The 13th Step

What is the 13th Step in Addiction Recovery?

The 13th step is an informal term for those in addiction treatment programs who seek sex with other members. 

The name refers to the “twelve-step” format used by groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). 

The “13th stepper” is often a senior group member who has been sober for a significant period. New members look up to them as role models because they have more time under their belts working the program. 

This trust is easily abused. 

People in recovery seek relationships for various reasons: 

13th stepping is discouraged within groups like NA and AA due to the ethical questions and dangers involved. 

New 12-steppers are strongly advised to wait at least a year before starting any new romantic relationships. Members of the same sex are usually paired together to reduce the likelihood of a sexual encounter.

What are the Dangers of 13th Stepping?

New members of NA and AA groups are highly emotionally vulnerable. Because of their vulnerability, 13th steppers can easily abuse the trust they place in more senior members. Substance use recovery groups can sometimes draw predators for this reason.

Because these groups are open to the public, they can make attractive targets for sociopaths. Sociopaths are skilled in manipulating people for personal gain. They tend to go after vulnerable people, making those with substance use or mental health issues easy prey. 

Ted Bundy worked for the Seattle Suicide Hotline Crisis Center for several years. 

The 13th stepper is usually, but not always, an addict. Sexual predators are known to falsely pose as addicts and join groups to instigate sexual relationships. 

13th step relationships have been reported to involve sexual assaults.1 Results can sometimes be tragic.5

Here are some other dangers of 13th stepping:

Who is at Risk of 13th Stepping?

A person at risk of 13th stepping tends to have an addictive personality. 

Here are some traits of an addictive personality:

There is no scientifically agreed-upon definition for an addictive personality. However, studies indicate at least some genetic basis for addictive behavior.4

Those with heritable disorders such as depression have also been shown to be susceptible to addiction.2

How to Avoid 13th Stepping 

An easy way to avoid 13th stepping is to avoid sponsors of the sex to which you are attracted. Heterosexual members should stay with the same sex; gay members, the opposite sex.  

While a little flirting is natural, avoid anyone who makes sexual advances on you or other new members. If you suspect 13th stepping is going on, you may need to avoid going to future meetings and find another group.

If you and another member are interested in each other, wait at least a year before starting a sexual relationship. Sometimes, more than a year may be necessary, depending on where either of you is in your recovery.

Find Treatment for Substance Use Disorder  

Substance use is a chronic disease and can also be a medical emergency. Those who are addicted should seek immediate professional care. 

The first step in seeking addiction treatment is usually a consultation with an addiction treatment center. Depending on the severity of the addiction (and what the insurance provider will cover), the next step may be a residential program or outpatient care.

After an initial series of tests, the patient will undergo detoxification (or “detox,” for short). Medications may be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms. This may take two to seven days. 

After detoxing, the patient can receive treatment for the addiction. Underlying disorders can also be treated. There are a variety of treatment options available.

One of the leading substance use treatment options is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This aims to treat underlying disorders driving addiction. Mutual support groups such as AA or NA are helpful for many. 

Medications are also available to restore brain function and reduce cravings. 

Those suffering from addiction should consult their health care provider for options.

Binge Drinking Definition

What Does ‘Binge Drinking’ Mean?

Binge drinking is drinking alcohol quickly in order to get drunk. It is a form of alcohol misuse. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as intentionally drinking enough alcohol to bring a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or above.2 

For men, binge drinking consists of consuming five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours. For women, it’s four or more drinks within two hours. 

Here's how The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) defines standard alcoholic drinks:

Binge drinking is the most common and deadly form of excessive alcohol consumption in the United States.2 

Other binge drinking facts: 

Why Do People Drink in Excess? 

Twenty to 60 percent of cases of drug and alcohol dependence involve mood disorders.11 Those suffering from depression or bipolar disorder may binge drink to self-medicate.

Other people drink to mask the symptoms of addictive or impulsive personalities.5

Binge drinking is most common among young adults of legal drinking age — 20s and early 30s, in particular.2 

People in this age range tend to seek new experiences and downplay risks. Young adults are also susceptible to peer pressure. 

How Does Binge Drinking Differ From Heavy Drinking? 

Binge drinking is when someone consumes a lot of alcohol quickly in order to get a BAC of at least 0.08%. 

Heavy drinking is five or more instances of binge drinking in a month. This is usually 15 or more drinks per week for men; 8 or more weekly for women.

