Why does a bottle of wine still feel like the solution?

I'm having a small but perhaps significant battle with a strong desire to sink deep into a bottle of wine tonight. During the 12 week plan I successfully banned myself from having wine in the house, and have now reached the point where I keep myself happy with a half pint (or two) of cider every now and then, and only have wine at special events. But today a combination of low energy after a testing couple of days, low mood from various jobs not coming through etc, and having a fairly unplanned solitary sort of day, is steering me back towards the bottle. But why? I really don't think I'm an alcoholic, having known some alcoholics in my time. I also know I shouldn't drink so much, partly for health reasons, partly for weight control reasons, and have succeeded in developing good habits now. Are these habits just not fully bedded in yet? Is there a lesser but still significant level of alcohol dependence that some people get, without being full blown alcoholics? Now I've posted this I'm going to really try to be accountable and not succumb tonight. But I'm so frustrated after all these weeks and months to be getting the same bottle glugging desire still! And also I really don't want to sink back into old habits and risk regaining the weight.


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45 Replies

  • Hi Ruth,

    Step away from that bottle of wine ;-)

    I think you have to accept that however long you give something up for or just cut back, there will always be times when you crave it. I gave up smoking over 10 years ago, but just occasionally I will walk through a cloud of someone else's smoke and think how lovely it would be to have a cigarette ! (Luckily most of the time when I smell smoke I think how disgusting - so the craving isn't always there !).Same with cakes, wine, and everything else we become addicted to.

    I think the important thing to realise that it isn't really a craving for that thing itself - you've listed a whole host of reasons why you are feeling a bit down today - and its those reasons that are causing the craving - not the wine per se.

    Can you replace that wine with something else that isn't going to make you feel so bad ? Can you order a takeaway, buy a small cake/chocolate or something equally as appealing ? It might not ideal in terms of 'healthy' eating, but it might keep you cheerful, you know that a couple of days of good eating / exercise again will get rid of the extra calories - and you can feel great that you haven't succumbed to the wine :-)

  • Thanks Lucca, I gave up smoking 15 yrs ago and still crave it. Which is just bizarre to be honest. I have got myself some cider and dark choc and trying to resolve to be in a fit state to run tomorrow. Hopefully this rain will be gone by then. If not then some sort of strength exercise def needs to happen, that's lapsed too, oops!

  • Hi Ruth, sorry to hear that you are feeling a little low and struggling today. Why don't you buy one of those small 1/2 bottles of wine then you can relax and enjoy a glass, settle your craving but not do too much damage to your calorie intake. Hope you feel a little brighter tomorrow.

  • Thanks mrsg3. I really have trouble with those small bottles, they work in theory but they're always on 3 for £5 offers which has ended badly in the past. Have got myself a nice cider though, hopefully that should work :)

  • It is amazing how just a half bottle can help to fill that craving or desire to have a nice glass of wine with dinner.

  • Hi Ruth,

    I think you're being a little hard on yourself. You've only been watching your intake of wine for 8 months, I suspect that's considerably less than the time you spent using it as a comforter. You've also chosen the more difficult path of restricting your consumption, rather than giving it up completely.

    Is it just wine you feel this way about, or are there some foodstuffs that you sometimes crave? It's human nature to steer towards those things that give us a quick fix and a testament to how far you've come, that you haven't dived head first into the bottle, but are weighing up the pros and cons.

    You haven't gone on a bender and you have earned the right to enjoy a glass of wine occasionally. The crux of the matter, is to be in control. Have a glass of wine if you want one, but steer clear of it if you need it.

    Enjoy life Ruth, you deserve to :)

  • Thank you moreless. I've been trying to cut down my drinking since 2012 when I ended up in a&e with alcohol induced gastroenteritis. I did have one year without alcohol which helped a lot, but went down the path of having a little as completely cutting it out was actually much harder. But despite all my good intentions I was still having half a bottle of wine or more most evenings by the time I started the 12 week plan around June-ish. So its been in a way a much longer process, but thank you for reminding me it's early days too.

    I don't so much crave other foods, as just get more cravey in a general sense after a few drinks. Except for chocolate, I think a lot of people get choc cravings tho...

  • You're absolutely right that people have different degrees of tolerance with all manner of things. Some can manage a smaller amount of a substance, whereas for others only total abstinence (or substitution, or distraction) works.

