“I can make anybody pretty, I can make you believe any lie, I can make you pick a fight with somebody twice your size, I been known to cause a few break ups, I been known to cause a few births, I can make you new friends, Or get you fired from work” (Lyrics from Brad Paisley hit song Alcohol)

I have struggled for some time over the discussion and debate about alcohol. In particular the impact that alcohol has on life. In business life, social life, and personal life. I am very sure every one of us has at least one and I am fairly certain we all have several disturbing stories over alcohol. The kind of disturbing story that is more than a person over indulging and wearing the lampshade at the party. The kind of story of family destruction, job loss and personal health issues.

I am no saint. Yes I enjoy a cold beer and a glass of wine and yes I have had a moment or two of over indulgence. So to be clear this is not an anti drinking message or a call out against alcohol in support of prohibition and it is not an AA message. Or is it? I certainly understand and generally subscribe to the saying “everything in moderation”. Although I must share, recently a wise woman said to me “ so cocaine in moderation”. Guess that saying is blown.

Over the last decade (maybe longer) I have been observing the impact alcohol has been having on business, social, and personal lives all around me. Generally speaking, it isn't good. I have witnessed job loss, divorce, bankruptcy, destructive relationships, and even a death of a close friend…. all situations that are directly attributed to alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol? I am not an expert but I would suggest that anytime consumption achieves the impact of any of the situations that I have witnessed, it is too much.

So what is going on with this little thing called alcohol? There have been poems, songs, and thousands of books written on the topic. There have also been periods of time of prohibition. There are still several countries that do not allow alcohol consumption. And most certainly states, provinces, and geographic jurisdictions can not seem to agree on the age in which we are permitted to start consuming alcohol even when we say it is “ok” too consume. Researchers tell us that alcohol consumption begins at age 15 regardless of the”legal age” limit in terms of their own recording of data. Apparently society is just as confused as I am.

We have a known substance to cause many problems up to and including death. We have researchers clearly reporting world wide that consumption in the countries and regions that consume alcohol, are on the rise on a per capita basis. Recent consumption patterns share that men and women increase their consumption right up to age 57 until the first notable reduction occurs. And twice a week or 2 to 4 times per week was the normal consumption pattern. Again, I am neither a researcher nor an expert. All of this data is very readily available through a few keystrokes on the Internet.

More important to me then all the research is the obvious conclusion that this thing called alcohol can destroy businesses, families, social interaction and individuals in varying degrees of magnitude. And yet we seem to frown upon someone who says no thank you to a drink. I have many people in my life (despite the researchers data of the rise in consumption) who have chosen not to drink alcohol at all. They all share with me a discomfort in being asked and denying a drink at social gatherings. Apparently we drinkers don’t know how to deal with someone who has already figured it out. What’s up with that? And check out the organs being impacted by this wonderful thing called alcohol (ethanol):


So what is the point? Well, it is not a moderation story. That theory was blown out of the water with the abusive substance moderation comment. The point is really to get us all thinking about consumption. And specifically the consumption of alcohol and the impact that consumption is having on our business, social (family), and personal lives. The point is to have a clear sober reflection (not the morning after sober refection) but days of sobriety to reflect on the impact alcohol are having on you. If that reflection draws attention to a negative impact in your life, then just as I would coach you to stay away from negative people in your life I would encourage the removal of a negative habit. There are clearly situations that have occurred where there have been no negative consequences as a result of a glass of wine or cold beer. There are however many situations where excessive repeated consumption has and is contributing to a very negative result.

So what are we doing about that situation?

An alcoholic shared with a friend of mine…”make the choice to slow down your drinking before it slows you down to the point where you don’t have the choice to be able to drink any more”. That sounds like where the real power is, in choice! Have a sober thought of reflection to determine how alcohol is impacting you or a loved one and what you might do to be a positive impact to that situation in your life.

“It is easier to stay out than get out”. - Mark Twain

© 2013-2014 R. Todd Millar. All rights reserved.

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