“We often go on autopilot, and instead of understanding if we like alcohol, or how it makes us feel, we follow friends and drink what they drink, without awareness”
If in my first twenty years I drank to drink, now I only drink if I like something. The derogation can be, at most, a gin and tonic in a plastic cup at a concert or an industrial beer on the beach. I do a job that exposes me to alcoholic opportunities so I always try to keep a few alcohol-free days a week. I still go overboard but less and less (and with ever-worse aftermath of the hangover) and no longer intentionally. IT WILL NOT BE PRACTICAL ALREADY MINDFUL DRINKING WITHOUT KNOWING? Should I write a book on it?
The term was born from a book written by the journalist Rosamund Dean in 2017 that promises to help cultivate a new, healthy and aware relationship with alcohol: not to quit, but to moderate
I speak now of Mindful Drinking not surprisingly: from the photos of old people who display signs asking for alcohol to the memes on the alcoholic breakfast it seems clear that everyone (all those who habitually consume alcohol) is drinking even more than usual. It is an unimaginable stress situation. I am not surprised that the consumption of alcohol has increased as well as, given in hand, the consumption of “comfort” food has increased. One example above all: in quarantine the home delivery company Winelivery recorded increases of 250%.
But this deregulation is it dangerous to alcohol? If we can shrug and say “Okay, I’ll open a bottle again tonight, I don’t have to drive, I have two aperitifs on Zoom and then oh, there is a world pandemic”, what are the effects on the long term? Are we at risk of compromising our health or creating an addiction?
What is mindful drinking
A few days ago I ran into an article on mindful drinking. The name is borrowed from mindful eating, in which the principles of mindfulness are applied to eating, as the psychotherapist explains to me Lara Ferrari: “Often it is trivialized and it is thought that mindful eating is just tasting the food focusing on the sensations. In the protocol taught in the ME courses, the daily practice of conscious nutrition is accompanied by a formal meditative practice. It is a non-prescriptive approach, unlike “traditional” diets, which does not have weight loss as its main purpose but the reappropriation of a peaceful relationship with food. It is a path that begins with a psychologist and not with a nutritionist or dietician. “
“He suggests pretending to drink gin and tonic, while instead it’s just tonic water, so ‘none of your friends will make fun of you.’ But what kind of friends do you have?”
It seems almost counterintuitive to talk about meditation techniques applied to drinking. And indeed Mindful Drinking turns out to be anything but a formal meditative practice. Apparently the term originated from a book written by the journalist Rosamund Dean in 2017 that promises to help cultivate a new, healthy and aware relationship with alcohol: not to stop, but to moderate. The book is part of a movement that has grown exponentially in recent years, especially in the United States, which does not want to push people not to drink but to drink less, as the CLUB SÖDA NYC, a network that organizes non-alcoholic events.
And even the Mindful Drinking festival was born. Sifting online (no, I didn’t want to buy the book), it seems that the basic principles are: to make a preventive plan of when to drink, what to drink, where; don’t be bribed (with frankly ridiculous advice like pretending to drink a gin and tonic when it’s just tonic water so none of your friends will make fun of you – but what friends do you have?); do not drink as a relief mechanism from negative emotions. Dean says she personally sets the rule of three: three days a week, maximum three drinks. A prescriptive approach decidedly different from that of mindful eating.
“Let’s start by asking ourselves questions: what am I drinking the best choice for me? How does it make me feel? It will make it easier for us to stop when we want.”
“I don’t like alcohol so I don’t text!” Ferrari laughs. “First of all we must differentiate those who have problems related to alcohol consumption from the so-called social drinker. We often go on autopilot, and instead of understanding if we like alcohol, or how it makes us feel, we follow friends and drink what they drink, without awareness. Let’s start by asking ourselves questions: what I’m drinking the best choice for me? How does it make me feel? It will make it easier for us to stop when we want. “
Ferrari notes that this approach may be better than “all or nothing.” When we have rules, we always tend to transgress them. We don’t drink anything for a while, then we give the go-ahead … and we end up feeling very bad. “Mindful drinking and mindful eating are not perfectly superimposable but” surely it is useful, while drinking, to realize if you do is doing to handle negative emotions. A bit like emotional eating. It happens to eat a biscuit just to get up or drink a glass of wine if you are depressed or angry. But it would be better to realize what emotions are underneath and wonder if alcohol, or food, are the only way we manage them, those emotions. In this perspective, mindful drinking can perhaps help us regain possession of moderate drinking.“
Unfortunately I have to remind you of one thing. The Ministry of Health found itself forced, among other fake news, to deny the alleged beneficial properties of alcohol. And he took the opportunity to add that “Abusing it increases the risk of infection because it “damages all components of the immune system” […] In fact, there is a dose dependent correlation between alcohol consumption and viral infections. ”
Another reason why getting drunk every night on the sofa is not exactly a brilliant idea. Remembering that moderation is also needed in moderation: as soon as I see my friends again, I plan to take a colossal hangover. But above all remembering that, if you are afraid of developing an addiction to alcohol, there is no shame in asking for help.
Follow MUNCHIES on Facebook is Instagram.
follow Giorgia on Instagram .