It is not accidental that alcohol is called the social lubricant. Drinking has a prominent place during holidays and this is no truer than during the next few weeks around Christmas. From parties, get togethers, and wonderful meals; all seem to be amplified by the addition of various exotic concoctions. A few drinks increases conviviality, helps reduce our social stiffness, and allows us to let loss and turn off the worry wart for awhile. We can recapture old memories, have some laughs, and just be with friends and the people we care about.
Wouldn’t it be great to just forget about trauma and mental struggles for awhile. Some people are able to do just that during holidays when they are around friends and buddies. If they happen to be drinkers, the old stuff can fade away for a few days or even for several weeks. At the risk of being a buzz killer, there is a peculiar thing when it comes to alcohol. It lowers our guards and helps us to relax which is really the point, anyway. A few drinks or maybe more than a few and less favourable thoughts and emotions can also pop up - memories of disappointments and failed promises from other Christmas seasons or feeling empty from being around people where things have been left unfinished or unsaid. Beneath the smiles and the buzz, people can feel incredibly lonely which can be aggravated by the constant pressure to just join in and have a good time.
Nothing wrong with invitations to enjoy; nothing wrong either with taking time out to do other things; nothing wrong with arrive early – leave early or even spending a little time to take stock and be with people without the lubricant. OK, to spend some time just being real or doing what is needed to recharge or regroup. For anyone who may think that enjoyment comes mainly from drinking - What do we find at the bottom of a bottle? – Just that; usually nothing.
John J. Whelan
John J. Whelan, Ph.D., is the author of Going Crazy in the Green Machine, available now on FriesenPress.