How much alcohol is too much?

Hello, I am looking for an answer to a question I am struggling with lately and I pray you can help me with.

My husband and I are cradle Catholics currently living a semi-retired life style. I have a history of hospital nursing (critical care RN) and left a lucrative career to dedicate myself to home school our one son through his high school years and to care for elderly parents who are now passed on. We paid for and supported our son through a four year Catholic college education. He is now a grown married man living in another State and is rather estranged from us. No grandchildren yet.

We have been practically alienated by both sides of our families due to our Catholic Faith and basically live a pretty lonely life these days. I have been a little scrupulous in the past so I don’t always trust my own conscious. My husband and I have been teetotalers over the years of raising our son and caring for our parents. Our son has married last July 2013 and our parents have passed on. We feel we have “passed the baton” and now and then allow ourselves to drink wine together for relaxation and to de-stress in the evening. My concern is that I may be in “grave” sin if I have a headache or sour stomach the next day so I refuse myself daily Communion until I can go to Confession. I have confessed with a priest in confession and been told it is not a GRAVE sin… When is drinking too much a grave sin? I realize that due to the isolation and family disappointments my husband and I are experiencing that we may be emotionally vulnerable at this time of our life. We pray the rosary together every day, attend weekly Mass, and Confessions (every 1-2 wks.). I would like to attend daily Mass now and find myself “stopping” because I am afraid I will displease Our Lord if I have had (too much?) wine with my husband the night before.

Can you help me think straight about what is grave in this matter or is there any? I never drink with the thought or expectation to get drunk. I do, however, like being in a somewhat relaxed and friendly state with my husband. Can a person accidentally fall into a grave sin of drunkenness without knowing?

Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to your answer.

God bless, BettyJean

These links should be helpful for understanding the Church’s teaching on the consumption of alcohol and the moral implications of drunkenness. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by these links, please contact Catholic Answers directly.
Recommended Reading:
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What does the bible really say about drinking?**
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