How to give up alcohol addiction can be difficult for anyone with a drinking problem, so never judge. Some people may just get smashed just for the fun of it. But many alcoholics drink because they are traumatised by something that happened in the past (the only way to blot things out). And if you had an alcoholic parent, then you are more likely to succumb to the sauce.
Of course, alcohol is a drug. Ayurvedic doctors say that our body begins to remove alcohol the second it hits the lips. But most people enjoy the occasional tipple. But if it is becoming a problem (or has become one), then you need help. 1 in 5 people in England now are teetotal, so it does seem more of a culture of yesteryear, despite all the ‘binge drinking’ headlines we hear. Modern youth is a clean-living bunch!
First, know if you have a problem. Visit Alcohol Change unit calculator for a quick guide to see if you are drinking within limits. A bottle of wine is 10 units (almost two-thirds of a weekly allowance). If you are drinking heavily, talk to your doctor as it can sometimes be unsafe to immediately stop drinking.
- French and Italians drink a little wine each evening, and don’t feel guilty about it. Vatican City has the highest wine consumption on earth (it seems these priests are positively plastered). But Europeans don’t binge-drink, they eat food with wine, and drink as much water as wine, if not more.
- If you drink due to peer pressure, change your lifestyle. An old man who likes a nightly beer in his local pub is not an issue. But if you are knocking back Jägerbombs till 2am, it may be time to switch friends!
- Alcoholics Anonymous is free and confidential, and you are paired with a ‘buddy’ (someone who has a drinking problem). We Are With You offers free and confidential personal or online support.
- Treat yourself to self-care: long walks, warm relaxing baths, massage. And take B vitamins (in food or supplements) to help you through the jitters.
- Take up gentle exercise. A bottle of wine a night is 5000 extra calories a week, so you will gain weight if you keep on. Use the money on something nice (yoga classes, a hotel swim pass, an evening course).
- If you hit the bottle in the evenings, switch off the TV and try new habits: a summer walk, read a book, bake a cake, decorate a room.
- Change your tipple. It’s easy to wolf through bottles of beer or guzzle down white wine like lemonade. Try instead a brandy glass with lots of ice and a measure of Baileys Almande (made with almond milk), which you will drink slower. Or dilute white wine with fizzy water for a spritzer (half the alcohol & calories). And at least you rehydrate – as you dehydrate!
- Keep alcohol out of your house, and just have a drink when out with friends.
- Read Drink Less, Live More, a little book packed with tips to hep you cut down or give up altogether altogether. Alcohol companies increasingly target women. Read Holly’s book: Quit Like a Woman.
Like the Taste of Alcohol?
There are plenty of artisan non-alcohol or low-alcohol alternatives:
- Seedlip Drinks (Lincolnshire gin)
- Sea Arch (Devon botanical)
- Pentire Drinks (Cornish botanical)
- The Clean Liquor Co (low-alcohol gin)
- Everleaf (bittersweet aperitif)
- Borrago (Oxford gin with borage)
- Belvoir Juniper & Tonic (no alcohol)
- Xachoh (inspired by the East)
- Caleño (Colombian drink with inca berry)
- STRYKK (Not Rum, Not Gin & Not Vodka!)
- Square Root Soda Gin & Tonic
- Belvoir Fruit Farm Pressé drinks
- Belvoir’s Elderflower Cordial (white ‘wine’ spritzer)
- Nirvana Brewery (no-alcohol beers)