A Conversation About Alcohol

What I want to know is “do I have a problem with alcohol?”
What makes you think that?

Well, I’ve always enjoyed a drink, y’know, parties, down the pub, relaxing watching TV, but just recently, well…….. Maybe for some time, and my partner said……………….

Well, called me out on the empty tins and bottles we’re bunging in the rubbish, and you know when I looked, yeah, it seemed a lot…………..and then I started to do something really weird.

Yeah, I started to sneak the empties out of the flat and putting them in the bins down the road, sounds crazy, yeah?  And there’s other stuff….
Like what?

Well there was all the drink I was getting on my cards, showing up on my bank and card statements, y’know the offy, the 7-11 round the corner,  that took some explaining! So I started to pay in cash and buy from a load of different shops, y’know my partner always chats to the guy in the offy!  And I’m sure he’s said something.
You don’t just think you’re getting a bit paranoid?

Well there’s other stuff.
Other stuff?

Well……. drinking with my friends, I’m like, the first to finish, and when it’s my round I get in one or two extra for myself, I’m usually first there and last to leave, and frankly I feel more and more I go for the drinking, not their company, so I may as well drink by myself.
Are you drinking by yourself more?

Maybe……well yes, but I’ve a load of stress lately, and a drink helps y’know….. helps me get to sleep at times……. but I don’t know, it’s making me tired and a bit irritated too!……. And sometimes I feel a bit clumsy and shaky, and having a drink helps.
When’s sometimes?

Yeah, well more and more, sometimes when I wake up, listen….It’s really great just telling somebody about all this…….I’ve really been a bit ashamed, but I mean, I’m not like one of those Alkies down the Park am I?
Well, in one way no, you probably have far more choices….. but it sounds to me that you feel that things are getting a bit out of hand…… but you’ve done the right thing in talking about it.

Yeah,  I’ve answered my own question haven’t I!……., and now I’ve started to think and talk about it I feel a lot better y’know?
Well, the most important thing is coming to terms and admitting you think, or know, you’ve a problem, it’s hard to do for most people…………. I know I’ve been there too!

Could I just cut down……..or maybe just stop?
Well, cutting down is an option, but if you are drinking fairly heavily and regularly, cutting down or stopping suddenly can be dangerous without medical help……. and maybe you’re not addressing the other main issues.

What do you mean by that?
Well firstly, cutting back suddenly, isn’t comfortable, and could cause fitting, check out the alcohol calculator if you’re drinking a lot……………..

…………..And what do you mean about “other issues!!!”
Well, if you’re becoming or are dependent, there could be certain things in your life that just cutting down or stopping won’t make them go away…..you mentioned stress……… and not sleeping?

Yeah……. more I think about it, I’m drinking to cope with not sleeping ‘cause I’m stressed, and then next day I feel like shit, I can’t get things done, I’m falling out with people, I’m lying to them and myself,  and I’m skint………… and it’s stressing me even more………you’re right, there’s baggage.

Just some of the danger signs!

Rewarding yourself with that drink….occasionally….or all the time??
Counting the money in your pocket in terms of number of cans and bottles??
Carrying a nip with you….just in case??
Trying to convince yourself you didn’t spend all that money on drink??
Thinking about that next drink at the cost of all other thoughts??
Planning your day around acquiring and drinking??
Starting to feel “I need that first drink” just to get going in the morning??
Can’t remember what exactly happened??

……….OK that may be going through my mind, but what’s it doing to me physically?
Like hands shaking, feeling ‘woolly headed’ upset stomach, gagging, dry heaves, vomiting, blackouts??

Yeah, but what are the physical dangers of prolonged heavy drinking??

Just take a look at our Dangers of Heavy or Dependant Drinking  (LINK)

So…….. the Big Question……. what next?
Well… getting professional advice and help is a good move, you’re GP is one option, however there are specialised alcohol services that offer free to access, confidential advice and treatment.

You can phone them for confidential advice or, to make an appointment, and there are certain times you can just drop in.
For those that are working or unavailable daytime, there’re also out of hours clinics.

See this website for information on treatment and links to Alcohol Services.