How many drinks = too many drinks?
One of my bazillion hobbies and interests is DJing. I have been a DJ in New York City for about ten years. Before I started DJing, I wasn’t much of a drinker. I did go to clubs and loved dancing, but was never keen on drinking. Even in college, when most people drink their livers into a state of pickled oblivion, I dabbled with the stuff on rare occasion.
All that changed when I started DJing. I loved to dance to house and techno music, and after being a fan and patron for years, it seemed a natural outgrowth of my love of electronic dance music to become a DJ. Little did I know that drinking and an increased tolerance for alcohol would be part of the package.
Of course no one forced the drinks on me. But spend hours and hours in a nightclub, which is very easy to do when you are a DJ (both as research, and also socially, because many of your friends become DJs or promoters), and slowly, you find that your tolerance for and use of alcohol increases.
I didn’t realize just how much of a professional drinker I’d become until a few years ago, when I could easily drink four or five beers on a Tuesday night while at my party Deep See and wake up the next day and go to work on four hours (or less) of sleep. Granted I was also a lot younger. But overtime, four beers increased to four mixed drinks and then on weekends when my other nightclub-dwelling friends were around and drink tickets were flowing, well forget it…we could all easily end up having five or more cocktails in an evening.
Some of my friends are terrible. I’ve never blacked out, passed out, driven while intoxicated, had risky sex, or done any number of stupid things while drinking. But I’ve heard stories and seen it all happen (or heard about it the next day). I pride myself on my ability to have fun while keeping my head on my shoulders. But as I get older and realize the effects even social drinking has on me the next day, I occasionally think “hey, maybe I shouldn’t have that fourth or fifth drink.”
I am sure for some people reading this, they will think “jeez! four or five drinks in a night!” because it sounds like a lot. But it is so normal in my age group and social group, and I admit that this is one of the reasons that increased social drinking (and social binge drinking) became normalized to me over the years.
So I wasn’t too surprised to find an online tool like www.alcoholscreening.org crop up. Binge drinking is definitely on the rise in the U.S. It’s been a problem in the United Kingdom for years. According to this screening, I drink more than 93% of adults my age and 98% of all women my age. Eep! But the scarier part is, the message board I found this tool on is a nightclub related board, and all the respondents had scores in the high 90-percentile on both factors. The nightclub lifestyle is not the healthiest one around, which is one of many reasons why I am growing tired of it and considering lifestyle options that don’t include being in nightclubs and bars.