Sober Sex

sober sex

So thanks to Laura over at Club Soda for sending this to me :)  The language is ripe so be warned!

I was really laughing up until the last 5 seconds where it let itself down …. but it’s still worth sharing.

Sex is a subject that we don’t talk about much out here in the sober blogosphere (and here’s my one and only post about it here) but as you can see this short video has had over 28 million views since it was posted in the summer of 2012.  That’s a lot of views!!

That said I would have rather talked about my sex life to you than the truth about my drinking before I stopped so there is some shared awkwardness and shame around these two subjects in an ‘elephant in the room’ kind of way.

Laura tells me they have an intimacy therapist doing some sessions for Club Soda in the not too distant future which sounds interesting if anyone is worried about this element of sober living 😉

How to drink mindfully

Following on from the past two days posts about Moderation Management and moderate drinking I finish up talking about mindful drinking.

quote-Bertrand-Russell-drunkenness-is-temporary-suicide-106565

Choosing to alter your relationship with alcohol and drink moderately can be achieved through mindfulness and deliberate behavior modifications.  Mindfulness allows you to become aware of your ongoing moment-to-moment experience.  It is the opposite of “checking out.”  When you choose to tune in to the present moment and tap into your ability to increase self-awareness, changes in problematic drinking habits can occur.

Mindfulness acts as a well-lit mirror turned upon the self.  It allows you to see yourself and reality exactly as they are.  If the idea of casting the bright light of mindfulness onto your drinking habits makes you uncomfortable, it is worth asking yourself exactly what it is that you are afraid to see.  Mindfulness does not create anything that isn’t already present.  It is a tool that enables you to see things exactly as they are. When being mindful, you make no attempts to judge or change reality – you simply accept it.  Once you see things clearly and accept them for what they are, you are in the position to assess what you would like to see change.

http://www.mindfulnessmuse.com/health-and-wellness/how-to-drink-moderately-and-mindfully

So for me the mindfulness only came out when I stopped drinking as I liked to get ‘mindlessly drunk’.  As lovely as the idea of mindful drinking sounds it is also an oxymoron as alcohol reduces inhibitions so works to pull you in completely the opposite direction.  Nice idea – never gonna work for me and quite frankly I’m mad enough as it is! 😉

voluntary madness

 

 

How to drink moderately

Following on from yesterday’s post about the organisation Moderation Management here are a few more to ponder the issue and whether this is the starting point for you in your journey of re-evaluating your relationship with booze and whether you are able to drink moderately:

ModerateDrinking.com offers an evidence-based treatment (listed on the National Register of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices – NREPP) for people who wish to cut back on drinking through making deliberate behavioral choices and increasing awareness of drinking habits.  Moderate drinking is not recommended for individuals who are physically dependent on alcohol, have physical conditions aggravated by alcohol, or who identify as alcoholics.

Moderate Drinking

The general consensus in the scientific community about what constitutes “moderate drinking” is:

  • No more than 3-4 standard drinks per drinking episode
  • No more than 9 drinks per week for women
  • No more than 12-14 drinks per week for men
  • Limiting how fast you drink (generally no more than one drink per hour), keeping your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below .055 (.08 is the DWI limit in most states)

The idea behind drinking mindfully and in moderation is to enjoy alcohol responsibly without getting “drunk.” People have vastly differing relationships with alcohol.  Some people are naturally predisposed to being mindfully tuned in to their alcohol consumption and have little trouble enjoying alcohol mindfully and responsibly.  Other people struggle to maintain mindful self-awareness, allowing alcohol to act as a behavioral disinhibition system that results in engaging in actions counter to their values.

If you struggle with this form of alcohol abuse, it is important to honestly assess your own behavioral patterns and ask yourself what you are willing to change.  If you find that your use of alcohol leads to feelings of guilt, shame, or remorse, choose to be honest with yourself about the problem.  You can make the choice in this moment to rethink your relationship with alcohol and begin to drink more responsibly and mindfully moving forward.  Use the present moment as an opportunity to begin to act differently.

Drinking in moderation means that you can still enjoy a few drinks with friends and family without being worried that you will lose self-control.  It means that you are in control of your behavior… the alcohol is not in the driver’s seat anymore.

