On Alcohol

by Lara on August 26, 2011

True story: I never drank in high school.  Not once.  I had my first drink when I was 19, and I didn’t get properly drunk until my second year of college.  Even as a sorority girl, I could only be counted on to party on select days when finals and midterms were nowhere in sight, and even then, I was a lightweight and somewhat of a “prude.”

Somewhere along the way, things changed.

Maybe it was living in the sorority house.  Maybe it was living in Britain.  Maybe it was just that I really, really needing to lighten up.

Let’s just say in the last few years, I’ve made up for my modest drinking habits throughout most of my collegiate career.

Don’t worry, Dad, I’m not an alcoholic.  I’ve just come to really enjoy the ritual of having a drink, the socialization of going out, and the relaxation that comes with a glass of wine at the end of a long workday.  Or two.  Maybe I have felt slightly entitled to drinking a little heavier as a twenty-something because of my tame teens.

Nevertheless, it’s a habit I’d like to break.  Recently I’ve come to the realization that, whether I lived them up or not, my sorority days are over, and I’m supposed to be a big girl now.  Crazy nights out, though limited, aren’t really prudent when you’re approaching 30 and thinking about starting a family.  A glass of wine should, to me, be a treat that is enjoyed, instead of implied on a regular basis.  I’ve strayed from this behavior recently and probably been indulging too much, which is not good for my wallet, my waistline, or my well being.

My friend Kim recently posted about giving up alcohol, and by chance I also stumbled upon a post on the Daily Garnish called “Why I Quit Drinking.”  Both have inspired me to take a serious look at my drinking habits and reconsider my relationship with alcohol.  They’re great reads for even the most moderate of drinkers.

At this point my goal is not to stop drinking entirely.  I believe alcohol can be enjoyed without excessiveness, and I believe I can bring that moderation back into my life responsibly.

What about you?  Are you a moderate drinker, a teetotaler, or someone who could perhaps (like me) take a closer look at your drinking habits?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

glidingcalm August 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm

after vipassana, I almost completely stopped drinking! It’s rare that I have a drink…and usually it’s only one now!


Lara August 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Maybe that is another reason why I should consider it!


Shayla @ The Good Life August 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Wow I love love this post and I couldn’t describe better how I had recently been feeling about my drinking too. Since January of this year when my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby, I knew I had to get my drinking under control. No I’m not an alcoholic, but like you, I think I enjoyed one too many, once too often and deep in the pit of my stomach knew it was not healthy for neither my health nor waistline.

Emily’s post inspired me as well to stop/lessen my drinking. And with drinking too much came other bad habits, such as it lowering my inhibitions in having me eat too much, and then the next day feel awful about myself and would then over exercise and restrict calories. I finally just got fed up with it and stopped drinking cold turkey. I was done with the weekends of binge drinking and wanted to feel healthy and in control everyday of the week. I also stopped cold turkey since we’re trying to conceive. However once I have the baby, I do plan on bringing a glass of wine here or two back into my life, but like you said perfectly, I want to treat it as enjoyment and for a celebration, and not used on a regular basis. I’ve been wanting to write a post about this but haven’t yet…you’ve inspired me to want to get my feelings about this out there and thank you for sharing yours with us 🙂


Lara August 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Thanks Shayla! I’d love to read your post about your experience with “quitting” if you do want to share it.


Jennie (in Wonderland) August 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Hey Lara! This post struck a chord with me.

I go through periods of not having any drinks, and then I go through times when I think I drink a bit too much. Nowhere near what I used to though – I’m a big fan of red wine and in the UK, I could down half a bottle in a night, no problem. Now, I like a G&T in the summertime, a martini when I’m out and a good glass of red wine with dinner. But still, I think cutting down on alcohol is always a good thing.

I think the main problem is excessive drinking and binge drinking which I did a lot of in university and still sometimes find myself partaking in. Yes, I’ve replaced Bacardi n’ coke with red wine, but it’s still excessive alcohol and puts a lot of stress on my body. My aim lately is to enjoy wine and/or liquor in moderation, savour the taste, but not go over board.

