A disclaimer before I begin this piece: I enjoy a drink. A glass of wine with a friend or a few vodkas on a big night out is a part of my life, as enjoying a few drinks each week is a part of many people’s lives.
This column is not about a drink or two enjoyed occasionally and socially. It is not even about enjoying a glass or two of wine each night over dinner. This column is about drinking habits that are negatively impacting on your relationships, your health and ultimately your life.
And unfortunately this is the type of drinking that we see far too often in Australia – half a case or a bottle or more on a daily basis that is not helping you to relax and unwind like you are telling yourself it is, it is serving as a crutch.
From a health perspective, excessive alcohol consumption causes two main issues – the first is that alcohol is relatively high in calories and it is easy to gain weight when we drink too much. The other issue, which is perhaps worse, is that excessive alcohol consumption results in disinhibition and lethargy – you do and say things you should not and basically function at a much lower level than you could be at any point in time.
If it happens occasionally it’s no issue, but if it’s happening on a daily basis it starts to destroy lives.
If you cannot go a night without a drink, if you regularly pass out after a few drinks or if you cannot remember the night before, it is time to take action. One option that works for many is a complete break from alcohol, but if the issue is bigger it is time to get professional help, as our lives and relationships are far too precious to be lost over beers or a cheap bottle of wine.
Susie Burrell is a dietician with degrees in both nutrition and psychology. Check out www.susieburrell.com.au