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Antonia
Jun 27th, 2006, 03:42 PM
I've recently made the decision to stop drinking alcohol. Support is lacking amongst friends etc. I can't even find any good articles or books. Books seem to be about how to give up drink if you're an alcoholic. Articles seem to recommend drinking in moderation.

I am gradually refining my lifestyle and diet and want to be the best person that I can, which includes doing the best I can for my health and spirituality.

I would love to hear from any other non-drinkers about their experiences, any advice they might have and any suggestions for where to look for more information, particularly about the negative effects of alcohol.

Hetfield
Jun 27th, 2006, 04:23 PM
Hi Antonia,

Well done on your decision if you think it is the best thing for you. I used to drink as a teenager but never got very much out of it and so stopped more or less altogether when I started driving. I probably would enjoy a glass of red wine but have never and still don't miss it in the slightest and am more than happy to not drink so I can drive and not rely on anyone else to get me home!

Attitudes to my non drinking were quite tough when I was younger (you will be used to this as a vegan) - in the end I used to say I was a recovering alcoholic just to be left in peace..... desperate measures - you shouldn't have to explain any decision to anyone.

What non drinking has done for me over the years is saved me a huge amount of money which I have spent on travelling so in that way it is very good and has probably saved me from being even fatter than I am!!!
I have nothing against drinking at all, my partner, all my friends and family drink (some to excess) - what I don't like is drink driving, people who get aggressive when drunk (any city in the UK on fri / sat night for example) and people who blame bad behaviour on drinking (ie I slept with my girlfriends mate but it's ok cos I was drunk!) whether I have missed out on a fantastic social life, I can't say, you do tend to go home earlier when the drinkers start getting drunk and talking b******ks!

Do I sound sanctimonious - I guess so!!!! Don't mean to criticise anyone, it is just that alcohol is not my drug of choice - I prefer the very occasional joint (once every 10 years or so!!) or just getting high on life - but i did want to point out there is quite a lot of peer pressure to drink in my experience - guess you can handle it if you can handle being vegan.

I think I talked too much:o

All for now
Hetfield

Pilaf
Jun 27th, 2006, 04:47 PM
If this is what you want for yourself, then congratulations!

I've been a nondrinker pretty much my entire life. I have tasted alcohol before, but pretty much nonstop since the age of 12 I've been Straight Edge (toefur.com/straightedge).

Like the above poster mentioned, it saves me a lot of money, and besides that there are many benefits to being perpetually sober. It helps me with the clarity of mind to examine other decisions I make in other areas of my life. It was in one of my deep sober reflections on life that I decided to try veganism, so for me it worked out alright.

I will add that while I've been sXe for the better part of my life since I was 12 or so, there was a very brief time period as a young adult where I tried one small glass of red wine for supposed health benefits each night for a week or two. In the end, I deemed it too expensive for its dubious effects, and I also decided I'd rather not drink at all, and have gone back to being strictly a tee totaller. I don't have many doubts that I'll maintain this for most of the rest of my life.

If you wanna discuss a nondrinking lifestyle with others, the link I provided can be followed to a forum with many nondrinking members. You probably don't fit the full definition of "straight edge", but there are a lot of people there who aren't. It's a good place to find others who don't drink and talk to them about their personal stories. Some are recovering alcoholics themselves, especially my good buddy Seth. He could give some pointers about staying clean and sober.

berta_the_aspie
Jun 27th, 2006, 10:47 PM
i have never tried alcohol for various reasons. had i been fed alcohol along with my meat as a kid i am sure i would have been adicted to the taste and effects, and it would be difficult to give up. thankfully parents dont force feed alcohol along with animal products.
the most obviuos reason to not drink is that its poison, and it would be just like injecting a botox syringe into my cheek, or inject animal products into my body. i just try and be pure and stay one with nature, no matter how silly that sounds.
it helps alot to have aspergers (being a black/white and logical thinker) cause it makes me stand by my choices and be persistant.
it was more difficult as a teenager, but im 22 now and i am comfortable with tellingg people i dont do poisons, but i also respect them drinking. except that they get drunk .. and dont respect me.. especially guys.. but thats another story.
actually the only other vegan sXe guy in town just went back to alcohol and stuff which is pretty sad for me:(

Mr Flibble
Jun 27th, 2006, 11:09 PM
Well, there's plenty of info out there about the negetive effects of excessive alcohol consumption - both on your health and in terms of the way it changes your behaviour. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol and some people have higher or lower tollerences. Some people get violent on it, some people just talk more and fall over more easily.