What are the Risks of Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking can lead to a variety of severe health risks. Some of these include:

It can also lead to early death. According to the CDC, between 2011 and 2015 there were 95,000 alcohol-related deaths.3  

Binge drinking can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD). AUD is the technical term for alcohol addiction.

Young people can develop alcohol use disorder from binge drinking. Because brain development can last into one’s mid-twenties, young adults who binge drink are at increased risk for developing alcohol use disorder.15 

According to the NIAA, 9% of students meet the criteria for AUD.8

How Does Binge Drinking Impact Health?

Binge drinking leads to a variety of negative health impacts. Binge drinking leads to intoxication. Risks from intoxication increase with the amount of alcohol consumed. 

Initial effects of binge drinking include slow reaction times, blurred vision, and reduced coordination. This makes driving a car more dangerous, increasing the risk of accidents. 

As a person continues to binge-drink, he may begin to feel more aggressive, increasing the likelihood of fights. 

Many people vomit after binge drinking, which can lead to dehydration. A severely drunk person can even choke on their own vomit. Alcohol also disrupts sleep and can worsen depression. 

Serious health risks of repeated binge drinking includes alcohol poisoning, coma, and even death.

Chronic illnesses from binge-drinking include:7

Heavy binge drinking can severely damage the brain. When the brain is exposed to large amounts of alcohol over an extended period, it has trouble forming new brain cells. 

Not only does the brain stop maintaining its cells — it can even shrink. The frontal lobes, responsible for voluntary movement, language, and higher-level thinking, are up to 11% smaller in heavy drinkers.17 

Atrophy of the cerebellum, which regulates balance and movement, can also occur in binge drinkers. The corpus callosum, an area which links the right and left sides of the brain can also shrink.4

Another area vulnerable to binge drinking is the hippocampus, which is vital for learning and memory. Shrinkage in this area is also strongly linked to Alzheimer's disease.1 

A study of Swedish military recruits between 1969 and 1970 found that IQ was inversely correlated with heavy alcohol consumption.13  A study in neighboring Norway found similar results.12

Pregnant women who binge-drink put their children at increased risk for fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children born with FAS have IQ's well below average.

Alcohol-related brain damage can be reversed to some extent, but complete recovery may not always be possible.16 

Does Binge Drinking Mean You’re an Alcoholic?

Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics. Usually binge drinkers are young adults drinking for recreation. 

However, binge drinking can be a sign of AUD if it is part of a wider pattern of heavy drinking. 

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder (Alcoholism)

If you or someone you know binge drinks alone, that could be a sign of alcohol dependence or AUD.

Other signs of AUD include: 

How to Prevent Binge Drinking 

If binge drinking is part of a larger pattern of heavy drinking, it may be time to cut down on your alcohol consumption. 

If you want to stop binge drinking, you should seek help from loved ones and consult a doctor for advice. You should also consider quitting alcohol altogether.

Tips for Quitting Binge Drinking 

Some tips for quitting binge drinking include:

Pedialyte for Hangovers: Does It Work?

What is Pedialyte?

Pedialyte is the top doctor-recommended brand of rehydration drinks. It’s been around for over 50 years. 

Pedialyte contains key electrolytes that replenish your body. These include: Sodium, potassium, and chloride.10

In fact, pedialyte carries twice the electrolytes as other leading sports drinks. It also has two times less sugar. Sugar has been known to worsen dehydration symptoms.10

Pedialyte comes in liquid form, powder packets, and dissolvable tablets to put into your water. There are also frozen pedialyte popsicles.

Does Pedialyte Help With Hangovers?

Yes, Pedialyte can help with hangovers. However, Pedialyte cannot completely cure your hangover.

Here are the truths about Pedialyte and hangovers:

Here are some myths about Pedialyte and hangovers:

What Causes Hangovers? What Nutrients Are Lacking?

There’s no beating around the bush: Hangovers can be miserable. 

They generally happen when alcohol metabolism is complete. And they can take a toll on both your physical and mental health, as well as on your performance and productivity at school or work.

Symptoms of hangovers include, but are not limited to:5

Hangover symptoms can happen if you drink too much alcohol. The main problem with a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol may make you sweat more, urinate more, and even vomit.11 All of these can lead to dehydration. 

When you are dehydrated, you may feel super thirsty and lightheaded.

