I’m an American that was born in the US and so were both of my parents. Some of my grandparents came from Ireland so I have a ton of Irish blood. This means drinking lots of alcohol has always come easy to me. It’s hard to say which origin of people can drink the most but the Irish are at least in the conversation.
Some eastern European fishing buddies of mine can definitely drink a lot of vodka and tequila. When at Oktoberfest in Munich, I made the mistake of drinking beer with some Australians. They drank me under the table that we were all standing on.
When I was a teenager, I was an alcoholic. Yep, that’s called a teenage alcoholic. At fourteen, riding my bicycle wasted after drinking whatever the parents of my friends had at their houses was a common occurrence. At fifteen, I suspected that I had a problem. I talked to my mom about it and told her that I may have an issue drinking alcohol. This may sound strange being able to talk to my parents about drinking. As I mentioned, we were an Irish family.
My mother told me to try going out that night and not drinking to see if I could have a good time sober. So that night on the way to the skating ring, when I would usually drink a few tall boys on the walk, I didn’t drink at all. And that night I did not have a good time. It freaked me out because I didn’t want to be an alcoholic. Both of my parents were alcoholics and although they were a lot of fun, I didn’t want something like booze to dictate my life.
That experiment was a turning point in my newly started drinking career. My mother was a pain in the ass in a lot of ways but I think she saved me from being a drunk as I never forgot the night I didn’t have fun because I wasn’t drinking. Thirty-plus years later and I can drink plenty but usually choose not to. Usually.
I DRINK ALCOHOL TO GET LAID
In truth, I love the way alcohol makes me quick-witted and more social. But it tears up my body and is usually not worth it because I’m down the whole next day. With staying truthful though, in my life, alcohol makes the whole process of getting sex much, much easier. It’s well documented in most minds that alcohol lowers or eliminates the inhibitions of women which, by itself, is a huge advantage in getting laid. But for me, that is only one advantage to drinking and pursuing sex. What the alcohol does to ME is equally important. Alcohol lowers my inhibitions to things to try to I talk more shit and am willing to continue with situations that are less than ideal.
With my crazy bad hangovers and Irish blood, it’s been a battle with the question of drinking or not drinking. As I have gotten older, the desire to drink alcohol has decreased because the hangovers have gotten worse. I now have no issues with being sober and going to concerts, sporting events, and even cruises (which are fun AF when you get the drink package). Sex is still very important to me so I still drink primarily for that reason. Well, that and I will drink with some fellow Irish Americans because they “don’t trust people who don’t drink”. Yea, that’s a real thing. So should you drink less alcohol?
DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ALCOHOL?
With the family and parents that I have, I have considered myself knowledgable on alcoholism. Like every other thing in our civilization, an alcoholic is now called something more defining. The condition is defined using more words than years ago. Alcohol.org now calls it “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. Yep. That’s what we need. Another fucking acronym.
The website lists eleven criteria for having AUD and I think it’s pretty good. They categorize AUD with three levels called mild, moderate, and severe AUD. Here are the eleven criteria:
ELEVEN CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING AUD (alcohol use disorder)
- Drinking more alcohol, or for longer than you intended to.
- Trying to cut down or stop drinking and being unsuccessful.
- Spending a lot of time drinking or feeling sick from a hangover or other aftereffects.
- Experiencing interference in daily life and relationships because of drinking or being sick from drinking too much.
- Having cravings for alcohol.
- Continuing to drink even though it hurts relationships with family and friends.
- Cutting back on, or giving up hobbies to consume more alcohol.
- Repeatedly being in situations where alcohol puts one at risk of harm.
- Having to consume more alcohol to experience the desired effects.
- Continuing to consume alcohol even though it worsens a health condition, including anxiety or depression.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol’s effects began to wear off.
According to alcohol.org, mild AUD is having two or three of the criteria. Moderate AUD has four or five, and severe AUD has more than five of the eleven over a span of at least one year.
