Am I drinking too much?


You’d have to be living on…well an oil rig….to miss the fact that this month has been re-named dry January. This teamed with the fact that the government have recently lowered their recommendations for safe alcohol consumption got me to thinking – what kind of drinker am I? And more importantly – am I drinking too much?

Like most of us I enjoy a glass of wine of an evening.  Okay, two…Sometimes three. Why? Well lots of reasons really. First, it tastes delicious. Second, cooking dinner with a glass of wine in one hand makes me feel ever so slightly more sophisticated, a tiny bit French and therefore an infinitely better cook. It turns a household chore into a fun activity to destress at the end of the day.  And even if the dinner doesn’t turn out that great, I’m a little bit tipsy so I don’t give a damn.

So we’ve established I’m a regular drinker. But the million dollar question is – am I drinking too much?

For both men and woman the alcohol unit guidelines have changed. We should be drinking no more than 14 units per week, and definitely not all at once. We should be having at least three alcohol free days per week.

But what does that mean?

Well 14 units equates to 6 pints of beer (4%) or 6 small glasses of wine (13%). Not quite as bad as I thought.

If I’m being honest my glasses are probably filled a smidge more than 175ml. But, roughly speaking I can drink a bottle and a half over the course of a week without going over the upper recommended limit. Doable.

But here’s the bad news. It’s an upper recommended limit….So how much would they like us to be drinking? Nothing. Nada. Not a drop. The safe amount to drink is a non-existent zero. And we all recall how well that worked out during prohibition in the US.

So even if I’m not binging or drinking over my weekly limit I still shouldn’t really be drinking it at all. Bah humbug. Don’t get me wrong – I get it. It’s not good for me….like chocolate…and sugar… and lots of other lovely things that make life a little bit lovelier. But then neither is being miserable and stressed.  So perhaps its medicating value outweighs any bad its doing… And then again -perhaps not.

So will I change what I drink in light of the new recommendations?  Maybe. Knowledge is power, and knowing I shouldn’t really have that third glass of wine might just give me the power to leave it in the bottle till tomorrow. But as its dry January, we won’t really know the answer till February.