Me you and the Corkscrew: Your relationship with alcohol

Club Soda Member Matt Chittock reponds to the challenge from a few weeks ago, and ponders his drinking relationship…

Constantly drunk…

My partner says that for the first year together we were constantly drunk. And while I’d like to claim this was solely down to the giddying effects of romance, it had a fair bit to do with the gallons of Pinot Grigio we were necking.

This isn’t all that surprising. Alcohol has a justifiable reputation as an effective aphrodisiac which (in the right amounts, anyway) lowers your inhibitions and makes you more likely to take romantic risks of the kind prescribed in Mr Billy Joel’s pop classic ‘Tell her about it’.

As anyone who’s indulged in drunk Tinder sessions knows, this is a double-edged sword. Though it can make you confident enough to make that all-important move, it can also mean enduring the morning after with some wholly unsuitable people (so friends tell me, anyway…).

Alcohol and romance

Alcohol’s place in the first flush or romance (or lets be honest: lust) is well-documented. But what happens when booze is playing a little too much of a role in your relationship a few years down the line?

The Gogglebox image of a couple slumped on the couch watching telly with a bottle of wine between them is increasingly finding an echo in real life. According to trade magazine The Grocer, household spend on alcohol in supermarkets has soared to almost £500 a year on average – which means more people are now drinking together at home than down the pub.

This dovetails with many people’s experience of being in a long-term relationship. Couples tend to spend more time in – sometimes because kids have arrived, and sometimes because the mates they used to go out with have paired off too (but mostly because having found The One they can’t be bothered to leave the sofa).

And when the sofa beckons, I found, so does the off license.

This wasn’t a problem for me, until suddenly it was. I remember feeling quite angry when my partner suggested going without my Friday night beers, and defensive over the fact she’d called me out on it.

Changing relationships

I now realise this was because I equated time spent with my partner with fun and excitement, and, at that time, fun and excitement had to involve alcohol somewhere along the line.

Changing the way I felt about this was a long process that still continues today. But I’m really glad we started to question our relationship with alcohol – even if the manager of our local office probably isn’t.

Tips to reassess your relationship with drinking

Here’s a few tips I’ve found help when you’re both trying to reassess your relationship with alcohol:

1. Be honest How much are you drinking each week? Really? Memory can play tricks – so take a glance into the recycling bin instead: it’s a much smarter marker of whether you need to cut down.
2. Talk about it Why are you drinking so much? Are you bored? Stressed? Or is it just a pattern you’ve fallen into together? Being honest about the reasons should help you work out what’s going on.
3. Don’t accuse “You’re turning into a fat, boring bastard – for God’s sake stop drinking so much beer,” was what my partner could have said to me. Luckily, she didn’t because she knew it’d have he opposite effect. So choose your words carefully, and try to stick to the facts.
4. Have an attainable goal Choosing a couple of dry days a week is a good start: nominate them together and put a reminder in the calendar so you won’t “forget”.

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