To me, this is a much more accurate assessment of alcoholism because it determines the negative impact it has on one’s everyday life. In truth, what’s probably most important in determining whether or not you have a problem with consuming alcohol is how you feel about it. I have known some who don’t think they have a problem and they drink a shit ton while others don’t drink much at all but think it is affecting them negatively.
We all truly know, deep down inside, who we really are and what we should really be doing in life. This is not an exception when it comes to knowing if you have a problem with alcohol. So if you are wanting to reduce your alcohol consumption for any reason, here are twelve ways that may help.
12 ways to drink less alcohol
1 Pick a day or days that you won’t drink – Some people can keep their boozing at bay by only drinking on the weekends or their days off. I’m not one to recommend “working for the weekend”, but if you’re drinking every day and don’t want to, this may help. If you have to, start with banning one day a week and then add from there. This may be a better option than jumping right on the five days a week wagon when you are used to drinking every day. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure so take it slow.
2 Try a drink limit – Some guys prime their alcohol pumps by having two or three beers. After that, they are full-on drinking until they have to go home or are throwing up. If this is you, then determine when that “point of no return” is for you and limit your drinks to one before that. My best friend of thirty years would say drinking didn’t really count for him unless he got “tore up”. If you’re not interested in drinking any less than getting yourself fucking wasted, then this drink limit thing may not work for you.
3 Avoid doing some of the things that you drink while doing – I have a dozen or so fishing buddies. Out of them, one or two drink heavy from early in the morning and continue all day while we are out fishing. By the end of the day, whether we had a good fishing day or not, they are trashed. It’s fairly obvious that the best part of fishing for them is the beer-drinking they get to do. If you want to reduce your boozing, recognize the things you do that you like to drink a lot while doing. Consider doing those things less. This sounds like some bullshit but it’s not easy drinking less alcohol so there will have to be some sacrifices to your life. Plus, if you really like these things that you drink doing, then you’ll be ok still doing them without alcohol. It just won’t be as fun at first. Buck up little camper.
4 Order soda water with lime – When out at a bar or restaurant it may not feel right without a drink in your hand. Having a cocktail looking drink in your hand may make the difference between hanging out and not drinking and saying “fuck it” and ordering when you really don’t want to drink.
5 Do things that make you feel good about yourself – People want to drink alcohol for all kinds of reasons. Some only like to drink when they feel good about themselves. Let’s be honest here though. The majority of alcohol consumption is motivated by some form of negativity in our lives. If we have a bad day, we need a drink. Something bad happens, we want a drink. If we are feeling negative about ourselves for some reason, we’ll want to drink to make us feel better. Ask yourself what motivates you to want to drink. If the answer is related to something negative in your life (which if you are honest with yourself, it will be), then start doing some things that make you feel better about who you are. This will help you to not drink as much. You may not think so, but it will. Right now you may be in a life situation where the only thing that you do to make you feel good about yourself is to get drunk. Do some other things besides drinking to accomplish this. This is a simple idea but it won’t be easy because nothing is easier in making you feel good about yourself than some beers.
6 Hang out with some people you know who don’t drink – This can be tougher than it sounds but is a very effective way to reduce your alcohol consumption. I have a good friend who hasn’t had any alcohol for more than ten years and he has a good time living his life alcohol-free. He was a heavy drinker and according to him, it took about five years to fully be happy doing shit without the presence of alcohol. Hanging out with a guy like this can help a lot in learning how to be functionally happy without drinking so much or none at all.
