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Anybody begin drinking too much after retirement?
Old 02-12-2010, 07:47 AM   #1
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Anybody begin drinking too much after retirement?

This may fall under the category of looking for things to worry about, but it is one of my concerns with not having to get up each morning. I currently drink alcohol about 3 times per week. Almost every Friday and Saturday and then one other night during the week when somebody wants to go get dinner or watch the ball game. I don't like to drink too much (and limit myself to 3-4 beers) when I know I have to get up for work the next day. On Friday and Saturday nights, no such limits exists and I am usually on the "as much as I feel like" plan. One of my worries about retiring early is with no more concerns about having to get up early and be productive for work, what would stop me from treating every day like a Saturday? I could see myself drinking 5-6 days per week and thus becoming a problem. Curious if anybody else who already considered themselves a "drinker" saw their issue get worse after retirement?
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:01 AM   #2
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Not to play Freud here, but the message behind your message (to me, at least) is that you have concerns about safely controlling your drinking, period. Work and other external factors can affect that, I realize, but for most non-alcoholic people, changes in leisure time won't lead to unhealthy drinking longterm.

My suggestion is that if you don't think there are underlying alcohol over-use issues, don't worry about it -- doubt retiring will be a problem. But if you do sense some vulnerability, pro-active counselling or vigilance might provide just the thing you need to make the transition without alcohol getting in the way.

Here is the old standby CAGE screening test that still has some merit.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:26 AM   #3
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If you wake up in the morning and your check liver light is on, you're drinking too much !
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:33 AM   #4
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If you wake up in the morning and your check liver light is on, you're drinking too much !
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:34 AM   #5
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Not to play Freud here, but the message behind your message (to me, at least) is that you have concerns about safely controlling your drinking, period. Work and other external factors can affect that, I realize, but for most non-alcoholic people, changes in leisure time won't lead to unhealthy drinking longterm.

My suggestion is that if you don't think there are underlying alcohol over-use issues, don't worry about it -- doubt retiring will be a problem. But if you do sense some vulnerability, pro-active counselling or vigilance might provide just the thing you need to make the transition without alcohol getting in the way.

Here is the old standby CAGE screening test that still has some merit.
I absolutely have underlying concerns about my ability to control it without built in consequences, thus the question. I am curious if others who are in my situation have been put over the edge by retirement.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:37 AM   #6
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I could see myself drinking 5-6 days per week and thus becoming a problem. Curious if anybody else who already considered themselves a "drinker" saw their issue get worse after retirement?
Med's baby. Seriously though, if you are worried about it......it could be a problem. For me, I don't worry about it. I limit myself to no more than a couple at night, unless I go to my golf club on a Friday night. And the med's a have at my home are the little 8oz pony size. Trying to lose a little weight.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:38 AM   #7
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I am curious if others who are in my situation have been put over the edge by retirement.
Your concerns may be realistic. I had a former boss who retired in his 50's after a company buyout. He returned to work in less than two years because, according to him,"my liver couldn't handle retirement".
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:50 AM   #8
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I absolutely have underlying concerns about my ability to control it without built in consequences, thus the question. I am curious if others who are in my situation have been put over the edge by retirement.
Rich can obviously speak for himself, but my interpretation of his post was that if I thought I had a potential drinking control issue, I should take steps to address it now rather than waiting until retirement to do so.

Or maybe I'm totally out to lunch. It wouldn't be the first time.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:55 AM   #9
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Rich can obviously speak for himself, but my interpretation of his post was that if I thought I had a potential drinking control issue, I should take steps to address it now rather than waiting until retirement to do so.
Yes, that's what I was trying to say. OP has been forthright about it, so it sounds like an ounce of prevention now would make sense.

The fact that Skyvue has the insight (rather than denying the potential for problems) makes the process much easier and more effective.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:05 AM   #10
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I think Rich is 100% right - - no, 150%!! Might as well be proactive about that potential problem.

Other than agreeing with Rich, I am really too much of a goody-two-shoes to have much to contribute here. (I don't drink.) If it helps, I have found that in retirement, every day's a Saturday and often I find myself enjoying the same sorts of things that I enjoyed on Saturdays when I was working.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:15 AM   #11
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Not much to add here beyond what's been said, other than to reiterate that if you ever find yourself feeling like you *need* a drink, or find yourself having trouble stopping yourself after (say) 2-3 drinks at a time, you have good reason to be concerned and nip this in the bud. That you are conscious of it and not in denial is a good sign.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:30 AM   #12
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I never feel like I need a drink but I do have trouble stopping after I have started drinking. I know this is an issue and that many would label me a "functional alcoholic". This is the term they use to describe people who can successfully manage the problem without letting it affect their work, relationships, finances, etc....

Addressing the problem now is not what I wanted to hear! LOL
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:44 AM   #13
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After retirement:

I plan to not drink anymore.

Or drink any less.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:05 AM   #14
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I used to have very similar concerns; frankly, I enjoy drinking dark beer, red wine, whiskey, tequila, etc. But, I have started taking more time off work lately; and, I have found that I actually drink much less when I'm not working now. (When I was younger, vacation was an excuse for an extended drunk.)

Over the last couple of years, I have actually been reducing my daily alcohol consumption as part of a commitment to healthier living which includes more gym time and watching my diet. Now, I pause to consider the calories now which helps stop me from having that third or fourth beer, glass of wine, etc. (I do still generally have half a bottle of wine or a couple of beers most evenings; but, I may try to reduce that a bit further at some point.) Maybe you could consider those kinds of consequences? It seems to be working for me so far.

