Monday, 24 October 2011

How to be a Moderate Drinker!

Overview

This simple model gives you the tools to adjust your drinking downwards to levels where alcohol is harmless. You’ll also enjoy the day after drinking much, much more and develop new skills so that you can still enjoy a drink and have the confidence to determine how much you want and when to stop.

The Model

People blame their lack of will-power for failing to change things they don’t like about themselves. This pre-occupation with will-power tends to make people a bit short-sighted of what they can do to change their habit. Habit change is not only about will-power, it’s a bit more involved than that. It’s like trying to make a table by only using a measuring tape. There are more tools you can use. Once you use a saw and a hammer, the job becomes much simpler. The same is true for habit change, once you start using all the tools available to you, habit change becomes easier.

BJ Fogg - Model of Habit Change


• Motivation (will-power)
• Abilities
Triggers

BJ Fogg has said in an interview that ‘abilities’ and ‘triggers’ are more important than motivation for actually creating a new habit.

Motivation

What will you get when become a moderate drinker?

Some of my motivation

• No hangovers
• More quality time
• Peace of mind – 25 years is a long time to have a risky habit
• Lessen the risk of a serious accident
• Healthier
• More focus
• Move on from drunken behaviour (Drinking less has given me the opportunity to see people get drunk and it’s not that pretty. It makes me cringe to think I’ve done that so many times over the past 25 years

Motivation and being a Moderate Drinker

It’s very inconsistent and when I’ve planned to moderate my drinking in the past, new habits didn’t form because I was too inconsistent. It was hardly ever there at the right time and place, which is why I’ve used triggers. When combined with triggers, motivation is much more powerful because it’s there at the right time and in the right place. It has also led to a consistent approach of determining how many drinks I’ll have before I start drinking.

Abilities (new skills)

• Say no.
• Understand how and when you are drinking.
• Stop yourself. (after one, two or three drinks)
• Congratulate yourself when you say no and stop yourself.
• Deal with peer pressure
• Order water with a round/drink.
• Drink water in a pub.
• Disassociate being sociable, having a laugh, feeling open with drink and associate these things with yourself/being your friends.
• Associate hangovers, being down, being lazy more strongly with heavy drinking.

What I love about ‘abilities’ to be a moderate drinker is that none of them are ‘rocket science’. We can all say ‘no’ and we can all stop ourselves at having too much of something. Perhaps, we just don’t do this with drinks.

In Britain, many people drink fast and heavy. They don’t say ‘no’ to having another drink and they rarely stop themselves. Their habits dictate their actions and this won’t change until they start practicing saying ‘no’ to drinks and ‘stopping’ themselves. Once they practice, it’ll become easy. All it takes to get a new skill is practice.

Abilities and being a Moderate Drinker

I decided that at home, I would only have one glass of wine a night. One glass, partly for simplicity, easier to record and also I thought it might be easier to stop when I only have one glass. I used a trigger that basically told me ‘only one glass per night’ and this caused me to think before I drink (I think about the benefits of only drinking one). I was surprised at how easy it was and still is.

It’s now, almost natural to think before I drink. I’ve kept to only one glass per night, except for last Saturday when we had a small dinner party. This think before I drink has extended to when I go out with friends too. I don’t necessary keep to one drink on those occasions but I’m certainly drinking less than before.

Side effects – I’m starting to drink wine slower now, I drink a lot of water with and after drinking wine and I’ve used this tactic in the pub as well.

Triggers

Triggers for your old/current habit

• Looking forward to a night out
• Rounds – keeps you drinking without gaps. Also encourages fast drinking, to be the same as everyone else. In the home, this habit continued, even without the ‘round’ trigger.
• Empty glass – this can trigger someone to fill it up for you.

There are many more.

The important thing about understanding triggers for your old habit is that you’re better equipped to disrupt them.

Triggers for introducing a new habit.

• Message stuck to my wine bottle – only one glass!
• Message by my wine bottle to remind me to celebrate only drinking one glass (celebrate no hangover in the morning and that I’ll feel good then too)

Possible other triggers, which I haven’t used.

• Message that reminds you why you want to cut down. In place where you can see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
• Small bottles of wine.
• Limited alcohol supply so that you can only drink one or two drinks.
• Associate buying a drink with also getting a pint of water.

