I am inspired to write this piece after reading an article by Adam Nagourney in the New York Times. The article's title attracted my attention: In Trump and Biden, a Choice of Teetotallers for President. Even though my interest in politics is negligible, I have a substantial interest in alcohol's effects in body, brain, and mind.
Adam pointed out that "for the first time in modern history, both major party candidates for the White House are teetotallers. President Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., have not had an alcoholic drink over the course of their lives, by their own accounts".
I also learned from Garrett Peck's quote "Two-thirds of Americans drink alcohol" in Adam's article.
This story resonated well with me because I had a kind of love and hate relationship with alcohol.
Alcohol has been a mystical drink throughout history. It is a complicated drink which affects the body and mind. Alcohol can make substantial changes in the brain by altering its biochemistry.
Many of us enjoy acholic drinks. Nothing wrong with it. It may work well for some, but it can be a problem for others. For me, the problem was about the metabolization of alcohol in my system.
I was one of those who couldn't metabolize alcohol properly. Thus, it created complications for me when I was younger.
The impact of alcohol may vary from person to person. Alcohol may create different feelings and emotions to different people. Some of us are more tolerant than others. My body did not tolerate alcohol nicely. I tried drinking alcoholic beverages at the age of 18.
My reason to start was due to peer group pressure. My friends made alcohol compelling for me to try it. My first impression of drinking alcoholic beverages was awful. The taste did not appeal. And the effects were not pleasant on my body and mind. I experienced terrible reactions and did not know the root causes of symptoms.
Friends encouraged me to drink more often by shouting free drinks. They offered me different alcoholic drink types. I tried beverages with high-level alcohol content and got worse. For some reasons, I couldn't get used to the taste either. After a while, I started enjoying the taste of wine, champagne, and beer to some extent.
Even though I managed to enjoy the taste of these beverages, they upset my stomach. Experiencing nausea, stomach pain, and digestive issues were not fun at all.
Friends highlighted the pleasure gained from alcohol. They mentioned its stress-reducing effect. In my case, ironically alcohol was increasing my stress instead of giving me pleasure. It was making me feel terrible. I had no idea what I was missing.
Despite the destructive effects of alcohol on my body, I drank alcoholic beverages for several years due to peer group pressure.
I also convinced myself about the benefits of red wine on heart health. The ingredient called resveratrol in red wine was my primary reason to keep drinking it. The studies reflecting the anti-oxidant benefits of resveratrol sounded good to me.
However, the side effects of alcohol were driving me crazy. Apart from digestive issues, my biggest problem was mood changes. Most of my friends were cheerful after drinking alcohol. Why was I feeling sad, gloomy, and pessimistic?
Alcohol put me into a depressed state. When I was depressed, everything in life looked meaningless. My sadness deepened. Trivial things brought tears to my eyes. The more I drank, the more sad and pessimistic I felt.
The drinking parties did not give me joy anymore. Social gatherings lost their meaning, and I did not want to attend them.
Some close friends recommended drinking more beer which could cheer me up. I followed their advice. Drinking beer in summer gave me some pleasure.
After a while, I noticed growth in my abdominal area. I gained weight in a very short time. My fatigue increased, and my energy levels diminished. My digestion got worsen. Stomach pain and discomfort substantially increased. My mental sharpness decreased. My joy replaced with sadness.
Nothing was going right in my life during that period. Why did I feel so awful after drinking alcohol? I did not know the answers until I had an epiphany one day. The culprit was excessive carbohydrates which my couldn't handle.
After years, I found out that I was not tolerant of carbs. Learning alcohol was a type of carb, in fact, sugar was profound for me. My body gave priority to burn alcohol first. It went to my bloodstream very rapidly and increased my blood glucose. I didn't know my body spiked huge insulin to reduce blood glucose.
I had no awareness of blood monitoring devices. My blood glucose level was at an extreme state due to the carbs in alcohol. Adding fuel to fire, a large portion of my calories was from carbs. I didn't eat much fat due to the fear of weight gain. But carbs in alcohol and my diet caused me to gain weight.
I read about the addictive aspect of alcohol. But, fortunately, I did not get addicted to drink as I did to smoking cigarettes, I shared my experience with smoking in this article: How I Gave Up Smoking 40 Years Ago And Never Smoked Again.
Since I was not addicted to alcohol, giving it up was easy for me.
When I gave up alcohol, my digestive system improved in a very short time. The sad and pessimistic feelings disappeared. I started feeling joy again.
When I gave up alcohol totally, I reaped many health and psychological benefits. The most important one was getting rid of sadness and replacing it with a good mood.
Years later, during my studies about the human brain, I learned about the damaging effects of alcohol in the brain. Since brain health was vital to me, I stayed away from alcohol. Peer group pressures did not encourage me to drink anymore.
I still socialize and respect my friends who drink alcohol moderately and meaningfully. I do not drink alcohol for the sake of drinking it anymore. Giving up alcohol became an investment in personal growth, self-love, self-respect, and self-confidence.
A joyful life is what I desire. I don't enjoy mood swings and emotional ups and downs caused by drinks. I am glad to quit alcohol. It helped me replace my sadness with joy and satisfaction.
Now I understand why high achievers in prominent roles like Joe Bidden and Donald Trump are teetotallers.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
Reference: Simple & Powerful Life-Transforming Bio-Hacks by Dr Mehmet Yildiz.
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