Being Sensible About Alcohol

Homer Simpson downs an endless stream of beers at Moe’s. “The Family Guy’s” Peter Griffin parks himself in front of the tap at The Drunken Clam, while his dog, Brian, prefers cocktails. And Linda Belcher from “Bob’s Burgers” loves her wine. In pop culture, when alcohol is served, it’s usually for laughs. But for those whose lives have been touched by alcoholism, it couldn’t be more serious.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. In the United States, 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence.

How do you know if you’re at risk?

Is a glass of beer or wine every night after work ok? When does a person know they’ve crossed the line from moderate to problem drinking? Each person is different, but here are some signs that you may need to cut back or seek help:

  • You feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
  • You lie to hide your drinking habits
  • Friends or family members are worried about your drinking
  • You need to drink in order to relax or feel better
  • You “black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking
  • You regularly drink more than you intended to

If you think you’re drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. While it may be best to seek professional help, here are some useful strategies:

  • Limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
  • Don’t drink when you are upset.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
  • Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink.

If you’re concerned about your drinking or a that of a family member, ask your primary care provider for guidance. Addiction is a disease, and Adelante Healthcare’s compassionate providers are here to help.