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Am I a Grey Area Drinker?

addiction alcohol alcohol-free coach grey area drinker love sober sober Aug 22, 2022
<span>Photo by <a href=yonatan anugerah on Unsplash" />

The simplest way to define grey area drinking is to look at what it is not. It is not a person who has the occasional drink every couple of weeks or even months – perhaps a glass of bubbly at a celebration and that’s about it. Nor is it someone at the other extreme, a severely ill alcoholic. It is, however, anything and everything in between.

The WHO  backs this up and defines Alcohol Use Disorder as a spectrum of harmful, hazardous and dependant drinking. So many of us are GADs, and are told that this is the 'normal' way to be through marketing messaging, pink washing of products and the feminisation of alcohol products. 

So, the question you could ask yourself is, ‘Do I use alcohol in a disordered way?’ And what does that look like for you? Be aware that comparison with unhelpful stereotypes can be a real pitfall for anyone looking to reassess their relationship with alcohol and hoping to make a positive change. It can stop you from:

  • taking the steps needed to get some help
  • choosing to quit the booze not because you have to, but because
    you want to
  • realising that when you put down the wine glass you are not
    giving anything up, rather you are gaining the opportunity to live
    a full, free, content, and happy life
  • understanding there is a wide spectrum of problems with alcohol
    and it isn’t a case of you either are or aren’t an alcoholic – there are many stages in between.
  • But we are here to tell you that there is hope! There are so many ways you can make the changes you want to make. Being alcohol-free is the most powerful and liberating choice we’ve ever made. We love being sober, and we know you will too!

    It can be very confusing when it all starts to go a bit wrong. When we first feel that maybe we ought to look at our alcohol consumption, we look around and see everyone else drinking and think, ‘Are we being too hard on ourselves?’ Others then reinforce this by telling us to lighten up, and it can be all too easy to justify our drinking behaviour and sweep any nagging questions under the carpet.
    Drinking alcohol is relatively unquestioned in our society and, indeed, actively expected of us from our teenage years – a rite of passage into adulthood.
  • However, it is a drug, and a powerful, mood- altering, addictive one at that. If a person were having problems with any other drug, the advice would be to stop taking it and get help. With alcohol, in contrast, we are often just told to ‘moderate’ our drinking. Giving up alcohol completely is seen as extreme and yet there is no question that anyone’s mental and physical health, wellbeing, and family life will be improved by removing alcohol. We are testament to this.

It’s not necessarily the number of units...

...but your relationship with those units. This is a key point to remember, as simply counting units is a very imperfect method of assessing your alcohol intake. Although the medical guidelines around recommended units of alcohol can be helpful, it’s by no means the full picture. Start by having a look at your relationship with alcohol and ask questions about how you feel, before, during, and after drinking. How much and how often do you break your rules around drinking, and how much effort does it take you to stick to recommended units?

  • How much and how regularly am I drinking?
  • Is alcohol making me feel bad physically?
  • Have my hangovers become worse?
  • Do they include anxiety now rather than just a thick head and
    dehydration?
  • Do I forget parts of the evening?
  • Do I drink more than I set out to?
  • Do I binge and often drink over the recommended amount?
  • Do I drink on more occasions than I plan to?
  • Do I think about booze a bit too much?
  • Do I sometimes feel in control and other times out of control?
  • Do I sometimes rush other activities, or feel disconnected
    because I want my first drink?
  • Do I regret my behaviour when I have been drinking?
  • Do I feel guilty about my drinking?
  • Is my drinking causing me shame?
  • Is it costing me too much... and more than just money?
  • How does it make me feel...
    – after I’ve had a few drinks?
    – in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep?

If you have answered yes to some of these questions, you have also probably been trying to control your intake through moderating. Alcohol is costing you more than just money. It’s having a negative effect on your health, happiness, and peace of mind at the very least. The good news is from our experience and from that of the women we work with, you will be happier going alcohol-free – yey sobriety!

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We love to hear from you

Kate xxx

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