Women, Drinking, and Overachieving

women-drinking

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice for women and drinking too much, but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion of women lawyers and drinking.

Ladies: how do you feel about drinking? Do you think overachieving women tend to drink more? We haven’t talked about this for a while, but it’s been on my mind with various news articles I’ve seen, and with the holidays coming up I thought we’d discuss. (I don’t want to totally rehash my thoughts from our 2010 discussion on this, but I still agree with all of them…)

First, the articles and propositions I’ve been thinking about:

  • Women drink a lot, particularly high achievers. There have been numerous articles over the years (WSJ, Gothamist, Real Simple) about how high-achieving women drink — a lot. A reader linked to this fascinating article in The Atlantic about drinking as an escape from perfectionism.
  • It’s becoming more accepted these days that you can recognize a drinking problem (or at least, wanting to drink less) without identifying as being addicted to alcohol. Lisa at Privilege just updated her post about cutting back drinking — I think she’s gotten a ton of pushback over the years to the idea that anyone who “needs” to drink less isn’t an alcoholic. YET, there have been numerous articles about how Alcoholics Anonymous really isn’t that great for women (see Jezebel, but also see The Atlantic), and there’s been an increase in articles and programs about how to drink less or otherwise drink moderately (Real Simple, Drink SmarterModeration Management, Moderate DrinkingCaitlin Padget). I often think about Gretchen Rubin’s theory on abstainers vs. moderators in relation to this, also.
  • Public health guidelines on drinking may seem… severe. One of the things that Lisa notes is that the recommended number of drinks per woman is no more than one per day or 8 per week; for men it’s two a day. (Forbes actually has a great roundup of the myriad — and conflicting — guidelines out there.) One glass of wine a day always strikes me as a nice goal — but I’m more likely to accomplish the “no more than 8 per week” by abstaining several nights. Yet when I saw this recent news story about champagne and dementia — suggesting that “moderate consumption” of three daily glasses of champagne made a dramatic difference in keeping dementia at bay, I thought, “geez, that’s a commitment,” mostly because I’m not a huge fan of champagne. It now looks like that study was misreported and they meant three glasses a week — I suppose that’s more doable (pending further research, obvs). #goals

For my own $.02: I absolutely drink too much, at least by the “no more than one drink a day” standard. (I probably drink about 15 drinks a week on average.) I can’t think of a woman I know who doesn’t. Part of that is New York culture — and part of that is definitely Big Law culture, where I got my main drink on — drinking with friends from law school mostly, but also drinking with colleagues at afterparties and non-work outings. (Another article I think about often: This poor woman lawyer, who got so drunk she almost wound up losing her arm. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky that nothing crazy ever happened to me.) I had no problem stopping drinking during my pregnancies or while nursing, but I was happy to pick it up again when we were done. These days, I generally know my limit as far as hangovers go, and I don’t drink to excess often, but I’d still like to cut back — in addition to all those general health reasons, drinking is hands down the biggest saboteur to my diet. (I’m back to WW, but in the past I tried the slow carb diet specifically because it allows two glasses of wine per day. For me it didn’t work — my husband lost 20 pounds extremely easily, while I lost and gained the same 2 pounds over and over again.)

As far as drinking and legal culture goes, a good friend and I were discussing this (she’s a former attorney), and she had these wise thoughts to share:

FWIW I do remember feeling pressure to drink as an attorney, but not as an escape – rather, I wanted to impress the older male partners at the firm. It seemed like a way to get in with the old school – have a scotch or two at the office at the end of the day, try to learn a few tricks of the trade, etc., show that I could hold my liquor ‘like a man.’ Similar motivation to wanting to learn how to golf – like that would have made a damn bit of difference! once my partner actually ordered me to drink wine at lunch we were on, and I came back and had to put my head down on my desk. I never got in with the old school anyway so my big plan failed.

In terms of moderation — at the moment my husband and I try not to keep full bottles of liquor in our home, and we’ve found that we really don’t do well with a Bota Box (even though it honestly is one of my favorite wines as far as taste!) , but we indulge in cocktails when out, occasionally buy a few airplane bottles of whiskey, tequila, or gin to keep in the house, and almost always have at least one bottle of wine available. I also try to focus on portion control — I have one glass that holds exactly 4 ounces of wine, and I try to use that whenever possible. (Almost every other wine glass we have easily holds double that!) I’ve searched in the past for glasses specifically focusing on portion control, and it looks like there are more options available now, as well as the more comical options that existed in the past. Pictured below: Caloric Cuvee, Mr. Picky Stemless Wine Glass (the brand has several options available), and Wine-Trax; all $9-$19 at Amazon.
portion-controlled wine glasses

I don’t know, ladies — what are your thoughts? Do you drink too much? Would you be embarrassed if someone else (e.g., your parents or a younger sibling) found out how much you drink? Do you have rules around drinking? (One of my big ones when younger was “never drink alone.”) Have you ever tried to moderate your drinking, either successfully or not? (And: any plans of attack for the holiday season?)

Psst: we’ve also talked about what your drink says about you.

Pictured: Amy Schumer’s Football Town Nights.

(L-#)

Comments

  1. I’ve always found the 1-2 drinks/day rule to be largely inapplicable to my life – and those of most of my friends. Most of the people I know, women or not, drink maybe 1-2 drinks max Sunday-Thursday, and then have 3-5 drinks each night Friday and Saturday. I don’t know how Kat does it though – 15 drinks per week sounds like a LOT. Not like, alcoholic, but like I’d be in a state of constant grogginess.

    • Wildkitten :

      In the holiday season I can easily have 12 drinks a week. I strongly prefer to spend my extra calories on wine and not on sweets, so at holiday parties I’m more likely to have a couple glasses of wine than a couple of peppermint truffles.

      The Atlantic article really spoke to me, but I read the whole book and recommend against it. Just read the article.

      • Totally agree – I was so intrigued by the article that I read the book, and it was….not great.

    • I’m really really really going to try hard to stay out of the comments and not be defensive (I really want this to be the readers’ discussion, and I always feel like when I get in here I shut things down) — but you’ve just described normal drinking as “11-20 drinks per week,” which I would totally agree with and what I was trying to describe by saying “I average 15 drinks a week.”

      • Senior Attorney :

        Jinx! LOL

      • In support of Kat, I’ll add that my normal glass of wine is more than likely large enough to count as two drinks (why even both with 4 ounces?). So, I could see how it would add up quickly.

        • I bet I have 15 a week easily. We have wine with dinner every night, and then several drinks over the course of the weekend days. I also gave it up easily when pregnant and nursing, like Kat.

          I rarely to never drink to the point of bringing drunk or having a hangover the next day, it’s just that it adds up. Again, like Kat, it crosses my mind that I should drink less, but primarily from a weight standpoint. It doesn’t affect my life otherwise.

          • Anonymous :

            If you gave it up so easily while pregnant, why don’t you cut back now? There is uncontroverted medical evidence that 15+ drinks a week is not good for you. No legitimate doctor would say that amount is healthy. It increases your risk for all sorts of cancer and also increases your weight, which in turn makes you higher risk for lots of other diseases. Just because you were able to stop drinking when the life of your child depended on it doesn’t mean there isn’t some dependency. There obviously is or you would have cut back since you admit you know you should. I’m not trying to pick on you – I know a ton of women who have this attitude and it bugs me. If you know it’s bad for you (and it is), drink less!

          • Wildkitten :

            …because she doesn’t want to.

          • Anonymous :

            Well, she said it crosses her mind that she should drink less, so clearly she has some desire to…just not a strong enough desire to overcome the desire to drink.

            I just think it’s funny that if a smoker or heavy drug user came on here and said they knew they should quit but weren’t going to, nobody would be like “You do you!” but that’s the attitude with heavy drinking. And yet there’s a lot of evidence that drinking in excess can be just as damaging to your health as those things. It’s just a lot more socially acceptable.

          • Wildkitten :

            Oh man if I did everything that crossed my mind…

    • Senior Attorney :

      Uh, 1-2 drinks Sun-Thurs plus 3-5 drinks Fri-Sat equals 10-18 drinks per week. So 15 per week fits right in there.

      Gentleman Friend and I routinely split a bottle of wine with dinner and often have a cocktail (or two) as well. (Which I am quite sure is why my weight is up a bit since we’ve been dating.) So yeah, I’d say I’m in that range as well — we don’t see one another every night and I generally don’t drink when I’m home alone.

      My only rule about drinking is an ironclad “don’t drink and drive.” Thank goodness for Uber!

      Oh, and “only one drink at work functions.” I don’t need my colleagues to see me tipsy.

      • It is actually (1*5+3*2) – (2*5 + 5*2) which is 11-20.

      • It’s possible you’re misreading, and “maybe 1-2 drinks max Sunday-Thursday” means 1-2 drinks over that whole period, not each night during that period. As opposed to when she said “3-5 drinks each night Friday and Saturday,” which would mean 3-5 drinks Friday and 3-5 drinks Saturday.

        • This was my interpretation too.

        • Ditto.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Ah. Well, then.

        • Same. So 7-12 drinks a week.

        • Anonymous :

          But I mean to say 12 is okay but 15 is a problem . . .

          • Wow. Judgy much, Anonymous? Is 13 a problem? Is 14? If Kat doesn’t have a problem – and we have no reason to not believe her when she says she doesn’t – then it’s not your place to draw the line.

