Wednesday, 7 July 2021

A guaranteed alcohol addiction service: Stop Now

Newly launched counselling service that aims to stop problem drinkers consuming alcohol without difficulty. The service at offers a single counselling session which is guaranteed to stop you drinking alcohol. We deliver our sessions via Zoom anywhere in the world. 

Based in the UK, Stop Now works with clients to understand that alcohol is addictive and harmful and that there are no benefits to drinking, only downsides. We explain how alcohol works as an addictive drug, to cause users to drink again, and to drink more over time.

Unlike government advice which recommends moderation, and advises us to drink less than 14 units a week, Stop Now says that we shouldn't drink alcohol. We are happier, healthier and wealthier without it.

Visit Stop Now to find out about our guaranteed service, and 50% off discount.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Beware the media, normalising alcohol

The media tend to present alcohol in a positive light by showing drinking as glamorous, and drinking is part of the majority of Hollywood films. It tends not to be shown as a negative. The drinks industry spends large amounts of money on product placements in films.

Male lead characters in films drink alcohol as part of their lifestyle and as part of the development of the story, where it is designed to show how resilient or masculine they are, and where being drunk never seems to interfere with the character’s methods. Detectives, members of police forces and criminals with big plans are often shown drinking as part of their investigative work or planning. In a number of criminal dramas focused on the drug trade, for example Breaking Bad and Queen of the South, drinking tequila is represented as a display of power or machismo, with criminal bosses downing large measures of the drink, seemingly with no negative effects. I know from experience that if I am trying to get things done, a beer or glass of wine would get in the way and cause me to lose focus, and a large shot of tequila would seriously interfere with my plans.

There are portrayals of problem drinkers in the movies and in some rare cases drinking is shown in a particularly negative light, for example in Flight, the 2012 film that features Denzel Washington as a pilot (pictured above), who drinks heavily, but more often films include positive outcomes for problem drinkers. The unlikely message being that lead characters deliver a positive result despite their drinking. In 1982’s The Verdict, Paul Newman plays a lawyer who is given a chance to prosecute a big medical negligence case when a client turns up out of the blue. The lead character is drinking heavily every day but wins the case despite the drinking.

Monday, 19 April 2021

Ethanol Uses

The same substance that is in our drinks is described by infoplease as:

"Ethanol is used extensively as a solvent in the manufacture of varnishes and perfumes; as a preservative for biological specimens; in the preparation of essences and flavorings; in many medicines and drugs; as a disinfectant and in tinctures (e.g., tincture of iodine); and as a fuel and gasoline additive (see gasohol). Many U.S. automobiles manufactured since 1998 have been equipped to enable them to run on either gasoline or E85, a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. E85, however, is not yet widely available. Denatured, or industrial, alcohol is ethanol to which poisonous or nauseating substances have been added to prevent its use as a beverage; a beverage tax is not charged on such alcohol, so its cost is quite low. Medically, ethanol is a soporific, i.e., sleep-producing; although it is less toxic than the other alcohols, death usually occurs if the concentration of ethanol in the bloodstream exceeds about 5%. Behavioral changes, impairment of vision, or unconsciousness occur at lower concentrations."

There is no benefit to drinking alcohol. It is an addictive, toxic chemical.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Grapes versus wine

When we eat grapes we are consuming something that nature has designed us to enjoy. The sweet flavour tastes good to us, and the grape's water content means it slips down easily. Grapes are pleasurable to eat because they are good for us, full of vitamins and chemicals that do us good.

To make wine, producers allow the fruit to rot, and this process produces ethanol alcohol. We are not supposed to eat rotten fruit, because it is harmful to us. Ethanol is poisonous to humans. Rotten grapes are something we should avoid.

Nature gave us some clever systems that warn us about consuming toxins. First the smell puts us off. Offer wine to a small child and they will smell the glass and turn their nose up. Our taste sense is the second warning. We taste wine and experience the foul taste. If you want proof of this offer it to a child, or try to get your pet dog to drink it. 

Our third warning system is the reflex that makes us vomit when we drink too much. If you poison yourself, your body will reject the poison in an attempt to keep you safe. All drinkers have vomited out the contents of their stomach. Further proof that this is something we shouldn't drink. When we wake up with a hangover our natural defences tell us via a headache, lethargy and dry mouth that we poisoned ourselves last night. 

