Let’s look at 8 reasons you might need to take a break from alcohol and I am so glad that you are here, reading this because perhaps you’ve been wondering about your drinking lately and whether it is taking over your life? Maybe you’re pretty sure you’re drinking too much but is it really a problem? Perhaps you’ve done an alcohol free challenge and it was miserable or you know you have to change your behaviour but you just don’t know how.
I’m not talking about when you Google, am I an alcoholic? But the subtle everyday things you may be experiencing that make you wonder if your drinking is taking more of a hold over your life than you would like. I certainly could resonate with all of the points I’m going to mention. I had a pretty scary rock bottom moment but it is not always the case. I know, as do many of the people I work with, that something might just not be right. If you too can relate to some or all of the signs, then don’t worry you can do something about them.
1. You feel happy when you know that you can drink
The first thing is perhaps something you don’t consider a factor as it’s so subtle. Do you you feel happy when you know that you can drink. Maybe it’s the weekend and you’ve nothing planned, nothing to get up early for or you’re home alone and you can drink as much as you want without being judged or without the worry of having to try and moderate or not drink as much as your partner or friends. Maybe you’re supposed to be the designated driver on a night out but someone else will do it and you immediately feel relief and you have a sense of excitement that you can relax and drink as much as you want.
Similarly, you might be fed up or annoyed if you can’t drink as planned, if you have to drive or there’s a last minute change of plan like not being home alone after all or you have to do something early the next day.
2. You are touchy about your drinking
Being touchy about your drinking is another sign that maybe it’s time to do something about it. I know what it’s like to be told that you’re drinking too much, it should wake us up and make us look at ourselves but all it really does is piss you off and make you feel anger towards that person. However, if other people are noticing your drinking then maybe you’re not hiding it as well as you thought, you may be slipping out of control. The people around you love you and they’re only trying to help. Another thing you might notice is that you get lots of alcohol related presents, birthday cards and cute little wine bracelet dispensers or whatever. Do you feel affronted that the only thing people associate with you is your drinking? Time to put that right perhaps?
3. Booze is on your mind – always
Point 3 ties in with point 1 in the fact that you always know how much you’re drinking, how much booze you have available to you and more importantly, how much other people are drinking. You can’t be out with someone who has more wine than you! You get frustrated if you’re out and the waiter takes ages to refill you glass. I remember being out in the village on one of the busiest nights of the summer feria and the place was packed. After our first couple of beers I got so fed up of waiting in between drinks that I ordered 3 beers at once. Only then could I relax and enjoy myself. When you are concentrating more on how much you are drinking or where the next drink is coming from instead of enjoying the company or the atmosphere then it’s not a good sign.
4. When you tell yourself you’re not going to drink, it scares the shit out of you
You tell yourself that you’re not going to drink and it terrifies you. This should be totally unfounded but it’s a very real fear and if you’re feeling fear when you think about not drinking you are not alone.
I would hate it if we had decided not to buy any beer that day and before I went into the shop I would always check if we were actually not going to buy any. I would feel elated if my husband had changed his mind but grumpy and deprived if he stuck to the decision. Sometimes if I had had too much the night before I would wake up and say, okay Gayle, be nice to yourself today, don’t have anything to drink but as soon as I had said it, I would have this feeling of dread in my stomach. If I told myself that I wouldn’t drink all through the week I would be so scared, I just had to drink to take away the feeling of being terrified.
5. You’re exhausted with trying to moderate
This next point carries on from being scared. If you’re so scared to give up completely, you decide to moderate instead, you set yourself goals and make up little rules, to try and make yourself feel better. Maybe you decide to only drink when you go out and find yourself making plans to go out every night. You might switch from wine to beer or the other way round and drink something you’re not that keen on. Or you you might alternate with days on and days off or say you’ll only drink at the weekend. Perhaps you promise you’ll only have half a bottle or 4 beers instead of six. While forcing all of these rules on yourself might mean you have recognised you need to do something about your drinking and you start to feel a bit better in the beginning, long term they just don’t work. It’s exhausting trying to moderate and keep up with your self imposed rules but the thing with rules is that once you break one, it’s easier to break them all. Honestly, not drinking at all is so much easier and much less exhausting.
6. You have an underlying feeling that something is just not right
For me, sign number 6 was the real reason I knew I had to do something and that was that I just felt rubbish all the time. On the outside I was doing great, I ran, I had green smoothies, I ate fruit but no matter how healthily I ate or how much I worked out, I constantly felt lethargic, I had no energy, I couldn’t be bothered to do stuff with my kids, sometimes I felt utter dread at the thought of an afternoon ahead of me and all I wanted to do was go to bed. I knew what I was feeling wasn’t normal, nor justified. I had a lovely family, I enjoyed my job, lived in a great place but I just couldn’t be arsed with any of it. Maybe I was suffering depression and deep down I knew that the real cause of these feelings was the alcohol, my body was sick and tired of dealing with poison and it was trying to tell me something. Thankfully I listened to my body, my zest for life has returned and I’ve never felt better.
7. You regret it when you drink
If trying to moderate and then feeling happy when you can drink as much as you want are not signs that you can relate to, then maybe drinking and then regretting your drinking is one thing you’ve experienced. It might be that you’re embarrassed about your recycling bins the next day or alternating shops so you don’t buy booze from the same place every day or making up stories about how you’ve family or friends over to justify what you buy. Regretting your drinking might come from having a close call or doing something that causes pain to yourself or loved ones. Or, if like me it could just be going to bed, perfectly happy with your days drinking and then waking up at 3 am with crippling guilt, your heart racing, a feeling of terrifying dread that you just can’t escape and hating yourself. Towards the end of my drinking, this was my experience Every. Single. Night. The biggest joy I now have is not being plagued like this anymore, it’s amazing just to have a peaceful mind.
8. You are here reading this
Last but not least, is sign number 8. And that is, you’re here reading this and I hope that the post is helping you. We don’t accidentally stumble upon these sites, we seek them out, we want to find out if we’re the only ones feeling this way, or we want to assure ourselves we’re not that bad, or perhaps we’re looking for someone to give us a kick up the ass, to be told that actually, we are that bad, but it’s okay, here’s what you can do about it. If you are questioning your drinking or if your drinking is making you miserable then why not take a break from alcohol and give going sober a shot? If you want to, but find you can’t then I offer one to one support which might be just what you need.
Do any of these signs ring any bells with you? Which ones can you relate to or maybe something else is happening in your life to make you want to give up drinking? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
Escape your struggles and take a permanent break from alcohol with the Sober Bliss Program.