          • Yo NY NY are you reading what I am reading? Anonymous is clearly saying there is not much difference between 12 and 15- so it doesn’t really make sense to make a comment like Emmer which says I only have 12. 15, however, is A LOT. I think you misinterpreted the post

    • You are not very good at math, lol.

    • Not a teetotaler, but... :

      So I don’t have any problem with drinking, but I just don’t particularly enjoy it. Maybe I’ll have a special cocktail here, or a glass of wine at a dinner party when someone at the table orders a bottle, but it just doesn’t feel all that great to me. Is it really that unusual to have a drink or fewer per month? My career certainly has not been negatively affected, as no one really knows what’s in my glass.

      • Completely agree with not-a-teetotaler. Maybe one drink a month? I don’t know why I’d drink any more than that. Frankly I think this 15-glasses-a-week type of thing is ridiculously high.

    • Just scrolled back to the previous post after being in meetings all day! I wasn’t very clear in the first comment on there – I meant that at most, my friend/I have 1-2 drinks for the entirety of Sunday – Thursday, not each night, then have a lot to drink on the weekends. I didn’t mean to come off as passing judgment on those who go the 2 drinks/night all week route, just to say that it sounds exhausting to me, since I tend to get groggy after that amount! Really interesting discussion though – I’m fascinated to read about the differences among different age groups and professions.

    • Go women!!!!! :

      I personally don’t understand why she would call professional women overachievers.Since when being lawyer or dr or real estate mogul is overachieving? Norms as husband, kids and church are past for 200 years

  2. 15 per week sounds like a lot to me, too. Not bordering on alcoholism, but just a lot when you have to keep functioning.

    But my views may be skewed, as I am probably on the other end of the spectrum, where 5/week would be an exceptionally high-alcohol week.

    • I am the same. I probably have 1-2 drinks a month.

      • This is me , as well. I am not a party animal, and when I’m at parties, I’m ok with water or soda or the occasional glass. My husband does not drink at all (religious reasons with bonus of undiagnosed alcoholism in the family). We don’t keep alcohol in the house. I start to feel it at about 1 drink, and I don’t love how that feels. I live in the ‘burbs, too – if I’m driving or getting the kids, I want to be responsible. A lot of my parent friends (friends who are also parents) love to drink, we’ve even been to parent parties with kegs or where 5th graders made Jello shots(!) and though we’re friends with those people, we don’t drink like they do, at all.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeh I drink about once a week, two drinks when I do. Drinking multiple days a week makes me feel gross and puffy and just not myself. Plus it messes up my stomach. And I used to be a BIG drinker but times have changed.

  3. Not in NY, but I’d say that I probably have a glass or two of wine on two school nights per week. Friday nights I’ll probably have 3-5 drinks (if we’re being strict about how many ounces equal a “drink”) and probably 2 drinks on Saturday. May or may not have wine/drinks on Sunday – that all depends on what we’re doing during the day and what we have for “Sunday Dinner.”

    But I know my limits and I can’t remember the last time I had a real hangover. When you know your kids are getting up at 5:30 am regardless of how much you drink, it’s a good reminder to not open that second bottle of wine…

    I had no problem not drinking while pregnant and breastfeeding, but I did miss the social aspect of it. I’m focusing on not drinking during the week if I’m going straight home from the office. I’ll still order a drink if I’m meeting people for cocktails after work, though.

    And for all my over-achieving female attorney friends, I would say that we drink more than average. But there’s absolutely no judgment if someone isn’t drinking, gives up drinking, or doesn’t drink a lot. We’re not in high school.

  4. Getting married and having kids has substantially reduced how much I drink. I really really like my nightly glass of wine. I have it after dinner, after the kids are in bed, after the kitchen is cleaned up. It’s just my last 30-40 min of the evening where I watch a little TV and have my glass of wine. But that’s really it. My husband doesn’t drink at all except socially — so no “just a beer in the evening.” If we go out with friends in the evening (rare these days) or have them over for dinner (more common) I’ll have maybe two. (We do brunch out more often, but I no longer have my beloved Bloody at brunch; day drinking does not mix with chasing toddlers, at all.) But honestly it affects me differently now. When I was in my 20s, I would have 1-2 glasses on a weeknight then 3-5 each on Fri and Sat. But now I seem to skip from pleasantly warm to ugh feel gross without ever hitting fun drunk or even fun tipsy. It’s a bummer. Oh, and more than 2 drinks and I’ll wake up at 2:00am, wide awake, feeling gross, and unable to sleep for another 2-3 hrs, falling back asleep just an hour or so before the kids wake up. Fun.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      About being affected differently by drinking now… Me. Too. It makes me not want to imbibe at all.

    • Another mom here, and I completely pass over the happy-slightly-tipsy stage and head right for depressed tiredness or feel like I’m coming down with something and need to go to bed early. Is it because we’re chronically exhausted? Get a little bit of drink in us and all the feelings/tiredness we stuff down all day comes pouring out?

      I used to enjoy have wine or mixed drinks in the evening, but now I don’t bother. Once in a while I’ll order a drink on Date Night, sip half of it, then start to regret it when I want to put my head down and take a nap on my dinner plate.

    • Not a mom but completely agree with not drinking as much any more because it just hits me way too hard and at 2 drinks I’m a pile of lazy and dry mouth the next day. I work out in the morning six days a week, sometimes running up to 20 miles at 6am on Saturdays, so I rarely drink at all during the week anymore. Maybe 1 or 2 drinks on Saturday and that’s it. My tolerance just isn’t there.

      • Rebecca in Dallas :

        Agreed on the sleep disruption! If I have more than maybe 2 drinks, I wake up about every hour or two and am just exhausted the next day.

        I am also a distance runner, so I don’t drink the night before a long run or race. That means most Friday nights are alcohol-free and sometimes Saturdays as well. I drink maybe 5 nights a week, but that’s usually one beer, max 2 if I don’t have to be up early for work or a run the next morning.

        Beer is my drink of choice, wine gives me migraines. I used to be able to drink a lot more but I think age has caught up with me, plus being in better shape than I was when I was 25. I’ve made a conscious effort to cut down to stay healthy as well. High blood pressure runs in my family (as well as alcoholism), so I figure staying a moderate drinker can only help me.

    • Yup. After kids (or maybe just after getting older?) alcohol makes me feel sleepy and bloated. I have a cocktail with dinner once a month or so.

      I can also only have one cup of coffee every day now. I miss the coffee, more than the alcohol.

  5. Pretty Primadonna :

    Fifteen drinks a week also sounds like a lot to me. I probably have 7-8 drinks a week, if I happen to have a couple glasses of wine on two or three weekdays. Otherwise, I will have 4-5 drinks a week all over weekends, which typically involve imbibing of some sort.

    I am giving it up, though, as I do not bounce back like I used to, I hate the foggy feeling I have the day after drinking (light hangovers, maybe?) and it makes me less productive at home and at work, and the biggest reason: the empty calories!

  6. I definitely drink to unwind after a particularly stressful week at work. But I guess I’m one of those all-or-nothing types.

    I’ll go weeks without a single glass of anything, and then I’ll meet up with friends one Friday night and sling back seven or eight vodka sodas.

    My consumption has never interfered with my personal or work life, and I think that’s what’s most important when reflecting on your drinking habits.

    • Anonymous :

      Not criticizing at all but 7-8 drinks at a time is classified as “binge drinking” which is apparently just as bad as >7 per week. (I don’t have the studies handy.)

  7. Perhaps a more compelling question is: Would high achieving women achieve even more if they didn’t drink so much?

    • Wildkitten :

      No. Because achieving isn’t just about output, it’s also about networking and work-life balance. I might be more productive the first half hour of a morning if I don’t drink the night before, but I would not have as strong of a network if I only met folks for diet cokes instead of cocktails.

      • how sad.

      • Counterpoint: I don’t drink more than 3 per week, if that, and almost never at work functions. I have a large, strong network in a male-dominated industry where “grabbing a drink” is both pressured on and expected of me, not to mention the standard for networking events. I’m still “grabbing a drink”, it’s just that the drink I choose just happens to be diet coke with a lime.

        • Totally agree, you can go to happy hour or a networking event and order something else. The pressure to have a tipple also has the effect of making those who are teetotallers due to religious or other reasons uncomfortable enough that they skip events. This is something I have seen in my social circle. In some cultures it is taboo for women to have a drink. I think people should find it normal that someone can go to a pub and sometimes order a non-alcoholic drink .

          • What kind of person “pressures” people into having an alcoholic drink? That’s the person who’s the loser, not the person who chooses a diet cola.

      • Anonymous :

        I disagree completely. Yes, you have to get out there and network. Do you really think you can’t meet people for happy hour and have a virgin drink? *You* might not be as good at networking sober, but its a huge overgeneralization to say you have to drink to network. Plenty of alcoholics, Mormons, etc who have no problem getting ahead in business.

        • Wildkitten :

          Yes – I have friends who come to happy hour and have diet coke. I prefer to drink. So I (Wildkitten) don’t think I would be more productive if I did not drink. Drinking is part of my work life balance. It’s like – could I be more productive if I didn’t go to the gym and spent all that time working? Maybe, but I wouldn’t be a happy kitten.

          • Wildkitten :

            I felt like the OP question “Could we all be more productive if we all stopped drinking” was begging the question “Everyone should stop drinking and focus on doing work all the time.”

          • Wildkitten :

            And other people network at crossfit – for me I think the networking of meeting people I usually see in work outside of work at happy hour is how I make my best work friends. It works for me.

          • I agree with you completely, Wildkitten. Sure, I could stop drinking easily. But one aspect of networking that I truly enjoy is having good wine with friends.

