Does Alcohol Give You Courage?

It is a myth that alcohol gives you courage, reduces your fear?. People who believe it does will point to the fact that people were given alcohol before battle . For example, sailors were given a ‘tot of rum’. Others might point to people who are afraid of flying having a drink in order to feel brave enough to board the aircraft and get through the flight. Others may say that it helps them face up to difficult situations in everyday life. Such as having a drink before making a difficult telephone call will give them the courage to make the call.

None of this is true. Alcohol does not make you more brave – but it perhaps reduces your fear. So is this good?


Fear is innate within us and within all living species and it has an important purpose. Our fear of getting burnt will usually stop us getting too close to a fire. Our fear of falling and hurting ourselves would stop us going up an unstable ladder – and so on and so on. Being fearless is not a good idea. We need to feel fear in order to keep safe. So by drinking and removing the fear we are putting ourselves at risk.

This is really obvious and should not need to be pointed out. How many people do you know (not necessarily alcoholic) who have had an accident through doing something daft when inebriated? When I was at university, a friend of mine had a 19 year old brother who walked along a top of a wall and fell – following a few celebratory drinks after finishing exams –  and died.

Removes Inhibitions and Fear

So alcohol reduces fear and also removes inhibitions. People can see this as being a good thing: if people are all standing round rather awkwardly at a party, a few drinks can loosen them up and make the atmosphere more lively. True. But how good is that really? We usually link our brain to our mouths and edit what goes through our head before letting words flow from our mouth. This means that we generally offend less people, are not as rude and nasty as our thoughts and do not reveal information that perhaps we should not – and that is just for starters. When we are drunk we can be obnoxious, loud, boastful, repetitive and boring. So why is all this considered to be a positive thing?

Is it the Drink Talking?

We have all heard the expression – ‘it is not him, it is the drink talking’. This is usually to excuse something being said. If we have these experiences sufficiently often with a particular individual. We will tend to avoid them when they are drinking, making sure we are not sitting next to them or stuck with them at the next social do. Is anyone ever fooled or impressed by the talk of a drunk?

Don’t need Drink to Relax

When we are free of alcohol and once we realise that we do not need a drink in order to relax and enjoy ourselves, we can have the best time of all at social occasions sober – and even better if we are with sober friends. Only last Christmas, out with my non-drinking friends, it occurred to me that onlookers must think we were rather a drunken bawdy lot because we were having such a laugh and such fun – yet not a drop had been drunk by any one of the 15 of us!

We only need to re learn that ability to relax and enjoy ourselves without drinking the poison that is alcohol.

If you have an alcohol or drug related problem. Please call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice and help.

Does Alcohol Give You Courage?