Updated: Feb 27
If you don’t drink to feel the effects of alcohol, then why drink at all? What’s the point of moderation?
These were the questions that someone asked during one of the virtual MM Meetings that I hold, and it’s a good one!
For a long time, I figured that if I truly wanted to be a moderate drinker, I could no longer drink alcohol because of the way it made me feel. I had to be drinking because I liked the taste. While I do absolutely love cucumber margaritas and the way red wine pairs with chocolate, I was never successful in my attempt to drink alcohol for the flavor. It was just the opposite. Even with full awareness of this concept, I usually drank to get drunk and then every once in a while, I would say, “wow this actually tastes good!”. More of an unexpected surprise than the reason I was drinking to begin with.
A huge part of practicing mindfulness is attention to the present and how you feel on moment to moment basis. When I started practicing, I did so while drinking and I finally became aware and started to experience a buzz from drinking alcohol. I discovered this buzz which was the REAL reason I drank and ironically, I had been drinking right through it! I realized that for years I had been missing out on the happy, fuzzy, feeling I got from drinking and had been skipping right to the dizzy, sick feeling I got when I drank too much.
Human beings for some reason seem to be wired to always want more of everything and I am sure there is a scientific reason this is especially true with drugs and alcohol. Once we start feeling something pleasant, our tendency is to seek more of it. The problem is, this doesn’t work when it comes to drinking. More alcohol does not equal a more pleasant experience, and it is our job to train our minds to realize this.
I can’t lie and say that I am an expert at being mindful or at moderate drinking. Both of these practices take time, maybe even a life time to perfect. However, with constant awareness, I can attest that over time they become more and more attainable. If you have been feeling your way toward a moderate life style, I suggest that you start practicing mindfulness while drinking and maybe for the first time ever experience the buzz you have been drinking to achieve.
The next time you sit down to have some drinks, order something you believe will taste good instead of the cheap beers on the happy hour menu. Sip your drinks slowly, fully experiencing the taste and then start to notice the way it makes you feel. Once you start to feel warm, fuzzy and relaxed, refrain from ordering another drink and allow yourself to enjoy that feeling. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised when you too, discover the buzz.