Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's hear it for alcohol awareness

The (ahem ... useless, cough, cough) Labour government here in the U.K. has recently launched an alcohol awareness campaign, in light of the fact that Britain is a land drenched in copious amounts of the liquid poison. A government study concluded that most people are unaware of how many units of alcohol are in one pint of beer, large glass of wine or G &T. (Answer: 3 units for all three drinks.) This, they conclude, is why so many British people have a drink problem.
Organizations such as Drink Aware have set up safety limits for drinking based on the aforementioned units. The safe level for men is 21 units per week, and for women it is an astonishingly small 14 units per week. (Benefits of being male: You can safely drink more!)
I'm not the only one wondering if most Britons who enjoy their drink will pay the slightest iota of attention to this campaign, but I will say this much for it—it caused me to take notice and to take action.
I was pretty gobsmacked to work out, last Sunday, that my weekly average alcohol intake was 63 units. If the safe level for my gender is 21, I was imbibing three times the threshold for a responsible male drinker. (I was drinking nine units a day, 7 days a week.)
Because my body was used to that much booze, I rarely got seriously hung-over. But I would very frequently feel groggy and dazed. Little wonder, eh?
As of last Sunday, I changed my ways. I figured that if I could give up soft drugs and cigars, then I could also work on my drinking. I was clearly as bad as other people in this country when it came to the partaking of alcoholic drinks.
I haven't had any alcohol since Sunday. It's been five whole days since I've had a drink. And you know what? I feel great. I feel healthier. I feel enriched. In fact, I do not even miss beer. I have found that I can easily do without it. I do, however, still have a taste for rich, blood-red wine. It's a dragon thing, dear reader.
Therefore, I have decided that I will not be drinking anything but shandys—a lemonade-based drink whose overall alcohol content is a mere 0.5%, hardly enough to even worry about—during the five-day workweek. I will enjoy my red wine on the weekends. If I have one bottle on Friday and enjoy a few glasses at the pub on Saturday, that means I will have had my 20 to 21 units. And then, come Sunday, no more wine till the next weekend. And so on.
I will save money. I will be sparing my liver. And I may also lose some more weight. Even though my waistline is a pretty good 33 inches, I could definitely get away with a more svelte 31 inches. Drinking 63 units a week of such a calorie-rich substance cannot have been doing much for me, despite all the running I do.
Oh yeah, guess what? I've been running better this week than I have done for a long time! Surely no coincidence.
Alcohol is a healthy, life-enhancing substance if taken in moderation. It's when you drink beyond the safe limit that it becomes problematic.
I have listened to and acted upon this awareness campaign. I just hope others do as well. Everyone deserves to know how good life can seem without the hooch, and if there's one example of this fetid, bloated and slowly dying government of ours finally doing something good and useful, this campaign would be it.


kristen said...

Thus why I don't drink at all.

Glad you are making changes. It's good when we can become aware of what's good/bad for our bodies and take action.

Nightdragon said...

Well, you're a Christian, so of course you don't drink. Me, I have no such constraints, so the last thing I want to be is a teetotaler. I just want to save my drinking for the weekends -- and then, to drink sensibly and within the safe limit once the weekend (such as now!) arrives.
I had a bottle yesterday -- that's 10 units -- and today I will have three or four glasses (worth another 10), and then I will stop drinking until my 20 units next weekend. That way, I'm drinking within the safe limits and I'm not exactly bingeing.