You’re not an alcoholic because you drink after 6pm!

I hear you! You’re not a morning drinking, wife beating, park bench sleeping, slurring, stinking alcoholic. And you don’t get the shakes when you haven’t had alcohol for a few hours. You’d never drink during the day and anything after 6pm is fine, right?

There’s this very strange notion that the time of day you start drinking is a marker for whether or not you are an alcoholic….

When exactly is “wine o’clock”?

6pm? Absolutely tickety-boo. No problems here. Enjoy!

5pm? It’s 6 o’clock somewhere, right!

4pm? Ah hell, you had a tough day. You deserve a drink.

3pm? Naughty you! But I will if you will. etc. etc.

At what time do we say, stop! That’s not normal. You are an alcoholic.

A drink with lunch is absolutely acceptable of course. You can always drink as long as there is food somewhere in the vicinity. However, remove the meal and you’re in choppy waters. Now you’re just drinking in the day and that’s definitely not acceptable. But with a meal? As you were!

How about 11am? ALCOHOLIC! Ring the sirens. Get the relatives round. We need an intervention!

What the hell does time have to do with it? Really!?

Wind back to 6pm. Have you been waiting all day for this moment? Has that cooling bottle been calling to you from it’s launch pad in the fridge door since 5pm? Are you planning to drink two glasses or four? Will you finish the bottle or stop just short of the whole thing so you can at least count your consumption in glasses, not bottles.

When you have an evening off, is it a triumph? Do you announce to your mates, proudly,

“I haven’t had a drink since Sunday! I think I deserve one tonight.”

If any of this rings a bell then I am here to tell you that you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Forget the word ‘alcoholic’. It’s a red herring and has kept many people in slavery to alcohol for years. What you actually need to be examining is your relationship with alcohol, where you place it on your list of priorities and how it is affecting your life.

What actually is moderation?

It depends on what you are moderating. If your doctor told you to eat chocolate in moderation, would you leave the surgery thinking,

“Yay! A Snickers a day for me!”

No. You would take it to mean that it was a treat. Maybe a once a week thing. But alcohol? Well, we just make it up according to what we can live with. In truth most people who drink regularly are addicted to alcohol. It’s the addiction that makes them drink at 6pm most days. That acceptable time where they can drink unhindered by societal concern. Total addict behaviour!

If you can cut down your drinking to once a week then please do it. Screw the NHS guidelines. These are completely made up by the drinks industry and not supported by any medical research. Yes, that’s a fact!

Take control of your drinking

If you CANNOT cut down to a drink a week (I mean one evening of drinking a few glasses), then you have an issue. Sorry to be blunt but I guess you read this far because you are genuinely concerned.

Take matters into your own hands now. Stop drinking for as long as you can. A week, a month or like me, a year and counting. Give yourself the choice to take it or leave it.

You may have to leave it altogether but some people just need a reset. If you don’t consider yourself to be an alcoholic and yet you struggle to not drink on an almost daily basis then welcome to a massive club of dependant drinkers. You are not alone.

Read more about getting honest with yourself and why not drinking is so great.