Now that I'm hurtling toward my middle-thirties, I don't drink nearly as much as I used to. I got drunk once this week—on Sunday, by accident, kind of—and three days later my head still feels like it got screwed on sideways, I started crying because my boyfriend was "making a weird face" and wouldn't admit it, and I got a fucking sinus infection. THANKS, OVODKA. So, I guess that's about it for me and booze this summer.
But even though I don't drink as hard and as fast as I used to, I find that I enjoy alcohol a lot more these days. When I was younger, particularly at the low-point of my self-esteem (ages 19-25, or thereabouts), drinking was just a means to something else—a shortcut to feeling fun and funny and present when all I wanted to do was hide. Now, my relationship with alcohol is less "JAGER MAKES THE CRYING STOP" and more "OMG THEY HAVE VINHO VERDE ON THE HAPPY HOUR MENU."
But even mature, genteel lady-drinking can turn into a problem. A new study out of the Queensland University of Technology suggests that middle-aged women actually drink more than their twentysomething counterparts—it's just incorporated into their daily life rather than all at once on a weekend binge.
Via the Sydney Morning Herald:
The researcher found that up to 13 per cent of women aged between 45 and 59 were ignoring safe alcohol consumption guidelines and drinking more than two standard drinks daily.
By doing so, Ms Watling said, they were more than tripling their lifetime risk of death from alcohol related diseases.
"As women age we are seeing a change in their drinking patterns," Ms Watling said.
"Heavy drinking is more common among young women in their late teens and 20s, but as they age women tend to abandon binge drinking for less heavy but more frequent levels of alcohol consumption."
Ms Watling is now looking to expand her research nationally to find out just why middle-aged women are choosing to hit the bottle so regularly.
"My preliminary study suggests that for women in their 40s and 50s, drinking is not about getting drunk," she said.
"Instead it's more that alcohol becomes a greater part of everyday life as you age, for example having a wine with dinner or in front of the TV. Alcohol also becomes a way of dealing with the stresses of busy lives such as family worries, work pressures or social commitments.
"What we are concerned about is that those women, who drink moderately but often, may end up consuming a larger volume of alcohol than those who drink heavily but less frequently."
I'm grateful that my drinking habits sorted themselves out so innocuously, and that I can enjoy a glass of wine here and there in a way that enhances my life instead of derailing it. But obviously not everyone's relationship with alcohol is the same. So, be careful, ladies! Keep an eye on yourselves.
Like, there's zero chance of me getting alcohol poisoning at this point in my life. But I could get liver disease, I guess.
BUT I PROBABLY WON'T, RIGHT!?!?!
Image via Aletia/Shutterstock.