Pass the Wine or Pass Up the Wine
From “mommy juice” to “alcopops,” alcoholic beverages have become for many women the default response to any occasion. Reaching for a bottle of wine or something harder has become a habitual part of normal life, especially when we are feeling stressed or anxious.
An alcohol “culture” has become increasingly common in our society, gaining popularity with girls and women almost as much as with men. Many of us are unaware of the extent of the problems this causes, and—along with the wine industry, which aims their advertising at women—we ourselves might be setting a bad example for our teenage (and even younger) children.
A very real danger to women’s health
Drinking alcoholic beverages injudiciously (more than a drink daily or seven per week) is more dangerous for women than for men in that the damage to our health is worse. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website explains:
“Studies show that women start to have alcohol-related problems sooner and at lower drinking levels than men and for multiple reasons. On average, women weigh less than men. Also, alcohol resides predominantly in body water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men. This means that after a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC, the amount of alcohol in the blood) will tend to be higher, putting her at greater risk for harm. Other biological differences may contribute as well.”
Trying to match drink for drink with your male friends? Men’s bodies have a higher production of the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme, which helps break down alcohol before it even reaches the bloodstream, making them more tolerant to alcohol consumption.
Only drink wine? More than seven glasses of wine weekly can cause serious health issues, according to Webmd.com: “Long-term use of large amounts of wine causes many serious health problems including dependence, mental problems, heart problems, liver problems, pancreas problems, and certain types of cancer.” And, of course, drinking wine is likely unsafe for a pregnant or breast-feeding woman and her infant.
Alcohol abuse produces brain damage more quickly in women than in men—and teenage girls are more susceptible to related problems in brain development. Disabling and potentially fatal liver damage and heart disease are among about 200 health issues that can result from immoderate drinking. Disorders are statistically shown to result in women from lesser amounts of alcohol and sooner. The American Institute for Cancer Research lists alcohol consumption as a risk for cancer, specifically colorectal, breast (fifteen percent of breast cancer cases result from alcohol abuse), mouth/pharynx/larynx, liver, esophageal and stomach cancers.
According to a July 3rd New York Times column, “From 1999 to 2017, alcohol-related deaths among women jumped by 85% while alcohol use disorder—the inability to control drinking despite adverse consequences—rose by nearly 84% between 2002 and 2013.
You can choose
You come home from a day at work, only to be confronted with household chores and family responsibilities. You think, “I’ll just have a glass of wine first.” Then maybe you reward yourself with another at dinnertime. Or maybe another when you finally have time to relax after clearing up from dinner and getting everyone settled for the night. How pleasant it seems to mellow out in this way… until some months or years of this lifestyle force you to pay your dues with health problems.
As an alternative, millions of women (including teens and young women) come home, sit comfortably on their couch and practice Transcendental Meditation. The TM technique is easy to learn and effortless, enjoyable, and deeply relaxing to practice. Afterward, one has more peace, energy and focus, along with reduced stress, fatigue and anxiety. Benefits from TM practiced regularly are both immediate and cumulative. And a bonus: Published studies show that TM reduces impulsive behavior, substance abuse and addiction.
Many medical doctors, psychologist and counselors recommend TM to their clients. Dr. William Stixrud, a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct faculty at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., explains that Transcendental Meditation regulates the stress response and gives people the experience of inner happiness, peace, self-satisfaction, and release from the pressures of life—significantly reducing their need or desire for a drink.
Relaxation and a time out from the pressures of daily living are essential. TM provides that, and more—over time we gain an unshakable inner blissful state of life. Enjoying some wine might be appealing to you—but overdoing it is not a great decision. When we consider the bigger picture, learning TM might be the better choice.
About the Author
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the USA.