Triggers and the Moderate Drinker

Most of my drinking is in the home and triggers really made becoming a moderate drinker easy. They reminded me ‘why’ I wanted to moderate my drinking and they did it at the right time and in the right place. They kept me consistent at stopping after one glass. This skill is transferable to the pub, where I’ve had a beer and next to my beer is a glass of water. I’ve turned down offers of drinks mainly because I didn’t feel like them. All this has come from being consistent in the home.

39 comments:

  1. This sounds like really helpful advice! I have got into a habit of drinking several large glasses of wine and then a couple of whiskies every night.
    Problem is that although I sleep - sort-of - I feel very tired off and on the following day. So I need to tackle this and your advice sounds good.
    I'm going to start and give it a try tonight.

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  2. Alan, let me know how you're getting on.

    I used to be the same once I started drinking. It was like a on switch that had no off switch. Stopping at one on a consistent basis has really changed my relationship with drink.

    Thinking about the consequences of drinking before I started also helped alot.

    My sleep has definitely improved since cutting back. I don't wake up in the early hours any more.

    Good luck Alan.

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  3. I have been trying to cut down the alcohol..Now that I am taking cholesterol medication, it could easily impact my liver. I am trying to limit my drinks to 2 per day. I am buying 2 drinks every day and drink it.. This is easier than getting more quantity and controlling the intake.

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  4. Hi Anonymous.

    That's very smart of you and it sounds that you need to eer on the side of caution.

    I'd also limit it the way you have. One thing, you could do to increase your control over drink is to occasionally limit yourself to one/no drink a day, even if you have enough for two. This way you'll be building up your self-control. Given your present condition it's probably best not to have more than two drinks in the house - ever.

    Good luck. Sorry about the late reply.

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  5. I think it's the will power that I need. The worst thing for me is not that I feel ill but it's because I know I've wasted my entire Sunday when I could be out doing something.

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  6. Jamie

    Time wasted was a big issue with me. One thing you can do to make your will power 'stronger' is to list all the negative things you've experienced through drinking.

    Though the problem with 'will-power' is that it's inconsistent and it's usually not there when you need it most i.e. when you start to drink.

    Also think of 'What' and 'How'.

    What steps can you take to moderate your drinking?

    Examples

    Go to the pub later.
    Start with a soft drink.
    Don't have alcohol in the house
    etc.

    How

    Go to the pub later --- tell your wife (if you have one) you'll stay at home for an extra hour every Saturday and do things that need to get done around the house - perhaps

    Start with a soft drink. ---- have a picture of a soft drink in your wallet with your cash - remind you to get a soft drink - also think why (no hangover, won't waste Sunday etc)

    Personally, I think will-power is over-rated. Understand when and where you drink. Take some action to reduced your drinking and see whether it works. If it doesn't take another tact.

    JamieC - Good luck. It's definitely worth it. I love feeling great on Sundays!

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  7. i'm learning about alcohol and stuff i wondered if you could tell me anything interesting about it!

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  8. Dear Anonymous, it would help if your question was more specific.

    During one heavy drinking session - the effects of alcohol on the body are long lasting.

    When you start, alcohol can change how you feel and inhibitions are reduced. Once you've drunk a lot, you feel drunk, out of control and perhaps nauseous.

    Once you stop drinking and go to sleep, alcohol can disrupt your sleep, leaving you feeling tired the next day. Alcohol is also a depressant and lowers the activity of the central nervous system - this together with sleep disruption often leaves the drinker feeling tired and demotivated the day after.

    Despite the negative side effects of alcohol, which arguably outweigh the benefits alcohol gives, heavy drinkers associate more strongly with the positive effects of alcohol, perhaps because the positive effects come first and are therefore easier to associate to alcohol.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I dont quite get it? the one from 12th may,thats me

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  9. My name is Leiam i stumbled across this blog by the link you posted on the NHS live well site. I must say it's been a slap in the face. Alcohol has ruined my life so far. I had my first dring at 14 and never looked back. I went through the binge years and now im 31 my drinking is focused on the house and the pub. I drink every day, i go to work where i function in order to get paid in order to get beer. when i leave work i go straight to the off licence. i go home and drink, usually i drink myself to sleep and so the pattern and habbit repeat itself the next day. To ANYONE who is reading this let me tell you in no uncertain term that if abused it will ruin you. I have just lost my family and marrige. I am about to seek professional help and i will continue to read this inspiring blog.

