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how do you know when you are drinking too much?

(382 Posts)
Cistus Mon 08-Jun-09 17:35:28

actually thats a stupid question. I know I am drinking too much, but I dont know how to stop.

I am in my mid 40's, FT job, three lovely kids, nice house etc....

I am drinking almost a bottle of wine, almost every night. I have been doing so for about 6 months. Prior to that its been up and down, I have always been a heavy-ish drinker but with a lot of dry days. there are a few dry days now but not many - perhaps one a fortnight.

I don't drink until the kids are in bed, I never miss work, I never drink and drive, But I know its too much. I dont get drunk as such although I certainly know Ive had too much the next morning.....

so how do you stop? I recently had some blood tests for something unrelated and was extremely pleased to hear that me liver function was normal.... but it wont be if I carry on like this.....

I last stopped drinking in April 08 for about 4 weeks, not at that time because I was overtly worried about my drinking ( though I was releived that I found it quite easy not to drink at all) but since then, its slowly increased....

southeastastra Mon 08-Jun-09 17:37:44

i find my tolerance can creep up quickly, making me think i can handle more than i probably should.

try to keep a few days alcohol free so your body can process it easily, drinking everyday can cause probs are you aren't giving your liver a chance to recover!

i find once i get past a certain time, i'm ok.

helps if there's something interesting to do. mn sometimes makes me booze more.

Marzie Mon 08-Jun-09 19:41:53

Don't try to stop, your life sounds very full and you may need it just to relax (but be aware that we just don't sleep as well when we've been drinking, so if you're tired all the time ...) Anyway, as I was saying, don't try to stop, just try to cut down. I don't moderate my drinking very well, so I avoid drinking at all in the week and then I drink Fri and Sat nights. My rule? Don't drink if I need to perform at work next day. Find your own rules but well done for tackling it .

MIFLAW Tue 09-Jun-09 00:11:57


Please don't take this the wrong way but that is some of the worst advice I have seen on here for some time.

Why shouldn't she try to stop if that's what she wants to do? A lot of people CHOOSE to drink to relax and that's fine but no one "needs" a drink to relax unless they have a drink problem - otherwise there'd be a lot of very stressed Muslims and Methodists roaming the streets.

"Don't drink if I need to perform at work next day." Has it not occured to you that she might have tried that or something similar and that the fact she is now posting on a public web forum about it is a sign that it hasn't worked?

OP - the flippant answer to your question, "how do you know when you are drinking too much?" is that it's when you start asking people, "how do you know when you are drinking too much?" If you want to stop and can't, give AA a go. It worked for me.

Plonketyplonk Tue 09-Jun-09 10:03:55

I think that drinking can become a habit, like having biscuits with your coffee.

It's so easy to get into the habit of having a glass of wine when everyone is in bed and it's a bit of 'me' time. It's actually not hard to get out of the habit. I have found it much easier to read a book without a drink, or doing something like sewing. (Don't I sound just so middle aged!) I also find that I really need a clear head to get any work done.

Do you still enjoy drinking? I have really noticed that the warm fuzzy feeling stops after the first or 2nd glass, so really there is no point in drinking any more.

daisybaby Tue 09-Jun-09 11:05:45

I think an average bottle of wine contains around 10 units of alcohol, so a bottle each night equates to around 70 units per week. That's way above the rec amount for women (or men for that matter). I am not saying that from a point of smugness, by the way, as i recently had my eyes opened to the fact that I was drinking somewhat in excess.

It's just that, for me, actually being told the amount of units per week I was drinking, really made me think about it, and so it has been relatively easy to cut right down on the wine, purely out of fear!

Good luck.

reach4sky Tue 09-Jun-09 11:23:53

If you are the sort of person that can't go cold turkey, perhaps try buying half bottles. Otherwise, what about going alcohol-free Mon- Thursday?

MIFLAW Tue 09-Jun-09 13:35:08


my experience would suggest that, if you are the sort of person woh can't go cold turkey, you have even less chance of cutting down successfully, be it in quantities or number of drinking days.

Perhaps worth reevaluating what you mean by "can't" or else seek help as the alternative is not a pretty thought.

bumpsoon Tue 09-Jun-09 16:08:50

You are drinking too much if it worries you grin,end of .

jalopy Tue 09-Jun-09 16:36:34

Liver function tests alone are not a reliable way of assessing liver function. You can have normal blood results with serious liver disease.

Cistus Tue 09-Jun-09 17:42:01

It obviously is concerning me or, as someone said I wouldn't be posting about it!

I have decided to try and cut down.

Last night I did not drink.

this was not difficult. I am intending not to drink today.

One day at a time I think

I don't this i am 'dependent' - certainly not physically, but I have got into the habit of drinking, and its one I should break.

If I find that I cannot cut down, or that I quickly resume my previous levels, then I will know I have a problem.

Plonketyplonk Tue 09-Jun-09 17:49:02

Well done. It can be a bit alarming to feel sort of trapped in a habit. I think part of it is deciding to do something about it. I expect you will feel much better in a few days! I need a few days off too. Rather too much socialising and boozy friends.

I find reading a book stops me in my tracks, so does writing one!

