Have you ever heard the one about the grapes in wine being so healthy that it is good to drink wine every day? Or that drinking makes you a social person and boosts your sex life?
O yes, we have all read these things embedded in our media. The thing is, we who read these blogs are the converted ones. Others who read these things, can justify their wine every day, their whiskey tots in the early hours, and their beers on a Sunday.
Alcohol is Good for the Heart, Say What?
One article I read said that small amounts of alcohol boost your good cholesterol levels therefore making you less prone to have a heart attack or a stroke out of the blue? Who believes this dribble?! We don’t! But we, the sober ones, are in the minority at social events when everyone else believes their drinking is normal and good for them.
Jane told us about her first big function going out sober – a St Patrick’s Day at the President Hotel. “Our host, Diane, was really protective but I got cornered by our friend J, who insisted I plough through a tray of nasty green shooters with him. I was up for the challenge and he was far enough gone not to realise that I was pouring each sticky shot down the back of the pretty patio cushions!” What a way to have sober fun at a party!
I know: Heavy drinking can increase your risk of heart disease. And “you don’t have to pop a cork to reap those benefits. Exercise can also boost HDL cholesterol levels, and antioxidants can be found in other foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grape juice!” It seems so logical to me that excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Even the heart muscle is weakened with extreme drinking.
Wine Boosts Your Sex Life, O Yea?
Did you ever see the article in your favourite women’s magazine about having a little bit of wine to give your sex life a boost? You see, a little bit of alcohol decreases stress and increases libido, of course. We all remember losing our inhibitions when drinking. I did that at university, on my global travels, and while finding myself as a single woman in South Africa. I met men who were so wrong for me, but the wine told me otherwise!
There was even a study that showed that women who drank 2 glasses of red wine a day had more arousal and sexual satisfaction than sober women! This study states that “alcohol consumption increases subjective sexual desire, arousal, and pleasure for many women, although it lowers physiological arousal. Despite the general belief that alcohol disinhibits female sexual behaviors, alcohol leads to changes in sexual behavior only for a minority of women.” And did you know that a drink or 2 can also boost women’s testosterone levels which makes them more energetic and forthright!
I know: drinking too much causes erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Yes, drinking women may think they are sexy but too much alcohol actually causes less physiological stimulation and arousal. For men, alcohol decreases blood flow to the penis causing delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
Drink to Make Friends and Lower Your Blood Pressure, Haha
Many glossy gossip magazines show pictures of people socialising with wine glasses and tequila glasses overflowing. Then they state that drinking makes us more sociable. Apparently if we drink, we loosen up and are on the same level as our friends who drink. We will have more friends, fun times, smiles and laughs.
I know: for some, one drink leads to 21 drinks and a blackout at the end of the night. We can also lose friends who drink when we stop drinking because they think less of us. Really? True story! It happened to me. I have lost old friends to their alcohol and that hurt so much. But I have beautiful sober friends now and life is full.
It always amazes me that health magazines and blogs are bursting with news about how alcohol helps with blood pressure and blood sugar. Yea, if you drink a glass or 2 of wine or other booze nightly, you will never get Diabetes 2! Hey! That is great news that alcohol helps your body sort out the high blood sugar levels so easily! Ahem.
I know: alcohol also causes Diabetes and heart disease. Alcohol is packed with sugar and empty calories. Alcohol also affects blood sugar levels each time it’s consumed, which means occasional drinkers can also be negatively impacted. Alcohol consumption causes an increase in insulin secretion, which leads to low blood sugar (otherwise known as hypoglycaemia).
Kidney Stones and Dementia Never Happen if you Drink – Really?
Other articles rudely state that having a regular drink prevents kidney stones forming. Well, I never! Yes, if you drink regularly, you are 41% less likely to get kidney stones than people who don’t drink. Apparently, this is because you pee more often so will never have that problem!
I know: if you drink too much, you get dehydrated so could still get kidney stones! And many other health issues. Alcohol negatively affects the kidneys in several ways – when your kidneys have to work extra hard to rid the body of excess alcohol, you may experience pain. All that peeing when you drink can actually dehydrate your body. So your kidneys and other organs are compromised.
The best part about having a few drinks every week is that you will never go mad: dementia does not hit those who have a drink or two every day or every other day. Apparently, the MIND diet features wine as a good thing, a healthy brain food that can reduce the change of blood clots and heart disease… Well I never!
MIND stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. And this diet has been formulated specifically to reduce dementia and the decline in brain health that often occurs as people get older. The article states that people on the MIND diet should “aim for no more than one glass daily. Both red and white wine may benefit the brain. However, much research has focused on the red wine compound resveratrol, which may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.” Fancy that!
I know: drinking too much over a long period of time can lead to brain damage, and may increase your risk of developing dementia. In fact, the US Department of Health and Human Services research publication states that a person who drinks heavily over a long period of time may have brain deficits that persist well after he or she achieves sobriety… We do know that heavy drinking may have extensive and far–reaching effects on the brain, ranging from simple “slips” in memory to permanent and debilitating conditions that require lifetime custodial care. And even moderate drinking leads to short–term impairment, as shown by extensive research on the impact of drinking on driving.
I had to cackle when I read that “Moderate drinkers are far more likely to exercise than people who don’t drink. And they may even get more healthy effects from it. On the flip side, the more you exercise, the more likely you are to drink now and then. Scientists don’t know exactly where this link comes from.” Ahem, I wonder why? We who are sober leap out of bed every morning to exercise and seize the day!
Why Drinkers Need a Drink
Check out these hilarious excuses from drinkers who really need a drink and still need to justify it:
- I have had a long/tough/stressed/hot/cold/ day.
- I am off tomorrow.
- It’s a beautiful/rainy/stormy/cloudy day.
- I am going out with my friends.
- I need to socialise and not be shy.
- It’s pay day/hump day/Puza Thursday…
- I deserve a reward for my week at work.
Let’s finish off with some tips from Lucy who plays games when she goes out sober to drinking events:
“For me, the funny side of sobriety is playing ‘bullshit bingo’ when you go out. You write out a list of things that are typically going to be said by pissed people and tick them off when you hear them. When you clear your sheet you can go home! Another game is if there’s 2 or more of you sober, challenge each other to get a rude word or controversial word or sentence into a conversation without drunk people noticing! It is also funny to be bright and bushy tailed when everyone else is nursing a hangover but pretending not to. You become more able to laugh at yourself too. “
Sober and happy, we continue to smile at these lies in the media. They are no doubt written by the very people who babble these excuses for a drink every day. They can have it.