“Don’t be afraid to try new things. They aren’t all going to work, but when you find the one that does, you’re going to be so proud of yourself for trying.” — Anonymous
I’m not 1000% sure, but I feel pretty confident that I coined the term alcohol-consciousness.
From all the numerous sobriety and addiction-fighting/preventing books that I’ve read in the past, I’ve never heard the term used before.
I pretty much created it because I felt the term sober or sobriety was a bit too hardcore for me. For me, when I heard the word sober used, I felt like it automatically implied that I was well on my way to ruining my life completely and ending up in an alley asking for money for “bus fare.”
And while it may be true that my relationship with alcohol was more than just casual, I wouldn’t have put myself in that category of individuals who carry around sober chips to celebrate their annual milestones.
When I stopped drinking alcohol, I didn’t know if I was going to drink again, and to say that I was sober seemed to imply that I had completely given it up as an option. Therefore, the term never felt quite right.
Instead, however, I felt I had an “awakening” to alcohol’s true dangers of which I had no idea before.
As shared in a previous article, Why Alcohol is the REAL Gateway Drug, we were always warned in school of the dangers of marijuana and other “hard” drug use but were often led to believe that alcohol was fine for you, as long as you didn’t do it while you were driving or if you were under the age of 21.
But as I became aware of the science of how alcohol almost creates a need for itself as we consume it and that more and more doctors are beginning to say that there are absolutely NO levels of drinking that are good for your health, I decided the term alcohol-conscious felt right because I was now “woke” as it relates to these truths.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Alcohol-consciousness doesn’t mean that you will never drink again. It doesn’t even mean that you aren’t drinking right now.
What it does refer to is that you have been made aware of the dangers of alcohol, are aware of how it could cause major problems in your life (either health-wise or non-health-related), and you have made a decision to not allow it to do so.
For some people (like me), this means that you will not drink at all because you just don’t have the off switch to be able to stop yourself over-indulging once you pour that first glass of Ciroc Raspberry with Pink Lemonade Crystal Light.
For others, this could simply mean that you are constantly monitoring how much you drink and looking for the signs of dynorphin/endorphin alteration that could turn your casual, take-it-or-leave-it drinking into something much more sinister that you can’t control.
Most people drink consistently from their high school or college years with no sense of this happening to them over time. They drink blissfully, thinking it is the harbinger of good times and excitement in their life, without realizing the tremendous tradeoffs they are making with each day or night of excessive drinking.
It’s about recognizing the unhealthy relationship that alcohol has with stress and anxiety and identifying other alternatives to use to prevent alcohol from becoming a crutch.
It’s about making sure you stay on the parameters of no more than the daily recommended amount and being leary enough to check yourself when we realize that you are going over that amount on a consistent basis.
Alcohol-consciousness is just about understanding how alcohol works, seeing the dangers for what they are, and monitoring oneself to make sure that these dangers are not realized over time.
HOW DO YOU START?
For subjectivity’s sake, I say to just start with the old Google machine and put in a few queries to see what the consensus is about alcohol dangers. A few queries that I would suggest would be:
“Daily recommended drinking limit”
“How much drinking is bad/good for you”
This will give you a plethora of articles that you could use to decide have you been given all the information you need to truly understand how alcohol affects your life or is there more out there that you should research to make sure you are in the know.
From there, I’m sure you will find a number of different resources that will help you get the additional information that you need to fully educate yourself.
Since I’ve been made alcohol-conscious, it’s been my mission to share this with others, so they can experience the joys of life the same way I am.
Hopefully, this article inspired you to be one of those people.