One drink is defined as:

—5 ounces of wine.

—1.5 ounce of liquor (shot).

—12 ounces of beer.

Clients say this to me all the time, “I don’t really drink that much, one or two glasses most days.”

The reason it’s gray is we collectively agreed a long time ago that alcohol isn’t a problem unless someone can’t hold a job, ends up on a park bench, shakes every morning and therefore has to drink every day, all day as they’ve pickled themselves into jaundice or schizophrenia or both.

This outdated stereotype of what problem drinking looks like doesn’t help anyone.

In my lifetime I’d love to see this perception turned completely around. Not because I think we need a prohibition but because so much internal angst, cognitive dissonance and struggle could be relieved if we would collectively acknowledge that two drinks per day for women is actually heavy risky drinking. Source: CDC

That’s all it takes, no park bench required.

By those standards, I was a heavy drinker. It was very easy for one glass (never a 5-ounce pour, by the way, more like an Olivia Pope fishbowl sized wine glass pour) to turn into 2, 3 or 4 glasses. I didn’t lose a job, I never got a DUI, and no one intervened and told me they were concerned about my drinking. But I knew the way I was drinking was a problem for me by how I felt inside.

Which isn’t surprising because no amount of alcohol is safe or recommended. Source CDC and NIH. So the coveted one-two glasses of wine actually isn’t something to covet, it’s really just moderate/heavy drinking!

Let’s rattle this cage and shake this paradigm so the millions of people who say “I don’t drink that much. I’m not physically addicted, yet” can feel empowered to stop drinking (like a smoker who stops smoking) if they choose to without feeling like they have to “prove” they were “that bad.”

Imagine that paradigm shift!

For more on this topic: Listen to Episode 24. The Moderation Question on the “Editing Our Drinking and Our Lives” Podcast with Aidan Donnelley Rowley and Jolene Park.

Also, check out my interview with Sara Roberts on Sobriety Starts Here!

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