Lecturing is something best left to the classroom — it’s not something I want to do. However, as a mom who never went back to drinking after pregnancy, I sometimes wonder why so many people choose to return to the bottle.
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional drink, but it becomes a nightly habit for many of us. Before you pour another Merlot, pause for a moment of mindfulness. Mama, do you really need that glass of wine?
1. You Could Get Hooked
One reason I chose not to return to the bottle after giving birth stems from seeing too many family members struggle with addiction. While I don’t think I had a problem, I won’t lie — the words “I need a drink” frequently crossed my lips once upon a time after trying days at work. Alcohol has a sedating effect, which is why so many people pour a glass of vino to comfort themselves about not getting a raise, not only celebrating one.
However, it’s all too easy for the occasional nip to relax to become a daily habit. Worse, you could build up a tolerance, meaning you need more than one to get the pleasurable effects. One glass becomes two, then three. Before you know it, you’re waking up with a hangover and reaching for a little “hair of the dog” to quiet your upset stomach.
I lost several grandparents to cirrhosis when I was a child. I don’t want to check out of my future grandkids’ lives as early. For me, it’s easier to say no than to rationalize a habit I don’t need that could potentially affect my chances of living to a ripe old age.
2. You Could Damage Your Heart
Fatty liver disease, cirrhosis and liver cancer aren’t the only adverse health effects that stem from excess alcohol consumption. You might be one of the many who say, “I drink to benefit my heart.” Mama, you’d be doing yourself a bigger solid by pouring a glass of grape juice instead.
While wine does have antioxidants like resveratrol, you can get those substances in far less dangerous forms. Alcohol’s effect on your blood pressure can mitigate any benefits you receive. One drink spikes your numbers temporarily, but prolonged excess drinking can lead to hypertension.
Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women. I don’t want to add to that statistic if I can prevent it.
3. You Could Get Diabetes
Alcohol consumption damages your pancreas along with your liver. This organ produces the magical stuff that keeps your blood sugar levels in check. If you damage the cells that produce insulin, you could develop diabetes.
Millions of Americans already live with a prediabetic condition. Fortunately, you can prevent the Type 2 form of the disease — and choosing not to have that glass of wine is a good start.
4. You Could Suffer Memory Loss
Even if you don’t drink until you lose consciousness, you could experience memory loss if you have more than three glasses in a sitting. Five or more, and you could lose the entire evening.
Alcohol causes short-term memory loss by slowing down the way your neurons communicate with each other. If you drink to excess over the long term, you could damage your hippocampus, a part of your brain responsible for making and storing memories. You could even develop a form of dementia known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS).
5. You Could Make Your Anxiety Worse
How often do you say, “I need a drink,” when you feel stressed or anxious? Mama, that glass of wine might relax you at the moment, but it can make your anxiety much worse when the sedating effects wear off.
Alcohol throws off the balance of several critical neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, glutamate and GABA. All of these substances affect your mood and thought patterns. Trying to quell your nerves with alcohol is like putting out a fire by pouring gasoline on it. You’re providing your brain chemicals with the fuel they need to go even more severely haywire.
6. You Could End Up Flat Broke
DUIs are expensive. It isn’t only the fine and the court costs. You could lose time off work when you surrender your license and have to pay for a pricey Interlock device to reclaim your ability to drive. Many states now require you to get one after a single offense.
Overdoing it the night before can also cause you to call in sick to work, which hits your paycheck if you are an hourly employee. If you repeat the habit too often, you could find yourself on the receiving end of a pink slip. Considering the extent of current wage stagnation, now is not the time to join the unemployment line. You could end up earning much less than your current salary. If you have a good job going — why risk it?
Mama, Do You Really Need That Glass of Wine? Think About It
Woe be it to me to tell you how to live your life — I’m a fellow mom, like you. However, before you pour that next glass, ask yourself: Mama, do you really need that glass of wine?