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Another drinking thread....advice requested

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by Phoenix, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 9, 2015
    I know that there have been other threads about how much or how little we drink. I've participated in those.

    While I don't think I drink an excessive amount, I still drink - mostly white wines of some sort. A few years ago, I cut back totally, not even a single drop, for a year (just purely for heath reasons - to be more healthy, I didn't and still don't have any alcohol related problem). Then, I had some personal issue and started drinking again. Then, it became a habit and I'd have a glass or two of wine or champagne/ sparkling wine each day, everyday. When I went out, I'd have up to 2-3 glasses at a time; and on a couple of very rare occasions, I had up to 5-6 drinks each time but I have to stress these two occasions were very rare (so two times in the space of 4-5 years).

    I'm now in a much better place, spiritually (though the issue is still in the background, but I'd say manageable). Am thus on a quest to give up drinking again, on a permanent basis hopefully. Again, I don't have any health issues resulted from drinking (at least none that I know of). I'd just like to be more healthy. I've lost weight, exercise far more, feel absolutely fantastic!! But from time to time, I still feel like reaching out for a drink. I must say I like the taste of white wines, much much more than the effect. The last two weeks, I've had 3 white wines in total. I'd aimed for none.

    So, my questions to you guys are: For those who don't drink/ drink occasionally (either b/c you don't drink in the first place or if you've given up drinking - especially if you used to drink and now don't drink), is it better to abstain totally or have the occasional drink(s) now and then? And how do you "control" your drinking? Any advice would be very much appreciated.
     
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  2. Resonance.Of.Life
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    by Resonance.Of.Life » Apr 9, 2015
    Frankly, from 2013 to 2014.. I had two drinks total and both were at the GTG. Subsequent to that I had a couple of glasses of wine and a few mixed drinks while on a Caribbean vacation (one with a pser and good friend of mine and one with my husband). I dont like the feeling of the effects, but I like the taste like yourself. I feel though, I feel more social pressure to have an alcoholic beverage if in the presence of people who are partaking. It sounds like maybe abstaining would be a better option for you?
     
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  3. maccers
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    by maccers » Apr 10, 2015
    Good on you for cutting down on your drinking. That can really be struggle for some people. Even better is your self awareness of how it was making you feel. A lot of people never make that connection.

    There's many ways to answer your questions; no doubt that will be apparent from the range of advice people are going to provide. I'm going to answer it in two ways. First, have you looked into drinking guidelines by health providers? For example, Canada has low risk drinking guidelines which are evidence-based. The guidelines are generous by many people's standards but some key points to note are to take days off in between to avoid habit formation/dependence; the daily/weekly limits are maximums; there are situations to never drink in; and the harms from alcohol can be acute and chronic (ie: 7 types of cancer risk increase with each drink; they have a cool odds-ratio table showing how chronic disease risk increases or decreases with the number of drinks). But the scientific aspect of alcohol use isn't for everyone...

    The choice of abstinence vs controlled drinking is a very personal one. Abstinence doesn't work for everyone, kind of like diets versus lifestyle changes. Some people can't stop after one drink so they may choose abstinence. Others end up feeling so deprived with abstinence that they end up binge drinking but they may be able to succeed with controlled/limited drinking. I've not had a problem with overdrinking, in large part because I seem to be fairly sensitive to it's effects. I don't necessarily get tipsy easily but I really hate not feeling 100% the next day. If I have 2 glasses of wine, I'm going to notice an effect the next day, I hate that. It might be my sleep is of poorer quality, maybe my hands feel a bit swollen or I have a slight headache but whatever it is that I notice, I really dislike it. I'm a busy lady and I like to feel my best. Sounds simplistic but that's my biggest motivator. That and I just don't feel compelled to drink, even if others are imbibing. So, on the infrequent occasions that I do have a few drinks, I don't feel guilty about it.

    I hope you find some good advice in this thread. I'm sure it will be an interesting one.

    One small aside, if you're feeling guilty any time you have a drink, abstinence Might be the choice for you.
     
  4. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 10, 2015
    Thank you for your reply, R.O.L.

