25 Oct Meet Dan Moore: Helping others take a Booze Break by noticing the negative effects of alcohol
Many young people will experiment with alcohol – and many will continue to drink socially through their adult life that they will not notice the negative effects of alcohol. But what happens when your drinking starts to affect your life and you can’t stop?
In his podcast Booze Break, Dan Moore shares his journey of moving away from alcohol. He talks candidly about how habits and routines can appear unbreakable and how difficult it can be to make a change.
A self-employed photographer as well as a dad and husband, Dan, aged 31, has found a new positive outlook that has supported his creativity since turning his back on booze – and he shares his story with us here.
How does a problem with alcohol begin?
Knowing that alcohol can become a problem and being aware of how much you drink is so important.
“My parents, who are fantastic parents, were very liberal. They allowed me to make mistakes, there was not a lot of taboo when it came to drugs, alcohol, smoking.
They were very good at telling me the consequences, what I should avoid. So there weren’t a lot of barriers for me when it came to alcohol. I would drink at weekends with my friends.”
As he became older, Dan’s drinking increased as he went out more. College days met with a ‘big drinking’ culture at evenings and weekends, this then progressed into a ‘huge drinking culture at university’.
Falling into a damaging routine
As graduates enter the world of work drinking usually takes a back seat. For Daniel his drinking got more frequent.
“I had money, I had a girlfriend (now my wife), and we would stay in quite a lot and crack open a couple of beers. We were enjoying life and that, by accident, sort of snow balled.
I would use alcohol in what seems like a relatively harmless way, to medicate from a stressful day. Looking back I had a lot of anxiety, although I didn’t notice it at the time, around my career because it was quite a high stress job.”
It wasn’t the traditional cliché of going out and sitting at the bar all night that caught up with Daniel, but nights at home.
“I don’t think I was ever a binge drinker. I was always more of a regular social drinker. I socialised a lot, therefore I drank a lot.
You start to build up these associations with drinking and rituals. Before you know it, I was pretty much drinking with everything that happened in the evening, after work.
I got to the point where when I tried to moderate my alcohol, because it started to have a negative effect on my life, on my relationships and on my productivity, I couldn’t. It was too hard.
So without realising it, I’d become, I don’t want to say addicted, but it’s probably the right word. Dependent is probably a better word to describe my relationship with alcohol. I’ve never really thought of myself as an alcoholic, but I probably was.”
Addiction is a strong word and comes with connotations. As drinking alcohol is so ingrained in society it is easy to forget that many people choose to drink, knowing that it can be harmful. Yet it remains socially acceptable.
Noticing the negative effects of alcohol
When did Dan start to notice the negative impacts of alcohol and know it was time to make a change?
“Sleep was a big one, I found myself staying up later and drinking. I was finding myself struggling more in the morning when I would go to work.
I have a daughter and I would find myself struggling with motivation. I’d find myself wanting to persuade her to come and sit and watch some children’s programme rather than engaging with her because I was hungover, essentially.”
The drinking then began to impact Daniel’s work and affect his love of his job.
“I’d done a photoshoot where I wasn’t into it at all, the whole way through I was thinking ‘Ugh, don’t wanna do this shoot’, contemplating cancelling. I hadn’t been out and partied, I’d just had a couple too many. So then I’d say to myself…’Let’s not have a drink tonight.’ Then when that night came the cravings would kick in. I’d find it so difficult to abstain for any longer than a few days.
That’s when you start to have these internal questions of, ‘Am I an alcoholic?’, ‘Do I need to go to an AA meeting?’ I never felt like I really got that far. But I’d find it increasingly difficult to abstain from alcohol, or even to moderate, I couldn’t just have one.”
How to stop drinking alcohol
But what finally led him to change?
“I tried to quit drinking a few times, or I at least tried to manage it by doing things like sober January, sober for October. I tried them several times and failed.
We were in lockdown through Coronavirus, and I put a post on Instagram: Guess how many days since lockdown that I’ve not had a drink?
I’d got this calendar where…you could count how many days you’d not had a drink. And I had pressed two days in the whole time, which was probably two months.
My Aunty had just completed a year of being alcohol free. She wasn’t an alcoholic, she’d just decided to take a year away from booze because she drank too much.
She started talking about going a year alcohol free and gave me the push. I’d been to therapy before, I’d done all sorts of different things to have a go at changing my relationship with booze. She just said; ‘Why don’t you start now?’ and gave me some resources to look at and I said ‘Do you know what? I’m not having another drink from now’.”
Sometimes it’s not always a big thing that makes you realise you need to change and take action, you can just decide to change your life. Part of Daniel’s success has been down to being open and sharing his experience with others. This has even led him to create his own podcast Booze Break.
“I felt like I needed to share this with people. I was obsessed with researching it and didn’t know where to put this information. I was fascinated with talking to people about mental health and how that related to alcohol.
So I decided to make a podcast as I thought it would keep me motivated, it was a part of my accountability.”
On Booze Break Daniel discusses lots of different topics and begins by saying how long it is since he last had a drink. So, what has he noticed the benefits have been to him so far?
“Straight away I noticed some huge benefits. There were negatives and positives. I think I went through withdrawal, very mild withdrawal.
One of the things that I used to use alcohol for was sleep. I really struggled with sleep. I suffered a lot with depression and anxiety, on and off throughout my life, not in horrendous amounts. The problem with alcohol is it doesn’t help you sleep, it just knocks you out. I noticed straight away I wasn’t knocked out as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was having healthy, restful, regenerative sleep and it got better and better.
Sleep has a knock-on effect to all the other stuff because then my skin was better, my organs were regenerating, I had an issue with my liver, which became pretty much symptom-free. My joint pain got less, my general mood increased. Now I’m super positive.”
Booze Break has developed a community and encourages people looking for support to engage on social media at Instagram and Facebook.
The ultimate aim for Daniel is to help people make a change that they can sustain.
Choose the life you want to lead
Back on Track Teens aims to offer a supportive environment for young people who need to make a change or are looking for guidance – this includes noticing the negative effects of alcohol in yourself or someone close to you.
To find a supportive community for a range of issues use our social channels.
Remember, be the change that you want to see – with the right support it is possible.