Why Motherhood Is Easier When You’re Alcohol-Free

Why Motherhood Is Easier When You’re Alcohol-Free

“The most expensive thing about having children is all the wine you have to drink!”

“You’re not really drinking alone if the kids are at home!”

Nowadays, this kind of messaging seems to be everywhere, from fridge magnets to cards and coffee cups.

There are Facebook pages called Moms Who Need Wine and mummy blogs with titles like ‘Hurrah For Gin’.

The message seems to be clear: in order to survive modern day motherhood, you need to drink. A lot.

I thought it was about time we heard the other side of the story.

As a sobriety coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of mums who’ve successfully stopped drinking and – to their surprise – have found parenting to be easier as a result.


I asked them to share their experience of sober motherhood with you:

 

Fiona

“I have a 3 year old, and living alcohol-free is so much more rewarding with him now. I really spiralled when he was around two. I bought into the myth that every mom was cheering herself up at the end – and sometimes middle – of the day with a well earned drink. 

The benefits are endless. I’m more patient (today has been a trying one with the Mom word said at least 150 times already but I just reply, ‘what is it?’ instead of snapping.) Sleep is so much better. I now wake up happy to start the day, and he’s an early riser. We go places. I used to work our days around when I could start drinking but now we do loads together.

Parenting is hard enough, even when you have an easy child. Doing it in a drunken or hungover haze makes it so much harder, and takes away so much of the amazing parts.”

 

Sasha

“A glass of wine (or often many more) at the end of a busy, stressful day used to be my ‘reward’ but it was an illusion. It didn’t help me cope with motherhood or any other aspects of my life, quite the opposite. It left me more tired, more lost, less patient and less available for my children.

Changing your life takes effort and commitment and it’s difficult to find the energy and structure for that, particularly when you’re a busy mum with little time for yourself. I would have found it impossible without the Getting Unstuck course.

I now exercise regularly to deal with stress. I’ve started doing creative work, which I’ve always loved but hadn’t found the time (or inspiration for) in 20 years. Because I’m happier and more fulfilled, I am a better mother- not perfect by a long shot, but not lost and exhausted with just a glass of wine to look forward to.”

 

Vicki

“No school run shame, worrying if you’re over the limit when you drop them off, wondering how hungover you look and could anyone smell booze on you 🙄 Getting ready to go anywhere is stress-free compared to my drinking days – I’m not shouting at my kids to hurry up because I couldn’t drag my sorry ass out of bed on time.

I have conversations with my children now that are meaningful and I remember them. No embarrassing them. There are still tough days but even these are easier without ethanol 😊 I finally feel like a good mum. After 20+ years of parenting, they got the mum they deserved.”

 

Kathryn

“I have less anxiety, I’m less depressed, there’s less wasted time, more money, I yell a lot less, I’m happier and I laugh more. I don’t get upset at the small stuff, I just appreciate my kids more. I’m also more available to drive them places.”

 

Jody

“Being a parent is never what you imagine it will be; it is NOT the social media, Instagram picture. I have a 15 year old daughter with autism and a 13 year old neurotypical daughter. Having a child with special needs increases the gulf between the original vision and reality.

As my daughter’s autism became evident I was engulfed with shame, pain and envy. I used alcohol to numb those feelings, going through the motions but not truly living. Being sober means I am aware and present for my children. I am clearly communicating with my husband. I am modeling a loving relationship and shoring up the foundation of our family.

I tear up when I think of how much was lost through the fog of wine. And I am so very grateful that I am sober now, while I still have a chance to influence my daughters’ teenage years.

 

Emma

“I have 4 children between the ages of 21 and 9. Being sober has certainly improved the relationship with my two eldest children. I think they lost a lot of trust and respect for me as my drinking escalated (or remained equally as destructive). With my younger two, I feel confident that if there were any emergency I’ll be fully present.

If they are ill during the night, I know I’ll be able to wake up. My relationship with them has no tinge of guilt or shame anymore so I feel more confident about my role as their parent. When drinking it felt as though I had no right to parent them because I felt such a mess.