  8. Wow, Kat, you really opened yourself up for criticism here. People are extremely judgmental about how much others drink (not to mention how much they eat/weigh.) When Lisa talked in what I thought was a very sensible way about her desire to drink a little less, many commenters straight up called her an alcoholic.

    • I think this is an important conversation so I guess I’m willing to take the hits here. What shall we talk about tomorrow: my personal net worth or what I eat daily?

      (Totally, totally kidding.)

      • I’m closer to 10 drinks a week but that’s mainly because we don’t go out to dinner often. I have a glass of wine with most meals (this is cultural for me) and on weekends my husband and i finish a bottle of wine over the course of the evening. Friday nights start with a cocktail, always. None of these are things I have any plans to change.

      • I’m proud of you!

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        Also, just to note, when I said 15 drinks a week sounds like a lot to me, I meant “a lot FOR me.” See my comments upthread about having a lower tolerance than before. No judgment here.

      • I made a rule a year or 2 ago not to drink when I was home alone so now I don’t drink 3 or 4 (or sometimes 5!) days a week, but I have 2 or 3 glasses of wine when I’m out or with family, but I’m not judging. If I were married, I’d definitely have a glass or 2 most nights. Most of my friends and family do.

      • Thanks for your courage, Kat!

      • Sorry I am late to the party, but I had a medical appointement today and was out of the office. I do have to say that everyone is being WAY to judgementeal of Kat. Everyone is diferent, and is entitled to do what they want. Even tho personaly I do NOT drink at all any more (after Sheketovits) I am NOT goeing to criticise anyone that can drink w/o becomeing beligereant like Sheketovits was to me. FOOEY on Sheketovits!!! I am so glad I never married that total looser! Thus, I go out with Margie and the Manageing Partner, and they both drink alot, but they stay nice to me and that is ALL that count’s. Of course no one should EVER drink and drive, but aside from that, it is legal to drink if youre over 21, so that should be the end of the discussion. YAY!!

  9. In terms of the abstention discussion, as someone who has had alcoholics in her family – there are people for whom even one drink is a kind of trigger. Far before they’d ever be drunk, you can see their demeanor shift somehow. It’s disturbing and I’ve always thought that’s why abstinence is so heavily emphasized in discussions of alcoholism. Maybe the problem in our society is we don’t recognize a middle ground very often – people for whom there’s a dependence but not a full blown disease.

    • I completely agree with this. I think the negatives of alcohol are obscured by social messaging (it’s fun! You need it to network!) in a dangerous way.

    • That is exactly why I wrote about my drinking cutbacks. I’m really clear that I’m not an alcoholic as its been defined, and I’m equally clear that I have an manageable addictive relationship with alcohol. As I do with eating, by the way, and binge-watching Sons of Anarchy. Modern life presents the human animal with all kinds of endorphins they had to work to get in the olden days. Alcohol has been with us longest, maybe that’s why there’ so much more mythology around it than around excess calories and screen-watching.

  10. I have 1-3 drinks a week. Maybe a glass of wine at dinner on the weekends or a cocktail or two out, but that’s it.

    From a social perspective, it’s hard. I feel like I’m always saying no. But I genuinely don’t like drinking that much. I don’t like losing control, I don’t like gaining weight (I’d rather eat more for the same calories), and it’s expensive.
    If I have 2-3 drinks, I don’t sleep as well, feel groggy in the morning, and notice the effects on my workouts.
    I am also on the smaller side and have a very low alcohol tolerance, so it doesn’t take much for me to feel it.

    But I’m also social, and I recognize that drinking is a normal part of socializing. I just wish people were more accepting of everyone else’s personal limits. I hate feeling like a killjoy because I want to hold back.

  11. Maybe I’m too judgmental (in the interests of full disclosure, I drank regularly at parties in college, but I no longer drink) but I think 15 drinks a week is an incredibly high number. Now, it might be healthier than 8 drinks a week if those drinks are all in the course of one or two nights, which is what I (and most of my friends) did in college, but most women I know who drink every night feel like they “need” to have a drink when they get home to unwind, wash off the workday, what have you, and that dependency on alcohol is really scary to me. But I’ve always been really paranoid about this stuff because alcoholism runs in my family and even when I was a regular social drinker, I always made it a point to drink only when I was happy and having fun at social gatherings and never when I was sad or depressed.

  12. Maddie Ross :

    I’d say that now in my 30s, I drink more frequently, but not nearly as heavily. In my 20s, I’d be more likely to not have anything during the week, unless there was a happy hour. Dinner was consumed at my desk or in front of the TV at home, and included normally water as a beverage. But Friday and Saturday day and nights, well, I was all in and probably had the same 15 or so drinks at least. I was a big day drinker in my 20s, too. Not on a work day mind you, but I definitely loved tailgating, boozy lunches, wineries, that sort of thing. Now in my 30s, I probably have a glass of wine (usually just one glass, but hearty pour) 3-5 nights a week, and we always go for Mexican one night a week which includes a margarita or two. Once the kid is in bed, there is nothing better than a glass of wine to unwind.

  13. Formerly the girl who knew where the beer specials were :

    In college I lettered in drinking. It was awesome! Not often to excess, but often (4 nights a week?).

    After that, I imagined that I’d waste away to nothing for all of the beer I wasn’t drinking. That didn’t quite happen, but vanity likely keeps me from ever taking up more than a drink or two a week now (and the average is more like 1). I have a FT+ job and two small children and if I have a drink I am likely in bed by 9 that night and if I have two drinks and stay up late (usually b/c I’m out somewhere), I most sincerely regret it the next day (not hangover, but I am just old and too tired in the morning if I don’t get enough rest).

    I used to dry to impress guys / law firm co-workers with my ability to keep up with them, drink-wise (it helps to have a starchy meal first — waffle house hashbrowns, anyone?). But now I have clients. Much better.

  14. It is funny..does that mean women who think they are over achievers but not drink at all or drink very less are not over achievers after all? There are many cultures where drinking is considered bad and women who drink are considered to be of bad character (I don’t agree that drinking is bad or it has anything to do with a person’s character), but there are women over achievers in those cultures too and they never drink. Are we trying to give our selves licence to drink (and an ego boost by thinking that we are over achievers)?

    • “and an ego boost by thinking that we are over achievers”

      That last statement is absolutely true. There are plenty of people who accomplish alot and network in the absence of alcohol. I actually the title of this post should have been Women and drinking–the overachieving part seems unnecessary to me.

      • Wildkitten :

        The science is clear that overachieving women drink more than other women, and this website is for overachieving women, so I think it’s a relevant topic to discuss how it impacts us particularly. I know lawyers have higher than average rates of alcoholism and depression and pretending that we aren’t impacted at a higher rate is not helpful.

        • High achieving women drink more than non-high achieving women is a correlation, not a causation. So do you need to drink to be a high achiever, I think not. But once you are an high achiever, do you have enough money and reasons to drink more than an average woman, I think yes.

          • Taxidermied Party Animal :

            Yes. This.

          • Anonymous :

            I have largely stopped drinking. I don’t really enjoy the taste of anything alcoholic except the girly drinks with a lot of sugar and I like even those without the alcohol. In my experience for most part as long as you look like you have a drink (no one knows if your diet coke has rum in it) and you don’t comment on other peoples drinking and you look like you enjoy yourself (not bored out of your mind) it’s fine. The main thing is not to stand out as a weirdo or a judgmental person or someone who is miserable.

  15. My high-achieving female friends and I drank most when at male-dominated firms where it was encouraged. For most of us, that peaked around age 24-27 and it’s gone down since then, because we’ve moved on to other jobs where we aren’t working 15 hour days and getting wasted every Friday at happy hour. I know some of you can handle it, but I burned out as did all my friends.

    I had a real scare after a company happy hour, when I blacked out for the second and only time in my life (I think I was about 26?). My boyfriend wasn’t home and if my landlord hadn’t been around to take care of me, I would have ended up in the hospital. It really drove home that drinking with dudes twice your size is just not a good idea, and the incredibly stressful job and toxic work environment were not working for me.

    Now I have one glass of Pinot Grigio every night with dinner, if I’ve already opened a bottle. Sometimes I’ll go weeks without opening one, but once I do, if I have an open bottle I’ll always pour myself a glass. So If I ever feel like I want to cut back (when TTC for example), just not having an open bottle is pretty easy way for me to stop drinking altogether.

  16. First Year Anon :

    I probably drink less lately because I have beefed up my training- I find after a hard workout I really don’t want any alcohol, and hard boozing makes it much harder to run the next day. I think the acidity doesn’t sit well with my stomach so I don’t crave a drink even if everyone else around me is drinking. But normally, I am 3x a week drinker- Friday and Saturday I’ll have maybe 1-2 one night and 3-5 another, then once during the week I might have a glass or two with a friend.

    I don’t understand the drinking alone thing. Sometimes I sip a glass of wine while I clean the house/do easy chores. It never really goes beyond that. What is the fear with doing it alone?

    • I think if you don’t have a predisposition to addiction, there is no concern. It’s like any addiction – if you’re alone you tend to go more overboard and indulge inappropriately than if you were doing the activity socially.

      • First Year Anon :

        Right- some people do more in private than they would do in public. Makes sense!

  17. KateMiddletown :

    Let’s keep in mind that there are many different body types commenting here, as well as many different levels of calorie intake. Some people have mentioned 1/2 a glass can knock them out, and others can do 7-8 without being negatively affected. “Women’s drinking habits” are about as diverse as women themselves. It seems a little strange to assume that every woman would have the same tolerance and be affected the same way. (I feel this way about the research, too, not just the comments here.)

