Yes, we have entered “ember months “with its attendant festivals. Even teetotalers(those who do not taste alcohol), will start testing and sipping alcohol more frequently in the spirit of the times. Some drink beer due to peer pressure (no pun intended). This usually starts with occasional sips to regular sips, then it becomes habituated.
What of grief, when people are hit by very devastating calamities. Death of a spouse. Loss of job. Despondency through lack of money and prospects of making money. Financial burdens like quest for school fees, medication fees and sundry daily expenses. Inability to provide the next meal for the family. Terminal illnesses such as cancer. Loss of hope and the desire to live on. Suicide tendencies due to helplessness and hopelessness.
As an escape route, you run to alcohol, forgetting that each glass of alcohol we consume, makes an indelible mark in our bodies. Thirty seconds after your first sip, alcohol races into your brain. It slows down the chemicals and pathways that your brain cells use to send messages. That alters your mood, slows your reflexes, and throws off your balance. You also can’t think straight, which you may not recall later, because you will struggle to store things in long – term memory.
If you drink heavily for a long time, especially during these festivities, alcohol can affect how your brain looks and works. The brain cells start to change and even get smaller. Too much alcohol can actually shrink your brain, and that will have big effect on your ability to think, learn, and remember things. It can also make it harder to keep a steady body temperature, which is the contributory reason why heavy alcoholics die easily of hypothermia(cold).
Alcohol’s, slow-down-effect, on your brain, can make you drowsy, so you may doze off more easily. But you won’t sleep well. Your body processes alcohol through out the night. Once the effects wear off, it leaves you tossing and turning. You don’t get good sleep, that your body needs to get restored. And you are more likely to have nightmares and vivid dreams. You will also probably wake-up more often, for trips to the bathroom.
Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach and makes your digestive juices flow. When enough acid and alcohol build-up, you get nauseated and you may throw up. Years of heavy drinking can cause painful sores called ulcers in your stomach. And high levels of stomach juices, mean you won’t feel hungry. That is one reason long term drinkers often do not get all nutrients they need.
Your small intestine and colon, get irritated too. Alcohol throws off the normal speed that food moves through them. That is why hard drinking, can lead to diarrhea, which can turn into a long term problem. It also makes heart burn more likely. Alcohol relaxes the muscle that keeps acid out of your esophagus ie the tube that connects your mouth and stomach, leading to regular belching and erosion of gastric mucosa resulting in peptic ulcer disease.
You are there fore warned to be very circumspect in your alcohol consumption, especially during these ember months. Always be medically guided.
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