For the past few years I have given up alcohol. Sometimes, I feel like society looks upon non-drinkers as either some kind of freak or someone who previously had a drinking problem and now does not drink. I don’t feel I fit into either of those categories. For me, it is actually a health choice and has to do with the way it makes me feel.
For probably 8 years of my life – I drank at most social occasions and enjoyed the uninhibited feeling alcohol provides in these situations. I didn’t enjoy the feeling of general unwellness the next day, the fact I knew I had consumed a large number of calories (alcohol is incredibly high in calories) or the inability to remember every detail of the occasion. I strive toward clarity of mind and drinking alcohol does not assist in the attainment of this. I certainly don’t think being a non-drinker makes me better than anyone who chooses to drink, it is just that the negatives outweigh the positives for me.
There are numerous benefits to refraining from alcohol consumption.
The big one is cancer – with strong increases in risk for cancers (specifically) of the oral cavity and pharynx, oesophagus and larynx with consumption of alcohol. Risks are also observed for cancers of the stomach, colon and rectum, liver, breast and ovary (Bagnardi, Blangiardo, LaVecchia, Corrao, 2001). Other health risks are hypertension, liver cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, and injuries and violence (Bagnardi, Blangiardo, LaVecchia, Zambon, 2004).
Reasons to avoid alcohol include the calories, liver and brain health, dehydration and being in a better frame of mind to make smarter and more informed decisions. You can drive without worrying you are over the limit and if you are a female – you don’t have to make as many sacrifices when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You are also setting a good example for children, saving money and never feeling hungover.
Just something to think about……
Bagnardi, Blangiardo, LaVecchia, Corrao (2001) ‘A meta-analysis of alcohol drinking and cancer risk’ British Journal of Cancer 85 (11), Italy.
Bagnardi, Blangiardo, LaVecchia, Zambon (2004) ‘A meta-analysis of alcohol consumption and the risk of 15 diseases’ Prev Med’ 38 (5), Italy.