'I'd have a bottle of wine a night and not feel drunk.' 300 women on how much they really drink.

A few weeks ago, I was lying on my bedroom floor eating nuggets and sculling a Berocca. 

I was in the middle of a two-day hangover

"I'm never drinking again" is a lie I tell myself repeatedly every single time I find myself in this position (and I've been in this position many times). 

As a 27-year-old woman, I'm slowly being confronted with my relationship with alcohol as being a toxic element of my life. But... I'm not a casual drinker. I rarely drink unless I'm going out with friends. Surely getting a drink once every two weeks is fine right? 

Unconvinced by my internal reassurance, I wanted to know from women of different ages what their relationships with alcohol is like. 

And when I asked, 300 women answered. Here's what some of them had to say...

Watch: If alcohol was a person. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Linda, 67, would drink a bottle of wine every night.

"Until I was 40 I drank only socially, but after my husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, I gradually began drinking with my evening meal every night. Before too long, I was reaching for a glass as soon as I walked in the door after work. I believe I became a functioning alcoholic. I drank quickly, taking no time to down the bottle. I would often wake in the night telling myself I would drink less, but the next evening... everything would repeat itself. 


I didn’t hide my drinking from my doctor and she would suggest dropping back to every second day or five out of seven days. Eventually, after my husband passed away 20 months ago, I didn’t drink at all for six months. I then reintroduced just having a glass every now and again. I’ve surprised myself, but appear to have it under control... Time will tell."

Jess, 49, on social occasions.

"In my thirties, I would have half a bottle of wine each night when my son was little while cooking dinner. I found that I wanted to start cooking dinner earlier and earlier until I realised I was starting at 3pm.

Then, in my 40s I cut back to only two glasses a night on the weekend while cooking because it was affecting my sleep too much... but the weekend ended up being Thursday to Sunday. 

Then one day in my mid 40s I just decided that I didn't like the health anxiety it caused me, or the effect on my sleep so I just stopped. Now, at nearly 50, I only have one or two glasses if I'm out for dinner with friends which is only a few times a year."

Sarah, 29, once a week. 

"My relationship with alcohol has changed a lot over the years. I will admit to being a bit of a binge drinker in my early 20s. Then I started antidepressants and the way they mix with alcohol was not something I was prepared for. 

I was getting blackout drunk on accident more often because the antidepressants were blocking my usual warning signs for how much alcohol I had consumed. I have since gotten off antidepressants but still struggle with noticing when I have had too much. 'Feeling tipsy' doesn't happen at the same time (after two  drinks) anymore so I start to think I can drink more than I can. 


I still enjoy alcohol but I am more conscience of my need to be in control because my brain/body has changed and I need to learn what the new signals are."

Clare, 42, once a fortnight.

"After breastfeeding for eight months, I gradually upped my drinking until it was a bottle of wine a night, often topped off by a couple of mixed drinks, and I didn’t feel drunk. I wouldn’t leave my baby in the car at the petrol station, but no one talks about leaving them in the car to go to the bottle shop… and that’s exactly what I did.

I didn’t feel out of control, but I knew it wasn’t good. I also wasn’t alone in drinking like this. Daily drinking on maternity leave was very socially acceptable. After six months, enough was enough, I had November off drinking altogether (I missed my chats with the woman at the bottle shop though, truly!) and from December onwards, I limited myself to two sessions on weekends. 

I’m glad alcohol, or its absence, isn’t a key aspect of my life anymore." 

Sandra, 53, once a month.

"Not long after having my first baby in my early 30s, I had to go on some hard-core medication which meant I wasn’t allowed to drink any alcohol. 

As a result, I just got out of the habit of drinking alcohol and realised I could still have fun and not drink. Although I’m now off the medication and can now drink, I rarely do. The hardest thing when I wasn’t drinking was the cultural expectations. I was hyper-aware of people looking at me differently and often asking why I wasn’t drinking. It got to the point where I would visit a venue the day before with non-alcoholic champagne and ask them to keep it behind the bar for me — that way I still looked like I was drinking but it stopped the questions and funny looks…and I became quite good at acting tipsy and being able to let my hair down. Nowadays, although I do drink, I don’t drink a lot and my friends all accept me for that."


Hannah, 33, rarely.

"I used to be a social drinker and really enjoyed the social rituals associated with a fun night drinking with my mates! The only time it would become problematic was when I was going through a heartbreak. By the end of the night, I’d be in tears and would send messages I wouldn’t have sober. I now rarely drink because of health issues."

Laura, 47, once or twice a month.

"I enjoy drinking with friends and very occasionally with dinner. I'm also more than happy to not drink even in the company of drinkers, and can still be merry. I come from Germany where drinking is legal from the age of 16, and not such a big deal. Also, everyone accepts it if you say you won't have alcohol. 

I despise that in Australia that's not accepted and people keep bothering me with, 'oh come on, just have one' or 'you can have one per hour', even when my reason is that I'm still driving later." 

Janine, 55, three-five drinks every day.

"I don’t think that technically I’m an alcoholic because I can go for weeks without a drink, but I just love the taste of my favourite drink (scotch and Coke). I look forward to it from the middle of the day. I very rarely drink enough to get drunk or even tipsy, I don’t really notice a buzz or relaxation from it. 

