Is moderation possible? Mick shares his journey back to social drinking

I grew up in a Sydney inner city pub culture where even now, in my late 50s, if I have a chat with a mate, it is generally over a beer or two.

I am OK with this.

However, while going through an unreasonably tough time at work during the COVID-influenced work from home era, I did “lean on” nightly drinking because I thought it was helping me get through the stressful situations.

I have wonderful supportive people at home that I should have ‘leaned on’ instead, but I forgot what was important to me.

Of course, it became a habit and got to the point where I was sick of waking up feeling rough and not sleeping well. Lately, I am consciously increasing alcoholfree days and feeling better for it – although it is something I need to constantly work at. The Daybreak app and this blog is helping. Thank you!

Before I first started reading this blog, I thought that alcohol helped to ‘take the edge off’. But now I know daily drinking leads to disruption of sleep, digestion issues, more anxiety and most importantly, absence of mind when dealing with important family relationships.

The blog also helped me discover my drinking triggers. For me, I find if I do not have a drink after work and during dinner, I have no further cravings that day.

Meditating and mindfulness has helped too. Also, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my alcohol-free days coincide with my gym and training days.

I definitely had an unhealthy obsession with work. Since the invention of mobile phones, etc, I believe it is now easier to become a workaholic compared to any other time in human history. I felt an expectation to be at call 24/7.

I am old enough to remember when leaving work generally meant leaving work related problems in the office. These days we can continue to work on our devices in the elevator, on the train and sadly at home.

I don’t think we can look at issues in isolation. I think everything is connected. It’s hard to fix problems with alcohol if it feels like everything else is falling apart. The other parts of our lives need work too.

I believe my problems with alcohol are a symptom of my struggles to handle the stress I experience at work and in life.

I sought professional help to deal with the stress and anxiety. This helped to put things in perspective and re-set my goals and values. Like the alcohol triggers, I was taught to recognise anxiety triggers.

The main thing that has helped with my stress management is taking a break, even for 10 minutes. During this time, it is important for me to feel like I don’t have to do anything and to not feel the need to resist anything. Going for a walk helps, as does trying to concentrate on one thing at a time – like music.

The COVID lock down period meant more time at home, which was a double-edged sword. It was easy for work to take over.

To fill in time I took some evening courses with the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. This was a welcome distraction and gave me more confidence in my musical ability. I have since been writing, recording and performing. In fact, the above story is part of the inspiration behind my latest single. Please see below if you are interested.

As indicated earlier, I am a regular reader of this blog which helps me to keep these issues front of mind. I am grateful to all those who have shared their stories. It takes more courage than I thought.

I am aware that many people have chosen the abstinence path in relation to alcohol and more power to them.

I have chosen a path of moderation.

Am I making mistakes along the way? Shit yeah!

But that’s how we learn, and I intend to never stop learning.


All The Best



Mick’s latest single: A Thousand’s Not Enough


Sometimes I can’t help feeling I don’t belong

Convince myself it’s fine but I know it’s wrong

I never dreamed that this is where I would be

Dressed up in my suit

Pretending to be me…


Technology was meant to help us be free

Instead, my work now keeps on following me

Family at home I see but don’t recognise

Finding it hard

To look them in the eye…



I’m going out tonight don’t care what happens next

Don’t want to think no more my brain needs a rest

The blues will finish when the alcohol starts

Ones too many

A thousand’s not enough


Talking to Katie she sees somethings not right

She says you can’t continue living this life

We vowed to always find an answer somehow

That was me then

Don’t know about now…



I’m going out tonight don’t care what happens next

Don’t want to think no more my brain needs a rest

The blues will finish when the alcohol starts

Ones too many

A thousand’s not enough


Ooh I think it’s too late

Ooh to fix my mistakes

Ooh the hurdles to high

Ooh I know I should try…



I’m going out tonight don’t care what happens next

Don’t want to think no more my brain needs a rest

The blues will finish when the alcohol starts

Ones too many

A thousand’s not enough


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  • I like the lyrics. Good writing.

    By Jim Cook
    December 24, 2023
  • Love those lyrics, Mick. And your comment about getting through the post-work/ dinner time is so true. After that it is easy and I always feel grateful I didn’t succumb.

    By Susie
    December 24, 2023
  • Thanks for sharing your story Mick!
    I’m also in the process of changing my habits around relying on alcohol to manage stress.
    Giving up daily drinking frees up so much time & energy.
    Good on you for channeling that into music.

    By Melanie Houston
    December 24, 2023
  • Thanks for sharing your story.
    Great song too 😊

    By Eve
    December 24, 2023
  • Beautiful song Mick, I love that. Lovely bit of slide guitar or something similar and lyrics that certainly touched a chord with me. Great work and have a happy Xmas with your near and dear.

    By Clem
    December 24, 2023
  • I joined HSM in August 2014. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I was AF for almost 8 months. I posted every day, made a life long friend and have been able to drink in moderation. Sometimes I’m not always following the rules I’ve established for myself but have managed to stick to the ones that are the most important to me .
    It’s always good to see people who can take the moderation route with success.

    By Sunshine
    December 25, 2023
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