After twenty (or more) years of drinking red wine every single day I started to get niggling thoughts entering my head, I put up with them for years. They would say things like ‘you know you drink too much’ and ‘you will die young if you keep drinking like this’. My strategy tended to be to push them to the back of my mind, ignore them and do something else instead, how about a glass of wine!
I already knew I drank too much, I didn’t need my overactive brain to keep reminding me. Before I discovered a sober-life I used to say and do a variety of different things to justify (mainly to myself) that my drinking was acceptable and I didn’t have a problem. I just wanted to make the worry go away and put myself at ease about my alcohol intake.
I still can’t believe that I honestly thought everyone else drank like me, I thought (or had convinced myself) that everyone finished work, went home and drank as much red wine as they could and then repeated the process every single day, I genuinely believed this was the case and had convinced myself that my behaviour was what every average drinker did.
I have listed below some of the things I said and did to justify my drinking and to make myself feel better so I could keep on doing it:
- I used online tools to see if I was an alcoholic, of course, I played around with the inputs to ensure I was only classed as a ‘heavy’ drinker, not a full-blown ‘alcoholic’. Once I was happy with the result I could carry on drinking.
- I would always compare my drinking to others, if someone posted on Facebook that they were having a bottle of wine tonight that further confirmed my belief they will be drinking wine every night. All good, I am OK to carry on with my own drinking.
- If there was anything in the media about the benefits of alcohol I was the first to share it. ‘red wine makes you live until 100’ – 3 more bottles please!
- If I was ever talking about drinking to colleagues or friends I would always say ‘I drink red wine most nights’ (I would never be honest about how much) and give the impression I was totally in control of it, again, to justify to myself that no problem existed.
- I used to believe that drinking helped me sleep better, the more I drank the quicker I fell asleep.
- I believed that drinking was a cure for my anxiety, so how come it had got worse as my drinking increased, weird? I best have another glass of red wine to take the edge off.
- I never drank during the day, only in the evenings, so I obviously didn’t have a problem.
- I often used to stay sober at certain events (weddings/parties etc’), because I loved red wine so much I didn’t want to already be drunk when I got home, if I was sober I could hit my beloved red wine really hard until the early hours of the morning when I got back. If I was already drunk when I got home I would only be able to stomach a glass or two. This also reinforced my belief that I had control over being able to drink and could stop if I wanted, in fact it was the opposite, red wine had control over me.
- All my friends are drinkers, some of them drink to excess. If they are doing it then it is fine for me to do the same, pour me another!
- I remember reading somewhere that a glass of red wine was like a ‘full stop at the end of the day’, I used to tell myself this was my evening treat after a hard day at work, but it was a bottle (or more) not just a glass, what would be the point in that.
- I never drank spirits, those are reserved for really hard drinkers right? I just drink wine and it has proven health benefits, it is also sophisticated to drink red wine. So there is no problem here.
- I told myself that I could stop if I wanted to, I just didn’t want to yet.
- There was always a good reason for me to have a drink, something good, something bad, anything, I would find a reason.
- If I saw someone who had a serious drinking problem I would take comfort that I wasn’t as bad of them, again making me believe that I didn’t have a problem with alcohol. The fact is that I probably was just as bad as they were, I was just better at hiding it.
- I run a successful business and I am always in the office early and working hard, how could I do that if I was an alcoholic? The red wine just allows me to unwind at the end of the day.
- I am fit and healthy and I run nearly every day (I have completed 14 marathons in the last 5 years) and go to the gym regularly, surely this gives me plenty of wine credits and offsets any damaging effects of alcohol.
- I don’t take drugs, I don’t smoke either, everyone has at least one vice and red wine is mine.
- My drinking never impacted on anyone else, how wrong I was with this one. When I look back at how snappy, rude, argumentative (basically an arsehole) I was after a drink I realise that I did hurt people and worst of all they were the ones who were closest to me. Sorry x
Of course, I now know all of these are just excuses to try and justify to myself that I didn’t have a problem. Deep down I knew my drinking was out of control and was having an ever tighter grip on me.
Thankfully I found the tools and mindset to break free and it has totally changed my life.
I have realised that pushing away the niggling thoughts about how much you are drinking is the worst thing you can do, it is far better to take a step back and look at your behaviour. Be honest with yourself and take action to make a real change for the better.
If you are reading this and currently using excuses like mine to justify what you drink it may well be time to think about changing your own relationship with alcohol. Start by reading some of the guides and tips on this site, then join the Be Sober Facebook group and start making a change that will improve your life like never before.
I used to think that there was no way I could possibly never drink, but I did it, now I am free and sober, I will never drink again.
I was addicted to alcohol for years, if I can do it, believe me, so can you!
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