Updated: Feb 7
The UK's Chief Medical Office recommends we don't drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. That's about a 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine or 6 pints. The reality is, that many of us exceed this but what if you're shooting way over week in, week out? Maybe you've even started to bring in some 'rules' about when you'll drink in a bid to control it, but keep breaking them. You can still get up for work and go about your day, but it's a struggle; your mood is as erratic as your energy levels and the worry about how much you're drinking is starting to make you feel anxious - why can't you control this?
If this rings a few bells, and you're quietly concerned about how much you drink and your dwindling self control, then you should know that:
1) You're not alone; this has become a common battle for many who live in countries with a strong drinking culture (and Covid worsened the situation by bringing stay at home drinking sessions into our routine).
2) It's not your fault. Alcohol is addictive, your only human and willpower alone is not usually enough to beat it.
If you know you're drinking too much and want to work out how you measure up, why not visit the Drink Aware calculator. Sometimes the honest numbers are what we need to kick ourselves into action.
We all have a different relationship with alcohol and for some moderation (rather than going cold turkey) is the better route to long term success. This calculator is a great way to make sure you keep on track. We're huge fans of throwing in a dry month or two throughout the year at GMF HQ - January and October are the most popular but there's nothing to stop you doing it at anytime of year. Taking a month out helps you detox, reset and take back control.
Perhaps at the end of your dry month you could install the NHS Drink Free Days app - it's free and a good way to monitor those all important days off to help you keep track.
Need more support?
For those considering sobriety (temporarily or permanently), there are some great resources to help you. Embracing life as the sober friend usually needs a mindset change, and there are lots of places you can draw inspiration from. Here's some of our favourites:
He does great regular live interviews on Instagram. We love his brutally honest updates on his continual journey. This Naked Mind This is a programme to remove the psychological desire for a drink allowing you to drink less (or stop drinking) without pain, rules or missing out. It is hugely successful and powerful. We found the book a good starting point as well as their free 30 day experiment which supports you through a dry month by getting you to think about what alcohol really adds to your life. We recommend signing up for it even if you aren't ready to stop and working through it daily. Then go through it again when you're ready to do it sober.
In addition to the free resources, there are paid for coaching programmes and 1:1 support from trained alcohol coaches available to purchase.
Pump up the present: The present & sober podcast We love following this fun and honest duo, Ellie and Sam, on their journey with sobriety. They are also both certified This Naked Mind coaches Their mission is to help you to make your life bigger, not smaller by going alcohol-free. They teach tools and tactics to help people live wholeheartedly in the present, loving the alcohol-free life and dealing with the challenges that come up.
The Sober Diaries - by Clare Pooley This is an entertaining, engaging and relatable read. Also gets you reflecting on your relationship with alcohol in a non-preachy way.
Like many women, Clare Pooley found the juggle of a stressful career and family life a struggle so she left her role as a Managing Partner in one of the world's biggest advertising agencies to look after her family. She knew the change wouldn't be easy but she never expected to find herself an overweight, depressed, middle-aged mother of three who was drinking more than a bottle of wine a day, and spending her evenings Googling 'Am I an alcoholic?'
Private coaching with Tabbin Almond A certified senior This Naked Mind coach and Gray Area Drinking coach, Tabbin's services can be accessed via GetMeFit by emailing us at email@example.com. Your email will be treated in the strictest confidence (we never share your data with anyone, even your employer if the are paying the subscription). We'll set you up with a free discovery call before you have to commit to anything so you can talk to Tabbin and decide if she's the right person to help you.
Please note that if you are seriously concerned about your health and drinking habits, you should go and get advice and support from your doctor.