Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Getting Smashed or Smashing You?

Do you set out to get smashed, hammered, liquored, off ya guts, plastered or maggoted?

Do you ever find yourself waking up the day after feeling like dogs balls, as you have your head staring face to face with the back of the toilet bowl, a raging headache and you can't keep anything down, thinking why do I do this to myself?

Why is it, that we do do it to ourselves?

Not only is it poisoning our bodies, but Beej is also going to tell also today that it has another serious effect on our minds.

Beej and I were discussing our alcohol intake the other day, and in the wise words of Beej this is what she said that really made me think 'we can't turn to alcohol to feel better and then blame it for making us feel crap'.

Take it away Beej.

The month is upon us – Dry July – and I will be donating to people taking on the challenge and applauding their efforts for raising awareness about cancer and supporting those who suffer the deliberating disease. Dry July is a well known and respected fundraiser, and while the consumption of alcohol isn’t directly linked to the development of cancer, it is little wonder that refusing the drop has been chosen as the challenge to be undertaken – saying no to a drink offer is not exactly considered the norm.

Did you realise, Dry July is also meant to make you stop and take notice of your own drinking habits? In the past and even very recently, in an attempt to reduce the amount of alcohol people drink, the focus has been on how you hurt others – whether it is by driving drunk, becoming aggressive, not being there for your family, drink walking, etc. etc. But what about what alcohol does to you? Yes, health magazines have spoken of the fact that alcoholic drinks are far from nutritious, and are instead nasty little calorie bombs we consume one after the other (yet we fight ourselves over having dessert?). And we’ve all suffered through a hangover and binged on greasy food the next day or not been able to hold anything down at all.

But, there’s something that’s not mentioned enough.

Alcohol is a depressant (which is ironic considering some people can’t have ‘fun’ without it). It slows the function of your central nervous system, blocks messages from getting to the brain, and hence alters your perceptions, emotions, movement, vision and hearing.

As mentioned earlier, the movement, vision and hearing impairment have been focussed on before, but lets talk about your perceptions and emotions. Ever looked at your friends laughing as they walk back to the table and were convinced they were laughing at you? Found yourself getting overly upset at something that wouldn’t usually faze you? Missing home more the next day than you have been in a while?

Like I said – depressant.

When you’re already susceptible to feeling down, the chemical affects of alcohol are only going to make you feel better for a very short period of time, and in the end it is going to leave you worse off. Reaching for a single calming drink after a rough day can be a moment for you to sit and relax, but finishing the 6 pack could have the opposite affect. And if you’re leaving all the sh*t behind at home to spend the night at the pub instead – the sh*t’s still going to be there when you get back – except you’re not going to have the energy to deal with it through your hangover on Sunday, so the problem is only going to compound and be even worse by next weekend. By the time Friday rolls around your need to hit the bottle rises at the same rate as your stress, and it all happens again.

Let me get this out there right now: I’m not saying don’t have a drink. I’m not saying don’t get drunk. And I am certainly not saying that I am a teetotaller. By all means, go ahead, I am not preaching and completely against drinking here - I am just saying – sometimes we all need to make better decisions. If things are rough for you at the moment, don’t be convinced that alcohol is going to make it better. If you can’t remember much about the night before, and you’re finding out horrific stories about your behaviour that have you ashamed – maybe have a think about why you’re drinking to oblivion in the first place. If you’re already under the pump of a deadline – don’t waste a day hungover.

And I am of the personal opinion that if you can’t have fun without alcohol, you’re damn well not trying hard enough.

Deciding whether to drink or not is your personal decision. And that means it’s mine too. Some nights I might get on it with everyone else and suffer the next day but have enough laughs to hold down my bacon and egg breakfast.

But when I refuse the drink, it could be because I am driving; maybe I’m pregnant (I’m not). Usually it’s because I’ve got no room after dessert, or I’m just watching my sugar intake. Maybe I’m just not in the mood – or maybe it’s because I am struggling with something. Maybe I’m saying no because I don't like being in a round, having things bought for me or feeling like I owe someone, or, like for the last few years, I'm trying to save money for something more important (aka dream wedding and honeymoon to Europe would not have happened if I drank every weekend!).

But it is NOT because I am not ‘fun’ (yes I take MAJOR offence to this one). It’s NOT because I am a freak. It is because I know who I am, and who I want to be, and how I want to feel. Cheers to that.

Beej xxxx

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