Having a pint after work or a glass of sauvignon blanc or enjoying a few drinks with friends at the weekend is a far cry from most people’s idea of an alcoholic.
But many women are not aware when their alcohol consumption has become problematic without having developed an alcohol dependence; In other words, these adults are “falling victim to the gray area of alcohol consumption.”
Alcohol use disorder in women has increased 80 percent in the last 30 years.
Women’s health coach and accredited gray zone drinking coach Sarah Rusbatch from Perth tackled the topic in her latest book Beyond Booze and came up with a simple checklist to discern if you are a gray zone drinker.
Are you a gray zone drinker? Sarah Rusbatch, accredited gray zone drinking coach, has devised a checklist to determine if you are a victim (file image)
After forming a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol in 2019, Sarah decided to quit alcohol. Despite the monumental leap, the author never looked back.
Now, he is on a mission to help others struggling with gray zone drinking to help them create an alcohol-free lifestyle.
Sarah has channeled her journey into helping other women stuck in their previous situation achieve a healthier, happier way of life.
She said: ‘Gray zone drinking describes people who consume more than a moderate amount of alcohol but do not meet the criteria for true dependence.
‘The majority do not consider themselves in need of help, but do recognize that their alcohol consumption is having a negative impact on their life in some way: physically, mentally or both.
He concluded: “Gray zone drinkers have moved beyond the point of ‘take it or leave it’ drinking and are using alcohol for something else: reward, relaxation, confidence, to disconnect or numb themselves from their emotions.”
It comes after a new report found that British women are the biggest binge drinkers in the developed world, with one in four getting drunk every month.
About 26 percent admit to having consumed six or more alcoholic drinks on a single occasion, and experts blame the “ladette” and “wine o’clock” culture.
This is more than double the average rate of 12 percent among the 33 countries analyzed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
British women were matched only by those from Denmark (26 per cent), followed by Luxembourg (24 per cent) and Germany (22 per cent).
The OECD’s ‘Health at a Glance 2023’ report warns that alcohol increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, liver cirrhosis and certain cancers.
British men are the third biggest binge drinkers: 46 per cent have consumed the equivalent of 60 grams of pure ethanol on a single occasion in the last 30 days.
This puts them behind Romania (55 percent) and Denmark (49 percent) and compares to an international average of 27 percent.
Addictions expert John Britton, emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham, said: “These figures are extremely worrying. The damage is happening right under our noses because alcohol remains an integral part of British society and everyday life, just as which was tobacco.
‘In other countries alcohol is used as a social lubricant, a way to make social occasions more enjoyable, not as a way to lose your legs as is often the case here.
“Too many people also turn to alcohol to relax at the end of a stressful day at work, when they should be looking for healthier alternatives.”
Britons drank the equivalent of 10 liters of pure ethanol each (about 111 bottles of wine) in 2021, the latest figures show. This represents an increase compared to 9.9 liters in 2011.
Beyond Alcohol by Sarah Rusbatch (Murdoch Books, £16.99).