“I soaked up the drink and it in return absorbed me.” – Martin Pond
Alcohol was never a taboo subject when I was growing up. I can always remember wine on the table, and family gatherings where the drink flowed. Out drinks cabinet was never locked, and every now and then I felt very grown-up when I was allowed a sip of wine. As a result, I was never curious about alcohol, and to this day still enjoy a glass of wine (apparently any more than one and I sound like a washing machine).
Today, the world over, drinking has become a culture, and binge drinking especially among teenagers is out of control. That first drink to get you on to the dance floor has now been replaced by binge drinking where you simply hit the floor. Binge drinking used to mean drinking heavily over several days, now, however, alcohol is consumed over a short period of time, and is highlighted by having five or more drinks in a row by men, or four or more drinks in a row by women.
Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia today and its effects, especially on the young, can be catastrophic. These effects depend on your age, sex, body weight, how regularly you drink and whether it is on a full or empty stomach. Short-term problems include headaches, vomiting, dizziness and dehydration. Long-term problems are extremely serious, and range from brain damage, liver and heart damage, stomach ulcers and a higher risk of cancer. Incidentally, it will take one hour for your liver to process the toxins produced by ONE drink.
There are also risks attached to binge drinking, such as aggressiveness, unsafe sex, seriously injuring someone or dying from alcohol poisoning. A young person’s brain in not capable of knowing when they have had enough to drink, therefore the rate of young people dying from alcohol poisoning is increasing as this drink culture continues.
Socialising is a very normal and necessary part of life, however when the means to helping you socialise can shatter and destroy your life forever, it can hardly be called normal, social or necessary. Sometimes just saying NO to that extra drink can make a world of difference to your health. Here are some tips to help limit the amount you drink:
• Try to drink water in between alcoholic drinks.
• Drink slowly.
• Drink low alcohol drinks.
• Know your limits.
• Never drink alone or if you are feeling depressed.
• Space out your drinking routine. Try a couple of week-ends drink free and save some money.
Check out the following signs if you think you are drinking too much.
• Thinking about drinking on an on-going basis.
• Having difficulty concentrating either at work or college.
• Feeling edgy.
• Drinking alone.
Acknowledging you may have a problem is the first step to solving it. Talk to a trusted family member or visit your GP who will connect you to counsellors and support groups. Above all reach out and get help.
There are many people today including young people on waiting lists for a liver transplant due to excess alcohol consumption. Binge drinking may seem like a good idea at the time, after all you are young and invincible and nothing can take you down. The reality, however, is very different; binge drinking will take you to a place you do not want to go, and unfortunately a place where you will never return. Therefore drink moderately, enjoy life and live it to the full.
I used to do this when I was studying in early years of college and at initial stages of my career. I experienced couple of bitter experiences involving relationships and money and I stopped alcohol for nearly a year until I could drink responsibly.
Then on, I should say I have had ONLY pleasant memories from any occasion involving alcohol! Thanks to my parents, sibling and my partner for their support all the way!