By Robert Voss
When my wife and co-founder, Samantha, decided she was stepping away from alcohol a few years back I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about both when we drink and why we drink. I came to the conclusion that fundamentally it boiled down to two experiences, socialization and decompression.
Socially, we drink for shared experience and eased tensions. It is something that brings down our guardrails so that we can more fluidly interact without the concern of saying or doing the wrong thing and know we are all consuming the same spirited elixir leading to a similar mental space.
Decompression is what most refer to as the “after work drink.” Again, we are seeking something to take the edge off, but this drink is not necessarily a shared experience but something we do for ourselves. We are seeking to alleviate the stress mounted during a busy day and calm ourselves once the day is done. It marks a separation from the professional to personal. I find this moment of consumption to be the more consequential and pervasive, though far more subtle in nature.
When we think of the times alcohol has had a negative impact in our lives, we think of the parties or events where we drank way too much. We think of getting sick or making fools of ourselves. Perhaps irrational behavior like buying things we don’t need or picking fights with those closest to us. We think of self-destructive behavior. Then there is the morning after when the bill comes due. The crippling hangover and, perhaps, anxiety of what happened the night before. The lost time recovering. I think to most, this is the consequence that brings the most thought about our alcohol consumption, especially as we get older. It’s one thing to be brutally hungover in your early 20’s, but at 35 the game has changed.
In reality, though, these are rare moments. In the grand scheme of life, these examples of over-consumption are relatively sparse. They happen at a friend’s birthday party or perhaps our own. They are moments of celebration and while the consequence is steep, it is not every day that we do this to ourselves. So what about the “after work drink”? That need to curb the stress of the day is real and I can relate completely to it. So what’s the big deal? It’s not like we’re getting drunk. I believe the issue is in its subtlety. The consequences are harder to notice. We don’t wake with foggy memories and the accompanying anxiety. We don’t fear for the things we may have done or said. All this is true, but what we are not considering is the compounding nature of it.
This habit accounts for the vast majority of the average person’s alcohol consumption. If you have a drink or two after work every day, that’s 5-10 drinks a week, and that’s not including what you may or may not do on the weekends. These drinks may not get us drunk, but they are affecting our sleep and our body’s ability to heal itself. You may fall asleep faster, but your REM sleep is being disrupted throughout the night as your liver enzymes metabolize the alcohol. Alcohol increases inflammation in your body and affects your gut health. It makes it harder for your body to regenerate serotonin and dopamine while you sleep. This lack of rest and healing isn’t as noticeable as a crippling hangover, but it's making your life harder all the same.
We as a company are not trying to preach absolutism, that alcohol is all bad, and must be done away with completely. We are not trying to say everyone is an alcoholic and must take on a sober lifestyle. I still drink on occasion and enjoy sharing drinks with friends. We are trying to show that there is more than one way to decompress, that there should be more tools in our bags, and that saving alcohol for moments of celebration is a far better use of your time than relying on it to relax at the end of a long day. Bennu Unwind is designed to tackle the decompression side of alcohol. We set out to make a drink that could alleviate the stress of long days and ease the transition from professional to personal without the consequences of poor sleep and shabby rejuvenation. That was our goal and I believe we succeeded with Bennu Unwind.