There is a lot of extra focus on alcohol this week with it being #AlcoholAwarenessWeek – so you will probably see more promoted tweets, adverts, articles and conversations online about alcohol consumption and cutting down. I think it is great every time there is a conversation about alcohol because unfortunately as a society we bury our heads about own consumption, behaviour and what triggers us to have a drink. I don’t need to reshare all of the stats but survey after survey says that the UK are the biggest binge drinkers in Europe and since the pandemic drinking in the house has increased massively. I used to love having a drink in the house whether it was wine with the wife, a few whiskies in the bath on an evening or beers on a Saturday afternoon with the sport on the box. I never once broke all of the weekly consumption down into units – in fact if I was ever asked to provide my weekly units to a medical professional I’d either make it up (obviously under selling it) or say 10 units per week because it sounded about right as a constant.
Let me tell you what I was drinking on average each week in the last 12-24 months of my boozing (and bear in mind this wasn’t necessarily during periods of crisis or deep depression) – This was just what I drank and didn’t think about it. It was the norm.
Monday – Rarely drank on a Monday as I saw this as my healthy start to the week but if I went out for a run it would be not uncommon to take a large tumbler of straight whisky into the bath for ‘medicinal purposes’ // Units: 1 unit – 25ml of whisky but I was having about 4 units in my glass
Tuesday – Quiz Night at the local pub. I would go steady whilst I was on the mic but still lubricate the vocal chords with a few pints. Followed by a few more pints after the Quiz had finished. Normally finished off with a couple whiskies for the Road. And I’d have a few whiskies before I went to the pub too to take the edge off after work and the anxiety of sitting in front of a full pub for 2 hours with a microphone // Units: 3 units – Premium pint of Lager (5.2%) x5 and another 8 units of whisky
Wednesday – Again, not really a drinking night but like Monday I’d appreciate a whisky in the bath if I was running. Probably alternated each week Mon/Wed so I officially had a SOBER day
Thursday – ‘Thirsty Thursday’ as it is known in my work place. I never used to drink on a Thursday beyond my younger days aged 18-21 when Thursday was a great night out in the local town. Since settling into married life with kids and a full time job Thursday would be an opportunity to unwind with wine on an evening with the excuse I’ve deserved it for all my hard work this week and there is only one day left to go until the weekend. My wife rarely drinks, even back then so beyond a small glass with her meal I’d do the bottle alone // Units: 10 units = 75cl Bottle Red Wine (let’s equate 8 of those units to me)
Friday – I liked a Friday because I felt less guilty drinking in the house and that my wife wouldn’t be so judgemental. She would also join me on the wine. We’d have the TV turned off, kids in bed and the music on. She would have a few glasses (maybe half a bottle of red) but rather than just share the other half I’d sink two extra bottles to myself. Wine never touched the sides with me! // Units: 25 units in my 2.5 bottles of Malbec or Rioja
Saturday – My consumption would vary but the constant was that I was always drinking. Some weeks I’d drive to the football match so I’d only start drinking on the evening when I got home. If I wasn’t driving I’d easily sink about 6 pints at the match then continue back home. Some weekends I’d go out to the pub with my mates on an afternoon and I’d aim to drink at least 8 pints before I headed home. To continue drinking. I’m not boasting by the way, in fact it disgusts me writing this but at the time I loved the feeling alcohol gave me and the social life it created (or so I thought) // So let’s go with a typical Saturday at the match – another 6 pints of premium lager and then back home I’d have four cans of premium lager and GIN! I loved a few gins on a Saturday night once my wife went to bed. It was Gin o’clock and I’d chill watching a film supping the refreshing, light G&T. A single measure of Gin is 0.9 units but I rarely measured and had a treble in most servings. Add that to all the beer and I’d guesstimate a Saturday total of 35 UNITS (probably more to be honest…)
Sunday – Depression hits and I’d normally be agitated by lunchtime on a Sunday. My go to self care method on this day would be to drink wine but start earlier in the day because it’s Sunday so it’s allowed and I’ll stop drinking earlier cos it’s work tomorrow. Nah, I’d have three bottles of wine on a Sunday and probably do it on the down low so my wife only thought I’d worked through one or two bottles. Such a sad man. Upsets me even thinking about this behaviour. It was so regular too // Units = Another 30 for moi!
Weekly Units of Alcohol = 125
Yes. I was drinking 125 units EASILY each week and I never once added it up or stepped back and acknowledged it. I was functioning fine in my head and I would feel fine during the day (whatever fine was). I’d be exercising, driving, looking after my kids etc but I was 125 units of alcohol deep each week.
The recommended weekly units of alcohol is 14 units spread across three days.
I’ll read this post back every time I get the urge to go back to the stuff because writing this down has really shocked me and disgusted me. The good thing is that my weekly total is now ZERO and has been ZERO for the last THIRTY NINE WEEKS
Thank me later Liver…