Alcohol

Enjoy Responsibly

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day. Which means many will be wearing, eating and drinking all things green. The day is named after the patron saint of Ireland who died over 1500 years ago. He is known for bringing Christianity to Ireland. As the celebration falls during lent it originally allowed for those abstaining from alcohol to be exempt for this one day. For most people this day now has very little religious connections but are still happy to celebrate. As Paddy’s Day allows for those par taking in festivities to start drinking at noon, which for a week day can certainly can feel miraculous.

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When it comes to drinking, especially when in the midst of celebrations pacing isn’t usually part of the equation. Which is why here in Dublin many locals stay out of the city centre on March 17th. Tourists come in and drink far too much, too early and things get messy. In general it seems many people don’t know their limit. Being surrounded by people who drink faster than you or having to buy rounds can add a pressure and a pace that might not suit you.

To know your limits it’s important to pay attention to what feels right for you when it comes to alcohol. You don’t have to be the same level of drunk of everyone else if you don’t want too. Especially if you suffer from anxiety, pacing can go out the window. That anxious voice that usually fills your mind might be quieted as the booze flows. However, what often happens is you wake up the next day feeling so much worst. Often because the fear of what happened while under the influence haunts you. If you have hazy memories that makes it worst and gives your anxiety more power and a louder voice.

Alcohol is a depressant which means that it takes longer for information to travel between the brain and body. This slowing down impairs everything we do but can often give an air of confidence, which is why people might do something drunk they would never do sober. Since it’s the most widely used drug in the world it’s common to make excuses for what happens drunk.

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As with all things it’s important to notice your own pattern when it comes to alcohol. Do you feel like you need a drink when you are sad/anxious/upset or angry? If that’s the case you are most likely using it to help you cope. If you feel it’s the only way you can celebrate or unwind then you most likely need it to help you relax. Using regularly in either scenario can become a problem because your body can forget how to regulate; you’re relying on a chemical to have the intended reaction. Which is why some people feel like they can only have fun while drinking.

The goal is to enjoy everything in moderation, which looks different for everyone. Today and any other day you decide to consume alcohol notice the impact it can have on you. You are fun and people will like your company even if you aren’t completely hammered. If you wake up dreading what happened the night before you’re only hurting yourself.

“Drink moderately, for drunkeness neither keeps a secret, nor observes a promise.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

St. Patrick’s Day

Growing up in Canada I remember St. Patrick’s Day being about wearing green to school and then drinking green in college. Although most people only associate St. Patricks Day with intoxication it can have a different feeling in it’s country of origin.

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Ireland is labelled by it’s own citizens as a country of begrudgers. Complaining about the rain when it’s lashing and when the sun is out, complaining that is it too hot. On Paddy’s weekend the weather worries can be tossed aside as a great buzz fills the cities. A new found patriotism takes over which is a feeling not often displayed here. Unlike North America where inhabitants can sometimes shove the love of their country down your throat.

Here patriotism seems to be an all or nothing experience, it’s usually by the whole nation, not just at the individual level. For example, when the Irish rugby team is set to win the six nations or when a female boxer is going to win gold at the Olympics. This country of clans comes together to celebrate or mourn, depending on the outcome.

A couple videos to feel some Irish pride yourself.

There are Irish expats living all over the world and although many use this day to feel some form of pride, it is still mainly associated with alcohol. Which can make it difficult to enjoy for those who do not drink. If you struggle with alcohol infused holidays I recommend you look at a post I did a few months ago.

To enjoy this time without feeling as though you’re missing out, keep your eyes peeled for events that don’t involve alcohol. In Dublin there’s a 3 day festival for people of all ages, to see all the events look here.

I hope all you enjoy this weekend and if you are Irish spend some time getting in touch with your roots. That doesn’t have to mean enjoying a Guinness.

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” – W.B. Yeats

Holiday drinking

I was featured in The Herald today talking about my drinking habits. I explained that the way I enjoy alcohol now is different to when I was younger. As now it’s more for enjoyment and less for getting drunk.

This time of year the pressure to drink to get drunk can be overwhelming. With party after party and the 12 Pubs of Christmas there’s no avoiding the drinking push. When surrounded by all this liquid cheer there are some things to remember to keep it safe:

  • Know your limit. The holidays are a time when people who don’t usually drink may have a few. Alcohol affects each and one of us differently, trying to go drink for drink may result being left more intoxicated than intended.
  • Only accept a drink when you’re ready for one. Sometimes when rounds start there may be a drink in front of you before you’ve finished the last one. You do not have to drink that, I think even Miss Manners would understand.
  • Be respectful of those who do not want to drink. I’ve enjoyed many nights out without alcohol. What I did not enjoy was people trying to pressure me to drink. I can have fun without booze, if you cannot, maybe that’s something to be looked at.

If you want some more safe drinking tips and ideas for hosting a safe party you can read more here. If you have a past history of addiction then Psychology Today has great tips to help cope with holidays.

Alcohol can be fun, it can leave us feeling merry and full of cheer. Just remember your own limits and don’t give in the peer pressure.

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” – Ernest Hemingway