“I’ll just stay for one drink.” Famous last words. Most of us are guilty of overdrinking at some point, but have you ever asked yourself why? Here are some serious questions to ask yourself. (Tip: You will get the most benefit from this exercise by writing out the answers with pen and paper.)

Does alcohol cause any negative effects in your life? Including, but not limited to:

  • Your health
  • Your relationships
  • Your weight
  • Your energy

Have you ever considered cutting back?

What are your barriers when it comes to cutting back drinking or stopping altogether?

Do you need alcohol to have fun?

Do you need alcohol to relax?

This is an important topic because it has been socially ingrained in us that when we go out, we drink. When we get together for parties, we drink. When we go to sporting events, we drink.

It is more socially acceptable to drink than to not drink. Actually, it goes even further. If someone decides not to drink, people want to know why. Sometimes it is assumed that they have a prior dependence on alcohol or they must be pregnant.

Isn’t that wild to think about?

REALLY think about it.

Why is there so much social pressure to drink when we know we will feel terrible in the morning?

We can cultivate meaningful relationships, sober. We can engage in activities to relax, sober.

If you relate to this, here are 3 helpful tips:

To take control of your alcohol intake decide exactly when you will drink and how many drinks you will have. Otherwise, do not drink. This gives you complete control. When you think ahead with your prefrontal cortex you are likely to make healthier decisions, than when you are in the moment.

1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
Alcohol is toxic. It takes a large amount of energy from your body to break it down and get rid of it. When your body doesn’t have the fuel it requires to dedicate that amount of energy, we get hungry…ravenous even. Anyone who has ordered pizza at 1AM after a night of drinking, knows exactly what I mean. And do we stop after one piece of pizza? No. We overeat. As if that weren’t bad enough, the food we eat while drinking is more likely to be processed as fat. Yikes.

2. Stop drinking about 3-4 hours before going to bed.
Drinking affects sleep. Those few glasses of wine may help you fall asleep faster but your sleep is not as deep or restorative, and you have a greater chance of waking up in the middle of the night. Need proof? When is the last time you woke up from a night of drinking feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day?

3. Don’t add sugary mixers to your drinks
Alcoholic drinks mixed with sugary soft drinks or juices may be easier to consume, but this is dangerous for a number of reasons. First, you’re taking in way more sugar than is healthy, plus your perception of how much alcohol you’re actually consuming can become distorted. This often leads to overdrinking and consuming alarming amounts of sugar.

If you decide that alcohol is not healthy for your mind or your body and you want to stop completely, I encourage you to do so. Things will come up. Relationships may change. Does a true relationship need to be centered on alcohol? Absolutely not.

If you decide to quit altogether or just cut back, it will be very important to pay attention to your thinking and your feelings. You don’t have to let your brain go to default mode. Deliberately choose what you are going to think and this will guide the way you feel.

You are capable of whatever you decide.

Have questions or comments? I would love to hear from you.

Dr. LaRocca

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