We all know, or well, some of us know, that people who absolutely and always abstain from alcohol tend to dourness and to be — no-fun. That’s one way to put it. Like those who never dance, or worse – those who are against dancing for religious reasons, people who abstain can be a drag to be around, particularly if they are preachy about it. Or, if they talk constantly about their “recovery” and give you a suspicious look when you produce a beer from the fridge. On the other hand, some people just can’t drink, it makes them ill, or they have too much alcoholism in the family and wish to avoid this fate, or — they are alcoholic. And, yes, they would need their recovery. Some people just never got used to the taste of booze or they just decided one day they didn’t like it. That’s fine too, no rule that says you must drink. Being half American Indian, I can tell you now that there are many people who just should never drink, and when they do any way, it gets them in trouble since the alcohol appears to affect them dramatically, and they have a hard time being moderate. And, I mean, many natives, if not all, but many — many. However, the other side of my family, my father’s side, have always managed to be quite moderate around alcohol, and my dad even reports a family custom of having children drink petite glasses of wine, at dinner because “a little wine is not bad for children.” I have never seen my father drunk, and he does put away beer, but he has never displayed some of the wilder moments of my mother when imbibing, (although she does not drink habitually but alcohol does have more of an effect on her when she does, she keeps it to a dull roar, a little bit of laughing and singing these days although in the past, there has been some table dancing) — I think it is a chemical difference. As for me, I am somewhat in-between, apparently, although I have long ago given up any hard liquor except for very, very rare occasions – and in very controlled circumstances. That way, I tend to avoid the table dancing… I am a beer and wine man only.
Here, a study that shows that people who abstain tend not only to be more dour, but apparently, they croak sooner than either heavy drinkers or certainly more often than moderate ones. This is puzzling, but here it is:
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that – for reasons that aren’t entirely clear – abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.
It’s too early for a beer, but this is encouraging! If only it didn’t increase my waistline. Time for the gym, then the beer!