When you sweat, urinate, or vomit, you rid your body of key electrolytes — bicarbonate, potassium, sodium, chloride, calcium, and phosphate.11 

These minerals are essential in moving water and fluids to where your body needs them and maintaining balance.

Moreover, alcohol triggers an immune system inflammatory response and causes your blood sugar to fall, which can make you feel weak. 

It can also irritate the lining of your stomach since it increases the production of stomach acid. 

Lastly, it can cause your blood vessels to expand, which can be the culprit behind hangover headaches. 

Because you get poor sleep while drunk, you may also feel groggy while hungover.5

When to Drink Pedialyte for Maximum Benefits

You should drink pedialyte as soon as you are feeling dehydrated or right when you wake up after a night of drinking alcohol. 

You can also drink pedialyte before and while drinking to prevent a hangover. You should drink as much of it as your body needs to feel better. 

What are the Side Effects of Pedialyte?

Pedialyte is a great hangover aid. But pedialyte does have some side effects of its own. 

For example, drinking pedialyte may cause you to feel nauseous, vomit, or have diarrhea with an upset stomach..9 

Pedialyte vs. Gatorade vs. Coconut Water for Hangovers

Pedialyte, gatorade, and coconut water are all great ways to hydrate during a hangover. Like pedialyte, gatorade also contains key electrolytes that you lose when you sweat and urinate.3

Coconut water is a natural option without all of the salt and high fructose corn syrup that may be in some sports drinks.8 

It’s low in sugar and calories, making it a very healthy option. You can drink natural coconut water or store-bought coconut water.

All coconut water contains electrolytes like potassium, sodium, manganese, and phosphorus, but some may vary by brand.2 In fact, coconut water has even more potassium than a banana and 15 times more than sports drinks.8

Time: The Only Way to Actually ‘Cure’ a Hangover

Ultimately, time is the only truly effective hangover remedy and real cure for a hangover. You need to give your body time to process the alcohol and get rid of it. 

Hangovers peak when your body’s blood alcohol concentration returns to about zero.6 Most hangovers will go away within 24 hours.4 If you have an especially bad hangover, it can take a little longer before you feel back to normal.

Fortunately, there are other ways to help treat hangovers. These include:4

There are always ways to prevent hangovers from being so bad in the first place. These include:

Again, while there is no magic hangover cure, there are steps you can take to better manage hangovers and prevent hangovers from happening. Drinking pedialyte is just one of them.

White Knuckling During Recovery

What is White Knuckling? What Does it Look Like?

In the context of alcoholism, white knuckling means attempting to get sober on your own with nothing but willpower

White knuckling sobriety means using self-control to get and/or stay sober. But the intense symptoms of alcohol withdrawal make this difficult, and often unachievable.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome refers to changes the body may undergo when someone suddenly stops drinking after a prolonged period of heavy alcohol use.1 

Heavy drinking refers to consuming more than four drinks per day or more than 14 drinks per week for men. For women, this is more than three drinks per day or more than seven drinks per week.4

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from uncomfortable to fatal. 

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome include, but are not limited to:2

Typically, the mild symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome begin developing within just a few hours of the last drink.5

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol withdrawal syndrome, you’re not alone. 

In 2000, 226,000 patients were discharged from short-stay hospitals with alcohol withdrawal-related diagnoses. These included alcohol withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal delirium, or alcohol withdrawal hallucinosis.3

Still, many more people suffer from alcohol withdrawal symptoms and other alcohol-related disorders behind closed doors. 

Only an estimated 10 to 20 percent of patients with the syndrome are treated as inpatients. This means that as many as two million Americans may have symptoms every year.3

How Dangerous is White Knuckling?

White knuckling is very dangerous. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms can be deadly. Trying to get sober with willpower alone is linked to relapse.

The risks of white knuckling include:

Relying on self-constraint is not typically enough. It is not a generally effective method of achieving sobriety. Even if it is possible, white knuckling sobriety is not safe.

What Causes White Knuckle Sobriety?

There are a few causes of white knuckle sobriety:

However, alcohol addiction is serious. While addiction affects every person differently, it requires professional support and medical detox (in most cases).

Who is at Risk of White Knuckling?

People who struggle with alcohol addiction, but are not able to admit it, are at risk of white knuckling. They may think that they can ride it out alone and achieve sobriety without any help. 

