Regulating your alcohol consumption


I’m going to turn 19 in December, which is the legal drinking age where I am. I think I have developed an alcohol-phobia being at university and seeing the bad effects of too much drinking, and wanting to be moral by following the law and not drinking for so many years. So, I’ve never had anything more than a teensy glass of wine with supper at home with my parents, and, of course, the Precious Blood at Mass.

I recently had a bit of a panic-attack involving my BF… He turned 19 at the end of August, and has now been having the odd drink out with his friends. He never has more than one drink, and usually has it when food is involved. He also hates beer. He goes for sweeter things like Coke and rum, and coolers. I trust him to be a very responsible drinker. Now, what caused me to get really frightened was this: he’s a fairly shy guy that loves to meet new people. (great combo, I know…) So he’s always trying to work on his people-skills, and has been progressing in the 2 years I’ve known him. He admitted to me last night that he felt that one drink helped him to be able to talk to someone. This was a single incident, I think… I freaked. I told him I didn’t want to speak to him if he had had something to drink that day, that I didn’t want to question whether it was the alcohol that made him say that, or really him. I told him I never, ever wanted to touch alcohol myself. That I didn’t want something that would alter my personality that fast in my body. And he’s a big man! I’m a small, skinny woman! He later clarified that it could have been the drink, or him just thinking it would help, and that he realized afterwards that he didn’t need a drink to do that, that he had the ability to talk to people on his own (which I could have told him…). I told him that, that I felt kind of cheated. Why couldn’t it have been me encouraging him to go talk to the other person?

I still feel very strongly about this… also, my family has a history of alcoholism, and I’m fairly certain that one of my close family members has been abusing it lately, though I think they’ve stopped, for now. I know there isn’t anything wrong with not ever drinking, and I also know the Church hasn’t condemed drinking, and Jesus even performed His first miracle by producing wine, but I just can’t see how anyone would want to put something that could alter their personality so fast in their bodies… I’m wondering how all you more experienced, Catholic adults deal with alcohol, how it affects you, and how you limit yourselves? It just frightens me so much, even though I know it’s not a sin to drink it. Also, I talk too much, and am trying to keep more of my life private, so I am very leery of consuming any substance that might make me talk more. x.x


With your background of dealing with alcoholism in your family I can see where you would over react-and you did over react. Nobody changes their personality with one drink -I come from a family of responsible drinkers. My dad has beer or glass of wine with dinner. My mom has an occasional glass of wine as well. We always had a glass of champagne on New Years even when I was in grade school.

Now I also am the wife of a recovered alcoholic. And for a long time I loathed alcohol. But my husband has been sober for many years now. I do drink occasionally -out to dinner, at parties etc. I do not get drunk and my personality doesn’t change significantly, except being a little more relaxed.

If you chose not to drink that it perfectly acceptable but please don’t punish your boyfriend with the sins of your family. As long as he’s drinking responsibly and is of the legal drinking age you are being very unfair with your reaction.

There is also something very unhealthy about feeling that you need to be the be all and end all of your boyfriend’s life. This “why couldn’t have been me” stuff over something so minor is not a good attitude to take. Everything positive in his life does not have to stem from you.

You need to step back and get a realistic picture of the situation which you are not getting because the pain of alcoholism is too close and their seems also to be significant insecurities on your part. Think about maybe going to an al-anon meeting to help cope with your family’s alcoholism. And don’t make your boyfriend out to be the bad guy for having one legal drink just because you chose not to do so.

I think you need to apologize.


Congratulations for trying to stay strong and away from alcohol. I am a senior citizen and drink nothing stronger than Coca Cola. Others, even in my family, may have a drink or two and that’s okay but I choose to keep away from alcohol. Everyone we associate with knows that I don’t drink and no one has a problem with it. We can enjoy being together, laugh and have a good time. They can drink what they want and I drink what I want.
A few years ago our daughter got married and everyone drank champagne toasts. I lifted my glass of Coke!
I simply don’t like the taste of alcohol. It has nothing to do with anyone else drinking or not drinking; it’s simply my own taste buds.
Wine at Communion is enough alcohol for me!


Limiting ourselves comes with experience. We learn to pace ourselves depending upon what type of drink we are consuming, what we are eating, what else we have to do that day, etc. etc. Some of my personal rules are: absolutely no alcohol on an empty stomach, so if I’m having lunch with the girls and they want to have wine, I don’t have any until after I have eaten; no more than one beer/glass of wine/mixed drink every two hours if I have to drive and that’s only if I am eating as well; no alcohol at all if I have to go to work later, and I try not to drink more than once or twice a week unless it’s a special occasion (long holiday weekends, for example), simply because it’s not all that good for me. If I drink too much, it gives me a headache and I won’t sleep well. I get very silly and talk too much, and I can be pretty mouthy even when stone-cold sober. One time at a New Year’s Eve party, I drank way too much and got into a screaming apologetics argument with a lapsed Catholic – some witness that was! :o When I was young, I did some pretty heavy partying, but as we get older, we don’t want to waste the time feeling cruddy the next day when we could be out doing something productive. That was the best deterrent of all, simply having a busy life full of adult responsibilities.


