A recent Healthy Ireland survey revealed that 22% of the population (aged 15+) are categorised as binge drinkers.
But by way of contrast, whether for health and lifestyle choices or for other personal reasons, Drinkaware found that 11% of Irish adults never drink alcohol. And while high levels of binge drinking were reported among the under-25s,18% of this age group also said that they don’t consume alcohol at all.
There are also many high-profile figures who have chosen a life away from alcohol. Here are just a few of them:
Samuel L Jackson, one of the most widely recognised actors of his time, previously struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, but says that sobriety helped him to become a better actor.
Similarly, Tom Hardy, known for his roles in Legend, Peaky Blinders, and Venom, was fearful that he would destroy his career with alcohol and drugs and chose to turn his back on both.
Bradley Cooper, known for his award-winning performances in A Star Is Born and The Hangover, also suffered from addiction. At the age of 29, he got sober and has stayed so for nearly 20 years.
Brad Pitt has also been very open about his struggles with alcohol addiction and reportedly hasn’t touched alcohol for six years.
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, started drinking at just 16 but has now embraced a sober lifestyle, having realised that alcohol and hangovers were affecting his mental health ahead of races.
Chrissy Teigen, model and wife to John Legend, also recently celebrated her one-year-sober anniversary and said her anxiety has reduced as a result.
Similarly, singer Nicki Minaj revealed that since being sober she is happier and sees more good in people and the world around her.
Actress and producer Drew Barrymore and actress Eva Mendes are also both alcohol-free and frequently share their sober life choices with their followers on social media.
What are the benefits of an alcohol-free life?
Short-term effects of alcohol include slurred speed, drowsiness, slower reaction times and impaired memory. However, people who drink for several hours may experience other effects including paranoia, increased aggression, and mood swings. Alcohol can also lower your inhibitions, leading to increased risk-taking.
Long-term chronic and excessive alcohol consumption over many years has been linked to several serious health complications including alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), strokes, and certain types of cancer.
Studies have shown that there are many health benefits associated with taking a break from alcohol and drinking alcohol-free drinks. This includes having a clearer head, more energy, better sleep, healthy weight loss, and a sense of achievement. You may even begin to see positive changes in as little as one week as the brain heals itself and chemical levels regulate.
However, it is important to note that the benefits of reducing your alcohol intake can vary significantly, depending on an individual’s level of alcohol dependency.
Tips for reducing your alcohol intake
The official guidelines for weekly lower-risk alcohol consumption from the HSE state that women should consume fewer than 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) over the course of one week, with a minimum of two alcohol-free days.
Men are advised to consume fewer than 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week. Again, aiming for a minimum of two alcohol-free days.
In addition to keeping track of the number of drinks you have had in one sitting, and being mindful of how many standard drinks you are consuming each week, it can also be helpful to:
- Choose smaller drinks – perhaps swapping a large glass of wine for a small glass
- Avoid drinking every day – aim for a set number of alcohol-free days each week and stick to them
- Avoid having alcohol at home – having alcohol within easy reach can make limiting your consumption more difficult. Try alcohol-free options instead, like mocktails, to quench your thirst
- Team up with a friend – it can be helpful to have support when you are trying to reduce how much you drink. Consider teaming up with a friend to reduce your alcohol intake. This can help ensure you stick to your goals
For individuals struggling with more severe alcohol addiction, reducing alcohol intake, or quitting drinking altogether can be extremely challenging, meaning that professional support is required.
Where can I get an alcohol test?
With over 15 years’ experience providing accredited laboratory testing for members of the public, the legal sector, and the workplace sector, we are well placed to support you with alcohol testing to meet a range of needs.
AlphaBiolabs operates a nationwide network of professional clinicians, who can collect a variety of samples for testing from an address of your choice. Alternatively, you can book an appointment to have your samples collected at our Dublin walk-in centre.
For more information, contact our friendly and discreet Customer Services team on 01 402 9466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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