How to Tell if You are White Knuckling

You’re white knuckling if:

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, talk to a trusted medical professional. There are many different treatment options available.

How to Stop White Knuckling 

To stop white knuckling, seek professional help. You have several options. 

Inpatient and outpatient rehab centers can help you with medical doctors and mental health professionals who stick with you every step of the way.

Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), counseling, family therapy, and more can also help you identify and unpack the triggers that drive you to drink. 

Mental health experts can help you adopt healthier coping mechanisms to deal with everyday triggers.

Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) also exist so you don’t have to go down the road to recovery alone. Learning from people who have been in your shoes and consulting others who are on the same journey (or closely related journeys) can help.

In fact, research suggests that support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are the most effective in helping people achieve sobriety. They tend to help even more than therapy.6

Certain medications can also help you stop drinking alcohol without relying on willpower alone.  

AA Recovery Quotes

AA Recovery Quotes

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers fellowship and support to people with alcohol use disorder. The group is international, apolitical, and non-professional. 

AA meetings are available almost anywhere every day of the year, including online. There are no requirements for AA other than having a desire to no longer consume alcohol.

Members also have access to literature and resources that encourage strength and clarity in the pursuit of recovery and sobriety. 

One simple and effective resource available to members is quotes that acknowledge the challenge of battling alcoholism.

Many of the quotes used by people in AA are not attributed to anyone in particular. Alcoholics Anonymous, as the name suggests, is an anonymous group. Participants use only their first names in meetings. 

Participants also do not acknowledge attendance when away from meetings. This means that many of the most profound statements made by participants are anonymous. But this doesn’t make them any less powerful.

Some of the most notable AA recovery quotes include:

“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”

If there’s one thing people with alcohol use disorder discover when they are drinking, it’s who they don’t want to be in life. Unfortunately, evolving into someone different is difficult.

People with alcohol use disorder struggle with both physical and psychological addiction. Even if they want to stop drinking, doing so feels impossible. 

Alcoholics experience severe, potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, including significant cravings. It creates a cycle of wanting to recover but struggling to do so and acting in ways they’d rather not.

They’re familiar with their faults and are acutely aware of what they don’t like about themselves. This doesn’t make it easy to change, but it does give them a blueprint for what they want to change.

“It’s simple, not necessarily easy but the rewards are endless.”

Similar to the previous quote, this quote acknowledges how challenging it is to overcome alcoholism. But it also provides hope to those struggling with recovery because it reminds them that it’s worth the effort.

“May I always remember that the power within me is far greater than any fear before me. May I always have patience, for I am on the right road.”

Committing to recovery is scary. This is especially true for people who have relied on alcohol for a long time. 

Giving yourself grace helps you to understand that the strength within you can help you overcome anything.

“The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resentment, jealousy, envy, frustration, and fear.”

This quote acknowledges that the substance of alcohol is only part of the problem for someone with AUD.

Anyone trying to recover from alcoholism who feels as if they are battling themselves already understands this. It’s the negative emotions inside of them driving their desire to drink. 

A physical alcohol dependence is part of AUD. However, fear, envy, resentment, and other negative emotions also play a significant role.

Learning to manage these negative emotions is one of the most powerful things you can do to overcome AUD.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.”

The Serenity Prayer is an important tool people with AUD use to help them with sobriety. It offers peace and guidance in any difficult, uncontrollable situation. It is something alcoholics are encouraged to remind themselves of when times are tough.

“One day at a time.”

This quote seems simple and it is, but it’s also powerful. Battling alcohol use disorder is a daily endeavor. Focusing on getting through the day is your most important task when in recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous encourages participants to focus on the current moment instead of obsessing about the past or worrying about the future. 

Dealing with each moment, alcohol-free, helps you build a strong foundation for a future over which you have very little control.

It’s important to remember, you don’t need to commit to a life free of drinking alcohol. All you need is to get through the day without a drink.

Alcoholics Anonymous Acronyms

Acronyms make challenging concepts easier to remember. It’s important to keep the things you’re learning in recovery simple. And you should be able to bring them to mind quickly when you need a reminder about your desire to stay alcohol-free. 

Acronyms also make it easier to communicate with other AA participants without revealing your struggle to everyone around you.

Some of the most common acronyms used within the AA community include:

Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) Testing for Alcohol Use

What is an Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) Test?

The ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test is used to detect alcohol consumption.2 EtG tests date back to 1997.6 Researchers have used them in clinical settings for decades.

An EtG tests for ethyl glucuronide, a byproduct of ethanol, which is more commonly known as drinking alcohol. 

Glucuronide is a compound that the liver makes. It binds toxins and drugs in the body so you can excrete them via the urinary tract.1 In other words: When you drink alcohol, it comes out in your urine.

If you drink any amount of alcohol, EtG will form and pass through your urinary tract. Several factors play into the level of EtG that shows up in urine.

Why is an EtG Test Used?

An EtG test might be used for several reasons. Whatever the reason for administering an EtG test, it is always done to detect alcohol consumption.

A doctor might administer an EtG test on someone recovering from alcohol misuse or alcohol addiction to ensure that they are not drinking. This may be a routine part of an addiction treatment plan, alongside therapy, medication, and other resources

Additionally, certain jobs, such as government jobs or jobs in law enforcement, may require employees to test for levels of EtG in their urine. 

An EtG may also be required for the following reasons:

  • As part of a liver transplant protocol
  • For the school or military
  • In court cases and court-mandated parenting programs
  • By probation offices

However, an EtG test isn’t used if someone is suspected of drinking while working or driving. A breathalyzer is better in these situations. 

How Does an EtG Test Work? Is it Effective? 

EtG test results are considered adequate for detecting alcohol consumption, though they are not necessarily specific enough.3

Higher amounts of EtG in the urine typically indicate more significant amounts of alcohol consumption.1 Other factors, such as when alcohol was consumed, also influence how much EtG is detectable. The more time that passes, the lower the EtG level is in the urine.

Some drinkers may also convert more alcohol into EtG, and others may excrete it faster.1 Drinking water may also dilute levels of EtG in urine.7

EtG can be detected even at levels below 100 ng/ml.1 Even light drinking can result in a positive EtG test.

In one study, participants were asked to report their drinking data and urine samples three times a week for 16 total weeks. The researchers then looked at low (100 ng/ml and 200 ng/ml) and moderate (500 ng/ml) EtG-I cutoffs for each. They also calculated light and heavy drinking over one to five days.

They found that EtG testing can detect 76% of light drinking for two days with a 100 ng/ml cutoff. The same cutoff detects 66% of light drinking after five days. As for heavy drinking, EtG testing can detect 84% in a day and 79% after five days.5

Another study found that EtG tests are always positive at the 100 ng/ml and 200 ng/ml cut offs within 12 hours. They become less effective at 24 hours with light alcohol use and 48 hours with heavier alcohol use.4

However, there is a maximum amount of measurable EtG. Drinking above the limit may not raise EtG levels more than can be detectable. Therefore, an EtG test effectively detects drinking, but it is not effective in detecting the amount of alcohol consumed.1

There are also some limitations to EtG tests. For example, mouthwash and hand sanitizer containing alcohol may cause EtG to be detectable in urine even with abstinence from alcohol. This causes false positives. While rare, it is possible.1

How to Interpret EtG Test Results

EtG test results are simple. A positive EtG test detects alcohol in the urine and suggests that alcohol was consumed within the last few days. 

A negative EtG test would suggest that the person has not consumed alcohol within the previous few days. Keep in mind that false positives are possible. 

How Long Can EtG Be Detected in Urine?

EtG can be detected in the urine for much longer than it can be detected in the blood or in a person’s breath. In fact, it can be detectable in urine for up to 48 hours after having just a few drinks. In some cases of heavy drinking, it can be detected for up to 72 hours or more.1

It is possible to dilute levels of EtG in urine by hydrating with a lot of water and urinating often. The more time that passes, the less EtG can be detected. For example, after two days, sensitivity drops for six or less drinks.4

How Much Do You Have to Drink to Fail an EtG Test?

Because EtG is a metabolite of alcohol, EtG tests can pick up even small traces of alcohol. You may not even need to drink alcohol for EtG to show up in your urine. 

Again, if you rinse your mouth with mouthwash that has alcohol in it, it is possible for it to present in an EtG test.

Will One Drink Show Up on an EtG Test?

Yes, one drink can show up on an EtG test. Other factors like how often you urinate before the test and how soon after drinking you take the test also play roles.

One drink will probably show up on an EtG test if you drank it that day. But it will likely not show up on an EtG test if you had it a few days ago.

