What is binge drinking?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as behavior that brings your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) above 0.08g. Put simply, this means that having more than five drinks in a single sitting puts men at risk of a ‘binge’, while for women more than four drinks can have the same result.
Of course, for many of us, a ‘binge’ has different implications. When we talk about quitting binge drinking, we mean that we want to cut down from drinking much larger amounts of alcohol in a short space of time. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that around 16% of adults in the US binge drink four times a month, and that on each occasion they have an average of eight drinks – this kind of binge drinking is perhaps more familiar to people who want to start drinking less.
Whatever your definition, though, there are a few strategies that you can use to help in your journey towards quitting binge drinking.
Quitting Binge Drinking: Where to Begin
Most binge-drinkers are not alcoholics – 75% of people who drink above low-risk limits do not suffer from alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse problems. This kind of drinking is usually the result of habits built up over time, and can be broken in a number of ways.
Know the Consequences
If you know what binge drinking can do to your body, then you will be driven to cut down the amount that you drink. Aside from the obvious damage it can do to your liver, binge drinking can also cause:
- Bodily injuries, for example, car accidents, drowning, or accidental falls
- Personal embarrassment, as alcohol reduces your inhibitions and good judgment
- Unintended sexual encounters, which can lead to unwanted pregnancy or contracting an STD
- Weight gain – there can be many calories in alcohol.
If you keep these consequences in mind whenever you’re tempted to drink too much, you will have a very strong reason to stay on the path to quitting binge drinking.
Adopt Positive Behaviors
Since binge drinking tends to be a learned habit rather than an addiction, it can be easier to put an end to it than you might think. It takes will power and determination, but you can slowly replace your drinking habits with other, more positive actions.
First, think about what causes you to binge drink. Is it when you go out with friends? When you want to unwind after a long week at work? When you’re feeling stressed? Once you have identified the situations that encourage you to drink, then you can begin to plan more experiences that are positive for yourself.
For example, if you tend to binge drink when you are in a bar with friends, then try to avoid that environment. Suggest other plans to them, like going for a meal, to the cinema, or to a concert. Apply this logic to any situation that might lead to a binge, and you will find it much easier to drink in a sensible manner.
Please watch this short video from the prestigious Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC defines binge drinking to be where a woman takes four or more drinks per occasion or five or more drinks for a man. You will see the shocking statistics about binge drinking. The problem is that many Americans believe binge drinking is socially acceptable.
Quitting Binge Drinking at Home
Learn how to control your drinking in the privacy of your own home without going to AA or expensive counseling with the Give up Alcohol Course.