In a surprise announcement after last weekend’s Golden Globes, mega heartthrob George Clooney says he’s given up drinking.
The 50-year old movie star, who was awarded the Best Actor in a Motion Picture award, declared that he was not going to toast to his success with alcohol, saying that he’d like to give his liver a chance to catch up.
Clooney isn’t the only actor who has given up the sauce. He joins Daniel Radcliffe, Bradley Cooper, and Samuel L Jackson, all of whom have been teetotalers for impressive lengths of time, considering the field of employment that they enjoy.
Many people find that their lives are improved when they decide to give up drinking. It can be confusing, however, as the news frequently touts the benefits of enjoying a glass of red wine for heart health or other, similar reports. Many of us are conflicted as to if we should drink at all, and how much is too much. Are there health benefits to drinking alcohol?
Arthur Klatsky, MD, a former practicing cardiologist who now works for Kaiser Permanente in the alcohol research division says yes - if you only consider heart health. He’s talking about moderate drinking, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men. It’s when you factor in other markers of health that the story is not so cut and dried. Recent studies have proven a direct link between drinking and several forms of cancer, and those who have been diagnosed with cancer are often told to abstain completely. Women appear to have a greater risk for breast cancer if they enjoy alcohol, although studies differ on the amounts required for changes in breast health.
In addition to health worries, alcohol can be fattening, and many people who are striving to live a healthier lifestyle cut their intake. The alcohol itself is not usually the problem – it’s often the mixers, juices and sodas that are combined to make a drink more appetizing, as well as the junk foods that most often appear next to the drinks. Having a couple of drinks once or twice a week could quickly undo all of the work that you do in the gym, not to mention that there is the possibility that you might become addicted to the feelings of euphoria alcohol can induce.
If you feel that your drinking has become problematic, you may wish to quit. This can be difficult, if you are addicted to the alcohol in a physical or mental manner. Luckily, there are organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous that are available in virtually every city as well as online for round the clock support. Enlist the support of your family and friends, and remove yourself from situations that encourage alcohol intake. In much the same way as you need support to lose weight, you also need support to quit drinking.
Above all, take it one day at a time – and know that you can look to the stars for a good example every once in a while!
January 18th, 2012