Contact us to discuss your drug or alcohol issues on 020 7833 1674 (10am-6pm, Monday to Friday). Ask for one of the Antidote Team.
Drinking at home
This type of drinking is very often about numbing the unpleasant emotions associated with loneliness or isolation. It can also be about the dread of lying in bed before sleep with no distractions, alone with our thoughts which for many can be an unpleasant experience. We become convinced we need the alcohol to sleep. Sometimes it can simply be the case of a relaxing habit turning into a physical dependency.
Social anxiety can be another reason we drink: walking into a bar you may feel you need courage to approach someone new, you need a way to handle your fear of rejection or anxiety about sex and intimacy. Many feel that they can be themselves when they drink, while others find alcohol a way to block out disturbing memories or thoughts. Or perhaps it’s less complicated than that and simply about keeping up with our friends, or having fun and not being aware of how much you are consuming. But before long, drinking can affect our work, sleep, relationships and responsibilities.
Knowing how to have fun safely can be a learned skill. Being embarrassed about your behaviour or not being able to remember the night before, getting into arguments, or having risky sexual encounters, can all be avoided if you re-learn some drinking behaviour.
Often counselling can help to address underlying issues and can equip us better to handle certain issues without needing a drink to do so.
Alcohol is a highly addictive substance when used in these ways. That means that stopping or cutting back can be distressing and even physically dangerous. A medically supervised Detox may be required. But don’t panic. Getting some support in making these decisions is crucial. The Antidote team can guide you through these decisions – you aren’t alone.
Tips for cutting down:
- Keep a Drink Diary so you can see your overall pattern of drinking. If you can remember your drinking from last week, you will have an idea of whether you are drinking too much. You should also be able to understand some of the situations you drink excessively in.
- Tell other people you are cutting down – it is easier to stick to decisions when others know what they are.
- Choose a similar drink to your usual, but one that is weaker e.g. choose a regular strength lager rather than super strength.
- Replace some of your alcoholic drinks with a low alcohol drink or non-alcoholic drink (a ‘spacer’ rather than a ‘chaser’).
- Start drinking later in the day/evening.
- Take a smaller amount of money out to a drinking session, so you cannot afford so many drinks.
- Drink alcoholic beverages more slowly.
- Take smaller sips.
- Put your glass down between sips.
- Try not to finish your drink before others finish theirs.
- Make your first drink a non-alcoholic one, particularly if you are thirsty.
- Have at least two alcohol free days a week.
- Avoid ‘rounds’ when drinking in pubs/clubs.
- Decide on a limit for any drinking occasion, for example 5 units – be realistic.
- Keep a supply of non-alcoholic drinks at home.
- Identify different ways of relaxing – these can include exercising.
- If you are anticipating a heavy evening, avoid drinking on an empty stomach and do not drive.
- You may find it difficult to reduce your intake of alcohol around certain people – changing your drinking pattern may require you to steer clear of him/her for a short time, at least until you feel confident of coping with their demands for you to drink heavily.