What’s the Magic Number?

As I’ve entered different stages of life, I’ve realized there are many facets to drinking. When I was in high school, it was partying on the weekends, but never during the week. In college, it was basically all of the time and occasionally sober days before and around exam time. After college, there was some going out here and there, but things started slowing way down. Then parenting brought along the weekend binge drinking when we’d grill outside with the whole family.

I gave all of these examples because I wanted to paint a picture of what most people consider “okay” amounts of drinking. “That doesn’t sound excessive. That sounds like my experiences too.”  But where do we draw the line? When do we say, “Well, actually it sounds like you have a problem.” Not only that, but when do we go from trying to help someone out to silently judging them for drinking too much? 

Who can I talk to when I think their drinking is a bit excessive? Does it have to be a close friend or could it be someone from the office (you only speak to occasionally) that has alcohol seeping out of their pours when you get close enough to her? Is it my place to say anything at all? Do I just sit back and watch while someone else’s life implodes? 

There is a culture in AA where no one will flat-out tell you, “You’re an alcoholic,” unless you’re the person who calls yourself one first. While I think that is great because it keeps harsh ridicule off the shoulders of people who can’t handle it, on the other hand, there are people in my life who I believe would benefit from knowing their alcohol intake is outside of the normal range. 

I didn’t know my drinking was excessive until I stopped completely. Then I realized there are people in this world who can actually drink A SINGLE GLASS OF WINE and be done. WHAT?!? One glass? You mean one bottle right?, was always my inner response when noticing these people. 

What’s your magic number? Can you have a healthy amount of alcohol? Or, like me, do you steer clear of it altogether because you lack self control? 

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