Drinking alcohol is a hobby for some people who like to relax and wind down after a long day at work, or to relieve feelings of stress. It is also a social connector in many ways at backyard barbecues, house parties, and work events. Alcohol is everywhere, in spite of the negative consequences it can have on people’s health and long-term outcomes. When it comes to ‘low-risk’ drinking behavior, it is important to consider what it means to drink in moderation and how that can still relate to alcoholism.

Risks of Drinking

When statistics pour out numbers about drinking behavior, they do not take into account always the risk factors involved with drinking. Limits are put on drinking because of a perceived cost/benefit analysis. Guidelines for drinking are simply that: a way to set limits for the majority of the people most of the time. Moderate drinking behavior does not cause someone to have alcoholism but it can turn into habitual drinking which leads to the person struggling with addiction, unable to stop when they try and drinking more often than they want to with undesirable effects.

Addiction

Putting a limit on how much men and women drink does not stop them from struggling with addiction. Qualifying drinking behavior as ‘low risk’ has less to do with the amount of alcohol than it has with the ability to stop drinking after a certain amount of alcohol has been consumed. Women’s bodies metabolize alcohol differently than men’s bodies do. It takes longer for alcohol to be fully metabolized by the body. Both men and women experience decreased water content with age and the amount of alcohol dehydrogenase present in the liver decreases, which breaks down alcohol. That is why people who think about their drinking as ‘low risk’ because they are below the average number statistics say is reasonable are not looking at the irony of that statement. Many people may qualify their drinking as low-risk, when in fact they are actually drinking more than they think, more often than they realize, and with greater frequency. It is difficult to navigate the challenges of alcohol addiction when denial is present because the person simply does not see a problem exists. When family members or loved ones are asked whether or not a problem exists, they may have a different response.

Finding Hope

People who drink moderately are still at risk for alcoholism but also negative health consequences of their drinking. Risky drinking patterns like drinking and driving or thinking the rules do not apply to them and they continue to drink as they like are headed down a dangerous path. There is no such thing a low-risk drinking because of the health consequences and risk to other people when someone drinks without thinking about how it impacts others. Guidelines are meant to cover people in general but some may use it as an excuse to drink without considering the consequences. When it comes to considering the best way forward, a person who struggles with any amount of drinking should not drink at all and consider seeking help for addiction and dependence issues.

Drinking behavior is not about how much, how often, or why a person drinks. If the brain and body crave the substance and cannot live without it, the person has a drinking problem. We are here to help you understand how addiction works and why it happens. We are also here to help you navigate the challenges of recovery so you can find hope and healing in recovery. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.