Am I A Social Alcoholic?

By Emma Judges

It’s quite a confronting question. However, social drinking, particularly in Australia, has become dangerously accepted. Just look on social media and you’ll find hundreds of meme’s and posts about the need for a drink or the deserved right to a drink. Kids bugging you? Pour a wine. Difficult day at work? Reach for a gin. Why has it become so socially acceptable to use drinking as a method of release and reward?

Do you know the current Australian Guidelines for alcohol consumption for men and women?

They state no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 in one day. But what is a standard drink?

  • 1 mid strength beer
  • 100ml of wine or champagne
  • 30ml (1 shot) of spirits.

When you actually pour yourself a ‘standard’ drink, it can be quite surprising to see how much smaller the pour is to what you expected. But why does this matter? It’s only 1 or 2 each week night and a few more on the weekends right? Those drinks quickly add up and very easily you are at 15-20 standard drinks a week. Have you ever consciously tracked your intake?

I get it that alcohol tastes good, makes you relax and is a social activity. It can give you the perception of easing anxiety and boosting confidence. But alcohol is a depressant. It works by depressing your Central Nervous System, which in turn can cause more stress and anxiety once the affect has worn off.

Drinking alcohol affects your sleep quality. Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, dives into this conundrum. Whilst you may think it helps you get to sleep, sleep quality throughout the night is another story. Alcohol, and not much unfortunately, causes micro wake ups throughout the night, preventing deep sleep and REM sleep – both vital components to cognitive function. Alcohol acts more like a sedative to wakefulness than allowing you to get good quality sleep.

If you are looking to reduce your cancer risk, boost energy, improve brain horsepower, lose weight, control sugar cravings and improve skin clarity – just to mention a few – try reducing alcohol intake to less than 10 drinks per week. Experiment with getting the amount down to about 3-6 per week, or challenge yourself to an alcohol free week. See how it feels. Sometimes it takes 5-6 days to notice the sleep improvement, but I can almost guarantee you will feel better.

Coaching can be a useful tool in your toolbox to help with alcohol consumption and improving your health. It is never too late to start. CLICK HERE for a free consultation.