Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Why do we drink? Part 2

Last time we watch 10 adverts for alcohol and tried to work out how they were selling alcohol to us. 

Knowing why we drink can help us questions those reasons.  Are they valid reasons?  Are we deluding ourselves?

Allen Carr is famous for helping people quit smoking and drinking.  His approach to quitting smoking focuses on debunking myths surrounding smoking – it’s physically addictive, it’s beneficial (i.e. helps against boredom, helps concentration, relaxes me etc). 

Here’s a video of him explaining his method for smokers to quit.
Alcohol Relaxes Me (My interpretation of Allen Carr)
Alcohol relaxes me. It’s true that when you start drinking, alcohol changes the way you feel.  That’s probably why after a hard day of work, people like this change in state that alcohol provides.   But if you carry on drinking, up to the time you go to bed, then alcohol disrupts your sleep.  You might fall asleep faster but alcohol disrupts the second half of your sleep, leaving you tired in the morning.  Not only that, alcohol’s a depressant, which basically means it slows down your brain activity.  That’s why after a heavy night, most people feel ‘washed out’ the next day. 
Alcohol and alternatives for relaxation.

Short term

Medium term

Long term
Changes how you feel
Changes how you feel
Changes how you feel
Cold Shower
Changes how you feel
Don’t know
Don’t know
Allen Carr's Fourth Point from the video
I've found this to be true.  I was surprised at first but when you see someone getting more and more drunk, it's really isn't a pretty sight.
Back to the adverts

Advert 1
It makes things different.  Something unexpected might happen.  You’ll be living but with a different tune – fun because it’s different.
This is held to be true by many drinkers because many drunken nights led to unexpected things happening.    But I also think a bit of alcohol blindness is happening here as well.  Too many people think of ‘drinking’ as the ‘night out’ but the effect of alcohol last much longer.  Unexpected things might happen on a night out but nothing much tends to happen the day after a night out.  The day can be lost because you’re recovering from the night.  So you lose the chance to do different and exciting things in the day because you’re too wasted.
This gets to be more true as you get older.  Perhaps, you don't even have the excitement of going out because you drink at home.  If you're in your 30s, 40s or 50s, you've probably done this over a 1,000 times before.  What's going to be different if you get drunk one more time?  The end result is likely to be the same, especially for the day after.  Many heavy drinkers write off the day after, simply because alcohol is determining their routine.  They deny themselves the chance to do something different the next day.
Advert 3
It’s a manly thing to do.  Men and beer relate.  When men and beer get together, you can relax and have a good time.   The pub is place for a man.  If you drink and you’re a man, you’re still a rebel – young at heart
Whilst men like to drink beer together, is it really a manly thing to do? 
·         Beer, especially helps towards man boobs.   Man boobs are the very antipathy of manliness, cause in part by alcohol increase oestrogen, a female hormone.   Alcohol in general is seen by many as empty calories, which can lead to putting on weight. 
·         Alcohol lowers the sexual performance of males.
·         A sports field, a garage and a kitchen are also places for men. 

Advert 4
Beer is better than a beautiful woman.  It taste really good too.
Both might seem like good ideas but ultimately they both lead to trouble.
Advert 7
Beer makes you dance and brings out your hidden talents.
Arguably for some people, they only dance then they’ve drunk some alcohol.    From my personal experience and of seeing friends the day after, alcohol is usually disastrous for developing ‘hidden talents’.   It’s a huge time killer.  After big nights, it usually leaves you useless the next day.  This can be from tiredness and also from the ‘downer’ affect alcohol has on your nervous system, leaving you unmotivated and feel disengaged.  

What can we learn from Allen Carr?
·         Understanding and questioning why we drink will help us change our view of 'drinking'.
·         Many of the reasons why we drink are based on false beliefs. This is good in a way because we can question and address those beliefs.
·         It's easier to change your habit, if you believe it's easy.
·         Like smokers who need to smoke to relax, drinkers who need to drink to relax ( or socialize, or feel comfortable, or address boredomness) are putting themselves in a vicious circle.  It's a form of complusive behaviour.  If you put a heavy drinker next to a non-drinker/moderate drinker, who do you think is more relaxed?  And if you take away the drink - would their behaviour change?
·         And I'm sure a lot more.
Allen Carr also has a book that helps you quit drinking, even though its called 'Allen Carr's Easy Way to Control Alcohol'.  From the reviews on Amazon, it seems very anti-drinking and a lot of reviewers who had read the book, ended up quitting alcohol.
Remember, you can change your drinking habit.  You can quit if you want or you can modify it. It's your choice.

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