Drinking = Norm?

Why is it that our society is so quick to judgmentally ask “why aren’t you drinking?” like asking, “what’s wrong with you (for not drinking)?” but yet we never ask, “Why are you drinking?” When did drinking become such a normalized standard? I am not even going to address the effects of alcohol on the body, skin, mind, etc. I am talking here about how drinking has become a cultural norm.

Yes, I know, some of you who know me are probably rolling your eyes saying, “umm…. Deanna, who are you to be making these statements when you teach yoga at breweries.” and yes you are correct I do. But have you ever really noticed? I don’t drink after classes. Actually, I rarely drink at all and recently I have decided to stop drinking, I have my reasons why I have never been a big drinker, even in college I was the designated driver but we will discuss that in a little bit.

Back to yoga at breweries – or wineries – for a moment. I went round and round about this before taking that step. I was looking for ways to motivate, inspire, and even nudge people to just try yoga. To eliminate the what holds a lot of people back from stepping on their mat for the first time. I knew I had to make yoga more accessible and more appealing. So yes, meeting them where they were at plus finding a location that was large enough became a must. Hence, yoga at breweries. Now just because the price includes a drink does not mean I am pushing people to drink alcohol. That is they’re choice. There are other beverage options.

Local craft beer in Costa Rica

If I could find businesses with large enough spaces that were not alcohol based I would be there. My vision was that people would be more willing to try yoga for the first time, then after a few classes would realize the benefits and want to seek out more which would lead them to the local studios.

This post wasn’t really supposed to be about yoga. Let’s get back to the real topic. The topic of how most things nowadays revolve around drinking. How drinking is a societal norm. When did we become so dependent on alcohol – a life-depleting and even sometimes life-debilitating substance? Why are those who make the conscious decision NOT to drink judged or at least seen as the odd ones?

Now, I am not judging those who do drink, again that is a choice but so is not drinking. Lately, the last few times I have had a drink (typically a craft beer) I have woken the next day feeling like crap. Now, I was only drinking one beer maybe once every 2-3 weeks because let’s be honest, I like craft beer; trying new flavors and different kinds. But, I have realized that I don’t want to feel like crap.

The funny thing is, I feel that people think if they go out they must drink. Where did that belief come from? I can go out and hang out with friends, even at a bar, brewery or winery and not drink alcohol. Yes, that can be a thing. I know it might seem foreign to some people but I have actually done it for years, even in college like I stated above.

This post was really meant to be around the judgment I feel from others at times for not drinking. It’s my choice. It’s what I choose because I feel it is the best decision for me. I am not saying I will never have an alcoholic drink again but for right now I choose not too. There should be no need to judge that or me. Me, not drinking does not effect or affect you and your life in any way. Unless, of course, my choice to not drink makes you question your choice to drink. If that’s the case, we can talk about that or not. You can choose to continue to judge me or you can get honest with yourself and begin to dissect that projected judgement. It’s all about personal choices.

We were NOT drinking. The bartender thought it’d make a better photo if he staged it look like we were drinking hard liquor in Costa Rica

For me, my choice to not be a ‘drinker’ was because my dad was an alcoholic (and my grandparents). I had a stint of drinking a lot which to most people’s surprise was my freshman year of high school, yes high school. I kept a bottle or peppermint schnapps (gross I know) in my gym locker all year plus random other kinds of alcohol. Then, at one point I had a realization….I was becoming my father. I did not want to be my father in that aspect. You see my dad and I are (were) a lot a like and this was one area I did not want to follow in his footsteps so…towards the end of my freshman year of high school I quit drinking.

One has to ask, is being part of the norm and drinking a beer (or whatever you fancy) more important than feeling one’s best? Than being one’s best? Is alcohol becoming a habit, a crutch or being used as a distraction from what’s really going on inside or in one’s life. Has drinking become a coping mechanism? Only you truly know. Before you quickly jump to an answer…allow yourself to get honest, completely and openly honest with yourself. That is for you to decide and not judge others for what they decide.

One thought on “Drinking = Norm?

  1. Great essay. Great question. Just pausing to self-observe is a really constructive and yogic thing to do. Svadyaya, the 4th Niyama (the 2nd limb of the 8-limbed path), means self-study. And, of course, every asana practice, and, by extension, every moment of our day is an opportunity for self-study. Why am I putting alcohol or tobacco or too much food or too much TV, etc. into myself? Again, as you point out: No judgment, just curiosity.

    Liked by 1 person

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