Will sipping alcoholic beverages still be trendy in 20 Years?
Let me take you on a personal journey to find out.
Do you remember how hot the scene from "Basic Instinct", when Sharon Stone's character lights a cigarette in the interrogation room, was?
I noticed that on today’s T.V., the cool characters do not portray on screen the habit of smoking Tobacco as much as they used to. Additionally the beautiful Marlboro commercials have vanished along with the habit. After many campaigns, proven research, the success of Allen Carr's book "An Easy Way to Quit Smoking" and the fact that many public places no longer accept smoking, led this activity to lose its charm in recent years.
As the environment changed, smoking is no longer socially acceptable, although regarding alcohol the point of view is still quite different.
It is still socially accepted at many events, a noted gift received at hotels, birthdays, all kinds of celebrations and even at the workplace. Additionally, the funny or charming commercials featuring alcohol are still running everywhere.
In terms of health effects on humans, there are plenty of articles praising the benefits of the compounds found in alcoholic beverages, especially the benefits of the well-know antioxidant resveratrol which is found in red wine…so Cheers!
In the last couple of years I kept noticing a new trend that has been wondering around: people have started giving up on drinking alcohol, so I decided to give it a try.
Below I would like to share my experience with you.
Preparations to sobriety
I have decided to change my lifestyle and to embark on a journey of a non-drinker and renounce alcohol altogether.
I prepared my research table by reading several articles and selecting 3 books which I thought were the most credible: “Stop drinking now” by Robin Hayley, “Alcohol Explained” by William Porter and “Easy way to stop smoking” by Allen Carr.
The reason I chose to read the last book was because twice a year, when I got really drunk at parties, I always went for a fag, and that had to stop.
In addition, Allen Carr's Easyway method proved to be the most successful of them all and was reapplied in helping people break other bad habits.
Now I will deconstruct 2 statements from the “Stop drinking now” book based on my understanding and experience with alcohol consumption. This deconstruction served as a good reason for me to give up alcohol.
1. You become an alcoholic with the first drink
The world established two groups: alcoholics and alcohol drinkers. Let’s see “What is an alcoholic?” and “What is an alcohol drinker?”.
The answer to these two questions is defined by the number of drinks one consumes. The alcohol drinker is accepted by the public and is defined as a responsible and functional adult who occasionally drinks alcohol with his/her friends, coworkers or even by himself/herself after the working hours.
Let’s take the statement and read it one more time: ‘You become an alcoholic with the first drink.’
How do you feel about it now? I know how I felt.
The problem with alcohol starts with the first drink. Alcoholic is a harsh word and this statement opened my eyes.
I am on the same path with the guy/gal that drinks the whole bottle, just some steps behind with my first “tiny” glass. After all it’s the same compound.
With smoking it is a little bit different, is in it?
When someone asks you :
“Do you smoke?”.
“Yes, but it is just one cigarette per day or just at parties once a year.”
You will still be labeled as a smoker.
Of course you can say you are an “occasional smoker”, but the “smoker” label remains and it defines you as someone who has this vice.
The same goes with cocaine and heroine users, they are drug users. There are no separate labels based on the amount that they take.
So why is it different for alcohol consumption?
As I mentioned earlier it is still accepted by society as a lifestyle and often not as a vice.
The word “drinker” is soft and common amongst the tea drinker, the coffee drinker, the smoothie drinker and the well known alcohol drinker, although the last one is not like the rest. Drinking alcohol is not about the activity, but about what you drink, it’s about the substance.
Alcohol is a depressant, anesthetic and it does not cure depression. It actually increases the levels of anxiety in our nervous system.
Once this external substance is in our bloodstream, the brain releases its own set of stimulants and stress hormones. This is a normal defense mechanism of our body to release its own chemicals when we feel fear, hunger, stress or an external stimulant.
Alcohol is not medicine or a supplement, it is actually a drug.
2. Alcohol tastes bad
I disagree with this statement.
For me and for many other people alcohol tastes good. There are so many fine tasting choices available on the market right now.
Take for example champagne, it is sweet and bubbly just like a variety of other alluring cocktails. If you are not a sweet tooth and more of an aroma therapy guy then an exquisite glass of red wine or whisky may entice you.
Actually it’s not the taste that is bad but the aftertaste. Given a group of people who consumed different types of alcoholic beverages, after a while we wouldn’t be able to tell who drank what as they all start to have the same foul odor.
No matter how expensive the drink was, the aftertaste is the same and it becomes unappealing once the aroma is gone.
What remains you ask? Well the 16%, 20%, 40% of pure alcohol.
