The first time my mom mentioned to me that my grandpa was an alcoholic, I was shocked. I always knew he liked to have a good time, but it took me by surprise because I was very young, and he didn’t fit my stereotypical conception of what someone going through alcoholism was like. After hearing that, I became much more aware of the presence of alcohol in his life. Although he drank less as he got older, it was still excessive.
I was introduced to the Rethink the Drink campaign on my first day at Coates Kokes. A lot of us at the agency have worked on this effort, and out of the few campaigns I’ve worked on so far, it’s the one that’s stuck with me the most – not only because of my grandpa, but also my own experiences with alcohol and excessive drinking throughout the last decade.
Before I even picked up a beer can, I was aware of the risks associated with drinking; by the time I was heading to college, my grandpa was battling neck cancer. A month before I returned home for the summer after my freshman year, he passed away.
I still spent a lot of the 2010s attempting to mitigate my stress through binge drinking. Sometimes, what started as a couple of beers with some co-workers after a shift, turned into a blackout night at karaoke.
I knew the amount of drinking I was doing was neither healthy nor sustainable for my well-being. At the start of the pandemic, I was worried that my already bad habit would worsen, especially in an environment where I became even further isolated from my friends. So, I made a goal for myself to cut back on drinking. And sure, every now and then, I overdo it. But I’m nowhere near where I was before, and I’m doing great.
What I really appreciate about Rethink the Drink is its tone – very non-accusatory, not telling people to quit cold turkey, simply asking us to think about our relationships to alcohol. Sometimes I wonder what my grandpa would think of it if he was still here.