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  10. Leiam (Liam?), thanks very much for your comment! It encourages me to write on.

    I think a lot of people don't realise how much alcohol runs their life. Getting professional help sounds like the right thing to do in your case and cutting down or giving up will bring big changes to your life.

    I don't know what your home life is like anymore (whether you live alone or with other people) but you can experiment with cutting out or cutting down there. Personally, I think it's an easier place to start than the pub, as you can made your home environment as inconvenient as you can for drinking.

    http://themoderatedrinker.blogspot.nl/2012/05/you-drink-at-home-great.html

    Good luck. It sounds that you've taken the first steps towards change already. Let us know how you get on.

    Chris

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  11. I like this blog!

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  12. Hello. I have a problem with my drinking. Physically there has been no great effects on me as although putting on half a stone in the past year to the outside viewer I still function quite well.

    But I am drinking more when I'm out and my behaviour has become more erratic - I am suffering blackouts and have to be told what has happened the next day often. I'm in danger of losing a lot of my friends due to aggressive behaviour that i would never exhibit from day to day. The next day I'm afraid to look at my phone in case i receive messages about what I've done - angry friends or dates.

    I went to an AA meeting a while back after one blackout episode where I was told (falsely I might add) that I streaked and proceeded to hit someone. I felt that AA makes drinking the issue rather than the motives behind it.

    I think the things surrounding excessive drinking is the acceptance regarding losing control of yourself - which could be said of many addictions particuarly drugs.

    Rather than alcohol being the white elephant in the room. It'd be nice to not revel in losing complete control, rather than get the kick out out of the euphoria of when u go from mellow to 'P*ssed', it'd be good to feel...'i better rein this in a little'

    So many social occasions do in the Uk revolve around alcohol and I think the buzzword here isn't booze but control

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    1. Hi, sorry for the late reply, I've just got back from holidays.

      I can remember what it was like having blackouts. I hated those days, piecing together the events from the night before and all the time having that dreaded feeling you did something really bad. I can fully relate to 'being afraid to look at the phone'.

      Also social occasions in the UK are drink based and tend to promote excessive drinking rather than control. Control is what you want but how to get 'control'?

      Some suggestions; Especially as you said that you're in danger of losing your friends.

      Bet your friends that you can start each 'pub' session with a soft drink (or two) for the next month.

      Bet your friends that you will also have a soft drink (water) with an alcohol drink for the next two weeks/month.

      Also, if you sometimes drink in the house, then this article might be useful for you. http://themoderatedrinker.blogspot.nl/2012/05/learn-at-home-stop-drinking-after-one.html I found that stopping after one drink at home, made me more 'conscious' of my drinking when I was in the pub.

      I hope these help. You can change your drinking habits but you need to take action and try different ideas out. 'Betting' is a good way to try out 'control behaviour' because makes the 'new behaviour' more an act of honour.

      Good luck and please give us an update.

      Delete
  13. Nice blog.
    I have been drinking since I was 15 and by the time I was 20 I was drinking lunch times and night, 3 to 4 pints at lunch time (more on a weekend) and about 5 to 8 in the evenings. Then I started drinking spirits; sometimes after 6 pints or so sometimes just spirits. If just spirits half a bottle is nothing to me. I have been doing this (on and off) for 41 years! To be fair though I haven’t drank at lunch times for years now except on Sundays! My reasons for drinking are complex and maybe I will share some with you later.

    Recently I fell down the stairs and had to be carted off in an ambulance. To my shame I was a little obnoxious to the fantastic paramedics and hospital staff. Not that bad but lets just say I did not behave with dignity.

    However the strong pain killers prescribed for me (I really needed these) meant that I could not drink alcohol and I felt no side affects or withdrawal symptoms from the sudden abstinence. I was just happy to have the pain eased. This has taught me that I can manage without too much booze and I now have booze free days. I don’t want to be a non drinker but I don’t want to have to drink until I have had enough every time I go out or reach for the bottle either. I suffer really badly from hangovers and they get worse with age.

    If I had saved all the money I spent on drink I would have been able to retire in reasonable comfort at 55 easily as I have earned, and spent, a lot of money in that time. What’s probably even worse is the wasted weekends as when I drink too much all I do is stay in bed until its time to go out to the pub. Needless to say I feel guilty that I didn’t do more with my fantastic children.

