I'm not an alcoholic!

Hi All,

Firstly, I have recently had a gastric balloon fitted, if you would like to know more, I will not be doing an open post but please do DM me.

This is a funny topic for me to talk about, but one that I feel needs addressing and yes, it will contribute to weight gain but I don't feel that I am the label that is often applied to me:

I like a drink, there's no denying that, I first drank alcohol at 17 at which point I'd recently started my weight gain and had I still been playing rugby, I wouldn't have started but I did so that's irrelevant.

I drink more than the guidelines say I should. I drink in a pub/bar probably 3 nights a week from say 6pm until 11pm drinking probably 5 or 6 , I don't go mad, although I'm a little tipsy, I have work the next morning.

On the nights I don't go to the pub, and not every night maybe an extra 2 nights a week, I will have a beer or two whilst watching TV.

About once a month, I actually go proper clubbing with my work mates etc. and that, I feel is the only proper time I get proper "drunk" we're out to 1 or 2 in the morning and then I'm hungover the next day.

On recent visits to my GP and just speaking in general to customers I have been essentially labelled as an alcoholic, according to my GP the amount that I drink in a week (around 50 units, a clubbing week, we're talking around 65) is bordering on the level of an alcoholic. My customers (those who drink) say that they'd probably drink that in a month or even two.

I do know that it will contribute to my weight gain but I personally, don't think I'm an alcoholic, please do let me know your thoughts.


26 Replies

  • Have you thought of having some time away from drinking, such as 'dry January'.

  • I have just looked at "Dry January" Concerned.

    It's definitely something that I will take into consideration. My worry is then going back to my current ways in February!

    Rob :)

  • I gave up alcohol when I started my weight loss program because I felt I could not contol the calories in wine and the 'fantastic ideas' for eating that having a few gave me. I could happily dispose of quite a bit of prosecco. Whereas I was not an alcoholic because I could and did walk away from a drink but it had a bigger hold on my life that I liked to admit ( even now).

    So the question you have to ask yourself is can you walk away from a drink?

  • Hi Aqua_marine,

    For me drink is a comfort. If you read the replies below, I'm sure that a little bit more can be found out about the whole situation from what I've said to others - to save me from repeating myself over and over!

  • i hope it goes well.

  • Hi Tommy,

    I guess you know it is far too much but whether you're an alcoholic is a different story. How would you manage giving up for a week?

    Giving up social drinking is very hard but maybe drop those few when you are at home.

    There are a massive amount of calories in alcohol so whilst you keep drinking a lot you'll probably never lose a great deal of weight and having a beer gut is likely to be a common feature in your life.

    If you feel you could not give up drink for even one week then maybe you do have a problem.

    Concerned's idea of a dry January is great. Many people do this.

  • Hi Sue,

    It's something that I've wanted to talk to you about in our conversations (weight update should be in your inbox by the way).

    I do my own shopping, for me I think it would be quite hard not to buy the booze, I only buy 4 bottles a week and already limit my self to that but they are always gone by Friday.

    As I've just said to Concerned, I've looked at dry January and I look further into doing it!

    Tommy :)

  • You exceed the recommended daily allowance even on the days you don't go to the pub.

    Has the drinking caused issues with loved ones?

    Why is it so important to you?

    Can you find other ways to relax?

    I've lived with an alcoholic and, to me, you are certainly on the way, if not already to having a drinking problem.

  • Hi LotToLose,

    I know that I do exceed the allowances, every day of the week!

    I've never been "together" with someone, I had relationships in High School but they were always short-lived. I'm 22 and when I was in college my flat mates moaned at me almost on a weekly basis as I'd come home on Saturday nights steaming drunk and this was 5 years ago, now I'm 10st heavier and drink every night of the week.

    I work from 7:30 - 18:00 6 days a week and 8 - 3 on a Sunday, I use drink as a relaxation technique. I don't know what else I could use as a distraction?

    Tommy :)

  • There are lots of things to get an interest in, but the motivation has to come from you: music, art, gym, sports, car-racing, walking, learning to fly, computer programming, gaming, woodwork, weaving, puzzles just to name a few.

    Maybe try a few things out to see what you like, there may be some groups in your area to join.

    Good luck beating the demon - you can do it!

  • Hi LotToLose,

    Do you know I'd have never thought of all of that! Thank you!