Good luck.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:04 AM   #15
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Why are you drinking now? Is it because you enjoy the drinks, the time with friends, etc? Or is it because you want to escape and drown your problems in alcohol? I don't necessarily agree that having that concern is a warning light. The fact that you are concerned shows you have some power of the drinking. There is a difference between not being able to quit and not wanting to. You impose the current limits on your drinking, not your job. If all it took to not go off the edge and become alcoholic was the threat of having a hangover at work, there would be very few alcoholics.

I'm not saying your concern isn't valid, but I have many alcoholics in my family. Some were functioning and have some measure of control, others hit rock bottom before they quit. I was rightly concerned and watch myself, but I have a liquor cabinet full of booze and a beer fridge, but I drink maybe once a week and rarely get smashed or even heavily buzzed. I am not powerless over alcohol, I drink for pleasure, not to hide pain. It sounds like you might be the same. I you can limit yourself now, it is entirely likely you will continue. But only you know for sure. If you do, indeed, have a problem, you should deal with it now. Your concern shows you either don't have a problem, or you're on the road to dealing with it.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:18 AM   #16
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I have almost quit drinking alcohol of any sort after I retired. Does nothing for me. Have not drank much since my early thirties.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:19 AM   #17
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Why are you drinking now? Is it because you enjoy the drinks, the time with friends, etc? Or is it because you want to escape and drown your problems in alcohol? I don't necessarily agree that having that concern is a warning light. The fact that you are concerned shows you have some power of the drinking. There is a difference between not being able to quit and not wanting to. You impose the current limits on your drinking, not your job. If all it took to not go off the edge and become alcoholic was the threat of having a hangover at work, there would be very few alcoholics.

I'm not saying your concern isn't valid, but I have many alcoholics in my family. Some were functioning and have some measure of control, others hit rock bottom before they quit. I was rightly concerned and watch myself, but I have a liquor cabinet full of booze and a beer fridge, but I drink maybe once a week and rarely get smashed or even heavily buzzed. I am not powerless over alcohol, I drink for pleasure, not to hide pain. It sounds like you might be the same. I you can limit yourself now, it is entirely likely you will continue. But only you know for sure. If you do, indeed, have a problem, you should deal with it now. Your concern shows you either don't have a problem, or you're on the road to dealing with it.
I drink mostly out of boredom and because I like the whole social aspect of going to the bar (single/divorced). I don't have any alcohol at my home and never drink by myself at home so I make myself feel better by focusing on this fact.

I enjoy going to sports bars, watching multiple games at once, pounding a few beers and staring at the beautiful young ladies! As mentioned before though, I hate feeling tired and hungover at work the next day so I have pretty much stopped drinking during the week. I guess I could still go to the bars and not drink but that I haven't had the willpower to do much of.

The concern really started sticking in my head when I went on vacation over the new year holiday. I was in Florida for a week and drank heavily every day. The thought in my head was that I wouldn't last long in retirement if this is what it would be like!
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:45 AM   #18
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Have that concern. Maybe fifteen or twenty years ago was hanging out in January with a couple I admired. They weren't drinking and it was a social event, so I asked why, making fun in a joking way. Was told that they took the month of January off after the excesses of the holiday season - no alcohol, no marijuana, no coke - they even tried to not smoke cigarettes!

I'm a very habit prone person, which has positive and negative facets. Tend to have a stout drink every night and drinking every night habit is a warning sign.... Decided back then that I would try the alcohol free January and have done so since. Very interesting and fun to see who's the boss. Some years it bothers me, some years not at all. Entertaining seeing the excuses I come up with to justify having a drink, but excuses are just that and not accepted by me. Bit meaner with me than with others... I can't put much over on me.

Maybe see what taking a break feels like.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:59 AM   #19
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The concern really started sticking in my head when I went on vacation over the new year holiday. I was in Florida for a week and drank heavily every day. The thought in my head was that I wouldn't last long in retirement if this is what it would be like!
The culture of this board is very pro-retirement, the earlier the better. That seems to be an accurate reflection of what most here report in their lives. But it conflicts with a whole lot of information from other sources, so I think each person should assess how it might go in his or her own life. I formerly lived in kind of a vacation/retirement spot, and there was sure a good supply of heavy drinkers there. Saturday or Sunday nights it was hard to find a sober driver between the VFW or Eagles or Odd Fellows and the residential neighborhoods. Go fishing, the bottle came along. Work on cars, some guys had to be fortified. One of my best friends, a guy maybe 35 years older than me, helped me with a thousand projects. There was almost nothing he couldn't do. But I think I may have never seen him totally sober in all the years I knew him.

I had a brother who never considered himself an alcoholic, though in retrospect I think he was. He never missed work, or drank during the day, etc. But he teacher-retired at age 53 and was dead by age 57 from cirrhosis. He was also a big sports bar guy- fantasy football, etc. He was very private, so we are not really sure the whole story. It appears that he may have had Hep-B as well as too much Jagermeister. Most of his girlfriends he also found in bars, often not the most microbiologically pristine set.

One reason I bought my big screen TV is that it is hard to nurse one drink all through an afternoon's football in a sports bar. For one thing, the waitress or bartender doesn't much like it.


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Old 02-12-2010, 12:05 PM   #20
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My doc. of course knows what real meds. I take and Iíve told her I canít drink much, get an immediate effect and very sick on, say, two glasses. She recommends that I drink a bit a couple of times a week; donít know if it makes a difference that she was trained in Brazil. I follow her recommendation to the letter and enjoy what little I drink more than ever now that Iím retired. No problem, Iíll be drinking to the combo of Mardi Gras, Lunar New Year and Valentineís Day.

Iím lucky that my constitution limits intake but have known many people who are the opposite, very sad. Iím glad you brought up the topic, skyvue, and are addressing it.
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