What is drinking in moderation

When you tell people you no longer drink, they usually assume you have quit because you had an alcohol problem, otherwise why would you quit????? Alcohol is so good Right????

More often than not, when I go into more detail about my personal reasons for quitting, people will ask things like “but you will have a glass of champagne at a wedding?” or “‘you can still have a glass of wine with dinner?”.

The most common line I have heard since giving up the booze is:

Everything in moderation’

(This is normally said by someone who doesn’t actually drink in moderation, which makes me smile.)

So what exactly is drinking in moderation????

I live in the United Kingdom and our National Health Service (NHS) drinking guidelines are as follows:

“Men and women should not exceed 14 units of alcohol a week, this is the equivalent of 6 pints of average strength beer (4% ABV) or 7 medium glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV)”.

They also say “if you drink less than 14 units a week, this is considered low risk drinking. it’s called ‘low risk’ rather than ‘safe’ because there is no safe drinking level.

MAYO CLINIC defines moderate drinking as:

“Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults is up to one drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks a day for men.

They go onto say “even moderate drinking isn’t risk free. Light drinkers have a tiny but real, increased risk of some cancer”.

I know loads of people who don’t drink every day and they rarely go over the 14 units a week, so they are moderate drinkers right????

WRONG!!!!!!

Drinking 14 units of alcohol all in one day or over a weekend is binge drinking and binge drinking is classed as heavy drinking…like it or not!!!!

So with that information, I can honestly say, I don’t know a single person who is a moderate drinker. However, I know a lot of people who believe they drink in moderation.

When the risks of heavy drinking (including weekend binge drinkers) includes cancers of the mouth, throat and breast, stroke, heart disease, liver disease and brain damage not to mention a higher risk to poor mental health and personal injury.

I have to ask the question:

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO DRINK????

The reason is we are all addicted to alcohol whether we choose to believe it or not!!!

Do we drink alcohol because it is in our genes??

I was having a conversation the other day with a very good friend of mine about
alcohol and moderate drinking. The call was prompted by the fact that my ‘100 day sobriety’ challenge finishes the day we go on holiday, which she found funny and prompted the question.


“Does that mean you are drinking on holiday?”

The truth is, I don’t want to drink!!! Not on holiday, not ever!! I am so much happier now I don’t drink anymore, unfortunately that doesn’t mean I won’t drink on holiday.

I have a huge battle going on in my head at the moment about whether or not drinking in moderation is a good or bad thing. For me personally, I know deep down that what would start as moderate drinking would soon turn into regular drinking (every weekend), which would set me right back to the beginning.


I feel amazing having given up the booze, so I don’t want to go back there!!!

My friend suggested perhaps I could try drinking at her pace. She is one of those women who can open a bottle of wine, pour themselves one glass and then put the rest of the bottle back in the fridge for another day. Me on other hand, when I opened a bottle of wine, I was drinking a bottle of wine.

I discussed this current battle in my head in depth with her, after all I am going to need her support when we are on holiday, It won’t help me abstain if she is saying “go on, one won’t do you any harm” She listened to what I was saying, but she can’t really understand how I feel as she doesn’t have the same relationship with alcohol that I do.

So, What is my relationship with alcohol these days. I’ve been pretty much alcohol free for the last 7 months?


I don’t consider myself to be an alcoholic, but I do think I am addicted to alcohol. I tried for years to give up drinking and failed. When I read sobriety books which are written by people who refer to themselves as alcoholics I can see I have many of the same traits as them. for example: I begrudge sharing a bottle of wine with my husband, “it’s my bottle, get your own” or I go out for lunch with friends but I stop listening to what they are saying because I have just seen them pour more wine into their glass than mine.

My friend then suggested that perhaps it is just in my genes. I absolutely hated the idea that I was born with a defect that made me drink alcohol!!!!


So, I researched the concept and was pleased to find that alcoholism, no matter what degree it effects you (alcoholic or weekend binge drinker). It’s not in anyway shape or form related to your genes.

HOORAH!!!

In fact, my research shows that the catalyst that leads to alcohol abuse is almost always from environmental factors like work, stress and relationships. The simple fact is, alcohol is an addictive substance and the more of an addictive substance you have the more you want!! This is the case for all addictive substances not just alcohol, but cigarettes, drugs and even sugar too.

Duped by Holiday Mentality

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will know my recent holiday saw the return of my old holiday drinking habits. Despite being sober for almost 6 months and feeling amazing for it, I gave into the cravings, telling myself “I’m on holiday” and “One glass of wine won’t hurt” (not that I only had one glass).

In hindsight, going on a Canal Barge holiday probably wasn’t the best idea for someone trying to abstain from alcohol, seeing how the whole point is to sail from one pub to the next. However, I genuinely believed my days of craving wine were long gone. I hadn’t craved wine for almost 6 months and I have been in many situations where wine was readily available.

I now realise, although I am no longer fooled by the brainwashing that alcohol relieves stress, I was clearly still fooled into believing you can’t enjoy a holiday without drinking.

As I sat in the little canal side pub, drinking my latte by a crackling fire. I watched my husband drink his pint of lager and suddenly started to want a glass of wine more than I have ever wanted one in my life. As I looked around the pub, everyone was drinking. A tug a war started in my head “don’t have a drink you will feel better for not having it” “You’ve been doing so well” to “you are on holiday, having a few wines on holiday is not going to hurt”. I didn’t have a drink in that pub, but disappointingly I did in the next one.

The purpose of a holiday, whether going abroad or staying at home is to recharge our batteries, to reduce stress and relax and to spend quality time with family and friends. I can tell you right now I did not come away from that holiday feeling recharged and relaxed. I came away from that holiday feeling like hell and beating myself up for giving into my wine cravings. (I need tp be clear here. I didn’t land myself in a bucket every night. I drank two or three glasses of wine with my dinner, but that was enough).

As for spending quality time with the family. Well, neither my husband or myself do hangovers well, we spent moments of our holiday not talking to each other or snapping at each other and if you can call shoving phones into my children’s hands to keep them entertained while we had another drink in the bar , then yes we spent quality family time together. (I am actually being a little unfair, we spent a lot of good quality time together as a family, but not as much as we would have done if we took alcohol and hangovers out of the equation).

Brits spend roughly £45 billion on holidays each year in order to recharge their batteries, but how many of us waste that time for relaxing and unwinding by spending our holiday either drunk or hungover. I have heard so many people over the years say they need another holiday to get over their holiday, because they have over done the alcohol.

A friend of mine recently went to France and she like me (in my drinking days) was looking forward to drinking large amounts of wine and eating lots of cheese. We can buy french wine and cheese in the UK so why didn’t either of us just save ourselves a couple of hundred pounds and get drunk on french wine at home.

After a week of binge eating cheese and downing french wine do you think either of us felt relaxed or recharged. Of course not, we both felt like crap!!!

If holidays are designed to relax us and recharge our batteries, why do so many of us come back feeling worse than before we went??

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Thankfully I have returned from my holiday and have seen the error in my ways. I have gone on a 5 day detox to try and get the toxins of alcohol out of my body as soon as possible and have now been sober for 3 days.

If I am being totally honest though, I still don’t feeling great. I have a headache, I cannot control my temperature and I feel totally exhausted. All I want to do is go to bed.

I am a far cry from the full of life person I was before I went on holiday!!!!

Although I am disappointed in myself for giving into my cravings for wine on holiday, I am also proud I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and am once again on the happy path to sobriety.

Alcohol does not in any way shape or form bring me joy, not even on holiday.

I will not be duped by alcohol again!!!!!!!


I Blame Carrie Bradshaw

So alcohol is an addictive drug that is responsible for killing almost 8000 people a year in the UK alone, but yet people still drink alcohol and don’t see it as a problem. In fact, I am viewed as being weird and boring because I choose not to drink this addictive drug.

What is that all about?

So I have to ask the question; Why do so many people still drink alcohol and what made me start drinking?

I started drinking because of peer pressure, all my friends were doing it and it just seemed to be the normal thing to do. Why I carried on drinking? Well for that I blame Carrie Bradshaw!!

Carrie Bradshaw and her Sex and the City pals were the kind of women I wanted to be. Stylish, Intelligent, Successful, Confident women. I would watch in admiration as they went out to lunch and dinner in their posh restaurants ordering their posh cocktails in the coolest city in the world, New York.

When I eventually got to New York myself, it will come as no surprise to hear that the first words out of my mouth were…….

“I’ll have a Cosmopolitan please”.

Let me tell you how un-stylish, un-intelligent and un-successful I was when I drank cosmopolitans in New York.

It was January 2007, I had gone to New York to visit my parents who were living there at the time. My Aunty and Cousin were also visiting, so we decided to make a girly weekend of it. A bit of shopping, a Broadway Show and of course a little bit of sight-seeing. I managed to get us an amazing deal staying in the W Hotel and we all had things we wanted to do. My cousin wanted to see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, My Aunty wanted to go on a horse and carriage around Central Park and I wanted to see Wicked on Broadway.

My Aunty had just been on holiday to China and it seemed that nothing New York had to offer was anywhere near as good as China and I was getting sick of hearing about China, it was really getting on my wick.

We went to see Wicked, which I found amazing, but my Aunty did not “What a load of noisy codswallop that was” she said “When I was in China I saw……….” AHHHHHHHHH. I was furious.

To cheer me up and take my mind off it, my cousin and I made our way down to the hotel bar which was buzzing. Our English accents got a lot of attention and a lot of free drinks. I have no idea how many cosmopolitans we drank, but it is safe to say we were both absolutely smashed, how we were not arrested I will never know.

On returning to our room, my cousin threw up and I proceeded to start telling my Mum exactly what I thought of my Aunty. “She’s nothing but an old hag, she has ruined this holiday with her China this China that. who bloody cares about China and who the bloody hell wants to go on a smelly horse. I bloody don’t”.

Although I was in the bathroom when I was telling my Mum exactly what I thought of my Aunty, the bathroom did not have walls, it had plastic partitions, so my Aunty heard every single word I had to say. How embarrassed was I the next day when I finally got my backside out of bed.

Its not just Sex in the City though, all TV programs seem to be created around booze. British soaps for example, EastEnders, the cast spend most of their time in the ‘Queen Vic’. Coronation Street, the cast spend most of their time in the ‘Rovers Return’. In Emmerdale its ‘The Wolfpack’, in Hollyoaks it ‘The Dog’

Before starting my current career as a Careers Adviser, I was a Police Investigator, I can’t think of a single crime drama where the lead investigator doesn’t go home and immediately pour themselves a drink. Marcella with her bottle of beer, Vera with her whiskey, DCI Cassey Stewart from unforgotten and her large glass of wine. Last night I was watching Line of Duty and Superintendent Hastings congratulates his team for cracking the case by putting money behind the bar.

If all we ever see when we watch the TV is people drinking is it any wonder that no ones sees drinking alcohol as a problem.

What is a hangover???

A hangover is the term we use for all the side effects that result from drinking too much alcohol. The side effects typically being a pounding headache, sensitivity to light and sound, sickness and diarrhoea, dizziness, shaking, irritability and tiredness.

I have had some stinking hangovers over the years, the worst one I can remember was after a cocktail drinking binge with our club rep on the last night of our holiday back in 2015. I’m not talking a Club 18-30s Rep, this was the kids club rep at Eurocamp, who seemed to be on a mission to get me and my bestie super drunk on dodgy french spirits.

Her mission was a success, I don’t remember going to bed that evening and I was still throwing up the next day, seconds before we had to check out. The drive from Eurocamp to the ferry was one of the worst experiences of my life!!! I swear I passed out at least twice, I remember begging my husband to pull over so I could get some water, only to be told we didn’t have time because we were already running late because I couldn’t stop being sick.

I swore I would never drink again!!!!!

That lasted three maybe four hours until I got on the ferry and realised I could get a free glass of champagne with my ticket……. “Hair of the dog anyone?”

What I don’t understand is why, if we all know what horrendous effects alcohol can have on us, why on earth do we drink it?? We are knowingly poising ourselves!!!

We wouldn’t consider taking arsenic or cyanide every weekend!! Why is alcohol so different? The symptoms are the same!!

Cyanide poisoning causes; confusion, bizarre behaviour, headaches and dizziness and Arsenic poisoning causes drowsiness, headaches, confusion, diarrhoea and sickness.

Whats the difference????

There is only one way to avoid the horrendous hangover:

DON’T DRINK!!!!

Why are you telling me that????

About 2 billion people world wide consume alcohol. I wonder how many of them question whether they drink too much or feel they have a bad relationship with alcohol? I wonder how many of them wish they could quit drinking but because everyone else around them does it, they just carry on? That is what I did for six years.

When I tell people I don’t drink anymore, whether I have known them for years or just met them 5 minutes ago, they always (with no exceptions) tell me how much they drink.

WHY?????

Oh you don’t drink” they say “well I only drink at the weekends, and I only have one or two”

I wonder if I said I don’t drink tea, they would divulge how often and how much tea they drink. I don’t think they would!!!

So why, when I tell people I don’t drink alcohol do they feel the need to tell me their drinking habits.

I believe it is because they know alcohol is bad for them and that they probably drink too much, but because everyone else around them is doing it, they just bury their heads in the sand and continue. Then when someone tells them they don’t drink, they feel guilty and feel they have to justify their drinking habits.

The fact is, I don’t care if you drink alcohol or not!!! I have chosen to quit drinking for me and only me!!

As it turns out, it is one of the best things I have ever done!!! I feel so full of life and I will never again have to spend another second feeling guilty for having one two many drinks the night before or wondering if I’ve made a fool of myself or upset someone.

I am FREE and I love it!!!!!!

I bumped into a friend in a coffee shop today and we were chatting about our journey to sobriety. She, like me was not what people would class as an ‘alcoholic’, but she knew for 10 years her relationship with alcohol was not good, but because everyone around her was drinking, it took her 10 years to do anything about it.

In 2013, after waking up in my husbands bad books because i’d been an obnoxious, inconsolable bitch the night before, I figured I should address my drinking and went for hypnotherapy. My hypnotherapist took note of the amount I was drinking and told me I didn’t actually drink that much and therefore didn’t need to stop drinking completely, I just needed to cut down.

From that day until October 2018, I knew deep down my relationship with alcohol was affecting my life and not for the better, but because everyone around me was drinking and I’d had confirmation from someone I considered to be in the medical profession that I wasn’t drinking to much, I just carried on.

If you wake up feeling guilty because you drank more than you intended to the night before, or like me and my friend, you know deep down you don’t have a good relationship with alcohol Don’t waste years of your life like we did, not doing anything about it. We both feel amazing now for kicking the drink and you could too!!!

I need my sleep

The biggest change I have noticed since cutting out the booze, is my new ability to sleep all night long. Previously, I would wake up several times during the night because I was too hot, too cold, I needed the toilet or I needed a drink. Sometimes I just couldn’t sleep. I never had a problem getting off to the sleep, the problem would come at about one in the morning. Then I would have to suffer the inner battle of “if I drop off to sleep now, I can still get five hours sleep before my alarm goes off”. Then its four hours, then its three hours, then its two. Before I knew it, my alarm would be going off and i’d drag my tired backside out of bed and into the shower, ready for a new day.

The reason I named my blog ‘Sitting Sober on Cloud Nine’ is because that’s exactly how I feel each and every morning since kicking the drink!! There is no more rolling out of bed and dragging myself into the shower, dreading what the day has in store for me. I get out of bed with a spring in my step, totally energised and looking forward to my day, feeling blissfully happy as if I am sat on cloud nine. I put it all down to the fact I now get a good nights sleep.

Sleep has so many health benefits, one of the main ones being, it helps reduce stress and improves your mental well-being. I am a Mum of two and a wife, I have 2 dogs and a career. Juggling all of these elements in my life is of course going to be stressful at times, especially when you have an important meeting at work and it is absolutely imperative you are not late. You walk into the living room two minutes before you need to leave, only to find your kids still sat in their PJ’s, despite the fact you sent them upstairs to get dressed 20 minutes ago. Just as you are about to blow a gasket, you hear the bin lorry making its approach and remember your husband is away this week, so you need to put the bin out!! Finally five minutes later than intended you and the kids are leaving the house, just as you start to think 5 minutes late is not so bad, one of the kids stands in the pile of dog sh!* your adorable puppy has left in the porch.

ARRRRRRHHHHH!!!!

As well as stress, poor sleep is also linked to weight gain. The whole reason I quit drinking in the first place was because I wanted to lose weight. According to healthline.com, good sleepers tend to eat less calories. Their studies showed that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite, this is because they have higher levels of ghrelin (the hormones that stimulates appetite) and reduced levels of leptin (the hormone that suppresses appetite). You also can’t continue raiding the fridge if you are in bed asleep.

As well as improving your mental well-being and helping you to shed a few pounds, the NHS states a good nights sleep will also boost your immunity, prevent diabetes and heart disease. It can also increase your sex drive and fertility.

So many benefits from something as simple as getting a good nights sleep!!!

Obviously a better nights sleep is also going to make you more productive. My family are my world and I cannot believe how much time I wasted in the past because I was too tired. I didn’t even realise how much time I was wasting. I thought the fact I cuddled up to my kids on the sofa, watching movies, eating pizza and popcorn was quality family time. Maybe every now and again it is, but not every weekend. Especially when I’m only doing it because I can drop off for an hour (You can’t spend quality time with your children if you are asleep!!).

I am pleased to say I now spend loads of good quality time with my kids. We regularly go swimming and play sharks and fishes and my kids try to teach me how to do tricks under water. Every Sunday, my husband and I take them to Great Run Local, I partner up with Bradley and he partners up with Elliott and we have a race to the finish line. Its brilliant fun!!!! As well as exercise, I have more time and energy to cook family meals that we can all enjoy. Sitting down together and talking about our days. Bradley was laughing at my husbands comments so much the other day, he fell off his chair, his gorgeous little laugh was so infectious we were all in stitches. I will remember that moment forever I think.

I want my kids to see me as a fun Mum, always ready to play and have fun with them, not a tired Mum whose always sat on the coach with a glass of wine in hand and shouting at them.

A good nights sleep can improve your health, your mood and your entire life. If alcohol is the only thing stopping you from getting that restful slumber you need, then surely its time for you to quit the drink. It could turn out to be the best thing you ever do!!!

Am I addicted to alcohol?

If you drink alcohol regularly, as in every weekend, even if you only have the one, then you probably are addicted to alcohol in some way shape or form. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s an addictive substance. It happens to the best if us!

I believe there are many types of alcohol addiction. Functional addiction, emotional addiction, social addiction. Whatever your reason for drinking. If you believe you NEED it, whether to relax, to have fun, or to build confidence then you are probably addicted to alcohol. Nobody NEEDS alcohol. It offers us no health benefits what so ever. FACT!!

Some people believe they NEED alcohol to function, they physically cannot get through their day without it. Others believe they NEED it to build confidence, having a quick drink before they deliver an important presentation. I drank at the weekends to help me relax and unwind after a busy week of being Mum, Wife, Career woman, dog owner and house keeper. I was the perfect example of someone who is emotionally addicted to alcohol.

I One Hundred percent believed I NEEDED wine to relax. I didn’t think I was addicted to alcohol though. I thought I was in complete control of my drinking. I mean, I rarely drank more than a bottle of wine. Surely the fact I decided what was an acceptable amount to drink and stuck to it showed control, right???

The truth is, although I rarely drank more than a bottle. I rarely drank less than a bottle!! In fact, I’d be miffed if I had to share that bottle, like when my husband says he doesn’t want any, but then changes his mind after I’ve only bought one bottle from the shop or when I’m sharing a bottle of wine with a friend over lunch and they pour more into their glass than mine….what’s that all about??

The key moment for me, when I finally realised I was addicted to alcohol and that It was controlling my behaviour, was in Oct 18 (days before I quit once and for all) My husband was attending a kendo competition in London, so we decided it would be a good opportunity to take the boys to see the sights. Martin would be away during the day, but he’d be back in the evenings.

On Saturday morning, I decided to take the boys to the Tower of London (my kids love that kind of thing). Martin left early in the morning, so I took the boys for an early breakfast then we caught the tube over to the Tower of London. we were having an amazing day, but as lunch time approached, the boys were starting to get restless and hungry. I’d promised to treat myself to a glass of wine with my lunch for being so brave taking the kids out in London on my own. I was looking forward to sipping that cold glass of Chardonnay.

We came out of the Tower of London and the boys immediately spotted subway. “Mum I’m really hungry”, “mum I need the toilet”, “Mum we want subway” ,“mum it’s over there”. At that very moment, I could have walked 50 yards, bought my kids a subway and ended the moaning right there and then. But there’s one huge draw back with subway. They don’t serve wine and if they did it would be in a plastic cup. I do not drink wine out of a plastic cup. (Another reason I thought I was in control of my drinking)

I don’t know how well you know London, but I made my children (aged 6 and 9) walk over a mile, over the Tower Bridge, up and down steep steps, along the waterfront in hunt of a child friendly restaurant that served wine. The whole journey being accompanied by children’s whining “ mum my feet hurt”, “mum how far is it now”, “mum I’m hungry” “mum mum mum mum”. AAAAARRRRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I caused that stress myself, I could of ended it 20 minutes ago, but because I needed a glass of wine I was willing to put myself through it. It would all be worth it in the end I told myself….but was it???

We eventually got to a pizza restaurant, I got my wine, my kids ran wild and continued moaning about how hungry they were while they waited 30 more minutes for their pizza to be made from scratch. The other people in the restaurant were continually tutting at me, wondering why, If I couldn’t control my kids, I’d brought them to such a restaurant. Well I’ll tell you why…………..

Because I need a bloody glass of wine if I’m going to have a chance at making it through the rest of this day!!!

I genuinely believed that!!!! I genuinely believed I NEEDED that glass of wine to get through my day. I didn’t of course, no body ever NEEDS alcohol, it serves no purpose what so ever.