BDC Guest Contributor: Mark A. Tuschel, Founder of LivingSoberSucks.com
The interesting thing about alcohol is that it’s an equal opportunity destroyer. Booze shows no favoritism or prejudice regardless of your race, religion, gender, political position or sexual preference. Booze can become a problem for anyone. But that doesn’t mean it has to or that it will.
This is not an anti-alcohol article. Alcohol can be a fun product—when used properly and within limits. I like to compare alcohol consumption with that of using a tool or a natural resource. You want to use a tool properly and correctly so that you don’t injure yourself with it. You want to use and preserve natural resources so you don’t run out of them or cause unnecessary and unwanted consequences due to overuse or misuse of the natural resources.
This takes me to the title of this article: 10,000 Drink Tickets. Let’s assume that when we are born we are all issued 10,000 drink tickets. The goal should be to make those 10,000 drink tickets last throughout your lifetime. Some people will only use a few tickets during their life. Others will use up all of their drink tickets by the time they’re 23 years old. If you use up all of your tickets too rapidly you can always buy more, but the “cost” will be higher than the price marked. Using more than you’re allotted may cost you above and beyond money. It can cost you your health. It can cost you relationships. It can cost you future opportunities with jobs or career development. It can cost you a lot of time—time spent involved in the unproductive activity of just hanging out and drinking. Time spent recuperating from a hangover. It can end up costing you pieces of your mind and chunks of your soul. The “cost” can become incalculable.
Alcohol can be a lot of fun, when used properly and within limits. What is the proper use and limit of alcohol consumption? That’s up to YOU. Sometimes it’s fun to get a little lit up. Sometimes a beer (or two) goes great with a meal or at a picnic. However, even a small amount of alcohol will change how your body and mind functions. That’s what alcohol is designed to do—change and alter how you feel. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, when consumed in moderation. But don’t be surprised if you get drunk when you drink a lot of alcohol. That’s what alcohol is designed to do.
I have witnessed how alcohol consumption evolves over time with different people. A legitimate “social drinker” may drink heavier during their youth and as they grow older in years (and their responsibilities grow), they reduce or eliminate their consumption. Some people go the opposite direction and they increase their consumption, becoming dependent on alcohol—physically, mentally and behaviorally. After just a few years of heavy consumption, the body’s organs can evolve to a point where they will only function normally only when alcohol is present in the bloodstream (physical addiction). Mentally, the mind can become dependent on the thought and emotion altering effects alcohol brings—numbing or altering thoughts and emotions. Behaviorally some people become dependent on alcohol as their social crutch. “I don’t have any fun unless I have a couple of drinks. I can’t dance unless I have a couple of drinks. I can’t relax unless I have a couple of beers after work.” Becoming mentally dependent or physically addicted to alcohol takes all the fun out of it.
Having a choice and making the proper choices is one of the joys of being an adult. I wouldn’t like going through life having someone else tell me what my limits are. During my drinking days, I wouldn’t have liked having someone else tell me, “You’re only limited to two drinks every other night.” I would rather make that choice myself. I would rather choose how and when I use my drink tickets. Sadly for me, I didn’t choose wisely. I used up my first allotment of 10,000 drink tickets by the time I was in my early twenties. Then I had to start buying more tickets and those tickets cost me a LOT. It cost me money, time, careers, missed opportunities, material possessions, a marriage and more. Those things are gone and I can’t get them back, but I can rebuild and attempt at new careers, new relationships, new goals and new desires.
I used up all of my drink tickets. I have no more left and I can’t afford to buy any more. I wish I had used my tickets more wisely during my life. Had I understood the power of alcohol, I might be able to enjoy it (with limits) today.
I believe that’s where the idea behind Better Drinking Culture can be beneficial. To help you learn ways to properly respect and enjoy alcohol without it becoming a problem for you in your life.
BDC Guest Contributor: Mark A. Tuschel