“Costs” of Drinking in Moderation

Consider all of the things you will lose by choosing to drink in moderation:

  • Problems in your relationships with others because of your drinking
  • Problems at work or school because of your drinking
  • Financial or legal problems due to your drinking
  • Health problems due to your drinking
  • Blackouts” – not remembering portions of the night before
  • Hangovers” – feeling sick, tired, and sluggish for the majority of the day after drinking
  • Damage to your reputation due to your drinking

Will you miss any of those consequences of heavy/irresponsible drinking?  Doubtful.  When you choose to alter your drinking habits and enjoy alcohol in moderation you are finally free of the fears and pain associated with alcohol abuse.

“Benefits” of Drinking in Moderation

Reflect upon all that you have to gain by choosing to drink in moderation:

  • Feeling alert, rested, and refreshed in the morning
  • Harmony and trust in your relationships with others
  • A clear conscience – knowing you have not behaved in ways that you regret and that are not aligned with your values
  • More money – less spending on excessive alcohol consumption
  • Feeling physically healthy
  • Feeling confident that you remember things that you say and do
  • Being in control of your actions

Moderation Management offers a behavioral change program designed to help people concerned about their drinking habits take responsibility for their drinking behaviors and begin to make healthy lifestyle changes.  This type of moderation program may be particularly helpful for those concerned about alcohol abuse (i.e., not alcohol dependence).

Choosing to commit to a drinking moderation program means that you will begin to become more mindfully aware of your drinking patterns and take full responsibility for your actions. In order for behavioral change to occur, you must commit to doing the work. When the pain and suffering that irresponsible drinking becomes great enough, you will become willing to do what it takes to make an honest self-appraisal and make behavioral changes.

Moderation Management

Moderation Management encourages individuals interested in drinking moderately to:

  • Begin by abstaining from alcoholic beverages for 30 days
  • Examine how drinking has affected your life
  • Write down your life priorities
  • Take a look at how much, how often, and under what circumstances you drink
  • Learn about guidelines for drinking in moderation
  • Set moderate drinking limits (track your drinking through a journal or spreadsheet)
  • Begin to take small steps toward balance and moderation in other areas of life

How do you envision that your life will be different if you begin to drink moderately and mindfully?  How committed are you to making real behavioral changes?  Begin to think of drinking in moderation not as a temporary project, but as an actual lifestyle change.  Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of drinking mindfully, moderately, and responsibly.  How much longer are you willing to endure the negative consequences associated with irresponsible drinking?  Choose to get committed to a lifestyle that promotes mindful awareness, health, and balance.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you are interested in assessing your “chances of success,” according to ModerateDrinking.com, for drinking moderately, you can take a free online assessment.

If you are interested in getting general feedback about your drinking habits, you can take a free “Drinker’s Check-up.”

eCHECKUP to-go” offers online evidence-based prevention and assessment tools for both alcohol use and marijuana use.

As you can probably tell this is from an American website.  For UK guidelines you can visit the NHS website Change for Life or the alcohol industry funded https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/.

Another post tomorrow will rap up this short review and reflection on moderation as an approach and consideration.

Friday Sober Jukebox

What Friday night jukebox spin wouldn’t be complete without a tune from Fat Boy Slim, fellow sober hero and Brightonian to boot? 😉

There’s only one tune I can play and that’s Praise You.  Why?  It’s mine and MrHOF’s tune and it also speaks to the power of the sober community and how without you this journey would have been so much harder and how the praise is yours too :)

And I was also happy to read an article where Fat Boy talked about his recovery.  He’s not very public about it so this was a valuable and re-affirming insight for me.

I went to 28 days of boot-camp rehab in Bournemouth. Not the Priory option – it wasn’t fancy-pants at all. I shared a squat with junkies. Well, not a squat, student digs. But [it was] short sharp shock – this is where you are, and this is how you stop drinking.”

What made him want to stop? “It wasn’t fun any more. I was worrying about it affecting my health and my relationship with my family and my wife. And Zoë had an epiphany one particularly raunchy three-day bender over New Year’s. Then she stopped. And after about a month of her being sober and me not, it became apparent that our relationship wasn’t going to last with that imbalance!” he says, smiling.

To aid his recovery, he ran the Brighton marathon, and now undertakes two half-marathons a year, while also putting in the gym hours. “But I don’t want to be the poster boy for sobriety in club culture,” he insists, aware that that’s a different kind of boring. “I gave up because I’d had enough. I gave it 30 good years. I caned the arse out of it and left no stone unturned. But I would encourage everyone to have as much as fun as possible – while it is still fun”

Yep, yep and yep.  That was me and MrHOF too. We had caned the arse out of it for years and it was time to do things different.  And like Fat Boy – running did it for me too, although I’ve only run a half marathon in Brighton!  Happy Friday people – we dance today but we don’t drink or do drugs anymore 😉

The next AA?

