Whether we see it in our immediate surroundings or not, data is showing that collectively, we are drinking less. Young adults who are teetotal has increased by 40% over five years and around 80% of older adults say they are making an effort to drink less.
Drinking has become so embedded within our culture that it is nearly impossible to figure out what factors could be impacting our habits more than others. Where we live, how much money we earn, and how old we are all seem to have a large role to play in understanding what is happening here.
With awareness and acceptance of events like “Dry January” continuously increasing, we are seeing the option of drinking less as acceptable realities. Social events that do not include alcohol are becoming more prevalent, creating a lot of interest in the spaces where heavy alcohol and drug use are typically the norm, like festivals and even bars.
Drinking is such a massive part of our social lives that for many of us, it feels completely out of the question to envision life without it, and that is okay too. Drinking is not necessarily “bad” for everyone. The age-old motto “everything in moderation” rings true here and a little alcohol in our lives can actually be good for us!
The bridge between “everything in moderation” and an average perception of people who do not drink can be wide and difficult. In many instances, we assume that when a person chooses not to drink, this signals a problem. We tend to assume that abstaining from alcohol means they have a problem. In today’s world where more and more people are choosing not to drink, that dynamic is changing. It is important for us all to remember that there isn’t necessarily a problem in deciding to not drink.
So why don’t we all stop? It is safe to assume that we all know the risks and the medical advice. We know what we have been told that we should be doing. Increasing awareness and accurate information is helpful, but when we’re thinking about making any type of lifestyle change, we have to dig deeper than the facts and figures.
Where could we start?
We can have honest conversations. We need to be able to talk about our drinking habits and how we truly feel about them, both with ourselves and those around us. If we aren’t honest, how can we even begin to think about making any decisions that are true to how we want to live our lives?
Take a step back. We can all take a moment (or a few,) to think about when we drink and why. Do we drink because everyone else is? Because we love it? Because it makes us feel welcome or comfortable?
See our judgements. When we think about how we feel about drinking, our perception and feelings of others typically come into play. We tend to tie a lot of value into whether someone chooses to act in similar ways to us or not, and drinking is no different. So, we can take a moment to think about how we feel about others drinking (or not drinking.)
Find what fits for us. Without judging ourselves or others, we can look at what makes us feel the best, the healthiest, and the happiest versions of ourselves. There is no one right way to do this, we have to discover it for ourselves- and remember to accept others’ choices as well.
Try making small changes. Whether the goal is to drink less, stop, or to continue in the exact same habits we have, it can be helpful to shake things up a little from time to time. When we tweak and experiment with our choices, we learn a little more about ourselves.
Be patient! Lifestyle changes, especially one that carries such a great weight within our society, take time. Wherever we are is okay, we just need to keep ‘where we want to be’ in mind.
Let us know what you think about drinking habits of the future in the comments below!
Photo credit: @Yutacar