What’s an excessive alcohol intake ?

Well this is a big one and to be honest what’s an excessive alcohol intake will get lots of answers.

And to be honest you will probably know the answer to this one anyway even if its not based on some quota. That famous line “Yes I will have to cut back on my drinking!”

From ethical guidelines, down to drinking and driving to when you are pregnant they all have an influence on your view and the view of others.

We live in a drinking society, well certainly in the UK and from my experience you are judged as much as when you do drink than when you don’t !

People who comment on my blog or engage with me here get in contact for various reasons.

They might want to get some alcohol free drinks like gin, read reviews, get back their life or even know some people, friends and family that want to reduce or cut out alcohol completely.

From my experience most people want to cut back and I totally get it. I was just a social wine drinker but due to a serious illness with my liver I had to cut out alcohol completely.

Liver Disease

However, the groups of people I recognize that chat to me here are as follows.

And that is when the question of excessive alcohol intake comes up!

Which types of people worry about excessive alcohol intake?

You want to cut out alcohol or reduce it.

This can be for various factors but you are moving “towards” a goal, and that may be health, saving money, or just a different lifestyle.

From experience as a coach “a want” is not a pressure word so it comes with something that you really want to do.

You should cut out alcohol

There is an underlying feeling that you know you need to cut down or give up alcohol for your health, both mentally or physically.

However, it can also be linked to excessive behavior like gambling when you have had a few too many or risky sex whatever that means to you.

Just say NO to alcohol

Should is generally a so called “pressure word” in coaching. It’s also where people really feel they should know what safe alcohol intake limits are.

You choose to cut out alcohol

I love the word “choice” as it implies freedom.

This is very often purely down to choice. It’s the art of choosing and most people don’t actually care what other people think!

They just don’t like the taste of alcohol or have other things to do with their lives that don’t involve drinking alcohol.

They might want to be very fit or have never really drunk and they very often don’t give it a second thought.

Reducing Your Alcohol Intake

You “have” to cut back or give up alcohol. In other words, I can’t touch the stuff!

This is probably the camp I am in. In fact, I gave up drinking when I was told I could have 48 hours to live.

It was not really a choice, more a decision. But here’s the thing, like many people who talk to me, we are not your typical seasoned drinkers as others imagine we are.

Yes we were big social drinkers but as someone put it to me people thought they just “sat on a park bench every day with a bottle of vodka!” In reality that could not be further from the truth.

I am afraid in my therapy training as soon as I mentioned my liver that look came on their face.

They probably should not really work in therapy to be honest! And I was even there for therapy so what’s that about!

However, in this category you really have no choice if you could either live or die or be seriously ill, In fact most people in this category just change overnight.

Its the interesting thing about habits sometimes they can change in an instant!

And to be far apart from the social aspect and the judgment I have not missed alcohol one bit. I know I can’t so why worry thinking about it.

This goes against the perception of me as a so called “addict” generally by people who continue to drink way over what they should!

These people in glass houses, I don’t know!

It is that moment when you go to your GP and they tell you the guidelines

We have all been there and your Doctor asks you how much you drink and you make it up.

I know a lot of people do it!

Units of Alcohol Guidelines

The danger with doing that of course is that the only people you are impressing is the doctor and remember doctors, well many of them drink as well.

They are human at the end of the day.

The amount of people who used to walk back into my old office at work and say, “the doctor asked me how much I drank so I knocked a bit off!”

What they meant was they took a few bottles off in reality!

Of course, we all laughed even though we know the sooner we are upfront with ourselves rather than the doctor that will really make the difference to our lifestyle and health.

And trust me there is a big wide world outside of alcohol ! Getting a new leisure activity can really help.

The best doctor will just get curious and not judge. Judging someone never really helps.

Any health professional will tell you that your health will be impacted by the amount you drink! Its actually really simple on paper.

The more alcohol you drink the bigger impact on your health

Put simply the more alcohol the bigger the risk. If only it was that simple!

In the UK we have someone who is very grand and they are called the Chief Medical Officer and their job is to advise on health and give us some boundaries to work to.

However, many people dismiss this advice as a “big brother”, trust me just know its there for a reason even if like me you are a social wine drinker and I am talking with meals and after work here.

I wish I would have listened more!

The guidance is 14 units of alcohol per week!

We can round up the units regardless of your gender.

However, what does that mean in reality?

  • Think 1 unit equals a standard glass of wine. So that is really is 1 unit.
  • Half a beer is one unit.
  • One small standard whiskey is 1 unit.

If you forget this and go large it could be killing you! The problem is that quite easily the “go large mentality” means that in the end we do not really know what 14 units is!

So 14 classes of wine a week is really treble that with the “buy one glass and get the bottle free promotion in your local pub!”

Remember the number and keep a diary!

No more than 14 units of alcohol per week

It means if you drink over this on a regular basis according to health advice certainly in the UK which is very clear really you increase the chance of developing range of diseases including :

  • Cancer,
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease,
  • Liver disease
  • Brain and nervous system damage or brain fog as I call it. .

I bagged the liver disease one!

For most people and I totally get it we can get confused about what a unit is? Do an online search as you will probably get more confused than ever.

The drink aware website is a great resource for this

However you can lose the personal story stuff that people value in the information which is what I try and do on my blog.

My liver consultant summed it up for me really well when he explained how big wine glasses have gotten over the years.

If you think about it when wine became popular in the UK people had what they called a “standard measure of wine”.

It was all very prim and proper!

Wine Glasses have got bigger

Not of course it’s normal to have a large or extra large glass of wine and presume that it is one drink. Well it ain’t.

You can review my list of alcohol free wines that are good for calories here

If you think about it as many of my best work colleagues came to realize that drinking a few large glasses of wine after work was fine but before you knew it that’s a bottle, then a few more and its two bottles.

