Alcohol and the Over 40 Woman
Do I Have A Drinking Problem, and what are the effects on your health?
· Before I get started, everyone is different! This is an article intended to get YOU to think about YOUR relationship with Alcohol. My sole intent is to share some of my realizations and information I found from experts. We only get one life, and I am searching for the healthiest ways to live mine at every age.
For years there have been articles telling us that a little alcohol is good for us and even promoted. We all have read about resveratrol in red wine, in particular being great for our health. Is this true? If so, how much is healthy? What happens to our aging bodies as we go over the recommended amounts?
Let’s start with what the CDC considers a recommended dose of Alcohol for a woman.
Daily it is said that your maximum limit of alcohol daily should be no more than the following:
- 5 ounces of wine
- 12oz. beer
- 1.5 oz of
If I am honest with myself, when I have a glass of red wine, it is automatically poured at 8oz at home or in a restaurant. This way, the server doesn’t have to worry about refilling often. Unless, on the other hand, I am in a high-end restaurant that charges the amount of a bottle per glass. Then it is 4-5oz!
As you probably have already guessed, Alcohol does not outweigh the downsides, but to be fair to Alcohol, here are the benefits of minimal serving per day.
According to Mayo Clinic, the possible Benefits of Moderate Drinking
– Reducing risk and dying from heart disease.
– POSSIBLY reducing the risk of ischemic stroke
– POSSIBLY reducing your risk of diabetes.
In the next breath, Mayo Clinic says the following:
“However, eating a healthy diet and being physically active have much greater health benefits and have been more extensively studied.”
Here is the risk list.
Risks of Drinking Alcohol
- Certain cancers, including breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver
- Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease
- Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Accidental severe injury or death
- Brain damage and other problems in an unborn child
- Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
Well, that was fun. Sheesh!
I know for a lot of the world, Alcohol has become the social norm, just like overeating. The difference is with overeating; we SEE the effects of how our bodies look and how we feel in our clothes. Often with repeated alcohol use, the damage goes on quietly for years, especially in your liver. If you are a routine un-moderate drinker, you will have some clues to look at over the age of forty.
- Are you super groggy in the morning?
- Is your skin red or extra dried out?
- Have you lost your desire to live and are just existing?
- Does every occasion have to be celebrated with Alcohol?
- Does every DAY have to involve Alcohol?
- Is there a time each day, you reach for the bottle?
- Can you go Alcohol-free for extended periods?
- At night, do you pass out pretty quickly and wake up about four hours later? (Alcohol is terrible for a good night’s sleep)
- Has your stomach become like a spare tire, no matter what you do? (Hormones can play a roll in this also)
- Do you need Alcohol to get you through life?
- If you are sad, do you drink?
- If you are angry, do you drink?
- If you are happy, do you drink?
If you are of my generation, Alcohol may have been one party after another. Clubbing was huge in the 90’s scene. We can easily relate the feeling of vitality to our days of youth. (Of course, forgetting all the promises to God that if he would make you feel better, you would NEVER drink it again) The truth is the Alcohol had nothing to do with youth and vitality. YOUTH alone did. Now, as a woman over 40, Alcohol can have serious consequences such as cancer!
My intention is not to guilt anyone! I experienced many stages of drinking throughout my life. I have settled and honestly feel so much better (and my skin is thankful for it too) is now, and again if I want 4-5oz of a glass of merlot, I may have one.
I have that luxury because I am truly able to stop at any point. Many in my family cannot say the same, and for that reason, if I am in their company, I do not drink in their presence. They have worked SO hard at sobriety, and I would never want to be the one that brings the temptation to their door.
So, I ask you to ask yourself:
What is my relationship with Alcohol?
A. I do not drink at all.
B. I only drink in moderation and have a healthy balance with Alcohol.
C. I have to evaluate my alcohol use.
CAUTION: These tips are for women who are not drinking a lot of alcohol, just the ones concerned that they may be developing a habit.
STOPPING HEAVY DRINKING ALL AT ONCE IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND REQUIRES PROFESSIONALS!
SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-487-4889
10 Practical tips for having a healthier relationship with Alcohol.
1. Remove Alcohol from your home entirely for some time. (Give it away, give to a friend to hold onto, or dump it down the drain)
2. Replace Alcohol with a good habit! Such as:
– Call a loved one at that time daily.
– Cook something beautiful
– Put on music that calms your soul
– Finally, learn to meditate.
-Keep your hands busy (paint by number, use an adult coloring book, bake, decorate)
-CREATE anything! (Remember when you were a kid, and you lived to play and create? Make adulting fun again!)
3. Fill your wine glass with Sparkling Water or a Mocktail. (Yummy, can be healthy and no alcohol)
4. Educate yourself on Alcohol and your body. There is TONS of research out there! The more you read, then you will make better decisions about your health.
5. Ask yourself, WHY do I drink? Am I self-medicating in any way?
Am I sad?
Do I miss a loved one?
Do I feel un-fulfilled?
Am I disappointed in myself or the way my life turned out?
Am I lonely?
6. If in the above questions you answered yes, ask yourself:
Instead of turning to Alcohol, how can I address the root of this problem?
7. Who can I ask for help and will keep my confidence?
8. If I don’t feel like I have anyone in my life currently, which professional will I seek first?
1. General Practioner
4. Clergy member
5. HelpLine Volunteer
6. Life Coach
7. Rehabilitation Center
9. If I have to think about Alcohol this much, is it possible I have a problem?
10. If so, do I know that admitting it is the most crucial part?
Lastly, with all this information I learned about myself, what are my next steps?
Today is the first day of the rest of your life; what you do with it matters one day from now, one week from now, one month from now, and one year from now. You MATTER!