a middleSage publication

Binge Drinking…C’mon get happy

Photo on 12-10-12 at 10.19 AMWhen we got to Day 3 of our “Unhappy Habit” list in the Behavior Exchange Challenge, I went looking for some more information on binge drinking and how it tied in to the ultimate goal of being happy.  Neither one of us are big drinkers, but we’ve both been married to (several years ago) alcoholics and substance abusers.  It’s not a stretch of the imagination to understand the connection of drinking (in excess) and the pursuit of happiness.  Being married to anyone who abuses alcohol is no fun.

Growing up in West Michigan there’s a radio station that we all listened to.  Every Friday, for 25 years, they played the same party song.  We even called it the Friday song. Jonathon Edwards “Shanty” was our anthem to kick off the weekend.  And we’d all sing…

Gonna sit down in the kitchen

And fix me something good to eat

And make my head a little high

And make this whole day complete

‘Cause we gonna lay around the shanty, mama

And put a good buzz on

1367689089sl047Now, in my mid (okay late) 50’s I don’t like drinking large amounts.  Alcohol affects me differently than some people.  Stage #1 I’ll get painfully honest with you ….Stage #2 Go to bed.  I work too hard to feel good and the next day after drinking in excess is just too miserable.







Gretchen Ruben talked about giving up drinking as part of “The Happiness Project” way back in 2007.  Gretchen says;

Alcohol affects me in several ways. It never really makes me friendly and jolly, as it does many people. First, I become belligerent. I have a tendency to be argumentative anyway, strengthened by going to law school, and alcohol makes me spoil for a fight. And that’s not a fun way to interact with people.

It also makes me less discreet. I say things that I wouldn’t ordinarily say, I’m less tactful, I’m more gossipy.

After these charming effects have worked on me for a while, I then become tremendously sleepy – uncontrollable yawning, pure misery.

These effects were more noticeable in situations when I wasn’t with close friends, but rather was with people I didn’t know well, or didn’t particularly like, or doing something that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Which, of course, were situations where it was all the more important that I be friendly and polite.

What made me focus on the “bad feelings” was the way I often felt the next day. I’d feel anxious and remorseful. “Was I really as obnoxious as I think?” I’d ask the Big Man, trying to get his reassurance that my bellicosity and my indiscretion were all in my mind.

The CDC issued a Fact Sheet on Binge Drinking…the tie in to all things “unhappy” are staggering!


According to national surveys

  • One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about eight drinks per binge.2
  • While binge drinking is more common among young adults aged 18–34 years, binge drinkers aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more often—an average of five to six times a month.2
  • Binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes of $75,000 or more than among those with lower incomes.2
  • Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days.3
  • Although college students commonly binge drink, 70% of binge drinking episodes involve adults age 26 years and older.4
  • The prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women.2
  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.4
  • About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5
  • More than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.5

Have you ever been a Binge Drinker?  If so, do you think you’d be happier if you didn’t use alcohol to cope with or anesthetize your feelings? If you’re not a binge drinker,do you know people who are? We’d love to hear from you…..


  1. Sue Shoemaker

    4 July

    So…do you really think that anyone who has an issue with Binge Drinking will be sober enough on THE 4TH OF JULY to respond? 🙂

    • Barbara Coleman

      4 July

      Ha! You’re so right…maybe the comments on “the day after” will be better…. 🙂

  2. You are absolutely right about binge drinking. My ex was a binge drinker, and that mess didn’t make ANYBODY at my house happy.

    Also, LOVE the CommentLuv. I wish it was on every blog.
    Elizabeth Lee recently posted…31DBBB – Day 2My Profile

    • Barbara Coleman

      4 July

      You’re signing to the choir my friend…so glad those days are behind me…now, where’s that ice tea! 😉

  3. Usually people who have binge drinking issues are those with personal problems. Some tend to drink to escape. Binge drinking can be dangerous if not dealt immediately.

    • Barbara Coleman

      11 July

      You’re so right Sue! In our month long challenge looking at 22 different bad habits keeping us from being happy, binge drinking was a mo brainier! Some of the other bad habits have been a little more difficult…

  4. Carrie

    11 July

    I am married to a binge drinking alcoholic. Has come to be the most self-centered, selfish person I have every met. It causes a very unhappy, unhealthy household.

    • Barbara Coleman

      11 July

      As they say…been there…done that! I absolutely know the hell that you are in. Have you considered getting out?

      • Anonymous

        11 July

        Yes! Everyday almost.

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