Monday, December 28, 2015

The Positive Advantages of Lifestyle Choices



The kayak trip to Los Arcos has been booked for a week, but the concierge encourages us to show up at the beach in case there are no-shows. I hurry up to our room and propose to Tony that we take our chances.

We hurry down and find there are three people waiting. Six double kayaks and several singles are available; the odds are in our favor.

Pedro waits fifteen minutes, then suits us with life jackets and paddles--we're off.

As we get to know our kayak companions, a story unfolds. Dale, a man from Denver, explains that he booked the kayak trip with three other friends, but they drank too much the night before and weren't up for the two and half hour paddle.

The next morning our two sons-in-law want to take the same trip. Once again, there are no spaces, but we encourage them to be ready to go. Around the time of departure, Tony and I walk to the beach and see the boys have already taken off.

There are distinct and quantifiable advantages to not drinking alcohol.

Our hosts at the rented beach house require us to bring cash to cover food and beverages for the week. When our final bill is tallied, it is one third of what we expected. We are thrilled when Tony figures the cost of eating, per person, per day, was approximately and only, ten dollars--phenomenal! How did we get off so cheap?

No alcohol.

We choose to see life's advantages from the choices we make, sometimes to validate, sometimes to affirm--and for the most part, that's what we do with our choice of not drinking alcohol.
 I see the mishaps and the ill effects of alcohol; I see the blessings of not drinking. Those who drink, probably see the positive social aspects, the purported health benefits of a glass of red wine once a day, a legal way to relax after a long day.

So I step back and take myself out of the picture, but I can't erase the alcohol negatives I see in others' lives--the bride with a wedding party member so drunk she has to kick her out of the ceremony; a Christmas party host who has to stand up and tell his guests they've already reached the bar tab limit. So-and-so's uncle dying of liver cirrhosis, a once beautiful woman with a chronic puffy face; a late night phone call from someone who's had one too many; complaints from a friend about the breathalyzer in her car because of her husband's choices; and today, another story of a sweet girl who on her 21st birthday, excitedly chose to spend the watershed event bar hopping legally--then awoke the next morning without clothes--- devastated that she may have been raped.

So I'm going to stretch judgement beyond myself-- advantages of an alcohol free life are many. The case for alcohol can be countered: socializing can be done with root beer; health benefits come from red grapes too, and meditation may be an even better way to relax.

Consider the advantages.