In her bestselling book, Drinking: A Love Story, Caroline Knapp refers to alcohol as making everything better until it makes everything worse. Knapp’s descriptions of the rituals of drinking are so beautiful that we are doubtful anything bad could come from a night at home with a good bottle of wine. Drinking at home seems safe enough. After all, we aren’t out on the road risking life and limb while putting others in danger. But drinking at home is a slippery slope and one that exposes us to all kinds of risks and vulnerabilities. Here are some considerations – in no particular order – regarding drinking at home and why you shouldn’t do it.
There's little accountability
Even in a house full of people, there is often not a lot of oversight when drinking at home. The kids are into sports and their friends and your spouse is working late or taking care of household tasks. On any given night, you can consume several drinks without anyone – even yourself – noticing. This scenario is fraught with peril. If you’re out at a bar, at least the bartender is aware of the number of drinks you’ve had.
Alcohol makes you lazy. We can acknowledge that the icy cold beer after mowing the lawn is a true pleasure in life. But when you consistently drink at home, household projects tend to fall by the wayside. Drinking around the house will make you emotionally lazy and may create tension with family members because you are avoiding unpleasant tasks and escaping the present moment.
Makes you less spontaneous
Imagine you are sitting at home on the sofa, three beers into a six-pack, and your buddy calls you and offers last-minute tickets to a concert. As we have already touched on, alcohol has a tendency to make you lazy. Also, you are putting yourself and others in danger if you make the drive downtown. You can call a cab but it will be an expensive one. Drinking at home might make you miss out on some fun opportunities.
Drinking stimulates the appetite
Researchers have concluded that alcohol stimulates the part of the brain that signals starvation mode. Most of us don’t need a scientist to tell us that drinking at home often leads to a late-night pizza delivery or refrigerator raid. The craving for salty, fatty foods often extends through the next day. Because fat from alcohol can’t be stored, while you are drinking, only fat from food is processed. In avoiding drinking at home, you are sidestepping possible weight gain and other side effects related to unhealthy eating habits.
Poor sleep patterns
There’s a reason it is called a nightcap. Studies have indeed shown that alcohol lessens the time it takes to fall asleep and increases the amount of deep sleep in the first half of the night. However, this deep sleep is offset by an increase in sleep disruptions in the second half of the night. Falling asleep on the sofa after a few drinks will not make for a restful night’s sleep.
Risky for homes with children
Drinking in front of children can be harmless as long as it is not glamorized and they are educated about the dangers of alcohol consumption. But in keeping alcohol in the house, you run the risk of a curious child seeking it out for experimentation. Imagine the shame and embarrassment you will feel if your child shares it with a neighbor’s kid. Unless it is in a locked cabinet, refrain from keeping alcohol in a home with minors.
Alcohol is expensive
Think of what you will do with the money you save in bypassing the package store on the way home. Drinking at home is a waste of time, energy and money. Instead, you can make wonderful memories when you arrange an extra date night with your spouse or surprise your kids with tickets to a ballgame.
The Last Call
Alcohol is often used as a means for winding down. Instead of drinking at home, try yoga, good music or a walk around the neighborhood. And if you or a loved one feels that it is time to get help for an alcohol addiction, it’s important to act quickly. Have a plan in place and talk to a treatment specialist today.