    If I may ask: is your not drinking (I'd count you as a teetotaler) a lifetime "thing" (for lack of a better word)? How do you do it if you like the taste of alcohol? A glass of wine or two for me is like having a dessert for some other people - I'd rather have the drink.

    Yes, drinking is definitely a social issue. I remember when I wasn't drinking at all before, whenever I went out with ppl who drank, they'd ask me if I was sick!! :rolleyes: Luckily for me, most of my friends do not drink or only drink sparingly, barring one or two friends. My husband, on the other hand, likes his drinks...ahem...quite a bit...but that's another issue altogether. But I'd say though, his drinking really doesn't have much to do with mine. He has G&T's, whisky, beer, tequila and wine at home, most of which I don't touch. There is almost always white wine in the house, but I'm usually the one who buys it. I know, I know, I can elect not to buy it and most of the time NOW I don't. Sometimes, I'd have a glass of sparkling wine when I go out with friends who, again, funnily enough don't drink (or maybe it's not funny at all for me!).
     
  5. Resonance.Of.Life
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    by Resonance.Of.Life » Apr 10, 2015
    I just don't really partake-- usually my husband will have a beer or two when we are out with friends but I don't like drinking much if at all. I'm usually the one who volunteers to be the designated driver in 99% of situations. I'm a lightweight (and asian) so I don't really have a tolerance for drinking much at all. I only really like the taste of wine, but it's not a must have for me.

    You alluded to a stressful situation that spurred onto the start of the more lengthy periods of drinking wine, perhaps it is because it was a "self-soothing" mechanism and you go back more for the same "feeling" and just associate it with the taste?
     
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  6. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 10, 2015
    Thanks for replying again, R.O.L.
    I don't drive here, but I wish I did. It'd really help, lol.
    Hmm..I know what you're saying, but it really isn't. The reason is because the volume before was waaaaay more than what I'm drinking now, and also the frequency was everyday vs. every few days lately. I do really like the taste of white wine, especially champagne or sparkling wine. I just don't want to drink at all if possible because I'm aware of the harmful effects on my body.
     
  7. Resonance.Of.Life
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    by Resonance.Of.Life » Apr 10, 2015
    Phoenix: Oh okay, I just wanted to make sure. I didn't mean to insult (in case I did). *hugs* I think the best way is just to avoid it altogether then--- despite that I reallyyyy love the taste of some wines, I really honestly just have no desire to drink it that often or even at all. Desserts on the other hand... :lickout:
     
  8. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 10, 2015
    Oh no, not at all, R.O.L. It's totally cool :))
    It makes sense to explore all possibilities.
    I really don't have a sweet tooth at all - a bit strange as most people love desserts . I wish I had the same discipline when it comes to alcohol.
    Again, thank you. I really appreciate it.
     
  9. Resonance.Of.Life
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    by Resonance.Of.Life » Apr 10, 2015
    Made an LT listing if you want to talk off the forum :)
     
  10. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 10, 2015
    You've hit the nail right on the head, Maccers.
    It really is a lifestyle choice vs a "diet". W.r.t food, I know I'd fail miserably if I ever went on any kind of diet; so I choose healthy eating and exercise and I never crave anything, well except fruits and vegetables. It'd be fantastic if I could be the same with alcohol. And you are right, once again, that every time I have a drink, I feel guilty . So, a glass of champagne tastes sooooo good, but it's definitely a guilty pleasure! !
    I found that when I was abstaining totally before, it was easier for me not to reach for a drink. But the temptation was always there. Even now, when I don't drink, I obsess about it. ! **sigh**
    I also agree about the effects of alcohol on one's body. It does interfere with my sleep pattern and I feel so bloated the next day, particularly if I have more than 2 drinks. What's more, I totally HATE how alcohol makes me feel giddy and even giggly sometimes ! !
     
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  11. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 10, 2015
    I may do that. Very kind of you. Thank you so much.
     
  12. dk168
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    by dk168 » Apr 10, 2015
    I live on my own, and seldom drink at home unless I am having a meal, then it will be a glass of wine or a bottle of beer.

    I do not buy standard bottles of wine, only the single serving ones about 187ml each (a very large glass).