    Whatever you decide Ruth, we'll do our level best to support you!

  • I would really like to be more help to you Ruth, but feel completely out of my depth.

    Have you considered joining the HealthUnlocked community called Club Soda? Maybe the members there would have more insight.

    Sorry I couldn't help more.

  • I have looked at Club Soda, but not for a while, thanks for reminding me. Maybe I'll take another look. You were a great help moreless, thanks, feeling very supported right now, hope I can be some help to you too as needed :)

  • Oh my goodness Ruth, you've already helped me heaps, I'm only too happy to return the favour in some small way :)

  • Oh ruth_canal_runner, you know I am having he exact same thoughts, however not with wine, but with food. Where you have not gone towards the bottle, a big well done by the way! I have gone into a binge eating the last two days, having come back home from Wales. My head is full of guilt. My tummy is saying 'what the hell has just happened'' it is bloated up. I am afraid of stepping on the scales.

    I am having the same thoughts. You have been at this weight loss longer than I have and you have had those good habits for longer. Are we always going to be haunted by food and in your case and many other people alcohol? Why is it that we can still crave to go down the wrong path, after these many weeks and in my case I have.

    My advice would be to take a picture of yourself and compare it to the start picture. Or a picture close to where you started. Stare at that picture and find all the little and big changes and how they have made you feel, because I expect that you feel so much better in yourself and you are so much lighter, that hopefully should give you enough resolve to keep your distance from alcohol.

    I am the same as you in respect of low mood (emotional upheaval of seeing family and arrangements of Little Boo's christening, where my dad will meet Mr Boo. Mr Boo's family does not want to have a meal afterwards etc. Am I PMT or am I pregnant? Most likely I would have thought to be PMT. If I am where is it? When is going to start? Body get on with it already. I have had so little sleep. The bed Mr Boo made is still letting off paint fumes. We are on the sofa bed still. I had to wake up at 5.30 to take Mr Boo to work, then Little Boo to school. I rested, but could not sleep, before I know it it was pick up time again. These things don't help do they with weight loss.

    If you jobs have not come through, it gets you worried about your finances and causes more stress doesn't it. I think like everyone else says on here is to draw a line under it, start the next day better than the last. Get back on the wagon and keep the bigger context/picture in mind.

    Keep positive and have faith in real foods to meet your nutritional needs.

  • Hi MrsBooboo, hope you feel less bloated soon. I guess I'm really at the preventative stage here, but it is frustrating isn't it that old habits are so hard to squash. Thanks for the advice about focusing on before /after. I use my posts on here as a sort of before/after record. But maybe I should brave those photos too 😐

  • Hi Ruth, hopefully posting this will have helped you find a little clarity.

    I feel your frustration as I have a similar issue a couple of weeks ago with food. After months of coping without binging when work got on top of me I have to fight an overwhelming urge to stuff. It really was an urge just to gorge on food, it was all about quantity and not quality and I just couldn't understand where that urge had come from. I found it quite upsetting to be honest.

    I am pleased to say I managed to fight the urge but it left me asking why.

    I wouldn't say I am a food addict as such but I have a food problem and would say I am an overeater (given the chance) and maybe this is the same for you, but with drink. You're not an alcoholic but you maybe have a drink problem - I hope you don't mind me suggesting that. Clearly you can keep it in check mostly but there are days when it tries to drag you back - just like me with the overeating.

    I'm not sure it would help but have you thought about buying a mini bottle of wine? Perhaps don't keep it in the house but if you feel you'd enjoy a mini bottle then go out and buy one but then savour it. Provided you can be confident you will not buy another one or a bigger one of course. This is how I approach the chocolate issue. I never buy a large bar now, I usually have fun size bars (one a day) with an occasional regular mars type size but never a big bar.

    Best of luck :)

  • Thanks Sueper. Your small bars of choc are like me getting a small bottle of cider, which contains 2-3 units, rather than the 6 or so units in a full-size bottle of wine. But the being left asking why is definitely frustrating, I guess we have to believe it will happen less and less. Maybe this is the first time I've really had this trigger for a while, and it's all the more frustrating as I've made so much progress in other ways. I have a 'drink problem' in that I do like a drink, as do lots of my friends, but it also has the capacity to make me ill now, so I really should be curbing it. It's like an asthmatic who doesn't give up smoking I guess, only maybe not as bad.