    • I used to be able to drink 4-5 drinks easily without a problem. Now that I’ve cut back/gotten older, it’s 1-2. Max. I am the same body type. Saying it’s about body type is sort of ignoring the fact that it’s about tolerance built up by drinking more and more over time.

    • Anonattorney :

      Yep. I’m also willing to bet that the impact of a few drinks on my 6’0″, 190 lb frame (with a healthy BMI, in case anyone cares) is less than the impact of the same amount of alcohol on a 5’5″, 135-lb male.

      It’s not just tolerance, either. It’s also how your body metabolizes alcohol, how your liver works, etc. Bodies work in different ways. At the end of the day it is just an individual determination that you need to make with your primary care physician.

  18. Keilexandra :

    I usually call myself a social drinker, but I don’t always drink in social settings where alcohol is available and when I do I usually stop at 1 cocktail or 1 glass of wine (enough to make me tipsy, I’m a lightweight and don’t metabolize alcohol well). So really I’m more of an occasional drinker, averaging <1 drink a week. I would actually like to drink wine more regularly for the taste, but my SO doesn't drink wine so there's no way I could finish a bottle before it went bad or I got bored of it.

  19. Am I the only one who doesn’t have a ban on drinking alone? If I’m by myself one drink will put me to sleep, which is normally what I’m actually craving after a long day, not a long social interaction where it is much more likely I will instead have 2-3 drinks. I probably have 1 drink by myself one, maybe 2 nights a week. Then I go out for social events 2-3 nights a week, which could be anywhere from 1-6 drinks.

    I’m comfortable with my level of drinking. It has slowed dramatically in recent years, mostly because I learned the nuances of my limits (2 drinks on an empty stomach is too many, 6 drinks over the course of happy hour, a full dinner, and the rest of a friday night is fine a few times a year). I got comfortable with saying no to one more round, or going to the next bar, to whatever other excuses used to slowly push me to a level where I would get caught up in the momentum of drinking rather than how I was actually feeling.

    • As I said above, I think it’s really whether you have the type of addictive personality/predisposition that could make drinking alone dangerous, or if you’re using drinking as a proxy for dealing with other emotional issues.

      A night on the couch with take-out, a couple glasses of wine, and Netflix could be a perfectly healthy way for one person to unwind after a long day. For another person, that same isolation + alcohol combo could be a disaster.

      I say this as someone who struggled with eating disorders when I was younger, not alcoholism, but I feel similar ideas apply. One person can make a batch of cookies at home alone and have two and be fine; I could not – but out at dinner with friends I tended to follow much more healthy eating patterns, if only because other people were watching and there wasn’t a chance to purge, etc.

      • Oh I completely understand why some people would have a taboo against drinking alone, I was more struck by how frequently it was coming up in comments. Maybe people were referring to drinking alone from closer to a “drinking to get drunk” sense? For that case the taboo would apply to me as well, but for one drink in my jammies I don’t personally have any objections.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I drink alone. Not to excess, but if my husband is out for the evening I have no problem having a glass or two of wine or a scotch by myself. I can’t imagine taking a shot by myself (I can’t imagine taking a shot in really any circumstance any more), but I definitely do not have a rule about drinking alone.

    • Cream Tea :

      I have no issues with drinking alone – I probably drink alone more often than I drink with others, primarily because my drinking is usually 1-2 4oz glasses of wine with dinner most nights (and I live alone). It works out to be about 10 drinks per week, up to 15 if I find myself out on the weekend. I see this as normal and healthy.

    • I live alone and I definitely have my single nightly glass of wine on the couch in my jammies.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My drinking alone routine is “pour a glass of wine and forget to drink it.”

    • Rebecca in Dallas :

      Yeah, I drink alone sometimes. If my husband’s not home, I’ll enjoy a beer while I watch trash tv and do my toenails! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  20. Not trying to be a buzz kill. I can appreciate a good martini along with the next person however please be careful. Alcohol is a major cause of breast and other cancers. I know everyone thinks it won’t happen to them but it does. Why needlessly increase your risk factors. I know people who exercise, eat organic, would never consider smoking, but drink huge amounts without realizing how much they are putting themselves at risk.

    • Anonymous :

      +100

    • Yes, I was going to chime in to say something similar. I definitely enjoy drinking in moderation, but just because you’re not hung over or it’s not affecting your work/personal life doesn’t mean it’s not affecting your health. There are a lot of diseases where alcohol consumption is a contributing factor.

    • anon cancer survivor :

      The link between cancer & alcohol is not at all as scientifically strong as that between cancer & cigarette smoking. Alcohol is a major cause of liver cancer & certain mouth cancers, true. But there’s only a 7% increased risk of breast cancer in women who drink 3+ glasses of alcohol per day, which is higher than Kat or any of the examples stated here.

      As a breast cancer survivor, I’m a little irritated by scare tactics esp. when they get blame-the-victim-y. Causes of cancer are multi-factorial & far more complicated than we yet know.

  21. lucy stone :

    I am from a family with a long history of alcoholism on both sides. Because of that, I drink only in moderation. In an average week, I’d say I have 2 or 3 drinks. We play pub trivia with friends once a week and I usually have a drink or two there, and then maybe one more on the weekend with dinner. I will not drink at home unless we have company over, because I found that when I did, I was drinking too much. There are obviously exceptions (a wedding of one of my husband’s fraternity brothers found me doing shots like it was 2002 all over again) but for me and my family history, I can’t drink regularly because then I’ll want to drink all the time.

  22. When the doctor asks, “How often do you drink?” I usually say something vague like “socially” because I know that if I was honest about a number near the double-digits range I’d get a lecture, so I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. I also know that it’s because my drinking is much more of the “bingeing” type–on weekdays I have 0 or 1 drink, but on each weekend day it could be 5+ depending on what’s going on– watching football or an all-day BBQ, attending a wedding, cocktail(s) at brunch, etc.
    I also feel extra pressure these days to have a drink in hand when around friends and family, because as a late-twenties, married woman, I don’t want people to conclude that I’m not drinking because I’m pregnant. That’s always my first thought at this stage in my life when I see another woman not drinking. Majorly jumping to conclusions, but it’s true.

    • So what? Who cares if your friends and family think you’re pregnant? They will find out you’re not when you don’t have a baby in 9 months…

      • Stephanie S. :

        Because sometimes you’re struggling with infertility and don’t need one more person involved. It’s painful to laugh off the jokes EVERY time.

    • HA! I’m in the same situation, and I love it when people jump to conclusions like that! Every few months, I’ll abstain in front of my mother or MIL. Neither ever says anything, but I can tell they’re noting it.

      • There is absolutely nothing wrong with abstaining, and after today’s discussion I’m certainly rethinking my attitudes in general. BUT one tip from the perspective of “I don’t want someone to suspect pregnancy if I don’t drink” (either because you aren’t or aren’t telling people yet) — get a Co-conspirator. Husband is great; girlfriend will also do. It goes like this: you and he both get a drink of the exact same beer or wine. You hold your full glass of wine or beer without drinking. (The only thing people really notice is if you’ve accepted a drink or not — not how much you’ve actually drunk. Unless they are psychos, in which case a different approach may be called for.) ANyhoo: Coconspirator drinks drinks his drink to the halfway point. Then at some point he casually sets his drink down near you, and you casually set yours down by his. Then you switch. Downside here: he may have to drink two glasses of beer or wine, but usually one can be forgotten somewhere half-full.

  23. Interesting thread.... :

    Thanks for this Cat. It is an important topic and I appreciate your openness.

    I drink less with age. Now in my 40’s. Can’t manage it well and even 2 glasses makes me a little less sharp and sleepy. So it is now one drink only, and more for special occasions (going out for dinner, parties etc..).

    Just curious… how many of you women use a glass of wine as a bit of self-medication? It is incredibly common. We know that high achievers tend to have higher incidence of anxiety/OCD traits, and I regularly see people manage this with alcohol. It is considered socially acceptable for many, but can be a slippery slope.

    We also have alcoholism and mental illness scattered in my older family members, and always have this in the back of my mind. Just …. be careful… and be honest with yourself and are self-medicating. Sometimes there are better (and healthier) options.

    How many of you are drinking and driving? Honestly….. This is what worries me the most. I was almost killed by a drink driver. Businessman, coming back with his lawyers and clients from a “work dinner”. All in the car together.

    • Cream Tea :

      The self-medication thing is interesting. I don’t have anxiety or OCD, but I find I get nervous before some networking events, particularly if I’m going alone. I might have a glass of wine prior, to help ease the conversation with complete strangers. Never really occurred to be to be self-medicating, but it helps, so I guess it could be.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s interesting. I am very mentally not a type A or OCD/anxious (and all of the anxious people I know seem to be on the less successful / failure to launch end of the spectrum, but they seem to have these things not merely as traits but as true problems limiting their lives that probably could stand a good therapist and/or meds). I could probably stand to be a little more so (just kidding!). I think of wine as a food and a c-cktail as desert and beer as a starch. I don’t drink daily (maybe if I didn’t have to log back in at night to get my work done after kiddies are in bed). But mentally, I’d like to be a person of leisure and good living and do this.

    • Wildkitten :

      I never ever ever drink and drive. Ever. I assume most of us in big cities don’t – getting a cab is too easy, and overachievers in midsize towns probably overachieve at calling cabs. I also think not driving, and saving money, is a good reason to drink at home alone.

