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How Much Money Do You Drink Away On Your Alcohol Habit?

Posted Sep 30 2008 12:19am

It helps to have deep pockets if you intend to have a long drinking addiction. One possible cure for excessive drinking is to get out your calculator and do some basic math. When you think about it, paying for your fix of alcohol is not any different than buying dope in an alley except that you won’t end up in handcuffs for buying a fifth of vodka.

Once you get to the point where you need alcohol in your system simply to function chances are you are buying a fair amount of booze. So for the sake of argument let’s say you are at the point in your drinking career where you need at least some booze flowing in your system every hour of the day just to avoid going into early withdrawal.

At 24 ounces a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, you won’t survive long at this pace but I can guarantee you many alcoholics are there. Now, that is roughly a fifth of booze each day. Let’s say your drink of choice is Bourbon, Jim Beam to be exact and you pay $32.00 for a fifth.

7 x 32.00 = $224.00 per week
224.00 x 52 = $11,648.00 per year

Wow. That’s some serious drinking and it won’t last long because you’ll either go broke from your habit or you’ll be in intensive care. My guess is that you’ll end up at the critical stage of a drinkers’ life and through some form of intervention, divine or family, you will seek the help you need to break this physical and financial spiral into ruin.

Let’s look at a more common form of excessive drinking by the numbers. Let’s say you are a wine fancier and you like the high from few glasses of wine each day. We’ll use four glasses of wine a night as our base. What the heck, on the weekend its 2 bottles since you don’t have to go to work and there are parties etc. You prefer white wine, a chardonnay at approximately 15.00 per bottle and you squeeze your four glasses per bottle out each night. So that’s 9 bottles of wine a week at 15.00 per bottle.

9 x 15.00 = $135.00 per week
135.00 x 52 = $7,020.00 per year

You tell yourself it’s only wine, people have been drinking wine for centuries and the bible says Jesus even produced it miraculously for wedding guests in the day so how bad can it be? An occasional glass of wine is fine if it’s occasional but the scenario I’ve laid out here is excessive drinking leading to a crash. Higher incomes paid to the executive level group, regardless of age, mean they will hardly notice the money they spend on booze. The availability of funds to purchase wine and spirits means copious amounts of alcohol are always around and within reach.

Today many younger urban professionals, especially women, are drinking more wine under the pretext of becoming wine aficionados, with wine clubs etc. what bunk! Playing scrabble while killing a few bottles of wine with like minded aficionados every weekend qualifies them as binge drinkers not wine enthusiasts.

The cost of excessive drinking is phenomenal when you do the math.
In dollars and cents the result could be personal financial ruin. Little wonder so many marriages are strained when buying and abusing alcohol squanders the family savings. If you are financially secure and drink only the finest scotch that money can buy you are still putting your body through the wringer physically. The damage done to your overall personal life can’t be calculated and reconciled like a bank statement.

Unless you have an unending source of funds something is going to give out and it may just be your liver. If you ask a room filled with 20 recovering alcoholics what they regret most about their excessive drinking they will have 20 different answers and agree with and relate to all of them. Mention the money they wasted and you’ll hear a collective groan in the room that could crack concrete.

This is because they’ll never get that money back again and it was spent on something that was slowly killing them and making their lives totally unmanageable. Of course they knew this when they were buying the alcohol and that is the insanity of it but at the time nothing or no one was going to stop them from buying it. It seemed like the only way they could function without falling apart.

If only those people who qualify as problem drinkers, could do the math and see for themselves how financially devastating their current path will be. Perhaps it would be enough for them to do something about their drinking, take the necessary action to at least try and avoid financial ruin.

To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D.,
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