The more alcohol you drink, the more likely it is to show up on an EtG test. Heavy drinking is more detectable than moderate alcohol consumption. 

How Long Before an EtG Test Should You Stop Drinking?

An EtG test can detect alcohol within just a few days of drinking. Depending on how much alcohol you consume, an EtG test can detect it for about three days after drinking. 

Alcohol abstinence for at least a few days is necessary to clear an EtG test urine sample. If you need to pass an EtG test for work, do not drink alcohol within a few days of taking the test.

Does Wine Make You Gain Weight?

Does Wine Make You Gain Weight?

Some research suggests that drinking wine can make you gain weight. However, other research indicates that wine may actually have some properties that protect against weight gain.

Generally, alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain. While moderate drinking — a glass of wine here or there — will not make you gain weight, drinking several glasses every night or drinking heavily can.

Too much wine can add extra calories. Plus, the effects of alcohol can cause a hangover that may lead you to be less active after drinking. A lack of exercise can lead to weight gain.

What Research Says About Weight Gain and Alcohol 

Alcohol and weight go hand in hand. Drinking in moderation should not cause weight gain. This means limiting your alcohol intake to two drinks or less per day for men or one drink per day or less for women.1

However, heavy drinking can cause weight gain over time. Heavy drinking refers to consuming 15 or more drinks per week for men and 8 or more drinks per week for women.1

So, if you drink several glasses of wine or alcoholic beverages every day, you may notice the number on the scale increasing. This is especially true if you are mixing alcohol (like vodka) with soda that contains a lot of sugar.

Can Moderate Wine Consumption Help You Lose Belly Fat?

Some studies show that moderate wine consumption may have several health benefits. 

The major compounds in grapes and, therefore, wine are resveratrol and proanthocyanidin, which may be good for the heart. These compounds are commonly found in other fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and apples.13

Studies show that wine can help reduce your risk of mortality from cardiovascular complications. It can also increase your life span.4 In particular, all of the antioxidants in red wine can boost your body’s good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and protect against buildup.7

Light to moderate alcohol intake, especially wine consumption, may also help protect against weight gain.5 So while you may not lose weight, a little wine can help you avoid gaining weight.

How Many Calories are in a Bottle of Wine?

Different types of wine contain different calorie counts. For example, white table wine generally has about 128 calories per five ounces. Meanwhile, red table wine usually has about 125 calories per five ounces.3

Dry dessert wine may contain about 157 calories per three and a half ounces. And red dessert wine likely has about 165 calories per three and a half ounces.3

Other factors like additives (such as sugar) can also increase the calorie count in wine and other alcoholic beverages. 

Beer Belly vs. Wine Belly: Which is Worse?

Both a “beer belly” and a “wine belly” result from drinking too much alcohol. Heavy alcohol use is never considered safe, regardless of what type of alcohol you are consuming.

A “beer belly” or “wine belly” is also sometimes called a “spare tire” or “the middle-age spread.” Abdominal obesity — whether it comes from drinking beer, wine, or poor diet in general — is a major health hazard. 

Abdominal obesity can increase your risk of a heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. It also contributes to health issues like erectile dysfunction.2

Ultimately, drinking too much beer can give you a “beer belly.” Men who consume 1000 ml/d of beer are at a 17 percent higher risk for waist circumference gain compared to those who drink lightly, if at all. 

While there’s no association between beer consumption and waist circumference gain for women, research does show a significantly lower risk for waist circumference gain in women who abstain from drinking beer compared to women who drink very lightly.8

5 Ways to Drink Wine Without Gaining Weight 

Here are five ways to drink wine without gaining weight:12

  1. Drink in moderation if you are going to drink at all (and take it slow)
  2. Drink wines that have less sugar
  3. Choose wines that have less calories per bottle
  4. Make sure to keep up a healthy diet and exercise
  5. Drink one glass of water for every glass of wine you drink (water promotes weight loss and prevents you from drinking as much alcohol)

The most important thing is to watch what you drink. Women who were initially at “normal” weights and consumed light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol experience less weight gain than women who drink more. They also have a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese.11

What Type of Wine is ‘Healthiest?’