    Right now if I stick to a bottle of wine when at home or just 5 pints when I am out and have a few days drink free now and then I feel I am heading in the right direction.

    Yours
    Jimbob

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  14. Hi,

    good to read this blog. I have a problem in that every time I go out for a 'night out' with friends I go way too far and experience blackouts and generally don't know what i'm doing. This has been a problem for a few years now and I want to be able to control it. My problem seems to be that when i've had a few I then start to drink more quickly and really throw them down and subsequently end up in a mess.

    I'm definately going to try alternating my drinks as you suggest and hope this improves things for me.

    Thanks

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  15. To Jimbob and the last commentator.

    Thanks for the honest comments.

    Suffering from hangovers, the regret over all that time being wasted and feeling wasted, and blackouts were some things that, in the end, helped me to change.

    Jimbob, I'm glad that you're going in the right direction and are feeling the benefits. I'd also like to hear your reasons for drinking, so if you feel like sharing, your story would be most welcomed here.

    To the other commentator - good luck with controling your drinking. If you can commit to alternating drinking, then I think it'll definitely help. Perhaps, start with a soft drink or two drinks (soft drink and an alcoholic drink). Start as you mean to go on. Let us know how you get on.

    Chris

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    1. Damn... I have relapsed

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    2. Is that your first relapsed since November?

      Whether or not that's your first relapse, it still sounds like you've made progress. Also the science is for forgiveness, with findings favouring people who do not beat themselves up over a 'failure'. Relapses can and do happen, maybe what's more important is to recap over how it happened, learn from it and hopefully be able to do something different next time.

      You can read more about it here - the Kelly McGonigal video is very interesting too.

      http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4715066875605943462#editor/target=post;postID=3643217103771669552;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname

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  16. Hi Everyone. I have recently made a vow that I will always set a maximum number of drinks I will drink at the beginning of each night (it can be different for different occasions and is entirely up to me) before I start drinking. Furthemore,if I don't set myself a limit or don't keep to my limit I have to pay £150 to charity. This has completely changed the way I drink as in the past once I start I often drink way to much and can often do or say very Embarrassing things. I can't emphasise enough how successfull this has been for me. I havn't had a hangover since I started or done anything embarrising and I still get to enjoy a drink!!

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  17. Thanks for sharing!

    I'm glad it's working for you. £150 is certainly something that would make me think twice about what i'm doing.

    Can I ask, is the vow to yourself or do you tell the people you are drinking with, today's my limit is XXXX. How does this part work? I think it could be useful to understand this part, as other readers might want to try out your approach.

    You've sold it well!

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  18. Great blog. I am at work having had to drag myself out of bed and getting here late. My energy is low and motivation for anything is also low. I feel pretty down.

    I have always said to myself that half a bottle of wine most nights, and maybe something a little extra like a whisky or cocktail, isn't that much. Sure the NHS guidelines show me as over, but it's not a litre of vodka. But comparing myself to someone who drinks more doesn't do anything useful. So what?

    The drink hinders so many parts of my life; work, socially (I want to avoid social situations as I have so many hard drinking/peer pressurey friends), sex life, health (I am a runner and it is very much harder after a night of drinks).

    No one has talked about the 'benefits' of drinking. I don't know how confident I can be if I am drinking a coke socially. Well I do know, I am very subdued, uncomfortable, left out, judged even?

    I find it very sad that drinking is so part of my identity that I don't know who I am without it :-(

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    1. Thanks for your honesty, that's what I love about some of the comments on this blog.

      You're right to ask the question 'what about the benefits of drinking?' Finding out the reasons why you drink are very important?

      For me, it was interesting to trace it back to when I started drinking. At that time it seemed like a silver bullet. I was socially awkward but all of a sudden with drink, I could talk and do 'mad things'. It was a definite escape from normal life.

      But as I got older, I got more confident, especially with the opposite sex but I still carried on drinking.

      I guess the benefits I saw to drinking (a lot) was that it was socialable, enjoyable and that I could be me.

      I understand what you talking about when you don't drink. I still feel conflicted and sometimes I conform a bit to expectations when I'm with drinkers. Especially when I'm with friends that I only see once a year - it seems very unsociable of me not to drink with them.

      I'm also disappointed because there doesn't seem to be many viable alternatives. I meetup with some friends in cafes now but this is not for 'all of my friends'.

