Drinking is a common social activity in every culture. People meet with friends, family and co-workers over drinks to decompress and enjoy their free time. However, social freedom and fun also come with an element of social responsibility. Unregulated and irresponsible social drinking can cause problems that may last a lifetime.

What is social drinking?

The most straightforward answer to that question is alcohol consumption in a social setting, such as a bar or restaurant. However, social drinking is often associated with the following situations

  • Weddings  and festivals
  • Sporting Events
  • Corporate and workplace Events
  • Parties (promotion, anniversary, birthday, etc.)

Irresponsible social drinking: What can go wrong?

Most people feel relaxed when drinking socially due to the atmosphere and the people around them. As the alcohol starts affecting our brain function, the levels of dopamine go up, activating the feeling of pleasure, and that's when overdrinking can happen.

Here are some common consequences of irresponsible social drinking.

Alcohol Myopia

Liquor consumption narrows our perception and causes us to focus on a few internal or external factors for making decisions. According to the Alcohol Myopia Theory, an inebriated person may choose to focus on pleasure rather than consequences. Sometimes, it can turn simple things (such as walking, climbing stairs or driving) into dangerous situations.

Misperceived intentions

Alcohol also manipulates our emotions, heightening the sense of wellbeing, confidence and luck. In social situations, overdrinking can cause both comical and embarrassing situations for a person due to misinterpretation of the body language or facial expressions of others. We see numerous examples of such social mistakes leading to physical altercations in our daily news and media stories.

Drinking past potential capacity

Some social drinkers like to claim the bragging rights for the amount of liquor they can consume. This can also lead to dangerous or embarrassing situations or ruin the mood of the party. Moreover, such behavior also affects a person's health and wellbeing and sometimes can have serious repercussions.

Cultivating healthy social drinking habits

Here are some tips for controlling your drinking in social situations:

  • Remember to eat before or during the event to make sure your favorite whisky or wine is appropriately metabolized.
  • Know your limit and pace your drinking accordingly. It helps in avoiding the pegs that keep coming your way when you are drinking too quickly.
  • Always drink hard liquors such as vodkas, whiskies and rums with a mixer and ice.
  • Have your spouse or friends understand your commitment to sobriety and warn you out of overdrinking situations.
  • Every once in a while, attend social gatherings where no drinks are involved.

In conclusion, drinking socially is fun and has been a part of our cultures for thousands of years. But the history is also littered with examples of socially irresponsible drinking where things went wrong. So, commit to socially responsible drinking and drink like the great philosopher Socrates, who offered his fellows both wisdom and wine during gatherings.

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