Mindful Drinking After a Rough Week


This 5 o’Clock Somewhere column has been so much fun to write and research. The whole concept is an escape, a way towards little light at the end of the week’s tunnel. But what do you do when the light at the end of the tunnel feels like train headlights bearing down on you? What about when the headlines from the news feel like they could wrap themselves around your throat and wring tears from your eyes?

This has been such a weighty week in so many ways.

This week my usual sense of celebration for making it through feels dimmed by sobering global reality. From Haiti to Afghanistan, Turkey and Greece to the west coast where fires rage unabated, to overwhelmed hospitals across America, the headlines this week were devastating and heartbreaking. The barrage of sadness called to mind one of my favorite poems, What They Did Yesterday Afternoon by Warsan Shire. This week called to mind one my favorite Bob Marley songs, So Much Trouble in the World. The weight of so much worldwide pain, sadness, and struggle is profound.

Raise a toast to remember and honor all of those we have lost, in all the myriad ways we may have lost them.

At the end of this particular week, I felt compelled to consider alcohol in all its forms. As a beverage. As a religious symbol shared on Sundays. As a cleansing agent, a source of heat and light. As a form of veneration to those gone before us. We pour out a little when we have lost a loved one, we offer libation at the altar of our ancestors, in obeah rituals rum is blown or sprinkled to invite the spirits.

At the end of a stressful week, I generally enjoy a drink or two. I never want to need that drink or get to a point of overindulgence, let’s be clear. Right now I am doing my best to practice mindful drinking, so generally I enjoy one or two cocktails before switching to non-alcoholic options. At the end of this particular week, I don’t know what it’s going to be, but my drink of choice will probably be appropriately strong. It will probably just be whatever I’ve got handy, served on the rocks. I don’t know yet. I’m open to your suggestions.

At the end of this week, I’m not sure what is proper. But it’s Friday, and it’s 5 O’clock somewhere. This evening if I raise a glass at all, I want to raise a toast to remember and honor all of those we have lost, in all the myriad ways we may have lost them. If you join me, pour out a little for them too. Whatever you’ve got, make it a double.

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