Solving alcohol problem: is there even a problem?

Drinking alcohol is a form of relaxation and pleasure for many people and is relatively harmless. However, some people start drinking more than is good for them and find it increasingly difficult to refuse an offered drink or leave the bottle of drink in the cupboard. Nowadays you can find alcohol on just about every street corner. Alcohol has also found its place in our daily lives. Think of a glass of wine with dinner, a beer in the pub, a glass of champagne to toast your daughter’s driver’s license and so on. However, alcohol has two sides: a pleasant, relatively innocent side and an addictive, devastating side.

Am I drinking too much?

This question cannot be answered 1-2-3. To find out the answer to this question, you can keep a so-called alcohol diary in which you can keep track of what your alcohol consumption actually is. Many people underestimate the number of alcohol consumption they consume during the week, and you often do not constantly think about the fact that you are consuming an alcoholic drink.

Alcohol diary

By keeping an alcohol diary for a week you will gain insight into your actual alcohol consumption. You can complete the alcohol diary immediately or at least quickly after drinking alcohol. If you do not remember exactly how many glasses of drink you consumed, please provide an estimate.
However, not every drink counts as a glass of alcohol. Therefore, please adhere to the guidelines below:

  • Bottle/can of beer = 1.3 glass
  • Half a liter of beer = 2 glasses
  • Mixed drink (vodka/gravy etc.) = 1 glass
  • Mixed drink (Breezer etc.) = 1.25 glass
  • Bottle of wine = 7.5 glasses
  • Whiskey = 1 glass
  • Shooter (Fl├╝gel etc.) = 1/3 glass
  • Bottle of ‘light beer’ = 0.7 glass


Responsible alcohol consumption

A frequently heard slogan is enjoy, but drink in moderation. But what is that, enjoying in moderation? This varies greatly per person and per situation. The National Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NIGZ) has developed the following guidelines for responsible alcohol consumption:

  • Maximum 2 glasses per day
  • No more than 14 glasses per week
  • On a special occasion, a maximum of 3 glasses per day, but not weekly


  • Maximum 3 glasses per day
  • No more than 21 glasses per week
  • On a special occasion, a maximum of 5 glasses per day, but not weekly

In addition, people should not drink alcohol at least two days a week. This is to prevent drinking alcohol from becoming a habit.

Three ways to drink too much

In summary, there are three ways to drink too much:

  1. Drinking too much per week
  2. Drinking too much on each occasion
  3. Drinking too much per week and per occasion


Am I drinking too much?

Using the alcohol diary you can check whether you drink too much. Take out your alcohol diary and check the following points:

  • How many glasses did you drink on average last week?
  • Was this more or less than 14 glasses (woman) or 21 glasses (man)?
  • How many days did you drink more than 3 glasses (woman) or 5 glasses (man)?
  • Does this diary match other average weeks?
  • What feelings are involved when drinking alcohol?



Also visit my Alcohol and Addiction special for more information.

read more

  • Solving alcohol problem step 1: Action Plan
  • Solving alcohol problem step 2: Difficult moments
  • Solving alcohol problem step 3: Trial and error
  • Alcohol addiction treatment: addiction clinic
  • Alcohol addiction under control with self-help tools
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