Alcohol - are you a social drinker?


First off, please accept my apologies for this unusual post. I write for the NHS Choices website ( I’m looking to interview someone who has developed health problems as a result of regularly drinking above recommended alcohol levels. I'm not looking for a heavy drinker, rather, I'm looking for someone who might describe themselves as a regular drinker. For a man, this would mean regularly drinking more than 3-4 units a day. Please send me a direct message if you'd like to be involved. Cheers.

23 Replies

  • I think it goes without saying that alcohol damages your health after all its a poison and over a period of time systematic poisoning results in poor health in every area of the body and mind. There is no such categorization as heavy drinker light drinker social drinker. If you can't leave it alone,stop buying it,using it as a relaxant and constantly seek out the effects of euphoria to heighten what may be percieved by oneself as boring interactions in social situations that you cant do stone cold sober then you have a problem. Just my take on it :-D :-D

  • Nice to be told I have a problem

  • Opinions are just that Loo. Lets agree to differ. That's if you are actually serious of course. Having had one wife who was an alcoholic I can see both sides of the argument but I do enjoy a glass of vino before dinner and not for any euphoria. I just like the taste!

    It has been suggested that excess alcohol or in particular binge drinking can help bring on AF but not normal people having an odd glass.


  • People have been fermenting and drinking wine - previously my favourite drink - since they could walk upright, so my view is that it is possible to be a light drinker - or a moderate drinker for enjoyment's sake, rather than as a crutch to help one cope in social situations.

    I drank wine with dinner every night for decades - now I have AF. Are the two linked and did the wine damage my heart? Who can say? My cardiologist thinks not.

    A lovely glass or two of Bordeaux is the one thing I really, really miss ..... :(

  • I gave it up 17 years ago after doing a 30 year educational and recreational study on the subject. Mention alcohol consumption and people get defensive.

    And yes I firmly believed it damaged my heart Finvola.

    BobD I never stop other people from drinking that is their choice and usually neither do I say anything. Its just my opinion from shall we say a hands on approach.

    If I offend anyone on here then great at least I've made someone look at their own drinking and make a personal assessment :-D :-D. :-D

  • I really miss my red wine, I drank every night without fail. Food was never the same after going tee-total last year, although think I've got used to it now and my alcohol-free red wine ain't bad actually; has that same dryness.

    Did wine bring on my AF, pass? More than one cardio told me to drink red wine ! But it is certainly a trigger for me now.


  • Some in my family like alcohol , others do not. I do not like it at all and I have never drunk it. It certainly hasn't contributed to my AF.

  • I certainly drank more than I should have for a long time. I didn't think I was drinking too much at the time and I wasn't an alcoholic but I was a habitual drinker for example half to two thirds of a bottle of red every day after work with my evening meal. When my A.F. started I gave up completely for around 6 months as I was scared. Giving up had no effect at all on my A.F. although it may very well have damaged my heart in the first place. Nowadays I don't drink.k at home but have a glass of wine when out for a meal. It tastes like nectar! It's tempting to eat out every night just for the treat....o.k. maybe not. X

  • Thanks Koll, I dread to think what alcohol would do to me now. I miss my red/white/anything I could get my hands on towards the end.

    I apologize if my first post sounded accusatve and abrupt but when you see your EPs/GPs/Nurses/medics be absolutely honest with your alcohol history. I did with my EP and he really appreciated me for it and I'm glad I did. I know in my line of work that a lot patients except the ones who are obviously suffering the effects of heavy drinking (cant hide it from the doc) tend to play down their consumption to their GPs and Consultants when giving their history. Its always "yeah I drink in moderation/occasionally". If people were more truthful about their history then perhaps it would help researchers like the original poster to see if alcohol really is a culprit for AF generally speaking.

    My daughter reminded me of something at the weekend I'd completely had amnesia over. We worked out that I was admitted to hospital for the first time with AF after a weekend of binge drinking many years ago. I had chest pains and couldn't understand why I got breathless climbing stairs. I stopped all alcohol after that and my next episode was 7 years later and then 10 years later. I firmly believe in my case that my drinking history is responsible for my AF today. :-)

    PS: Alcohol can be hidden in food too and cleaning products, the old vanilla flavoring put in food you name it , it permeates society.

  • Loo I think you are really brave and honest about your drinking. I think our generation have an odd relationship with alcohol. Not quite the same as young people today who seem to be in pursuit of pure enjoyment. We attach all sorts of other benefits to it such as an aid to relaxation and then it seems much more acceptable. It is a shame it tastes so nice but the taste only lasts a few minutes after all. It's a bit like chocolate, only seconds in the mouth and goodness only knows how long on the hips! X

  • I was informed straight off that my years of heavy drinking resulted in my problems. The phrase the registrar used tose years ago was " if you have another drink it will be like (pause) poison". A tht was the end of my drinking experiences. Personally i was only too pleased I was forced to stop because it had taken over a lot of my life. The cariomyopathy reversed, but the AF, after two ablations, third one coming up, is difficult. I did do myself harm.

  • My first ever af episode was after a lads weekend away when I was 25, so I chucked it, but I'm 36 now and still plagued by the af monster, even though I'm really fit and otherwise healthy, I have wondered if my younger weekend binges have cause my af but my cardiologist say "no chance" just bad luck???

