New research by the University of Western Australia (UWA) has revealed that people who live near bottle shops engage in more harmful drinking of alcohol than those who don’t. It also shows that easy access to alcohol entices us to drink more, as I have experienced myself.
I like to be in charge of my own life. So when I realised last year that I often engaged in routine drinking I decided to make a change. I put a stop to the ice-cold beer after work, and opening a bottle of red wine when I started preparing dinner.
Instead of watching the 5 o’clock news on TV with a beer in my hand I went out for late walks, taking photos of the setting sun. Instead of having beer in the fridge and wine in the pantry I stopped buying alcohol and started drinking iced water instead.
The surprising thing about changing my routine and drinking less is that I don’t miss drinking alcohol at all.
I have no sense of craving for a drink, and by no longer drinking at home anymore it also changed my drinking behaviour when I go out. At a recent community barbeque in Fremantle I had a single small glass of beer, from there I went on to a local club but instead of ordering the usual pint of Guinness I walked over to the cold water dispenser and spent an hour at the club drinking water instead. I had no desire for alcohol at all.
I have never considered myself a bad drunk, an alcoholic, or alcohol dependent, but I was aware of my routine drinking habit. Now that I have changed that, it is actually nice to feel in charge. It is good to feel I don’t need alcohol to celebrate or commiserate and that I can be happy and relaxed without it.
Lack of alcohol also means I have been losing quite a bit of weight and I am feeling better. Alcohol to me was like ice cream and chocolate. When I have it at home I’ll consume it, when I don’t, I don’t miss it a bit. It has been an important lesson to learn, and I am saving money as well.
So for those who can’t resist the temptation of alcohol I suggest to follow my example and don’t stock it at home (or live near a bottle shop). It makes it easier to say no!