What do you picture when you think of an alcoholic?
I had the perception that an alcoholic was someone who drank from the moment they got out of bed, who couldn’t get through the day without a drink, and who needed a drink in order to function.
But the reality is, that is not what having a problem around alcohol looks like most of the time.
Alcohol Use Disorder (the term that has replaced alcoholism and alcohol dependance – we’ll save my thoughts on the use of the word disorder for another time) can look very different in different people.
Some people who have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) may not drink all week and binge on the weekend. It could be that they drink a few (or more than a few) every night of the week. It may be that they only drink after a stressful day, or at social occasions. Or it may be that they do need a sneaky drink to get them through the day.
There isn’t a scale of volume or occasions, or session start times that “diagnoses” a problem with alcohol. Although the NHS suggests that 14 units (for both males and females) spread over a minimum of 3 days a week (not in a one-r) is the guide for what is considered OK. That’s about 6 pints or 10 small glasses of wine a week (ish – depends on what drink).
Lock down has meant that most drinking has been done at home, and let’s face it, we don’t measure what we are drinking when we pour it ourselves. It roughly works out that 1 ½ bottles of wine over a week is just over what’s recommended. If you are more of a spirit’s drinker, a 1 litre bottle of vodka/gin/whiskey would be best part of 3 weeks supply.
If you are there or there abouts, then you are probably not having any major impact on your health, based on current understanding.
Is Alcohol Causing you a problem?
That said, in order to determine if you have a problem with alcohol, the question really is, is alcohol causing you a problem?
When your alcohol consumption causes you problems with your work, your relationships, your emotions, your sleep, your finances, your health or your safety then it’s probably time to start taking steps away from it.
The best way to do that will be entirely dependent on you, it’s much more varied than I could put in a short blog post. If you have concerns do seek support. Especially if you drink well above the NHS recommended amounts, the best place to start is to talk to your GP. They will help you to cut down and stop safely.
I know it’s not always as simple as that. That’s why I have spent a lot of time researching and training to support people to cut down or stop drinking altogether. The underlying reasons of AUD vary as much as the symptoms and it’s in the underlying reasons for drinking that the solution will be found.
Anxiety affects everyone in different ways. Whether its general anxiety, phobias, addictions, habits, weight issues or anything else you do it your own way. So, it stands to reason that the solution should be as individual as you are. I use a range of techniques, such as Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching, EFT, Reiki and many other tools I’ve picked up along the way to work with YOU to find the best fit. We can work online from the comfort of your own home, or you can arrange to come to my private therapy room near Carlisle, Cumbria.