    I'll take a look :)

  • Excellent - because my next suggestion would have been golf, LOL!

  • My Dad plays golf.

    He's a little overweight and in recent years has had a few heart scares, it keeps him fit anyway!

  • I would say you drink too much, but you already know that.

    You like rugby, and yet you don't know how to distract yourself. How about looking for a friendly club to join?

  • Hi Keep_on_going

    I played rugby until I was 15, I broke my leg in two places and that's where my gain started. I'm now 26st and unable to play - I'd flatten everyone else, if I didn't collapse first!

    Tommy :)

  • Sorry to hear about the accident. Must have been difficult to give up something you enjoyed.

    I also broke my leg and ankle a couple of years ago (nowhere nearly as badly as yours) and put on weight so I have some idea of what you've experienced.

    I get that you've put on weight but is playing rugby something that appeals? Can you use playing again as some motivation to lose weight and curb your drinking? Not all teams are ultra competitive, some are fantastic for bonding with new friends and generally gaining fitness.

    My husband gave up sports ages ago and put on pounds. He then started playing for a friendly football team. I really inspired him to lose the weight and take care of himself.

    Take care of yourself, Tommy.

  • Hi Keep_on_going,

    It was difficult, I was playing at youth county level, I had two ops on my leg and it was in a brace for 14mths. That's when I really started to gain.

    I don't think that my leg, even now, 7 years on is any condition to run the length of a rugby field!

    Although it's something I'll look into.

    Tommy :)

  • Hi Tommy, you are very brave to put the question out there :) .

    Firstly from a weight point of view, you must knock the drinking on the head to start your weight loss programme.

    As for whether you are an alcoholic, well no one here can answer that question for you. Alcoholism is not measured by the amount you drink, it's measured by the level of dependency on alcohol. I know people who drink as much that are definitely not alcoholic, and I know others who drink less, who are.

    Some alcoholics can go months without a drink. This does not cure them though, because when they then do have a drink, they have to have another, then another and so on.

    Basically, I would say that if you could happily go into a pub and have just one drink and be satisfied, then you are not an alcoholic. I'm not an expert or qualified in this area, but do have some experience. If you think you may be an alcoholic, then treat it as any other illness and seek the guidance of someone qualified.

    I take my hat of you Tommy :)

  • Hi Tewson,

    I know I need to knock it on the head. Knowing how would be a help!

    I suppose I do have quite a dependency on alcohol, sometimes, if I'm having a particularly bad day, I can get through it knowing that I can have a drink at the end of it.

    I don't think I could go months or even a week without a drink - days are my limit.

    Tommy :)

  • Tommy, I would forget weight loss for the time being.

    The first step is to get a proper appraisal as to whether you have a dependency. If this is the case, then you will need all the professional guidance and help you can get.

    Dependency on alcohol does ruin lives, it does cause pain to those who are closest to you. It is such a dangerous and damaging illness, if you think you are at risk, please speak to your GP, speak to any one of the numerous help lines, the help is there. There's strength in knowing when to seek help and advice

    Weight loss is just a distraction for you at present. It's been said so many times, it's never totally about weight loss, it's about a healthier lifestyle.

    I wish you well Tommy.

    Please speak to someone who is qualified and has the resources to help. Best of luck to you :)

  • I'm also not an alcoholic! Tewson's point is spot on - it's about the level of dependency. I also think you're brave to ask this and hope you will take some of the advice on board that people have given here. After ending up with alcohol-induced gastroenteritis, ulcers etc in my 30s, I was told to stop drinking, which I managed for a year. I was motivated to stop by the fact that I had actually damaged my stomach from drinking. (It's maybe wiser to make changes before reaching such a point though...) I now drink again, but much much less. I should probably not drink at all but like you I am reliant to a certain extent. One doctor described me as 'alcohol dependent' - this means you turn to alcohol to relax, to de-stress, to distract - all the things you describe in your post - but you're not necessarily an alcoholic.

    I have known alcoholics and I don't see myself as being like them, but I know my behaviour about alcohol is not healthy either, and like Tewson says, it is still a type of dependency. So I'm trying to incorporate things in my lifestyle that steer me away from alcohol and I believe I'm succeeding. Like many others on this thread I also recommend taking up sport, exercise, even get a Wii or start an online course - learn a new language - anything that keeps you busy in your spare time, something that answers all those needs. I now find going for a run a great way to de-stress. But I realise you can't overnight start running or take up a sport - but it would be good to look into how you might do those things in the future and start working towards that.