      • Totally agree – I think it’s part of the reason why excessive drinking is part of NYC culture (for example) (so so easy to do without drinking/driving). It also occurs to me that it might be popular enough to be a stereotype for some SAHMs — if you’re eating dinner at 5 but not going to bed until 12 (and housebound during that time because of sleeping kids), why not start drinking.

    • Anonymous :

      The most I will drink before driving is one glass of wine at happy hour, or two with a full meal. Which puts me well below the legal limit. I like drinking more than that, so I live in a pedestrian friendly city and Uber. Just because people like to drink more doesn’t mean we are driving.

  24. Consultant :

    I have one glass of wine maybe 4-5 nights a week with dinner, but only if I am eating with my husband. We actually measured out a serving in the glasses we use until we could reliably pour just a single serving. Otherwise I think it is very easy to consume 2-3 servings and not even realize it. If we are at a restaurant and order a bottle I will have two glasses. If I am eating alone or traveling for work I never drink. I consider myself a high achiever (PhD in my field and I hold a very senior position at my firm).

  25. Seems low to me :

    15 drinks per week would be a week where I didn’t have any outings. My boyfriend and I split a bottle of wine almost every night, on Friday/Saturday night we’d do that plus a cocktail at home, and we might do brunch or day drinking on Sat or Sun. That easily gets me to 15. If we go out that would be at least one cocktail more, and attending a party would be 3 glasses of wine easily spaced over several hours. If I wanted to get drink it’d be more like drinking a bottle or having two cocktails.

  26. I find that a lot of work events involve alcohol – if I’m traveling with a group, we might have an (open bar) reception, or go out to happy hour with execs, or go for a group dinner as a team where we’re all drinking. Then I go home and socialize with friends (drinks), have a quiet night with my boyfriend (wine), or go out to brunch (mimosas). I was at a work even last week where I was like ugh, now I have to drink yet another beer, because I like it and I want to socialize with my coworkers, even though I already drank (not heavily) every night that week. Maybe it’s a FOMO thing – I like alcohol, of course, but I want to always be joined in on what everyone is doing. No one is going to care if I abstain, probably. What become normal behavior kind of snowballs when your life changes from having these situations occur 1-2 times a week to most days.

  27. Now that I’m in my 30’s, I definitely feel it the next day when I drink. Even a glass or two of wine will make me feel slightly hungover the next day, and more than that and I’ll feel awful. I think part of it is that any drinking at ALL makes it very difficult for me to sleep well (have always had insomnia and it’s way worse with drinking). Do those of you who have a drink with dinner every night not experience that? Is this not normal? I thought it gets this way for most people in their 30’s+… I love wine so much but there’s no way I could have 15 drinks/week and still be sleeping and functioning. When I was younger I would have a drink most nights, but now I try to limit the nights I drink at all. I only drink during the week maybe once every two weeks, and I stay in every Friday. But I do go out almost every Saturday night and have 3-6 drinks (2-3 glasses with dinner and then a few drinks at bars afterwards). Seeing how many people have wine with dinner, I guess it’s just me?

    • It impacts me the same way. That’s why I barely drink.

    • I think it’s just different for different people. I’m also in my 30s and I can have 3 drinks over the space of a weeknight without any ill effects on my sleep. I have a habit of downing a glass of water right before bed though, which probably helps with any dehydration. My tolerance is also probably relatively high because I drink frequently, although not to excess.

      • Same boat. I drink SO MUCH water during the day, and I make sure to drink always drink water while I’m drinking and one large one before bed. I think that helps a lot with any potential dehydration.

        • Anonymous :

          Eh, I drink about 64-100 oz of water a day plus electrolytes/salt pills during workouts, always “double fist” with water when drinking and go to bed with a glass of water, don’t dehydrate with caffeine during the day, and I still feel like garbage after 2 drinks. It might help some people feel better (though I suspect you ladies just have a higher tolerance to begin with), but extra water is not going to transform someone who doesn’t tolerate alcohol well into Susie Holds Her Liquor.

          • I agree with that – if alcohol already affects something strongly, water isn’t going to help much. But it can’t hurt, either.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      You are not alone. I am in my 30s, now have similar experiences to what you have described, and it was not like this in my 20s, either. The joys of being thirty-somethings? Ha.

    • Tattooine :

      More than one drink and I don’t sleep through the night. More than two and I feel incredibly anxious in the middle of the night and the next day. A night of my tying one on is 4-5 drinks max (that’s once every couple months at the most), and I definitely need a few hours in the morning until I feel human and the anxiety lingers even longer.

      For me, the money, the calories, and the anxiety aren’t often worth it. A glass of wine once or twice a week is usually my limit unless I’m out with friends. With two young kids, I’m only out in the evenings about two times a month.

      Prior to kids? We’d split three bottles at home on a Saturday night and bounce out the door for brunch the next day. Those days are long over.

      • Rebecca in Dallas :

        I often wake up anxious, too! I’m prone to anxiety anyway (and am going to therapy and have been on meds), so for me it is just not worth feeling that way.

  28. Not a frequent poster, but I think people who drink a lot (and I think 15 drinks a week is a lot) are clueless about what other people are doing. I drink. But barely. 4 drinks is a lot for me in a week. I live in Chicago. I work in a large law firm. Most of my friends tend to have similar drinking patterns to me. We used to drink more, for sure. But as we’ve gotten older, the allure just isn’t there. You wake up feeling blah, you don’t need alcohol to enjoy yourself, and it’s just not worth it most of the time. But I feel invisible because the bigger drinkers assume that people like me don’t exist…even though I know a lot of mes. It makes it difficult to socialize at work because people are kind of jerks about drinking. They think you have an agenda if you don’t drink at an event (and agenda being…I want to get up and run in the morning and don’t want to feel crappy).

    I don’t think I have a single friend who would have 3 or more drinks in a night more than a few times a year. We exist.

    • Thank you. I could have written everything you said. It’s a little scary to me how normalized the 15+ drinks a week culture has become.

    • Anonymous :

      Yep, totally this. Plenty of women in large law firms and other high-powered professions have 15+ drinks a week. Plenty don’t drink or drink much more lightly. But the heavy drinkers always seem to insist that “everyone does it” and I just really haven’t found that to be the case. I’d say at least half the women I know at work (Big Law) don’t drink or drink very lightly.

    • Anonymous :

      In some cases, I’d say the attitude that “everyone does it” is more a rationalization technique than pure cluelessness. I’m 30 and have friends who apparently are still 12 and feel the need to lift the bottom of my glass to tilt it into my mouth if they don’t think I’m drinking at a fast enough pace to keep up with them. They do it because they want to feel better about going for their 8th beer, in the same way that I might jokingly encourage someone to grab another slice of cake so I don’t feel as bad about my 3rd slice. I’m admitting I do it to in other contexts so I don’t say this as a judgment, but more an observation.

      • Anonymous :

        (Calling my friends 12 year olds probably sounds like I’m judging them, but I’m not judging for wanting to rationalize–I do judge them for actually shoving my drink down my throat like it’s a frat party)

      • orig anon to this thread :

        You’re probably right that there is a certain amount of rationalization. Though I do think it’s easy to overlook those of us who have no emotional attachment to drinking because we don’t really talk about it. What is there to discuss? I’ll have a beer at a bar if I’m meeting someone there because it is a social lubricant and I recognize its function in that setting. I will do my best to not stand out at a cocktail function by either nursing a drink or doing the lime in soda water thing. And sometimes I will enjoy a well made cocktail and think how delicious it tastes. But I also think cake is delicious, but I don’t eat 15 slices a week.

      • Wow, you are right on. It is justification – pressuring someone to drink / have another drink is the same concept as pressuring someone to have dessert because you want dessert. I too am appalled by this 15-drink-a-week culture, and I think there are a lot of people pretending it’s no big deal when it really is a big deal.

    • anon for this :

      I 100% agree. I work in a top 3 consulting firm, am regularly on teams of all men, and go out for work dinners 3+ nights per week. I will maximum have one drink per night, and many times just order seltzer water or a soda. I never feel any judgment at all for my drink selection.

      Other than the holiday season which has a much higher proportion of celebratory social occasions, it is a rare week where I have more than 3-4 drinks.

  29. My weekly alcohol intake ranges from 10-20 drinks a week, so, like Kat, I average out to 15. Last week was a heavy week (20 drinks) with social outings every night and often more than one stop in an evening (one drink at happy hour with work friends, then meet up with other friends for dinner and have a glass of wine, then stop for a nightcap while walking with one of those friends back to the neighborhood where we live). Or on a Saturday, going to three different events with 1-2 drinks at each. It’s pretty easy for me to rack up a high number of drinks in one week without ever being actually drunk. There’s several factors at play — I’m a huge extrovert, I live and work downtown, and I do a lot of meeting up with friends at bars or out to dinner, or I go over to someone’s house and there’s a pre-dinner cocktail and then a bottle of wine with dinner. I also have a job that involves a lot of informal networking, often over drinks, and I don’t have any family responsibilities. My husband and I have the same lifestyle, so there’s no conflict there. Also, I almost never drive, so drinking and driving is not a consideration.

    I think it’s important to recognize though that alcohol consumption affects people so wildly differently that one person’s “I don’t know how you can function” may not have any effect at all on another person. I recently had a physical and my lab numbers are fantastic, and I don’t have any behavioral issues around alcohol.

