Summer Cometh with Booze in Hand

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Here comes summer, and we’re about to see our favorite activities come to life.  Camping. Swimming.  Festivals and music.  The Beach.  Canoeing. Hiking. Boating. Water-skiing.  Backyard parties and get together’s – Family Reunions.  Okay, maybe that’s not your favorite, but whatever you like to get up to in the summer…I am sure that you’ll notice that so many of these activities have one thing in common – booze.

Summer never met a drink it didn’t like!

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When the weather is fine, you got drinkin’, you got drinkin’ on your mind!

Sure, we understand the impulse to let loose, to relax, to enjoy sunny weather and vacations.   But when we encourage restraint (and we’re just about to), we do so for the good of your health.  And of course, there’s a reductionist theory out there that as long as we don’t drink and drive, nothing is amiss.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth – such oversimplification.  Drinking and driving, while idiotic and dangerous, is only one measure of a complex and multi-layered alcohol mosaic, that includes cancer, injuries and falls, impulsiveness leading to sex, STI’s and unwanted pregnancy, aggression, dependence.

At least one of those things you’ve seen.  And if none of the above apply, how about over-eating, needless calories, rash thoughts turned into regretful words, embarrassment, or relationships put under strain…?  Alcohol has many impacts beyond laughter and reduced inhibitions.  And you kinda know it, but your go there anyway – because it’s a habit, or you love it, or it’s what expected, or all three.

So when your vacation or your weekend or your afternoon at the cottage begins…we encourage you to enjoy in moderation, mostly because you know you should, most of the time. To adhere, if you can, to the low-risk drinking guidelines.  Yes – by all means – enjoy your vacation.  You deserve it.

Relax.  Read.  Ponder. Indulge.  Bask in the glow of the sunset and forget every thought.   But also, please, for you…when you crack open that Chianti…come back around and think.  You deserve that too.

Down the Chute to Moderated Consumption

1024px-Big_chute_acansinoI am ruminating on the motivations to cut back on alcohol consumption.   Not just my own drinking, as despite being the primary blog man for this spot, I do occasionally drink.   But for anyone’s drinking.

I’ll guess when we feel the urge to change our deleterious behaviours, it comes from wisdom combined with a dose of vulnerability… or a sense of our own mortality.

I’ll give you a comparative.  When I was a younger man, we used to swim in a run-off channel that ran parallel to the Big Chute on the Severn River.  This secondary channel had been blasted out by dynamite. As such, it had several odd cliffs and high spots where one could leap off, plummet to the water, get swept into the current, and emerge, bobbing up 20 feet away.

Later, in my late 30’s I went to look at the channel, for nostalgic reasons…and gazed upon the perch where I had historically leapt for my life.  I was in shock.   I thought, ‘I must have been insane!’.  Truly, I thought if I had done it but one more time, I would have slain myself, the place being so perilous.

So now, I read this article in the Toronto Star about older folks being urged to reexamine their drinking habits.  Because:

  • As we age, we become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, chemically, physically
  • We have less water content and less muscle mass in our bodies as we age, meaning alcohol takes longer to process
  • We need to work at little harder to remember, to concentrate on tasks like driving. Impairment makes things much harder
  • Our health on the whole can deteriorate, and alcohol can make things worse.

Now, I am not saying that having a drink is like jumping off tall rocks into a small pool of swift flowing water.  But what I am saying is that if we could look at our drinking from the outside, or with fresh eyes somehow, we might see that the choices of our youth might not match the needs and realities of our more mature selves.

Whale Sharks and Sting Rays and Alcohol, Oh My!

sarahI was recently on vacation at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico.  The reason for the trip was to swim with whale sharks and other marine life, of which I did plenty.

It was amazing to swim next to a giant whale shark and look into its eyes, in the middle of the open ocean.  I also saw sea turtles, sting rays, baby squid and beautiful exotic fish.

I’ve been to an all-inclusive resort before and of course, alcohol was ever present, even more so than I remember from previous trips.  I think I was hypersensitive to it, for two reasons:

  1. Within my job as a nurse,  I work to promote the low risk drinking guidelines
  2. I was with my young daughter, who’s becoming more and more aware

Alcohol was everywhere. There was booze in the fridge in my hotel room, at the swim up bars, bottles of wine at every table, and mimosas were offered for breakfast.  Each night there were prizes during the entertainment, all alcohol – either tequila or red wine – and the poor kids that won one such game had to forfeit their prize.

Luckily, we spent most of our time in the water, so my daughter did not witness anything distasteful in relation to other vacationers getting intoxicated.  For certain, it helped that we were in bed a lot earlier than most…

Have you experienced or witnessed any alcohol-related happenings while at an all-inclusive resort?  Tell us your story.

2015Tulum Beach