It’s a lot easier to get them to school in the morning – my walks with my 9 year old are a joy and I treasure the time with him. Before, I would often feel so hungover that even talking was an effort. I’m sure he must notice a difference.”

 

Helen

“We still have our ups and downs because that’s life, but things are a lot calmer in our house. I feel a lot more confident in my parenting decisions and I’m more connected to their needs. Both my children are sensitive and on the anxious side (like me) and I’m so proud that I no longer model drinking as a way to ‘handle’ that.”

 

Elizabeth

“I’m calmer, I try to breathe before reacting and I’m better able to let little things go. I’m better at helping with homework, I can drive them anywhere at any time, I enjoy being with them and enjoy attending their activities. I’m fully present. I can see that they like me better when I’m not drinking (especially my 14 year old daughter) and I am so darn grateful for them!”

 

Kat

“My children are teenagers now but when they were little I used to speed read their bedtime stories. Then they’d want to snuggle and chat for ages which annoyed me. I feel guilty about that now. I used to hate school events that happened in the evening. Fast forward to now and I spend lots of time with them, helping with school/college work.

I go out for evening walks with them rather than sitting on the sofa with my bottle of red. My mood is so much better. I’m more energetic and no longer feel overwhelmed by trivial things. Both daughters have said how proud they are that I no longer drink, and they like telling their friends too (not sure why 🤣). They really like the fact that I’m always fully present and my mood is no longer unpredictable!

I don’t forget important school things now, and I happily drive them around in the evenings even at weekends. Alcohol is such a time waster. My children have a much better mum, we are closer now than ever and they know they can depend on me. I will never go back to drinking.”

 

Molly

“I have two daughters – ages 15 and 17. Now that I don’t drink I am more patient and honest with the girls. I hope that I am setting a good example as well – they’ve seen how hard I’ve worked to finally get my sobriety to “click.” Hopefully I’m showing them that things worth having sometimes don’t come easily and can take a lot of perseverance and determination.”

 

Jo

“I have an 18 year old daughter and a 15 year old son. I used to think that they were really hard to manage and that being the mother of teenagers was so tough. Do you know what? It is tough but it’s far, far tougher when you’re tired and always waiting for the end of the day so that you can ‘relax’.

I genuinely believe that my children felt they weren’t my number one priority (not that they thought drink was, but that I was just too busy/tired/stressed for them). Now they know that I’m there for them. They might not want me to be, but they know that I am! They can trust me. I’m reliable, not unpredictable.

Oh god, I could go on and on as this is the biggest upside of not drinking – if I had only gained this one thing it would’ve been worth it!”

 

Katie

“Our entire house has a general feel of calm rather than stress and anxiety. When I was drinking more, I was always struggling to keep up. I was reactive rather than proactive. I think the entire family benefits from my clear headed, present and accounted for mode.”

 

Katherine

“Teenage years are so difficult for kids – they’re learning how to be adults and how to trust and navigate the adult world. My son and I have always been very close and had many heart to heart talks about life, but what broke his heart is when I would drink too much and rage at his father.

I’d end up saying stupid, hurtful things at family gatherings. Since my sobriety, my son can relax around me, trusting I won’t rage anymore. I will never, ever give up that trust he has in me again. There is no wine that is worth losing my son’s trust or respect.”

 

Jeena

“I discovered I had poor emotional coping mechanisms. Since I stopped drinking, I’ve been able to make better choices around my reactions to my son, who is struggling with depression. He is 17.

I used to find things burdensome, but now I feel able to cope with what comes my way. I feel I’m role modeling much better responses to stress. Also, my son told me he was worried about my drinking, so I have given him one less thing to worry about.”

 

Vanessa

“Motherhood is easier because my sleep is more restful, so I have more energy. No alcohol means that I’m healthier, so I feel better. I am SO much more effective at organising the household and there’s more time to get jobs done, which means more ‘me’ time.

I’m more present and patient with the kids because I’m looking after my own needs. We have money spare for cafe trips etc, which gives me a break from the washing up/food prep. But the biggest thing is knowing that my children are growing up in a house where the adults don’t numb out from life when it gets tough.”

