Are you drinking too much?

Most of us like a glass of wine or two in the evenings. But, what do you do if you suspect your fondness for a tipple is turning into dependency?

Drinking

Alcoholism is a terrifying condition which destroys lives and families. We won't all end up as alcoholics of course, but many of us flirt with addiction at some time in our lives. The essential issue is that if you are worried about your drinking, then you are drinking too much.

How much is too much?

This question will resonate with quite a lot of people. Many of us are in the habit of having a glass or two of wine each day. We like it, it tastes nice, it goes well with food and, if we're honest, can be very relaxing. But, there's a big difference between the controlled enjoyment of wine, and being unable to get through a day without it. So what we need to explore with you is whether you have a habit that can easily be broken, or are you flirting with addiction?

Try a detox

If you think you might be drinking too much, it's a good idea to try to giving up for a month to detox. Many habitual drinkers do this from time to time - either just to test themselves or because circumstances force them to - they may be pregnant or taking medication. Most people will find that they generally feel better and sleep very well - alcohol can make you drowsy but it doesn't make for a good night's kip!

Be truthful with yourself

Keep a booze diary for a fortnight, writing down how much you're actually drink every day. You may find it's a lot more than the government recommended 14 units a week for women and 21 units a week for men (use Bupa's Alcohol Units Calculator to convert your glasses into units).

Be truthful with yourself: is your drinking interfering with your ability to function properly? If you're a parent, could you drop everything and drive your kids safely to casualty if you had to? If you're not sure that you could, that's not just a couple of glasses with supper - that is the start of an unhealthy addiction.

Replace your drinking

If you suspect that you are drinking too much, try replacing the wine drinking – if it's possible – with another activity. Go out – to the cinema, to the gym, or an exercise class.

A day-by-day approach

If you are trying to cut down, don't set yourself the target of a certain period of time, like the whole of January, because that just stretches ahead of you in a depressing way. Instead, take it day by day and tell yourself you won't have a glass of wine today.

Once you've got things under control, take a look at your eating habits too. Use the time as an opportunity to really clean up your act and start pampering yourself. In a couple of weeks, you'll notice your eyes look brighter, your skin glows, and maybe you'll lose a few pounds. It's even possible you'll like the person who doesn't drink so much that you decide to keep it that way!

If you are concerned about your drinking visit Alcoholics Anonymous.