Easier to do lately, as I’ve re-committed to eating healthier and exercising.

Thanks for making me think 🙂


Lara August 26, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Thanks Jennie. What is it about living in the UK and drinking red wine?! 😉
P.S. Are you still blogging?


Mish August 26, 2011 at 5:09 pm

It’s interesting, because I’m exactly the same was you. I drank a little bit in my late-teens with my parents, but that was probably twice a year. The first time I was properly was drunk when I was about 19 in a trailer…funny story. But since I was dieting all the time, alcohol was ’empty calories’. Now that I’m not as focused on dieting/weight I find myself enjoying wine at all times of the day…usually after lunch…and I blame it on Australia. It’s been good though to realise that you can have a glass of wine and just simply enjoy it. I think that all things in moderation is usually a good way to go about things. Perhaps look at why you’re drinking instead of banning it…?


Lara August 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I agree Mish, moderation is key! I don’t plan on banning drinking completely, and I think your advice on looking at my motivation is wise.


Andrea@WellnessNotes August 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Very interesting post! Since I grew up in Europe, I feel alcohol has been a “natural” part of my life. What I mean by that is that, when I was younger, I don’t think it ever had that appeal “forbidden” things can have… I was allowed to drink some alcohol when I was fairly young, and I didn’t ever really go overboard. I like that part of my relationship with alcohol.

But I can also totally relate to being a bit too used to having a drink at the end of the day. I don’t like the feeling when having a drink becomes a habit, and I reach for a glass of wine pretty much nightly, almost without thinking. I have gone on several “alcohol breaks,” and I really like what they did for me and my relationship with alcohol. I focus on other ways to unwind at the end of the day, and a glass of wine became special again. In fact, I think it is probably time for a little break again soon…


Lara August 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I definitely agree that the European mindset about drinking is generally a lot more moderate and healthy! Yep, it’s that habitual glass of wine that I’ve come to look forward to a little too much. That means it’s time to cut back.


Mama Pea August 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm

I quit drinking in November. I had one glass of champagne at party in NYC in May, but other than that, I’ve been totally dry and completely happy about it. I’m not sure if it will be forever, but right now it’s working for me!


Lara August 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

That’s great to hear. I’m inspired (as usual) by your dedication!


lindsay August 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

i feel ya Lara. Same boat here. I love wine, but as if it should become a treat, no a necessity at the end of the day. Cheers to you for being honest and I will join you!


Lara August 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Thanks for the support, LC!


Susan August 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I’ve got mixed feelings about drinking. I drank all through high school and university, so I definitely don’t have any lost time to make up for. But on the other hand, it’s a huge aspect of our social culture, one I like to take part in when out with friends! I’d honestly be a happy person to never drink again. Problem is, I have a reeeeally hard time finding friends my age who don’t yet realize that “hanging out” isn’t synonymous with “getting drunk.” And having lived away from home for a while, I realize it’s actually quite bad here in Atlantic Canada.

With that said, I do enjoy letting loose and boozing it up with my friends every so often. Some of the best times and greatest stories come out of it. I’d say I don’t drink at all for weeks at a time, then maybe drink to the point of getting drunk once every 2-3 months. And it’s fun 🙂

I’ve never been the type of person who has just one or two drinks every day. If I’m drinking, I want it to be lots or none at all. I hope that doesn’t say anything bad about me!


Lara August 26, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I’m with you, Susan, I have mixed feelings, too. I guess it’s really all about the great balancing act, wouldn’t you say? 🙂


~Andy August 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I never drank a sip in high school either, Lara. I didn’t drink often in college, but when I did, I overdid it, mainly with the hard stuff. And that pattern continued until I met Andrea. She introduced me to wine and sparkling wine, and the concepts of flavor profiles and how they complement food. I’ve also recently gotten really into craft beers and have come to enjoy their flavor profiles and how different styles also pair amazingly well with food. Fortunately, I’ve never gotten into the habit of needing a drink and often go a week or so without alcohol, but when I have it, I really enjoy it.


