I recently received an update on my brothers face book page that was quite humorous but when you look at it a little more deeply a little disconcerting, and yet so popular that I thought it is definitely something worth writing about.
It read: Alcohol is the answer….which is great because I can’t remember the question!
And then the very next Status update was from my sister… Thank god for wine o’clock!
Well, I had to LOL, but it really does highlight a very real social problem; Drinking as a means of self medication. (Sorry Bro and Sis, to throw you both under the bus.)
Social drinking is another issue I come across a lot with my work as a Personal Trainer.
Often, I listen to women and men assuring me that their diet is ‘really, pretty good’. I have to ask about their drinking habits as it is never considered a real issue. You know, things like, ‘How much and how often do you drink water?’ and ‘What other types of liquid do you drink?’ and ‘How often do you drink these others?’ It never ceases to amaze me how often people are surprised that their drinking habits could be contributing to their slow but steady increase in size, or how quickly they assure me that they only have one or two a night and that “it is not a problem’. Yet when I suggest that they cut down on their intake, even by half, it is often met with very real apprehension, doubt, or just outright refusal. Sometimes, it is concealed, but written all over their face, or they need to take a moment to consider the options (of which there are none), but more often than not I am told that they want to lose the weight, without impacting upon their relaxation time. Funny, that they will willingly accept dietary conscriptions of food, but are not so eager to change their drinking habits.
On one hand they have come to me to get some advice and added motivation to take back some control over their weight and ultimately their habits in life, but for some this seems to be one of the hardest things to ask a person to change. (Well, that and chocolate, but I actually come along chocoholics far less often that the ‘social drinker”.)
By saying self medication I mean that drinking can take the edge and the focus off topics in your life that may need some attention, making it easier to overlook them in the moment and postponing the need to deal with them.
It seems to be becoming more commonly known and accepted that people will routinely self medicate with various types of food. It is often considered a laughable topic with chocolate and ice cream especially. However, socially it is never really considered a ‘problem’ until someone becomes morbidly obese. (Not even obese, seems to ring alarm bells!) However, it seems to be less commonly accepted that people routinely medicate themselves with alcohol, and of course it is never considered a problem until someone becomes a full blown alcoholic. Even then, an alcoholic who ‘binges’ is often considered less of a problem than an alcoholic who drinks daily, and of course, someone who may drink without getting ‘drunk’ daily, is never considered to be an alcoholic of any type. No one ever seems to consider that the alcoholic didn’t become that way inclined over night!
Just as someone does not wake up to find they are morbidly obese. Although it is a call to consciousness when a person realizes that they have a problem.
Which brings me to the question you should really be asking yourself; ‘At what point does social drinking become self medication and problem drinking?’
Social drinking, is exactly that. It is the occasional glass or two of alcohol, shared with company.
Self medication and problem drinking is often displayed by ritualistic behaviour. The need to have a drink before you can support another activity or the need to have a drink ‘just to relax’, with or without company. If you are often drinking alone, alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear by now.
People often think they are in control of the substance and they can stop any time, but if you experience negative feelings and emotions in the absence of any substance, there is a good chance that it is controlling you.
Acknowledging that you have a very real need for alcohol in your life is just the first step. Breaking the habit and overcoming addictions takes quite a lot of self control; often undone by the fact that you will find that friends will support your addictive needs and that the denial is culturally endorsed. Finding a supportive environment is essential to success and maintenance. Unfortunately this sometimes involves eliminating some old established friends and social environments and creating some new ones. This in itself can be very difficult emotionally and can create its own feelings of discomfort.
Finding support can start with engaging with professionals of health; weekly meetings can help you stay focused and may give you an opportunity to meet like minded people. Involving yourself in a new recreational activity is another positive step in the right direction of creating new lifestyle habits, and meeting people who will support your new choices.
A lot can be said about the toxic nature of drinking anything other than water (or fresh juices). The human body is made up of almost 80% water. We have a huge need for it and our body manages to extract it from a lot of substances other than pure water but liquid calories are dangerous. To read more about the dangers of Soft drink – Check out Carlee’s Post on that one! They are easy to over consume, have no nutritional value and spike your blood sugar levels, calling for your body to consume more and more to maintain the levels. This type of calorie gain is the type that will lead to gaining weight primarily around the waist. It is the worst kind of weight gain, leading to organ stress, heart disease, diabetes, sleeping problems and the list goes on and on.
Do not under estimate the cost this habit will take on your health. No amount of exercise can out do the calories consumed in this way. It is a slow walk down the path of weight gain and ill health. One I see far too often.
So the question now is to Wine and not to Whine or to Whine and not to wine.
By whining I am suggesting that you face up to the real problem that you are attempting to avoid, by easing your pain with another glass.
My challenge to you, when faced with this quandary, it to learn to meditate. Sit quietly with yourself and learn to enjoy your own company and find things of yourself to be proud of.
Self love is the key to undoing a lot of the external needs we find we crave.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.theholistichealthguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Allison.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Allison is a busy Mum of 4 Children, Personal Trainer and all round Natural health Advocate. to read more about Allison, head over to the ‘About’ page under ‘Fitness’[/author_info] [/author]
- Are Soft Drinks Really That Bad For You?
- The 5% Loophole – don’t be fooled!
- Developing a Healthy lifestyle & Where I think MOST people go wrong