The next AA? Welcome to Moderation Management, where abstinence from alcohol isn’t the answer

So this was a headline that was kindly bought to my attention in March by a kind person on Mumsnet.  It’s an American piece featured in The Guardian.

Upstairs from one of my favorite Oakland dive bars, 10 people of varying ages and backgrounds are sitting in a circle, talking about their drinking problem.

“I make plans for my non-drinking days so that I’m not thinking about it so much – I work out, I schedule late work meetings, so it’s not even a temptation,” a tall, thin older woman says. Later, she explains that there was a time not long ago when the idea of getting through any day without five or six drinks seemed impossible to her.

“Go out later, hold off on that first drink, set up a game for yourself like ‘I can only buy one drink and then I have to get any others I want bought for me’,” adds a young man in stubble and a newsboy cap. “Hold off on your second drink, too,” adds the older man sitting next to him. “I used to order my next drink halfway through my first, so I’d be halfway through my second before the effects of the first one would kick in and then forget about it.”

This is Moderation Management (MM), a program whose rising popularity and success rate is posing the first real challenge in decades to the traditional, black and white approach to addiction.

The program typically starts with 30 days off booze altogether – “doing a 30” in MM parlance – followed by a slow reintroduction of alcohol, and eventually a plan to limit your intake: no more than 14 drinks a week for men, nine a week for women, and no drinking more than three or four days a week for either. There’s increasing talk of applying MM to marijuana use as well, although that’s not officially condoned by the nonprofit of the same name, which administers the program.

“People do come in lately who want help moderating marijuana and because it’s still illegal in California, we shy away from it,” explains Marc Kern, the organization’s director. “That doesn’t mean they can’t come to meetings and listen and stuff like that. But in states that have legalized it, I can see a time where there’s a different MM – Marijuana Moderation.”

While there is a framework to MM, based on Kern’s book Responsible Drinking, it’s also a program that prides itself on flexibility and enabling people to find their own paths forward. Three out of the 10 people at the meeting I attended said they weren’t ready to do a 30 yet, but were planning shorter breaks. One man celebrated the fact that he’d taken one day off from smoking weed and drinking. He does both in moderation daily, and his concern was more about the frequency and the fact that he can never seem to take a day off than the amount of any particular substance consumed.

Another woman nearly started to cry when talking about issues with her son, her marriage, and her stressful job. She said the only thing getting her through was the bottle of wine she drinks every night. She’d had a few occasions recently where she blacked out from drinking, then spent days in bed depressed. The group gave her ideas for ways she could take a few days away from all of it – the stress, the husband and the drinking – and suggested more therapy to deal with the psychological triggers of her drinking and depression.

A young man in the group explained that he had bipolar disorder, that he was feeling great on his new medication, but that there might be a problem when it comes to alcohol. “I’m not someone who drinks when they’re depressed, I drink when I’m up,” he said. “If I’m feeling good, I want to be out being social, and that means drinking.” The group offered some tips and tricks for sticking to the four-drink-a-night maximum, and for finding ways to be social without drinking. When the older man sitting next to him talked about his daily marijuana use and how it keeps him from being too irritable about anything, the bipolar man raised an eyebrow and gently suggested that using marijuana as a mood stabilizer was different, and more problematic, than just smoking pot because you like it and think it’s fun.

There was no therapist in the room, and the moderator, a two-year MM “veteran”, gently steered people away from delving too deeply into issues that might be better addressed in therapy.

Moderation Management has been around since 1994, but it was living more or less in the shadows from 2000 to 2012, mired in controversy over its founder, Audrey Kishline. After starting MM, Kishline left the group, realizing that she could not moderate her drinking after all. She returned to AA, then fell off the wagon, drunk-driving in March 2000 and killing a man and his 12-year-old daughter. She was released from prison in 2003, and in 2014, plagued by guilt and other demons, Kishline killed herself.

In the year since since Kishline’s death, MM has had something of a resurgence, bolstered by the launch of the US National Institute of Health’s Rethinking Drinking program and a 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control calling out “excessive drinking” as something both independent of alcohol dependence and a major public health issue that is not being addressed by currently available tools and programs.

