Drinking alcohol has been around for a long, long time. It’s been used as a means to escape and even enjoy life. A means to happiness. Well, as long as it’s just that, I would say its almost OK. But, if we wander into the science of what happens in the body when one is drinking, it suddenly doesn’t sound so pleasure giving anymore. From memory lapses, to muscle degeneration, worthless calories,depression,reduction in absorption of vital nutrients, liver problems, sexual problems,ulcers and even cancers etc, the list of alcohol’s damaging effect on the body has been widely studied and documented.

On the other hand, one may point to the benefits of drinking which have been so misunderstood because for these positive effects, the dosage of alcohol has to be really low- which is a non-occurrence in most cases. One starts with thinking “oh, a glass of wine is good for the heart” and ends up having a rather full glass…and so on.The pattern of drinking alcohol can spiral into uncontrolled addictions quite easily and unknowingly. A person who knows the damaging effects of alcohol may be the only one to prevent himself from being under the influence of alcohol in a negative way.
More and more events and get-togethers are relying heavily on alcohol to make success of these events. It’s quite unreal how the alcohol drinking population has not only gone up but gone younger as well. Our children have taken to alcohol purely on the basis of our own attitudes towards drinking. Peer pressure doesn’t only surround them, but, quite frankly, surrounds all of us in this matter.

For matters of health and happiness, it is best to not rely on alcohol. If 80% of the times we can drink non -alcoholic beverages , it would be a life saviour as the thought patterns arising out of drinking alcohol in such limits are bound to be more positive. It is no secret anymore that our thoughts create our life and everything that is happening around us is a part of our own expression. To be in a positive zone, requires a conscious effort and practice of moral behaviour including food and drink. The Greek philosopher Epicurus and the Indian God Shiva have been grossly misunderstood. While Epicurus propounded the pleasure of the senses, he believed in moderation and simplicity to achieve happiness and Shiva is the epitome of not just controlling the mind but transcending it.

Alternative drinks while going out can be a disastrous effort by some people as I have widely seen around me. Trust me, a glass of wine is probably better than a glass of diet soda or other such ‘chemical’ drinks. First thing to know is that water is the best drink in town. If you can remember that you will not only not drink your calories but also reduce on the highly processed drinks available. So, a lemon soda(unsweetened of course), plain soda water, green iced tea(unsweetened again) are such alternate beverages. For energy, its best to go for clear soups or real food. A good rule while drinking could be to have a glass of your choice of alcoholic beverage and intersperse it with two glasses of water drunk slowly before having another(the last one).

"Health - It's what my friends are always drinking to before they fall down"- Phyllis Diller

So, it may sound ‘boring’ to heavy drinkers or alcoholics, but its a fact of life that happiness need not be restricted to alcohol consumption. Some of us are fortunate enough to be happy without it too! Pleasures of life are a joy to have and personally, I give a lot of weightage to nature,friends, kids, hobbies,passions and community work to give such gratifying moments. Everything in life is a wonder and joy can be found everywhere. Infact, laughter and happiness in such cases is much more ‘real’. That does not mean that evenings out are not going to be possible. But, yes, they needn’t be that long into the night when our natural body clocks are still ticking and surely know that it is time for rest.

Like I maintain …. any indulgences are to be once in a while and in moderation, so is the case with alcohol.Every time there are drinks available does not mean we go for it. Our happiness need not be controlled with outer environments like people, alcohol or even situations , it’s a purely internal matter and Yes….. it is possible!

About Shaloo Dogra

Shaloo Dogra is a wellness coach and director at Epicurean Hospitality Services Pvt. Ltd. in Gurgaon, India. She has been part of the hospitality industry for almost 20 years providing food solutions to industries, institutions and for events. She is dedicated to structured consultation for individuals for fitness, nutrition, intermediate level yoga and meditation. For more on this, please see her website: She is married to Rajat Dogra and has two wonderful boys aged 16 and 13.
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