7 Get out of the habit of drinking when you go out to eat – This is a lot like always having dessert when you eat a meal. I don’t eat many sweets anymore but remember the days when I always had to have dessert. I was to the point where I was only thinking about the dessert afterward and not the actual meal. If you feel that a couple of glasses of wine or beer is just part of going out to eat, then you have an opportunity to reduce your alcohol consumption. You can take this slow if you want by starting with only ordering drinks with your meal on the weekends. It’ll be tough as shit in the beginning as your mind and body are used to drinking while you eat. Expect to not enjoy the taste of the food, be as relaxed or satisfied as you are used to being from eating a great meal. After a few meals without alcoholic beverages, you’ll start getting used to it and it won’t be a thing. Your dining experience will cost a lot less too which is a great positive by-product.
8 Remove alcohol from your home – This is really a great way to reduce your alcohol consumption. A large percentage of people who have drinking issues will drink alone or when no one else is drinking. Drinking alone is definitely one of those things that people know will qualify them as being a potential alcoholic. And in truth, they are probably right. Having alcohol where you live enables you to drink alone and maybe drink every day. Removing the booze (or consuming it and not replacing it) from your home will make you feel a little empty and bored at first but a couple of nights of not drinking at home will make you feel better about yourself in the morning. And it’s not like you are stopping drinking. You just aren’t doing it at home. You can always go out and drink but that will require you taking the extra steps of leaving your place to do so.
9 Go on the wagon for a while – This has become a fairly common thing. Some of my friends who drink often will take a month or two off from drinking. Deciding not to drink any alcohol for a semi-extended period will do a lot of good things for you. It will show you how dependent you are with alcohol socially, mentally, and in more extreme conditions, physically. Going anywhere from a month to a year without drinking can improve your mental and physical condition. It can save you a shit ton of money, and most importantly, prove to you that you don’t need booze in order to live happily and content. You may, after not consuming alcohol for a couple of months, deduce that life is better for you when you are drinking and that’s ok. You’ll also know that you can do without it which is good.
10 Do some brand new activities – Chances are you associate many things in your life with alcohol. Doing some things that you have never done before won’t have any association with alcohol and therefore will be easier to do without drinking. Water-related, sports-related, health-related and learning related activities are plentiful and many are inexpensive. Find something that you’ve wanted to get into for a while and go try it out. These news things will be easier to do without alcohol than the things you already do.
11 Try going to bed early and waking up early – This may seem like a simple and unrelated concept, but it can be quite effective in reducing alcohol consumption for many. In most cases, people drink to temporarily get away from their everyday lives and worries. And nothing makes you say “fuck it“ more than alcohol consumption. People drink and say “fuck it” to going home and going to bed and they say “fuck it” to waking up early the next day. And that “fuck it” decision to not go to bed equates to ordering more drinks. Knowing that you are going to bed early will stop you from drinking into the night. So will knowing that you’re getting up early. This process of controlling when you sleep also “shores up” the consistency of your everyday life. This will give you more control over your real everyday life which makes it easier to tolerate and be content. And a more content everyday life will require less escape which is why people drink in the first place.
12 Tell someone close to you that you want to drink less alcohol – The sad reality in our American culture is that few people have even one person in their lives that they can be real with. As a result, it may not be easy for most to admit that they think they drink too much to someone close to them. It may be too embarrassing for some so they decide to keep it to themselves and take the full burden of trying to reduce their alcohol consumption. We drink alcohol because we like what it does to us. The more you like to drink though, the harder it will be to even reduce consumption. You may not think so but it will be a lot easier of a process if you can tell at least one person in your life what you are wanting to do. We are social creatures and difficult things are easier when we can share them. Expressing genuine vulnerability to someone close can do wonders for you.
If, for some reason or another, you can’t share your desire to drink less alcohol to someone close in your life, then at least consider reaching out to a group with a similar interest. You don’t have to go this alone.
Your wanting and drinking of alcohol may be an addiction. And addiction is a real bitch! Addiction means you have limited or no control over something. Don’t try to half-ass something that has control over you. It will laugh at you and proceed to wipe the floor with your ass. The bottom line here is if alcohol is taking away the person you want to be and you don’t make a real effort in reducing or stopping doing it, then it will dictate some important things in your life for the rest of your life.