When we picture someone who needs to cut back or stop drinking, a certain image comes to mind.
Seldom does that image scream high-powered professional, stay-at-home mom, or average person just like you or me.
What we envision is an almost sinister image. Someone passed out at the bar, pulled over and in handcuffs, or surrounded by empty bottles and broken dreams. We never think that it will be someone sitting on their back porch with a wine glass in their hand.
Knowing if your routine drinking might be an issue can be a challenge. There is an abundance of conflicting information out there. How can we know who to listen to and what choices truly are best for us when it comes to our relationships with alcohol?
Here are five signs you might need to wind down your wine intake:
1. You’re drinking more than the recommended daily (or weekly) amount.
Most of us think that our drinking is moderate. We’re convinced that it falls well within the normal limits except for the few times a year we might overdo it. But, do you know what the recommended limits really are?
Here in the United States, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends adults of legal drinking age choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to two drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed. In a week, that would be a maximum of 14 drinks for men and seven for women.
What equals a standard drink? Twelve ounces of 5% ABV beer, eight ounces of 7% ABV malt liquor, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits like vodka, gin, whiskey, and rum, and five ounces of 12% ABV wine all equal one standard drink. For reference, most standard wine bottles contain five standard drinks.
2. Alcohol is holding too much space in your mind or your life.
Have you found yourself planning your day or your life around when and how much you can drink? Ever found yourself counting down the minutes until you can finally have a drink? Or have you taken stock of your life and realized that everything from your friends, your social life, your romantic relationships, the shows you watch, and even your home décor all share a common theme of drinking?
If everything seems a little too booze-soaked for your liking, it could be time to take another look and see just how much wine really needs to be in your weekend.
3. Hangovers have gotten brutal or—even worse—you no longer get hungover.
A funny thing can happen when we drink. The pendulum can swing in one of two ways toward how we feel the next day and both outcomes are equal cause for concern.
On one end are those who find their hangovers have become almost unmanageable. One day of feeling a little off has turned into two, three, or even more days needed to recover. No longer is it just fatigue or an upset stomach you’re dealing with. Now you can add on crushing anxiety, brain fog, shakes, and more unpleasant side effects from a night of drinking.
On the other end are those who no longer get hungover. Their tolerance has increased to a point where they no longer feel the effects of alcohol—so many take that as a sign to drink as much as possible. Anyone who has ever purchased a used car knows that it’s often the damage we can’t see that is most troublesome!
4. You decided wine (or beer, liquor, etc.) is cheaper than therapy.
We’ve all seen the “cute” signs proclaiming that wine is cheaper than therapy. That may be true in the short term, but the opposite is true in the long run. Drinking to cope—or avoid—our emotions and uncomfortable situations does not solve anything. Alcohol increases both depression and anxiety, so it just isn’t an effective tool when it comes to dealing with the curveballs life throws at us.
If wine has become your therapist, it may be time to break that relationship. Developing tools that help alleviate depression and anxiety will be much more beneficial over the long haul than reaching for the glass and hoping things look better tomorrow.
5. If you’ve read this far, it might be time to wind down the wine.
When it comes down to it, you don’t need a checklist or an article to validate that it is time to wind down the wine. If there is anything causing you to think about changing your relationship with alcohol, explore it. You don’t need permission or a reason to get curious about your relationship with alcohol. This is your body, your mind, your health, and your wellness. You have the control over what you will do with it and in what way you see alcohol fitting into that puzzle.
If you’re looking for tools on how to wind down your alcohol intake and change your relationship not only with alcohol but with yourself, check out our This Naked Mind Companion App. Get access to our private TNM Community, The Alcohol Experiment, over 700 videos and more!