Drinking (alcohol) motivation

Looking at my drinking habits, I think I’m more uncomfortable at my motivation to drink more than the amount (although I am looking at the health effects, too).

As I reflect on my motivation, I see two primary reasons:

  1. Drinking as an enhancement, making an neutral or enjoyable experience more enjoyable. I also put social lubrication in this category.

  2. Drinking as escape, to try to erase bad feelings (e.g. anger, frustration, sadness) or temporarily escape them, but the issue isn’t fixed.

Reason 1 is fine in my book, it’s reason 2 that’s made me pause.

Curious about others’ motivation to imbibe.

I have not drank in over 4 years now. Drank from the time I was 17 to 38. After stopping for a while I just came to the conclusion I like not drinking better than drinking. There is a lot to unpack there, but that’s the high level gyst of my experience. I think I just thought it was great because as an adult I didn’t know life without it.

You forgot “making a shitty experience tolerable.” That is my go-to.
I also enjoy tasting new beers and very good wines. If these aren’t available, then hard liquor.

Number 1 is my primary reason. I have social anxiety otherwise. I dont find drinking is much of an escape which would mean drinking alone.

I also have reflux which can be triggered by alcohol so drinking alone is something i avoid.

Oh i guess trying fancy cocktails is also enjoyable in its own category and i had gone to fancy restaurants or cocktail bars to do that, so thats a 2nd reason

Drank a lot last night due to being around people and i tend to get insomnia after i drink, thus my post right now

Definitely #1 for me. I think a lot of the reason behind that is social conditioning; it just always seemed like a normal part of life for a lot of my friends and family as I was growing up and especially throughout college.

Like anything else in life, moderation is key. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of cutting it down to just on the weekends, but I am still working on cutting down how much I imbibe when I do drink.

g-lassie has the issue with insomnia after drinks, so it’s been much easier lately for her to cut down.

This will lead to (another) justification of your motivation #2.

I drink because it tastes good. There are other reasons?

Seriously. It turns out, I can have fun in social situations with or without alcohol. That stuff I thought I could only say after a couple of beers. Turns out I can say it when I’m sober too. Using alcohol to self-treat depression, anxiety, stress, etc? Been down that path. In the long run, I ended up feeling much worse.


Generalized anxiety. Makes it worse overall as noted above but briefly chills me out.

I need to get better about not drinking to excess - I rarely get “drunk” but drink frequently and it’s not good for me, and every few weeks (in a safe place like a wedding with a DD or at home with my spouse) will have too much. Has been years since I’ve blacked out or thrown up, but have noticed small things where I need reminded of something that happened, then remember.

Not sure of my motivation, I suppose a lot of it is just because it feels right given the time and place - social events, going out to eat with others who are drinking, or celebrating things such as a good review or a Giants playoff victory. I don’t often drink alone at home. I also enjoy the flavor of a good cocktail, beer or wine. Yesterday I had a beer flight - not only were most of the ones really good but I enjoyed the variety.

I don’t remember the last time I drank out of anger or frustration - music tends to be a better way to calm me down.

To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.


In terms of anxiety, there are certainly medications available to treat it. Would you just be substituting one drug for another? Well, yes. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has also been shown to be effective at treating anxiety.

I (used to) drink to take the edge off anxiety (not neccessarily for social reasons) - is that 1 or 2? Now I (1) drink to not panic (when flying) or (2) just want to get shitfaced with my husband on a weekend night for funzies. I would replace (2) with weed if that was legal and/or I didn’t panic everytime I got high.

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I wonder if this is still true post-anti-panic meds :thinking:

I do enjoy the taste of the alcohol I choose to drink. If it did not have the same benefit of creating a buzz, there might be times I’d choose to drink something else with a different flavor instead, but not always.

There have been times when what I want is that buzz and will choose a more efficient way to get there, like straight hard alcohol vs beer and/or purposely timing to drink on an empty stomach.

I like a relaxed buzz. I do not like having the spins or being sloppy drunk and don’t drink enough to black out (that would freak me out).

When I say using alcohol as a social lubricant, it’s as a means to get out of my own head and anxiety’s way to enjoy myself. This is different than drinking to escape an angry, frustrated, or sad reason.

I like the taste of the stuff I drink (scotch, bourbon, red wine)

The other thing is my chronic pain.

I’m not going to say that the first reason is “bad” because I get it - but I believe that another way of saying (1) is that you’re “drinking to escape anxiety” - which is actually a lot like (2).

I personally drew the line when I started drinking to lower the stress/anxiety I was experiencing while studying for exams and decided that medications were the safer option. YMMV.

I think motivation matters a lot less than whether or not it ruins your life.

I suppose drinking away your sorrows might make that more likely, but not necessarily?

Sometimes I drink to unwind after work, normally a beer. Perhaps number 2 but not because the day was a negative experience.

Often I’ll drink wine with a meal because it complements the meal and enhances the experience. Number 1.


I used to drink to write. Many if not most great writers were alcoholics. They also killed themselves though, so there’s that.