  • Hi again. I suspect that because it is less and less it caught you off guard - in truth you've made great progress but it isn't always easy to appreciate just how much progress you've made when you feel like you've taken a little step backwards.

  • Hi Ruth, yow this doesn't sound like a good patch. As you said in your original post there is a range of alcohol dependency problems which fall short of alcoholism but still make for health and mood problems.

    I completely understand why you don't want to slide back to half a bottle a night , your attitude and your plans are great and I hope you get through this evening. Can you remember what coping strategies worked for you in the past?

    PS If you are not having any luck with various jobs then it is their mistake and huge loss.

  • Thanks, it's definitely their mistake, but the job market is such a mess at the moment. I shouldn't be surprised to be getting rejection and mess-around emails anymore, but hey ho it still has the ability to stress me out!

    The phrase 'alcohol dependency' has been mentioned to me before by a doc, but no more was really ever said. But also it's just unlucky in a way that I ended up with a sensitivity to alcohol in combination with every now and then really craving a few glasses of wine, pretty unlucky that...

  • Hi Ruth

    you are very brave

    but also you have a lot of common sense

    you will get a job

    you are going through a bad patch

    we all get a fancy too over eat or drink

    that's why we are all here

    you help so many people you are a star

    I don't think that you will go back to your old ways

    but you are young and young people today have more temptation arounder drink

    you've worked to hard to go back

    perhaps you could not have drink week days

    allow a couple of drinks weekend

    with all your ŕunning I don't think you will go back to being that unhealthy again

    pat on the back

    you've reached your goal

    thinking of you ps changed my name sienna daisy Luis for something shorter

  • Ah okay, that makes sense, I couldn't work out who you were. Nice new name kitkat :) I'm semi-young, 36, but you're right, the running does keep me on the straight and narrow, and one of the things I'm focusing on is to go for a run tomorrow, as I haven't run since the weekend. Thank you for your encouraging message, very much appreciated :)

  • Hi Ruth, I'm sorry to hear you are having a bit of a stressful time right now (virtual hug). I don't think I can add much to what everyone's said already really. I think in times of stress most people will have something that they kind of turn to...for me it was always food but I'm trying to kick that. Some folk will have a cigarette if they are stressed, some will have a glass of wine, etc. Just remember that you are human and I'd guess it's perfectly normal to experience this kind of thing, particularly in times of stress. Good on you for coming here for support and having a bit of a chat with folks, rather than giving in. I know it helped me the other day talking with you and others about things, and just wanted to say don't give up, you are doing brilliantly and we are all behind you. Try to keep your chin up. xx

  • Thanks Weightwarrior, virtual hug much appreciated, hope your eve is going okay too :)

  • Hi Ruthie...you wonderful person you.....it's ok for me to say...you'll sleep better, feel better, look better, remember the evening....if you don't fall into the bottle of wine...but logic often doesn't come into it. As you wrote the post seven hours ago...it was on your mind...so I'm hoping that posting and replying has helped a bit and given you the extra nudge away from the bottle?

  • Yep, I've read and replied to posts on here instead of switching off and wallowing, so it's definitely helped. Have enjoyed a full bottle of cider whereas usually I'd stop at half, but that's still pretty moderate I think. Hope to run tomorrow and get back into my routine again. I think I just really need a good routine!

  • Ruth, you truly are an inspirational star on this forum...sleep well and look after you.

  • Sleep well too :)

  • Just had a little binge...is that possible? Included wine, vodka...my triggers, cake and licorice all sorts ...no choc in the house.....but will be back in the zone tomorrow....got to complete luccca's challenge! Night.

  • Hope it was truly very little and hope you're feeling okay. I'm breaking some rule I didn't even know I had, but feels like it should be a rule... Am having more cider this eve 2 eves in a row, but only half a bottle and not on my own, so less bad... Tomorrow's another day! You'll be out walking, and I'll be cycling around (hopefully :) )

  • Hi Ruth, yep, it was just a little...but a bit of a surprise after a healthy month....can't wait to walk...I ran for six mins this week!..three lots of two...am very close to the first stone shed...fourteen stone might be ok for starting the running programme but I reaaly have to take care of my knees...from your experience of the forum, what do you think?

