April is Alcohol Awareness Month; a time to review the facts and to reflect on your own relationship to alcohol.
Alcohol has a universal presence in our society as it is available at most stores and is advertised in the media. The media often presents it in a way that it promotes sophistication, popularity, coolness, sexiness, successfulness, and a means to celebrate. People drink for reasons not advertised as well whether that be to relieve stress, to relax, socialize, or to cope with uncomfortable emotions.
The National Center for Health Statistics says that in 2018, two-thirds (66.3%) of adults aged 18 and over consumed alcohol in the past year. According to Cedars Sinai there was an approximate 14% increase in alcohol consumption in America during the height of the pandemic (National Center for Health Statistics, 2020).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines excessive drinking as binge drinking (4 or more drinks in one occasion for a woman and 5 or more drinks in one occasion for a man) or heavy drinking (8 or more drinks a week for a woman and 15 or more drinks per week for a man). Moderate drinking is defined as two or less drinks per day for a man and one or less drinks per day for a woman.
Short term effects and risks of alcohol use can lead to various types of accidents, violence, and alcohol poisoning. Long term effects can include high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, digestive problems, various types of cancer, decreased immune function, learning and memory problems, mental health problems, social problems, and alcohol dependence. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021)
How does one assess their relationship with alcohol?
A couple of questions to consider are:
Is my relationship with alcohol good enough to keep the same?
Is my relationship to alcohol bad enough that something needs to change?
How does your alcohol use impact your life?
What are your goals and what is alcohol’s impact on those?
The sober curious movement has gained some momentum with people committing to stay sober for a chosen duration of time for the health benefits of non-drinking and to see how they feel in general. With a quick Google search one can locate sober friendly mock-tail bars and lounges that have become popular in recent years.
If you think or know that you or someone you care about may have a problem with alcohol and want support, reach out to us to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists. Other local support resources include Alcoholics Anonymous and rehabilitation centers in the San Antonio area.