Lara August 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I’ve really enjoyed your posts about beer and wine, and I’m not even a beer drinker (err, ignore the above photo)!
I agree, alcohol should be enjoyed, appreciated, and respected.


Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) August 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Good that you are taking care of yourself- if you feel that it’s time to cut back, then it probably is.

I didn’t drink a lot in college, but drank quite a bit of beer in dental school (the friday afternoon “Foamies” were our big treat and they nixed it the year after we graduated. Then it was sporadic- some months, nearly no alcohol, then sometimes we’d have wine with dinner.

When I got into wine tasting, it also meant drinking more- again moderately. But there’s no denying the calorie consequence and also the ‘screw the diet’ mentality that goes with having even one glass of wine…no bueno for the diet. So now I just go through phases where I’ll go weeks without much of anything, then we’ll have family events or just us having a nice dinner and we’ll bust out an expensive bottle-, even just on a weeknight.

Life’s too short to drink bad wine. But it’s also important to keep it real and not impact life in a negative way. I think balance is key.


Blair August 27, 2011 at 11:46 am

I’m a teetotaler. Not for moral or even health reasons, it’s merely because I can not stand the taste of alcohol. If only my tongue were the same way about dessert 🙂


Erin August 27, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I’m basically just getting started with a daily drink as you may have read and I plan to keep it up for the next year or so 🙂 You look gorgeous in that pic. Sounds like a great choice for you girl


julie August 28, 2011 at 7:19 am

i used to drink like a beast in college, like we claimed mondays & tuesdays our ‘days off’ then after i left college it just made me sick and i hatedddddddddddd the feeling of being hungover, so i took it down a few notches. now i enjoy a good drink if its a fun social event but i’ve never been one to come home and have a glass of wine, i think i’m okay with that! but i’m not committed to not doing that haha


Maria August 29, 2011 at 7:28 am

So pleased to read the comments from the people who have stopped or seriously moderated their drinking. I have noted that many of the food bloggers spend a lot of time drinking and blogging about beer and wine. (Is it the product placement money?)

Anyway, as you have correctly decided, it isn’t good for you. I enjoy wine from time to time, never daily, and never more than 4 oz. While some of the comments say that they drink daily, but “are not alcoholics,” I suggest checking with your health care professional. When in college, I dated a guy who kept saying he was not an alcoholic, yet he had to have two drinks every night. I asked him to just see if he could stop. He could not.

Finally, it is heartbreaking to see young parents in a restaurant, both drinking with dinner. They then get in the car with their children. Think about it. The children see them drinking, and see them drinking and driving. What happens when (and if) they all make it home safely, doesn’t bear thinking about.


Roz@weightingfor50 August 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm

HI Lara, my husband and I drink more in the summer for sure, and we were just saying this weekend “back to NO wine/beer every day”. Which is fine. We love our cocktail Sunday tradition and won’t give that up, but we’ll definitely be cutting back. Have a great week!!! (cheers to that with a glass of perrier!)


Lara August 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Cheers Roz! 🙂


Lindsey Pitts August 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I did this a few years back….it was the best decision ever 😉


jassy August 31, 2011 at 7:14 am

if you think what alcohol can do to the liver then maybe you’ll be scared. the liver is supposed to be pretty but too much alcohol can destroy it–be it moderate amount or not. i do drink sometimes but i just decided not to drink anymore. maybe it’s during my decision to live a healthy life that i decided on that. i slipped with the losing weight part but i never slipped (yet) with drinking 🙂


Cynthia (It All Changes) September 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I stopped drinking just after my 21st birthday. I grew up in Europe so a little alcohol was no big deal. At 21 I didn’t really need it and decided to quit drinking. Haven had a drink in almost 9 years.


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