LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
- Imagine a special occasion or holiday. You have a special drink or glass of wine with dinner. You might think of this sort of alcohol use as helpful—it’s adding to a festive celebration.
- Another night, you go out with friends and have a bit too much to drink. You feel tired and run-down the next day, but otherwise don’t experience many negative consequences. If this situation is not a regular occurrence for you, alcohol may not be very helpful, but it also may not be very harmful.
Lately, you’ve been going out several nights a week. Alcohol is becoming a way to deal with stress at work, and it’s the only time you feel like you’re having fun. You may start to see more serious consequences—maybe you feel sick often, your employer is upset that you often come to work late, and you are getting into fights with your friends. In this situation, alcohol use is becoming more harmful.
Maybe you drink a lot or often, including by yourself. You’re spending too much money on alcohol, you’re missing a lot of work, and you have alienated important friends and family members. Perhaps you’re using alcohol in risky ways, like drinking and driving. This represents a serious problem, and you see serious consequences as a result of your drinking.