“I want to take a break from drinking, because I don’t want to go back to black out town” said one of my gorgeous clients to me recently.
It’s one of the reasons I hear a lot from women I am coaching. Blackouts don’t just happen during college, they happen even to moms like us, even if our drinking may not look like it’s gone completely off the rails.
But, what happens in blackout town and how do you get there? Blackouts happen when you blood alcohol content (BAC) hits around 0.16% and when your BAC reaches 0.22% you have a 50% chance of blacking out.
As you know, blacking out means you don’t remember what happened the next day, although in the moment you appear fully functioning. That’s why is so darn scary.
Alcohol interferes with the part of your brain that is responsible for making memories, called the hippocampus. The hippocampus shuts itself off when your BAC gets too high. In addition to not being able to form memories your brain “forgets” how to walk, talk, see and a whole lot of other things. Your judgement is severely impaired, so you end up making really bad choices and don’t even remember doing it.
My scariest blackouts never happened in college, they happened when I became a mom. The most awful for me being when my daughter was a baby. We were at a beautiful hotel in Italy for a wedding and we had been drinking wine all evening. At some point during the night I brought my baby girl in bed with us. I woke up the next morning never remembering how she got there. It shook me pretty hard the next day, but it wasn’t until later that I realised how dangerous it was. If me or my husband had rolled over, I mean, it actually makes sick to my stomach to think about. It’s one of those nights that I have thought a lot about and have had to forgive myself for.
People that black out frequently can wind up with long-term brain damage. The frontal lobe of the brain, where cognitive function is regulated, can wind up being severely harmed and cause impairments to behaviour, personality, perception and the storage of information. So when you drink too much not only are you harming your memory in the short-term, you’re harming it in the long-term as well.
If you’re sick and tired of blacking out, and waking up in that awful state of fear and anxiety, then I understand. I have been there.
I can tell you that life is certainly much better without having to fear blackout town.
Reach out if you need help getting there. You can book a free call to chat here.