I've personally been through various stages of consuming no alcohol, some alcohol and lots of alcohol. I've only ever drunk in excess socially and only ever drunk on my own in small quantities for relaxation or taste. I do not believe that my spirituality is in question by consuming it and am happy with my current health (mental and physical) in respects to my alcohol consumption. There is much to be enjoyed from the use of alcohol in moderation both in drinks and cuisine so personally I think it's a matter of being sensible - as it is with most things in life.

I totally respect the choice of anyone who chooses to abstain from it completely either for health or religious reasons and know several of those who do so. Anyone who does not respect your choice of giving up alcohol is unlikely to respect your choice of not eating KFC, so I wouldn't worry ;)

Antonia
Jun 27th, 2006, 11:29 PM
Thanks Hetfield. The reassurance gained from knowing you can drive and be independent is certainly worth something. Now that I have a bf that is happy to drive I've been lazy but I'm sure he will now appreciate me offering to drive more often so that he can have a drink if he wants. Why are attitudes to non-drinkers so tough!!! Going vegan a few months ago has definately given me the confidence to go tee-total, although I'm not looking forward to people thinking I'm a compete and utter vegan, sober party-pooper. "Getting high on life"... I'll drink my apple juice to that!

Pilaf, I don't know anything about straight edge. It's one of those mysterious concepts that I haven't really heard much about before, so thanks for that link. What does straight edge mean for you?

Berta, I was fed alcohol with my meat as a kid! (disturbing isn't it). Although not an Aspie myself, a friend of mine is and I have come to believe that her way of viewing things sometimes makes so much sense. It's so much simpler to work in absolutes. It's what I've done with my diet, so I would like to do it with alcohol too.

Mr Fibble *salutes in a very ornate manner*, I can't find info about the negative effects of alcohol that doesn't recommend drinking in moderation or it's pull on alcoholics. I'm not a 'moderation' person and I've never been an alcoholic. Although my mum is and I think that might have a part to play in this. Hmm.. a random thought just popped into my head... a non-alcohol pub! haha. Would be nice to get away from the drunken smeg-heads that frequent my home town.

wilson
Jun 27th, 2006, 11:43 PM
I will add that while I've been sXe for the better part of my life since I was 12 or so, there was a very brief time period as a young adult where I tried one small glass of red wine for supposed health benefits each night for a week or two. In the end, I deemed it too expensive for its dubious effects, and I also decided I'd rather not drink at all, and have gone back to being strictly a tee totaller.
It has been proven that moderate alcohol consumption, e.g. a glass of red wine a day, does indeed have positive health benefits, mostly in males. However, it's not the sort of thing that manifests over two weeks !! (what were you expecting? :rolleyes: ). More like over decades, rates of heart disease have been shown to be lower for moderate drinkers.

It's all about moderation. I've known people who have not drunk alcohol and yet have thought nothing of pouring 4-6 cans of Coke a day down their throats.

...and of course abstinence is commendable too, if that's what a person decides for themselves...:)

Tigerlily
Jun 27th, 2006, 11:56 PM
I heard it was just the grapes in the red wine that makes it so healthy?

wilson
Jun 28th, 2006, 12:00 AM
there must be more to it than that - otherwise people would just say 'eat more grapes'...