I have up to three drinks in an evening and maybe one or two from lunchtime onwards if I’m not working and don’t need to drive anywhere. I can’t drink more than that because it makes me feel too full because I have my drinks in a tall glass. I’ll arrange lunch or dinner dates with friends so it’s at a place that sells grog so I can be sure to have a drink with my meal."


Taylor, 32, one to two drinks a month.

"If I go stay at a hotel for a special night away with my husband, I am definitely getting a cocktail by the pool or a wine with dinner, but I don't usually drink week to week. My husband has always struggled with his alcohol consumption, and if both of us drank we would argue terribly. So I stopped when he took time off drinking and never really went back. 

Unfortunately, my hubby doesn't have the same self-control I do with alcohol, which saddens me, but he is doing so much better than he used to." 

Sharon, 54, six times a year.

"My partner was addicted and it put us through hell. My family of origin is addicted but alcohol hits us all like poison. I didn't run fast enough when we met... 

I get extreme hangovers so alcohol hasn't been a feature of my life. He is now four years sober. It's been rough with all the suppressed stuff coming up, but his connection with alcohol was about suppressing his over-emotional side, and his distress/grief with losing people and relationships. I hate alcohol as it is more destructive than many hard drugs, but fully available."

Maddie, 23, three to four days a week.

"I love the social element, being able to go out and have a drink is such a common activity for me and my friends. I love that it makes me social and gives me something to do in the evenings when I'm winding down from work, but I hate that it makes me feel lazy. 


I can’t do exercise after work if I go for drinks and I often drink and eat out so I’m feeling guilty about putting on weight. Weekends feel like an exception because I don’t feel guilty and I allow myself to have fun and do whatever I want as it's my time off." 

Alison, 40, on social occasions.

"I think I’m a binge drinker because I don’t drink casually, just socially and then I go all out. I associate it with a good time so that part is fun but as I get older, the other side of a 'big night' takes its toll and depletes me more and more. It feels like it takes me a week to get back on track after that and messes with my sleep, gym routine, food preparation and planning. But because I don’t do it often, it’s not bad... I think?!" 

Maria, 53, none.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago and I gave up alcohol on that day! I had a problematic relationship with alcohol and knew myself well enough to understand that cutting back wasn’t an option. 

I thought it would affect my girl friendships and my relationship but it didn't in the long run. Everyone knows I do not drink, I leave parties earlier (when the room becomes drunk), I love the clarity in conversation and I can direct the flow of interaction without getting lost. I have no hangovers and my two besties have reduced their alcohol consumption, as has my husband. 

I honestly feel that I am setting a great example for my teenage girls." 

Olivia, 34, on special occasions.

"My husband doesn’t drink and both my parents are daily, excessive drinkers with an unhealthy reliance on alcohol (in my opinion). I feel that influenced me to only have it occasionally. I do not want to have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol like they do. I also think that because my partner doesn’t drink, I don’t either. 


It’s not that I can't, I just don’t feel the need to. I’ve also realised that the older I have gotten, I just don’t need to drink to have a good time like I needed to in my 20s. When I do drink, it’s only a couple. I like to be in control of my emotions and body... I am also a child sexual abuse victim (not alcohol-related) so control of my body is important to me."

Anna, 45, on weekends.

"I could drink every night. Just a glass or two to get over the stresses of my day and relax into the evening. If I am upset or angry, I will buy a bottle of wine to try and numb it a little. If I am really upset I will drink too much. I am very conscious of this which is why I only allow myself to drink on the weekends. As I have gotten older, I don’t tolerate alcohol very well and get hangovers even after one glass."

Aimee, 28, used to drink most nights but is now four months alcohol-free.

"I found myself having a wine every night. I knew that it wasn’t good because I would look forward to it every day. I would then have two wines because one didn’t do it. I have addiction in my family so I was super conscious of this. So since January 1, I have been fully sober. 

So many people have asked me if I’m pregnant or trying for a baby (even my best friends) which I’m not! It shows how normalised drinking has become and how abnormal not drinking is." 

Bianca, 32, three to five drinks of dark liquor or vodka a night.

"I find it hard to say no if offered, or if I'm at home watching TV and I see someone drinking, I want to pour myself a dink. I usually make one with dinner and then just keep drinking until bed. If I'm being honest, having nothing to drink on a night makes me feel like I'm "wasting time". I know that sounds weird but it's just how my brain works. My family are all either big drinkers, or other substance users so it's always been normal to me but when I hear other people at work or outside my immediate circle mention they are tired because they "had a drink last night" I wonder if I'm just really desensitised to substance use..."


Hannah, 48, two to three bottles of wine a week.

"It was a love/hate relationship for a long time but now it’s definitely mostly hate… but a hard-to-break addiction. 

I hate the cost, effect on health, empty calories, hangovers, time not enjoying my kids, poor sleep and the fact that I'm not in control as much as I would like. And yet... I buy another bottle, and another one… 

It’s a coping mechanism, an escape from the chores and messiness of my house, but the loss of self-respect for not being able to control it is a tough tradeoff for this escape..." 

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

The women in this article are known to Mamamia, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy. 

If you feel you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol or want to get some advice, Mamamia urges you to contact the National Alcohol & Other Drug Hotline which is a free service, available 24/7 on 1800 250 015, You can also visit the DrinkWise website.

Feature Image: Getty. 

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