Drinking is deeply embedded into our culture. Alcohol is widely available in stores, restaurants, and bars, and is often used to socialise, relax, celebrate special occasions, and even to maintain health. Drinking an alcoholic beverage does not automatically lead to serious trouble, but the ease of access to alcohol and its social acceptability makes it important to distinguish between different types of drinking.
Social drinkers typically enjoy alcohol to relax, fit in, and celebrate, but do so in low-risk patterns and on rare occasions. Social drinkers, or casual drinkers, usually:
- Drink for enjoyment.
- Know when to stop drinking.
- Do not regularly get intoxicated or blackout.
- Find a sober driver and do not drive under the influence.
Problem drinking does not mean that a person has a physical dependence or addiction to alcohol, but more so defines the risky or potentially unhealthy behaviours associated with their drinking.
Problem drinking may occur frequently or infrequently but typically results in negative experiences or problems in a person’s life. Problem drinkers may feel dependent on alcohol and find it difficult to stop drinking even though they may not have a physical dependency or addiction. Problem drinkers may choose to drink to reach a desired state of mind, such as:
- Comfortable in social situations or increased sociability.
- Feeling good about yourself, having a good time, or general feelings of happiness.
- Feelings of relief or escape from problems or worries.
- Feelings of importance.
EVALUATING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALCOHOL
When was the last time you explored the role drinking plays in your life? If your answer is “I’m not sure,” it might be time to take a step back and reflect on whether or not you’re happy with your relationship with alcohol.
Being mindful of this relationship requires honesty and courage about how alcohol impacts your health, relationships, work, and other social obligations. It also requires kindness and compassion and a willingness to reach out for help if you uncover any underlying issues.
Maybe you recognise you're not feeling your best and want to cut down on drinking. Maybe you're curious about the longer-term impacts on your physical and mental health. Whatever your reason, explore the following articles to learn more about how to improve your relationship with alcohol.
KEY ARTICLES ABOUT ALCOHOL
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ALCOHOL A CURE FOR STRESS?
Have you ever reached for a beer or glass of wine after a stressful day? Turning to alcohol when stressed can seem like an easy way to relax, but it won’t help in the long run. Regularly drinking more than the low-risk drinking guidelines could make feelings of stress harder to deal with. Here's why.
|PE R F O R M A N C E
HOW DOES ALCOHOL AFFECT A WORKOUT?
Many of us also try to sweat it out and redeem ourselves physically and psychologically the day after a big night out or reward ourselves with a few drinks after a hard session. But what is the real impact of drinking alcohol after a workout?
|R E L A X I N G
10 WAYS TO WIND DOWN WITHOUT ALCOHOL
Whether it’s at a bar, a casual get-together with friends, or alone with some beers or a bottle of wine, drinking to unwind is par for the course in our society. Here are 10 ways to de-stress without that cold beer, cocktail, or glass of wine that will do wonders for the health of your body and your brain.
|D R I N K L E S S
HOW TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT YOU AND YOUR PARTNER DRINK
Do you ever think that you and your partner could be encouraging each other to drink more than you would really like? By working together, you could help each other cut back on how much alcohol you drink.
THE SMARTER DRINKING QUIZ
Research shows that over half of us want to change our drinking habits. When you want to change any of your habits one of the first steps is to become more informed. Knowledge is Power! Take our quiz to help you become a ‘smarter drinker’ and learn how to identify a standard drink or why alcohol affects us differently.
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