Why do you drink?

Tomorrow is autonomy day at Callaghan and what this usually equates to is a day for students to let lose and drink. Now I have no problem with drinking or letting lose and I’ve certainly done both of these before so I have no judgement. For those people joining in and having fun with a drink or two enjoy yourselves, but if you stop before your third drink or if you are reading this after the fact ask yourself, ‘Why am I drinking?’ you might be surprised at your answer.

Some people drink because they feel uncomfortable in a crowd and it helps calm there nerves. Others drink because they feel sad and they are seeking the pick me up that alcohol gives initially. You may also find yourself saying yes to another drink because your friends are doing the same thing and you feel like you need to be drinking to fit in (I can recall plenty of these experiences in my student days). For some of you pain may be the reason, either physical or emotional pain and drinking is a way of coping or numbing the pain. Finally you may be drinking because you are addicted and can’t stop, or don’t see a problem with your drinking. If you answered yes or maybe to any of these then maybe you are not drinking for fun, maybe your are trying to hide from something or using it to cope, and if this is the case you could be on the pathway to addiction.

Men are twice as likely as women to develop problematic drinking behaviours in their lifetime and the most risk is at late 20’s and 40’s. For women the most risky time is between 18-24 years of age. One in six people will have more than 11 standard drinks on one single occasion of drinking during a 12 month period. Alcohol often fuels violence with 26% of physical assaults being attributed to alcohol, that’s 1.7 million people who experience physical abuse by someone under the influence of alcohol.

If these statistics are not enough to get you questioning why you drink then think about the benefits of cutting back your drinking or changing your drinking behaviour:

  • You will feel better in the mornings (no hangovers)
  • You will feel less tired during the day as alcohol consumption interferes with our sleeping patterns
  • You may stop gaining weight (the calories in alcohol are larger than you think)
  • Your mood will improve (alcohol initially provides a euphoric experience but is followed by a large crash and depressed mood)
  • Drinking interferes with your judgement and you may do things you wouldn’t normally do and then have to face the consequences the next day (ringing your ex and telling them you miss them….or worse ringing your current partner and telling them you miss your ex)
  • Drinking increases physical illness through suppression of your immune system and complications with your heart.

If by now you are thinking I should really think about cutting back there is good news. Here at UON we have a drug and alcohol counsellor who can help you make a plan of how to reduce your intake. You can make an appointment to see Lachlan by phoning counselling on 49215801 and asking for an initial appointment with the Health and Welfare Advisor and letting them know you are interested in counselling with Lachlan. Or if you want to give it a go by yourself to start with or make some changes before you see him then give these a go:

  • Make a plan and set a limit of how much you will drink each time
  • Set a budget of how much you will spend each week
  • Share your goals with others so you can get support
  • Take it one day at a time. Failure one day doesn’t mean you are destined to fail every day.
  • Use portion control – reduce the size of the drink
  • Have a lower strength drink
  • Stay hydrated and alternate drinks with water
  • Take a break from drinking with a alcohol free day.

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