. (It might make you feel more energetic or alert but that doesn’t mean it eliminates alcohol from your bloodstream.) If someone has told you that your body size determines how swiftly you get drunk, this is also misguided information. You can be quite petite yet able to consume several drinks. Then again, you might be six feet tall and close to 200 lbs and feel tipsy after one mixed drink.
This is because alcohol affects every person’s body differently. The type of alcohol or how tall you are and how much you weigh do not determine how quickly your body absorbs alcohol.
If your personal “reasons people drink” review causes you concern
After considering your own reasons for drinking alcohol, you may be worried that your habits have gotten out of hand. Many people are moderate and occasional drinkers and it doesn’t have a negative impact on their lives. Others encounter personal, financial and legal problems because of their drinking habits or addictions.
You might feel like alcohol is causing problems in your career, your marriage, your friendships or with your mental, physical or spiritual health. If so, you can take comfort in knowing that you are definitely not alone in your struggle. It takes a lot of courage to reach out for guidance and support. Calling the national helpline for substance abuse and mental health disorders is a great first step in the right direction. If you or a loved one needs help, you can find it here.