Certain wines are healthier than others. For example, red wine may have more health benefits than white wine. Red wine is packed with antioxidants, and it seems to do a better job at cardiovascular protection than spirits.6

Red wine is also known to reduce platelet aggregation, which can prevent blood clots and thrombi.9

Certain wines that have higher concentrations of polyphenol compounds may also be better for you in some ways. However, some wines like merlot or cabernet sauvignon, only carry a fraction of these important compounds from grapes.13

Drinking Wine Every Night? (Signs of Misuse)

Drinking wine, or other alcohols, in moderation is generally considered safe. But if you find yourself drinking wine every night, drinking alone often, or drinking more and more to achieve the same effects, you may be suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Other signs of alcohol misuse also include, but are not limited to:

If the above signs seem to resonate, you are not alone. More than 14 million adults in America struggle with AUD.10

Treatment Options for Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

There are various treatment options for alcohol misuse and alcohol addiction. If you or someone you know is dealing with AUD, know that you don’t have to navigate the road to recovery alone. It is not safe to quit heavy drinking or significantly cut back on it alone.

You may also explore alternative faith-based programs, spiritual practices, holistic therapies, and other options. Some treatments and therapies may work better for you than others. 

Help is available. Reach out to a medical professional like your primary care physician to explore your treatment options. Trying to recover from alcohol addiction alone can be unsafe.

Quotes for Addiction Recovery

7 Inspiring Recovery Quotes & What They Mean

Many people struggle with substance use disorder (SUD). Those who have learned to manage it often share their profound and insightful thoughts about their experiences. Most of the time, these recovery quotes inspire people who also have SUD. 

Addiction recovery quotes help them understand that they are not the first person to experience the emotions and challenges of addiction. 

Identifying with someone else’s story and seeing that they made it to the other side – even if there are setbacks – is a powerful tool you can use in your recovery.

Some of the most significant recovery quotes include:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe 

This quote acknowledges you don’t need to accomplish anything before you begin recovery. You might be at the worst point in your life. That doesn’t matter. 

Often, people don’t realize they need support for their substance use disorder until they hit “rock bottom.” It also focuses on dealing with “the now” and not letting the past steal your present. 

Don’t feel as if you need to wait or get to a certain point before you can ask for help or enter treatment.

“Your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there.” – Bucky Sinister

Feeling hopeful is one of the most important aspects of recovery. Many people with substance use disorder experience hopelessness every day. It might be one of the reasons they don’t seek help. 

Realizing that getting sober is the first step toward a better life free of addiction, even if it improves just a little bit each day, is a great way to feel motivated to seek treatment. Focusing on who you are destined to become and moving forward as though you can live without drugs and alcohol is an important part of recovery success. No matter how slowly you go, you can be the person you decide to be and keep moving in the right direction. 

You might not be able to go back and make different choices in the past, but you can move forward knowing that every single day now is an opportunity to make the right choice and embrace hope.

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and, unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” –Russell Brand

People with substance use disorder need to understand their addiction is not their fault. It’s their responsibility to seek the support needed to manage their addiction, but they have very little, if any, control of their actions when under the influence of SUD.

Furthermore, loved ones of people with SUD can better understand the hurtful experiences that occur because of addiction by realizing the addict doesn’t intend to cause pain. 

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This addiction recovery quote acknowledges the control that addiction takes over a person’s life. Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, the substance becomes the addict’s first and only priority. 

You might feel hopeless when you look back and see what you’ve done. Addiction treatment is an opportunity to reflect on your mistakes and do what you can to correct those mistakes. 

It’s understandable why you’d lack confidence when you think about all that drug or alcohol addiction has cost you. But we can motivate ourselves by thinking about all the future has to offer and by deciding to become the person you are destined to be. 

In many cases, just having the courage to move forward eventually gives you enough confidence to overcome addiction.

“I really mean when I say my biggest fear in early recovery was that I would never have fun again. The beautiful truth is that recovery has given me freedom and the confidence to go out in the world and leave my own mark.” – Tom Stoddart

Many people with SUD or addiction struggle with the idea of a substance-free life. They’ve gotten to know themselves and they turn to drugs or alcohol because it’s familiar and feels safe. 

Treatment helps them understand themselves better and realize that managing their addiction gives them control over who they become throughout and after recovery. You’ll likely realize that no matter how slowly you go, you can create order in your life, while being inspired by someone else through their inspirational words. 

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” –Edgar Allen Poe

Although many people with substance use disorder or addiction first experience pleasure when using drugs or alcohol, it eventually becomes an experience from which they feel no joy. Nobody with control of their situation would choose to destroy their life. 