Tigerlily
Jun 28th, 2006, 12:01 AM
...But isn't it just to make the alckies feel better about their drinking? :p

wilson
Jun 28th, 2006, 12:04 AM
in fact, it's not just red wine:

"Alcohol consumed in moderation is thought to be beneficial in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Indeed, alcohol consumption in conjunction with high intakes of fruit and vegetables, may well explain the so-called 'French paradox'. The French diet is considered to be very high in fat, especially saturated fat, yet the death rate from coronary heart disease remains relatively low. It is thought this is at least partly due to people's consumption of red wine.The key word, though, is moderation. In 1997, the World Health Organisation concluded that the reduced risk from coronary heart disease was found at the level of one drink consumed every second day."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/nutrition/drinks_alcohol.shtml

But I'm not trying to advocate alcohol consumption - just pointing out that 'supposed benefits' probably take longer than 2 weeks to become apparent...

Tigerlily
Jun 28th, 2006, 01:13 AM
Ahh okay. I'm allergic to grapes, so I can't drink wine, but interesting to know. :)

Pilaf
Jun 28th, 2006, 01:54 AM
Pilaf, I don't know anything about straight edge. It's one of those mysterious concepts that I haven't really heard much about before, so thanks for that link. What does straight edge mean for you?


It means that I don't smoke (use tobacco products), drink (get "high" off alcohol or any other mind altering substance. This means avoiding them altogether in all cases of actually being Straight Edge.) or "fuck" (not to be confused with having sex. This lyric has been widely interpreted as meaning promiscuous sex, usually dangerous sex brought on from being drunk or stoned. Loving sex in a relationship is not only allowed but encouraged by most sensible Straight Edge adherents.)

These are the only prerequisites to "claim" the title of Straight Edge. All other lifestyle factors are up to the individual.Many Straight Edge people are vegans, but it's by no means a prerequisite. Many Straight Edge people are religious, or not...we have liberals, conservatives...men, women, boys, girls, from all countries and walks of life.

(Some "elitists" would argue that you "have to be involved in indie music" to be sXe. This is a purist, traditionalist stance going back to the roots of the subculture and isn't held by a great many Straight Edge adherents, myself included. I'm of the mindset that all things evolve, and you don't have to be involved in hardcore music or anything to be Edge.)

And so, as you can see, it's a bit strict, and even extreme from some viewpoints. I certainly don't mean to imply that I think this is the only way to live, or that other people should claim and try it. You have to do your own thing. But there are people on those forums who have went through kicking alcohol before...if you wanted to join and explain that you're not Straight Edge but would like to discuss giving up alcohol, you're bound to meet a handfull of intelligent, friendly people who will share with you their experiences with kicking the habit.

Like I said, it's up to you, but we're always happy to welcome new members. You don't have to be Edge...we have a general discussion forum, and a vegan discussion forum as well, and at least 25% of the people on the forum are neither Edge nor Vegan, so don't feel intimidated at the idea of joining. Nobody is gonna run you out of town with a pitchfork :)


I heard it was just the grapes in the red wine that makes it so healthy?

Yes... or something in the skin. It's more potent in grapejuice and wine than in raw grapes, however. I opted to go for grape juice instead of wine after trying wine for a little while. I decided that staying alcohol free was better for my personality and lifestyle. It's just something I was used to being, a nondrinker. I'm not knocking it or anything, but it just wasn't for me. I'm drinking grape juice now, and even if it doesn't have the same health benefit, it sure tastes good. :)

Antonia
Jun 28th, 2006, 10:32 AM
It's all about moderation. I've known people who have not drunk alcohol and yet have thought nothing of pouring 4-6 cans of Coke a day down their throats.
I don't believe at all that all the crap in coke can be much better than alcohol. I suppose the ultimate evil mix is spirits mixed with coke.


But isn't it just to make the alckies feel better about their drinking?
Haha. Just like they say one cup of coffee a day might be good for you. Or fish, or a couple of servings of white meat a week.

Wilson, I don't understand how the article you cited can claim the benefits are due to the moderate consumption of alcohol. Surely it is the low fat diet and the high intake of fruit and vegetables that has the positive effect. I also wonder if the WHOs study categorised drink consumption as 0-1 units of acohol per day, 2-3 units... etc. I don't believe that someone who drinks 1 glass of red wine a day is healthier for that reason alone that someone that drinks for example, a glass of grape juice instead.

snaffler
Jun 28th, 2006, 10:39 AM
I know people who stopped drinking certain types of drinks as it was making them feel low, I think that also may have been the amount with some :D but good on you for doing so.

