Periodic Abstinence

Recently the British paper, The Independent,  had an article entitled, “Booze: Why You Need A Day Off”. (Thanks to David Fahey and the ADHS website for the citation). British doctors apparently advocate stopping drinking for two weeks in January in response to the excesses of the holiday season. The idea is to delay building up tolerance, test if you can stay away for a sustained period of time, and rest your liver.

The idea of a two week vacation from drinking is part of a larger awareness among the British medical community that long-term daily drinking has far more serious consequences for liver health than binge drinking, even on a weekly basis. However British public health advocates have continued to push for daily limits on drinking rather than weekly. At least one doctor feels this approach encourages daily drinking which will only lead to increased tolerance.

This whole discussion is very intriguing when placed in an American context. Binge drinking is currently a big focus for public health advocates and ne0prohibtionists.  A group of college presidents have even called for a decrease in the minimum drinking age in part to curtail binge drinking connected to turning twenty-one.

In America Alcoholics Anonymous has set the definition for abstinence and it is total. The idea that a healthy approach tod drinking could include occasional heavy drinking would certainly be an anathema to AA.