“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it” – Henry David Thoreau
Drinking too much? When people say to me, ‘I can’t afford this right now’ my answer is always the same – Can you afford not to?
The financial cost always comes up, after all the course is not cheap. However, it is far cheaper than not doing anything at all and carrying on as always. It is time to invest in yourself, your health, your happiness, your life.
I did a survey and the amount of money we spend on alcohol is outrageous. My husband and I would easily spend 280 Euros a month on beer and that was just the beer we bought for the house. If we also bought wine, the amount would be much more. Added to that if we went out there would be more expense on buying drinks and we wondered why we couldn’t pay the mortgage some months!
From talking to people I’ve discovered they spend between 8 and 12 Euros on a bottle of wine – a day! Add that up over the year and that is over 4000 Euros! I find that these costs, although hard to swallow, are also conservative estimates. Sometimes we buy not one bottle of wine, but two (in case we run out) How much do we spend on cab fares, babysitters, junk food at 4 in the morning or extra food to cure our hangovers? Not to mention the added extras such as ciggies if you also smoke, because we all know if you drink more you also smoke more which is more money out of your pocket.
What about the drunken purchases we make sitting in front of the computer? In the past I would receive packages in the post and thought why on earth did I buy that?! Christmas shopping whilst nursing a glass or two would end up with disappointed children or bemused friends wondering what made me buy the most useless and unsuitable present – ever. Do you buy spur of the moment weekends away or lavish presents for yourself, family or friends after a few drinks when you’re feeling bold, generous, or just having a f”@£ it why not moment?
Do you consider the financial implications of drinking too much in lost days at work because you’re stuck in bed feeling like death? Do you often say you can’t afford something because you would prefer to spend your cash on booze? I know I did, from clothes for the kids to days out, a school trip or a much needed haircut I thought these were ‘luxuries’ we couldn’t afford. and if it ever came down to the choice between a chicken for dinner or extra beer and beans on toast instead, the beer always won.
Think of money we also spend trying to reverse the effect that alcohol has on our body. Fancy treatments to make us look better, we try to get rid of the bags under our eyes, rejuvenate our skin, make our hair look thicker or buy new clothes because of our wine or beer belly. It makes absolutely no sense yet we do it without question.
A lovely lady I work with added up all of her alcohol and alcohol related expenses like the ones mentioned above she told me that she felt sick to the stomach when she worked out that in a year alone she had spent over 15,000 dollars. Think about it – can you afford that year in, year out? What about over a lifetime?
While the financial cost of not doing anything and continuing in drinking too much on a regular basis is shocking enough, the emotional cost of remaining in the same old cycle is far, far worse. My heart breaks every time I think back to what my children went through and my drinking was not extreme by any means. I’m talking about rushed bedtimes, missed stories, days out that never happened, shouting at them for no reason, the aforementioned beans on toast for dinner again and again.
But, the scariest and perhaps the most tragic cost is the things I missed out on, little things that happen in their daily lives that I am grateful to share now but never experienced properly in the past because although I was physically present with them, I wasn’t really there. And things that I made them miss out on too because I was never in a fit state to do much after 5pm. I’m talking the parties they didn’t go to or the after school clubs I could never be bothered to take them to – they missed out on so much because all I wanted to do was sit in my own little bubble with my beer. Being fully present in their everyday lives and let’s face it, being a proper parent, is the biggest gain you can ever experience and you can’t put a price on that.
Think about your own emotional health at the moment while you’re still drinking. Alcohol is a depressant and while it picks us up in the short term, it drops us like a rock just as quickly and the thing is you can never get back to that feeling you experienced with your first drink. I feel a million times better now than I ever did after my first beer of the day.
Are you stressed, anxious, moody or simply exhausted from the battle in your head through drinking too much? I know I was. I thought alcohol helped me with these feelings. I thought that without my beer I could never cope, never feel calm or relaxed but the truth is that it was the alcohol that made me feel that way and all the drinking did was relieve the symptoms momentarily only to make them ten times worse when they came back.
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Now my emotions and feelings are no way as extreme as they were and life in general is much calmer and quieter and I sometimes look back and wonder what all the stress, struggle and daily fighting was about.