Drinking in the Evening

Why do we tend to drink alcohol in the evening?

A simple answer is that it is not culturally acceptable in most places to drink during the day. 

At the end of a long stressful day it is easy to want to reach for a drink. Work has finished and most of our tasks have been completed. It’s time to relax.

Alcohol is a depressant, so it can make us feel relaxed, taking the edge off.

I drank whenever I was done with work for the same reason, whether that was at 6pm, 10pm or 2am. Work was done, stress had built up, alcohol appeared to help.

Looking back, I can see that by the end of my day, in my state of fatigue, it was natural for my mind to tend toward the negative. It is completely human, completely natural, but there are ways to manage that negativity. They aren’t always easy.

Opening a bottle and pouring a drink is easy. It’s the path of least resistance. It slows down the thoughts, maybe temporarily replacing them with pleasurable feelings and sensations.  

Meditating, journaling, reading, or just going straight to bed are more challenging paths. Sometimes children, partners, or other people get in the way. These solutions take more effort. They require recognition and awareness. They are not taught in school or on TV.   

When we are done drinking we think that sleep will cure all, but mostly the alcohol just interrupts our sleep and we feel somewhere less than ideal the next day. 

We might know that there is a better choice, but for many of us that choice is hard. Our bodies are conditioned by habit to open the bottle and pour the glass. We sink into what feels familiar...not necessarily what feels good. The next day we wake, beginning the day in a state of discomfort, fatigue, and stress. Our work, life, whatever, adds more stress. 

We need that drink just a little more by the end of the next day. 

How far down the spiral will we go before we catch it? How far do we go before we break the cycle?