 

Amy

“I have 3 children (19, 16, and 14). Since I quit drinking, I’m calmer with them and more patient. I listen better and enjoy them more. I really feel that every moment with them is precious, even the challenging ones.

I just got back from a mother-son trip to the American Southwest with my oldest to celebrate him finishing his first year of college. We had such an amazing time. I felt free and clear to be with him and enjoy each experience (even when we bickered about who was doing more work during our tandem kayak trip).

We talked about drinking and I told him why I quit and what I think about alcohol. I never would have broached that subject during my wino years.”

 

Georgann

“I think a lot of it boils down to not having the constant anxiety and depression that drinking causes. It used to be a struggle to get up and face the kids’ schedules. Their constant needs were just irritating and made me think I needed a ‘break’. All I really needed was to be sober and happy. I realize how much less stress and how much more patience I have now – I could have really used that when the kids were younger.”

 

Rebecca

“Being a parent is by far the toughest job in the world. Children have the innate ability of pushing your buttons to the extreme, and can test your patience in ways you never realised were possible. It also adds a new level of self-depreciation that one already has in abundance when drinking.

Add to that already difficult mix: dealing with a loud, unforgiving, sometimes cranky or angry child is exhausting! So add MORE exhaustion, more guilt, more shame (because you are less patient and lose your temper easily), more anger to your hangover. You spend less quality time with your children and end up wishing for their bedtime (and feeling guilty for it).

I still feel far from an ideal parent (whatever that is), but at least I don’t dread the day ahead. I know I’m setting a better example, and I’m more present for my child. I don’t wake feeling like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer. I’m more up for going out and doing something with the day, without worrying if I’m safe to drive. Plus my new addiction – going for coffee and cake – I can do with my child!!”

 

Frances

“Thanks to the opiate crisis, I’ve been raising my 7 year old granddaughter. Poor kid has addicted parents and grandmother (maternal). Since embracing the AF lifestyle, I am more present for her and can stay awake later to tuck her in properly and read her stories. I am no longer distracted by the wrestling match of how much and when I can start drinking.

Me and my man can drive her at any time to ballet, gymnastics, aftercare and playdates. We are not perfect, but we are less likely to miss school activities like crazy hair day, pajama day, or complete permission slips for field trips. Sober, I am better able to set limits with her father, my son. 

AF living doesn’t mean my life is stress free, but it does make me a better role model to my granddaughter and a more present and pleasant grandmother. Despite the many obstacles in her life, she is a happy, well adjusted little girl. As she gets older, being AF means I can offer her a sober lifestyle that hopefully she’ll embrace.”

 

Jane

“Drinking was great to block out the noise, the messy house/car/garden and numb the pain of running the Lego minefield in bare feet. But it blocked out some of the good stuff too. Now the joys are so much easier to see. Little kind words they give me, hugs in abundance – before that would’ve irritated me if it was keeping me from my wine.

It’s their faces when I joke around and dance to music on the radio. I sing ditties to the dog & tell them stories of how we entertained ourselves back in the 70’s..they think it was the dark ages! 😆 I have two boys (11 & 12) They also seem quite proud that I don’t drink (oddly). But they also look relieved when I’m not the drunken mum rolling around at parties.

Honestly though, I think the advantages and benefits of me not drinking aren’t always measurable in this moment. I believe the benefits of me not drinking will be apparent in my children when they’re 20, 30, 40 and they’re not screwed up because their mum was an old lush.”

 

Melissa

“I am present with my children. Not numbing from them. I can drive them out for ice cream or safely home from a play date, game or movie. I’m not packing a cooler of mommy juice hidden in a water bottle and having them ask me ‘what’s in the bottle?’”

 

Christine

“I am 54. My daughter is 30. In the two years I’ve been sober, I’ve become the mum I always wished I could be. Recently I became a grandmother too. My granddaughter is 7 weeks old. Over the past 7 weeks I’ve been able to show love and support to both my daughter and granddaughter, 24/7. I feel like I am a new woman.”

