For many gay and bisexual men, and all men who have sex with men, alcohol is a big part of our culture. However, some of us are drinking more alcohol or more frequently during the Covid-19 lockdown. This page offers suggestions to help you take keep an eye on your drinking during the lockdown.
Tips to help with your alcohol drinking during lockdown
Count and Measure
Record, or plan, on how many drinks you want to consume each time you drink. This can help reduce, or slow down, your drinking. At home it’s easy to forget how much we’re drinking because of generous measures, or simply because we’re not getting our wallet out to pay for them. You can create a handwritten note, or use a fresh glass each time you have a drink to record how much you’re drinking, whatever is easiest for you.
Use alcohol units to measure your consumption. A brief guide to units is included at the start of this webpage. If you’re going to measure how many drinks you have, try and be accurate. Learn what a unit is, and what counts as a standard drink, so that you can accurately measure how many you’ve had.
Space and Pace
Space out alcoholic drinks by alternating them with soft drinks, alcohol-free beer, a glass of water or fizzy drinks to slow down your alcohol consumption. No matter how much you drink, it's always a good idea to drink plenty of water along with alcoholic drinks. Water can reduce the effect alcohol has on your body and lessen the chance of a hangover the next day.
You can also try sipping your drink more slowly or only having one drink an hour. People who consume drinks quickly, particularly the first few, are at greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol. Pacing yourself will lower the amount you drink, which will reduce the harm to your body and lessen the chance of a hangover the next day.
Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eating is not cheating! Eating can reduce your craving for alcohol. This isn’t true for everyone, but if eating does reduce your craving for a drink, make sure you eat a meal before you drink.
You might find it easier to talk to guys online after a couple of drinks. This is because alcohol lowers our inhibitions, but it can also lead to you making choices you might not otherwise make. We are currently in a lockdown staying at home, and that means not having any unnecessary contact with other people. This includes hook-ups. If you get horny after a few drinks, try to avoid apps and have a wank instead to let the urge pass. It will keep you and others safe.
The Morning After
If you’re hungover the next day, make sure you drink plenty of water. Coffee might sound like a good idea, but it’ll leave you dehydrated. Take painkillers, if it is safe for you to do so, and try to eat something as soon as you can. If you’re getting frequent hangovers during the week, you might be drinking too much, or too often. Consider reducing the number of times you drink during the week or the amount you consume.
Get on your bike or try a hobby. If drinking has become a big part of your life, try substituting it with other activities during the times when you might usually drink. Begin a home exercise program or start yoga, video chat to friends who don’t drink much, or try activities with the people you are isolated with. Find something that you enjoy, and will stick at, to occupy the time when you might consider drinking.
One more thing...
Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your diabetes risk, lower your cholesterol, and reduce levels of cancer. It can also help you save money, get a better night’s sleep and give you more energy.
If you find that you can’t cut down, it might be time to look at your relationship with alcohol and get help to work on it. If you need support, you can: