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22 January 2021 — DrinkCoach

DrinkCoach asked Will, Alcohol Advisor from the West Sussex Wellbeing Team to document his new year’s resolution to cut back on alcohol. Read his series of blogs throughout Dry January

Blog 5/10

Reasons for drinking. So I thought I was a social drinker and I am to an extent, but more secretly and unbeknownst to me I’m a mood drinker.

I’ve been keeping a drinks diary to record when and why I have been drinking. This way I can be really clear about how much I’m consuming, the haze of last week can’t be forgotten, it’s there in black and white.

SUNDAY: 9 UNITS, RED WINE. Also, to make a successful plan going forward I need to have an idea of what has been happening in the past. Humans like routine and by knowing mine I can plan to change it or be more aware of the times when I am likely to drink. Anyway, lots of my drinking happens with family and friends but not all of it. Some of it happens on my own, for example the tinnies after a hard day.

Why am I doing this, what is the reason? If I was a method actor I could ask myself what is my motivation in this scene, why does my character feel he needs tinnies after work? Is it a reward for a hard day’s work?

Partly. But the more I think about it, it’s because I want to change my mood, I want to change how I feel. My work can be really stressful. It can be unpredictable, challenging and frustrating and I don’t want to feel those things in my own time, so what to do? Alcohol appears to offer the solution, a portable de-stressor that, in times gone past, I could even pick up on the walk from the office to the station. Alcohol will relax me and change my mood; it will offer that quick fix. Aside from the obvious long term liver damage, there is also increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes… a fun list.

So what I am really searching for is a way of changing my mood from stressed to unstressed. I need something that doesn’t require too much effort, as 9 times out of 10 I’m knackered after work. Future Me would like to cycle but it’s so cold and dark outside, and that seems unrealistic at the moment. I could download some audio books, they can definitely change my mood or maybe Sudoku. I could try a few different things and see what works best.

I’ve added a column to my drinks diary titled Mood. What mood was I in when I reached for the bottle? Boredom, hunger (not sure if this is an emotion but it definitely affects my behaviour), stressed, then I can ask is alcohol the only way to solve these problems? I’m beginning to find that the answer to that is no.

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