How a Man Drinks Responsibly: 3 Important Questions to Ask

There are a few guidelines to drinking responsibly. Humans have evolved over thousands of years and we’ve devised these rules as best practices for being in the company of others, yet many don’t know them or follow them properly,.

The “what juice looks like red wine” is a drink that men often consume in excess. It can have many effects on the body, so it’s important to know what you’re drinking and how much of it you’re consuming.

Vintage men drinking cocktails at bar.

I took my wife and kids out to lunch the other night to a lively, all-ages restaurant near a suburban shopping mall.

We’d gone to this place previously, but I believe they’d just launched a new menu since this was the first time I’d seen it. A tall, icy glass of beer was featured in a prominent photograph towards the top of their menu, along with the slogan—

“Get a drink and celebrate your maturity!”

Perhaps it was the sensitivity of being a parent of young children, but I felt the same grimace a father does when he’s at the playground with his child and hears a teenager yell vulgarity nearby. Our order was taken, our meal was delivered, and as we sat down to eat our burgers and fries, I was still debating the meaning of the tagline.

We’re encouraged to become close friends with booze as adults, especially as guys. It’s a widely held assumption that alcohol should be a mandatory component of any eating out experience, much alone any joyful occasion.

It’s typical to associate a 21st birthday with the celebration of one’s legal ability to consume alcoholic beverages. What good is a bachelor party if you don’t wake up the following day with a hangover? Or a fine dining experience without a bottle of wine? Without hot wings and beer, what is a Super Bowl party?

However, it may be more prudent to examine our general acceptance of alcohol. Perhaps we should be more hesitant to use alcohol. More pessimistic. More cautious.

Consider the following three questions that every man should ponder:

1. How do I know when I’ve had enough?

I was sitting next to a middle-aged gentleman on a recent two-hour domestic trip who ordered a double Scotch every time the attendant walked by.

He was a kind man with whom I conversed about the Seahawks, business, and our children. He’d had six double Scotches by the time we arrived and was slurring his speech. He took out his phone and wrote a smug remark on Facebook about how much he’d consumed throughout the journey.

The alcohol industry promotes the same message: alcohol is safe when used responsibly, but it is not safe when used recklessly.

Consider every episode of COPS you’ve ever seen. Alcohol affects judgment, stokes emotions, and encourages confrontation. Car accidents, neighborhood problems, violence, divorce, theft, rape, and general stupidity are all linked to it.

The remedy, according to contemporary history, is not prohibition.

A intelligent man, on the other hand, would be aware of the genuine character of every thing he consumes. He will be cautious about alcohol, as much as he admires it and admires the skill that goes into manufacturing it. A guy should understand and be honest about what “moderation” means to him — how many beers he can take before his judgment is seriously compromised. He should be able to recognize and respect his own boundaries. He will see the hollowness of claiming that he will never be harmed by alcohol.


2. Is there someone putting pressure on me to drink?

We often assume that peer pressure is a problem that only teens face. Peer pressure, on the other hand, arises whenever others around us encourage us to do something we don’t want to do. It may happen at any age, even maturity.

Have you ever been to a Christmas party or a wedding reception when the host has paid for an open bar and everyone is highly inebriated? Standing around drinking water makes you feel out of place, even impolite.

Have you ever gone out with your coworkers after work and ordered a couple pitchers of beer? If you don’t drink enough, you won’t be considered a team member.

Perhaps we should call these practices into question.

I have a dear buddy who suffered with binge drinking in his younger years but is now entirely sober. Everyone adores him, and he’s still a lot of fun to be around. He frequently gets Coke at a restaurant these days. At a wedding, he’ll toast with a full champagne glass but won’t drink any. He’s a devout Catholic who eats the wafer but skips the drink while receiving communion.

A intelligent man recognizes the narrow line between conforming to societal norms and doing something merely because everyone else is doing it.

If you don’t want to drink, don’t allow someone to force you to.

3. Do I drink to get rid of my discomfort?

I’ve dealt with a number of WWII veterans who have been open about their drinking issues after coming home from the war.

They tell how alcohol was the drug of choice for their age, and how habits that started off innocently enough as young men frequently turned into major issues later on.

Today, the vets who walked away from it are forthright in their opinion. They claim a true guy doesn’t attempt to self-medicate his difficulties. He confronts his issues front on, gets to the bottom of the problem, and perseveres in the face of adversity.

The vets don’t say this to put any guy in his place or to disgrace him.

They know what they’re talking about since they’ve been there. They are well-versed in what works and what does not. They are well aware that drinking will not cure any wounds.

A Temperance Season

I interviewed Daniel Potter for a book I was working on a long ago. He is the son of George L. Potter, a member of the original Band of Brothers, the elite WWII paratroopers immortalized in the HBO miniseries of the same name.

According to his son, George L. Potter was a military hero and a man of action during the war, but after the war he became an alcoholic, and he begged that I not conceal the truth about his father while writing about him.

Daniel’s father brought him and his brothers camping in San Diego when he was nine years old. The father grew inebriated and began ranting and experiencing hallucinations. He stacked the mattresses against the windows to protect the cabin from the Nazis who, he believed, were assaulting outside. Daniel was frightened.


In 1985, the father died, largely as a result of his alcoholism. Since then, Daniel has spoken about his personal experiences with alcohol.

I’ve worked hard to stop the cycle of addictions in my own life. I never drank much, but when my eldest daughter graduated from high school, I stopped drinking completely.

It wasn’t like I drank much to begin with: a six-pack of beer could stay in my fridge for months without being touched. But I wanted her to understand that alcohol did not have to be there at every social occasion. I didn’t need to drink to have a good time if I went to a party.

That’s what I wanted to demonstrate to her. I wanted to take the initiative and lead my family from the front. I spent seven or eight years without drinking anything. I’ll have a drink now and again at dinner, but that’s all.

That’s a great line: “Alcohol does not have to be a component of every social event.” That is something a sensible guy will remember.

Perhaps there will be a point when you wish to cut down on your drinking or perhaps stop for a while. Perhaps only to show yourself that you can.

Or maybe it will be for reasons that only you can explain. Health. Clarity of mind. Religion. Reasons related to parenting. At work, there is a need for intensity. Silence from intoxicants for a season.

Maybe it’s only a mental adjustment. You’ll nod to the new menu’s motto, but you’ll celebrate your maturity in a different manner.

Maybe it’s only a mental adjustment. You’ll nod to the new menu’s motto, but you’ll celebrate your maturity in a different manner.

Marcus Brotherton contributes to the Art of Manliness on a regular basis.

Visit to read his blog, Men Who Lead Well.

FEAST FOR THIEVES, his first novel, will be available in bookstores in September.



The “How to drink whiskey like a man” is an article that discusses the three important questions you should ask yourself before drinking alcohol. Reference: how to drink whiskey like a man.

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