Ambivalence about Drinking

Pros and Cons of DrinkingFor many people, the decision to change their drinking habits is not clear-cut. The pros and cons of your drinking might seem quite evenly balanced; occasionally the negative consequences might increase, you have a binge and do something embarrassing perhaps; but then at other times those costs can seem more tolerable, more manageable.

When you’re feeling concerned about your alcohol consumption, this back and forth swing of apathy and motivation can go on for years. The truth is, most people find alcohol to be a pleasure, they enjoy the effects, the relaxation of emotional pain, the reduction of anxiety, the dissolving of barriers with those around us, the warm glow of not caring about the pressing issues in our lives. We tend to view many choices about our lives in this way – a simple weighing up of the pros and cons.

When we drink, we just don’t care any more, and that is such a delightful state of being, it seems worth the high price of admission. Most of the time. Until you’re woken by indigestion and anxiety again, until you wake feeling retched again, full of guilt, shame and regret. Many people are aware that their drinking is a problem, but not enough of a problem to do something about it. The idea that we can just force ourselves to change our behaviour, commonly referred to as ‘willpower’ is just not supported by reality – willpower comes and goes unpredictably.

Eventually though, the scales tip slowly but surely towards a point of action. By reading this, does it suggest your motivation is tipping towards making a commitment?


  1. Mary 1 March, 2017 at 5:04 am - Reply

    Hi i have a daughter who has a drink problem, and i do not know how to support, help or be there for her. I love her so much but dislike this life choice. Please im desperate to be there but not in a colusory role, nor will i play her ” im not drinking, i promise” when its clear she is. She is now vomiting, her eyes are yellowish, shr has 4 children we had to remove last year to their dads because theyre unsafe with her. So please any advice.

    • Tobin Hunt 1 March, 2017 at 8:03 am - Reply

      The fact that her eyes are yellow suggests early signs of liver failure, this means she needs an in-patient detox as soon as possible. Sorry to hear she’s struggling so much.

    • Rebecca 3 March, 2017 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Mary, your daughter needs immediate help…if eyes are yellow it’s serious.

      I’ve drank for years and only just received an elevated enzymes test on bloodwork. I’ve not ever gone yellow though…I’m former EMT, believe me when the liver goes bad, it’s bad not much else can be worse!

  2. carol 27 January, 2017 at 10:04 am - Reply

    I’m still trying to find the right time. I wake up so angry with myself because I always miss out on so much! Haven’t given up trying to try though. ? Well done you , keep trying too.

    • Rebecca 27 January, 2017 at 10:18 am - Reply

      Oh, don’t give up on trying to try!

      How about now? I’ll check up with you!

    • Donnie 20 February, 2017 at 4:22 pm - Reply

      Carol, please keep talkng! I’ve had a lot of similar experiences!

  3. Donnie 27 January, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply

    I’ve reached the point of commitment in my life several times and felt extremely committed, like I’ve had a breakthrough and would never drink again and still fell off. I thought I’d never go back to it and have. I’m very grateful for the times off of it I’ve had though. I think it’s just complicated.

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