DO YOU DRINK TO NUMB UNCOMFORTABLE FEELINGS

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Drinking

Time to redefine your relationship with Booze?

I went out for dinner and drinks with some friends recently. As always, I planned to have just a few drinks. But for some reason that night (I think a bit of stress or tension about something that crossed my mind) I drank too much. It wasn't a huge mistake. I probably had two more drinks than I planned or wanted, but it was enough to get me thinking.

I asked the question, "Does alcohol really add anything to my life?" And I've asked myself this question over and over again over the years.

It doesn't have to be "all or nothing".

You don't have to be an alcoholic to change your relationship with alcohol. Because of an unhealthy and harmful drinking culture in this country, most of us joke about the problem of alcoholism, but we don't look at our own drinking.

What is "normal" and what is not?

Or what is healthy and what is not?

Try not to be seduced by extreme thoughts (which the media just love). Discovering that you want to have a different relationship with alcohol doesn't necessarily mean you want or need to rule it out entirely. It could mean simply cutting back on it, switching to lower alcohol options, or being wary of a tendency to over-drink if you want to numb uncomfortable feelings. You could start by asking yourself about your relationship with alcohol.

Here are some questions that can help;

A relationship test

– Do you often drink more than planned? Again, while this doesn't seem important, it may be because we live in a culture where drinking too much regularly isn't seen as a problem. However, if you are disappointed that you did it and if you wake up feeling bad physically and / or mentally, it is time to think about it.

– Do you wake up often – do you feel awful after drinking? Are you tired, sluggish and unable to concentrate? Did you know that just two drinks in the evening can affect your REM, which is essential for a good night's sleep (one of the pillars of good health)? If you are uncomfortable with how much you drank the night before, try not to ignore these feelings. This is your instinct that tells you that maybe it is time to cut something down.

– Do you drink alcohol most days of the week? Drinking daily isn't a good idea, but it's just a habit that can be broken. Buy some nice alternatives, like bottled mineral water or a nice liquor, and add some ice, mint leaves or cucumber to make a nice occasion. Have alternatives ready, then cut out all alcohol Monday through Thursday. Reward yourself with a massage on Friday night and keep your efforts to have more alcohol-free nights every week.

– Do you often devote a lot of headroom to drinking? Not only is this the time to actually drink, but the other time that drinking takes up your head space. It could include the hangover or worry after drinking (like, “What did I say?” Or “Why did I say that?” Etc.), or even the thinking involved in planning an evening – just takes it too a lot of space in your life that you could devote to other, more important things?

– Do you frequently use alcohol to numb: painful feelings? Can you put down the glass of alcohol and say to yourself, "This won't help," or think of something else that might help you in its place? Read our blog about how to easily get joys from other sources in your life.

– Do you think alcohol is contributing to your weight problem? If the answer is yes, then it is definitely time to reduce it. Not only does alcohol provide empty calories with no beneficial nutrients, it also leads to spikes in the hormone ghrelin, which makes us hungry and often unable to withstand foods that make our weight problem worse.

– Do you enjoy other activities besides drinking? Is drinking the only way to socialize, or do you meet people in other contexts? Do you have hobbies or leisure activities without alcohol? If not, it may be time to think about it.

– Do you drop the ball regularly in your life? Are you missing appointments or not keeping to the demands of your family life? Do you regularly fail people because of alcohol (either because you are hungover or because you focus too much on drinking to miss other important events because alcohol is a priority? If so, this could indicate a seriously unhealthy relationship with alcohol .

– Does alcohol affect any of your important relationships? Does your drinking cause friction? Or is your bad or moody mood affecting your partner, children, or other relationships the day after you drink?

– Are you ever physically injured while drinking? Are you getting involved in risky situations or putting yourself at risk from poor decision making related to drunkenness? Nothing bad had to happen for it to be a problem; It's enough to regret certain decisions that you know are drunk and that you would not otherwise make.

– Do you feel pressured to drink? You don't have to be a teen to feel pressure from your peers or family. In certain social situations, do you feel pressured to drink more than you would like? If so, maybe try avoiding these situations for a while until you are in more control of your drinking habits.

What could I gain by cutting?

After working through the above questions, do you start rethinking your relationship with alcohol? Ask anyone who has cut or even given up alcohol and they will tell you about any positive aspects that have come their way. Improved mental health, better focus / clarity in daily life, improved quality of sleep, more time to focus on hobbies, improved relationships (often due to feeling less moody and irritable!), And a better ability to lose or maintain a healthy weight … to name a few!

Also, keep in mind that alcohol is a carcinogen that has been linked to several types of cancer, including breast cancer and colon cancer. And not many people know that this risk also exists with relatively low alcohol consumption. Drinking just one alcoholic drink per day is linked to a 5 percent increase in breast cancer risk, a 17 percent increase in oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the middle part of the throat), and a 30 percent increase in the risk of 0 compared to esophageal cancer don't drink, according to a 2013 study.

Drinking heavily is associated with greater risks. But the good news is that reducing it will benefit your health. For me, my mood is most cautious when I have a few drinks. When I'm happy and relaxed, I'm much more likely to stick to one or two, which is about the right level for me. If I'm tense or stressed out, I might be tempted to numb these uncomfortable feelings with alcohol – and that's where I need to be extra careful. Then it's time to connect with myself, name the emotions, and try to be kind to myself.

I hope this blog has helped you explore your own relationship with alcohol and think about any changes you might want to make. Please keep me up to date with any interesting feedback by emailing me at maebh.coyle@motivation.ie

Listen to our informative podcast on alcohol and weight here.

If you are concerned about your relationship with alcohol, contact Alcoholics Anonymous. Tel .: 01 8420700.

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