AS Brits begin to venture out after three months in lockdown, many have found their boozing has reached new heights.
But with pubs and bars now open for business once more, it might be time to consider just how much alcohol you’re consuming – and how much is too much.
Many have found their boozing has reached new heights during lockdown[/caption]
Sobriety coach Simon Chapple, and the author of The Sober Survival Guide says there are some key signs that indicate your drinking is out of control, and reveals the steps you should take in making a change.
Simon, who used to be a ‘very heavy drinker’ and would regularly consume 2-3 bottles of wine an evening, is now a a self professed ‘sober influencer’ and says that many people live in a “state of ignorant bliss” and “don’t face up to the fact that their drinking has become out of hand”.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, he said: “Once we acknowledge we have a problem with booze we can become empowered to make a life-changing choice and discover what living alcohol-free feels like.
“Many people wrongly assume that being sober is boring and that they will lose something special without alcohol, but the truth is that we gain so much. “
Here Simon shares with Fabulous the warning signs that you might be drinking too much.
Simon Chapple, and the author of The Sober Survival Guide used to be a ‘very heavy drinker’ and would regularly consume 2-3 bottles of wine an evening[/caption]
1. Your life revolves around booze
If we find ourselves putting alcohol at the centre of everything we do it can be a red flag that we might be drinking too much.
We should pay attention to how often we are thinking about drinking and how it features in our work and social life.
If the thought of taking a break fills us with a sense of dread it might be time to evaluate our relationship with booze.
2. Behaviour you regret
Alcohol can cause us to do things we regret. When we find ourselves experiencing episodes of regrettable behaviour and damaging relationships because of drinking, it is a warning that something might need to change.
- The Sober Survival Guide, is available for £7.99 on Amazon – buy here.
3. Memory loss
Experiencing ‘blackouts’ can be a frightening experience, we end up forgetting large chunks of the night and can leave ourselves in a vulnerable and risky position.
Regular blackouts should serve as another signal that our drinking has become out of hand.
4. Only believing what we want to hear
When we have a drinking problem it’s common to avoid any information about the dangers of alcohol and instead only seek out positives about living a boozy lifestyle.
This behaviour is called ‘confirmation bias’ and we do it to put our mind at ease when we start to have concerns about how much we are drinking.
NHS guidelines on drinking alcohol
According to the NHS, regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week risks damaging your health.
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:
- men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
- spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
- if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
If you’re pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.
You read more on the NHS website.
5. Letting go of our responsibilities
Many alcoholics put drinking ahead of home, work and family commitments.
Booze starts to run the show at the expense of the most important things in our lives, when this happens it is time to face up to the problem and seek help.
6. Drinking to relax, feel confident or have fun
When we believe that it is impossible to destress, feel relaxed or be confident without drinking it is a strong indication that alcohol holds too much power in our lives.
7. Drinking alone and during the daytime
Heavy drinking on our own or during the daytime is a strong indication that a problem has become out of control.
Many people find themselves drinking more now than they were five years ago and notice that the they start drinking even earlier in the day and their craving to drink has grown stronger.
8. Exceeding the safe drinking limits
The current UK guidelines advise against drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, regardless of gender. This is around 6 pints of average-strength beer or a bottle and a half of wine per week.
Heavy drinkers tend to avoid paying attention to their alcohol intake and will often ignore the fact that their boozing may be harming them.
9. Hiding alcohol
When we start to hide alcohol around the house it’s a sure sign that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
Heavy drinkers will often lie about drinking or deny there is a problem as it touches a nerve and causes them to explore an uncomfortable truth.
Simon's top tips for addressing an alcohol problem:
- Honesty – The first step to effectively dealing with an alcohol problem is to be really honest with ourselves about our drinking habits
- Education – When we have acknowledged that we have a problem with our drinking we can begin to learn about the best ways of quitting.
- Get excited and motivated – Instead of feeling like life will be worse without alcohol, we should start to get excited about how good it will be when we are living alcohol-free and happy
- Drop the willpower – When we set ourselves up for success with the right mindset and feel empowered that we are making our own positive life choice by quitting, the need for huge amounts of willpower vanishes because we truly believe in what we are doing
- Use a journal – Writing down our victories, challenges, feelings and emotions each day will allow us to reflect on how far we have come, learn from what we have written and grow stronger by becoming more self-aware
- Learn from any setbacks – A setback is an opportunity for a comeback and we should use them as a chance to learn what we could do differently as we go forward
- Find a community – This allow people to connect with others who are on the same journey and find support and motivation
- Find alternative drinks – Finding an alternative drink that can be your new ‘go-to’ is easy and it can be a lot of fun discovering the new tastes and flavours
- Create a ‘sober toolbox – If we have spent time exploring the best strategies for quitting, we will have learned the right tactics to use to overcome any discomfort and will know exactly how to deal with whatever challenges come up
- Become accountable – The worst thing to do is try and go it alone, accountability is incredibly powerful and one of the most helpful aids to successfully stopping drinking
- Join a quit drinking programme or face to face group – Simon runs his own quit drinking programme, Be Sober.
10. Becoming irritable if you can’t drink and getting drunk when you didn’t intend to
When we find ourselves feeling frustrated or snappy when we can’t have a drink it is a strong indication that alcohol has too much power in our lives.
It’s easy to promise ourselves we’re just going to ‘have one drink’ before finding ourselves stumbling through the door drunk at 3am.
Regularly getting drunk when we weren’t intending to is another sign that we may be boozing too heavily.
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One woman revealed, ‘my boozing has soared during lockdown – I have Bucks’ Fizz breakfasts, vodka lunches and nightly cocktails in the garden.’
And another revealed, ‘I knew I had to quit boozing when my husband said I was too drunk to hold our baby as he hosed vomit off my clothes’.
Plus a woman broke lockdown rules to get cheap lip filler & her face was so bruised & swollen ‘I looked like I’d been in a car smash’.