 

Claire

“I work full time and so the time I get to spend with my 7 year old son is so important – I want to remember it! Waking up and actually wanting to interact with him and be with him… we make each other laugh everyday. Life is so much easier when you’re not hungover.”

 

Jennifer

“Really, the biggest thing for me is not thinking I am a total loser all day. That just makes me a better parent. That guilt, that brain space taken up thinking about and regretting my drinking did not allow for me to be a confident, strong, joyful and able parent. It took away my pride in my ability to be a good mom (not perfect!). It makes a huge difference.”

 

Susan

“Since giving up wine, I no longer see every teenage grunt as a personal attack on me. Without wine, I can see their swinging moods for what they really are: hormones in full flow which do not require my intervention, do not need me to find out what’s wrong, do not need me to smother them with questions.

This new me has led to fewer arguments and door slamming, less conflict and a more steady flow. Why? Without wine, I no longer believe that their mood is based on my performance last night, their mood is not because I drank a bottle of wine over dinner. Because I no longer feel sick inside, guilty and ashamed, I no longer feel the need to forensically examine every human breath at breakfast.

Knowing what I did, and remembering what I said, is without question one of the greatest gifts of putting down the wine glass. It means I own my actions and parent with greater patience and less insecurity.”

 

If you need support to stop drinking or take a break from booze, click here for details of my online course.

 

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5 Lies We Tell Ourselves When We’re Drinking Too Much

5 Lies We Tell Ourselves When We’re Drinking Too Much

I can’t tell you how many times I swore I was done with drinking. 

I’d decide I’d had enough – it was time to stop. But then the doubts would creep in.

I’d start to wonder if I was overreacting. I’d find ways to justify my drinking and convince myself that really, there was nothing to worry about… Can you relate?

Nearly every non-drinker I know has been through this cycle at some point – where moments of clarity are followed by some serious, head-in-the-sand denial!


Here are 5 lies we tell ourselves when we’re drinking too much. How many resonate with you?

 

“I don’t drink every day, so I can’t have a problem.”

Society has a fixed idea of what constitutes problem drinking, but in my experience it’s just not that black and white. The women I work with tend to be super smart with good jobs and busy lives that look great on the outside. They are not your cliched, stereotypical problem drinker. 

We need to stop using clumsy statements like “I don’t drink every day / I don’t drink in the morning…” Ultimately, problem drinking is about how you feel when you do drink. If you’re regularly drinking more than you intend to – and it’s making you miserable – then that’s all the information you need. 

 

“Everyone is drinking this much.” 

The problem with this is that too often, we only see what we want to see. We never really know how much other people drink. We don’t see what happens behind closed doors. Some people drink a lot in public but have nothing at home. Or it might be the other way around.

Often the people who talk the most about drinking consume relatively little; when they tell you they could ‘murder a drink’ they mean exactly that – one drink and not the whole bottle! In any case, alcohol affects different people differently. What is ok for one person may not be ok for you.

 

“My drinking doesn’t affect anyone else.” 

It can feel as if your drinking is your own private matter. After all, you’re still doing all the things you’re meant to do; you look after the kids, manage a stressful job and pay the bills on time. You’re keeping the show on the road – and from the outside, everything looks fine.

Yet when you really think about this, other people are inevitably affected. Perhaps you have conversations with your partner that you can’t remember, or you’re too hungover to do the activities you planned with your children. When you’re drinking too much, alcohol touches every corner of your life. 

 

“I’ll be able to stop, as soon as this is over…”

Perhaps you’re waiting until that birthday, holiday or wedding has been and gone. Maybe you’re holding off until you change jobs and feel less stressed. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll definitely get sober and stick with it – just as soon as it’s the ‘right time’.

Deep down, we all know that there’s never going to be a perfect moment to quit. Yet by kidding ourselves that there is such a thing, we give ourselves permission to stay stuck and not change. The truth is that you can quit whenever you decide to – there’s never a ‘bad’ time to let go of a habit that’s holding you back.

 

“It’ll be different this time.”

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Yet somehow, with alcohol, we convince ourselves that this is exactly what will happen! So we try again and again to exert willpower over a brain-bending, mind-altering substance. 