Of course connoisseurs of wine will tell you that you need to "acquire the taste" and your fellow drinkers will encourage you to learn to keep the poison in your system by overcoming your body's natural defence mechanism. Trust me, you don't need to drink wine. It is harmful, it doesn't taste nice, and as a drinker you'll end up paying big sums for rotten grape juice, buying into the marketing of the wine industry.

Because ethanol is addictive, if you start drinking wine you will almost certainly see your intake increase over time.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

The myth that we need alcohol to socialise

We are all naturally perfect social creatures. Humans are successful when we collaborate and work together. Our natural reward system provides us with dopamine and other happy hormones when we get together in groups. We feel good when we mingle. But each of us is naturally shy when we approach a new group of people. We worry that we wont fit in, wont be accepted. This is normal and universal. 

As drinkers we believe that alcohol is a key part of socialising, even though time and time again we see the unpleasant effects of drinking:

One glass of wine doesn't cure shyness but it does make drinkers less funny, less original and less good at conversation. 

Two glasses of wine makes an interesting person dull and makes their stories boring and their jokes unfunny.

Three glasses of wine causes drinkers to repeat themselves, to lose control of their emotions and their conversational ability.

Four glasses of wine gets drinkers to the incoherence and slurring stage. 

Non-drinkers don't use an anesthetic to negatively impact their amazing social abilities. Each of us is funnier and 100% on top of our game without booze. 

Saturday, 10 April 2021

These four addictive drugs all work the same way

Cocaine, opiates, nicotine and alcohol all share a common feature. Each drug provides relief to the user and makes the user anxious as the drug wears off, which causes the user to want another dose of the drug. This repeated pattern of relief followed by withdrawal is common to all four addictive substances.  

The best way to think about alcohol is as an addictive drug that exerts control over users. When a drinker drinks the first drink of the evening they feel relief, and as the anesthetic effect wears off around an hour later the need for another drink drives the drinker to pour the next glass of wine, or open the next can of lager. Like cocaine, one drink causes the drinker to want to drink again, which causes the drinker to want to drink again, etc.

Imagine going to the pub feeling thirsty. "Barman, I am so thirsty I will have a pint of iced water." You drink the refreshing water but 45 minutes later you're back at the bar. "That water was sooo nice and refreshing but now I need another." During the course of an evening you repeat this five times. This obviously does not happen, because water isn't addictive. Drinkers believe that the decision to consume drink after drink is a free choice. In fact this pattern is the result of the withdrawal effect of each alcoholic drink as it wears off, leaving the drinker feeling anxious. The next drink cures the anxiety. 

To be free of any addictive drug stop taking it, and accept the unpleasant effects of the withdrawal. 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Drinking alcohol makes us anxious

When we drink we trigger our natural defences. The anesthetic effect of the alcohol causes the brain to produce cortisol to keep us alert. This stress hormone is designed to keep us safe. Our brain produces it as a reflex action when we are under stress or when we encounter a threat.  

Alcohol is poisonous. If we drink enough of it we collapse and die. Even consuming small amounts causes us potential harm. The alcohol is a threat and our natural defences kick in to protect us. Cortisol is released to keep us alert. The day after drinking the alcohol has mostly left the drinker's body but the cortisol stays in the system and makes the drinker feel anxious and edgy. 

Drinkers say, "I need a drink to take the edge off," because the anesthetic effect of the alcohol briefly calms the nerves and deals with the anxiety. Most drinkers experience a nagging anxiety the day after a session. The more drinkers consume over time, the more anxiety they feel. Regular heavy drinkers in their later years will feel this anxiety becoming overwhelming, driving a very powerful need to drink again.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Up to 14 units a week is not good advice. Try zero.

The NHS' advice is to drink up to 14 units a week. Any number of units of an addictive drug is too many units. Alcohol causes drinkers to drink more alcohol. Imagine telling smokers they should smoke up to 14 cigarettes a week. Or telling heroin users that they should try to have a few days off taking heroin. Crack users, you should smoke up to 14 rocks a week. This is ridiculous.

