Am I Drinking Too Much? Are you?

Here’s a question for you. How much do you drink? If someone asks you that, you’ll probably give a conservative estimate, but it’ll basically be honest.

You may also be thinking that the person asking you is going to make some sort of judgement about you based on your answer. Now, imagine it’s your doctor that asks you that. You immediately feel like you’re being scolded (if you drink, that is).


That happened to me this week. I went to the doctor (again) about a problem that’s been bugging me for a long while – acid reflux. Basically, my stomach is producing too much acid and it’s getting over excited, splashing up my gullet and making me quite uncomfortable and bloated. Sexy, eh?

Alcohol can agitate it, as can caffeine. So, naturally, the doctor asks how much alcohol I drink.

boozebottlesHow much do I drink? Well, I make my own beer from time to time. I get a couple of bottles of beer in the weekly shop. I enjoy a whisky to relax on the occasional evening. Who doesn’t like wine with a special dinner? Oh – we make cocktails on the weekend sometimes. I probably average 5-7 drinks per week. (Roughly 12-18 units per week. The guide is not to drink more than 14 units per week.)

Is that a lot? I don’t think I’m in The Girl on the Train territory. I won’t drink at lunchtimes. (I would end up spending the whole afternoon peeing and having a snooze). I don’t drink secretly or on my own. I probably won’t have more than one bottle of beer in an evening. It’s just that one bottle of beer (or equivalent) in an evening, five evenings a week, takes you up to your tally.

Is it really a lot? I guess that, according to the recommendations, it is.

Recently, I’ve been drinking less because of my stomach. Ales (my drink of choice) seem to make it worse, so I’ve cut it out. Sigh. Why is the good stuff not always good for you?

So, since Saturday, I’m not drinking alcohol at all. I’m not drinking caffeine and avoiding ibuprofen, which is difficult because of shoulder pain. This morning, I started a new sort of medicine for my acid reflux (Lansoprazole). The idea is that I will try this for four weeks and, if it doesn’t settle things, I will need a camera stuck down my throat. Sheesh.


I’m curious as to how not having a drink will impact upon me. Will I feel the need for a beer? Possibly. Will my stomach improve? I hope so. Will I murder someone in a caffeine & alcohol withdrawal frenzy? Keep an eye on BBC News to find out.

Four weeks without a drink. Let’s see how it goes.

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