Alcohol. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Everyone loves a drink right? It's only natural that either a long ass day at work or just at an event, its nice to have a drink. Drinking has become such a part of our lives now as its the social glue that brings many people together nowadays, it can be seen to bring a lot of happy times and memories but yet can act as a catalyst to why disagreements occur and drama unfolds. I'm sure most of everyone reading this post who has a drink now and then can relate to at least one time it affected them negatively socially. Certainly has with me.
Lets talk about some of the effects good and bad and really try and understand why we drink. I just know that for me its a definite love/hate relationship and I still try and wrap my head around why I do it.
1. Euphoria sensation. Lets start off with a nice one and one which is generally the main reason for the use of alcohol. Being in a social setting with friends or family is always something to treasure and most would say that a good way to converse with your closest is to have a good time with them over a drink either down your local, at that snazzy new bar that just opened, hit the town on a night out or even just having an evening indoors with them. Bringing alcohol into it causes you to have emotional changes and a big one is having the sense of euphoria when you are in a comfortable setting, say with friends when you literally begin to not have a care in the world, you forget the stresses of day to day life as you are having such a good time with your friends talking about funny moments and reminiscing. Its a sensation everyone craves, why wouldn't you? Its a positive emotion. The alcohol allows you to tap into that emotion a lot quicker than it would usually take you, that's why its just a good kick starter to a night. When someone asks me if I would like to meet up over a beer I'm very likely to say yes as I can get straight into having a good time. Feeling on top of the world in a euphoric state is a good response from what we are consuming and doing right there and then so it doesn't sound like a bad idea does it?
2. Something to do. How easy is it to drink? Very. Its highly accessible and will keep you occupied for quite a few hours or maybe even a day depending on your plans but drinking with friends or family is something to do when we are bored or cant think of anything else we would rather do. We use drinking as a way to also get the opportunity to talk to someone over a sensitive subject per say. Talking to someone over a drink somehow is just more calming (I find anyways) as if the conversation went quiet or awkward you can just focus on your drink and not worry about it as much.
Its also a very easy thing to do as like I said its very accessible. You can drink anywhere really (public place restricted of course). There are many many bars, clubs, pubs and cafes that serve alcohol, its hard NOT to find alcohol now. Because its so accessible we find ourselves tempted to just choose the easy option and go somewhere to drink especially if you know you are going to have a good time as mentioned above. Lets not forget its easy as a first date with someone as it gives you the opportunity to talk and listen and discover each other!
3. Its going to help on a good and bad day! Due to its emotional affects alcohol can help you celebrate when you have had a good day or help console you on a bad day. Its so nice to celebrate an event which can be just a good day at work, a wedding, a birthday etc with popping open that bottle of champagne you had at the back of the fridge. This is all because it will make that good mood so much bigger as its the main emotion going through your mind at that point and that's what the alcohol with attach itself to. This affect happens just the same when you are having a bad day or in a bad mood. The alcohol will attach itself to that emotion and perhaps help you pass through it by allowing you to explore it in more depth. This can obviously go to extreme lengths but that's bad point. Either way the alcohol will project those emotions more and relax you.
1. Those Emotional Changes. The emotion changes I have been talking about in the good points in why we drink are very unpredictable and can cause someone to be very unstable especially with a high quantity of alcohol in their system. A change in your emotional state can become instant and aggressive to the point where things can go great to awful real fast. I have experienced this and I'm sure most people who have been drunk know what I mean. Little things like the measly comment can throw you off completely and create a dramatic reaction which in your sober state you wouldn't dream of doing. The reason why this happens is that thought to react is what the alcohol latches on to and will bring it out immediately without an inch of thought. I have reacted to things or said something which I would never ever say normally and its not even how I feel or think towards that situation. Its just because instead of assessing that thought so you can reject it because that's not how you feel, you react to it without question. Something you will regret. There have been times where I have been told I said or did something the night before in which I just couldn't believe that I did simply because normally I would of erased that thought with minimal question. It can cause arguments or even fights if its bad. Its about drinking moderation for me now!
2. The extreme. With alcohol bringing out and emphasising every emotion coming out, its incredibly easy to reach an emotional extreme. This sometimes unfortunately can become fatal through addiction or the manifestation of suicidal thoughts which without alcohol may not of been created. Emotions such as anger, grief, depression can all turn into dark thoughts all due to the effects of alcohol. This is becoming more and more common with statistics rising steadily throughout the UK. Accessibility is a big issue and the lack of broadcasting of helpful institutions is also a problem (I personally believe). Drinking can be dangerous if someone reaches an extreme or they reach a personal pinnacle in their life and turn to drink. I think its easy to reach an extreme as no one ever drinks with the intention of hitting a huge low and so creeps up easily. We drink in scenarios to help us get over it or try and make us feel better but don't realise our dark drunk potential.
3. Health. Yeah so other than the one glass of red wine which is meant to help prevent disease, alcohol isn't healthy for you! Just empty calories. Now I'm not going to badger on about health risks of alcohol here as I personally don't want to know all of them either but it does have negative health effects on the heart, liver, weight and complexion. All things we can do without. I will post a link in case you do want to read more on health risks of alcohol.
What I have spoken about in this post are just some effects of alcohol and why there is this massive insecurity around it. It's something everyone wants to avoid but something they turn to in many scenarios. I personally love and hate what drinking brings to the table and its all about trying to avoid the bad points which people concentrate on but they can creep up on you and that's why there are (thankfully) services which can help. From now on I have to watch my consumption and moderate what I drink because I am unhappy of the end of nights when I have drunk too much and cause something that I never intended especially if it means friends opinions of me drop. Its never nice to apologise what was a great night/day. I wont stop drinking because its nice ha but I will be careful to ensure me and others around have a great time together. No reason for anything to be ruined.
I hope this post has been hopeful to some and I realise some of the points and pretty deep so I'm including links for anyone who feels they may have a problem or needs help.
https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/ - Health Risks of Alcohol.
https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you - Samaritans for dark or suicidal thoughts.
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/ - NHS on how to get help for alcohol misuse.