Drew Payne’s Website
Gay Life Crisis Feature
“My drinking is out of control. I never go out to get hammered, but I end up blacking out every time and get myself in some very bad situations and end up doing things that I regret the next day. How can I get control of this?”
You never intend to get hammered but it happens, look at why it does.
Do you get hammered when you:
· Go to the same club/bar
· Go out with certain mates
· Do you start drinking before you go out
· Do you drink shots or bottles of strong beer/larger
· Is there any pattern to your drink? If you can find any or any triggers that get you hammered you can start avoiding them.
Don’t go cold turkey, cut down and modify your drinking instead. Stopping drinking suddenly, especially if you have been drinking large amounts, can be very risky. If you stop all at once you risk severe side effects, also have a high chance of relapsing and ending up drinking again. Instead, cut down and control your drinking.
Looking at your drinking habits can help you achieve this.
· Change the bar/club you drink in, a change of environment can change the pressures on you to get hammered.
· Change your drinking habits.
Ž If you drink shots or strong bottled beer change to pints of beer or larger, there’s more volume of fluid in these drinks and you can’t drink them as fast as shots or bottled beer.
Ž Don’t drink before you go out, because home poured drinks are notourisly stronger than those bought in a bar.
Ž Alternate soft drinks with your drinks, this can reduce the number of drinks you have and the amount of alcohol.
Ž Set yourself a limit for the night, a number of drinks or the amount you’re going to spend. Sticking to a certain number of drinks mightn’t be that easy but limiting the amount you spend on drinks might be easier, take out only a certain amount of cash and once you’ve spent it stop.
Ž Drink at your pace, don’t drink fast to keep up with someone else, don’t let someone else’s heavy drinking set your pace.
Change your social life, cut down the number of times you go clubbing/drinking. Replace your nights out with something else, join a social group or sports group. They’re a good way to meet other guys without the pressure and problems of clubs and drinking. There’s no need to stop your social life just because you’re cutting down on your drinking.
· Get support. Tell your friends what you’re doing, get their help and support.
· If you can’t cut down on your drinking get help.
Ž Your GP can refer you to local services.
Ž NHS Direct (0845 46 47) can also offer advice.
Ž Alcoholics Anonymous (Http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org) run lots of local groups and even run Lesbian & Gay groups.
Male weekly recommended intake is 21 units, spread out over 7 days, not taken all at once.
One Unit of Alcohol is:
· 10ml of alcohol or,
· Half a pint of beer, cider or lager,
· One pub measure of spirit
· 50ml (pub) measure of strong wine, i.e. port or sherry
· One small (125ml) glass of wine.
Tel: 020 7264 0510
Know Your Limits
ARP (Alcohol Recovery Project)
Tel: 020 7234 9940 (Head office)
For Social Groups
“Going out clubbing and taking drugs is really fucking up my life. I am missing work, losing relationships, and my health has been bad. But my whole social life revolves around clubs and drugs, what can I do?”
Signs your drug use is getting out of control:
· Needing more drugs to achieve the same effect,
· Needing drugs to enjoy yourself
· A feeling of dependency on drugs, that you need them and are afraid to stop using them
· Withdrawal symptoms (DTs) if you stop taking the drug for a short time,
· Sudden mood changes,
· Loss of motivation, and even loss of sex drive
· Poor performance at work or college, having problems concentrating,
· Problems with relationships,
· Borrowing from friends and family
· Being secretive about activities and actions.
You all ready know what drugs are doing to you but to stop the harm being done you need to get back in control on your life, which means stopping taking drugs. But this isn’t easy, especially if you’re still in the same environment drugs are still available. Most people who stop taking drugs have to cut them completely out of their lives. The hardest part is that this usually involves a big change in your life. If your whole social life revolves around drugs and clubbing you may need to change your whole social life.
How to avoid drugs:
Ž Stay away from the clubs were you usually get drugs.
Ž Avoid the people who you get your drugs from, this could mean people who are your friends.
Ž Change the bars you go to, or even avoid them.
Ž Change your social life, find new things to do with new people. You’ve removed a large part of your life but you need to replace it. Don’t expect it to happen overnight but don’t just sit at home and do nothing.
Ž Tell your friends what you’re doing, get their help and support. This isn’t something you can do on your own.
Get some advice and support.
This can be a big change and often something that can be hard done on your own
Where to get advice:
Your GP. GP’s can access a lot of local services, they can advice you about them and even refer you to them (depending on local policy).
The National Drugs Helpline is a free and confidential helpline. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tel. 0800 77 66 00. It can give advice about drugs, stopping using them and were to get local support
Turning Point, is a charity that offers advice and support with drugs and drug use, they have programs to help people come off drugs. Tel: 07090 423 550
PACE, a charity promoting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the gay community. Including advise on drug use. Tel: 020 7700 1323, website www.pacehealth.org.uk