And this is why, my dearest drinkers, alcohol makes us so unattractive, no matter how expensive the bottle was.
So now I can say without shame that I don’t want to be an alcoholic anymore.
The Final Abolishment
Did you hear about the phrase: “99% is a bitch; 100% percent is a breeze”? It is from the book called “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield.
This 100% rule worked miraculously for me on the 14th of April 2020: The day I quit drinking.
For years I have been struggling with cutting alcohol out of my life. I first gave up drinking cheep spirits and beers but I was still drinking wine. Then I reintroduced expensive rom and whiskey, only in summers I drank good unfiltered beer and the list goes on.
The result was that I was still drinking and the well-known phrases: “Never again”, “I will drink only 1 glass“, ”Only good red wine” or “Only once a week” chanted in my head every morning.
So … after applying the 100% rule, the days became a blessing and a curse at the same time. It was difficult because I was drinking alcohol for multiple reasons. I was drinking when I felt depressed, when I was happy or when I was bored. After quitting, whenever I experience one of the above, my withdrawal symptoms were heightened.
I started reading articles and research papers trying to desperately find the benefits of resveratrol or any other reasons to justify eating my steak with my dearest glass of Syrah next to it in peace.
For years and years I read and was told that red wine contains many beneficial substances. Even my grandmother (who was a doctor) gave me traditional home made red wine. A secret recipe prepared by monks in monasteries for centuries and used as medicine.
Sounds so enchanting and convincing, doesn’t it?
As it turns out, the benefits of resveratrol work miraculously on grapes that have developed this defense mechanism against fungi.
When it comes to humans, after many years of research, studies haven’t found enough evidence for the potential health benefits of resveratrol and its role as an antioxidant. This conclusion was reached by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority.
Case closed: Adieu Cabernet, Syrah and Pinot Noir!
So how did I managed to survive my withdrawal?
First I started running. As it turns out exercise increases the dopamine hormone, which is the feel-good hormone, found in our bodies.
After a couple of months my depression faded. I started feeling more motivated and alive.
Even though I was feeling happy I still had cravings for alcohol, so I tried drinking tea, water and juice. Because I didn’t have any bottles of alcohol lying around my temptations decreased.
It took me over 2 months to not give a damn about it.
I was able to go without any remorse to the supermarket or to social gatherings without buying or consuming any of it.
When I was bored, I began to concentrate on my writing, reading books, looking through training platforms and so on.
The result and the conclusions
There are many long-term negative effects of alcohol consumption: oral cancer, heart disease, premature aging, ulcer, panic disorder, major depression that can lead to suicide and the list goes on.
Regardless of how long the list is, we are not scared and it does not stop us from drinking. We continue drinking because we believe it’s cool and none of the bad stuff will happen to us.
Alcohol is a conversation starter and makes us look more mature. Why? Because you have to be over 18/21 years old to pour a glass. In fact in most of the countries people celebrate entering adulthood by raising one.
Since I quit I've been to a few meetups and what I've seen has made me ask some questions about others and about myself.
The people who I know are bright and funny when sober, after a few drinks were transformed. They acted all uncoordinated and the conversations no longer made sense. The topics were not funny or interesting, and for the first time I sat sober with my glass of pineapple juice and realized:
“Hey, it's not so cool to be drunk, in fact, it's just the opposite. Has it always been like that? Did I also look like them?”.
Honestly, I couldn't keep a proper conversation with any of them. I felt so bad for everyone watching how this drink destroyed their personalities and how it has destroyed mine for the last 19 years.
Moving on to another observation, I noticed that about 5 years ago I started having memory problems. One of the side effects of alcohol is vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized as amnesia. Of course it takes time to see if alcohol was the cause, or the stress, or both, although I see that I am starting to get sharper again. I hope by eliminating this factor I can regain my memory.
Let me share with you the benefits of my sobriety within this short period of 8 months.
I finally started getting my best quality sleep.
Consequently, it led me to become more productive during the day.
I'm not depressed anymore. In the past, I thought that drinking was a quick way to get rid of my stress, as it turned out it increased my depression even more.
My skin looks healthier, I don’t have black circles around my eyes.
Also, recently I had surgery and for the first time I am recovering very fast, which came to me as a surprise. In the past I always got an infection after surgery. Apparently my immune system is functioning way better now.
To improve on my communication skills, I applied the techniques from the youtube channel “Charisma on Command” without relying on the help from a glass of rom anymore.
What can I say?
As more people realize that they don’t want to experience the funny hungover stories and want to be present at social events, I think this alcohol trend will change and another one will be created.
Should we call it sober healthy?
I am still searching for a much cooler name…