People start casually drinking for all kinds of reasons. However, one of the main reasons you might take your first sip is because someone around you is doing it and you think: “why not?” For many, or even most, people— this typically happens for the first time during high school. Maybe you’re at a party, a football game, or just hanging out with a friend for the evening. Next thing you know, there are wine coolers sitting in front of you and you’re feeling giggly. This happens quite often. However, what is it that really gets you into the habit of casual drinking? For most people, it’s hitting that milestone we often think about from the time we take that first sip… Turning 21. 

Casually Drinking: How it Becomes Commonplace 

Rite of Passage

You turn 21 and suddenly a whole world opens up in front of you. Suddenly, bars, restaurants, and celebrations have a whole new element that you can take part in. You’re part of the club and you officially feel like an adult when you’re casually drinking with your friends. You’ve waited your entire adolescent life for this. But what is it about this ritual that makes it so common as you get older? How does drinking become something you do so frequently, and casually? 

Societal Norms 

It seems that as you fall into that age group of 21-35 (give or take a few years), drinking becomes part of most get togethers. From bar crawls, to weddings, to birthday parties, football games… you name it, there is almost always an element of alcohol. In fact, many of these events are even sponsored by alcoholic beverage companies. In short, all of this is to really say, that casually drinking is a societal norm. Drinking is not as taboo as, say, smoking pot in public. Drinking is encouraged by the fact that 1) nearly everyone around you has a drink, and 2) bars and restaurants offer specials that allow for you to drink on a budget. Therefore, because it is seen as such a normal thing, casually drinking often doesn’t come with a second thought. 

Fitting In 

Going back to our discussion of societal norms, your friends often encourage drinking without the intention being there— at least for your friends. Bars and restaurants tend to encourage drinking for obvious reasons. In today’s age, and especially for this age group of young(er) adults, it can almost feel strange sometimes to not have a drink in your hand while you’re out mingling. Therefore, we often walk into a place and make a b line for the bar before even saying hello to friends. 

In short, casually drinking with friends can easily become part of your weekly life. However, it all comes down to finding that balance of casual drinking without it becoming a habit, or the only way you can have fun. If you find yourself becoming addicted to alcohol, it’s important to seek out help in a way that is comfortable for you.