Is It Normal to Drink Alcohol Every Night to Wind Down After Work?

15 Jul, 2023
is it normal to drink alcohol every night to wind down after work

Sober Life wants people to understand that when a person likes to drink alcohol every night, they may have a problem. This does not necessarily mean they cannot control themselves, but it does mean they are at risk of having an addiction.

Is Alcohol Addictive?

Alcohol is one of the few nonprescription means of addiction that is 100% legal. In the United States, anyone over 21 can both purchase and consume as much alcohol as they want. This is one of the reasons that people have trouble determining whether or not they have an addiction. When we are told something is harmful but are left to define what harmful means, it can lead to trouble.

If I Drink Alcohol Every Night, Am I Addicted?

Addiction is a loaded term. However, it is important to use it when it actually applies. With alcohol, there is a high incidence of addiction even when people are unaware of it. For people who drink alcohol every night, the concept of addiction may not seem like a looming threat. However, alcohol use can quickly spiral.

Consider the definition of addiction provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” That definition shows that the consequences do not need to be catastrophic, only ”adverse.”

Side Effects

Consider a few of the side effects of alcohol that could exist depending on the amount people drink every night:

  • Confusion
  • Hangovers
  • Vomiting
  • Dulled responses
  • Lowered heart rate


As alcohol use continues, side effects may become more profound. However, other indications of addiction are the symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms occur when a person stops their normal usage of a substance only to find that their system has become reliant on it. They include:

  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Depression

These are all possible problems that can arise when a person stops their use even for a short amount of time. In fact, when these issues occur, it is a very good indication that there may be an issue.

Family History and What We Learn From Our Parents

Some people have drinks at night because they saw their parents doing the same thing. In these cases, the person may think it is totally natural to have a drink each night. However, these people may not realize that there are quite a number of other ways to wind down.

Although genetics play a part in alcohol addiction, habits are also something that we learn from parents. For some people, simply realizing that the drink is not a necessary part of everyone else’s routines can be enough to get them to stop. Some may even realize on their own that this habit had negative effects on their parents and they do not want to continue that cycle.

If I Drink Alcohol Every Night, Do I Require Recovery?

The fact is that many people do not need to enter a full recovery program for this type of alcohol use. However, if the problem is profound enough, it might be an indication that more help is necessary.

Finding Clarity Through Support Groups

For people who feel they may need an extra hand with their issue, it may be as simple as finding support groups in their area. Attending these groups does not require full disclosure of one’s identity. The groups provide a safe space where a person can talk with others about their potential issues and get more information.

It is important to remember that there is no minimum requirement for attending. If someone needs support even for a loved one, these groups are open and ready to provide support to members. The groups allow people the freedom to talk to the group when they feel comfortable. These groups also show people that they are not alone and provide perspective on one’s issues.

When these groups are utilized they often show people that their impulse to drink alcohol every night might be reaching a tipping point. These groups can help people even before they cross the line from addictive behavior to full addiction.

Knowing Your Limits, Understanding Yourself

Sober Life wants people to understand that the first step to personal recovery at any level is knowing oneself, one’s lifestyle, and one’s behavior. This knowledge may come from within or it may come from those around a person.

Often, we do not consider the negative side effects of our behaviors, including alcohol consumption. For some people, it may take the input of loved ones to truly illuminate their issues. This should not be an embarrassing or troubling reason for addressing one’s issues. In fact, it may be the only way to truly realize the extent of their problem.

While some may find that a drink every night is a way to wind down and is something that is not always necessary, others will realize they are on a slippery slope. Understanding that difference may require support groups or different levels of recovery programs. The best idea is to speak with those around you, take a good look at your own behavior, and think about whether it really is necessary to drink alcohol every night.

Alcohol has become ubiquitous in our current society. People meet at bars, crack open beers at barbecues, and have wine with a nice meal. However, at what point does alcohol use turn into addiction? Alcoholism may not appear on anyone’s radar until someone else mentions it. Sober Life understands that some people enjoy a drink every night. The question is often whether it is necessary. If that drink were to disappear, what would you do? How would you act? These are the questions we put toward individuals who may be concerned that they have a problem. At Sober Life, we are prepared to help you on your journey no matter what your situation. Call us at (619) 542-9542.

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