How much alcohol do you drink?
People have been sharing their drinking habits after presenter Adrian Chiles revealed he sometimes drank more than 100 units a week – more than seven times the recommended limit.
He said drinking never affects his life and he considers himself a social drinker, not an alcoholic.
Other heavy drinkers have been speaking about their alcohol consumption.
‘Do I want to stop? No’
Paul Tomlinson, 48, from Thornton-Cleveleys in Lancashire says it is “easy to rack up drinking when you’re sat at home”.
“I regularly drink 80 to 100 units a week, most of it between Friday and Sunday.
“On each night I will usually have two or three beers – sometimes alcohol free now actually – followed by a bottle of wine and then two or three large gin and tonics.
“This is roughly 16 to 18 units a night for three consecutive nights. I will then do at least two or three more bottles of wine in the week with a couple of gin and tonics again.
“Do I consider myself an alcoholic? No! Do I want to stop drinking at the level I do? Not really.
“I have a disabled son who is 24 so don’t go out often and as a result drink more at home.
“I don’t go to bed feeling outrageously drunk and I don’t black out on the sofa.”
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‘£500 a month on wine’
One man, who chose to remain anonymous, says his father was an “old fashioned” alcoholic who started drinking in the morning – but that he is not an alcoholic.
“I find myself in the habit of putting away one and a half to two bottles of white wine every night, unless I’m really thirsty in which case it might be two and a half bottles.
“I start at 6 or 7pm, couple of glasses whilst preparing family supper, continue through PS4 “wind down” time, another couple of glasses.
“Then usually finish off the second bottle whilst listening to music. Tada! £500 a month on wine.
“I’m in a strange position, as I can (and do) stop when I want to – sometimes for a month or two just to prove to myself I’m not an alcoholic like my dad.
“I’ll go out with my mates and not touch a drop, again – just to prove a point to myself. And yet I still drink far, far too much.
“I’m rarely drunk nowadays, although obviously I still don’t drive. I just wish someone would make a drink that tastes as nice as wine, without the alcohol.
“I’m currently losing weight and so have “limited” myself to a half to one bottle of wine a night.
“I find that the problem is the habit more than alcohol. I smoked 20 plus a day for 20 years then quit five years ago, with no patches etc.
“Never felt like a relapse, never been tempted to have ‘just one’. I think alcohol is in the same category.
“Although, as I can testify with my father, the drug is insidious and rather than just kill your body, if you let it, it will kill your personality first.”
‘I’m all or nothing’
Adrian Chiles’ account of his alcohol consumption “mirrors almost exactly” how Mark Baker, 58, from North Somerset, says he drinks.
“Like him I drink about 80 to 100 units a week and have done so for many years.
“I have a slight fatty liver (as does he) but otherwise perfectly OK. I have never suffered from depression or anxiety.
“I drink mostly out of habit. I never get drunk, drink and drive, I never drink in the mornings or at lunchtime, I just like a drink in the evening to wind down and relax.
“I am an export manager so drinking is part of the territory.
“Last year in October I stopped drinking for a month. I was worried that I was dependent on it.
“I found it easy to do especially as there are so many products on the market with low or no alcohol. I could still have a beer, glass of wine or even a gin and tonic. Yes, there is low alcohol spirit.
“Like Adrian, I will probably give up drinking rather than rationing it as when I have tried that in the past it never seems to work. I am definitely an all or nothing person.”
‘I will try and cut down’
Annemarie McAleese, 48, from Belfast, owns her own restaurant and says she starts drinking wine when she gets home as she “potters about”.
“On average I would drink two bottles of white wine each night, and have done for the last seven years.
“I have my own business, and work in it five or six days per week.
“After reading this article, I think now is the time to rethink my drinking habits.
“It’s a very bad habit. I think I will try to cut down. I think I use owning my business as an excuse because it can be quite stressful.
“I won’t watch the programme with my husband because I don’t need somebody yapping in my ear ‘you need to stop’, I need to do this for myself.”
‘High functioning alcoholic’
John, from Essex, says he considered himself a “moderate social drinker” until he developed liver disease.
“Then I gave up drinking altogether but the liver disease worsened leading to many hospital visits and the need for a liver transplant.
“I had never missed work or put drink ahead of all else but when I detailed out my daily drinking to numerous doctors over a nine-month period I was embarrassed to realise that I was effectively a high-functioning alcoholic.
“I am pleased to say that thanks to my organ donor I have led a healthy, happy life for the last eight years and become a grandfather three times.
“Something I would have missed if I had carried on as before.
“If Adrian’s show makes anyone seriously look at the amount they drink and reduce it then he is doing a great job.
“On the subject of giving up alcohol I feel sometimes too much is made of how difficult this is, rather than concentrating on the benefits of being sober.
“Better health, better sleep, no hangovers, higher alertness and an ability to enjoy things with a clear head.”
Alcohol and health
The number of adults who say they drink alcohol is at its lowest level since surveys began in 2005, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The NHS recommends not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week. If you do drink that much, it is best to spread it over three or more days.
One unit of alcohol is 10ml of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to half a pint of normal-strength lager or a single measure (25ml) of spirits.
A small glass of wine contains about 1.5 units, a standard glass is 2.1 and a bottle of wine contains 10 units.
Meanwhile, a can of lager, beer or cider is two units. A pint is two or three units, depending on whether it is lower or higher strength.
According to the NHS, someone may need help if:
- They often feel like they need a drink
- Drinking causes them to get into trouble
- Other people warn them about their alcohol consumption
- They think drinking is causing them problems