Many people turn to alcohol during their divorce or break-up – beware it can make things a lot worse…
Even if you’re not stressed out the whole way through your divorce, there will be flash points where it all can get a bit much. Many of us divorcees will freely admit we tended to hit the grog a bit harder than normal at points (if not the whole way through the divorce!). We all know that alcohol can be a quick and easy way to numb the pain but there can be long term consequences….
Now here at the Divorce Club we don’t indulge in finger wagging, but we also do worry about our own so if you can bear to read a bit of advice from those that have been through it, here’s some thoughts about turning to booze throughout a divorce, and ways to maybe lay off it a bit.
Alcohol will make you feel worse the next day
It is really worth trying to cut down, because alcohol is a depressant; hangovers and tiredness also hugely reduce your ability to cope with the stresses and strains of divorce. Even if you just have 3 days off a week, your liver will thank you for it.
Real life experiences
“I drank a lot more during that first year after we separated. Mostly it was stress, guilt, misery, but I also met someone else quite quickly afterwards, who was going through something similar. We shared the buzz of a new relationship, whilst trying to process all the stressful stuff going on with our old relationships and while we were doing all that we were knocking back a lot of beer and wine. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have listened if someone had told me to slow down on my drinking, but I do know that when the adrenaline wore off, I was very, very burnt out and it’s taken me a long time to get my drinking levels down to a sensible amount.” Lucy, 36
“I think in hindsight I was depressed. And drinking heavily didn’t help because I felt crap in the mornings. And TIRED.” Dave, 42
“I would have definitely found it harder without the pints down the pub with my mates, but yeah, I did hit it a bit hard.” Robin, 31
“I did try and have dry nights, but I’d lose all willpower after another shitty day.” Sam, 38
“I was indignant when my worried parents suggested I might be drinking too much. But even now I’m in my 40’s, they are still always right! I was [drinking too much]. And now I’ve slowed it down a bit I’m feeling better for it.” Kate, 44
“I wouldn’t advise anyone to not drink – you’ve got enough on your plate without trying to completely change your lifestyle! – but I would keep an eye on it.” David, 52
If you think that you might be drinking too much here are some things to consider doing to drink less…..
Tips to cut down your drinking
- If going to the pub is your downfall, try to meet friends somewhere that doesn’t revolve around drinking like your house, their house, go ten pin bowling or go for a coffee.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with a soft drink.
- Keep a tally of what you’re drinking on the fridge door. The staggeringly-small-when-you-tot-it-up govt recommendation is 14 units a week for men and women (or about a bottle and a half of wine/ 5-7 pints of beer).
- If wine is your tipple, get a vacuum sealer so you don’t feel like you have to finish a bottle. Consider buying a better quality wine and savouring it, rather than hoofing a cheaper bottle or half a bottle a day.
- Don’t go to discount pubs.
- Don’t buy alcohol for the home in bulk.
- Water down spirits twice as much as you are doing now.
- Write down a list of other things/activities that will make you feel good such as exercise, or going to watch a comedian.
If you’d like to cut down but willpower is failing you, try the following books:
- The Drink Less Mind: The Truth Behind Overdrinking by Georgia Foster (Foster Publishing)
- The Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr (Arcturus Publishing)
- Kick the Drink… Easily! By Jason Vale (Crown House Publishing)
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.