Do I Drink Too Much?

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Reducing alcohol | 0 comments

In a culture where alcohol often serves as the centrepiece of social gatherings and a means of stress relief, its sometimes difficult to pay attention to the signs that you might be drinking too much.  If you’ve ever pondered “How do I know if I am drinking too much?” you’re not alone. Let’s delve into this question together, I’ll tell you about my personal experience and I hope it will help you make some informed decisions about your relationship with alcohol.

Recognising the signs:

Over-Consumption: The journey of recognising an issue with alcohol can often begin with acknowledging patterns of overconsumption.  For many years, I set myself different rules like not drinking Monday-Thursday and going to the gym 3-4 days per week telling myself I must be healthy. 

But on the days I did drink, opening a bottle of wine never meant stopping at a glass and finishing it was the norm.  If I drank more at dinner with friends on the weekend, I told myself this was fine.  On a stressful day, I would happily break my Monday-Thursday rule.  If the weather was great and I was having a barbecue with friends on a Tuesday, it was also okay to drink.  I turned to alcohol as my crutch when stressed and when socialising to relax me, it was never a glass, and these occasions became irrevocably linked to alcohol.  

Lack of Control: When I was in my teens and 20’s, drinking usually meant less often but to excess – binge drinking.  It seemed normal in those days and actually you only have to talk to students at University now and Freshers’ week still usually includes lots of events centred around meeting new people whilst consuming lots of alcohol.  Later in life drinking usually meant till the wine was gone, or I fell asleep, it just didn’t really occur to me to have just one drink.

Prioritising Alcohol:  Have an honest review here about your actions because it could be quite subtle ways that you prioritise alcohol.  An example I would give for me would be holidays where I realise now alcohol featured at the expense of other activities. It also meant that I came home feeling tired and not refreshed at all.

Physical and Mental Health Effects: Whilst hangovers weren’t a prominent issue for me for a long time, I noticed more subtle effects on my mental and emotional well-being such as increased anxiety.  It took time to realise that alcohol exacerbated rather than alleviated my stress. Physically, I think it made my Rosacea worse, it made me look a bit puffy and of course I try not to dwell on internal effects that I cannot see – I focus on the positive changes I have made.

Difficulty in Cutting Back: Do you have difficulty in cutting down or you cut down and then notice your consumption gradually slipping back? I did Dry January several times and felt incredibly proud of myself only to go straight back to drinking the following month. 

Also, I can’t tell you the number of times I might have told myself I wasn’t going to drink that night only to find myself with a glass of wine in my hand without even realising it. 

Being Honest with yourself is the First & Giant Step!

Facing you drink too much requires honest introspection and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths.  But once you can accept it yourself, it’s a big step in the right direction and you can start to figure out what to do about it.

 When I reflect on my experience with alcohol, I spent at least 10 years thinking my consumption habits were just fine.  I then spent at least 5 years knowing it wasn’t fine but setting myself rules to try and manage it like my Monday-Thursday rule.

In 2020, I decided I wanted to make a change and I gave up alcohol.  It was during this time I started creating Drinks Kitchen as I struggled to find Non-Alcoholic alternatives that replaced my wine habit! 

I don’t want you to think that I have been totally alcohol free the whole time or that it has been all plain sailing.  I have had a few blips; 2 hangovers and some drinks at ‘occasions’. 

But my relationship with alcohol now means that I don’t want it to be a regular feature in my life.  I like waking up feeling clear headed.

I didn’t ever think I would have ever written this!  So, take heart if you are at the beginning of your journey. I have been where you are now.

A few resources for you to check out that I found helpful below.

Club Soda run some really affordable courses for you to work through. They also have regular check in’s and catch ups you can join in with which are brilliant.

https://change.joinclubsoda.com/

You might find reading this helps you think clearly and this is a great podcast I listen to all the time but this episode is all about the effects of alcohol on your mind and body. I have also just started listening to Mel Robbins and this was a great podcast I listened to recently.

Alli

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