Nearly every negative consequence ASSOCIATED WITH alcohol IS THE RESULT OF DRINKING TOO MUCH
Better Drinking Culture is about drinking better and living healthier. That means understanding how to drink, knowing our limits, and not drinking beyond them. We don't drink to get drunk. We drink to enhance our experiences with friends in a positive and healthy way.
You wake up, do a double-take to figure out whose bed you’re in, and are disgusted by your own morning breath. Your body is noticeably exhausted and dehydrated, and you’d kill for a cold glass of water. Your friends are barely pulling themselves together enough to go grab some food, but the thought of eating right now is enough to make you want to puke. Your guts feel like they’re being pushed through a meat grinder. Whatever happens next is going down in the bathroom. Or coming up, if you know what we mean. You feel generally slow, something’s off. Your mind doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders, and you’re oddly a little uncoordinated. You just lost your balance and awkwardly stumbled into the door frame trying to leave the room, didn’t you? You, my friend, have a hangover—a throbbing, nauseous reminder that you overdid it last night. It’s our body telling us, “Not cool.”
...and then everything went dark. “What happened last night?” Ever wake up and you can’t remember how you got home? You check your phone and wish you didn’t? Your heart pulses with anxiety as you scroll through a thread of texts from your friends wondering where you went or if you’re okay. Your replies are all consonants, no vowels. Your timeline shows that you checked into three bars you swear you’ve never been to. And, when you nervously look at your photos, you realize that you sent one of those pics. You blacked out.
Balancing a full class load can be stressful enough as it is. Waking up feeling like death from a hangover isn’t going to help. You’ll only be able to skip class so many times before you become a “Fifth Year.” The Harvard School of Public Health found that 1 in 4 college students admit academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on papers or exams, and receiving lower grades overall.
Do you know what the difference is between being book smart and street smart? It’s the learning curve that connects knowledge and experience. This book hopes to shorten that distance for anyone who lacks either, but thinks they know better. Underestimating the likelihood that we could become a statistic if we don’t slow our drinking may result in us learning a lesson the hard way. It’s a myth that we have to personally endure failure or pain and suffering as a prerequisite to learn from experience.
Not becoming dependent on or addicted to alcohol can preserve our long-term relationship with it. Assuming we enter a relationship with alcohol with a clean slate (i.e., a healthy, stable, and capable mind and body), we become the masters of our own free will. Albeit, we must acknowledge that we’re up against constricting pressure to look, feel, and act like one of the cool kids. Conversely, we also have to accept ownership of and responsibility for own decisions.
If you’d like to spend your life enjoying a healthy relationship with alcohol, then you should drink in a way that will lower your risk for substance use disorder or, specifically, alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use—an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. Although addiction is complicated, researchers have identified four major risk factors that contribute to a person’s susceptibility to it: genetics, age, consumption behavior, and psychological and environmental circumstances.
Hurts Your Game
If you’re an athlete or someone who craves the high from physical activity or sports, you should to be extra cautious about your alcohol intake. Curling more pitchers of beer than weights will set you back in your training, on game day, and during recovery.
1) Alcohol disrupts your body’s ability to absorb protein, impacting protein synthesis that helps you build muscle.
2) Alcohol impairs sleep, which robs the body of a precious chemical called human growth hormone (“hGH”), which is released during sleep. HGH is vital in the growth and repair of your muscles, but alcohol can decrease the secretion of hGH by as much as 70%.
3) Alcohol lowers testosterone. The presence of alcohol in your body triggers a multitude of chemical processes, including the release of a toxin from your liver that attacks the amount of testosterone you have.
4) Alcohol is a diuretic. Alcohol is a diuretic, which increases the need to go to the bathroom, and thus contributes to dehydration. We all will end up breaking the seal. In turn, dehydration leads to greater risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injuries such as cramps and muscle strains.
5) Alcohol makes you FAT. Oh yeah, alcohol is also pretty unforgiving in packing on the pounds, too. Did you really think putting on the “Freshman 15” was exclusive to underclassmen? Alcohol is empty calories—meaning they provide no nutritional value. An average light beer contains over 100 calories. A glass of wine? A few more than that. A Long Island Iced Tea? You don’t even want to know. You could easily be drinking a very unhealthy and hefty meal during a night out without even realizing it.
For college students in particular, the statistics associated with alcohol-fueled sexual assault, abuse, and transmitted diseases are staggering, saddening, and reprehensible.
90% of of all reported sexual assault and rape on college campuses involved the use of alcohol by the assailant, victim, or both.
95% of all violent crimes on college campuses involved the use alcohol.
Approximately 696,000 student assaults per year involve alcohol.
Over 60% of all injuries, vandalism, and problems with the police reported on college campuses involved frequent (weekly) binge drinkers.
60% of college women who have acquired sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, were under the influence of alcohol at the time they had intercourse.
The emotional and physical scars left are nearly beyond comprehension. These realities can all be avoided if we put into check one common denominator: drinking too much. Even the most compassionate extensions of forgiveness cannot undo the gut-wrenching regret we’d feel if any of the above happened to us.
Drinking too much can make you say or do stupid stuff. If your reputation is important to you, it's important to stay in control. Doing so will eliminate a lot of unneeded drama in your life.
University of Missouri researchers found that alcohol dulls the brain signal that warns people when they are making a mistake, ultimately reducing self-control. This often resembles a sense of false courage, which can lead people to do things that are not only dumb, but very dangerous. From hooking up with that weird guy/girl at the bar, to getting into a car while intoxicated... the range of possible regrets you face is enormous when you drink way beyond your limits.
Alcohol creates a distorted view of a sober reality. Don’t let the initial fun buzz of your first or second drink throw you. Being impaired overrides clarity, and replaces it with shortsightedness. It alters our ability to express our feelings calmly. It also complicates social cues registering as inappropriate, which can swing our internal pendulum in opposing extremes. This often resembles a sense of false courage, which can lead people to do things that are not only dumb, but very dangerous. From hooking up with that weird guy/girl at the bar to getting into a car while intoxicated, the range of possible regrets you face is enormous when you drink beyond your limits.
Drinking too much burns bridges. Sometimes they can never be rebuilt.