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  • Writer's pictureJenny Henderson

More Sobering Thoughts…

So in my previous blog I wrote about making the decision to go sober for October and the minute I did how I noticed how much it is all over my Facebook memories, the memes, status updates and numerous photos of me drinking, made me realize how much of a norm it has been, and one I’m now questioning.

It’s kinda crazy that it’s the norm though, booze is everywhere and portrayed as a normal part of everyday life, and this portrayal makes it more acceptable, but is it? Remember alcohol is a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties.

That sentence actually scares me! I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer on drinking, but the more I’ve read and thought about it, the more sentences like that impact.

The following is an excerpt from Lotta Dan’s book “The Wine O’Clock Myth, the truth you need to know about women & alcohol” a well written and eye opening book.

Drinking alcohol has been firmly established as a risk factor for developing breast cancer. Of all the alcohol related cancers in New Zealand, breast cancer is the most common. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of all alcohol related deaths among New Zealand women. One standard alcoholic drink a day (around 100ml of wine) leads to a modest increase in breast cancer risk (5%), and that risk rises for every additional standard drink consumed per day. Women who drink 50 grams or more of pure alcohol a day (that’s 500ml of wine, or 2 standard kitchen measuring cups) have a 60% higher risk of getting breast cancer than non-drinkers.

Jeepers - those stats got me really thinking! How many times have I gone for that second or third glass with absolutely no awareness of the risk it poses to my health! Just by having that second glass I’m increasing my breast cancer risk - what a refill deterrent! A sobering thought!

I was also startled at the thought of a kitchen measuring cup pour - I like my wine glasses beautiful and BIG, I wonder how much I actually pour as my standard measure, I’m quite positive it‘ll be on the wrong side of the 100ml ‘standard drink’ Recommendation.

Another thing I’m finding during this period of sobriety, is that I’m more aware of how much booze I’m seeing and what a ‘norm’ it is:

  • It’s all over TV, how many TV shows have a bar/pub at the centre of them? Characters drinking with dinner, drowning sorrows with a beer, having celebratory drinks, necking party shots and even binge drinking! It’s represented as a normal thing and often made to look glamorous!

  • I’ve never put much thought into it but I now notice that in my local supermarket the beer/wine aisle is the second, and biggest aisle in the shop.

  • I went birthday card shopping the other day and was blown away with the amount of cards focused on birthday boozing - yes I get it, it’s a regular part of celebrations, but the number of booze infused messages by far outweighed the more traditional gift/flower type cards.

I understand that for many it is a normal part of adulthood, it certainly has been for me this far. I’ve both soothed and rewarded myself with alcohol, used it and abused it…. and never really thought much about it before now, but I don’t NEED it, its always just been a nice to have. I love the Pop of a bottle of bubbles on my birthday, I love the frivolity of a pina colada on holiday, the chink of glasses with my husband as we sit down to dinner but in reality, they could all be non-alcoholic drinks served in a fancy glass for the same sense of occasion.

My go to during my month of abstinence has been sparkling water with a slice of lemon and a big ass ice cube served in a stemless wine glass. I admit I have missed the warm fuzzy that a wine delivers but I feel more educated and aware of all it does and stands for.

I wrote this blog to work out some of my feelings and questions about alcohol use and its been enlightening, eye-opening and in all honesty a little scary. Seeing fit, healthy women in the prime of their lives being smacked around by breast cancer breaks my heart and the stats shared in this entry shocked me. Perhaps I've given you something to think about too.

Health and Happiness


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