And before you say “that’s crazy” go into any bar after work with a lot of executives and it won’t take you long to notice it how it can easily be the norm.

The problem is it’s become part of the fabric! And there is the social pressure if we don’t drink. It is why alcohol free drinking options can help take the pressure off like alcohol free beers

For more advice in units go drink aware and for liver health go to the UK Liver Trust who are a charity but really helpful or they were to me when I was in hospital!

Getting help with the most basic addiction can really make a difference.

From chocolate to alcohol hypnosis can really help!

For my recommended course on addiction with Mark a very experience therapist just click my affiliate link below.

I have worked with Mark below and I would love to know what you think of the course. Its gets 10/10 from me.

You always pay the same and you do help support the blog.



Think behaviour not units of alcohol if it helps!

Of course as many people have spoken about with alcohol it’s not just the medical side that bothers them even though it should it’s also the physical aspect.

  • Injuries
  • Domestic violence
  • Unwanted sex
  • Lost purse or wallet
  • Blackouts
  • Weight Gain
  • Being rude to Granny
  • Being rude to your friends

You can imagine the risk and the cost to the NHS in the UK as a result of alcohol of this is billions. In fact even the World Health Organization lists it as one of the biggest things affecting our physical and mental health.

  • It can cause depression
  • Stress
  • Blood sugar crashes
  • Poor self-esteem
  • A sticking plaster for stress

There is no doubt that reducing, cutting back or cutting out your alcohol intake can reduce the chance of health issues both physically and mentally.

And yes it does affect all genders but according to the UK medical advice harm can come more to women than men when over drinking alcohol and that comes down to genetic makeup and body type.

However, suicide rates are highest amongst men. So at the end of the day the issue is universal.

I am always against labeling people and alcohol in any way. Giving people labels never helps and it becomes “who we are” rather than a behaviour.

I was not your typical drinker and I know many who are not and yet still have had to totally cut out alcohol because of a health issue and not so much the behavioral one.

Personally I was hardly ever drunk at all.

Alcohol, pregnancy and driving

Again the advice is here not to do it regardless of what the country’s limit is. In the UK it takes a long time to get down to a level considered appropriate and this has led to all sorts of people testing the water when it comes down to driving.

My review of at home alcohol testing devices is here.


Drinking when you are pregnant according to UK medical advice can cause serious harm but as a man I am going to stay away from this area as I am the last one who should be preaching about that issue.

Drink Driving is Never A Good Idea

But with any behaviour that can cost lives and that includes drinking and especially driving the morning after do you really want to take the risk?

I personally have a binary choice: do you want to live or not but actually with alcohol that really is what we are being asked if we are drinking over the limit and its affecting our health no matter how much you drink.

The stats back it up!

What are your options for cutting back on alcohol

There are many options out there but unfortunately people who want to cut back are often judged which in my view is part of the problem.

There are few things that can really make a difference though.

Cutting back on alcohol

  • Acknowledge the issue even if it’s a glass of wine too many per week. Understanding and being aware of it is in coaching the first starting point for any great programme.
  • Starting an alcohol diary is also key. Seeing it written down and also the amount of money you spend on alcohol can really be an eye-opener!
  • Make the decision to change and get a coach if you want to.
  • Start exploring a few different alcohol free options and there are many great tasting drinks now from gin to beer.
  • I have written about alternatives to alcohol here and there has never been a better time to try them out as the market is customer focused and investing heavily.
  • Even the wine tastes good nowadays and I would never have said that in the past but they have got their act together in the product process.
  • Invest in a BWRT therapist. If you are committed to change its a great programme working 1-1


My favorite alcohol free fizz review is here

So the rules are clear but do we want to follow them ?

And of course they are not rules, they are just guidelines and I do think a prescription on what to drink and what not to drink would never work.

What’s an excessive alcohol intake?

When you push a population of course they push back. But given a choice according to university research on alcohol more and more people given a good choice of alcohol free drinks would take them.

It seems the 14 units is a great guide to go for ( although its not a goal ) and we are probably kidding ourselves if you don’t. I know I should have been more aware as a social drinker.

What’s an excessive alcohol intake as far as you are concerned? I would love to know your thoughts and comments. Just leave a message below and I always respond back.


4 thoughts on “What’s an excessive alcohol intake ?”

  1. I have a friend who’s a writer and philosopher. He just got 80 years old, last month.  I remember, one day, when he explained to me how to get cough in the trap with alcohol. He is a passionate writer and started to write with his gin bottle near his typewriter. Alcohol seemed to help him to fin inspiration. And, one day, he just couldn’t stop drinking. Now he’s sober since, 1987. He would be part of those who choose to cut out alcohol. Or like he says: “I was drinking because it liked it; now I’m sober because I like it”.

    • Wow what a great quote and such an insight. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this, its really inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing this story. I wish you all the very best, Phil

  2. It all has to do with responsibility. We all love a drink or two to light the mood from now and then but you need to know when there is a limit to it. Yes obviously when there are health matters its not much of a choice rather than a decision but for healthy people it remains a choice until it doesn’t anymore. And many people unfortunately don’t have the maturity to draw the line when they need to.

    • Thanks Stratos, I think you make a valid point here and its very appreciated. I also think alcohol has many different reasons why it can take over people lives and I am not sure I would describe maturity as the main issue. People lives are complicated and that can lead to many reasons for alcohol intake. 

      Sometimes its just social pressure and lack of alternatives.

      I know I was just a social drinker but would describe myself as very mature. Or maybe not 🙂  

      I personally avoid judgment and labelling as that can actually hinder not help. Its really important to get a wide range of views on the topic and thanks so much for stopping by. But at the end of the day it is the individual who has to say stop!  Appreciated, All the best, Phil


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