I am not going to try and join the gang or admit to wanting to knock % on th e head, I do like to have a drink of something now and and again in moderation and I always rememer and never forget so I am inside limits of sensible units.

Mind you it is hard in Somerset we only have cider in our taps :o You keep up the good work
and well done for you taking on the challenge keep it up, also why not try stuff like Purdeys at Partys, can be bought in most health food stores all natural , I drink this when ever I drive or want a non alcho drink it really lifts the zing in the body and makes you very perky.

Antonia
Jun 28th, 2006, 10:39 AM
Thanks Pilaf, would the following of my lifestyle factors classify me as straight edge?

I only have loving sex in my 4 year relationship. I don't drink. Don't smoke. Don't do drugs. No caffeine. I don't buy processed foods. I avoid chemical as much as possible (makeup, cleaning products etc). My philosophy is pure body = pure mind = pure spirit. I'm interested in Buddhism and anything spiritual. I recycle as much as possible, (unfortunately I drive). and obviously vegan:)

I had a bf once that was into hardcore music and would mention straight edge, but that was his only link to it I think. He basically lives the typical western lifestyle and diet.

I will definately have more of a look round that sxe website.

Pilaf
Jun 28th, 2006, 10:58 AM
That's a tough question, Antonia.

You have to ask yourself if a label is gonna enrich your life in any way. You may already have been following the tenents of sXe without knowing it exists. If that's the case, claiming won't have that big an impact on your life, except compressing different areas of your lifestyle into one convenient phrase or label.

Honestly, we're not looking to recruit or anything, because that's not how it works. It's not a gang, a social group, a religion or even an organization. It's just lots of individuals who claimed a personal label for their lifestyles.

We don't expect other people to be Straight Edge, or to claim the label. That's something to be done after careful deliberation and consideration. You may find that the label isn't for you, and that it's not needed. But we'd be happy to talk to you about staying off alcohol. I can't be a big help myself because I was never a full time drinker, but some guys and gals there can share their experiences on how to stay sober.

And yet others there who aren't Edge may speak on the benefits they get from drinking in moderation. Most of the mature members will encourage you to make your own decisions about what lifestyle is right for you. (Most but not all of us are pretty reasonable there. We have a few kids who are just "hardcore fascsit" sXe, and they have this notion that not drinking is the only way to live. Just ignore them, because that's not what you need to hear, nor is it the general consensus in the community)

coconut
Jun 28th, 2006, 11:36 AM
Hi Antonia,

Best of luck with your decision :)

You could find a local Buddhist centre and start going there regularly. Most have meditation classes and talks etc. You're bound to meet other non-drinkers there.

There's no doubt alcohol does serious harm to certain individuals and society as a whole. It's easier to kill yourself with booze than practically any other drug. But it's always going to be with us. The truth is you can have a hell of a lot of fun while drunk without worrying about the consequences or what people think of you. That's it's main appeal.

I tend not to drink much anymore, even in social situations because it makes me feel depressed.

Pilaf
Jun 28th, 2006, 01:01 PM
That's true. Alcohol in society is never gonna go away. It's something we all have to learn to live with, even if we don't partake in it. I think the optimum for most people is moderation. Giving it up altogether is sort of unrealistic for most, and I wouldn't recommend it to people who like to drink, but she seems bound and determined to be a teetotaller, and as someone from that side of the fence, I hope any input or insight I or my forum mates from Toefur can give her will be helpful.

Kiran
Jun 28th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Well done Antonia. Whilst moderated drinking is fine, its better to quit alchohol completely. Life has too many things to offer and alcohol drinking is certainly harmful to health. In the worst case scenario, it could also become addictive.

You were right when you said you wanted sound mind and a sound body. I am fully against all elements that damage the body, even if it means by small amounts. I have never tasted alcohol in my life and this is a fact I am proud of. No one can make me drink it. All my friends are drinkers, but that has never made me consume alcohol even out of curiosity.