MM began to add more in-person meetings and last year, the organization launched a campaign around Dryuary, encouraging people to take the month of January off from drinking. It was so successful, they now plan to do it every year.

“Historically, MM has been looked upon as enabling alcoholics, and then the tragedy with Audrey knocked us in the stomach and we really pulled back after that,” Kern says. “Only now, in the last year and a half to two years, have we started to come out again. The notion of figuring out if you can moderate, rather than going straight to abstinence as step one of dealing with an alcohol problem, is pretty universal. I haven’t talked to every single person in AA, but I’m sure they’ve all tried moderation on their own. But before MM there was no book or guidelines or anything, so people would just go out and try moderation naively on their own, and without any support a lot of them would fail.”

You can read the full article here.  As you can imagine the comments were a riot!!

Here were two that resonated with me:

1. “The challenge surely is that problem drinking isn’t a quantitative thing; it’s more about why you drink rather than when, where and how much you drink; the old saw has it that having a glass with dinner is fine, not being able to have dinner without a glass isn’t. If that’s the case then moderation (as to amount) misses the point, because if the intention is still palliative, or celebratory or any one of the myriad reasons we’re told we (… ah, go-on) should let ourselves go a a little, then it’s the perception we need to moderate.”

2. “What the author may be alluding to is the application of harm reduction to alcohol.

Harm reduction is generally thought to be an effective approach to minimising the biological and social harms associated with illicit drug use.

Alcohol? Well maybe it works.

But we may also wish to consider the possibility that alcohol harm reduction is a concept that has been captured by alcohol  interests. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4260782/

Thus, both NGOs and researchers are drawn into the advocacy web woven by an industry sector understandably nervous of abstinence talk.”

And another commentor summed up my position nicely:

“The harm reduction model is a good place to start for a person who is in the ‘pre-contemplative stage’. This person is up against it, but not hard enough to see that the choice of whether or not to use has been completely lost, that the body is making the decision and bypassing what the person thinks of as his will or mind or whatever”

In my experience a phase of attempted moderation was part of the journey so any approach that encourages someone to look at their drinking is a good thing.  It will be interesting to see how MM develops in this country …….

What are your thoughts?

 

 

What’s your poison?

So I don’t very often put out two blog posts in one day but last night I watched a programme that was both fascinating, informative and important and it has a limited re-play time online and it’s about the premise of what’s your poison, the old saying related to drinking.

This was the shows description:

Identical twins

How bad can our drinking pattern be for our health? Doctors and genetically identical twins Chris and Xand van Tulleken want to find out. With the current drinking guidelines under review, the twins embark on self-experimentation to see the effects of different drinking patterns on their health. With Chris drinking 21 units spread evenly across the week and Xand having his 21 in single weekly binges, how will their bodies differ after a month? Catching up with the latest research into alcohol drinking patterns, we ask if moderate drinking is genuinely good for us – and whether binge drinking is really that bad.

And you can watch it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05wdfhk/horizon-20142015-12-is-binge-drinking-really-that-bad

For those unable to watch the show there is a good write up here and it was also picked up by the Daily Mail which you can read about here.

As a nurse this show fascinated me.  Particularly the blood test results at the end which showed that both binge drinking and daily consumption of the Govt recommended guidelines amount was damaging to our immune system and liver.

The scary bit was that the leaky gut that we knew happened as evidenced by ‘drinkers sh*ts’ was actually much worse than we thought.  The Consultant Hepatologist at The Royal Free who they saw and tested their blood talked about how toxins leak from the gut when we drink causing systemic immune system poisoning.  It really is a case of what’s your poison!!

And you were no safer drinking the Govt recommended amount on a daily basis than if you binged it all on a Saturday night.  The damage was the same and although logically we think that the one night binge would allow our livers and bodies enough time to recover the truth is – in the case of these two brothers at least – it doesn’t.  They also both had an increase in liver stiffness which meant the liver was suffering too.

The Consultant Hepatologist was shocked with the results and ended by saying that based on these results there is no safe level that we can drink.   It will be really interesting to see what the new Govt recommended guidelines say when they are finally published ……..

Did any of you watch it?  What are your thoughts?

Edited to add:  23 May 2015, it’s now on Youtube!