  • People start at heavier than 14 stone as well as lighter, but everyone has different issues. C25K is designed to be accessible for anyone, and the podcast is good as you get bits of advice as you go along, mainly being to not go too fast. The forum is good too. If you ask questions on there you get lots of advice from 'graduates' as well as from others currently going through c25k.

    I think you're right to be cautious about your knees, a good first step would be to go to a running shop and get good running shoes. I just got cheap Karrimor ones (£25) but maybe going to somewhere that does gait analysis and properly fits you with shoes might help allay your fears?

    The first session is 8 lots of running for 60 seconds with 90 seconds walking between each run if I remember right. You do that for the rest of the week, then go onto 90 seconds running in week 2, then 3 mins in week 3, etc, it's very gradual.

  • Thank you ruth....your always so generous with your time on this forum...let you know how I get on downloading the programme

  • I understand this completely. I'm sorry you are having a tough time. Having read through the other replies, you have coped amazingly well and made great decisions so please don't be too hard on yourself. You are an inspiration as always.

    I've been feeling a similar way today. I had to work late on a "project" and it became clear that my presence wasn't required at all, it was just an excuse for the guy leading on it to "subtly" hit on me. He's a total sleaze bag so I had my suspicions and was prepared to ignore him and confront him when he overstepped, but it's just completely insulting and made me feel really uncomfortable. First instinct is to get drunk and eat and retreat into myself and be invisible. I've done none of those things (yet) but it's still my go to option. I hate that it is. Luckily today I had a friend watching out for me who insisted on a cup of tea and a chat with him before I headed home. I think that helped clear the mind fog. But I'm not always going to have someone like him around to help. I need to try and get out of this mindset myself.

    Ruth, you are recognising your weakness, but in doing so that is such a strength. Thank you for sharing your struggle with us, and I hope things brighten up for you soon. :-)

  • Spader, mind fog is exactly what it is. My boyfriend called to check up on me this eve, as I started the day off badly and got worse, he knew I was in need of support, today was like a solid mind fog day. He actually asked me have you had something to drink, and I was honest and said a bottle of cider, in the past it might have been more a half-truth than the full truth. So a big step has been made in being accountable and honest, thanks a lot to getting used to sharing the downs as well as the ups on here. Great you had someone looking out for you too. Hope that the annoying encounter this eve doesn't cast a shadow over your job more generally. Good that others could see that guy for what he was too. You're obviously way more professional and capable than he could ever hope to be and you'll go way further too :)

  • Hi Ruth, you know you have done amazingly well, and have stayed super focussed, I wonder whether it's because you've got to your weight goal that you've spent such a lot of energy working towards, and now your there, that the old craving has surfaced because the strength of your drive has eased off. You've done well to stick to the cider tonight, which you seem much better at regulating than the wine, and on top of a rubbish day that's a real achievement! Maybe it's time to find a different goal that you can focus your energies and concentration on to banish the wine devil! Doesn't even have to be a weight or exercise related goal as you are already doing well on those fronts, maybe a new skill or learn a language or something, anything really that you can put some enthusiasm into. ☀️

  • Sorry Ruth, only just seen this. I hope the accountability helped!. I think the subconscious is powerful and having reached goal that little voice thinks it will get heard.

    Maintenance is just as much about mindfulness as losing is.

    I like your special treat mentality. That is what I aim for once I reach goal.

    Keep strong. X

  • Hi Ruth

    new you could do it

    you are young enjoy

    I remember someone telling me the 30s are the best decade

    when I look back they were great years

    not that I'm not enjoying my self now

    it's very frustrating waiting for the right job

    but as I told my girls there loss is someone else's gain and it proved right

    I'm always right ha ha

    so pleased you was able to ignore your trigger the dreaded wine

    you have got to stay focused for you are a role model for all of us who are not there yet

    please remember you are beautiful you are educated and you are SLIM

    note to my younger self it will be alright you have so much fun a head Ruth you no longer need a crutch go fly

    have a good week end

  • I've read all the replies. Look at the number of people who want you to do well. I'm one of them. Low moments are the devil drawing you away from your goals. I try to stay physically busy but achieve something. Cleaning the fridge is therapeutic and makes you feel good. Or the cupboard you use most (disorganised, spilt bits etc!) Ironing or just something to distract you DELIBERATELY distract you. When you've gone the hour or half hour, you can go the whole evening. Have a hot bath and a black coffee with a few sweeteners. Go to bed early and wake up feeling triumphant. THEN enjoy your brekky.