When I go out I only drink various martinis (Apple, white chocolate etc) they run $8-$16 a pop. That’s enough to keep anyone from over doing it :smiley:


I’ve known people who’ve been devastated by alcohol, so that makes me very cautious about how my own behaviour affects others. I know that former addicts can strongly react to even small amounts of alcohol – even the sight or smell. I’m also aware that women metabolize alcohol differently from men, even apart from the effect of a smaller body mass. In addition, different ethnic populations have varying biological reactions to alcohol. As a gentleman, I’m considerate of all these factors and moderate my behaviour accordingly.


I can no longer drink…at all. I’m an alcoholic. For a true alcoholic, one drink will nearly always lead to many, and life will progressively spiral downward as a result.

Having one drink with a meal is not even close to alcohol abuse. If you have a problem with people drinking…that’s your problem. But it certainly doesn’t seem that your friend has a problem.


Thank you all for your replies!

I am feeling calmer now, and I think my freak-out was partly tiredness and partly PMS besides my normal wariness of alcohol. I’ve been thinking about it some more, and I realized I need to be able to be comfortable, at least, around people who are drinking completely responsibly, aka 1-2 drinks in a night. I keep trying to tell myself there is nothing wrong with this for other people, even if I start to feel panicked at the thought of drinking it myself. I truly think it’s a phobia, as I’m having difficulty forcing myself to think clearly about it, but I’ll work on it… It’s not a sin to have a drink or two, is what I keep repeating to myself.

On furthur discussion with my bf, I told him that I realized it wasn’t fair for me to get upset with him having a totally reasonable amount to drink, and told him so. Don’t worry, rayne, I’m not the be all and end all of everything good in his life, and I know that; as I mentioned above, I was tired and PMSy and just not thinking straight. The ‘why couldn’t it be me’ thing was more of an example, it could have been any one of his friends, not just me, and I would have be perfectly happy with it.

So yeah, I have a lot of issues I need to work on. :o I’m assuming the relaxing effects of alcohol don’t overpower most people’s sense of judgment after just one drink(alcoholics aside). I am really trying to be more rational about this, but it might be a up-hill struggle with myself for awhile.

Keep the posts coming, I’d like all the advice I can get.


When I was in high school I had almost identical feelings. I was disgusted watching my classmates who found drinking to be fun. I honestly could not understand why they would want to do such a thing. I was disgusted… and very lonely.

In college I did have the occassional drink and had an enormous sense of guilt for looking at my high school classmates as being “less” than I was. I came to a realization that I was “holier than thou” during high school, and I did not want to treat others that way again. My experience with alcohol in college and beyond has been nothing but moderate. I would say I was “drunk” maybe twice in my life (both after marriage, at home, in safe situations).

I have never been close to an alcoholic… so I’m really not familiar with the pain surrounding alcoholism.

In my personal experience… alcohol is a blessing and a gift that Christ Himself enjoyed. We are taught to not be drunkards… and that we should approach all things in moderation. :thumbsup:


…and thus the popularity and durabilty of the cocktail party. Almost all of us come with a complete set of insecurities–whether it relates to our level of attractiveness, physical fitness, accomplishment, social dexterity, intelligence, sense of humor, etc… Nothing like a drink or two as a social lubricant to calm everyone’s rattled nerves. I think you’ll often find the level of drinking can be a reflection of an individual’s sense of self-esteem and confidence. Anyone who drinks can occasionally and inadvertently over-do it. It sounds like your bf was being quite frank with you and is not using the alcohol as a crutch, but simply recognizing its time-tested effect.


i think you’re taking this way too seriously. he never has more than one drink, you said…it seems like there’s nothing to worry about. one drink will not “alter your personality so fast”, especially not for a big man. however, you said your boyfriend is shy so maybe he gets uptight in situations around people. alcohol is a depressant, so it probably calms him down slightly and allows him to be less anxious. i think you’re making a big deal out of nothing from what you’ve told us.


Wine ‘gladdens the heart’, as the Psalm says, and that does include being more at ease with people :wink: . You shouldn’t worry at all. Your BF sounds TOO nice. I drink more than he does, and I consider myself to be a moderate drinker. :smiley:

I’ll have up to 2 beers after dinner, NOT every day, or up to 3 drinks with a meal for special occasions, or up to 5 drinks for those special occasions that involve a whole day of eating, singing, dancing and drinking - like weddings, family saint patron’s days, etc.

It may seem like a lot to you, but I come from a drinking country, so I actually give offense to hosts at times by refusing more. (You don’t like my plum brandy? But it’s homemade! It’s all-natural! etc.) I also have a very high tolerance for alcohol, so I tend not to even get a slight buzz from this.

I used to drink A LOT during high school, though.

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