Raise your hand if you are a subscriber to this philosophy: “I’m unwinding at the end of the day with a glass of wine” or “One glass of wine per day is a habit, not a problem!”
In our culture, drinking has two polar opposite viewpoints: “Drinking is socially fun and acceptable — so pound those drinks down!” or “It’s a toxin and addictive, and abstinence from alcohol is the answer”.
In reality, the solution may fall somewhere in the middle — as many commercials for beer and spirits state: “Drink Responsibly”.
Five signs your wine is part of the problem, not the solution.
While science shows no amount of alcohol is good for your body, the data on exactly how much you can drink before you harm your brain, heart and other tissues and organs.
The CDC notes that “The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of cancer.” But exactly how much is considered “safe” is ever-changing. It does seem, however, that multiple studies show that a daily drink is likely a bad idea.
1. You’re letting alcohol dictate your life.
You can’t wait to get home from the office to crack open a bottle of wine or polish off that cold brewski. Every waking moment is devoted to getting your fix.
The feelings of removal from reality blend into your day job, and before you know it, all aspects of your life take a backseat to the substance. Take a check on when was the last time you didn’t drink.
Remember: Balance is the key!
2. You’re on medication that specifically warns against alcohol consumption.
It is surprising to realize how many people don’t seem to take heed when their medication cautions against consuming alcohol while taking certain prescriptions.
Read your medication labels carefully, or you risk drug interactions and health complications that might not be immediately apparent. The liver has a limit to the amount it can filter.
3. Your family/friends/significant other tells you your drinking is a problem or seems like too much.
Even if you think it’s not a big deal to have a glass of wine, maybe it is easier for them to notice changes in your behavior rather than you being the objective observer.
Remember, many people have varying degrees of alcoholic tolerances, and it may take just one glass for others to observe subtle (or major) shifts in personality, which can affect your relationship with the people you love most.
Don’t fall into the trap of, “I can quit anytime I want.”
4. It takes time away from the present moment and distracts you from tackling issues head-on.
Any substance (even caffeine) can alter our reality and distort our perception of how bad things are.
Are you drinking to escape or hide? Or are you simply drinking to have fun?
Make sure you’re not drinking in an attempt to escape your real-world problems.
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5. It limits your activities and your social circle.
I remember having to distance myself from certain friends who would judge me because I chose to refrain from drinking (perhaps they also were not my friends, to begin with).
Be aware of how many activities you plan that involve consuming alcoholic beverages, and be sure to plan outings that offer other choices than sipping bottomless mimosas during Sunday brunch.
Maxine Langdon Starr, Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist specializing in adolescents and young adults, partner/owner of Sunflower Therapies, professor of psychology at Brandman University, and motivational speaker on self-esteem.