"I think I’ve always known I had a problem with drinking, but it was easy to ignore it as I didn’t drink that differently from most of my friends."
I think I’ve always known I had a problem with drinking, but it was easy to ignore it as I didn’t drink that differently from most of my friends. We had all pretty much started drinking in our teens or twenties and it had just continued. I also believed that as I got older it might slow down, and even though it did in some ways, I still drink more than I would like.
For me it’s our acceptance around how much we drink that makes it easy to actually avoid confronting the issue. In fact, my friends and I often treat having a hangover as a bit of a joke. The narratives around our hangovers become something we share. Like we’ll send a text message saying things like, ‘OMG so hungover today’ or ‘Can’t even remember how I got home lol’. We just make a joke about it, instead of facing the truth about how much it's hurting us.
Lately I have been trying to introduce strategies to reduce my drinking. The thing is that I could easily avoid not going to social events and then I would hardly drink, but my goal is to be able to still go out and just have a couple of drinks instead of getting drunk. What I now do is be brutally honest with myself about my triggers and habits and plan my nights out around that.
For instance, if I am going to a party on the weekend, I start thinking about what I will be drinking and how I will be drinking days ahead. When I arrive my first drink is always non-alcoholic. This is about me breaking habits and not reaching for a glass of wine as soon as I get there. Then I consciously drink my alcoholic drinks at a much slower rate. I do this by putting the glass down as often as possible. I also have at least one non-alcoholic drink every hour. Then, and this is sometimes the hardest part, I give myself a curfew which is generally around 11pm. One thing I have learnt over my years of drinking is that nothing worth sticking around for happens after that point, the point where those who are still there will just get drunker and drunker. After that point the night just becomes a blur.
"What I do is be brutally honest with myself about my triggers and habits and plan my nights out around that."
I don’t want to give up drinking completely, I just want to be in control of it at all times and not let it have control over me, which, and this gets back to being brutally honest with myself, it does have control over me after three drinks in, or drinking too quickly.
What I also know is that I’m making progress and on those occasions where I slip up, which is not often these days, I don’t give myself a really hard time. I just see it as a challenge to overcome and believe in myself – confidence is a great motivator!
Share Your Story
Sharing your story is a great way to get your thoughts out there and it also helps others see they are not alone. Whether you’d like to tell us about your experiences with drinking or you’d like to share strategies you have used to help you reduce your drinking – we’d love to hear from you.
Please note, you can remain anonymous by using a pseudonym. If we need to edit your story due to information which may identify others or for grammatical/spelling errors, we will contact you before we publish your story.