If you love the feeling that a few glasses of wine brings, then instinctively you will always feel dissatisfied with a single glass instead. It’s much easier – and loads better – to just cut out booze completely. (I wrote more about why moderation rarely works here.)

 

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Is There Such A Thing As ‘Normal’ Drinking?

Is There Such A Thing As ‘Normal’ Drinking?

“Is my drinking normal?”

I used to ask myself this question all the time. At the height of my drinking career, my alcohol intake certainly didn’t feel ‘normal’. I tried all kinds of things to cut back, but nothing ever worked for long.

It wasn’t until I actually quit drinking completely that I began to wonder…. what on earth is ‘normal’ drinking anyway?

It slowly began to dawn on me that I might’ve spent years hankering after something that didn’t actually exist.

If you’re stuck in the same place I was – yearning to be a ‘normal’ drinker – consider this:

 

When you really think about it, there’s nothing ‘normal’ about drinking 

Alcohol is a poison that slows down your brain function. You may lose your sense of balance and struggle to remember what you’ve said or done. 

Side effects of withdrawal from alcohol include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, headaches, tremors, heart palpitations and seizures.

The fact that we choose to do this to ourselves – and we’ve made it culturally acceptable and cool to do so – is pretty weird when you think about it! What’s even stranger is that in most other areas of life, we’re super health conscious and cautious. So why take such risks with this drug?

We know alcohol is dangerous – those old myths about the health ‘benefits’ of drinking have been thoroughly debunked. The latest research shows there’s no safe level of alcohol consumption at all.

 

If there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ smoking, why would there be ‘normal’ drinking?

When it comes to all other drugs, we’re very clear: there is no ‘normal’. No one aspires to be a ‘normal’ heroin user or a ‘normal’ smoker. There’s no such thing.

With those drugs, we readily accept that it’s hard to control them – if you use them, it’s normal to become addicted to them. And yet with alcohol, we expect the opposite.

When someone struggles with booze we blame the user, not the drug. We give that person a label: alcoholic. This label implies their behaviour is unusual, wrong or abnormal, when it’s actually incredibly normal to become addicted to an addictive substance!

I find it very interesting that we don’t call heroin users ‘heroin-oholics’ and we don’t call smokers ‘nicotine-oholics’.

 

There’s no official definition of ‘normal’ drinking

Your idea of normal drinking is probably not the same as the next person. Is it drinking like your partner? Or your friends? Is it being able to have one or two and then stop?

What about drinking in the morning? Surely that’s not ok… unless you’re catching an early morning flight. Apparently then it’s perfectly acceptable to have a pint with breakfast!

Most people are more worried about their alcohol intake than they let on – particularly those who boast about how little they drink. The author Jason Vale puts it like this:

“If I kept saying to you that I was in ‘control’ of my banana intake, that I only have them a few times a week and that I can even go two complete days without bananas… wouldn’t you immediately know I had a problem with bananas?”

 

‘Normal drinkers’ get addicted to alcohol

If you only take one thing from this blog, make sure it’s this: it’s normal to become addicted to an addictive substance. Especially when it’s something like alcohol, the most normalised drug on the planet.

It’s the drug you grew up watching your parents use; it’s glamorised, romanticised and marketed as the solution to all your problems. No wonder it’s so appealing.

Culturally, it’s very convenient for us to pretend that drinking is black and white; that you’re either a normal drinker or a raging alcoholic.

The truth is that thousands – if not millions – of drinkers are stuck somewhere in the middle, in the grey zone. And that may not be a happy or comfortable place to be… but it is completely predictable and unsurprising. 

 

If you need support to stop drinking or take a break from booze, click here for details of my online course.

 

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Celebrating 6 Years Sober With 6 Key Stats

Celebrating 6 Years Sober With 6 Key Stats

Today I’m celebrating 6 years of alcohol-free living. Six YEARS!

I’m so pleased that back in April 2013 – for some unknown reason – I finally decided to pay attention to the voice in my head that had been wondering whether I’d be happier sober.

Initially, my plan was to stop for 100 days as an experiment. I promised myself I’d give it my all and see how I felt afterwards.

