A life more fully lived

By Darby Sawchuk

Liver damage. Abuse of all kinds. Dead brain cells. Hangovers. Belligerence. Wasted money. Violence. Fatal car accidents. Addiction. Vomiting. And on and on…

These are not a few of my favourite things. All of them are potential results of the zealous consumption of alcohol. Decision-making is a process of balancing potential risks against potential rewards. These risks are reason enough for me not to drink, not to mention that fun can be had without taking the risks.

I’m sure, however, that many off-the- wagon readers are whispering "that couldn’t happen to me" to themselves right now. Fine. I’ll grant that these unnecessary evils are not guaranteed results of a couple of pitchers.

But there is a consequence of ingesting liquors and lagers that you cannot dispute: it makes you stupid. Simple as that. When you’re drunk, you’re an idiot.

How many times have you seen the intelligent metamorphose into the dull? Have you ever watched an ordinarily creative individual transform into a person whose mind can do little more than dispense useless, pathetic brain farts? Call me a nerd, but I thought we went to school so that we could avoid being fools, so that we could avoid being stupid.

Have you ever been the only sober person at a party full of drunks? If so, I’m guessing you thought they were complete imbeciles. But, when you drink, you’re just as dumb.

I also can speak first-hand when I affirm that drunks are morons. Years ago, I made myself quite moronic on a regular basis. The lowered intellectual awareness alcohol brought led me to broken relationships, irrational hostility and a number of disgustingly unsanitary toilet bowls. Maybe I thought I was having fun at the time, but how could I know now? I don’t remember much of it.

Don’t think for a moment that I am against having fun. That would be a rather indefensible opinion. No, I just gradually came to the realization that getting loaded was completely extraneous to having a good time. In fact, I find I have fuller leisure time without the "aid" of intoxicants. Memories last, experiences are rich, pleasure is still present without a few beers in my belly.

I don’t know if you feel you need to get drunk to have a good time, but if so, ponder for a second what that would mean. It indicates that life is not enjoyable enough on its own. It means that you fail to see the beauty and excitement of life and you need to chemically alter your perception to appreciate the world.

Most people who drink, I hope, do not use it as their only recourse for pleasure. For some, it is merely another way of having fun. Once again, however, that reward is one that can be had without taking the risks that come with the consumption of alcohol.

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