Is the “fun” really worth it?
“You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it’s your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You’re probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you’re gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years.”— Chris Rock
Often here are AINYF, we dive into the pros and cons of drinking to encourage people to have a more conscious recognition of what they are doing to themselves and how they are holding back their success in a number of ways.
We often talk about the negative effects it can have on your relationships, work, and overall health.
However, we haven’t truly discussed how much specifically drinking will shorten your life if you do it for different periods of time.
That is often the tradeoff that most people realize they are making right?
You are drinking and enjoying all the alcohol you want because tomorrow isn’t promised anyway. Since you don’t know if you’ll be around tomorrow, then why do the things that will help you live longer if it means having less “fun” today.
This was somewhat similar to the thought process for me, as I was focused on living each day to its fullest and making sure that I went to bed with the feeling that day was “worth it” in some respect.
However, this feeling of mortgaging my future for a fun present never really registered with me in terms of what I was giving up for by trying to live each day the max.
While there are a number of things that drinking too much can prevent you from doing in the future, the reality is that depending on how much and how long you drink, you are definitely shortening your life in a number of ways.
From a little bit…
Often people hear that there is a lot of good that can from drinking alcohol. You’ll see story after story that somewhat touts the positive effects of drinking alcohol.
This is what many people would consider the “healthy” version of drinking, as the daily recommended amount is 1 to 2 drinks per day. This amount of drinking is thought to yield various benefits, as you can find in numerous articles relaying this.
There have even been studies conducted that say individuals who drink small amounts of alcohol (1–3 drinks per week) tend to live longer than those who don’t drink any at all.
This research can be a bit confusing, however, as it can make you think that drinking alcohol will then lead to a longer life.
However, the chance of only staying within this 1–3 drinks per week maximum is not very good when you consider how addictive alcohol can be and how it only takes a few more drinks to turn this positive into a negative.
There was a study done of roughly 600,000 alcohol drinkers over a period of time that resulted in calculations that drinking 7–14 drinks per week typically led to a six-month reduction in your life expectancy.
There are a number of factors that cause this, as individuals who drank this amount were known to have more incidences of heart attack, fatal aneurysms, and heart failure.
While the 1–2 drink amount may be the recommended amount, studies show that even this small amount probably hurts more than helps your life expectancy, especially after forty.
To a lot…
Now, let’s focus on the other end of the spectrum in which drinking 7–14 drinks per week seems like nothing compared to what a heavy drinker might consume in a week.
For those who drink heavily, there is no doubt that drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to a number of negative health consequences that end one’s life rather prematurely.
We’ve discussed a number of them in the past, as it relates to how alcohol can cause a number of diseases that will shorten one’s life dramatically.
However, it doesn’t take a whole lot more to go from only a six-month shortened life to see a significantly higher decrease.
In that same study previously mentioned, it was revealed that by only increasing your consumption by 1 drink per day (from a 14 max to up to a 21 max), you could then decrease your life expectancy by up to two full years.
Take this up a bit more and pass the 25 max number per week, and you could see as much as a five-year decrease in your life expectancy.
This would be the equivalent of going from 2 beers per night to four beers per night, and while this is a significant amount for many, it is not unfathomable to think this could happen if one is used to going a bit harder on the weekends or when out with friends.
Getting into the habit of taking shots and really blowing it out only one or two nights per week can make this 25 max number easy to hit without realizing it and have a dramatic effect on your overall health in the future.
And while it is great to enjoy nights out with your friends to celebrate an achievement or just enjoy life, wouldn’t it be much better knowing that you weren’t giving up part of your future when doing it?