    That said, I’m going dry for January this year, mostly because I’m curious about how the lack of empty calories will affect my waistline. I’m in good shape, but I’m suspecting I’ll drop a dress size.

  30. I probably average 12-15 drinks per week. DH and I drink a bottle of wine with and after dinner about twice a week. And another 2 nights a week, we’ll have a beer or a c*cktail. And maybe once a week, we’ll go out or have friends over, and it’s normal for me to have up to 5 drinks then.

  31. 5-10 drinks a year, on average.

    I’d estimate that most of my coworkers (large, diverse in-house) are either my level, 5-10 per week, or somewhere in between (with no one abstaining for religious reasons). So these numbers strike me as surprisingly high. And also explain a good portion of the why can’t i lose weight and why can’t i save money posts…

    • Anonymous :

      Touche (to your last sentence).

    • Anonymous :

      As much as the drinking set is guilty of assuming “everyone” does what they do, it’s pretty absurd to estimate that you know what most of your coworkers at your apparently large employer do. I probably average about 10-12 drinks/week, but mostly with my non-work friends or my boyfriend. My co-workers would have zero mechanism for estimating my weekly alcohol consumption.

    • I average about 2 drinks a year. :)

  32. This topic hits home. My sister is an alcoholic. In the past year or so, I’ve learned that alcoholism is very different than what I thought and looks different for every alcoholic. For one, the number of drinks doesn’t make you an alcoholic. Also, I didn’t realize that for an alcoholic, withdraw from alcohol is one of the most dangerous withdrawal processes – you can die from the withdrawal if not properly treated.

    All that said, I don’t think that Kat having 15 drinks a week makes her an alcoholic or is per se too much. It’s a very individual thing.

    For my sister, now that she knows she has a problem, she’ll go months without drinking, then start drinking and not stop for days, sleeping only as many hours as you can count on one hand over the course of several days. Before she went through her first rehab attempt, she literally would drink at all hours of the day, drinking cooking wine at 8 am even. But, she could go days without drinking. She literally couldn’t stop drinking until her body would shut down. After rehab, every time she has relapsed, she would go through a period of complete sobriety, then just drink non stop until she had to go to detox.

    I say all of this to address Kat’s point on the recent discussion between wanting to reduce the amount you drink versus being an alcoholic. There’s a very real difference.

    I rarely drink, mostly because I feel like crap if I do and because I don’t have the funds to drink that frequently. Me and my SO typically have a few drinks one night a week and perhaps a couple of beers while watching a football game.

    As for Kat’s mention of AA, I haven’t read those articles, and it may be that AA may not work as well for women, but for my sister, AA has saved her life. Literally. She’s called her contacts in AA when she’s wanted to commit suicide, when she’s gone back to drinking, etc. Our family is very supportive of my sister. Even so, her AA family is a very tight family that loves her unconditionally and is there for her no matter what day, no matter what time. They understand her in a way that I never will fully be able to, no matter how hard I try.

    • Anon Too in Midwest :

      My heart goes out to you and your sister. Going through multiple relapses is not easy, but I commend your sister for trying so hard. My former fiance, a fellow lawyer, also relapsed and it’s extraordinary difficult. Alchololism usually comes with other impulsive behaviors like gambling, abuse, etc… that can be difficult as well.
      I pass no judgement on those with varying levels of alcohol consumption here. We all surround ourselves, I have found, with those that drink as much or as little as each of us do, so our individual norms are skewed. I hope that lawyers can move forward not judging those who abstain or drink lightly, or make those who do uncomfortable.

  33. I think it is so important to talk about this topic openly.

    I drank like a fish through college, grad school, and in the first few years of my career. I’m 30 now and have cut back significantly. Now I never drink if I’m home alone or having a night in with my boyfriend, whereas previously it would be common for me to have three drinks on a boring weeknight. I don’t consciously limit how much I drink when I’m out or at a work event, but cutting back on drinking at home has reduced my tolerance, so it’s a virtuous circle. I cut back on drinking because I was drinking an unhealthy amount. It hasn’t hurt that I effortlessly lost five pounds as a result.

    Honestly, I haven’t seen any improvements to my productivity, energy, or workouts from drinking less. I’m in a creative profession, and sometimes nothing is better than a couple of drinks to get the ideas flowing.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I also drank a lot through college, my pre-law career, and law school. For me it wasn’t an every night thing, but more drinking heavily on weekends.

      When I first moved to nyc I was broke so I never really drank much. My husband doesn’t drink and I don’t typically drink alone so now I probably have about 2-3 drinks every other month. Honestly, at this point, I’ll have a couple glasses of wine when we entertain a couple times a year and a couple glasses when we see my parents or his. My tolerance is completely gone.

      The last time I did get a little tipsy at brunch, I got home and just didn’t want to feel that way anymore. I don’t enjoy the feeling. I do like the ritual of having a nice glass of wine occasionally though.

  34. I drink a (big) glass of wine a couple nights a week and then will occasionally drink one or two drinks on the weekend if we go to dinner or to a friend’s house. My husband and I have a strict “no drinking and driving rule” so only one of us drinks if we are out (unless we have gone with another person who agrees to be the designated driver or are within walking distance of our hotel or something.) We have three kids though so we don’t go out often.

  35. I come from a family of alcoholics. I have 2 glasses of wine on weeknights. One while I cook dinner and the other with dinner. One the weekends a drink a little more; I maybe have one after dinner as well. I do not think I have a drinking problem and can easily go without if I am trying to cut calories or trying to save a little extra money. I do not think 15 a week is extreme at all.

  36. Younger Anon :

    Lately I feel like I’ve been drinking too much and I want to cut down. I actually made an appointment to see a therapist who deals with people with addictions. But my work culture revolves around drinking. It’s expected and it’s hard to get away from that. Any tips on networking without booze and what to say if people ask?

    • Water please :

      I rarely drink, and I never drink at work functions. It has never been an issue. I just shrug and smile and say “i almost never drink” and continue talking. As long as i show up and chat and participate, no one has ever seemed to care.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve never really had much pushback either.

        Sometimes I wonder if people are less likely to push back if you say you rarely drink versus you never drink.

    • Anonymous :

      Take up distance running, or at least pretend to. My office is pretty alcohol obsessed, including a dedicated beer fridge and designated beer buyer, but I frequently see people just go in to the in-office afternoon “happy hours” and grab a water and say they have a long run in the morning. Most of the heavy drinkers that are in there every day can’t comprehend running 10 miles, let alone before dawn, so they buy the excuse.

      • this doesn’t seem to help me.

        • Anonymous :

          You don’t actually have to go for the run, thus the “or pretend to.” Change running to hot yoga, Crossfit, bootcamp, etc. if that seems more believable.

          • I mean, I actually do run a lot. And people just think I’m weirder if I use that as an excuse not to drink. It’s best for me to just say “I don’t drink much” than to mention running. Then people really think I’m an annoying self-righteous person.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s probably something about you individually that makes them think you’re annoyingly self-righteous based on how that [email protected] came out of nowhere.

          • Huh? What snark? I was just sharing my experience. I’m sorry you read more into what I said than I intended.

          • I didn’t see any snark, anon4:27. I’m sorry people are pressuring you. Try to make a stand if you can. You might be paving the way for those who follow, who want to drink less.

        • And this is why I quit posting here. Someone has a different experience and it’s not that different workplaces are different – it’s an attack on the person. I wasn’t being snarky, I was sharing an experience that was contrary to your experience and pointing out that your suggestion can backfire in some situations. Assuming it’s “my fault” that my workplace is different than your workplace is…odd to say the least.

          • Anonymous :

            I went back and re-read and you’re right, I probably did read too much into it. I’m genuinely sorry.

          • Anonymous :

            I appreciate that. I really just wanted to point out that my experience was different.

    • Re: networking without booze – a soda water with lime is my favorite. It looks like it could be a cocktail, keeps you hydrated, and has enough interest that it feels a little more fun than just a plain water. If it’s a beer/wine function you could see if they have NA beer and have them pour it into a glass. Also, you’ll find that overall people aren’t nearly as concerned with what you’re drinking then you think they might be. If you ARE asked what you’re drinking you could just say “vodka soda” or “beer,” or you could just say what you’re drinking for real and not worry too much about it.

      • Wildkitten :

        I love wine but I also love a good mocktail. I should learn how to make them at home for myself – I’m not a mixed drink person so I don’t usually have the ingredients for a fun mocktail, but I love them when made by bartenders. I’ll add that to my to do list!

      • AnonInfinity :

        +1 to everything you said. Especially, “You’ll find that overall people aren’t nearly as concerned with what you’re drinking then you think they might be.”

      • another (close to) booze free option is to get a beer in dark bottle (most beers come in dark bottles) and hold it. You can drink it or not. But people can’t monitor your drink level and if they offer to grab you another drink, you can just say “I’m good” and hold it up.

  37. 20-Something Non-Mormon Utahn :

    This is so interesting to me! I had never tried alcohol until I left the Mormon church at 24. Now I would say that I drink heavily, although I don’t think it’s outside the norm for a mid-twenties, childless, young professional who socializes a lot with law/grad students as well as law firm associates. I’m also lucky enough not to ever get hangovers and to live within walking distance of all the good bars.

    Living in Utah there’s also an interesting dynamic where drinking is an immediate indicator of where someone likely stands on a whole host of other issues, so it’s a way of finding “your people.” Our drinks are also a *lot* weaker than those served in other states (3.2 beer, no more than one metered shot of alcohol per cocktail).

