I could party with the best of them, but at some point in my late thirties I realized I had advanced along the timeline far enough for hangovers to have taken on the characteristics of recuperation from major surgery. I didn’t like feeling that bad for days on end. Common sense finally got through. It came in the form of an inner voice yelling, "Hey, asshole, stop what you’re doing to yourself.”
- A Pirate Looks at Fifty, Jimmy Buffett
A lot of us learn this lesson around the same time that Jimmy did. Then we downshift into moderation, which might be even more insidious. Alcohol is a toxin. From the minute it goes down the hatch, all your body wants to do is get rid of it. The problem is it can't do it fast enough. Alcohol is a small molecule so it permeates just about every cell in your body. It negatively affects your heart, brain, skin, liver, and sex hormones. Over time it leads to weight gain and an increased risk of cancer.
You hear the often repeated phrase, "A glass of wine a day is healthy". Don't be fooled. All those studies are commissioned and promoted by the liquor industry. Alcohol consumption is heavily ingrained in our culture, so what to do? Start with this. When you drink be conscious of both the pleasure (relaxation) and the pain (health effects) that alcohol contributes to your life. The more mindful you are about this cost/benefit ratio, the more empowered you will be to make the choice that best serves you.