Binge drinking is not good. But how do you stop yourself from binge drinking? And why should you?
It may be a normal part of your weekend. But should it be?
Last night I had a great evening out with friends helping celebrate a birthday.
It was a terrific night with good food, lots of laughter and rather a lot of wine.
If the hangover I’m suffering from this morning is any indication, I think my body didn’t have such a good time.
It’s called binge drinking and it’s not good.
So why did I do it?
You know that
MORNING AFTER FEELING
I lost a whole day of work. I’m self-employed so that cost me a lot.
And there’s no one to blame but me.
And I do.
You probably know that health professionals, and people who think they know better than you, tell you that you should limit alcohol.
That’s a given. I know I should limit my alcohol intake to the recommended safe level for a woman, and mostly I do.
But what happens to my body after a big night out that leaves me washed up for a day?
And How can I stop It happening?
I could stop drinking altogether I suppose.
I’m not an alcoholic and I enjoy social drinking with friends. You’re probably in the same position.
But when social drinking gets to be too much, what will help me control it?
Let’s talk about binge drinking
In the UK the recommended weekly maximum intake of alcohol is 14 units.
In the US the recommendation is to limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day for a woman and 2 for a man.
To see how that stacks up with other countries see this article.
Binge drinking isn’t clearly defined. But you and I know that it’s drinking a lot over a short period of time.
For some that could mean have their weekly recommended amount of alcohol over a couple of days.
Show me a person who drinks alcohol and I’ll show you someone who has binged.
The Immediate Effects
Poor sleep pattern. Tick.
Thick head in the morning. Tick.
Memory loss. Tick.
Feelings of having made a big mistake and muttering over and over ‘I’m never doing that again’. Big Tick.
And there’s more
It seems it’s not just young people who are doing this binge drinking. It’s people over the age of 35 (I have my hand raised) who you could argue, should know better!
Alcohol can also have devastating consequences on physical health.
Heavy drinkers have a greater risk of heart disease, liver disease, sleep disorders, stroke, depression and several types of cancer.
They may also have problems managing diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
Past research has also found that heavy drinking may increase the risk of osteoporosis, a disease in which the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both.
What’s more, excessive drinking is responsible for one in 10 deaths among adults from ages 20 to 64 in the US every year.
You wouldn’t ignore other health warnings
So why ignore the health warning’s about binge drinking?
If you do it once in a while you’ll be fine. Really. You will.
But do it every week and we’re storing up trouble.
And it costs a fortune! I don’t have the disposable income to support a life of drinking that much every week!
Spending on alcohol is definitely one of those discretionary spends that can leave a huge hole in your budget.
I’ve yet to see the budget plan that listed alcohol under essential spend.
It is possible to control your drinking
Binge drinking has the potential to be a huge problem for some people.
I’m not saying you have a problem. I don’t believe I do either.
What I do know about myself, is this.
I don’t feel good about myself when I feel I’m not controlling my own behaviour. That is particularly true when it comes to drinking too much on a Friday night out.
I really want to control my own behaviour.
For my sense of mental wellbeing and for my physical health.
After all, this whole website is dedicated to taking control and living a healthier life.
There are resources out there that you can easily find with a web search.
But here are some suggestions that I’m going to implement as of now.
- Keep reminding myself of the pros and cons. Keeping a list of the reasons why I want to stop binge drinking will help keep me motivated to change my ways.
- Reward yourself. Use positive reinforcement to reach my goals, such as doing something for myself when I get through a period of time or a special event without binge drinking.
- Get help from loved ones. Support from my husband and friends will help me to cut down on alcohol.
A slight aside
It seems to be the case that if you were to say that you want to give up smoking or lose weight, the people around you will support and encourage you.
They won’t try to get you to eat one more burger or smoke one more cigarette. If they do they’re not your friend at all.
So why is it that saying you want to stop or cut back on drinking has people treating you like a social pariah?
If the people around you do that, and they aren’t listening to your reasons why you want to make this change, consider finding a new group of people to hang out with.
- Consider abstinence. Some people find that quitting alcohol altogether is more manageable than drinking occasionally. I’ve done this for extended periods of time to help me ‘reset the dial’.
- Finding alternatives to alcohol. Many binge drinkers find that alcohol allows them to cope with negative feelings, such as stress, depression, anxiety, and boredom.
Keep a diary of the times when you drink alcohol and see if there’s a pattern to it.
If there is you could try replacing alcohol with healthier options, such as exercise, sports, or hobbies.
I found some of these suggestions here. You might find it interesting.