Back then, I had no idea that I’d fall in love with this alcohol-free lifestyle 😀

It’s hard to measure the impact sobriety has had on my life over the past 6 years, but in this blog I’m trying really hard to do just that!

I decided to get out my calculator and work out a few key stats… and the results are pretty mind blowing, if I do say so myself…

 

Amount of wine not consumed: 1458 bottles

The hardest part of writing this blog was working out how much I actually used to drink, because it varied so much!

Sometimes I’d be good for a few days and then drink two bottles of wine a night. Other weeks I’d have a few glasses after work, night after night after night. Sometimes I didn’t drink wine – I switched to gin and tonics. Or strong cocktails.

So calculating some kind of average is tricky. But having read back through some old diaries, I decided – for simplicity – to account for 2 large glasses of wine a night (250mls of wine per glass). But as I said, it was often more than that.

1 bottle of wine = 750 ml

2 large glasses of wine a night = 4.6 bottles of wine a week

730 glasses a year = 243 bottles a year.

243 x 6 years = 1458 bottles!

 

Money saved: £8,748 ($11,405 USD)

Pretty amazing, huh? That’s £1458 a year. And the thing is – I know that figure is wrong. It’s a massive underestimate.

To calculate this I stuck with the formula I used above, i.e. 2 glasses of wine a night. A bottle of supermarket wine costs around £6. But obviously, wine purchased in a restaurant or bar costs waaaaay more than that. Things like cocktails, prosecco and spirits are all very pricey too.

I haven’t even attempted to work out how much money I spent on taxis home, late night takeaways, and the cost of replacing missing keys / phones / train tickets etc, all of which I was very good at losing!

 

Calories saved: 919,800

Wow. That’s not far off a million calories! One glass of wine contains 210 calories. So two glasses of wine a night means 153,300 calories a year.

Now of course, it’s not as if I only drink water these days. I enjoy lovely alcohol-free cocktails, and the occasional AF beer. Obviously those drinks contain calories too.

However, the liquid calories I consume nowadays are nowhere near what they once were. And alcohol-free drinks never, ever make me crave stodgy, calorific snacks in the way that booze always did!

 

Time saved: 2190 hours i.e. 91 days

This was another tricky one to calculate, because sometimes I’d be able to power through my hangover – I’d go to work and get the job done, even though I didn’t feel great. On other days, I lost hours and hours.

I wasted so much time being drunk, hanging out with people I didn’t like that much, getting into stupid arguments and watching movies I wouldn’t even remember afterwards. And I can think of plenty of weekends where I had to cancel plans because I was too hungover.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to allow 1 hour a day for all that drinking and recovering afterwards. That’s 2190 hours saved over the past 6 years i.e. 91 days. Heck, even if you halved that figure to just 30 mins a day, we’re still talking about weeks and weeks of my life!

 

Sleep gained: 312 nights

Even a few glasses affected the quality of my sleep. I’d wake up at 4am, tired but somehow wide awake. I’d often toss and turn until 6am, before finally going back to sleep just minutes before my alarm went off. That was very annoying!

When I was drinking I was more inclined to stay up late too – even if I was just home alone, watching trash TV. When you account for going to bed late, and then losing a few hours around 4am, you very quickly end up in a big sleep deficit.

I’d say I easily lost 8 hours – one night’s sleep – a week. Multiply that over six years and you’re looking at 312 nights. That’s not far off a year!

 

Memories gained: millions

Ah, I’d love to be able to put an actual figure on this! When it comes to sobriety, there’s a lot of important stuff you can’t actually calculate: e.g. memories and opportunities gained, increased self confidence, self worth and overall awesomeness. You simply can’t measure that stuff.

As a drinker, I regularly blacked out, which means there are pockets of time I do not remember. There are other times that I kind of remember, but not with much clarity. And that’s such a shame because I’m talking about weddings, holidays, parties and special moments that should’ve been very memorable.

Nowadays, I love knowing that I’m showing up fully for my one and only life. It’s not slipping by, blurry and forgotten. We only have one shot at this thing called life… so why not be fully present for it?

