Cheers to November?

screenshot image of google search for holiday drinks

Welcome to November! This month I’m thinking about alcohol – it seems like between shorter, colder days in Canada, and the approach of the ‘holiday’ season, I often get inundated with articles like the ones in this list. Celebrating “the holidays,” it seems, is synonymous with drinking booze.

In truth, I have been thinking about alcohol for quite some time. Before COVID changed my life, I was a busy performer in a local band, playing bars and other establishments. I’m not usually a big drinker, so I felt pretty agnostic about it. I would have a drink or two at a gig, especially because we were often given a pitcher or two of beer on the house. I don’t have a problem with alcohol, so it didn’t bother me for the most part. The truth is the music industry in North America is closely tied to alcohol sales.

When COVID came, it must have been close to two years where I didn’t set foot in a bar, let alone play music in one. At some point, maybe six months into the pandemic, I started hearing about overconsumption in the news and in my social media feeds. I definitely was indulging in potato chips, but I was surprised that alcohol might be appealing to folks stuck at home. Then I started thinking about how much I was really enjoying not being around alcohol consumption as a main activity, and how truly uninterested I felt in having a drink.

screen shot of image of meme reading "Happiness is ... warming your hands with a hot cup of tea", with a line drawing of a person with braids, a hat and a scarf holding a cup of tea.

I don’t really know why that is. I actually love well paired wine with food, and a nicely mixed cocktail, but I can go two or three months without having a drink and not notice. One thing I do notice is that often I get a throbbing headache from drinking wine or beer (although not with food, or in most social situations!).

About 90% of the time, I just can’t be bothered to drink alcohol. It’s not a ‘treat’ for me and it’s not comforting. (That’s a cookie and a cup of hot tea with milk for me!) Occasionally I will enjoy a drink, but I really don’t like is a sense of obligation to drink – the implied or even overtly stated requirement to join in on the “party.” I also can’t stand the staggering, out-of-control energy that sometimes comes in the crowds.

Increasingly, I just avoid settings like that. I do love that there are growing non-alcoholic ‘fancy’ drink options and cultures, although I haven’t really explored those either.

I’m writing about this this month because, as the holiday drink season is upon us, I want to be a voice that encourages healthy and intentional consumption of alcohol. And as women, I want to call out the culture that pushes women to drinking and sees us as a “growth market” for alcohol sales. This is not a new position for this blog – Sam and others have written about it here: Women, Wine and Alcohol and No Alcohol for 40 Days.

I am likely to have a few glasses of wine over the Christmas season, and perhaps a whiskey sour. If that’s your thing, great! But I hope that all of us can make conscious and intentional choices on what we consume. I would love to be a part of a push-back against this boozy trend.

2 thoughts on “Cheers to November?

  1. I ran into an old friend at a social event. He was drinking what looked like a cocktail. I asked him about it and he said it was club soda and bitters. The bitters gave just enough color to look like a cocktail so people didn’t bother him about “joining the party”. It also gave it more flavor than just water with bubbles. I find it sad that we have to hide the fact of not drinking alcohol. I made my living from the excesses of others, working in a trauma unit where most injuries were alcohol-related.

    1. Thanks for sharing that thought. Yes it is weird that it seems like hiding our non-consumption is the best option. I also wish there were more diversity in ways to celebrate with others… Wow, trauma-related alcohol injuries, that must have been hard.

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