      I haven't read Allen Carr's book on 'Easy way to Stop Drinking'. I've only seen this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w87SZvhopco and heard of people giving up smoking.

      I find this video very interesting because he attacks the 'benefits' of smoking. He shows them to be false and I believe he has a similiar approach with drink.

      I've got the 'The Willpower Instinct' they have something about 'benefits' as well. Say, being sociable is a 'benefit' of drinking. If it is, why can't we just have one or two drinks and be sociable?

      If the brain sees 'drink' as a reward, it releases dopamine and this feels good because it's a signal that promises reward. If no reward arrivals, it thinks we need more drink, so we drink more and release more dopamine. So there's a good feeling inside you when you drink from alcohol and dopamine but the reward never comes. It's a vicious circle.

      In test rats electrocuded themselves repeatedly and eventually starved to death because of the promise of reward. They used to think it was the pleasure centre - but now they're sure it's the 'promise of reward' that drives such behaviour.

      Tired Girl

      I'll stop because I rambling now. Thanks for your comments and questions.

      Delete
  19. Thank you for your advice. I am regularly drinking too much in the evenings. Sometimes I don't, I do try to have alcohol free days, but I often stop for wine or cider on the way home from work. Sometimes I nip out again when I've got home if there's no alcohol in the house. I will drink whatever I buy in one go and I'm a sucker for a 'bargain' so I constantly buy two or three bottles instead of one, thinking that I'll save some for another time, but knowing that I won't.

    The message on the wine bottle is a good idea. Once I've had more than one glass I'll drink the lot, then everything else that's mine in the house (but I rarely drink my husband's so I must have some control). Stopping at one would be a genuine achievement for me. Also, if I can only have one glass, I might save it until I eat. At the moment I'm opening the bottle while I cook to 'treat' myself, and by the time I get to my lovely meal I can't taste or remember it.

    I'm really afraid that I am 'all or nothing'. You're proof that isn't necessarily the case. I'm quite sure for me that it is a habit that's deliberately carried out rather than physical addiction as I've stopped drinking at various times in my life without particular difficulty. My fear right now is that I don't want to, and that it will kill me. Also I'd love to be out of that work-drunk-recovery cycle; that's totally what I'm stuck in.

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    1. Thanks for the comment.

      Your drinking obviously worries you. It worth putting this down in writing. Especially the work-drunk-recovery cycle. It sounds that you don't have much time for your 'real' self. This was something I didn't like and focusing on the day-after helped me see drink in a more balanced light.

      I searched for a long time to move away from the 'all or nothing'. The label on the bottle worked really well for me. I was surprised at how effective it was. It broke the 'all or nothing' pattern and I rarely go for all now --Most of the time it's some or none.

      There are a few methods you can experiment with.

      Another - small bottle of wine or one can of cidre (with no other alcohol in the house). I think it's worth putting a little 'ritual' to this - perhaps a bow on the bottle and think 'why' only one glass is good for you.

      With the label, I thought about the benefits of drinking just one and the consequences of drinking a lot and then committed to drinking just one glass.

      Also at first, stick to one glass - it's simplier and it doesn't give room for excuses.

      Chris

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  20. This has truly touched a nerve. A recent advert about reducing your alcohol intake made me think harder. I didn't want to cut out my alcohol consumption altogether as I know that my biggest problem is the routine I have slipped into over the past 15 years(5 years owning a pub didn't help!). I would have 5-6 cans a night every night, sometimes a lot more.

    I have a nice life with a great Mrs and family and they have all expressed concern. When I sat & worked out the cost & volume, on every level, I came to realise what a difference cutting it right down would do.

    I have recently stopped drinking one night a week, then two... I fully intend to cut it out altogether in the week. As it turns out I haven't had a drink for nearly a week due to medication. I have missed it a little but I have felt a massive difference in my memory, tiredness and general humour. It's routine that I miss and have had to change though.

    It's almost like switching on a light after 15 years of regular drinking.

    You do need help though as it's not easy. Most people think it's funny as you're a big "boozer" and you can hold your own on a night out, but they'd be shocked when the see your bin full of cans every morning. It stops being a nice feeling and start being embarrasing. When you have 3 different shops to buy from so it doesn't look as though you're drinking too much then it's shameful. And I'm "only" drinking 5-6 cans a night! Excuse I've been using for years - you think you'd be laughed out of AA!!!

