Let’s be honest: Many of us drink alone, whether we’re open about it or not. Yet there’s a societal stigma associated with the act of drinking solo, despite the fact it’s such a common guilty pleasure. Maybe it’s because we’re worried people will think we’re alcoholics if we admit that we enjoy drinking by ourselves, or it could be that we don’t want to appear as if we’re friendless. Whatever the reason, there are certain situations where it’s entirely appropriate to drink alone and we shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so.
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As with any guilty pleasure, the key to keeping your solo drinking in check is moderation — as well as knowing your limits. There’s a huge difference between sipping a glass of red in front of an open fireplace and drinking to numb feelings of depression or anxiety. When you’re going through a difficult time, or if you have trouble limiting your alcohol intake, you should avoid drinking alone. But if you’re someone who likes to consume the occasional evening glass of wine in solitude and can easily stop at one, power to you.
The National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines recommend no more than 1-2 drinks per day for women. Most health experts suggest a couple of alcohol-free days per week thrown into the mix, too. With this in mind, here are seven common scenarios where drinking alone is perfectly acceptable. Cheers!
1. You’re relaxing in a bubble bath
One thing’s for sure: Nothing spells relaxation like a bubble bath and a smooth glass of Shiraz. Sip it slowly, relax beneath the warm water and don’t feel guilty in the slightest.
2. Someone’s given you an amazing bottle of wine
Patience is a virtue that’s hard to come by when you’re given a rare or expensive bottle of wine or Champagne. If there’s nobody around to share it with, and you simply can’t wait, don’t feel bad about tasting it on your own — but stop at one glass.
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3. You’re waiting for a friend in a bar
It’s perfectly fine to order a drink at a bar while you’re waiting for others to join you. If you’re really paranoid about what others think, make a point of checking your watch frequently and having a loud phone call with your friends: “Oh, you’re 5 minutes away? See you soon, then!”
4. You’re on an aeroplane
Heck, aeroplanes practically insist that you drink alone when you’re flying from here to there. And if you’re lucky enough to make it inside an airport lounge, well, you’ll probably be in the minority if you don’t have a drink in your hand.
5. Something awesome happened in your day
Sometimes, wonderful things happen when there’s nobody around to celebrate with, and you just feel like a glass of bubbly to celebrate your awesomeness. Go for it.
6. There’s an open fire
Open fires are in the same league as bubble baths when it comes to enjoying a drink and winding down in solitude. Put your feet up, switch on some opera and relax.
7. You’ve been offered a glass of Champagne in a boutique
Hair salons, bridal boutiques and posh department stores are just some of the places that tend to offer a complimentary glass of Champagne to their loyal customers. Why not? Oblige and indulge.
When to seek help
If you feel like you can’t go one night without a drink, or you’re having excessive amounts regularly, contact your health professional. Beyond Blue is the national initiative to raise awareness of anxiety and depression, providing resources for recovery, management and resilience.