    When I go out, I like to drink, so I usually plan to stay overnight so that I do not have to drive. Hence I tend not to go out and paint the town red too often.

    I tend to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks nowadays, especially after 23:00h.

    DK :))
     
  13. Siameseroo
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    by Siameseroo » Apr 10, 2015
    I'm not a big drinker but I go with the flow! I never drink at home and only on occasion when I'm out depending on my mood - I probably drink once or twice a month. Sometimes I'll only have one or two drinks, other times a lot more, just depends on how I feel. I've never been a big drinker and have never felt the need to drink so it's never formed part of my routine. This is partly for health reasons but mostly I just don't feel like it!
     
  14. missy
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    by missy » Apr 10, 2015
    Hi Phoenix, I don't drink (very rarely and maybe once or twice a year if even that). I used to drink socially but then developed some health issues and drinking would exacerbate the condition so I just stopped. It is not a draw for me one way or another so it was fairly simple for me to just stop.

    However when I think about things that are tempting for me (peanut butter, ice cream, pizza :(( etc) that I need to avoid due to my health issues what works best for me is to go cold turkey. As already mentioned in this thread what works for some does not for others but sharing with you what works best for me. And that is to NOT have my temptations around in any way so as not to tempt me at all. Because once I start it is hard for me to stop. Oh I miss my peanut butter but not what it does to me so no PB around the house for me. Same with my other temptations.I know it is good for me to not indulge but I do miss them... ;(

    Good luck with whatever you decide and I know I already said this but I am so happy for you that you are in a great place spiritually and physically and you are truly such a lovely person in every way. (((HUGS))) and the best of luck with all you do.
     
  15. partgypsy
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    by partgypsy » Apr 10, 2015
    I guess it depends on why you are stopping drinking. If it is because you feel psychologically it is addictive to you and that you might lapse into drinking more and more, then you know yourself best. However I don't think there are any negative health effects to having occasional drinks (and there may actually be a few health benefits).

    The times when I was pregnant and nursing I did miss the taste and also wanted to fit in in drinking situations (especially before I was showing), so in those cases I brought or bought a NA beer and nursed it. Plus I liked how it tastes.
    There isn't really a direct "replacement" for white and sparkling wines, though possibly the closest are apple ciders especially the sparkling ones.

    Both of my parents-in-law are teetolers. However now in her older age and hosting events where other people drink, she will have say a half a glass of wine on rare occasions and take a couple sips of it to join with others who are having wine with the meal that is being served.

    I'm also someone who does better with abstaining if I know it is a temptation. When I was pregnant I knew I couldn't drink so it was a non-issue. There was 4 years of my life I had no refined sugar because I felt I was addicted to sugar.
    For this Easter did a no-meat lent (I did allow myself dairy and eggs). Because I knew it was off the table it didn't tempt me, though I did run into meal planning issues at times. I haven't ever felt that I had a psychologic addiction to alcohol, and I enjoy how it tastes so no plans on abstaining. Really if I was going to go back to abstaining it would be to work on my sweets addiction, but as I suffer no health effects from it, I keep putting that off!
     
  16. Harpertoo
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    by Harpertoo » Apr 10, 2015
    I drink wine now, and it feels so much a part of the culture where I'm living I think I might have trouble abstaining entirely. I live among some amazing vineyards and I really just enjoy wine.
    That said, I used to run multiple marathons each year and my training was very important to me. I really never drank when I was logging a lot of miles and I really didn't miss it. I frequently felt a little dehydrated and water - cold water - was just so refreshing. My spouse has no problem totally abstaining, and he considers it a part of staying healthy and fit....always.

    when I was training, I never felt pressured to drink socially by my friends - they supported my running obsession. It was a very easy thing to explain at the time and it helped immensely with business dinners / outings when there was pressure and an expectation that a lot of alcohol would be consumed. Perhaps not now, but when I was a broker, alcohol played an outsized role in business gatherings.

    I hope you find a good balance for yourself.
     
  17. telephone89
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    by telephone89 » Apr 10, 2015
    Could you try to substitute with something similar for a month and see how you like it? Ie sparkling grape/apple juice, or something like that?

