This post was originally published on January 12, 2015.
Perception is a powerful thing. That is why I have always admired the women in their 40’s who walk into the rooms of 12-step meetings—trepidatious and confused as to how their socially accepted love for wine landed them there—and end up getting sober. Since there is no other form of alcoholism quite as universally palatable as being a wino, it usually has to get really bad for Susie Suburb and Heather High Functioning to even consider they might have a drinking problem. The fact is, the term “wino” calls up the image of a hobo in tattered clothing, stumbling and singing “Danny Boy,” not a 42-year-old married mother of two who tends to get a little sloppy during play dates. Still, from where I am standing, that is more accurately who the modern day wino is.
According to a recent piece from Inquisitr, however, the middle-aged Gen X’ers aren’t the crux of the wine drinking culture. It’s the Gen Y’ers—the kids born between 1980 and 2000—that seem to be over-indulging without much thought or concern to the potential health risks.
It’s The Little Things
Sometimes small discoveries that get released into the ether can change the trajectory of society and as far as I’m concerned, the study which concluded that a glass of red wine a day helps lower cholesterol was definitely one of them. Reports show that 28% of people between the ages of 21 to 26 drink wine every day (how much wasn’t specified) and 50% of them admitted to being hungover for work the next day. Surely no one drinks more because of the cholesterol-lowering benefits but any justification not to imbibe can work in a pinch.
I think most people drink wine because they want a low-key night—they want to dive into something civilized and healthy rather than tying one off with a Jack and coke or a vodka tonic (because that would be boozing). A glass or two of wine is merely an adult way to unwind after a long day, right? Sure. If that is all you’re having and you are only having it four times a week.
How Much Is Too Much?
I appreciate the efforts of this article to remind people that—regardless of the minimal health benefits when consumed in moderation—wine is not only alcoholic beverage but a powerful one with just as many health risks when used in excess. It is linked to breast cancer, dementia and traumatic events—including not being able to fit in to any of your jeans because of how bloated you are.
So are you using wine to excess? According to the CDC, that is classified as more than one drink a day for women (two one day a week) and two a day for men (three one day a week). So I guess if you are one of the female wine drinkers I have never met who are actually only drinking one glass of wine a night, you are not who this article is geared towards. I suppose that if you are drinking a bottle of wine twice a week, you are also in good shape. Still, while I’m not saying this is the norm, most of the female drinking friends I have left are hiding behind that civilized and unassuming glass of chardonnay as if they hadn’t had two before it and won’t have three more after I leave.
What Can Be Learned
To me, the problem with articles like this is that they’re asking people to apply facts and logic to something when they have long lost the power to do so. Much like laying down rules that no one will follow, it’s important to put the information out there just in case but no one who is putting away a bottle of cabernet a night is going to read this article and immediately cut down. It just doesn’t work that way. Still, maybe the piece can act as a soft whisper into the ear of someone who might not think they have a problem, slightly alerting them to the idea that they could benefit from taking a closer look at their drinking.