Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Three Gear Drinking Brits

This article is for;

People who drink too much and want to cut down.

Reading this will give you;

You’ll realise that British drinking patterns are just habits. British drinking habits might be unhelpful and limited but they can certainly be changed. Moderate drinking is a skill and like all skills it can be learnt by most people.

Brits and their three gears of drinking

0 (neutral if you like) – Don’t drink.
3 – Drink fast
4 – Drink until you’re very drunk.

If this was a car, you wouldn’t be very happy. It’ll get you into a lot of trouble and you’ll be making an ass of yourself most of the time you’re driving. Same with drinking, you either be fine, when you’re in neutral or when you do drink, you risk the chance of hangovers, missing much of your weekend, feeling bad, sounding slurred, insulting someone you didn’t want to or even getting into trouble with other people. Drinking with three gears isn’t great and yet many British people drink this way. I did for twenty five years and the majority of people I know who drink, drink this way too.

Why are we so bad? Culture, perhaps? Weak minded? Peer pressure? The causes could be debated forever, the end result is that many of us only drink using third and fourth. We don’t drink using gears one and two because essentially, we don’t practice them. When was the last time you stopped after one? When was the last time you started with water? When was the last time you ordered a jug of tap water with your round?

What are gears one and two?


1 – Drink one or two drinks and stop
2 –Drink two, three or four drinks, with a soft drink starter or alternating between alcohol and soft drinks.

If you can master even one of these gears, your drinking will radically change. They are not difficult skills to master, you only need to practice them to get good at them.

I’ve practice ‘drinking one or two drinks and then stopping’ and for me, this has been my silver bullet. It has changed my attitude towards drinking. I now think before and during drinking about what could happen the next day. If possible, I drink with a soft drink too, to slow me down. The amount I drink now is much lower than before. I hardly ever drink more than four pints at a time. That used to be my minimum.

You don’t have to be a three gear drinking Brit. You don’t have to get drunk every time you drink (check out Scare Yourself with numbers). You don’t need to feel bad about yourself the next day. Take control of your drinking by practicing gears 1 and 2. Once you’ve got these gears, your drinking will change for the better.

Other articles on Moderate drinking

Overview of the Moderate Drinker
Will-power is overrated

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

You don’t become a moderate drinker by abstaining

Who’s this for?

Heavy drinkers who want to cut down their drinking but who don’t want to stop. There are many advantages in moderating your drinking, namely better health, save more money and better relationships with the ones you love.


Abstaining can be great and though I’m not religious I believe that modern society is missing out because we don’t practice lent anymore.

I’ve abstained quite a few times, the longest ones being Feb 09, Dec 07 (India) and Feb 99 (India). Yes, I felt great afterwards and I thought they were worthwhile. They were welcome breaks for my body and my mind. They both felt better for not drinking. But when I started drinking again, I just went back to my old habits. You don’t become a moderate drinker by abstaining.

The skills are different.

Abstinence is mainly about avoidance of drink and saying no.

Moderation is finding new skills that help you handle drink better, like stopping after one or two drinks, drinking a soft drink with alcohol and being aware that drinking too much leads to unpleasant consequences the next day.

Practice the skills, to get better at them.

From my experience the only way to learn these skills is to do them and do them consistently. I found the use of triggers really helped me develop these skills. After you do them consistently for a while, they start to become natural.

Triggers I used

Another possible trigger to use

Drink water with, before and after an alcohol drink. If in the house – use a notice on your bottle of wine (or whatever it is you drink) “One wine, one water”. I feel strongly that the message needs to be with the drink as this helps you get consistent at doing it.


Many people believe that if they stop for some time and then start again, they will miraculously be moderate drinkers. I learnt from experience that this is not the case. Moderate drinking and abstinence are different. You need different skills to drink moderately.

I’m not against abstinence, I think for some people it’s the right choice and even for moderate drinkers a period of abstinence could be good for them. If you abstain from drinking, you will feel better (at least different).

If your goal is to be a moderate drinker, then you need to learn skills that help you be a moderate drinker. Simple as that.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Alcohol Diary - 14th - 31st October

Welcome to the Moderate Drinker.

After a busy start to the month, things settled down into a much healthier pattern.

Overall, I’m happy with the way I’m approaching drink. It feels natural to just have one in the home now and I was happy that I took action to reduce my drinking when I went out to the pub earlier in the month.

I'm loving the side benefits of moderate drinking too, especially the additional quality time that I have and I don't miss hangovers!
Overview of October

• 12 days alcohol free
• 10 days - 1 drink
• 4 days – 1-2 drinks
• 3 days – 2-3 drinks
• 2 days – 4 drinks

For November I’d like to increase the alcohol free days and reduce the days with 2-4 drinks. Only problem is that I’m going away to a vineyard for one weekend.

I’m thinking that a month off the alcohol would be good too but I don’t envisage that happening until March next year.

14th - 2 and a half small glasses of wine. Went to a friend’s house for dinner. Drank slowly and left the last glass of wine unfinished.
15th – 1 glass of red wine
16th – 1 glass of red wine
17th – 0
18th – 0
19th - 1 glass of red wine
20th – 0
21st - 1 glass of red wine
22nd – 4 and half small glasses of white wine
23rd – 0
24th – 0
25th – 1
26th – 1 and half small glasses of white wine
27th – 0
28th – 0
29th - 1 glass of red wine
30th - 1 glass of red wine
31st – 0

September Results