    I quite enjoy drinking, but do take occasional time off (month or two) just to prove to myself that I can, I guess. Make sure it's not becoming a habit.
     
  18. Mayk
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    by Mayk » Apr 10, 2015
    Phoenix!!! Hugs! So nice to see you dropping in more often!

    I'm a red wine girl... The bigger and bolder the better.

    I limit myself to two-three glasses during the work week which is one glass two or three days. On the weekends I will stop at two glasses I usually have around dinner if I want more than one glass. My pours will net out around four glasses of wine per bottle so I think my pours are a little heavier than the five ounce recommended serving size. I don't drink during the day even on the weekend and I rarely ever drink liquor and never beer (yuck). If I have three glasses it's a rare occasion. I never drive if I've had more than one. Because I have a company car I would not want to be stopped or given a DUI in my car.

    With that said I'm always asking myself if I feel I need the glass of wine. I love the taste... But also having been raised by an alcoholic parent I'm hyper sensitive to my own consumption.
     
  19. minousbijoux
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    by minousbijoux » Apr 10, 2015
    I love white wine and for a while found it really easy to abuse my love for it. I would open a bottle of wine while cooking dinner, have a glass while cooking, use some to cook with, top off my glass and half the bottle would be gone. Then I would sit down to eat with a full glass of wine, drink it and maybe have a bit more (and water) with dinner. When, while cleaning up and putting things away a while after dinner, I would think "oh, there's only a bit left, I might as well drink it!" and I would.

    A friend of mine told me something they use in AA, which I've used ever since. HALT which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. I realized after she told me that that the main reason that I craved a glass of wine when making dinner was that I was so hungry. I learned that if I stopped to have a snack first (an apple, some carrots and hummus, a few crackers and cheese), my wine craving would almost completely disappear. I don't think the other situations apply to me, but I would add a fifth category, which would be to destress; if I've had a tense day and I feel stressed and frazzed, this is another time I crave wine.

    I find it very hard not to drink if I go out socially with friends and they are drinking. Typically, though, I am hungry when we go out, so this could be part of it...
     
  20. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Apr 10, 2015
    I know way more about this than I ever wanted. My family is full of alcoholics. I have had THREE uncles die from drinking. Cihrrosis is really ugly.

    My mother is back to not a drop. She has been sober since my birthday (just over 1 month). Again. She made it 10 years without a drop then got going again.

    Picked my brother up from the emergency room (on my birthday) after he was found unconscious in front of a bar. Came really close to dying at more than 3 times the legal limit. Visibly yellow and barely coherent even when released.


    So having said that, I KNOW how easy it is to slip into unhealthy drinking. I KNOW my family (both sides) are very prone to alcoholism.
    I choose to drink but I set hard limits. I do drink every day of the week along with dinner. My limit is that for every day, I get ONE glass (3 or 4 ounces) of wine. If we go out, my hard limit is two glasses of wine. Period. No more when home. No extra splash.
    An added check,I have is that DH and I open ONE bottle of wine for TWO days so there is only 1/2 bottle available per night.
    In summer, the one glass of wine can be replaced by ONE beer. That is full day total. Not per sitting.

    For me, these limits work best. I like the taste of wine and can enjoy without going into unhealthy places. I don't ever end up really really wanting something and having too much. I also find that since it is a normal part of life,it isn't special or forbidden or anything so I am happy to skip and just have tea or lemonade and not feel I'm missing anything.

    Sorry if that is hard to follow. This is a topic that always hits me hard.
     
  21. Tacori E-ring
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    by Tacori E-ring » Apr 10, 2015
    I am not a huge drinker for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I am very sensitive to alcohol. I get buzzed easily. I get hang over easily. It is less tempting to do something knowing I will feel sick the next day. Secondly, there are few alcoholic drinks I actually like the taste of. Thirdly, I work in the substance abuse field. Specifically I work with patient needing new organs because of their drinking/drug use. People like to claim wine is good for you. The risks outweigh the benefits at more than 2.5 oz a week. Most people drink more than 2.5 ounces of wine. The National guideline for women is 7 or more *servings* a week is considered heavy drinking. If you are asking if you should abstain, maybe there is an issue to address. Why you drink is just as important as how much you drink.
     