Each of these drugs is addictive. They lead to more use. Crack users smoke more than they planned to smoke. One cigarette leads to another cigarette. Heroin users feel the need to take more. One alcoholic drink causes the drinker to want to consume another drink. We all know the feeling of opening a bottle of wine intending to have one glass, then wondering why the bottle is empty, and sensing that we lost control of our intake.

Every drinker started with one or two drinks in the pub with their mates, but then sees their intake escalate over time. Alcohol causes drinkers to drink more over time.

Alcohol is also carcinogenic. It causes cancer. What is the correct level of consumption of an addictive drug that has the potential to cause cancer? Zero.

One study nailed it: "Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero." 

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Alcoholism is not a real disease

This may sound controversial but alcoholism is not a disease. The term describes alcohol addiction in its later stages. It is also used as a term to deflect attention away from the dangers of alcohol. So "My sister died of alcoholism," implies the cause is not alcohol. Writers and commentators prefer to believe in alcoholism as a cause of death, rather than alcohol.

Alcoholism is part of Alcoholics Anonymous' rhetoric who say it could be "described as a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession". In the media it is thought of as a disease that afflicts drinkers. "She was 26, and it was just days before she died of liver failure from alcoholism." is typical of the way it is reported. Alcohol causes liver failure if you drink enough of it. She died from drinking alcohol.

Because alcohol is poisonous it kills the people that drink it. Roughly 5% of all people in the world will die from their alcohol intake. It is addictive and it causes drinkers to drink more of it over time. As drinkers become daily drinkers their stress levels rise - alcohol causes the brain to produce the stress hormone cortisol which makes the drinker anxious when the alcohol wears off. Lots of drinking means lots of stress, which leads to more drinking. 

How do you test if someone has alcoholism? There is no blood test or medical diagnosis, other than that someone is drinking heavily every day. A compulsion to drink alcohol is caused by drinking a lot of alcohol. For any drinker that worries about developing this condition, if you stop drinking you wont get it, and if you keep drinking you will find that alcohol becomes more addictive.

How alcohol works to make us want to drink again

One drink makes drinkers want another drink. This basic fact is the main reason why advice about moderation doesn't work. If you have a drink, you're likely to have another one, and another, and another.

When we drink our body produces the stress hormone cortisol to keep us alert. This is because alcohol is a toxic anesthetic and it triggers our natural defences. As the alcohol wears off drinkers feel edgy and anxious and this triggers the need for another drink. The next drink provides more anesthetic, the drinker is calmed, balance is restored and the drinker senses relief. This drink also causes more cortisol to be produced, which starts the cycle again.

Here is an infographic showing the process.

The more that the drinker has consumed in their life, the more powerful the need for the next drink. This is because drinkers' natural defences get better at producing cortisol over time. A heavy, daily drinker will produce a lot of cortisol which makes them feel very anxious and edgy as the anesthetic effect of the alcohol wears off, which causes a very strong desire for the next drink.

In short, the more we drink, the more addictive alcohol becomes.

This is detailed more thoroughly in my book available here.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Alcohol and cataracts - dubious wine science

This morning's story in the Guardian, "British study links alcohol with lower risk of developing cataracts" goes on to say that wine consumption has been found to reduce cataracts. This is a typical story that adds to the falsehood that small amounts of alcohol can be beneficial: "People who consume up to 14 units of alcohol a week have less chance of developing cataracts, especially if they drink red wine, a new British study has found," but the story goes on to quote Dr Sharon Chua, the author of the study saying that, "The fact that our findings were particularly evident in wine drinkers may suggest a protective role of polyphenol antioxidants, which are especially abundant in red wine.”

Polyphenol antioxidants are abundant in grapes, and this is why they are abundant in wine. If these antioxidants prevent cataracts then it would be beneficial to eat grapes. Wine is toxic and addictive. It is the result of grapes rotting. It is carcinogenic and it harms the people that consume it. The more you drink, the more harmful it is. If you want to live a long healthy life you should be avoiding wine, and eating lots of fruit.

Note the NHS warns that cataracts may be caused by drinking alcohol.

A guaranteed alcohol addiction service: Stop Now

Newly launched counselling service that aims to stop problem drinkers consuming alcohol without difficulty. The service at o...