FIFO Focus’ Dr John Forbes joins Big Al as part of the REDFM series FIFO Life.
In part 38, Dr John talks about how to enjoy alcohol in a healthy way.
If you want to enjoy alcohol, you may need to start looking at it differently. Unfortunately, a lot of people drink alcohol to get drunk. That might sound like a statement of the obvious, but I think it’s important to remember that we consume alcohol so that our brain is affected. If it didn’t do anything – if it was like water – we wouldn’t bother with it. However, we need to get it working ‘for’ us, rather than against us. If you’re drinking to get drunk, then you may be trying to cope with a problem by self-medicating.
So, what do we do to enjoy it? We tell ourselves that alcohol is going to be ‘part of’ our enjoyment. So, I’m going to enjoy the party or dinner and, as part of that, I’m going to have a drink.
There are a few things to keep in mind, though, because often we have some bad drinking habits that need to be broken. The first thing to do is to know your limit, and to remember that about one drink an hour is going to maintain your blood alcohol content at that level.
Secondly, it’s important to eat food. That isn’t just to mop up alcohol, though – make it part of the occasion. So, have good food and good alcohol. Use the alcohol to enhance what you’re doing.
Next, just sip your drink. Take the time to actually enjoy it. Also, drink the good stuff. Again, so that you really enjoy it. If you know that you’re going to be drinking for a long time – at a party, for example – make sure that you skip an alcoholic drink every now and then. Alcohol levels take a little while to build up, but once they’ve started they keep building up well after you’ve stopped drinking.
So, enjoy having a drink. Don’t use it to help you to cope, otherwise (before you know it), you won’t be able to cope without having a drink – and then we may have slipped over into the self-medication zone.
If you think you are having an unhealthy reliance on alcohol, please do not hesitate to talk to your GP or your EAP provider to help you manage the situation and get to the bottom of the root cause. Of course, we are more than happy for you to contact us as well if that is your preferred avenue.