What brings you pleasure? What makes you happy? And why do these things make you happy? I’ll start this write up with an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (it’s the modern translation of a dialogue between Macduff and Porter):
Macduff: What three things does drink make a man do? Porter: Drinking turns your nose red; it puts you to sleep, and it makes you urinate. Lust it turns on but also turns off. What I mean is, drinking stimulates desire but hinders performance. Therefore, too much drink is like a con artist when it comes to your sex drive. It sets you up for a fall. It gets you up but it keeps you from getting off. It persuades you and discourages you. It gives you an erection but doesn’t let you keep it, if you see what I’m saying. It makes you dream about erotic experiences, but then it leaves you asleep and needing to pee.
Before I climb my soapbox, let me say that I’m not trying to judge those who drink. Whatever you do with your life or time is not my business. My business is the consideration of interesting phenomena, and drinking happens to be one of them.
At some point in life, we come across something that brings us inexplicable pleasure; food, sex, alcohol, weed, but I wonder why alcohol should be a part of that mix (I don’t know why weed is either, as for sex … is that a bird in the air?). No one was born with the desire for alcohol, but these days some live as though they’d die without it. I thought about it a bit and my thoughts led me to this obvious realisation: People usually start drinking as a result of social influences; then they discover what alcohol can do to/for them (never mind Porter), and just like a reliable friend, they keep it close by. It becomes an elixir for some; something that makes everything alright. Alcohol may have some benefits, depends on what your poison is, but unlike most of everything else, imbibing large quantities never brings any fortune. And the problem is we usually never know when to say stop. So why start in the first place?
Alcohol is sine qua non to celebrations of any kind, except maybe religious celebrations, world over. Without it, the party really doesn’t get started, and with it, we sometimes become the life of the party. They say alcohol is good in small quantities, and that’s probably only because it doesn’t affect your behaviour when you take small doses, but does it have any adverse ‘unseen’ effect to your health? My research tells me it does, and if i was to advise anyone, I’d say stay away from it. I don’t think it really does any good, but then what do I know. The desire to socialise and be a part of a group is what usually drives our choice when it comes to drinking (except you are the type who likes to nurse a bottle at home). If your friends are the drinking type, and you derive great value from your association with them, you’d most likely take to drinks, and this habit usually culminates in our dependence on alcohol. We become thirsty for it. We are not able to socialise without it. When we don’t drink, we don’t feel complete.
Yearly, alcohol ‘kills’ 2.25 million people worldwide (averagely), it creates an economic burden running to billions of dollars in some countries, and it’s also the cause of many social ills. So I think it’s important to know why we drink, perhaps with the aim of putting a check to it, or stopping it. We usually feel we are in control of things we do until something bad happens. I came across an article that explains the negatives of excessive alcohol consumption. It says …”Binge drinking can cause blackouts, memory loss and anxiety. Long-term drinking can result in permanent brain damage, serious mental health problems and alcohol dependence or alcoholism”…. The article further states that it’s important to know your limit. It also mentions the various ways alcohol can affect the body (it can cause cancers, affects heart circulation, affects the skin, the kidney, the pancreas, bones, intestines, fertility in men etc). I wonder why some still drink heavy!
I think there really is a downside to drinking, whether or not the behaviour is abused. So my question now is why drink? On the other hand, why not drink, right? Why not just eat healthy foods, drink water or fresh juice, have healthy sex, and leave the alcohol out? Would life be less interesting that way? Would you really be missing out on anything if you don’t drink? You’d definitely be missing out on hangovers and slow mornings, and maybe you’d extend your life span a bit. But then there are people who drink alcohol and live into their 90s. They may not ‘live well’ into the twilight of their lives, but alcohol may not be what would finish them off. So maybe it depends on your body type. I hear that argument a lot. But you wouldn’t go to a doctor to ask to verify if your body type is suited to alcoholic beverages or maybe to ask what type will do you good. If we won’t do that, do we now take the chance, become friends with alcohol, just to explore the possibility of enjoying an interesting or more colourful life? Or do we play ‘it’ safe, stay away from alcohol and seek other pleasures that’ll keep us healthy in the long run? The choice of course is always yours.
Personally, I can go months without remembering I haven’t had any alcohol, because I never took a liking to it. Beer is one of the bitterest things I’ve ever tasted, so there’s no way I’d like it. Liquor leaves me wondering why I took it in the first place. Also, alcohol does interesting things to you. It loosens your tongue and can taint any honour or dignity you may have had. Because of it, some men have children they are not even aware of.
It’s a boy’s best friend. As a young adult, you have inhibitions because you are just coming into yourself and so you sometimes need an agent to help you loosen up. Alcohol does exactly that. It makes you say and do things that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. You discover your gift of oratory and solicitation. Those are good because you see a side of you that you only before then wished existed. Now you can see that part in action. But the problem arises when it’s only after you have had a drink or two that you are able to express yourself so smoothly.
I have lived a third of my natural life and I hope to do the remainder in reasonable health. So I have to not do things which will certainly prevent that from happening, whilst still enjoying each day. Are there alternatives to alcohol? They say Marijuana liberates the mind. I’ve never taken it, so I can’t recommend it, but a lot of people say so. A passion for being with the fairer sex may also be a sufficient replacement for alcohol, but I don’t know any great man who made chasing the opposite sex his favourite pastime.
Man is a social being. We must socialize. It therefore is imperative that you form your social circle wisely so that you will better yourself by it; and don’t forget to consider the negatives. Don’t be a Mr Follow Follow. The earlier you realise that a lot of the decisions you make are borne out of the fact that you are a social manimal, the better. And you have to consciously live life in this context. You have to live purposefly with intention and know why it is you do anything. You also have to understand the consequence of anything and everything you do, to you, and to your body, else you’ll end up doing things that you have no reason to, living life listlessly, like a ship without a sail. If you must drink, please drink; but if you don’t know why you drink, consider the alternative.
By the way, if you see me with a Bloody Mary, don’t judge me. Sometimes, the spirit is weak, and the flesh is willing!