My Not So Secret Diary

Cutting Down

Cutting Down a guide to living without alcohol and sober, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
It’s easy to have one too many. That’s what I used to do, one too many, once too often until it was all the time, every evening. It’s so easy to slip into a habit, and I know for me, once I got home from work, going to the fridge for a bottle of wine was one of my first stops.

The NHS and Government in the UK suggest that to limit health risks, men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week and if close to that amount then drinking should be spread across three or more days with at least two alcohol free days a week. Of course though a glass doesn’t equate to a unit, and especially at home, it can be easy to lose track of how much you are drinking. At the height of my drinking I was drinking more than fourteen units in one evening, and of course that was every evening. It’s scary when you look at it like that, but when a bottle of white wine averages about 9 units, it isn’t out of the question is it?

When you drink frequently you can get used to the feeling and forget that without alcohol you feel better. Without alcohol in your system you should feel better in the mornings, and less tired, lots of people have improvement in their skin and have more energy. Of course alcohol affects your mood, not just when you’re drinking when it can make your temper shorter but long term when it can make your behaviour more irrational. It can affect you in more serious ways as there is a strong link between drinking and mental health. When you’re dealing with an addiction it can be harder to see other things in your life in the same way as you see alcohol and so your priorities can become muddled.

It might be that you just want to cut down your drinking. Moderation might work for you, it didn’t for me, although it took a few tries to realise that. I understand sobriety isn’t for everyone, but for some of us, it is the only, and in my opinion the best, option. Whether you are cutting down, or cutting down on your way to cutting out completely, I have put a list together here of things that might help you.

• Don’t make your targets too hard. Just cut down a little bit each day or each week. It makes it more achievable for you to last, and gives you a chance to adjust.
• Talk to people. You don’t have to talk to everyone, but it will help to talk to those who you are around all the time, or those who you drink with normally. At least then they will be more understanding and hopefully provide you with support rather than encouragement to drink.
• Don’t think about the long term. It sounds mad, but what I mean is take each moment as it comes, and don’t worry about the big picture. It can be overwhelming and I know that when I thought about not every drinking again, it was quite scary, it was easier to concentrate on not having that one drink instead.
• Choose a lower percentage of alcohol, alternate with water or soft drinks instead of drinking consecutive alcoholic drinks or set yourself a limit before you start.
• Try to take a day or two off each week to allow your body time to recover.

I hope these tips help, and just remember if you’re on this journey, there’s probably a good reone of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself!

Good luck!
Claire x