Q: My partner and I like to relax with a drink after work. It used to be just at the weekend, but now it seems to be every night. We don’t go out much and tend to socialise with friends at each other’s houses, to fit in with the kids. We seem to find any excuse to have a drink at night and I’m worried that we might be endangering our health, drinking too much. How can we find out?
A: You’re right to be concerned.It’s very tempting after a “hard day” to treat yourself with a drink. We’re right in the middle of party season with invitations to meet up with friends old and new, as well as with work colleagues. You can get carried away and your health will suffer as a consequence. I will also have to follow my own advice. Many an awkward moment or inhibition slip could have been avoided by that fourth drink. Try and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks, it doesn’t have to be the usual fizzy pop, there are many new adult soft drinks on the market. That way you can pace yourself instead of dancing on the tables, or under them. Choose a lower alcoholic volume drink or combine it with a mixer, put soda or lemonade with wine to make it last longer. Don’t “pre-drink” at home, it’s a false economy and can spoil a night so easily. Choose a drink and stick with it, don’t mix your drinks. Shots don’t sound as such a good idea the next morning. Don’t allow yourself to be pressurised into drinking if you don’t want to. Whether at home or out with friends, have a night off the alcohol, give your liver chance to recuperate. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, eating is NOT cheating. A pint of water before bed is always a good idea. The hangover headaches stem from dehydration of the brain, sounds quite alarming doesn’t it? Weight gain, bloating, bad skin and even organ damage can result, including brain damage.
If you’re worried about drinking at home, don’t buy it in advance. If you have a party planned, buy just for that occasion. The UK has a drinking culture, but we have turned it into a daily event rather than just special occasions. If you think that you are drinking more than the advised amounts of 2-3 units per day for women or 3-4 units per day for men, you should start to ask yourself why you should feel such a need. Like any habit this may stem from boredom, trying to escape from a situation or maybe even addiction. There are really good tips on Drink Aware on how to cut down or if you worried about your own or someone else’s drinking habits, as well as a drinks calculator. Don’t let a good time turn bad.