Alcohol and Moderation

Hello friends, I am new here so please forgive me if this isn’t the right place to post.

I really like beer. It’s a wonderful gift of God and a great way to celebrate with friends and get a bit merry. Of course it has potential for abuse, so it’s important to be careful. I’m right now starting to think more seriously about responsible drinking.

Back in college, I was the president of a hard-partying fraternity that spent a great amount of time completely trashed. I remember it wasn’t at all uncommon to ditch classes on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon to get drunk at the house. When I graduated a year ago I came to Asia with very much the same mindset, but in the last several months I realized how immature this was, and am trying to be more moderate.

I thought I’d come to other Catholic beerheads for advice: what are some good rules of thumb for responsible Catholic drinking?

For example, I was out for beers the last night for a friend’s birthday and found myself quite jolly on the walk home. I woke up this morning with a throb in my head that went away after a bath. Is this too much, or was I right in stopping when I did?

I like to have one glass of wine with my dinner, but I am careful not to have more than this. I think if you feel unwell the next day, you’ve definitely had too much!

The experts say we shouldn’t drink every day, so I think it’s best if we have a few alcohol-free days every week and then enjoy the beer/wine on the days we have alcohol - drink to enjoy, rather than drink to get merry or drunk.

It’s obviously always inadvisable to drink to the point where you lose your inhibitions, get sick or become argumentative. That puts both you and others at risk and is not (IMO) how Christians should responsibly use alcohol.

If you wake up with a throbbing in your head, you drank too much. If one has been drinking heavily and regularly, one builds up a tolerance and starts to drink even more. It is probably a good idea to go on the wagon for a few months and then re-assess the role of alcohol in your life.

These charts could be helpful.

You didn’t say how much you had to drink, but if it was only a few drinks and you woke up with a hangover you may have just been exhausted/dehydrated.

Catholic beerhead here…

Just my advice and opinion. I have had a drinking problem in the past. I still enjoy beer but in moderation. I never have more than 2 beers in a row these days. Actually 2 and 2/3 if I have a 32oz. I am 5’10 200 lbs. That’s not huge, but im no lightweight. I can handle that. Don’t party every weekend. Nobody needs to do that. If you go out with friends and want a drink, set the limit at maybe 3 or 4. There is nothing wrong with having a beer every night with dinner (I do) if you can absolutely positively stop at 1 or 2. Don’t get worried if people start telling you “You have a drinking problem, you need to go to Alcoholics anonymous” and so forth. They may have had a drinking problem, but so did I and it is possible to learn to moderate without all that 12 step stuff. More power to people who like the 12 steps and a.a. though if it helped them.

It is harder to moderate your drinking if you hang out with people who drink a lot. Some people can do it, but it is hard. Generally, I know this may be hard, but if you need to drink around certain friends, it is better to hang out with them less. Good luck and God bless.

I will answer in general – not to specifics (numbers of drinks etc)

When it is excessive there is sin. When drinking is contrary to temperance or health etc.

Examples of when drinking is grave sin (mortal sin) would be - getting “drunk” -that is -total loss of ones reason, drinking leading to other mortal sins, drunk driving etc.

Going beyond temperance can be venial sin (I set aside any question of driving…that brings other aspects into things).

(And of course a person with a history of overdoing it -ought to take great care - and if any have say alcoholism - that is a “never drink” situation)

And one ought to look a new research as well in terms of health.


1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart."72 Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites."73 In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world."74

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).75

In addition to dehydration, the brand of the beer could affect the quality… certain $4 - 12 packs really push the limit on the definition of ‘beer’ itself… :smiley:

On my way home last year from Fla. to N.y. I saw a sign/billboard in one of the states that I passed through. It read “buzzed driving is drunk driving.” I think that is a good way to know whether you’ve had too much of any alcoholic beverage. If you have a buzz you’ve had too much. In our culture what is called social drinking by many is actually alcohol dependency or alcoholism. Blessings to all and stay safe.

When you are drunk, your body and mind are impaired because of a poison.

When you have a hangover, your body is trying to repair the damage from the poisoning.

Gift from God?

Yes Gift of God when used correctly in a moderate way.

A misuse of the Gift of God when used in way contrary to the virtue of temperance.

Probably a gift from God in the same way a Big Mac is a gift from God. But I guess it can be construed that way. :wink:

What I find is how rarely it is used correctly and moderately.


Sacred Scripture does not say that God gave us Big Mac’s to make our hearts glad.

But it does say that about* wine*…

*and there much there too of course about the abuse of such.

Yes, wine.

The OP said beer.

Potatoe potahto.:smiley:

Is absenth a gift as well?

BTW. In my opinion a Big Mac IS indeed a gift from God, which is why I say "bless me O lord and these Thy Gifts.… Before I eat. Rarely have I seen that at a bar…:wink:

What about the various ales brewed by monks? I love a glass of Chimay. The old Roman Ritual even includes a blessing for beer…so yes there is holy beer.

Yes, there is. :rolleyes:

I’ll tell you that the lengths at which people get offended at the suggestion that alcohol is not a panacea indicates a problem. Like I indicated, if the post was about a Big Mac, the defense would not be as vigilant.

As a convert, I have always wondered at the Catholic obsession with alcohol.
As a former participant in alcoholic “merriment” I am no stranger to the good and bad ways it can be used.

The thread generally is about alcohol and moderation…

You said “in the same way” as a BigMac.

Of course other things are gifts from God. But not all gifts are “in the same way”.

As to giving thanks - yes it would be good to give thanks before drinking a glass of wine etc. But unfortunately out of habit I think we do so for “meals” more than drink (coffee etc). But yes let us give thanks “always and everywhere”. Though one need not use a long prayer.

I am a “convert” too - I came into full communion with the Catholic Church years ago.

The defense of the gift of alcohol from my end is a discussion of the theological, cultural and moral realities involved - both the good use and the misuse.

I drink alcohol maybe a glass or a beer once a month or less.

And we need to be vigilant with all our eating and drinking. Virtue of Temperance in all.

How is a big Mac a different gift than beer?

Both have biblical roots. Alcohol and bread.

As an aside.

A priest at my old parish was once giving a homily about helping the poor at a life teen Mass. He talk about all the ways in which a good Christian could help the poor. The usually St Vincent store, or homeless man on the street stuff. Then, he said, or help a college student. that it is indeed helping to poor to buy a college student a keg or a 12 pack. He was serious. Everyone smiled and nodded thinking fondly of the idea of buying beer for college students to help the poor. THE POOR! I often wonder when a wealthy parish thinks buying a keg for a kid fortunate enough to get a college education (something less than 1 percent of the world is “rich enough to do”) Not to mention the age and legality factor. As many college students are not yet 21. But here is a “keg” in the middle of a homily about helping the poor. Or how about the very very Catholic identity with a certain heritage being known for drinking and fighting. (being in Indiana this is especially evident at one particular University.)

Our fellow Catholics look oddly at my wife and I for having a dry house. They either think we are judging them for drinking or that we have had drinking problems and have gone through AA or something.:rolleyes: Neither of which are true. I have no qualms with having a priest over for dinner or the Superbowl and him drinking a corona. There is not a moral problem with that. It is when someone treats it in a gollum like fashion that I shake my head at someone. And I find this happens often in the Catholic faith. (sadly)

But that could just be the Mormon influence from my dad. My dad, who loved wild Turkey and Coronas.:smiley:

Ontologically beer is better :slight_smile:

But really it is.

Hum lets look…special blessings for BigMacs…nope do not find any…

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