The Spirits of the Season!

4168355718_b5c8cfccf4_oHo ho hold my beer.   Holiday season is here.

Time to eat turkey and fall into a couch coma.

Time to tolerate our extended family by sousing ourselves with gin and Wink soda.

Time to set up the Elf-on-the-Shelf surveillance to ensure a few weeks of good behavior.

Consume many products.  Venerate the notion of Santa, and the goodness he represents. Generously give a few bucks to the folks jingling the bells at the LCBO.

Feel the spirit.   No, no, really.  Pause and feel it.

Buy a tag from someone in front of the grocery store.  Wrap gifts.  Go to large distribution outlets and buy more things.  Breathe.  Listen to carols.  Hang stuff on the tree.  Hang lights on the trees outside.  Make stuff out of chocolate.  Eat chocolate.  Breathe again.

This is Christmas, X-mas, Yuletide. Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays.

It is a crazy, whirlwind season.  Nowadays, it’s near impossible book anything non-Christmas into December, because everyone is so busy, well, doing Christmas.  Office parties, family parties, dance squads… curling clubs, hockey teams, gymnastics organizations…church societies, parades and downtown business associations.  They are all doing Christmas. It’s fun, it’s nuts and it’s beautiful.

But part of much of that, and part of the holidays on the whole…is drinkin’.  Lotsa drinkin’.

And eatin’.  Like it’s our last meal before the last dawn, generally.

You know that feeling, when you feel like a beached and inebriated whale, washed up on Aunt Margaret’s couch?

Is it any wonder, then, that many people choose to ‘go dry’ in January as a way to slowly allow for the reintroduction of water and vegetables…?

This Christmas season – try to go easy.  And if you don’t – get Ready to be Thirsty!

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Photo by Katrina Cole, via Flickr.  Creative Commons license, no changes.

The Daunting Power of New

If you’ve been following along here at Ready to be Thirsty, you know there’s a challenge coming up after Christmas and the New Year to go booze free – a ‘dry month’, in January 2017.  Well, instead of going completely cold, you could instead cut back, or give yourself a handful of select drinking days.  Whatever works for you.

What’s the point of it, Doug?’

Well, thank you…I am so happy you asked.

The point, good fellow, kind madam, is to make the attempt to go without the alcohol for a month to….well, to get healthy.  Or…to become conscious of your drinking patterns.  Or…to gain insight into something new, a healthy habit, find joy, renew a long-lost activity, or otherwise discover something besides drinking (which we often do for entertainment, or to facilitate/lubricate the same).  Heck, you could discover a new YOU.

According to studies and news from the Brits – whose Dry January campaign has followers in the millions:

  • the value is in the attempt, succeed or otherwise.  The attempt makes all the difference…
  • many persons who did the challenge, perfectly or otherwise, carried healthier habits forward for six months, a year, longer
  • they tried new things, while escaping their routines.  They learned about themselves, their friends, their habits, and dare I say it, their spirit….!

So, if that sounds interesting to you, come to our Facebook page, ‘like’ it, follow along in January.  Maybe challenge a friend to do the same and dare to get Thirsty

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PONG !!

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No, not that Pong.  This Pong:

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Beer Pong.  You know, that game involving ping pong balls and Solo cups and lotsa heavy drinking.

And we can find beer pong ‘kits’ and other drinking paraphernalia at local grocery stores and big box (department) stores that sell beer as an extension of their grocery department.  Funnels or beer ‘bongs’.  Drinking games. Other fun stuff.  All to encourage mass consumption and intoxication.

People love it so much, they’ve built interactive, electronic beer pong tables, as covered by the CBC.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a tad irresponsible to be marketing Beer Pong and the tools of crazy drunkenness in the same place they sell toys, cheese and baby clothes.  We have children, many of whom that cannot discern between colorful things meant for amusement or more nefarious activities, that are going to get the wrong impression.

Yo Ho ! There be warnings ahead

 

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There are rumblings from the far side o’ the future that we may end up with warning labels on our alcoholic beverages.   Which might be interesting, considering there is advocacy for nutrition labels as well.  You know – highlighting all those ’empty calories’ – energy without nutrition.