    This last week for me was pretty typical: Weds, two cocktails with dinner; Thurs, a beer and two 4-oz glasses of wine at a networking event; Fri, a beer and four shots at a birthday party; Sat, two cocktails and a 6-oz glass of wine at a birthday party; Sun, two cocktails with dinner; Mon, no booze; Tues, no booze; last night, no booze, except for a swig of my friend’s spiked eggnog after he commented on how delicious it was. Tonight I’m meeting people for dinner and will probably have a drink or two.

  38. Anonymous :

    I was actually just thinking this morning (after a late night out with the c-suite) that I would not be in my job if I didn’t drink. We are a travel heavy group and we make a lot of business happen at the bar.

  39. Mrs. Jones :

    I’m a lawyer with a young child and average 6-8 drinks per week.

  40. Interesting topic. I like seeing everyone’s drinking habits. I am currently nursing (but hopefully almost done; my son is 11 months) so I haven’t had a drink since I found out I was pregnant early last year. I can’t say its been “easy” giving up alcohol for that long like others. I’m definitely looking forward to having a glass or two of wine when I’m done nursing. I’m not the type who can have just one glass of wine with dinner and be done (not worth the calories), so I usually abstain unless I’m at a party and know for sure I won’t be driving anywhere.

    I definitely have rules: Same type of alcohol all night and a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage. As long as I follow these rules, I usually feel ok the next day.

  41. My husband stopped drinking a little over 4 years ago, and that drastically reduced how much I drink. Where we used to easily split a bottle of wine every night, now I go to open a bottle of wine and think “am I going to be home for the next 3 nights so I can finish this before it’s turned?” often the answer is no so I’ll turn to the soda stream for some carbonated water. I’ve definitely noticed that it’s so much easier for me to get up and get going in the mornings. I’ve just started a new career path (was practicing lawyer, now am a real estate agent), so it’ll be interesting to see how different the social cultures are.

    I’m shocked to see how few people are noting the cost of drinking. If you’re having 10-20 drinks a week (and especially if your partner is doing the same) that’s easily a couple hundred every week or two you could be saving. I’d encourage everyone to keep an actual tab of what they’re spending per week on drinking, perhaps even add in your uber reciepts if you’re taking one because you wont drink and drive. Multiply that by 52 and then think about how much nicer that cocktail would be if you were drinking it on a beach with that vacation you’ve saved up for by cutting back on booze.

    • Compound interest :

      Or multiply it by 30 years invested. Seriously, 15 drinks a week over your career = an extra million in retirement funds. Even drinking the cheapest stuff.

      I’m not saying go cold turkey, but damn. I must run in borimg circles but i legit did not know that people drink this much on a regular basis.

      • Anonymous :

        Well, that assumes you’re buying all your drinks at full price at a bar, right? I’d ballpark wine + tax + tip at $14/glass at a standard restaurant in my city.

        But, I’d estimate that between work happy hours and open bar client receptions and other times where the drinks are cheap ($1.50 each for the beers at home or at tailgates), I probably spend just a few hundred a year on my 8-10 drink a week habit. We all have things we splurge on. If that isn’t going to drinks, it’s going to pedicures, handbags, new furniture and dinners with friends. I just prioritize the social experience of drinking more than the material goods on that list.

        • Wildkitten :

          15 drinks a week of two buck Chuck is $10.

          • Anonymous :

            Right. And two übers home a month runs me $50. And I hate beach vacations.

            Idk, I don’t know why the assumption is being made that high achieving women can’t afford to buy alcohol? Like, I pay rent, and my student loans, and save for retirement and emergencies- I got plenty of room in the budget for wine.

  42. Oh man. I used to drink A LOT. A bottle of wine a day. I drank because I hated my job and was unhappy with who I was and where I was in life. I stopped drinking to blackout and drunkeness after an ex-bf pointed out (after we broke up), the few times he had needed to take care of me and my violent reaction to this. That was over a year ago and I haven’t had more than 2 or 3 drinks in a sitting since and it’s far more common for me to go a week with having only one drink. I do not want to be the person I was/am when I drink too much. At first my friends were completely weirded out, but no one cares after about the second time you decline that second drink at HH or whatever. They love that they have a DD (when it works out), although I don’t feel obligated to hang around just to serve as DD. I also have had no issues at networking or professional functions getting one drink and nursing it or just getting seltzer water.

    I used to tell myself it was important at networking functions and that I wouldn’t get ahead if I didn’t keep up with the boys. I was lying to myself. I was making excuses that made me feel better about drinking to excess as much as I did. My career has not at all suffered because I stopped drinking at events or because I only have one event. My friendships did not suffer because I stopped drinking to excess although the dynamic may have changed. I don’t mind that change however, because I have no interest in staying out in bars or spending all that money on booze anymore. My priorities have changed and my priority now is being healthy, happy, remembering my life, and not using alcohol as an escape mechanism.

    At one point in my life 15 drinks a week would have been completely normal, but I do not think that normal is always good.

  43. Interesting topic! I used to drink a lot more than I do now (well, that’s cheating because I’m pregnant now). But in the past few years, since I met my husband, I’ve cut back a lot. Mostly because he isn’t a big drinker and it made me rethink some of my habits. Don’t get me wrong, I never really drank what I considered to be a lot, but cutting back has been interesting.

    So when I was in college, I could easily have 10-15 drinks a week, mostly from going out Thurs, Fri, and Sat night and having 3-4 drinks at a time. In my mid-to-late 20s, I probably did more mid-week happy hours with 2-3 drinks at a time, and another 3-4 drinks on weekend nights. Still, I would guess I probably had about 10-12 a week at that point.

    In my early-to-mid 30s, I would still do the happy hours, but drink a bit less because I would get hangovers. So maybe 2 drinks at a weeknight happy hour and 3 max on the weekend (and probably not both weekend nights).

    Now, solidly in my mid-30s, and married to a not-a-big-drinker guy, I tend to have a big glass of wine (maybe with a follow up half glass) on a week night about once a week and then will add in a happy hour and/or a weekend drinking night (pre-pregnancy, that is). Total, we were probably talking about 5-6 drinks a week, rarely more than 2 of those drinks being anything other than wine.

    It was easy enough for me to stop drinking while we were TTC and now that I’m pregnant, but I definitely miss the social aspects of it…and honestly, the taste of delicious cocktails and wines. But virgin cocktails sort of help. And I know I’ll have the rest of my post-pregnancy/breastfeeding life to have fancy wine and cocktails again.

    I made the point above that drinking is more than about being drunk or having it affect your personal/social life. It can cause a lot of other problems for your body — the most important of which are not at all weight-related! So while I’m not planning to cut out alcohol entirely, I do see some value (for myself) in having cut back a bit, even if I didn’t have a problem with it before.

  44. The whole discussion reminds me of the sheer shock many of my ex-pat friends have had when their doctor over here runs through the drinks/week recommendations, and more specifically “what counts as a unit.”

    It still blows my mind how many people get snitty about other people’s choices to eat fast food or smoke, but have A+ rationalization skills when it comes to their own drinking.

  45. Fascinating! :

    I am single, 34 years old, and drink 1-3 drinks perhaps 2x/week. I live in a major city. When I push the limit (3 drinks on two nights in any given week) my body definitely feels different, and not in a good way.

    This makes me think of all the threads where fellow ‘rettes describe their truly Herculean efforts to drop a few pounds! I’d be happy to lose 5 pounds but overall I’m happy with my body. I’m sure my body would look and feel significantly different if I was drinking more than 6 drinks per week! Not judging anybody who does drink more – I’d love to drink more – but I’d rather be able to wear a smaller clothing size.

  46. I definitely drink too much when I go out on weekends. I’m 26, I like to have fun, I do have fun. But it definitely involves too much alcohol. Reiterating with what Kat said.. nothing bad has happened to me, my safety hasn’t been compromised, but yeah I realize I need to do much better when it comes to moderation. I’m not partying every single weekend, but it seems to average out to 2-3 times a month.

    I rarely drink week days but really my biggest motivator is to save calories. I travel a lot for work which means a lot of big team dinners or just nice, expensed dinners and most of the time, I won’t have a single drink, but occasionally I’ll have a cocktail. If I’m flying home in the evening at the end of the week, I’ll also have a drink on the plane because the high altitude buzz is kind of fun and it makes the flight go by a lot faster. Occasionally, if it’s been a rough week, I’ll have a beer when I get home on Friday to unwind.

    While I’ve acknowledged that I do drink too much on weekends, I sadly haven’t made a huge, consistent effort to cut back. I’ll be good for a while but then I’ll have a night where I have a few too many. I definitely need to get a grip on that. But then at the same time, I don’t consider myself dependent on alcohol. Idk I need therapy or something.

  47. Josie Pye :

    I was a social drinker (maybe 3-5 drinks/week) until age 28, when I had some major GI surgery that left me unable to drink more than a few sips of alcohol without some really unpleasant consequences (and I’ll leave it at that). I really love wine, and I’ll have half a glass if there’s a bottle that is going to be amazing, but usually it’s just not worth the price I pay later on. At first I resented it, but now I just see it as part of life…some people can’t tolerate dairy, I can’t tolerate alcohol. The only people who consistently give me a hard time are the ones who are trying to make themselves feel better about how much they drink, and honestly almost nobody notices or cares.

  48. Anonymous :

    I drink a lot socially (prob 12/week). I like wine, I can afford my drinking, and it doesn’t impact my work. A lot of the drinking is with my coworkers, though I don’t think it would be an issue if I didn’t. Maybe this is my age (27), but at this stage, I have no plans to cut back. I acknowledge that drinking is unhealthy, but I’m not trying to live a 100% healthy life. I certainly don’t rationalize it or think that everyone drinks the same amount I do. I have fun and I like it.

