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Posted by on Dec 17, 2022 in Blog, Personal, Wine Reviews | 2 comments

My Thoughts on Holiday Season Drinking





As most of you know, I absolutely love a good drink. I make no apologies for this simple and convenient pleasure. I embrace the desire and view alcohol as an art form. It’s a sensory passage. I celebrate the opportunity to explore and enjoy alcohol at almost every opportunity. Drinking is one of the great pleasures of life, and life does have many pleasures.

However, one ritual practice I’ve adopted that has suited me so very well is——abstention. Every six months, or so, I take a total alcohol sabbatical. Zippo. Cold turkey. This abstention lasts for 2 to 3 weeks at a time. I’ve had people ask me *why* I do this. The honest answer is — umm, I don’t know. But the pause gives me an “outside the forest and trees” outlook — both mentally and physically. I’ve discovered that trees can be just as beautiful without a glass of something in my hand.

Those of us who enjoy drinking and bite with sharp teeth from the bountiful fruits of the holiday season should be reminded that not everyone shares our curiosity for alcohol, nor has the same capacity to push limits. Accordingly, allow me to contribute a few thoughts. If even *one* person takes notice and learns something, then this post will have been worth the effort to share it:

(1) No means no. All the time. On every occasion. If someone says NO, respect that decision. Always. No exceptions.

(2) Taking “NO” one step further, we often don’t fully know nor understand someone’s background with alcohol. Perhaps drinking has caused terrible pain in their family. Maybe the person refusing a drink doesn’t feel well. It’s also possible the temptation to drink “just one more” is very real. So, why push it and pressure someone? Why make the person feel uncomfortable, or out of place if they refuse? Maybe it’s better to ask yourself–why are YOU doing this?

(3) If any man is pressuring a woman to drink more, that’s a borderline criminal act. Period. (Note: forgive the gender-specific reference here, it could also be man-man, woman-woman). If you ever see this happening, intervene. Stand up. Say something. Many years ago, I worked as a bartender. I saw this happen frequently. All. The. Time. Honestly, I did little or nothing to rescue the victim. I wish I had done more. I can’t go back and fix the past, but I can try to warn people that this continues to be a very real problem.

(4) I’ve been insanely lucky with drinking and driving. I have zero DWIs and DUIs and have never even been pulled over after (or while) drinking. I’m reluctant to share this because it could encourage recklessness by others. Fortunately, my shutdown mechanism with excessive alcohol consumption is perfect–which is getting tired. I fall asleep after many drinks. It’s a perfect default (as I said, I’m lucky). But other people react differently. I looked up the figure and drunk driving accidents are responsible for 10,000 deaths per year–in the U.S. alone. Even if you think you can drink and drive, what about the car approaching you driving 70 mph in the opposite direction? Are you confident with their sobriety? Remember — the person driving that car in the opposite direction may have left a party and could have had a few too many. Don’t be the person at that party that allowed the person to drink (heavily) and drive.

(5) Finally, if you drink during the holidays, enjoy! I plan to do so. Drinking can be wonderful when practiced responsibly. I actually believe DRINKERS have a greater responsibility to protect others because we’ve brought potential dynamite into the room. Remember that and be responsible.

No always means no.


  1. Wise words Nolan.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family my friend.
    Thanks again for all your thoughts and insights. I have learned a lot and always enjoy reading them.


      Same to you, Daniel and thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comments always.

      — ND

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