Why I stopped drinking alcohol
I recently quit drinking for good, and I'd like to share here some reasons that pushed me in this direction. For a long time, I was thinking about quitting, without actually doing it. I rarely drank more than one beer, nothing dangerous at first sight. I wasn't addicted so I have to admit that it was easy for me to stop. I have found few testimonies of "healthy" people who made this choice. Is it taboo ? Alcohol is a legal drug, widely consumed in occidental societies. Six months ago I decided to refuse alcohol, and see what would happen. Here is a short essay about why I decided to stop.
For my health
This may sound obvious. But as I said, I was not a big drinker... so what was the problem for my health? Well, the problem was precisely this low alcohol consumption: I could not get used to it. So the effects were even stronger! Even with a simple beer, I had some hangover symptoms next morning. My body was sending me subtle, but unpleasant distress signals. It was against what I was struggling the rest of the time... being more attentive to my body, and taking care of myself, trying to feel good. Would you give alcohol to your pet, to your houseplant, to a child? I don't want to poison myself, so I decided to stop.
Virilistic and self-destructive culture
Like meat, alcohol is often associated with masculinity and virility. It is a central element of French patriarchal culture. Surprisingly, this self-destructive behaviour is socially encouraged. It is in good taste to be resistant to high levels of alcohol. Overcoming this excess of alcohol seems a guarantee of strength and vigour. This role is often given to men. We are challenged to drink, and see who can bear it all night. Is it a sort of adoration for self-destruction? Drunken, we each become a grotesque character in the great human comedy. I don’t have any taste for self-destruction, and I oppose the choice of consicence! To remain clear-sighted, conscious of being alive, of being at peace all the time. Because I don't like this bizarre behaviour, I have decided to stop.
Allowing others to refuse
Like all shared behaviours, drinking alcohol is a very social act. We often find ourselves taking an extra drink to accompany the group. In spite of ourselves, we sometimes give in to this conviviality. But what happens if someone refuses? This opens a gap in the social ritual. This become the perfect opportunity for the other guests who wish to remain sober. They just have to follow me and refuse. To give others the opportunity to do the same, I decided to stop.
You have to be healthy to overthrow capitalism
I think that capitalism, by forcing us to work a lot and to overproduce, makes us sad and dissatisfied. So sad and dissatisfied that we need to forget. Alcohol plays a role in tempering discontent, in silencing social and ecological struggles and in making the masses drown their woes in alcohol. I think that unbridled industrial capitalism does not create the condition of our health but makes us weak and dependent by giving us a lot of sugar and addictive substances. Alcohol has a prominent place among them.
Finally, I would say that when you stop drinking, a blind spot appears: there are so few alcohol-free options in most party places. There is a whole area of food culture that has yet to be discovered! Small breweries, and big brands are looking to develop alcohol-free drinks. There are many reasons why people can refuse alcohol (pregnancy, religion, health). It is therefore essential to develop this offer for greater inclusiveness. I'm glad to be part of this discovery and to try all the softs drinks on the menu.