Recently, Dr. Michael Thorn from the Foundation for Alcohol Research sat down with the ABC’s AM program to discuss Australia’s heavy drinking culture, which is showing little sign of abating.
“The number of deaths is four times Australia’s road toll,” he said.
“If we were talking about 5,500 deaths on our roads, I’m sure that all governments and all communities would be much more motivated to do something about it but it seems in alcohol’s case, that we’ve got a tin ear to the problem.”
The medical profession may ask patients to drink less alcohol due to concerns about the liver and physical health, and, of course, this is true. However, I believe there is a deeper and more concerning issue – a drinking problem, which secretly people are worried about.
I believe the Australian Government should be looking at why people drink, rather than the standard glass measurement. Reducing alcohol has incredible emotional benefits that I believe, once better understood, will help Aussies to train their brains to drink less.
Think of this winter as an opportunity to create new healthier habits about you and your drinking relationship.
It is the emotional freedom of living life without relying on alcohol that makes a person feel better about themselves. Cutting back on the booze may help to increase self esteem, clarity, calm and an emotional sense of balance. So let’s stop the scare mongering and crack on with a healthier drink less winter. Think of this winter as an opportunity to ditch the wine in favour of a healthier INNER YOU!
Following are 6 ways to ditch the alcohol this winter:
1. Replace that glass of wine for something that benefits you in the long run
Decide on a few alcohol free days a week, and replace that drinking time with something that empowers you like reading that book you’ve been wanting to start or that on-line course that you know you want to do.
2. Stay hydrated during the cooler months … without having to give up wine completely
Have ready a nice bottle of sparkling water with you before you sit by that lovely log fire sipping red wine. Then sip your wine, put it down and have a sip of water. Keep alternating. The more you practice this when you drink alcohol the more your mind will learn how to drink less. And the bonus is you are hydrating yourself at the same time too.
Reducing alcohol has incredible emotional benefits that I believe, once better understood, will help Aussies to train their brains to drink less
3. Trick your mind into thinking wine is not “attractive”
We tend to associate the longer, darker nights with drinking more alcohol, but it is just a perception. Instead of reaching for that glass of wine, put the wine in a mug. Your mind will not find it as attractive and it will put you off drinking it as quickly.
4. Try to disassociate alcoholic drinks from past events
Alcohol like music can trigger emotional memories – positive and negative. So if you feel a gin & tonic makes reminds you of when the love of your life broke it off with you, try to avoid drinking that alcohol. Put music on that livens you and makes you feel healthier about you, so you don’t want to drink.
5. Learn to relax and relieve stress in other ways
Alcohol does not improve sleep quality, in fact it does the opposite. For those who feel the need to drink to aid sleep, it means they have an overactive mind that needs to learn to be more quiet. So rather than the booze, a great way to do this is to listen to relaxing music or learn to meditate before sleep.
6. Analyse why and when you feel the need to drink
Keep an emotional diary of when you feel the drive to drink. Recognise that loneliness, boredom, anxiety and low self esteem are usually the culprits. Think about resolving this emotional problem without alcohol there. This will liberate you and inspire you as a person who doesn’t need to drink alcohol as a way to deal with life.
Note: When people cut back on alcohol, they will sometimes crave sugar. It is not that they have transferred their habit from drinking to sugar, but rather the brain and body have been used to a certain amount of sugar in the blood stream. When it can’t get it from alcohol it will demand it from food. This will pass as the body adjust itself over a week or two.
Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0
Georgia Foster, originally from Melbourne, is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist who specialises in the Voice Dialogue psychology theory. Georgia has been a practicing therapist in London UK, since 1994 and runs regular seminars on alcohol reduction, self-esteem and anxiety around the world.