How do you know if it’s time to quit drinking?
I asked myself this question many times.
I’d google “Am I an alcoholic?” and would fill out endless online questionnaires. But nothing seemed very straightforward.
I didn’t meet the stereotype of your typical problem drinker – my life wasn’t in the gutter. I still had a good job and a roof over my head. I never drank in the morning. I didn’t even drink everyday.
Sometimes, I’d stop for a whole week, just to prove I could do it. (I’d be miserable the entire time, but seven days off proved I didn’t have a problem, right?)
When I was doing my late night, drunken google searches, I struggled to find anything that really resonated with me, or spoke to the way I drank.
This blog post is exactly the kind of article I wish I’d stumbled across when I was looking for help.
5 Signs It’s Time To Take A Break From Booze:
You spend a lot of time thinking about your drinking
Alcohol can take up so much brain space. I used to spend hours thinking about when I’d let myself drink next – what would I have? Where? How much? And then the next day, I’d still be thinking about alcohol, as I beat myself up for drinking more than I intended.
Most regular drinkers do not spend a great deal of time thinking about booze (and they don’t spend much time on sites like this!)
You’re creating lots of rules around your drinking
I ask everyone on my stop drinking course to list out all the ways they’ve tried to ‘control’ their drinking in the past. More than 600 women have been through the programme now, and the answers I get to this question still surprise me!
For example: buying low alcohol wine, buying wine in small bottles, promising you’ll only drink on certain days, banning alcohol from the home, sticking to one kind of drink, drinking alcohol you don’t really like the taste of, only drinking after a certain time, promising to be the designated driver, keeping a sticker chart of drinking days and non drinking days…
To cut a long story short: none of these rules work for long.
You hide how much you’re drinking
Perhaps you drink alone late at night and hide the empties the next day. Or you sneakily head back into the kitchen to top up your glass. Maybe you make a big show of opening a bottle of wine to share with your partner, pretending that it’s your first drink of the night.
Once you start hiding your drinking, it’s easy to get stuck in the habit, without really acknowledging what you’re doing. Hiding your drinking is a sure sign that part of you knows something is wrong – you know you’re drinking more than you’re happy with.
You fear something bad is about to happen.
Perhaps nothing truly awful has happened as a result of your drinking – yet. But you fear that some kind of disaster is just around the corner.
Maybe you’ve already had a few close shaves – getting behind the wheel when you shouldn’t have, or making a big mistake at work because you were hungover. It’s stressful, constantly feeling as if you’re only just managing to keep it all together.
You’re suffering as a result of your drinking
Never mind how much you drink, what you drink, where, when or who with. Ultimately, it all comes down to this: is your drinking making you miserable? If it is, then you owe it to yourself to explore alcohol-free living properly.
(I’m not going to suggest cutting down or moderating your intake, because the chances are you’ve already tried that, many times. I explain here why moderation rarely works.)
I recommend taking a proper break from alcohol – at least 6 weeks – so you can put some space between you and your last drink, and find out what sobriety is really all about.
You’ve got nothing to lose… and who knows what might happen along the way? If you give alcohol-free living a proper try, you might just discover it’s pretty amazing 🙂