I go for a night out, drink a reasonable amount, get merry, don't feel ill, have a good time. I stop drinking / drink far slower / alternate blackcurrant with alcoholic drinks and all is well. This proceeds for a few weeks until..
I start drinking at home, in the evenings, to relax. This happens and shortly afterwards..
I drink more when I go out (especially if recently I have had to not drink because I've been driving) and I don't stop drinking when I should. Cue bad hangovers in the morning.
I go well over the top and end up drinking so much I'm very ill before I even get to bed. I have alcohol poisoning and feel very very ill the next day well into the evening. I go into..
Abstinence. This can last from anything from 1 day to a week to a few months depending on the relative badness of Stage 4. Eventually I start drinking again and go back to Stage 1.
Hopefully I'm at Stage 1, and I'd like to keep it there. I'll have to keep an eye out for it and see how it goes..