Keep calm and drink on: alcohol and camaraderie

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Greg Pimentel, Contributing Writer

 

University of Dallas students always leap from their seats at the prospect of an impassioned debate regarding alcohol and the proper methods and modes of its consumption. Whenever some change looms on the cultural horizon of our Bubble, the independent thinkers of UD respond forcefully, advocating anything from Dionysian debauchery to strict teetotaling. For those who find themselves once more caught up on either side of such a debate, I propose a simple solution: Go out and practice good drinking.

Hobbits serve as a great example for building friendships and good times with some beer. –Photo courtesy of Total Film
Hobbits serve as a great example for building friendships and good times with some beer.
–Photo courtesy of Total Film

What do I mean by good drinking, the reader asks? To put it simply, good drinking is drinking to the fullest. It is the drinking that brings out the best in people, the sort of drinking one finds among friends at a party, a family around a table or between old men at a pub. It is the kind of drinking that is overflowing with music and dancing and merriment, a deeply social drinking that brings people together.

How do we achieve this good drinking? We must first learn to cultivate a good relationship with alcohol through experience. As we learn from the Philosopher himself, in order for something to be good, it must be the mean between vices, avoiding both personal excess and deficiency — or, in this case, the “excess” or “deficiency” of drink. When we drink in that manner, then, we pursue a virtue and a positive good.

The pagan Greeks were not alone in this view of the “good life” of drinking. Our Lord, too, affirmed the goodness of alcohol at the wedding feast of Cana by transforming water into wine so that the wedding festivities could continue. By doing this, He not only “manifested his glory” as a loving God, but also blessed the goodness of the celebration through this miraculous transformation (John 2:11).

Following His example, then, we too should never be afraid to raise our glasses high in festivity and celebration. How many good stories, discussions or conversations are carried on late into the night without the presence of good drinking? That is why, in every time and place, good drinking and good company should go hand in hand. Drink with your friends, with your families, with people you want to get to know better. The beauty of good drinking lies in the cheer and camaraderie that naturally follow in its wake. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, if you seek to find proof of the goodness of God and His love for creation, one need not look much further than good beer and wine.

Let me make myself perfectly clear, however: I have no intention of promoting drunkenness and alcoholism. Anyone who has ever been up late into the night bantering and singing over a good drink understands how fast an overly intoxicated individual can ruin an evening. The fact that anyone would prefer inebriation to companionship speaks to the great isolation and unsociability of the modern world. When people use alcohol in a way that inhibits the camaraderie of good drinking, they merely harm themselves by pushing others away.

If we wish to counter these bad drinking habits, we must all take more time to appreciate and encourage the balanced drinking culture that UD has already developed. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, when asked, “What can I do to promote world peace?” simply responded, “Go home and love your family.” In the same spirit, I earnestly urge everyone to become a keen student of the virtue of good drinking. Since the best weapon against vice is the promotion of virtue, I earnestly urge all of you, in the same spirit, to go out and have a few drinks with your friends this weekend.

 

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