When 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
Now, 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…..