The Truth About Alcohol and Abuse

The Truth About Alcohol and AbuseIt is very Australian to consume large amounts of alcohol, in fact it is a behaviour that envelopes much of our lives. President of the Australian Medical Association Brian Owler says this needs to change. In a speech given to the AMA National Alcohol Summit, he stated some of the raw and honest facts about Australians and alcohol abuse.

When the onus is largely on our personal use of alcohol and taking responsibility for our actions, Owler reminds us that the misuse of alcohol has wider repercussions than just the drunken behaviour of the individual. He shares, The devastating consequences of alcohol misuse extend from our cities into rural and remote areas and the number of alcohol-related assaults tops 70,000 a year.

With the overconsumption of alcohol can often come acts of cowardice and danger; many of us have heard about the fatal impact of the ‘king hit’ or the affect alcohol mixed with drugs can have on our bodies. But what about the ramification this behaviour has on the victims? There have been 24,000 cases of alcohol related domestic violence. And in addition to this, the misuse of alcohol can also contribute to child abuse.

In his speech, Owler highlights that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. And from his own experience he shares, As a paediatric neurosurgeon, I frequently see the results of abuse of a child's brain. The brain swells dramatically. And if we do save the child, the brain often melts away on follow-up scans, and the child is permanently disabled. It's not even a matter of drunken violence.

When we drink alcohol without limits and allow ourselves to become intoxicated, we don’t just put ourselves in danger, we put those around us in danger too. Someone like me has to tell the parents that their son is quadriplegic – all because of a drunken night out. Alcohol-related harm doesn't stop at the front door. It enters people's homes.” Owler says.

And it is not just families and loved ones who are impacted by this; it is the victims of sexual assault, rape and violence. It is our children who grow up in an environment where it is normal to drink alcohol heavily because it is typically Australian. There is a safe way to consume alcohol, and Owler’s speech reminds us how important it is we learn how to do this; not just for ourselves, but for others too.

Brian Owler’s speech to the AMA National Alcohol Summit was published in the Sydney Morning Herald. You can read it here.

 

Do you struggle to limit your alcohol consumption? Maybe you want to learn how to keep yourself and your friends safe while you drink, or need help becoming sober. If so, contact Watersedgecounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.

WatersedgeCounselling will be releasing our new “30 Days Alcohol Free” campaign soon to help you achieve a greater level of wellness in your life. Keep an eye on watersedgecounselling.com for details.

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If you have a drug and/or alcohol dependence issue and would like to access support to address your issues and reduce your substance use then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or go to the orange tab to Colleen's online diary to make an appointment.

Alcohol Consumption:13 Tips To Drink Less And Feel Great

It__s_the_Aussie_way____by_captivatedimagesFor a lot of people, the Christmas/New Year period is a time of over-indulgence. Parties, end-of-year-functions, New Years Celebrations, summer BBQ's in the backyard or down by the beach, and not to forget the traditional Australia Day celebrations are all part of the Australian way of life and we love it! Have you noticed though that when you have been in the habit of over-indulging for a couple of months, it is difficult to restrain oneself from continuing to consume food and alcohol in this fashion in spite of the growing waistline, dull skin tone and general fatigue that continued overindulgence has on your body? If you are nodding your head as you read this, why not consider February the month that you aim to reduce your alcohol consumption? The benefits will include weight loss,  healthier, clearer skin and an increase in energy.

Here are 13 tips that  will support your commitment to drink less and feel great:

1. In social settings, start with a soft drink: a non-alcoholic soft drink will quench your thirst before you start drinking alcohol.

2. Use standard drinks: an Australian standard drink contains 10 gms of alcohol. Because glass sizes very, check the label of a drink to know how many gms are in a specific alcoholic drink.

3. Drink slowly: sip your drink and put it down between each sip.

4. Eat before or while you are drinking: eating slows down your drinking pace and fills you up. Alcohol is absorbed much slower on a full stomach.

5. Avoid salty snacks that make you thirsty.

6. Avoid shouts: drink at your own pace, not what is dictated by someone else. If you do get stuck in a shout, buy a non-alcoholic drink.

7. One drink at a time: when people top up your drink it is easy to lose track of how much alcohol you have had.

8. Pace yourself: have a non-alcoholic drink every second drink.

9. Stay busy: play pool or dance but don't just sit an drink.

10. Try a low-alcohol alternative: light beer, low alcohol or non- alcoholic wines are available. Most places that have cocktails have non- alcoholic versions.

11. Have alcohol-free days: have at least 2 days a week when you don't drink at all.

12. Keep a diary: write down how much you drink each day so that you are more aware of how much you consume.

13. Be assertive: don't be pressured into drinking. Learn that it is okay to say ‘no thanks'.
Decide how many drinks a day you would like to reduce your alcohol consumption to (as compared to how much alcohol you presently consume) so that in  the social setting, you can be more aware of how much alcohol you choose to drink. Don't be to hard on yourself if you lapse on an occasion. Remember that it is a process and even if you only reduce by one or two drinks over the month of February, your health and wellbeing will only benefit.
You might like to ask a friend to support you throughout the month so that you have some sort of accountability or journal your progress each day. You might like to email your progress to me at colleen@watersedgecounselling.com  I would be delighted to be your support person.

If you want help to reduce your alcohol consumption, grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.



Issues With Alcohol: How Do You Know You Have A Problem?

You love a drink. It relaxes you, you feel more confident and sociable, you have more fun. Recently, someone has been telling you that you have an alcohol problem – your partner, a parent, a close friend, maybe your boss? You can't accept what they say, after all everyone enjoys a drink every now and then. All your friends drink, if you drink a bit more now and then, it doesn't hurt anyone, you reason to yourself.

I understand that you don't want to be told that you have an alcohol problem. It feels like you are a child again, being told that you have done something wrong. It can feel embarrassing, humiliating and possibly frightening, especially if you had an alcoholic parent.

So I simply want to ask you a few questions that can help you make up your own mind. Be aware that if you do have an alcohol problem, you won't want to admit it. You will feel really defensive as I ask you to take an honest look at how you are doing.

1. How many times a week do you drink alcohol?

  • The recommended limit for low risk drinking is 2 standard drinks a day including 1 alcohol free day a week. Can you stop at 2 drinks? Perhaps you could test yourself over the next couple of weeks and keep a diary of how much you drink.


2. How much do you drink in any single episode?

  • You may drink just on one or two nights a week. How much do you drink on those occasions? The recommended limit when drinking on those occasions is 4 standard drinks. 
  • Binge drinking to the point of intoxication as a regular occurrence is a risk to your health. Are you frequently intoxicated? Over the next fortnight, keep a count of how often you drink to intoxication.


3. Has the issue of alcohol caused conflict in your relationship? 

  •  your partner nags you about your drinking 
  •  you frequently fight about your drinking to the point that you avoid coming home
  •  you are more irritable, distrustful or aggressive


4. Are you noticing that your behaviour is frequently out of character?

  • acting inappropriately
  • making poor decisions
  • telling lies
  • driving under the influence of alcohol


How did you do as you answered these questions?  If you could identify yourself in these four points, I encourage you to seek some help. You can find help on the internet by putting the word ‘alcohol' into the google search engine. You will be able to research what is available near your location. If you live on the Bellerine Region of Victoria, contact watersedgecounselling for alcohol counselling on 0434337245 or book now.

If you want help to overcome your alcohol issue, grow, experience wellness and reach toward your full potential then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you.