Day 30: Bring the Power Tools


Alert: This song contains language some readers may find offensive.

“The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom”
– Plato

I love to create new things with my hands. There is a real satisfaction in making a shape appear under your control where it never existed before, except in your mind. And there are tools that make the work go smoothly- a chisel and plane to carefully remove wood; the file to make metal gradually change shape; a hammer to give impact to our desire for change.

But sometimes these tools are not enough. Sometimes we need to get done more than these slow devices allow. When a project is large and must be completed quickly, we reach for the power tools and rip into the work.

When we confront our own psychology, it is not obvious which power tool to choose. Some of them are very effective, but you may not know at first when to wield them. If you are considering a return to the drinking world in a few days, one of the best power tools in your toolbox is drink counting; maintaining awareness of the quantity you are drinking. This leads to another, more awkward, question- What is a “drink?” Fortunately a definition can be found:
Standard drink: one 12 oz-beer (5% alcohol), one 5-oz glass wine (12% alcohol), or 1 and 1/2 oz of 80-proof liquor (40% alcohol).
(See http://www.moderation.org/meetings/readings.html#mmlimits)

So that Long Island Iced Tea I like to suck down during football nights? Once you get past the core ingredients (vodka, gin, rum, triple sec), you are looking at 4-5 (or more) drinks in one glass. OK, what about Margarita night? 1.5 to 2 drinks per glass. Say I just want a pint of beer? Beer used to be easy at 5%, but the new world of microbrews and brewpubs has confused even this social staple. Still, beer is your best bet to be just one standard drink per 12oz glass- but watch the alcohol % rating on those microbrews! That “Pint” at 16 ounces and 5% would be 1.33 drinks.

Whew. Counting drinks can be HARD… Counting drinks takes awareness. That is the power of this tool- You are less likely to be stumbling home if you maintain awareness of what you are doing. Knowing how much you are drinking provides important information you can use to modify your consumption to become more reasonable. And, you are so much less likely to be the person everyone likes to talk about the next day, when the excess alcohol you consumed changes your behavior.
Want some help keeping track of your drinking numbers? Try *ABSTAR*, the online drink counter: http://abstar.org.

Another power tool is very simple, but, again, takes awareness to work. This power tool is DELAY. Instead of consuming that half-open bottle of brandy before going out to the show, drink a mocktail instead and delay drinking alcohol until the party really gets going. Keep some Pom juice and seltzer in the fridge so you can feel like you are drinking a pinot noir while making dinner to enable you to delay your drinking until the table has been served. Drinks after work before going out? Maybe limit enjoyment to a 12oz beer, to delay any serious drinking until later in the evening. Delaying drinks as long as possible makes it harder to get smashed on any occasion; less time to drink equals less chance you will get drunk. Deferring drinking does not mean you are giving up the fun, just delaying your enjoyment until the main event can get started.

We cannot forget another tool, and this one is sneaky- What do you drink between drinks? And what do you drink after you stop drinking? For many people, these are questions that never occurred to them before. “Well, after this drink I will have another… And another…” We all know where that leads. It is so much better to have a go-to drink that is non-alcoholic to drink between drinks, and to drink when you decide to stop drinking for that evening. This can be as simple as a coke and lime; tonic with a twist; or the N/A beer that every bar now seems to stock. Decide in advance what you would like to drink between drinks, so there are few questions when the time arrives. Elaborate mocktails can also be fun; some bars specialize in them with dedicated menus. Non-alcoholic “spirits” such as Seedlip’s aromatic brews can make these drinks a unique experience, worthy of an entertaining evening.

When I go out, I like to be prepared for what I may encounter during the evening. I like to be ready. This now includes an awareness of who I may encounter during the evening, what I might drink (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and how much I will drink before stopping. If I am going to a party, I may make more elaborate plans- Some parties do not provide any non-alcoholic drink options. (Aside from that reliable stalwart, water.) Bringing a bottle of something tasty but non-alcoholic can give you a convenient way to maintain your sobriety when the circumstances conspire against you.

The world can be a complex and difficult place. Don’t make it harder on yourself than it has to be. When you need to get something done and cannot wait to do it, bring out the power tools and make it happen.

Remember the goals of going out are to have a good time; to enjoy and appreciate the company you find, and to get home safe.

Post Submitted By: Kurt S., Dryuary Administrator

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