Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The moderate Drinker

What’s in it for you?

Heavy drinkers, there’s a lot in it for you! How about a better sex life; better relationships; a better self-image; being more productive; saving money; being a sexy rebel; better health; more go; being a leader, how to cut down and ultimately for a lot of heavy drinkers a new ‘take it or leave it’ attitude towards drink (you can be in control of your drinking rather than the other way round).


You already know the answer to this one. The government, the health authority, your family, perhaps even your partner are constantly reminding you of the dangers and drawbacks of drinking too much. They can be annoying but you know they are right. And just in case you’ve forgotten, here are some reminders.

Hangovers – these are nasty things and when you moderate your drinking you can avoid them altogether.

Time – I’m not talking about the fun times, the parts where you are socializing with friends or getting close to a love one, I’m talking about the time after you drink. Your weekend, your free time, the time you put aside to write your novel, to practice your punches, to learn new dance steps etc. Drinking too much can ruin how you use your free time. Do you want to be left with just work-time, drunk time and recovery time?

Focus – When I was in my twenties, my focus was on the night. I associated this with the good times, socializing, women, and lots of fun. It was an expensive focus as I didn’t put in much effort with my career, things that I love doing outside the bar and many other things, like my family. Become a moderate drinker and your focus will probably get stronger and be more on what’s important.

Health – Heavy drinking is bad for you. Bad for your liver. Bad for your brain. Bad for your mood. Bad if you are trying to start a family. And probably bad in many other ways too.

Other areas of life that could change for the better if you become a moderate drinker – relationships, productivity, self-image, etc.

It’s not about Will Power – it’s about habit change

Too many people think they can change themselves and the world though ‘will-power’. For most people, relying on will-power sets them up for failure. Habit change is more than just will-power.

Habit Changers that helped and influenced my transition to being a moderate drinker.

BJ Fogg

Three elements of habit change

• Motivation (will-power)
• Ability

BJ Fogg – underlying approach to habit change

• Make change as easy as possible
• Take small steps towards your goal
• Motivation is the least important element of change.
• Celebrate ‘victories’ (drinking water in a pub)

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits


• Understand your habit, what are the triggers for your habit, where and when does it happen.
• Make small and easy changes
• Develop half habits – rather than an all or nothing approach, constantly try to move towards your goal. Failure is feedback.
• Tackle one habit at a time.

New Skills

The great thing about becoming a moderate drinker; you have to start doing things differently. If you’re a heavy drinker, some new skills that you might learn are;

• To say no to a drink.
• Understand how and when you are drinking.
• Stop yourself.
• Congratulate yourself when you say no and stop yourself.
• Order water with a round/drink.
• Drink water in a pub.
• Disassociate being sociable, having a laugh, feeling open with drink and associate these things with yourself/being your friends.
• Associate hangovers, being down, being lazy more strongly with heavy drinking.

A lot of these skills are pretty basic, like drinking water in a pub, but they are new to many heavy drinkers.

The author

I was a heavy drinker for twenty five years. I started binge drinking when I was 16. Getting drunk seemed so much fun. It was such a release. My heaviest drinking years were my college years where I was almost always drunk in the evenings. I puked up a lot and generally felt unwell. I continued dinge drinking through my twenties where my focus was more on the night than the day, at the expense of a career. In my thirties binge drinking continued but was starting to be replaced by heavy drinking in the house. In my early forties, most of my drinking was in the home. Then I saw this video on the brain 'How to improve your brain.' (This is part 1 of 7 - I'm not sure which one alcohol is a focus) and decided it was time for a change.

It took me twenty five years to change. To be honest, I’m still changing. I started on 3rd September 2011 and my new habits are still babies compared to my twenty five year old heavy drinking habit. It’ll be an on-going process, at least until the end of this year but I’m confident that change will be permanent. Actually, I’m surprised at how easy it has been so far!


  1. I came across you blog and am somewhat intrigued by your statements as I can read them like they come out of my hands.

    Is there a chance to learn more about how you deal with it ?

    It seems like it may be worth to write some book about this as it has been a struggle for most people to moderate their drinking and not be brainwashed by the AA meetings.

    Maybe we can exchange email ?


    1. Hi Master of Zen

      Thanks for your interest in my blog. I would like to find out ways of getting to a larger number of people as I agree with you, it's something that a lot of people struggle with - I struggled with it for years, occasionally trying out different ideas but not succeeding at moderating, until the last time.

      You can contact me on

      I look forward to hearing from you.


  2. Was very nice coming across your blog. I am 24 years old and have become a very heavy weekend drinker.

    I'm tired of not remembering my nights, wasting my money and the dreaded hangovers. I don't want to quit completely however as abstaining from drinking is not really control in my opinion....I want to drink socially and be functioning the next day

    Really awesome you've put this together. I don't see too many discussions on this topic....there seems to be a philosophy that abstaining completely is the ONLY way to go which I refuse to believe

    Chris (Yep same name as you)

  3. Hi Chris (there are many of us).

    Glad you came here.

    It's good that you thinking like this. I was like you but I let the situation carry on for years without really addressing it.

    Heavy social drinking does come at a cost! Certainly for people in my generation, I'm 43, many of us kinda 'write off' those costs as part of the 'drinking package', which, I think is one reason why they keep drinking, even though it heavily affects their lives.

    You're still young and it's great that you're questioning this habit. Good luck! Keep this blog informed about your progress too!

    When I changed, I similarly didn't find much discussion of the topic. Big thanks for your feedback!

    I'll also write soon too.


    1. Love your blog...hope it helps many including me. I hope you continue this as it has been a huge support for me. Still struggle but I hope it will b less:)


  4. I do hope it can help you and many others. I do intend to write more and I have some more ideas. I'll also plan to ask some other people to write 'guest posts' too.

    Thanks for writing back and being so positive. Be strong and change will happen.


  5. I just came across this, and I want to know more. Our stories are very similar (age started all the way through the heavy drinking at home), and I am right now at that point where you started out. I realize the blog is a couple years old, but would be grateful for any advice, and if you are still where you want to be.

    1. Hello 'grantumchi'

      I haven't been here for a long time.

      Advice - It's a little difficult as I don't really know your situation.

      One thing to do - re-evaluate your view of drinking.

      When I cut down - I reviewed why 'heavy drinking' was bad and how it had caused me problems in my life. I also focused on why drinking less is a good thing (wake up fresh, have a good night sleep, have more energy, have more quality free time etc).

      I also did a rough calculation on how many times I had been pissed in my life - it was very depressing but it was also motivating, for me at least.
      The above is a good start but I don’t think it is enough. The problem I had and I think a lot of heavy drinkers have, is that when ‘drinking time’ comes, the positives for drinking outweigh the negatives, I used to simply forget the bad effects of too much drink because I was thinking that I’m going to relax and have a good time.
      I solved this problem by placing a notice in front of my wine bottles that reminded me of the bad effects of drink. I forced myself to think about why drinking only one glass is a good thing and it worked.
      Looking back on it, I think one of the reasons it worked was because it was at home, an environment that I could control. I think it would’ve been more difficult if I was still going to the pub.
      I hope that helps a bit.
      Good luck. And if this doesn’t work, think why didn’t it work and try something a little different to it.