Do you want to have a drink?
Alcohol is often a staple in social gatherings, whether it be with friends, at parties, or even just during dinner. However, opinions on alcohol consumption can be divided.
Stoicism preaches about self-control and taking responsibility for our actions, but did the Stoics drink alcohol?
Let’s see what their emphasis on these ideals can tell us about their relationship with drinking
The path to self control
Self-control can be seen as a key aspect of Stoicism.
It is believed that we have the power to control their own thoughts and actions, and that exercising this control is a skill that we need to develop.
But what does this have to do with alcohol?
In Stoic philosophy, the decision to drink is seen as a matter of personal preference, and not something that is universally good or bad.
We are free to make whatever decision we want. But there’s a catch.
The slippery slope of drinking is that it’s all too easy to overindulge and stray from Stoic principles.
In Stoicism, excessive alcohol consumption as a vice (a bad habit) and as the Stoic philosopher Seneca said, ‘Vices are their own punishment’.
For excessive drinking this ‘punishment’ might include things like:
- Physical health problems such as liver disease, heart disease, and various forms of cancer
- Impairment of cognitive and motor functions
- Addiction and alcoholism, leading to a loss of control and negative impact on relationships and daily life
- Increased risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues
So once you pick up that first glass, there’s a choice that needs to be made.
So did Stoics drink alcohol?
Probably. The decision to drink is seen as a matter of personal preference as long as you stick to the principles self-control and personal responsibility.
However, once you cross that boundary into excessive alcohol consumption, then you depart from Stoicism and have to face the inevitable consequences.
If you or anyone are struggling with alcohol, then here are some resources: