What’s a grey area drinker and how to tell if you are one?

Woman upset about drinking

Are you worried that you’re drinking too much but you know you’re not an alcoholic?

Your drinking is not causing chaos in your life – you are not racking up drink driving offences or neglecting your family and work commitments.

However, you know that the way you are drinking is not good for your health – physical and mental – and you would like to cut back.

But then when you do try to drink less, you find it difficult to moderate.

If this sounds like you, you may be a grey-area drinker.

What’s a grey-area drinker?

If you think of drinkers as falling on a spectrum between those who only have a sherry at Christmas and those at rock-bottom with their lives spiralling out of control, most people fall somewhere in between those two.

Grey area drinkers are those who are concerned that they are drinking more than is good for them but who are not physically dependent on alcohol.

If you’re worried about your drinking and finding it difficult to cut back, chances are you’re a grey-area drinker.

Does the following sound familiar?
  • Your life looks under control – you juggle work, family and home commitments – and like a drink to manage the stress of it all. The problem is that when you do drink, you end up drinking more than you would like to.
  • You look are after your health – work out, have a healthy diet, generally make good lifestyle choices. However, you know that the way you drink is not good for your physical or mental health.
  • You don’t think you have a major problem because you can take breaks – a month off every now and again or not drink during the week. But when you do drink you’re regretting how much you consume. And, the breaks from drinking are getting harder.
  • Nobody has questioned you about the way you drink. In fact, most people around you drink in a similar way. But it doesn’t stop you from worrying about it and you know that it’s taking its toll on you.
  • The toll it’s taking may include things like – hazy memories of the night before, waking up at 3am unable to get back to sleep, hangovers are worse, tolerance is greater. Whatever the side effects you’re experiencing they’re getting worse and they’re causing you concern.
  • You are spending more time than you would like thinking about drinking. How much did I drink last night? Will I drink tonight? How can I cut back? Should I be worried about this? It’s exhausting and frustrating.

I felt like this for years but didn’t know how to get a handle on my drinking.

I was certainly not a candidate for AA or rehab but I knew that the way I was drinking wasn’t good for me.

The challenge of trying to cut back

“So just cut back,” I would tell myself.

But cutting back the amount I was drinking was more difficult than I thought it would be.  

It became a vicious cycle – worrying about how much I was drinking, trying to moderate, drinking more than I promised myself and then back to worrying about how much I was drinking.

It’s only once I stepped off this merry-go-round and took a different approach – one that combined knowledge about alcohol, mindset work and positive behaviour change – that I finally took back control.

Want to make a change?

If all of this sounds too familiar and you would like to make a change, you can book in a free 30-minute discussion call where you can share what you are going through and find out how I can support you.

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