The Fine Line Between Alcoholism and Recreational Drinking

Many cultures consider recreational drinking during celebrations or after a long hard day acceptable. Drinking too much and too often, however, can transform recreational drinking into alcoholism, but the point when this happens is not easily defined. Your relationship with alcohol and behaviour matter almost as much as how much you drink.

Shopping for wine at a liquor store in Downtown Vancouver every week could be a sign of alcoholism in people who center their lives around alcohol and cannot control their intake. Let’s take a closer look at warning signs of alcoholism to see how it differs from recreational drinking.

Failure to Respond to Feedback

Alcoholism interferes with people’s ability to control drinking despite negative consequences like hangovers, blackouts, or embarrassing behaviour. By contrast, a recreational drinker will cut back if confronted by undesirable results. Family and job responsibilities will win out over the desire to drink heavily or frequently.

Alcohol Obsession

For alcoholics, their lives revolve around drinking. They think constantly about when and where they are going to get their next drink of liquor in Vancouver. They tend to socialize only with heavy drinkers and drink heavily before arriving at a bar or party because they can’t wait to start drinking.

Red flags for alcoholism include:

  • One drink always leads to more drinks
  • Drunken behaviour significantly different than sober personality
  • Guilt and shame about drinking
  • Drinking viewed as a reward
  • Binge drinking, especially after a period of abstaining

One or more of these behaviours and an inability to imagine daily life without drinking, strongly indicate that drinking has gone beyond recreational. If these warning signs apply to you, please talk to someone about how to regain control.

Basic Quantity Guidelines

The Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction recommends that men drink no more than three alcoholic drinks a day or 15 per week. Recommendations are lower for women at two drinks a day or up to 10 per week. Recreational drinking would fall within these limits.

St. Regis Fine Wines & Spirits is among liquor stores in Vancouver that promote responsible drinking. As a beer store in Vancouver, we have a large selection of beverages for all occasions.