Wine is the drink of the century. Drinking wine in today’s society is almost considered a personality trait: people own funny custom glasses, sport wine apparel, and constantly joke about turning to a bottle to fix all their troubles. Wine, in a more traditional sense, is often thought of as a sophisticated beverage, enjoyed during a romantic dinner or after the end of a long day. Wine connoisseurs even make a career out of it, becoming sommeliers who specialize in the knowledge, taste, and pairing of the drink.
Although it doesn’t fall into the category of hard liquor, wine is considered to be of medium-alcohol content, ranging from 11.5 to 13.5% by volume. This allows for a nice buzz, even after just one glass. And we can all agree that it’s much more acceptable to sip on a glass of wine by yourself than it is to down hard liquor once the clock strikes 5.
Because drinking wine has become such a normalized activity, it can be hard to understand the point where a seemingly innocent habit starts to verge on addiction. Now, just because you enjoy a daily glass of wine doesn’t mean that you have a dependence on alcohol. Moderation is not something that addicts tend to practice, as substance abuse is all-encompassing and gets to a point where it cannot be controlled. If you can enjoy a single glass nightly and are able to get on with your evening, your behavior is perfectly normal. But if the intention was a single glass, and more often than not you find yourself staring at the bottom of the bottle, your habit is no longer just a casual tendency.
Your Habit Might Be Escalating
Alcoholism can range anywhere from mild, to moderate, to severe. Addictions can happen overnight, and other times the process is gradual. You might open your eyes one day and realize that your behavior might not be as normal, healthy, or acceptable as you once thought. Addictions are also tricky because they vary for everyone. Just because your friend engages in the same behaviors you do doesn’t mean the substances you’re consuming are having the same effect on your mind and body. Some initial warning signs that you may be developing a problem include:
Going past your limits
You tell yourself you’re only going to have one glass of wine. You make sure to give yourself a generous pour so that you’ll stick to your limit of a ‘single’ glass, but the buzz is nice and there’s no harm in one more pour, right? Just to top things off. Two leads to three, and three leads to an empty bottle. If you struggle with sticking to your own guidelines, it might be a good idea to lay off of the beverage altogether. Leave it off of your grocery list altogether if having a bottle in the house can’t be moderated.
Failing to drink less often
Are you always looking forward to that time of the day where enjoying a glass of wine is socially acceptable? Drinking wine has become a method of medicating against the stressors of life for many women (and men). When your mind relates stress relief with alcohol consumption, your tendency to drink will increase because your mind knows that when alcohol comes, stress diminishes. Or at least it seems like it does. The response to stress might even be subconscious in the beginning stages. But when drinking becomes a daily occurrence, it will become hard to deny (even to yourself) that your habit has become a bit excessive. If you find it difficult to go a few days without alcohol, take a moment to really analyze your behavior. Why are you drinking? Why are you drinking so heavily? Why can’t you stop drinking?
Noticing other drinking habits in relation to your own
You’re out at dinner, and you realize your glass of wine seems to be going down a little more quickly than those of the people around you. If you find yourself longing for others to finish their glass so you can pour yourself another, it’s time to reevaluate. The slower rate at which others are drinking shouldn’t be an agonizing experience. If you find yourself holding back on your natural behavior, deep down you know this means that your drinking tendencies aren’t acceptable.
Normal activities are no longer enjoyable without it
If you can’t attend a dinner or gathering without an alcoholic beverage in hand, your habit might be taking a dangerous turn. Yes, a glass of wine at a mixer probably helps take the edge off of socializing with people you don’t know. But being unable to interact with others if you don’t have a buzz going is a huge red flag. Alcohol shouldn’t be a characteristic of your personality. And if it is? Ask yourself why you can’t seem to behave normally without it. If you’ve started to include wine at events that have nothing to do with alcohol (your kid’s soccer practice, watching a movie with your family, attending a seminar with work) then it’s time to get help.
To no one’s surprise, wine doesn’t hold all that much nutritional value. The average bottle of wine has about 635 calories. If you’re drinking multiple glasses to an entire bottle a day, your caloric intake is taking a major spike. This results in packing on additional pounds, and if you can attribute significant weight gain to your drinking habits, it is highly recommended you cut back: normal drinking habits shouldn’t have a negative effect on your body. Additionally, the hangover from drinking a bunch of wine isn’t a fun one. The next day can be full of lethargy, nausea, heachaches, and grogginess. These feelings don’t encourage healthy behavior: you’ll likely skip out on your workout session and opt for quick-fix meals instead of making something healthy. These factors add to weight gain and can be also be attributed back to an unhealthy wine habit.
All of the reasons listed above are indications that your daily wine habit is leading you toward more addictive tendencies. If you can relate to one or more than one of the warning signs above, take a step back and get control of your behavior before it progresses to a much more serious addiction. Even if your alcoholism isn’t severe yet, our counselors and therapists at Scottsdale Recovery Center are more than willing to sit down and discuss any concerns you may have about your current behavior. Treatment is only a call away.
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