Veronica Valli & I (15) discuss Step 11

So today Veronica and I discuss Step 11 which reads: Sought through prayer and meditation o improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

How can we apply Step 11 to our lives? What does prayer and meditation mean? These questions and more are answered.

In one word we need to GROW.  That’s it, or put another way, ‘change or die’ as the lovely Carrie Armstrong reminded me recently in this post and who I’ll be meeting today at the press/industry screening of A Royal Hangover!!  A write up post to follow :)

Veronica Valli is an Addictions Therapist and the author of Why you drink and How to stop:http://www.amazon.com/Why-You-Drink-H…

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

 

Serendipity

serendipity-works

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Shots of Awe moment and I love Jason Silva and his musings.

My giving up drinking was a moment of serendipity.  I had gone to see my counsellor and in all the time I’d been seeing her we’d never discussed my drinking.  Was I hiding it from her?  Maybe.  Was I in denial and so didn’t want to raise it?  Maybe.  At the end of this session, our last session together as it turned out the subject of drinking came up.  Talk about a therapeutic ‘door knob revelation’!

She mentioned that she’d stopped drinking, had used the Allen Carr book and how much better she was feeling for it.  Hmm says me, this is something I need to look at too.  So I downloaded the book that day.

That evening one of my closest friends came to stay.  We have been through a great deal us two since meeting on an Open University psychology degree residential school, including training and running the London Marathon together.  Big things happened when our worlds collide and this was no different.  I decided that night that I was going to stop drinking and we raised a glass of red to it.  There wasn’t much forethought or planning, just that I would read the Allen Carr book over the next week and then have my last drink the next week-end at the end of it as he recommended.

And that was it.  The die was cast, the dice was rolled and here I am :)  If you’re reading this blog for the first time maybe this is your moment of serendipity?  Maybe our paths have crossed today for a reason.  Maybe if you’re looking for answers you just found it?  Best thing I ever did.

serendipity

So thank you Jane and Nicky for that serendipitous day :) xx

PS Burning Man is on my bucket list of lifetime things to do.  If you have a desire to go to Burning Man too and want to come have a sober adventure with me then let me know 😉

 

France’s alcohol consumption halved in 20 years

I’m including this news story because I lived in France for 6 months and as the ‘French paradox‘ is often held up as the answer to the British approach to alcohol.

french-paradox

According to a new study, just 18% of French men and 6% of French women consume alcohol on a daily basis, marking a reduction of 50% in the past 20 years. On the other hand, the statistics also show that underage drinking is a growing problem for France.

The recent report produced by La Direction de la recherche, des études, de l’évaluation et des statistiques (DREES), has revealed once again that adult alcohol consumption is decreasing nationwide. On average, 12% of French adults admitted to drinking wine, beer or spirits every day, compared to 23% in 1995.

In terms of provincial alcohol consumption, the report revealed that the Nord Pas de Calais, Pays de la Loire, Midi Pyrénées and Languedoc Roussillon regions are home to the most prolific drinkers. In a surprising turn of events, the Ile de France, where people are known for their hectic lifestyles, is one of the areas where people consume the least amount of alcohol.

The report has, however, provided some concerning news for parents across the country. The most recent statistics show that 11.2% of 17-year-olds drink alcohol more than 10 times every month. Teenage boys were found to be the worst with 15.2% of those interviewed admitting to drinking excessively. 

As reported in The Riviera Times in October, underage drinking is a major concern for French authorities. A report conducted last year revealed that 59% of 11 to 12-year-olds have consumed alcohol, whilst 60% of 15 to 17-year-olds have been drunk at least once, and 79% of 16-year-olds claimed to have consumed alcohol within the last month.

When I lived in France I lived in the Pays de la Loire and was definitely a prolific drinker at the time – in fact it was whilst living in France that the wheels really came off with my drinking.

So alcohol consumption has dropped considerably amongst the adult population but they are struggling with underage consumption.  This seems to be the reverse of what is being reported here which I find really interesting and makes me wonder why that is.  Any thoughts?