 

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31 Clues Your Drinking Is Becoming A Problem

31 Clues Your Drinking Is Becoming A Problem

“You’re hardly an alcoholic!”

That’s the kind of reaction I used to get whenever I spoke to my friends about my drinking. 

And to be honest, it’s the kind of thing I often said myself. 

When I thought about problem drinking, I used to think in stereotypes and extremes, often picturing down-and-outs, who drank all day and had lost it all. 

My life was a million miles from that. So I was fine… right? 

What I didn’t realise at the time is that there’s a pretty big grey zone in between ‘normal drinking’ (whatever that actually is) and full blown, pouring-vodka-on-your-cornflakes type of drinking. 

And guess what? A lot of harm and unhappiness can happen in the grey zone. 

If your drinking is worrying you, but you’re not sure whether things are ‘bad enough’ yet, this blog is for you. 

 

Here are 31 signs that indicate your drinking is becoming a problem:

1 – You spend a lot of time thinking about drinking – what, where, when, how much.

2 – You often promise to ‘just have one’, but that rarely happens. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.

3 – You’ve created lots of rules around alcohol e.g. not drinking before a set time, only allowing yourself certain types of drinks.

4 – You frequently break your own rules.

5 – You’re ashamed of your drinking and beat yourself up about it.

6 – You try to hide how much you’re drinking from those closest to you.

7 – Your partner has expressed concern.

8 – Your drinking feels like a big, heavy secret – it’s a source of stress and anxiety.

9 – You dread putting out the recycling bin. Sometimes you dispose of empties away from your home so no one else notices.

10 – Given the choice, your favourite way to drink is by yourself. Alone, you can have as much as you like without being judged.

11 – When socialising, you keep a careful eye on everyone else’s glasses to make sure you don’t drink too fast.

12 – In public, you work hard to be moderate. People would be surprised to discover quite how much you drink at home.

13 – You’re passionate about running or yoga, so everyone assumes you must be super healthy. This makes you feel like a fraud.

14 – You’re disappointed – angry, even – if you’re unexpectedly asked to be the designated driver. 

15 – When someone makes a joke about your drinking, you’ll analyse it for hours, wondering why they said it and what they really know. 

16 – You’re often anxious about whether there’s enough alcohol available. Will your supplies last? Should you get more? 

17 – You buy your wine from different shops on rotation because you’re worried the store staff will judge you.

18 – You’ll often delay eating so you can drink without a full stomach dampening your ‘buzz’.

19 – You feel bad about rushing through things, such as your child’s bedtime story, in order to be able to drink.

20 – You’re regularly blacking out. There are long periods of time that you have no memory of.

21 – Mornings often begin with you trying to work out who you called last night and what you posted on Facebook.

22 – You frequently argue with your partner whilst drunk and then cannot remember why the next day.

23 – You drink to manage your emotions. It’s your go to whenever you’re stressed or sad or tense. You have few other coping mechanisms.

24 – After a change in circumstances, e.g. retirement or leaving a stressful job, you thought your drinking would naturally wind down, but it hasn’t.

25 – You’re permanently exhausted. Alcohol is seriously affecting the quality of your sleep.

26 – You rarely have enough energy for the hobbies you used to love. 

27 – Your physical appearance is changing. Your face looks puffier.

28 – You diet hard during the day, but you’re still putting on weight – you know the empty booze calories aren’t helping.

29 – You’re scared something bad is going to happen. You’re not sure what, but you’ve had a few close shaves recently, e.g. driving when you shouldn’t.

30 – You keep googling things like ‘am I an alcoholic?’

31 – You find yourself on websites like this.

 

Ultimately, if your drinking feels like it’s becoming a problem, then it probably is.

You don’t need to wait for things to get worse. You don’t have to hit rock bottom in order to change – you can raise your standards any time you like.

If you need support to quit drinking or take a break from booze, you can find out more about my online course here.

 

Let me know in the comments…

How many of these 31 clues resonate with you? And if you’ve already quit – how did you know it was time to stop? What prompted you to take action?

 

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