I am no expert on the law, but considering what I do know about legislation, I’ll guess the reason you have a listing of ingredients and calories on a Pizza Pop  but not on a beer…is because, legally speaking, beer is not Food !  Food has the potential to provide your body with important sustenance, vitamins, protein.  Whereas beer is….well, you know what beer is.

Labels to better enrich our understanding of what we are getting up to and in to when we drink has been studied, such as in the video above from Global News.  If certain advocacy groups succeed (such as health agencies who want you to live long and prosper) – you’ll be see labels like the ones below, as highlighted by CTV.

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The question is whether these kinds of labels are effective in changing drinking behaviors.  I think it’s fair to say that they raise awareness about the issue, as they are so graphic as to be unavoidable and unmistakable.

But they would be just one piece of a change in our social philosophy regarding alcohol – where it begins with more persons working to have more non-drinking days, as part of the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.

 

Truth in Advertising ??

A compelling documentary on alcohol is attached to this Blog.  It’s long-ish, but maybe you’ll find it as fascinating as I did.

After all – the ‘truth’ in regards to alcohol is a complex one. We’ve got it sold by huge corporate entities, or used as liquid leverage to stimulate tourism.  We love to drink it at parties and gatherings, we use to amplify emotion, and to celebrate and to commiserate.

We are addicted to it…as individuals, and as a society who seems to want it ever more varied and available.

It correlates with crime and violence.

It creates disease.

It facilitates a party.

It shores up confidence (or is it impulsiveness?)

Alcohol has very complex and interwoven truths that filter down through every layer of our society and social lives.  It generates interesting and wild stories.  Some such stories have tragic endings.

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Acting on Impulse

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As they often are, they are doing studies.

This time, the Wall Street Journal reports on how alcohol affects our food-related decision making.  It appears that alcohol consumption creates impulsiveness that might add to our waistlines.  Evidently, booze makes us reach for extra food, chips, snacks, salty and crispy things, grease.

When we drink, we engage in reckless behaviour compared to our sober selves.  We eat.  And…we say things we might not have otherwise.  We take risks.  We use poorer judgement.  We might have encounters of the sensual and physical variety. We react more emotionally.

There’s a science to this…but I think we knew this already.  Alcohol and the next day hangover meal – where one might head to McDonalds or a greasy spoon for breakfast – is a ritual for some.  And the street-meat vendors outside the clubs take advantage of our late evening quick reach for grub. Heck, I thought that’s why Mr. Sub would even bother staying open so late…the after-the-bar-closes-down traffic.

Alcohol ignites our limbic system.  This means we are subject to hyper-emotional states, and our memory can be impaired.  Alcohol also affects our cerebral cortex, impairing our senses, and shutting down areas in our brain responsible for reasoning and good judgement.  Is it any wonder we might then reach for the corn chips?

 

#R2BT Kicks Off !!

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If you’ve been following along on here on the Thirst blog site, or on Facebook as part of the Ready to be Thirsty Community…or you’ve gone even farther and committed to #R2BT challenge, you’ll know that February has kicked off with a boom!  Or, perhaps more accurately, the absence of…

Akin to the non-explosion of fireworks, we’ve begun to hold back from alcohol, to abstain, to withhold, to withdraw.  To use a fancy old word, we’ve begun an abeyance.

And yes, some of us are actually enjoying this non-event, as a time to reflect, dry-out, learn about ourselves, do something different.

But we know there are many temptations to come.  Maybe you like a glass of wine after work.  Maybe you party it up on Fridays with the neighbours.   Maybe you have a dinner party to attend and the company is better when drenched in a little booze.  Or, perhaps you have a concert or sporting event to go to, where excitement and enthusiasm is key.

Certainly the Superbowl comes to mind.  Heck, you don’t have to like or even comprehend Football to enjoy food, drink, merriment and frivolous excess. That’s why they throw parties!  And even here in Canada where hockey is still king, there are still thousands upon thousands who will take in the game, drink gallons of beer, and rejoice in the biggest single-game sporting event in the world.

Beyond liquid excitement is the pressure of others, drinking alongside us in social situations.  There is still often social leverage to drink up, and everyone feels it, whether we are so very conscious because we are going without alcohol for a month, or just within the circles of our everyday living.

Photo by Ralf Κλενγελ, via Flickr, Creative Commons license, no changes.