How Much is Too Much?
If you drink alcoholic beverages, you should not exceed 2 drinks per day if you are a man or 1 drink per day if you are a woman. This is what is considered moderate drinking. (Alcohol affects women very differently from men, learn more here).
One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80–proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).
How Do I Know If I Have a Problem?
For most people, moderate drinking may be okay. However, drinking too much can cause problems. Perhaps you can start by asking yourself what kind of relationship you have with alcohol:
- Acquaintance: Are you occasionally drinking? Only drinking on special occasions?
- Friendship: Are you regularly drinking? Drinking every weekend?
- Committed: Are you frequently drinking? Having a drink as soon as you are done with work?
Another way to figure it out is to ask yourself the following questions. Do you:
- Believe alcohol is necessary to have fun?
- Drink more or longer than you planned?
- Blow off friends or family to drink alcohol?
- Miss work or school often because of alcohol (or its effects, like hangovers)?
- Lie about how much you drink?
- Have to drink more to get the “effect” that smaller amounts of alcohol used to give you?
- Feel depressed, anxious, or on edge during or after drinking?
- Get drunk alone regularly?
- Have frequent hangovers?
- Experience blackouts (periods of memory loss for events that happened while drinking)?
- Put yourself in dangerous or harmful situations while drunk?
- Get in trouble with the law or the military police because of something you did while drinking?
Source: Own Your Limits
Dangers of Binge Drinking
Binge drinking is when you drink too fast and too much to bring your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 or higher. Typically, this occurs after having 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men within 2 hours. Binge drinking is a risk factor for sexual assault. Research suggests that there is an increase in the risk of rape or sexual assault when both the attacker and victim have used alcohol prior to the attack. Learn more.
Still Not Sure if Your Drinking is a Problem?
Still wondering if your drinking is a problem? Try these steps the next time you go out:
- Keep track of how many drinks you have in a night. Make a tally in your phone or write it on your hand. When you realize just how many drinks you throw back on a typical night out (as well as the costs), you may decide it’s time to cut back.
- Make a list of pros and cons. Weigh the pros and cons of drinking to see if cutting back might benefit you. Use this list from Rethinking Drinking to get started.
- Take note of how drinking makes you feel. Do you get sad or angry? Do you feel sick the next day? If you are not sure, ask a friend what they notice. Maybe drunk you isn’t the best you out there.
Bottom line: Drinking too much causes problems and it may be time to check your drinking habits. Call your local ASAP office to get the support you need or contact Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.