    I'm loving the feeling of being fresher, enjoying my GF's company more and funnily enough enjoying work as it's not such a chore after a good nights sleep!

    Thank you to your blog and to eveyone elses honesty. It's fantastic and it's changed how I feel about alcohol. It's not just all or nothing, you can learn to enjoy it socially again without it taking over!

    Thanks

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  21. Great comment.

    It's funny how you discovered the benefits of not drinking almost by accident.

    I believe that a lot of people have trouble cutting down because they see it as a sacrifice. That they'll be missing out. I love your story about buying the cans at different off licenses and being laughed out fo AA (for only drinking 5-6 cans).

    I'm glad that you've changed your altitude to alcohol and are learning to enjoy it socially again. It's certainly changed me, my health and how I see life.

    Thanks to all the commentators. I makes me feel that I should write more. And more importantly, it makes me want to write more.

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  22. I LOVE booze. It makes me feel wicked. For me there is no buzz like it, and I can tend to drink a lot because I'm good-natured on it. For that reason it often doesn't even flag up how hammered I am, not with friends, family. And that's become a problem. This weekend I drank so many shots and pints that I didn't know who I was anymore, and still it didn't seem from the outside like I was the worst there. It was a great weekend, but in the cold light of day, I have done serious boozing in the past and know it is escalating to a new level. Many and often is the problem.

    I often feel strangely great when hungover. Like deliriously happy and positive. Naturally this makes me pick up a drink on Day 2, and then Day 3, and then 4, 5, 6. It's a cycle that people with headaches and nauseating hangovers don't get into very easily, but then maybe I'm genetically predisproposed, it's not a good thing.

    Last night I lay awake with chest pains, delirium and no sleep. This has become a fairly regular thing and occurs after I have drank for so many days in a row that I can no longer carry on doing it. The debt that has to be paid, it appears, is this kind of night's sleep. That would be fine, were it not for the severity of the hangover, and the chest pains and aching liver it brought with it.

    I have a problem. I know the exact nature of the problem and have lived with it. The truth is I have no trouble giving up booze, but one drink always leads to ten. There is no moderation I am capable of.

    Worrying that I was about to have a heart attack, exacerbated by feeling lost in crazy, scary thoughts that I couldn't order was rock bottom. It becomes all too easy to explain things away, and to recover for a few days before coming back around to feeling "fighting fit" and ready for another session. Then it all goes out the window. I can't just do the odd blowout. I'll get up the next day and feel so great about things, the night before etc, that I'll carry on. I have tried for years to control this and to no avail.

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    1. Thanks for this comment. It's very honest. I'm sure a lot of people can related to your story.

      I can a bit, though I don't think I was as extreme. A bad hangover would stop me for some days.

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  23. So, it seems like ultimately the only thing to do is to abstain. I don't know how or if I can do it. I have only been in love with 2 people in my life and yet I didn't love them enough to not let the real love of my life get in the way. They were certainly not strong willed or forceful enough to alter the trajectory, and I must admit, that annoyed me. It's not like I wanted them to sort my life out, I understand that lies with myself. But a little push here and there could make all the difference when weakness rears its ugly head.

    I guess when I'm out, and that moment comes where I'm thinking of drinking, I need to see it as a relationship that never worked out. It will hurt not having alcohol there anymore, but I must understand that this relationship is not only unhealthy, it's actively trying to kill me, and could well be the thing that takes me in the end if changes are not made.

    And yet, I know what I'm like. This post will be put into some kind of other context and I will pathologically justify drinking more. I will spend a lot of time abstaining and then think "What am I doing?", I'll justify that I am leading a boring life and need to booze again. Then everything will seem great and I won't believe what I've been missing.

    My whole life from the age of about 20 onwards has been carved with alcohol in mind; it is my only hobby and a major compulsion. I have needed it at times but 8 years down the line, I find my position alongside countless nights in a row untenable. And I think, realistically, that "cutting down" is not an option for me.

    It's time to start seeing how sinister this all is. How drink has altered my body, how it has made my face droop, my eyes baggy and tired, my skin pale and blotchy, and my gut more sloppy than it should be. It's time to realise that it is doing major damage to my vital organs, how my chest and left arm feel tight and achey, how I get burning pains in my liver; my stomach problems that could become permanent, the blood from my sinuses and all the associated injuries I've accumulated from drinking. Like so many addicts before myself, it's only possible to care when it's too late, and you realise something serious is happening to you. And I'm not far away from that.

