There are many reasons why people drink alcohol—not all of them are easy to swallow. We all have that one drunk uncle who just doesn’t know when to put down the beer bottle at family gatherings. You love to hate him, but have you ever stopped to think about why he drinks so much?
Understanding the reason behind why you just had to take that fifth tequila shot last weekend can help you uncover something about yourself you may not have realized before. Read below to learn more about why people drink and the motivation behind the bottle
We’re Curious by Nature
This is the reason that underage drinking is so popular among the teenage and college-age crowd. As humans, we’re naturally curious to things that we haven’t yet tried. Especially when most of us have grown up around alcohol, whether it was our parents having a glass of a wine, television commercials, or our teachers telling us to not drink, alcohol is entrenched in our culture.
It’s only natural for us to become curious about it as we get older. With the US’s high drinking age, teenagers have no choice but to sneak a sip of vodka in their friend’s basement. Whether it’s because kids are interested in what alcohol tastes like or what it feels like to be drunk, curiosity is a huge reason why people drink.
A Social Lubricant
Alcohol, otherwise known as the world’s best social lubricant, is drunk by many people to help them through awkward situations. Whether that situation is a nerve-wracking first date or a head-ache inducing family reunion, alcohol is a great way to loosen up. Alcohol also has a reputation of increasing a person’s confidence, which is why it’s so often seen in social settings.
If you’re going on a date with someone you’ve never actually talked to outside of your dating app, then nerves are likely to be high. But with a few shots of tequila or a couple of beers, alcohol can calm us down and soothe those nerves. When we’re already a little drunk in social situations, we can avoid those weird first few minutes of strained small talk and awkward pauses.
Whether you’re an overworked employee or a sleep deprived parent, life can be stressful and that stress is a big factor in why people drink. Alcohol has a way of alleviating negative feelings, stress, and anxiety albeit only temporarily. Alcohol may not be the best way to cope with your stress and anxiety, but it sure is an effective way to numb those feelings.
The irony is that most people who drink alcohol to cope with stress find that their drinking only makes their situation worse. If you drink alcohol to deal with your financial problems, a trip to the bar every night isn’t going to help your thinning wallet. Alcohol is a great way to forget about the worst problems life can throw at you, but at the same time it can end up causing you to develop even worse problems like alcoholism.
To Drown Our Sorrows
Many people turn to alcohol in times of sadness. Sometimes our emotions are too much for us to handle, and are often the root of why people drink. Turning to a bottle in times of despair is a coping mechanism we use to quiet the angry sea of sorrows churning inside of us. Alcohol numbs our sadness and helps us to momentarily forget all the crappy things that have happened in our lives.
The next time you see someone throwing shot after shot back at the bar, give them some sympathy because they just might be trying to cope with something awful. Whether you just lost your job, went through a recent breakup, or experienced a death, alcohol is there for you as a shoulder to cry on.
Looking for a Good Time
On the flip side of using alcohol drown our sorrows, having fun and celebrating are also reasons why people drink. It’s a little weird that we use the same substance to both forget our pain as well and to commemorate a special occasion or celebration. Yet most people don’t even think twice about it because it's just the way our society functions.
Alcohol has the ability to lower your inhibitions, meaning even the most uptight of your friends is able to have a good time after enough long island ice teas. If you think about it, we drink alcohol at nearly every happy occasion: birthdays, weddings, job promotions, retirements, and just to celebrate small everyday accomplishments like finishing a project or meeting up with a friend. There’s no doubt that alcohol lets us loosen up our tie and have a great time, which is probably why people drink it and drink it a lot.
Availability and Affordability
Another major factor that plays into why people drink is the fact that alcohol one of the only substances available. Most other recreational drugs are not legal or as widely accessible as alcohol. Even with all the reforms on marijuana, you still have to jump through a lot of red tape to legally buy any. The truth is that alcohol is just easier to get and you don’t have to have any anxiety about being “caught” doing it as long as you aren’t underage or acting disorderly.
It’s incredibly easy to walk into a liquor store and by a handle, or almost any bar or restaurant and order a drink. The sheer easy accessibility of alcohol is what makes it appealing to most people. Nobody wants to jump through hoops in order to have a good time or numb our feelings. We want easy access to substances that can give us both of those things, and alcohol fills that void.
As humans, we love alcohol. Whether we’re using it to alleviate stress, make an awkward situation less awkward, drown our sorrows, or have a good time, looking at why people drink gives us interesting insights into the nature of others and our own selves. Whether we like it or not, alcohol is deeply entrenched into our culture and societies. So drink up, because it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.