    Go go go.

  • Just enjoying my brekky now after a late start but still being determined to go for a run, and feeling good for having done my first run since last weekend - it needed to happen! I also sewed the torn drawstring on my exercise-mat bag last night, which made me think positively about doing my exercises too. Plus have some good positive goals for today, things are def picking up. Thanks for your supportive reply :)

  • Hi Ruth - I feel exactly the same as you. Out of interest how long have you been drinking for? I probably started in my teens with a bottle of cider, progressed through all of the drinks (ha ha!) and now love a glass or two of red wine. I thought I drank cos my husband does but actually its all me. I tried to stop drinking at beginning of September - lasted about 5 days. But my husband continue to abstain for another 10 days. The NHS drinks tracker is an eye opener for me. Although tonight I am having steak tonight and have already told myself I need to ensure I have a lovely glass of wine to go with it!

    Does it really matter that much if you do succumb to a glass of red? You have heaps of resolve within you that keeps you in check.

  • I have a stomach problem now resulting from a single evening 3 years ago where I had 5 glasses of wine, I don't know if it was bad wine or what it was, 5 glasses wasn't especially much for me at that time, but maybe it just pushed my body over the edge. Ever since then wine is a massive trigger for my stomach pains etc, whereas I don't seem to react to cider, and also psychologically I manage to drink much less if I stick to cider. But I still really crave wine, there's something so comforting about the idea of having a nice bottle of wine along with a meal.

    I also started early - we were given cider as kids, would you believe. Political correctness didn't exist in the 80s, or at least not in our house. But I'd warn you that while probably most people can manage to keep drinking regularly throughout their life, not everyone gets away with it. Enjoy your steak, but maybe buy 5.5% wine instead, or have a smaller glass, it's worth making sure you enjoy your food in a way that's healthy.

  • That's pants that wine is trigger for stomach pains 😥

    I'll only have one glass of red tonight 😊

  • I can so sympathise, Ruth. I don't consider myself an alcoholic at all, as I don't drink Sun-Thurs, but on Friday have a habit of a lovely calorific dinner in front of a movie with half a bottle of wine, in company with my daughter. She's too small to drink, so the booze consumption is mine alone... half the bottle on Fridays, half on Saturdays. The thing about the wine is that it's like a signal to myself that the week is over, the weekend is starting, it's time to relax and enjoy... it's really my one major indulgence and I, like you, am already thinking about it. I cannot decide whether to continue to allow myself the Friday/Saturday night treat and just be extra strict the rest of the week, or to try to ban it. I've got a feeling that might cause a major rebellion. I think what would be great would be not to ban it, but to try to both eat and drink less on Fridays and Saturdays, so I don't feel actually deprived. Oh the dilemma!

  • Ruth the wine bottle calls my name very subtly too, sometimes not so subtly!! No, I am not an alcoholic either and often go weeks without a glass of wine. Ironically it seems to be when I make the decision not to have any wine at all that I actually crave it. So the wine rack has been refilled and I haven't wanted any since. I hope you have managed to give your craving the heave-ho hunny. 😊

  • I know how you feel. I am struggling at the moment myself and I support you 100% . I need help and support on this one. I need to stop red wine. You don't need it and I know I don't. I keeping telling myself - I don't need it.

  • Hi Netty, the first thing is to not buy it. Do things that separate the craving out, buy a different type of drink instead. I found I did manage to beat the craving like this and my units per week are now massively reduced. If this is too difficult, abstaining might be the next thing to try. I gave up alcohol for a year because of my stomach problems. You could even try it for a month, e.g. for Stoptober. It was easier in a way as you just tell people you're not drinking. There's always an alternative you can have in social situations. If neither of these work then see a doc or counsellor e.g. at Mind and start talking through other options. I even considered AA at one point, you don't have to actually be an alcoholic to join. But you do have to stop drinking... Hope that helps :)

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