For many people, having a drink outside on a warm afternoon or enjoying a favorite beverage while watching the ball game is a great way to spend a day. (And, in many cases, this is not only safe and legal but harmless.) For some people, however, drinking during the day may signal a problem.
Day drinking can be fine from time to time in moderation, but has the potential to be a downward spiral for those with an alcohol use disorder or a pattern of problematic drinking. Around a quarter of Americans binge drink from time to time, and nearly 15 million over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder. Starting to drink alcohol early in the day can be a warning sign of bigger problems, and normalizing day drinking for fun can be a part of that.
Day Drinking Is a Frequent Occurrence
Day drinking isn’t always an issue, and can be a very normal way to enjoy a nice afternoon for those who imbibe responsibly. However, when day drinking is a frequent occurrence, this isn’t always the case—especially for those who are already heavy drinkers.
For those who drink responsibly and in moderation, day drinking from time to time can be a good way to spend time with friends, have a cocktail while relaxing at the beach, or barbecue with neighbors. However, the concept of moderation is key. This kind of thing may happen every few months, for example, or some weekends in the summer but rarely in the winter.
For those who have an alcohol use disorder, day drinking is often more frequent and may be pitched as a part of daytime plans of any kind. It may happen every single weekend or even during the week. This takes day drinking from the moderation category and makes it a regular part of day-to-day life. When any occasion, no matter how small, becomes an excuse to imbibe, something more sinister may be at hand.
Day Drinking Leads to Regular Intoxication
For most people, day drinking consists of a drink or two, maybe a few more on very rare occasions. However, for those with an alcohol-related issue, day drinking may mean drinking too excess each and every time alcohol is proposed, regardless of the time of day or the reason for a beverage.
Those who abuse alcohol often have problems regulating consumption and drink to excess at all times, even when day drinking with friends. When a few drinks at brunch in the afternoon leads to drunkenness to the point of a loss of control, red flags are waving. Drinking to the point of intoxication should be avoided in almost all instances, and regular inebriation while drinking during the day is a sign that something is wrong.
Day Drinking Is Common Without Good Reason
There’s never a truly good reason to day drink, but a drink in the daytime for a party or other social outing can be understandable from time to time. However, when day drinking transitions from special occasions to a standard part of the week, there may be an issue that goes beyond enjoying a casual drink.
Someone who sits around drinking while watching TV on a weekend has a drink with lunch during the workday or makes up excuses today drink when no logical opportunity presents itself, like a stressful week at work and a need to relax and unwind can indicate an alcohol use disorder. Day drinking should be a rarity at best, not an everyday occurrence for no reason at all.
Day Drinking Occurs on Days With Other Obligations
There’s a big difference between a beer at an afternoon football game and a beer at 10 AM during a work call. Celebrating a fun time with friends or family can warrant a casual and responsible drink during daylight hours, but when getting through the day without a drink isn’t possible, a problem is almost certainly at hand.
This is particularly true when drinking begins to interfere with day-to-day duties. Drinking while at work, while parenting, or during errand run on the weekend generally isn’t healthy—and needing a drink to make it through the day is a sign of a big issue. When day drinking starts to dominate other areas of life substance abuse can be the culprit.
Day Drinking Becomes a Compulsion
When a friend suggests a mid-day drink every now and then, there’s no real reason to be concerned. When a friend suggests a mid-day drink at every possible opportunity or makes plans specifically for the purpose of socially acceptable day drinking, there may be something wrong.
Responsible use of alcohol can sometimes enhance a social outing, but it should never be required for a good time. Friends and family members should be able to spend time together without alcohol; when alcohol is required to make these kinds of events tolerable or take center stage at hangouts of all kinds, priorities may be out of line.
Day Drinking Inconveniences Others
For most people, day drinking is something that comes up from time to time but doesn’t dominate life choices or social activities. It’s possible to safely have a drink and drive home, or have a brunch cocktail with a friend and still take care of other life obligations.
However, those who drink too much too soon may end up inconveniencing others with obnoxious intoxicated behavior, getting too drunk to the point of needing a ride, or getting sick and requiring care. When a simple social outing turns into a drunken event that burdens others, it’s time to reevaluate behavior.
Getting Help for Day Drinking
For most people, drinking is limited to an evening activity, like a drink after work with friends or a glass of wine with dinner. Day drinking is comparatively rarer—and when it’s not, a problem is almost certainly evident. Needing to drink to get through the day, making excuses to drink, drinking to the point of intoxication, or drinking to the point that others are inconvenienced are all signs of an escalating problem.
Facing addiction may feel like the end of the world, but help is available. At FHE Health, we are dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our step-down programs and inpatient and outpatient care.