    • Anonymous :

      Should add – I’ve never thought of any ties between overachieving and drinking but I think it’s probably impacted by overachieving women working in a culture that has more drinking events (especially free ones), and having more disposable income to spend on alcohol

    • Wildkitten :

      Yeah. I’ll stop when I’m pregnant, but aside from that, I enjoy wine.

  49. Anonymous :

    This topic makes me a bit leery. I don’t seek to make anyone feel the least bit judged by contributing. But I find I want to tell a bit about my personal experience with alcohol.

    To be perfectly honest I think I had a drinking problem in my 20’s. I blacked out and/or vomited in public a number of times. If you asked me how many drinks I had on any of those occasions I wouldn’t be able to tell you because I would’ve lost count. It was probably worst in law school. I graduated at nadir of the legal market and struggled to find a job, and medicated my stress by drinking a bottle of wine in one sitting several nights a week, plus a beer or two other nights. I almost never went an entire 24 hours without drinking. The amount that I was drinking was not healthy in any way.

    Then I moved to a different city and just fell into different habits, in large part because I had to drive more (new city has horrible public transit) and just couldn’t get too hammered to function as much because then I wouldn’t be able to get home. So I started drinking significantly less. It’s only looking back that I can see that I had a problem and that I wasn’t dealing with my emotions so much as trying to numb them. I haven’t quit drinking, and I don’t intend to. I genuinely enjoy red wine, or a nice sour beer. But these days rarely drink more than 5-6 drinks per week, generally over the course of 2-3 nights, and most nights I don’t drink at all. I’m happier and healthier for a lot of reasons than I was when I was in my 20’s, and, for me personally, drinking less is a huge part of that.

    I was certainly “functional” when I had a drinking problem, in that I did reasonably well in law school despite the enormous amount that I drank and had no problem maintaining friendships or keeping up with my responsibilities as an adult. But functional or not, I had a problem, and I don’t want to go back to that place.

  50. Kat, I just want to thank you for your honesty, and for bringing this subject in the context of over-achievement. And for mentioning my posts. The only reason to tell embarrassing controversial things on the Internet that I can think of is to help other people.

  51. I think 15 drinks/week sounds pretty normal. I’m a lawyer in the Midwest and in my mid-30s. My weeknights could consist of absolutely no drinking or 3/4 to a whole bottle of wine in a night, depending on if I’m in the mood to drink. More than a bottle of wine and I feel it the next day. I am perfectly fine saying no to any drinks at all, but once I have the first glass, it is really hard for me not to put away the whole bottle. I have two young children who will not let me sleep in, so I can’t have more than a bottle and expect to be functional the next day – so my weekend drinking mirrors weeknights. I never feel like I need a drink and have weeks when I have none or maybe one bottle the entire week. Then I have weeks when I drink perhaps four bottles throughout the week.

  52. This is a great question. Partially because people are so uncomfortable with it… Also, most people vastly underestimate how much they drink per week (yes, your doctor knows you round down by 50% when they ask…)

    The social aspect is big. I never thought about how much I drank when I was in college or living with friends who drank frequently, but now that I live with a 1-3 drinks/week mate, I feel like even half my former amount is “a lot”. Guess a lot depends on you frame of reference.

  53. I really like wine, but I have a passion for chocolate, and there just aren’t enough calories in the day for both. So most days I indulge in chocolate, and I might have a glass of wine once a week.

    I also have to be able to keep track of when the next train is, and how long it’ll take me to get to the station from wherever I am in the city. Not an issue with chocolate, but when I was younger and drank more, I missed a lot of trains.

  54. Anyone have any thoughts on professional women drinking to obvious intoxication at events vs. men doing the same? In my experience professional women are judged much more harshly for drinking in public than their male colleagues with identical jobs. Monday morning there’d be fist-bumping and high fives between the boys who got, “so wasted” last weekend, simultaneously with whispers at the water cooler about women who ’embarrassed themselves’ by getting ‘sloppy drunk’ at the same event.

  55. One thing nobody’s touched on is wine-drinking as a prestige hobby. I’m in California, & this is definitely a thing, esp. higher up the corporate ladder. If you know about wine, you look smarter & more sophisticated, blah blah blah. Wine-tasting trips in Napa & Sonoma as corporate off-sites / company celebrations / customer events are common, & knowing which wine to choose with dinner at a restaurant with execs / customers is always important.

    You don’t have to drink a lot in quantity to be knowledgeable about wine, but, like anything, it takes practice. You can’t spit it all out! I’m not saying wine-drinking is required in California, but it’s one of those intangible niceties that may add to your extracurricular resume. Also, I was raised having wine with dinner, & I’ve become something of a collector in my older age, so I’m never giving it up!

    • Taxidermied Party Animal :

      I thought I’d see way more comments like this one!

      I have a drinking problem and I need to purposefully restrict my drinking to keep me out of trouble. But I can’t fathom abstaining completely – too many fine wines are deservedly experiences in their own right.

  56. Anonymous :

    I am a former addict, and a current BigLaw senior associate. Talk about things that don’t go together super well. I used to work in the entertainment industry before I went to law school, and drug use was all around me and I made bad decisions.

    People I have worked with for a while know why I don’t drink since I teach CLEs on substance abuse issues, but sometimes there is a lot of explaining. People can be really weird about it. But I do I wish that drinking was the focal point of so many of the social events associated with my law firm, as I really never stop having the desire to drink/use. The holidays are always worse for that as well.

  57. What a timely post…I often struggle with whether or not I drink too much, since alcoholism runs in my family. Over the past month I’ve been (successfully) paring down # of drinks per week when at some point I counted backwards for that particular week and realized I’d had about 22. It doesn’t impact my life at all (except perhaps to cause snoring which in turn annoys the heck out of my husband), but I do worry that I use it too much as a crutch to get me through the evenings. Crappy day at work? Have a Manhattan! Need to work on a paper? Have a bottle of wine, it’ll go faster! Watching a movie? Oh, this Scotch is delightful!

    Thus far this week, I have had five drinks. Two glasses of wine on Sunday, two whiskey cocktails on a flight Tuesday, and another glass of wine on Wednesday. It is Friday and I have a bottle of wine in the fridge and a paper to write, but also have plans with friends tomorrow night and booze will certainly be present. I wouldn’t say I’m *struggling* per se to not have any of that wine tonight, but I know it will certainly make the fact that I’m holed up writing a paper about a very dense economic application of bioethics much more palatable. But I want to come in under ten drinks this week (last week’s total) and a couple of glasses of wine tonight and whatever happens tomorrow night will not get me to that goal.

    On the other hand, it’s been so reassuring reading these comments, save those from the judgey-judgertons of the group. Maybe I will have some wine tonight.

    And PS, speaking of overachieving: .

  58. Anonymous :

    I didn’t really drink until i was in my mid 20’s and already in a professional job. I held it together during the day counting calories (400-600) so I could drink the rest and not gain weight. I was physically active running every day and taking part in sprint triathlons. I would often drink to the point of blacking out a few times a week and didn’t mind vomiting frequently. I would have horrible regrets of breaking furniture and acting (happy) and wild. I loved how i felt as alcohol took over and I felt relaxed and happy.
    When I was sober, I was often restless and bored, like I needed a project or had to accomplish some great goal in life. I also gave up drinking during my 2 pregnancies but started drinking heavily a few times again while they were toddlers. This time it was harder, as I didn’t have the time to sleep and recovering from a hangover. As my kids grew up there were times I gave up drinking and would start again.
    Last time I drank to the point of a blackout I ended up being taken advantage of by a business contact at a conference. I have no recollection of the night after my 2nd glass of wine and think he slipped something in my drink. I have never told anyone. I blame myself for drinking and impairing my judgment. That was years ago and I hat to think of myself as a victim which is why I had kept this all to myself. I do not anyone to feel pity for me.
    Anyways, I have recently started drinking again and this time I do limit myself to 3-10 drinks per week. I feel like I am in control and will never drink to the point of a blackout again. I also have seen members in my family crumble with legal issues related to DUIs , I have compassion for them because I cam completely relate but get scared that a night of drunkenness could impact others.

  59. Just read through all the comments here and I have to say I am really stunned by the number of posters who drink beyond the amounts that the medical profession has stated as limits for health reasons—and seem absolutely OK with their choice to do so, week in and week out. I can’t imagine these same posters feel/act the same way about smoking cigarettes or eating lots of junk food. What does that tell us?

  60. Happy Gal :

    I gave up drinking completely one year and 3 months ago. It was one of the best things I have ever done. I had found my intake sneaking up on me. Many mornings I would swear I wouldn’t drink, then end up stopping in the way home for a bottle anyway. It was weird at first, but I joined an online group called “Hello Sunday Morning” out of New Zealand for support. HSM is just a bunch of folks giving up drinking for 3 months, one year, or forever. They have alcohol abuse issues that run the gamut from mildly annoying to serious, and I like the kiwi lightness of spirit. Other great resources include the U.S. -based Yahoo Group the “Boozefree Brigade”, the English “Soberistas” community, the “Bubblehour” podcast, and the “Mrs. D goes Without” blog– which has links to all sorts of other great blogs by people trying to be alcohol-free. If you can’t imagine a life without wine, I’m telling you from the other side that life is great, fun, full and rich without it.

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