Being Cognizant: Alcohol

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A series about the ways I work towards being cognizant through decisions that make me more mentally engaged with various facets of my day-to-day life.

Cognizance (noun): Awareness, realization, notice, knowledge, perception.

I’ve had a fairly active social life over the past three months.

This is a significant change of pace after a good two or three years of going-out dormancy, for the most part. I took pleasure in the recluse lifestyle and recoiled at invitations to stay out past 11:00pm – 11:00pm is when one should be lying down in bed, not getting down on dance floors.

Three years ago I took full advantage of the part-time employment schedule and spent many a night out on the town, and experienced little distress when this changed. However, these past months have reminded me that I have a dancing bug inside me that infects me with pleasure and wiggling hips when it is awoken. Often, this bug is triggered by a few drinks in preparation for going out.

I consider myself to be a health-conscious individual: I go to the gym regularly, I eat my fruits and vegetables and protein and all of that good stuff, I drink whole lot of agua, I avoid overly sugary things (80% of the time). However, alcohol is something that defies all of these other principled decisions I make for my body and mind – it is not healthy in any way! So, if I am to consume it – especially in more-than-just-social quantities, I take care to do it with cognizance.

1. WATER. I drink water most of the day every day all the time – I do not stop when there is alcohol. At least every two drinks I throw back a full glass to keep my body hydrated and to prevent terrible headaches and nausea the following day. Alcohol does not exactly quench thirst, and water helps to counter its effects to a degree.

2. MOVE. Most of the time, I don’t want to bother having any alcohol if I am not going to do a great deal of moving around – walking all over the place is one way to do it, but my favourite is to dance. Sitting down and drinking can be fun, but it often leads to unexpected levels of intoxication and it just sits inside you and doesn’t go anywhere! With water and movement I keep the alcohol moving through me and often avoid rough mornings. Plus, dancing is basically leg day at the gym AND cardio combined – I actually refrain from exercise on days when I am to go dancing later, because my muscles will be sore.

3. STOP. Eventually. There comes a time when I can just ride on the energy level that I’ve reached, and drinking anything additional will make me sleepy or sick. It is a rare scenario when I don’t recognize that I have reached a certain point, so I am usually in a perfect position to stay pumped throughout the evening and then fall quickly asleep upon arriving safely home.

4. OBSERVE. Keeping an eye out for weird or dangerous people is a key component of drinking alcohol, in my opinion. People might assume you are vulnerable if they recognize you’ve been drinking, and may try to take advantage of you in any number of ways – so watch out. For yourself, your homies, and even that stranger across the street/dance floor/parking lot that you notice is in a situation that doesn’t look comfortable or normal.

5. REST. Take a day! I give myself at least half a day after a night out to drink water, eat a good breakfast, and just sit or lie around before I do anything too strenuous. Sometimes I’ll take a whole day off from doing anything too demanding, just to give my body time to recharge. However, going for a jaunt to the gym or a jog around the neighbourhood is a way I like to burn off any of the grossness (greatness?) from the night before.

Those are the ways I stay cognizant when I’m thinking about drinking.

** For a neat article on how to survive a “day drinking” event, check out this article, “How to Drink All Day and Not Pass Out” **

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