Have you ever read a bit of well written science and had your mind blown? I did this week and I have a lovely Sobersista to thank for it!
When I first became sober, the emotional and spiritual impact on me was so profound that it never crossed my mind to think about the science of what alcohol does to the body and wider society. I didn’t really care. I was so damn happy and I knew that alcohol not being in my body was (obviously) a very good thing from a health perspective.
I began offering support to other women like me around the end of 2017 and in everything I have said and offered I have pretty much ignored the science. I wasn’t ignoring it to be weird or for some anti-science reason (I love science!). Looking back I think it was simply because my source of strength around my sobriety was rooted in my heart and soul. After 17 years of reading and doing everything related to personal development that I could so that I could learn how to be ‘happy’, I just felt like that was enough for me.
However, this week I spoke to a lovely Sobersista who is in the membership group and she told me that she had found her “moment” where she knew she would never drink again. In her coaching sessions she would often wonder when that moment would come and I always responded the same way: that it would just come. That she would wake up one day and just know that she was done with alcohol for good.
Now I know that this doesn’t sound like particularly helpful coaching advice but in my experience over the last 4 years there never seems to be one common thing that anyone can do to make this moment hurry along. My theory, for what it’s worth, is that it’s different for everyone simply because we are all different and we are stimulated and motivated by entirely different things.
For this Sobersista it was the first couple of chapters of this book:
In his book, Professor David Nutt writes that he believes he was sacked as the UK governments’ chief drug adviser for saying on prime time radio that alcohol was the most harmful drug in the UK. He wrote his book “The New Science of Alcohol + Your Health” in 2020 in an attempt to help us understand the harms that alcohol causes and how it works in the body.
Key Facts from the Book
Here are a few key facts that I spotted as I started reading the book. Many of these facts will answer some of the questions I am often asked by members.
- If discovered today, alcohol would be illegal as a foodstuff.
- If you apply food industry standards to alcohol, the safe limit is one glass of wine a year.
- Alcohol is only palatable because of the sweeteners that have been added to it.
- Within 5 or 10 minutes of your first mouthful you will begin to feel the effects of alcohol in your body.
- It takes your body approximately one hour to process one unit of alcohol.
- Alcohol interferes with the proper functioning of neurotransmitters that regulate the brains core functions.
- The frontal cortex is the first part of the brain that is switched off by alcohol. The frontal cortex is the part of the brain that tells you to stay in control.
- Alcohol releases dopamine which is responsible for drive, motivation and energy and makes you feel exhilarated. Dopamine also lays down behaviour patterns.
- Each persons brain chemistry is different which is why it affects some people differently than others.
These few key facts are only from the first chapter! I haven’t even reached later in the book where he outlines the health harms such as cancer and cirrhosis of the liver.
Obviously there is a great deal more to learn but this stuff is pretty scary.
One of the facts that stood out for me was that one unit affects your brain after 5 to 10 minutes. How often have you poured a very large glass of wine which is probably at least two and a half to 3 units and downed it within 10 minutes?
What About You?
Will the science change your mind about alcohol? Maybe, maybe not.
We have all known for years about the damage to health that alcohol does to our bodies but we have continued to drink. I knew about cirrhosis of the liver when I was quite young but I still drank for 40 years.
What will make the difference to you? Perhaps just this little bit of science is enough to interest you to investigate more? Or perhaps it’s enough to give you that moment when you know you will never drink again?
Or perhaps, you prefer to focus on the emotional side of giving up, knowing that the more sober you get, the happier you will be.
Obviously, a good strategy would be to combine both aspects, educate yourself as much as possible about the effect of alcohol on your body and learn how to change the way you think about it.
I will continue to read this book and report back on any more revelations that I think you will find useful so keep your eyes on this blog.
In the meantime, please come and join us in Sobersistas Membership Group so you can get all the emotional and practical support you need to discover the sober life you deserve.
Much love always, Jules xx
PS Did you know there are lots of free resources available to you in Sobersistas? If you’re not already on my list you can click here to get free access to them.