  22. Gypsy
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    by Gypsy » Apr 10, 2015
    I am not at all a drinker, but I'm not sure that someone like me can give you any advice Phoenix.
    I don't drink because 1) I really don't like the taste of most alcohol and 2) don't like the out of control feeling of getting tipsy and 3) hate the fact that it makes me sick/dehydrated/hungover after I drink. Usually just dehydrated, I don't get bad hangovers even when I did drink more (in law school). Plus... I'd rather spend money on other things. Alcohol is expensive.

    But I think the main thing with me and alcohol is that I was around alcoholics growing up. And I really developed a hatred of alcohol dependency. So for me, even drinking once a week or a couple times a month is too close to that line. I'm very scared of alcohol/drug abuse. So I generally think of alcohol as poison.

    I do occasionally drink. Sometimes I buy alcohol I like. Or my friends buy something they know I like. And even then... I may have a glass, two max, but that's all I want/crave. Just a small amount of it once in a blue moon and then I'm done. It's just a part of me, so I'm not sure it helps you at all.

    If I had to guess I would say I drink 4-5 times a year. If that. I know for sure there have been whole years I haven't had anything to drink accept a toast of champagne at a wedding we attended.

    I really just wanted to post my support for you in your efforts to get healthier and to stop drinking.
     
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  23. Calliecake
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    by Calliecake » Apr 11, 2015
    I could have written every word of Gypsy's post

    I like a frozen drink in the summertime and rarely have more than one drink. I also always ask that they go light on the alcohol and only drink a few times a year.

    I wish I could say something that would be of help to you.
     
  24. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 11, 2015
    Thank you for your input, dk.

    I almost never drink without food, because I know I'd get legless very quickly, lol!

    Pricing in SG for alcohol is absolutely ridiculous, not just because single serving bottles (of which there are few) cost not too much less than standard sizes; speaking of which I keep thinking how much more bling I'd have if I'd never drunk! :sick:
     
  25. stracci2000
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    by stracci2000 » Apr 11, 2015
    I don't drink at all. It's because I watched a good friend of mine suffer with alcoholism.
    She is now is a recovering alcoholic (11 years sober)

    I have been to many, many AA meetings with her, as she lost her license and needed a ride. We went to a meeting every day for the first whole year of her sobriety. I got quite an education in those meetings.

    She had to get away from her drinking friends, and all situations where alcohol was consumed. Since you say that your husband drinks, this may be the reason it is hard for you to give it up, even though you want to. Would you say that you are drinking against your will?

    The first thing I thought of when I read your post is something I heard many times in AA. "If you think you have a drinking problem, then you have a drinking problem."

    Why not drop into an AA meeting? Might be the best thing you ever did for yourself.
     
  26. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 11, 2015
    You're so lucky you don't feel like drinking or feel the need, ricezo.

    I'm aiming not to drink at all at home, at least for the time being.

    I think actually drinking once in a while is probably the best way to go, for most people. That way, one doesn't feel deprived; and it seems like a balanced approach.
     
  27. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 11, 2015
    Thanks sooooo much, Missy. You are a very special and lovely person yourself. {{{HUGS back}}

    Drinking does affect me negatively, particularly if I have more than 2 drinks, in that it dries out my eyes and my skin, makes me bloated and as I mentioned sometimes giddy and giggly. So, I know alcohol doesn't agree with me.

    I totally agree with you about not having any temptation around the house. I haven't bought any white wine for a while now, but there are at least 3 bottles of champagne sitting in the fridge at this very moment! :rolleyes: (yes, at myself!).

    Last few weeks, I've been very good but still NOT GOOD ENOUGH!! It'd be ideal if I abstained totally, only having the occasional ones at weddings and the like, so maybe twice or 3 times a year.

    I know what you mean about peanut butter. I love that stuff!!

    Thank you again for sharing and best wishes to you too, Missy.
     
  28. Phoenix
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    by Phoenix » Apr 11, 2015
    Thank you, part gypsy.

