How to regain control of your unhealthy home drinking habits

The pandemic saw sales of home alcohol in the US rise by over 54% compared to the pre-lockdown era, leading the World Health Organization to issue a warning about potential health issues and risky behaviors. While social activities have returned, millions of people are now more comfortable drinking at home. If you have found yourself drinking excessively - or at least more than you’d like - while at home, now is the time to regain control.

Firstly, you must not blame yourself for increasing your alcohol intake in recent times. Research found that 60% of women are drinking more since the pandemic than they did before it. And it’s very understandable. We are living in stressful times and a glass of wine can be a good way to relax. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize the dangers of excessive drinking as well as the patterns that can lead to an alcohol usage disorder (AUD). some key issues include;

  • Anything over 7 drinks per week for a woman or 15 drinks per week for a man is considered potential problematic drinking.

  • A unit of alcohol is just 12 oz of 5% beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of a spirit.

  • Up to 36% of men and 25% of women say that they drink during work hours when using a Work From Home schedule.

  • A binge session is anything where you consume more than 4 units for women or 5 units for men within a two-hour session.

  • Over 90% of US adult drinkers admit to binging at least once per month.

The harsh reality is that excessive alcohol consumption can bring negativity to many aspects of your life. A plethora of physical health issues include raised blood pressure, fatty liver, and increased risk of stroke. Meanwhile, there are clear links between chronic drinking and increased levels of anxiety. For anyone who develops an AUD - or shows some of the signs - it can cause personality changes while also placing a staring on relationships.

Drinking isn’t cheap either, even when you are buying alcohol from the 7-11 rather than a bar. If you are drinking to forget your financial difficulties, it will only make things worse in the morning. Drinking at home may also encourage you to consume more, which could result in taking days off at work. Alcohol-related absences cost companies $90bn each year, and the impacts on your personal progress can be huge too.

If you feel that your drinking at home has surpassed a healthy level, your suspicions are probably accurate. The longer you leave the issue untreated, the harder it will be to break the problematic cycle. A conscious effort will be needed to regain control over your home-based drinking. The following checklist should help you rethink your approach to drinking at home and encourage you to restore a healthy relationship with alcohol;

  • Consider taking a detox. Whether it’s completing Dry January or avoiding alcohol while you train for a 10km run doesn’t matter. The bodily changes when you stop drinking will make you feel better than ever and see there’s more to life than drink.

  • Embrace the habit of actively measuring your drinks. It’s very easy to pour yourself more than a unit of alcohol when drinking at home, which will make your drinking levels seem far smaller than they actually are.

  • Ensure that you have at least 1-2 alcohol-free days per week. Even when it’s a small amount, drinking every single day can increase the likelihood of developing a dependence or a serious AUD.

  • Be mindful of how much alcohol you buy. Many stores will run special offers on bulk purchases. However, when there is more alcohol in the house, the temptation to drink at home becomes greater once more.

  • Actively track your drinking habits with an app. Aside from providing clear visual data, it encourages you to set goals while additionally understanding how much you are drinking. It is particularly useful during celebrations and festive periods.

  • Start drinking at social events once more. When you are in the mindset of drinking at home, it can become a very frequent occurrence. Cutting back to your fortnightly night out on the town or a Saturday trip to a restaurant can work wonders.

Finally, you must remember that we all have different tolerance levels to alcohol. Your age, gender, size, previous drinking habits, diet, and genetics can all influence your personal situation. So, if you are drinking with your partner or friends at home, do not be afraid to drink at a slower pace or even have a water in between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.

When you know your limits and regain a sense of organization, your home drinking will become enjoyable once more.