I find that it is very important to find balance in life whenever possible whether that’s between work and play, relaxation, and exertion, and even abstaining and indulging. My philosophy on enjoying what life has to offer and its libations such as food, drink, or gambling is ‘Everything in Moderation.’ I mean that kind of balance for adults who I usually write for when it comes to being of the legal age for these types of indulgence and regarding what is legally allowed to put as a disclaimer up front. Life should be enjoyed responsibly especially if you’re hoping to find pleasure out of it.
Still though, it can be hard to find a balance of enjoying something too much or not at all. I have nothing against people who abstain entirely from food, drink, gambling, or other risky yet fun activities nor do I think it’s harmful to indulge a bit too much on the rare occasion where someone can go a bit overboard as long as they’re not hurting themselves or others from that kind of overindulgence. However, I don’t think it’s right to deny someone entirely when they would like to enjoy something in moderation nor is it right to indulge their vices so much that they end up either getting addicted to the vice or abusing it when those around them know that it’s become a problem.
You have to be looking out for your own health and well-being especially as you get older and age out of certain pleasures. However, if you have the self-awareness to realize which vice(s) you should stay away from or be extra cautious about, you should work to make sure you don’t indulge as much as you want to. Self-control around different pleasures can be difficult so if you need help from people around you to temper your indulgences or need to stay away from it entirely, there is no shame in doing so. Certain people can enjoy something moderately like a glass of wine or a cigar every now and then without becoming dependent on it. There are those people who are unable to do so at the same time when they play poker, go to the dinner buffet, or bet on a sporting event though.
Certain indulgences hold sway over the individual person more than others, so you must be aware of which vices or pleasures you really enjoy and learn to temper your use or consumption of them. It’s good to be self-aware and exercise self-control so that one glass of wine each night doesn’t become three or four glasses each night or that when you bet money on Fantasy Football once a year with friends, you don’t end up betting multiple times on different Fantasy Sports leagues where you’re losing a lot more money without controlling how much you’re betting.
If an obsession becomes an unhealthy addiction, I think that is cause enough to abstain entirely from that vice or indulgence. If you are being harmed by it or others around you are hurting cause of the addiction, you need to abstain entirely because moderation won’t be able to cut it then. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to give up a cigar or some wine because of you have a gambling or betting addiction, but you just need to recognize what pleasurable activities you can take too far and which moderation does not work. If you like to gamble too much, it doesn’t mean you need to give up alcohol or fast food entirely too as a result.
Part of being a healthy, mature, and responsible adult is recognizing that life is to be enjoyed but to do so responsibly by knowing your own limits both mentally and physically. If your health, money, or relationships are being affected by the fact that you’re indulging too much or abstaining entirely, you may need to rethink your relationship to that pleasurable activity that you enjoy. I do believe that ‘everything in moderation’ can be done for most people who know their limits, who understand what they are doing is legal yet must be consumed or done responsibly and legally and are able to recognize when others are going too far or may need to tone it back a lot.
It’s good to learn about moderation when you’re first in college or in your 20s so as you get older, you form those healthy habits around vices, indulgences, or fun activities that you know require you to be responsible and mature about them but for which you know what is moderate and what is excessive.
Regarding prohibition or having people forced to be abstinent, banning alcohol and making it illegal to obtain, buy, or sell liquor in the United States during that 1920s era failed miserably. Partly as a result, bootlegging and organized crime came about to help fill the supply for alcohol because demand did not go away even when alcohol was illegal. Responsible adults of legal drinking age had to go to ‘speakeasies’ and ‘backroom bars’ to drink, dance, and enjoy their free time after work.
I would argue that during prohibition, the average adult American wasn’t looking to abuse alcohol even when it was illegal, but that they enjoyed having a drink or two with work colleagues, friends, or family after a hard day’s work and were denied that pleasure. It didn’t work for long as that amendment was repealed, and people were trusted by the larger society and government again to drink alcohol moderately and responsibly without issue.
When it comes to alcohol, gambling, and even smoking, adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about their consumption or taking part in those activities. Of course, it is vital to be aware of the negative health consequences or issues that come as a result, but to forcibly make abstaining the only way forward would not make it go away. Rather, it’s important to educate about how to enjoy these ‘vices or pleasures’ moderately and responsibly, while helping those people who overindulge or get addicted to these pleasures, and may need help, support, rehabilitation, instead of judgment, neglect, and punishment.
At the end of the day, adulthood comes with responsibilities in our society including gaining wisdom, judgment, and acting responsibly. Acting responsibly includes enjoying life’s pleasures but to do so in moderation because abstaining or overindulging should be avoided as much as possible, and we should do well to know our own limits and know what a vice is, how to manage it, and what to do when we need to rethink our relationship around one. ‘Everything In Moderation’ is a good start in terms of that relationship but if you want to abstain entirely, you should also be free to do so but be careful as well to avoid overindulgence but if it is to happen once or twice, it is not the end of the world as they say. Be careful, be safe, be responsible, and remember to enjoy life, because we only get one life to live.