    I've read various studies and I think it's inconclusive as to whether alcohol has health benefits; and then we'd be talking very small quantities of alcohol, much much less than most ppl would imagine. As for me, since I know alcohol does not sit well with me physically and I'd LOVE to be really healthy (my eating and exercise regimes are at an almost athletic level - I'd say), so cutting out drinking altogether would be really amazing!! (from both physiological and psychological perspectives).

    I wouldn't say I'm addicted to alcohol. I suffered no withdrawal when I abstained totally a few years ago. It'd been a stressful situation that made me go back to drinking. And then, afterwards, I continued drinking, albeit much much much less. Again, I don't think I'd go back to heavy drinking on a daily basis again (the heavy drinking was only for about a month, and it hasn't happened for about 5 years now) and I'd never ever drunk that much prior to this "episode". But I do yearn for the taste and must admit, obsess about it when I don't drink. I think it's akin to most ppl with chocolate, they crave it and they think about it. But, I'm sure someone who loves chocolate / has a sweet tooth would correct me if I am wrong.

    Thank you for your input and suggestions. Re apple cider {{shudders}}, lol!! Thanks though. :))
     
  29. lknvrb4
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    by lknvrb4 » Apr 11, 2015
    I used to like to drink. I am a Mom of three so at the end of the day when the kids were all put to bed I would have a drink. I would not get drunk but I would get pretty relaxed and I liked that feeling of taking the edge off. I would do this probably 5 days a week and I felt guilty about it. We went down to Florida during Christmas break to visit my MIL and SIL who live together. They love to drink and they drink a lot. We are talking a full bottle of hard booze in a few days. My MIL would have a drink with lunch, wine by the pool in the afternoon and at night time even more. It made me sick and disgusted and so after New Years I decided I don't want to end up like her. I am not saying I would but it just really bothered me how much they drink. So I have had only two glasses of wine since then and I don't miss the drinking. Taking care of myself with eating healthy and exercising is really important to me. I am also going to start marathon training and alcohol just does not fit into that.
     
  30. CJ2008
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    by CJ2008 » Apr 11, 2015
    Phoenix, first it's so good to hear that you're in a better place and that you're exercising, and lost weight, and feel fantastic.

    That's awesome!

    I used to drink a lot more than I do now - 1/2 a bottle of wine every Friday night (split it with DH) - and sometimes more (there were times we'd share 2 bottles) - and in social situations or holidays that was the focus - enjoying everything to glasses of wine.

    Lately - I'd say the last year or so - I drink maybe every few months, and when I do, it's 1 glass of wine.

    I can tell you what's worked for me, and that is being VERY aware of the effects of alcohol that I DON'T like. For example:

    -I have mild rosacea. When I drink, just after a few sips, I feel my face start to get flushed - that exacerbates the redness of my face and I can actually visualize the small red veins in my face dilating or even forming new veins (not pretty).

    -More than 1 glass, I feel the effects the next day - I look redder, and older, and I FEEL the negative effects in my body and mind.

    -Alcohol has a lot of sugar and calories. Now that I've slimmed down, I don't want to drink empty calories. Not worth it. I work out too hard and try to eat a healthy/clean diet and don't want to sabotage my efforts with alcohol. I'd rather sabotage them with pizza. ::)

    So I don't even WANT to have a glass every week - I just don't.

    However, if I craved it, I've come up with a saying for myself - something I can use in the moment to remind me why drinking is going to get me away from my goals...like:

    "I feel like having another glass of wine, but if I do I am going to look old and red tomorrow and maybe even feel fat tomorrow (I would use this because it's the biggest demotivator for me). Instead, I will have an unsweetened iced tea. That way I can keep looking as attractive and stylish as possible for my age."

    Something like that...and HAVE a replacement...maybe water with a fresh slice of lemon...or an iced tea...have something that will feel like a replacement you can live with. But I think mostly you need to identify why it's important for you to either abstain or control.

    (from your post it seems like you're able to control it pretty well on your own, and sounds like you can have a drink and stop, so that you don't need to abstain 100% - but you know yourself best, like Part Gypsy said.)

    ETA: also, when I do have a glass of wine, or 2 (which is extremely rare now) I always make sure to take a sip of water in between. Keeps me more hydrated and makes it take longer to finish the glass.
     

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