    It is time to get real, and while I can't speak to myself in the future to snap the fuck out of it, all I can do is what all other alcoholics suggest "Even if you don't know if you'll drink again, it's okay as long as you don't drink today". Thanks for that Gazza! :/

    Soz for length

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    1. No problem about the length. It was a great read, mainly because you were so honest.

      Moderate or abstain, I believe that's a choice only you can make and it looks like you made it.

      There seems certain advantages to abstaining - it's black and white and that's particularly useful in social situations.

      I've followed a post (and comments) on Allen Carr's book about alcohol and for a lot of people it certainly seems to help. I believe his approach tackles the 'cultural mindset' that many of us have about alcohol that makes it so difficult to handle. From reading your comment, it certainly seems that you have some deep beliefs about drinking that keeps dragging you back.

      I've never read the book but other people have - here's a thread with people's experiences of using that book. http://www.needyhelper.com/easy-way-to-control-alcohol-by-allen-carr/

      I hope you've got yourself sorted. I believe your comment will help many people, partially because of the honesty, I hoped it helped you too.

      Chris

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  24. Hi there, l have just found this blog! Its wonderful. I know l have a problem. I am having 15 units a day, mainly cider when l get in from work, then wine, followed by rum before bed! This has caused major weight gain, very high blood pressure and depression.
    I look at how much money l am wasting, its ridiculous. Anyway, l have found you lovely people and look forward to the support. Thankyou

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    1. Hi Little Liz

      I'm really sorry for the very late reply. This blog is a man one operation, but with lots of comments from other people. I can only provide words and my experience of cutting down on drink, not actually support.

      I'm glad that the blog has been useful for you and that it got you thinking about your habit. I hope you've made progress as it sounded that drinking wasn't helping you.

      Good luck

      Chris

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  25. There are some great posts here. Some sound scarily similar to my situation. I'm writing this massively hung over. My plans for today are ruined, as they are most days I'm not at work.
    I don't drink everyday, but when I do it's to the point of mental numbness.
    I realise that cutting alcohol out will expose a lot of things that I'm not happy with in my life (nothing major, just the usual post-modern life existential angst etc) and I'll be forced to confront them and to do something about them.
    I'm not looking forward to that.

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    1. Sorry for the extremely late reply.

      Thanks for posting and feedback. I'm glad that some of the posts got you thinking about your situation. It'll be interested to hear whether anything changed.

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  26. I have never posted anything to a blog before. I am 53 years old and am finding myself in a stuck place in my life and truly believe my relationship with alcohol is a huge factor in things i am dealing with... depression, relationship problems, lack of confidence, self esteem issues. i think i'm a classic case and have a history of family alchoholism. Thank you to this blog as I have only known of all or nothing when it comes to alcohol and the fact that there are others who would like to limit but not eliminate alcohol in their lives gives me hope that I can manage my habits. I have found this past year that it is a rare day when there is no alcohol and I am setting some of my first goals to be reducing the number of days I drink. I don't think I get into a place where I can't stop once I start, I just think I'm in the habit of drinking everyday and when it gets to that time - you know, is it happy hour yet?, then the craving starts and the habit kicks in and I have a drink and then it is usually two. No one has posted to this blog since April I think so I will be curious to see how active it is. If no one ever posts anything, that's okay, it just feels better to have put this down in words and to know I can come back and read all the previous posts.

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    1. Thank you for posting your first ever blog comment here. And thank you for the feedback. It's needed. I haven't been keeping the blog active for sometime. As you noticed the last comments were back in April and the last post was at the end of last year.

      My drinking habit was similar to yours. There was either drinking (end up drunk) or not drinking. I had wanted for a long time to moderate my drinking but only succeeded partially. I felt the same that drink wasn't a 'friend' and that the way I drunk caused me many problems.

      I did something similar to you for a couple of years - I counted the days when I drank and when I didn't drink. It worked - I cut down the days that I drank. In the second year I drank alcohol on less days of the week - less than 50% but when I did drink, I got drunk. Still it was progression.

      I think you are going in the right direct. Your first goal sounds clear to me and should be easy to record.

      Good luck.

      Chris

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  27. If you regularly drink more than the recommended limits, Do you feel uncomfortable so you may contact alcohol rehab in new york.
    alcohol rehab center in new york

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