Plus my friend Libby over at Depression Lab hit 500 days hangover free 3 days ago and we met for coffee and cake yesterday to celebrate our milestones together :)  Her post about her big day is most definitely worth a read: http://www.depressionlab.com/500-days-without-alcohol-the-impact-on-my-depression/

Educated UK women have worst alcohol problem in West

Thanks to the Sober Womens Awareness Network (SWAN) group on Facebook for linking these articles.  It was reported on the BBC, in the Daily Mail and the Daily Express and the alarmist headline comes courtesy of the Daily Wail.  In fact as the week went on it was picked up by every national newspaper and all were writing about a report out last week that looked at the rate of heavy drinking in the middle class female professional world and how educated UK women  have the worst alcohol problem in Western society.  It also featured a picture and piece by Lucy Rocca from the excellent sober online community Soberistas

Shoot for Femail featuring Lucy Rocca for a feature on recovering from alcoholism and being middle class.
Shoot for Femail featuring Lucy Rocca for a feature on recovering from alcoholism and being middle class.

Educated British women head a global league table for alcohol abuse, a shocking report revealed last night.  It said growing numbers of professional women are drinking at dangerous levels to keep up with men and further their careers.  Many start heavy boozing when young and continue the habit into middle age, downing vast quantities at home, often on their own.

In what has become the ‘dark side of equality’, their drinking habits now resemble those of men, according to the study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  One in five woman graduates regularly drink ‘hazardously’ compared with one in ten for those with lower levels of education.  Hazardous is defined as consuming at least twice the safe limit of 14 units a week for women and 21 units for men.  A unit is roughly half a glass of wine or half a pint of beer. ‘Women are adopting men’s drinking habits and they are not healthy,’ said Mark Pearson of the OECD.  ‘As women have moved into the labour market they have adapted to the male culture. Jobs where you can earn more are more likely to be jobs that have a lot networking. It’s the dark side of equality.  ‘They aren’t being frogmarched by their bosses but there are social pressures to go out and to network.’

The study, the OECD’s first major report on harmful alcohol abuse, also found that:

  • Four in five drinkers would live longer if they cut back by just half a glass of wine a week;
  • Two thirds of alcohol in the UK is drunk by just 20 per cent of adults
  • Girls have caught up with boys and are now drinking in their early teens, with 41 per cent of 15-year-old girls having been drunk. 

The report compared the drinking habits of men and women from 34 Western countries through analysing social surveys.  The UK had the highest percentage of educated women drinking hazardously. British men were tied for top with Germany.  It found that in many countries including the UK there was a direct link between whether someone drank hazardously and the number of years they had spent in education.

According to the OECD study, women now drink regularly with male colleagues in the pub after work. Not only has it become more socially acceptable, many feel under pressure to drink to boost their career prospects.  And with many more women delaying motherhood, or choosing not to have children at all, they are continuing this lifestyle well into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

The report’s authors called on the Government to bring in tough measures to tackle excessive drinking, such as mandatory calorie labelling which could be particularly effective for women.  Katherine Brown, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘This report shows the UK has a worrying report card on alcohol compared with other high-income countries.  Of particular concern is the stark increase in women drinking at hazardous levels, including teenage girls, who appear to have overtaken the teenage boys in rates of drunkenness.

There are a number of reasons why women are drinking so much more today, but an important factor is the aggressive marketing tactics employed by the drinks industry to attract female consumers.  ‘We’ve seen a huge surge in female-oriented sweet, fizzy, pink drinks, often linked to sponsorship deals with cosmetic brands, women’s daytime TV shows and sometimes even breast cancer awareness campaigns.’

The OECD report said that the highest proportion of hazardous drinkers was among the 45 to 64 age group, and teenage girls were now drinking just as much as boys.  It concluded: ‘Women with higher education may have better-paid jobs involving higher degrees of responsibility and thus may drink more heavily because they have more stress as well as more chances to go out drinking with male colleagues with higher limits of drinking.

‘More years spent in education, improved labour market prospects, increased opportunities for socialisation, delayed pregnancies and family ties, are all part of women’s changing lifestyles, in which alcohol drinking, sometimes including heavy drinking, has easily found a place. Much of it is done at home, away from public view.’  Last year a report warned that liver disease deaths were up 500 per cent in 30 years, fuelled by excessive drinking.

I find it interesting that the OECD identify that the highest proportion of harazardous drinking is amongst the 45-64 age group.  And what I’m noticing is that it is this group that is waking up to the issue and doing something about it.  I myself would have been in that demographic if I hadn’t stopped drinking 6 weeks before my 45 birthday and I know I’m not the only sober blogger who is a mid forties, middle class professional.  If you are reading this and happy to share your age, perceived social class and whether you are a professional (and you can do so anonymously) we can do our own straw poll :)