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Tue 09-Jun-09 17:55:23

I had this a couple of years ago when we moved to a new doctors and I had to fill in a survey about alcohol levels..
A bottle of wine each night and a gin and tonic (home measure) before dinner each night without counting going out or having friends round made me realise I needed to seriously cut down.

I decided to have a glass of water after each glass of wine, and to be honest I didn't want to drink more than half a bottle. I cut out the Gin and tonic before dinner and opened the wine earlier.

Within a month or so I had got to the point where I had halved my intake. I then got pregnant and cut down to once glass a day and since then I have been a light weight and am behind the bin in the kitchen if I have more than a few glasses.

Good luck to you, I am sure you can do anything you set your mind to. smile

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 09-Jun-09 19:12:32

Same here Cistus sad

I'm starting to manage without drinking during the week, which is a good thing. I find once I get through the witching hour time between work and dinner I'm fine and I don't actually miss the wine.

But weekend is another matter, and I'm finding it really hard then.

Cistus Tue 09-Jun-09 21:06:30

BIWI - if you have stopped drinking in the week, your intake must be much less?

I think I have not really tried to stop before, because on one level I am afraid what it will mean if I cannot/do not.

I have decided to my self to phrase it in this was

" I am intending NOT to drink today" rather than "I am not INTENDING to drink today' - the latter is too easily ignored when I fancy a glass....

the consequences if I DO drink, having decided not to should be enough to keep me not thinking further than today.....

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 09-Jun-09 22:53:43

Intake is much less, yes - but weekends are not good. I need to be able to moderate that as well.

And DH is just as bad, which is half the problem - in the language of addicts, we enable each other. Not good.

Cistus Wed 10-Jun-09 08:57:26

does your DH realise he is drinking too much ? is he prepared to do anything about it?

i did not drink last night

I have a meeting at work tonight, so no drinking will be a given.

it is not hard, but I am aware of it, and think about it more than I care to admit.....

fizzpops Wed 10-Jun-09 09:20:47

Can you try displacement activities where you can't drink?

For me if I want to have a dry night but I really fancy some wine I will go in the bath at about 9pm and by the time I get out it is too late to start (I know I could drink in the bath I just don't!)

If your DH is at home could you go to the gym or for a run or take up a fiddly hobby like knitting which means your hands aren't free for drinking anyway (MN doesn't count!).

MIFLAW Wed 10-Jun-09 09:45:19


Well done on choosing not to drink one day at a time.

This is actually the crux of the AA programme and it works for many people.

The only big difference between you doing this and you attending AA is that you attending AA would get support with the fall-out of this decision and help and encouragement when the going gets tough (which, life being life, it occasionally will.)

Great to hear you sounding so positive. Good luck however you decide to proceed from here on in.

BecauseImWorthIt Wed 10-Jun-09 10:52:12

Cistus - DH will not admit to it, but I have noticed that on the nights I'm not drinking (at least recently) nor is he.

I think he knows it in his heart of hearts.

suwoo Wed 10-Jun-09 11:06:49

I am pregnant and have found it very difficult to give up drinking. I am not having anything Mon-Fri and having some not saying how much at the weekend.

Like someone said earlier in the thread, my main tip to reduce consumption is to buy the half bottles. I have to buy them one at a time though because if I had three, I would have drunk three.

My DH is also a drinker and it doesn't help. He did start to drink non alchohol beer in the week but has gradually crept back to his normal 4 cans a night.

Cistus Wed 10-Jun-09 12:13:22

miflaw - for how long have you not drunk ? and did you decide at the beginning that you were not ale to drink 'socially'... or is that something you have come to realise after a while ?

suwoo - well done fro cutting down, and that you for the advice. when/if i decide to see if I can drink in a more limited way I may well but /2 bottles !

my dh drinks very little, because in the past he has had issues with both alcohol and drugs.

I am not at all like he that he put drugs before everything, and wouldn't do anything that stopped him from smoking and was defensive etc....

suwoo Wed 10-Jun-09 13:08:13

My DH is also a heavy smoker and has had drug problems. He still drinkd, but it really is habit for him.

MIFLAW Wed 10-Jun-09 13:50:32


Haven't had a drink for over 6 years but, like you, it was a day at a time. For a year before that I was attending AA but trying - and failing - to moderate my drinking.

I have still not in any way made a pledge that I will never drink again, though. Each day, I decide that today I don't want to drink and, after each successful day (as I say, every day for over 6 yrs now) I try to feel gratitude for another sober (and therefore worthwhile) day.

I wasn't like your husband initially, either. And then, without even realising it, I was. It's harder to spot with drink, too - it's legal and so socially acceptable, sometimes even expected, that you can multi-task and it's only the really bad times when you realise quite how much it's interfering with your life.

Cistus Wed 10-Jun-09 14:45:31

MIFLAW, so, somewhere you knew it would be 'better' if you stopped. Sorry if I am asking too many questions, I am really trying to get my head around this. I cant look beyond today, or even know if I could / want to stop drinking... I know I want to feel in control of it - and it may be that the only way that can happen is if I don't drink at all.

I do not want my children t suffer because of my drinking - they had enough with my husbands drug habit.

At the moment its an experiment. a trial. and we will see.

quite sacry tho'

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