  • I believe the fact that, despite being a heavy social drinker in my 20's and 30's, I never used to drink at home, that I handled the switch to being just a Saturday night/special occasion binge drinker in my 40's and then gave alcohol up two years ago without a problem proves that I was never totally reliant on it, but I accept that there were times when it was a crutch.

    My guess is that my AF is down to years of high blood pressure, but, if that was caused by me being overweight, then the biggest single factor in contributing to that would be beer.

  • Yep Kaiser I swung in the opposite direction to extreme fitness too.

    Thank you to all the people in this thread who have also been honest with me.

    I agree Dedeottie us British do have a weird relationship with alcohol we get smashed on a regular basis but then get all denial and shifty like when questioned by a medic. Hell even I got shifty when questioned in my most recent pre-op at LHCH ( years of well practiced shiftiness).

    The first thing out of the consultant cardiologists mouth on ward round in March this year when in AF was "have you been drinking?" So he obviously thought there was a connection.

  • My alcohol consumption has mainly been binge related. Having played sport at semi pro level I always steered clear of wine/beer through the week, but as soon as a game finished on a Saturday I would have my RDA in one night and probably more. This happened for years and then there was all the Birthdays, Stag dos, etc that came with the social side of it. Did it cause my AF? I don't know. The years of hard pre-season training and playing twice a week may have also contributed to AF, as could have all the potions we used to take to try and give us that extra edge in a game. Alcohol may have contributed, but I won't chastise it, as drinking responsibly and within moderation should be fine. I still have the odd drink, but nowhere near as much as I used to have. It's not a trigger for me and I still enjoy the odd beer with old team mates.

  • Never mind the alcohol I think the problem is that many of us Brits are far too obsessive about ANYTHING! Sport, work, food , alcohol you name it people do it to extremes. I was brought up in a very Mediterranean attitude to drinking in that wine with food was normal in our house from as long as wine was around in UK after the war. Some of it back then was disgusting, sweet desert wines etc. Merridown cider was an alternative at Sunday lunch with the beef two veg and yorkshire pudding. The only member of our family for three generations who died younger than late eighties was my mother who had cancer.

    I did find long before I was diagnosed that alcohol sent me into palpitations and at the time my doctor just said "aren't you lucky think of the money you will save. " Nothing to do with binge drinking and I seldom if ever drank beer as I was usually the designated driver. Ten years like that and then I was seduced by a Gevrais Chambertin over dinner one night and found it didn't affect me.

    This was all long after the alcoholic wife had gone but Loo I understand your position as for some years after she went I had serious problems at work in that if a customer (banking) came in smelling of booze I was very antagonistic towards them and much more likely to refuse any requests.

    Coming back to the obsessive, it is just as likely to have been the training/exercise regime which caused your problems as it was the booze.

    In my case I put it down to 40 odd years of adrenaline running a motor racing team and living 18 hours a day with two jobs. Back to the obsessive you see.

    As my old Grandmother use to say " We're all queer 'cept me and thee and thars queer sometimes."


  • Hi, Love the quote Bob! I believe my A.F was stressed induced and the few episodes i have had over the years have come at or just after a period of stress almost like when the event is over and the stress level falls the A.F kicked in. however since starting with it I found that a couple of glasses of red wine would have me waking up around 2 am with a fast strong heartbeat which would pass off after a couple of hours.Was that A.F? I don't know. I still enjoy a glass of red wine a couple of times a week but it has to be that just one glass and doing that I don't have any problems so hopefully this will not change as I only drink red wine and enjoy it. Interestingly i have talked about this to colleagues and some have said that after a more than the usual amount of alcohol have experienced the fast heartbeat in the night. I am sure there is a correlation between alcohol and A.F somewhere for some of us, I am also convinced that stress is a huge contributor as well. Just a few thoughts

  • I've also spoken to many friends and workmates who tell me that they have had fast, and erratic in some cases, heartbeats when they've been on a drinking session. In virtually every case the people involved had not heard of AFib until I told them about it - it does make me wonder if the recorded figures for the condition are just scratching the surface?

  • I'm sure you are right there.


  • hope the person who posted the question got what they wanted ha ha

  • Yeah frills haha

    BobD I really appreciate your reactions to boozey people because it must have been very difficult time for you re your wife.It does leave a residue.

    Yes most likely its been multifactorial a combo of many factors with me and my AF but I battered my heart with it then went on to batter my heart with extreme exercise! I wonder if its just good old wear and tear? Combined with my muscular pulmonary veins when I kick the bucket they will have to beat my heart to death with a stick. I also had a singing career as a Cathdral choral vocalist so that could have contributed who knows! :-D :-D Voice gone too now! :-D

  • My mother had A fib and she never drank or smoked her entire life . She kept fit walking her dog every day and cooked ' proper food ' . My parents didn't believe in microwaves or ready meals. In fact they didn't have any stress either . She was told , just one of those things. If there is a link with alcohol and A fib , god help some of ' young generation ' if we are to believe what the media tells us about the bingeing etc

  • Just goes to show maxdog nobody knows for sure what causes AF. The first question any self respecting GP will ask is do you Smoke or do you drink to excess. My old Gran lived until she was just short of 90 and smoked her whole life. I don't think one single thing causes AF and until the day the medical profession can pin point the issue(s) we can guess all we want. As so many people have said on this forum try not to stress about AF and do everything in moderation. Easier said than done on both counts for me :)

You may also like...