    In the meantime there are a few easy tricks you can do. Firstly - alternate your drinks in the pub - have a pint of lager followed by a pint of shandy - by the end of the evening you'll have had significantly less alcohol. You can also always have a pint of water to hand. Never buy the next drink until you've drunk the water too, then order water again with your next drink. Keep the pint of water closer to your hand than the pint of beer or whatever. People might comment at first but eventually they'll get used to it. At home, only keep alcohol in that you don't find more-ish. I find wine very more-ish so I try to only keep dry cider at home. Maybe you can find something similar that will work for you like that too. Also expand your repertoire of non-alcoholic drinks. I have virgin marys, tonic with just a slice of lime, nice jugs of water with mint sprigs and halved lemons, herbal teas, etc. It's not easy, you have to consciously try to steer away from alcohol, but it's worth it.

  • Nobody recognises themselves as an alcoholic, its part of the kidding yourself process your body does. And tommy mate, you are kidding yourself. I was married to an alcoholic, and your currently in denial. My advice to you is to GET REAL ! and find your local Alcoholics Anonymous group. No one will judge you there, and there you can really compare with others and be better able to judge if you are like them, and also get the support you need.

    Hopefully you do a lot of walking, or paying for taxis. Hate to think your coming towards me in a car !

  • Totally agree! There was a point about 30 years ago where I was drinking to excess every day, I never felt "dependent" on it because I never felt like I needed a drink first thing in the morning, but I was sooo close to becoming a full blown alcoholic. Luckily for me I developed a hiatus hernia and was told to stop drinking for 3 months, I have never gone back to drinking heavily. In fact, I now only drink socially maybe 3 or 4 times a year or when I'm on holiday. I don't need a drink so I don't drink, its not rocket science.

    All the alcoholics that I've known, and I've known a few, all said they weren't alcoholics because they functioned in life (like high functioning cocaine addicts!). The fact is the amount of alcohol you are consuming, whether or not you consider you are an alcoholic, has contributed to you being overweight and I'm actually surprised that they did your gastric ballon because all the time you are drinking you are consuming excess calories that just keep turning to fat. Its like someone I know who had gastric band surgery, she just used to liquidise her mars bars and make milkshakes from them! She then wondered why she wasn't losing weight!

    I hope that this is all a wake up call for your Tommy and I sincerely wish you well but you need to address your drinking before anything else, at 22 years of age you are doing serious damage to your liver! If you cut back/stop drinking now your liver will be able to recover and you can go on to live a long and happy life. Ignore it and I worry for you.

    I may be sounding very harsh, but you have finally admitted that you drink too much and you must address that, have they checked your liver function or the viseral fat around your liver?

  • Don't know if you know Tom Kerridge. He is a tv chef who was massive at one time. He has slimmed off dramatically and puts most of his weight loss down to giving beer up. He did drink a lot and equates a pint of beer to a liquidised cream cake. I probably average no more than 2 pints a month. That's it as far as alcohol goes.

    Went on holiday recently and drank every day. In two weeks I gained 12lbs.

    If you can do it, give up the beer. It's wasted calories.

    That's it, preaching over.

  • Hi Andy,

    I knew of him, but googled him to find out some more. 9 stone through mainly giving up beer is massive!

    You know what. I didn't drink last night, I was tired and have got a bit of a cold so I put my mates off.

    The thing is, I know I can do it! It's just finding something I can do in my free at the weight I am, that I won't get bored of after a week.

    Thank you

    Tommy :)

  • Hey Tommy,

    Clearly none of us on here are qualified to answer this on here, this being said, your comments about the thought of being able to have a drink getting you through a stressful day, and the fact that you do drink every day seem to indicate you may have a dependence. This will only get worse is you don't address it. Not all alcoholics are old men on park benches drinking cheap cider. Alcohol dependency=alcoholic, just a less stereotyped term. My advice would be to speak to a professional about this, your gp will be able to refer you to someone who can assess your individual situation and provide appropriate support. Recognising there may be an issue is the first step towards getting help!

    Another thing to bear in mind of you are trying to lose weight... Calories in a pint of beer are equal to that which are in a whole donut, food for thought!

    Best wishes and I hope you find the support you need.


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