This last week was my company retreat in Austin, Texas. During the day, we had presentations, team building exercises, and working sessions. After all the programming for the day was finished, the partying would start. And of course, lots of alcohol was involved.
There’s something about the intoxicating effect of alcohol that gets everyone to open up. For example, one of the events hosted during the retreat was Karaoke. The setup was a stage with two mics during dinner time in front of the entire 250 person company. My friends commented on how intimidating it was. At first, no one was volunteering to sing. But after a few drinks, people started to loosen up and there was a long queue for Karaoke. After a few gin and tonics, I also gained the courage to gather my fellow New York colleagues to perform a rendition of Empire State of Mind in front of everyone.
Despite, being in New York, a city with a strong drinking culture, I don’t drink often. Maybe once or twice every two weeks at the most. I don’t think alcohol is bad by any means, I love going on a night out just as much as a night in spent reading or writing. But I believe it’s important to not rely on alcohol to have a good time. If you can’t go a night out with your friends and not have a good time without drinking then I think there’s a problem. Daily, alcohol-less interactions become mundane, stiff, and awkward without the assistance of alcohol. Eventually, it becomes an addiction. Alcohol is associated with a good time and thus you can’t have a good time without alcohol.
Once again, I don’t think alcohol is inherently bad, but like anything, balance is important.