My principle is that - Your body is a temple, you need to learn how to worship that. To worship you'll need to avoid those elements that cause damage. I'm sure this is what even bhuddism says.:)

Once again, let me wish you luck. You have taken the right decision. All the best.

Regards
Kiran

berta_the_aspie
Jun 28th, 2006, 02:48 PM
U get it, to work in absolutes. thats what i do, its either all or nothing really.

uhm, but isnt alcoholism hereditary? that you can inherit it from your mom or something? i think i have heard it.

i was actually straight edge before even knowing about it, it was sort of fun to find out that Davey Havok was (diatary) vegan and didnt drink:DYAY:D

... i wanna give up sugar though. i was never adicted to caffeine, but i am addicted to white flour and regular sugar. but im trying. im gonna give it up in a month, cause thats my 1 year vegan birthday:D

wilson
Jun 28th, 2006, 03:14 PM
Wilson, I don't understand how the article you cited can claim the benefits are due to the moderate consumption of alcohol. Surely it is the low fat diet and the high intake of fruit and vegetables that has the positive effect. I also wonder if the WHOs study categorised drink consumption as 0-1 units of acohol per day, 2-3 units... etc.
'low fat diet'...? :confused: The paragraph I posted was talking about the fact that the French, who enjoy on the whole a HIGH fat diet, have one of the lowest rates in heart disease in Europe, based on studies carried out on test subjects over a number of years. The fact that the French test subjects enjoyed a glass or two of red wine with their meals was cited in these studies as the difference.


I don't believe that someone who drinks 1 glass of red wine a day is healthier for that reason alone that someone that drinks for example, a glass of grape juice instead.
That is your right, of course. I was reading of another study the other day which apparently showed that people (actually it was mostly males) with alcohol problems had different levels of liver damage based on how much coffee they drank. Alcoholics who drunk lots of coffee (I think they said like 10 cups, which sounds like a health hazard in itself) had shown to reduce their chances of liver disease by up to 60%

My point is I agree these studies often offer up results that seem counter-intuitive, but the fact is they are real studies, carried out under scientific conditions on a number of subjects over a number of years...the human body is a mysterious place !

herbwormwood
Jun 28th, 2006, 04:08 PM
It hasn't been "proven" that red wine has a beneficial effect. Scientific studies have found beneficial effects, to be sure, but very little is "proven" in medical science. It is important to consider the design of the study and who sponsored the study and whether there were any other variables which could have influenced the outcome. We know about the "proven" effects of omega 3 fish oils don't we? Not proven at all, just some studies found it had a beneficial effect. As with red wine. We don't know for sure.
We do know that alcohol can have an anticoagulant or blood thinning effect and this is probably the reason why it seems to be beneficial, but does that necessarily mean we all should drink alcohol? After all our blood is a certain thickness for a reason isn't it?
Personally I no longer drink as I have seen what it does to people who drink too much and I don't want to put a toxin in my body that I don't have to.

absentmindedfan
Jun 28th, 2006, 04:13 PM
I'm fed up with alcohol. It makes me more loud, obnoxious and lewd than usual and turns my friends into embarrassing childish fools.
My Mum is awful when she's drunk, loud and selfish and acts more like a spolit child than usual (and she's bad enough sober!)
I don't want to become her and I do a little when drunk, so no mopre alcy-hol for me :)

wilson
Jun 28th, 2006, 04:54 PM
It hasn't been "proven" that red wine has a beneficial effect. Scientific studies have found beneficial effects, to be sure, but very little is "proven" in medical science.
you're right - the article I posted used the wording '[alcohol] is thought to be beneficial in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.'

...which is the more accurate scientific way to put it, I agree.


We do know that alcohol can have an anticoagulant or blood thinning effect and this is probably the reason why it seems to be beneficial, but does that necessarily mean we all should drink alcohol? After all our blood is a certain thickness for a reason isn't it?
yeah...I'm not trying to sell gin out of a suitcase or anything, sorry if that's how it came across :D - I don't drink much myself, and applaud people who identify it as something negative in their lives and make a change accordingly.