Furthermore, the idea of living soberly might also cause an addict agony. For a long-time addict, a world without alcohol or drugs can be a scary place. 

As the saying goes, substance use becomes “a lesser of two evils.” It relieves the discomfort and/or pain of being sober, but it isn’t something the addict enjoys. 

Understanding the control addiction takes in one’s life and knowing that you can feel hope that is possible within us, despite addiction, is an important part of achieving an extraordinary destiny.  

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This addiction recovery quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, though not necessarily only about substance use disorder or recovery, can have a significant impact on someone in recovery. It’s important to realize how likely failure is when trying to live soberly.

Health professionals consider relapse a part of the recovery process. The important thing is when you “fall off the wagon” and use drugs or alcohol again after a period of sobriety is that you try again after you fail. 

Not only that, you must accept you’ll fail again and commit to returning to sobriety no matter how many times you fail. We can motivate ourselves by thinking about how far we’ve come and realizing that recovery isn’t a straight line. 

A similar quote, “fall seven times, stand up eight,” shows how important it is to bounce back and keep moving forward. 

If you’re dealing with substance use disorder or addiction, the above recovery quotes might help you understand that you are not alone. Whether they’re from Ralph Waldo Emerson or someone more current, such as Russell Brand, all offer insight into how people with addictions have managed their ups and downs and live in a world free of alcohol or drugs. 

Many people have been where you are and they’ve done the work to get to a healthier place. Most of them face the same challenges as you on a regular basis, even if they have stayed sober. 

No matter how slowly recovery feels for you, the important thing is to stay focused on the person you are destined to become. 

Reading addiction recovery quotes from people with similar struggles can give you the confidence to move forward and overcome your addiction to a drug or alcohol. 

Hardships often prepare ordinary people to do extraordinary things, so there’s no telling what you’ll accomplish once you become the person you decide to be and focus on spending your days facing in the right direction.

Recovery is a process and it takes work. It’s important to not let the past steal the opportunity you have now to build a better life, free from addiction. Nearly everyone with substance use disorder requires support and guidance during their recovery journey. 

Anyone can start recovery and find the strength to go forward, but sometimes it takes more than motivational quotes to overcome alcohol addiction or drug abuse. 

Addiction recovery quotes provide motivation in quiet moments when you’re turning inward and focusing on recovery from alcohol addiction or drug and alcohol abuse. 

But it’s important to know, if you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime. As long as you take one step at a time and turn to people who will support you during this journey, you can overcome an addiction to a drug or alcohol. 

One day, you’ll look back and see what you’ve done and how far you’ve come, even if it hasn’t been perfect sobriety the entire time. 

You might even be the inspirational story someone else hears and finds the strength to change their life. Sometimes we motivate others without even realizing it.

But most people can’t do it alone. It takes a strong support system to turn your life around. A strong health support team, including medical professionals, peers, and loved ones, can increase the chances of a successful recovery journey. 

Here are 7 AA quotes for further reading.

What is Moonshine?

What is Moonshine?

Moonshine, also known as hooch, is a type of high-proof liquor, often considered an unaged whiskey, with a high alcohol content

What is Moonshine Made From?

Like whiskey, moonshine is typically made from fermentable sugar, but it may be made from other ingredients like cornmeal and yeast. Fermentation to make moonshine produces both ethanol (drinkable) and methanol (a wood alcohol that can be toxic).

Why is Moonshine Production Illegal in the United States?

Moonshine is and is not an illegal liquor. In American history, moonshine is illegal for tax evasion purposes. However, making moonshine is technically not illegal in the United States if you have the proper permits. Some producers are allowed to make moonshine if the U.S. government is aware of it. 

That said, making moonshine on your own is illegal because of the risky ingredients and lack of quality control. Therefore, moonshine is an illegal homemade alcohol. In fact, distilling your own alcohol of any kind at home is a dangerous practice.

What are the Side Effects of Drinking Moonshine?

Drinking moonshine, like any alcohol, can take a toll on your health. For example, the following health issues can occur from alcohol use: 3

In fact, excessive alcohol use causes about 95,000 deaths each year.7

Moreover, moonshine can be poisonous, which can make you sick, leave you blind, or both.

Is Moonshine Dangerous? What are the Risks? 

The distilling process to produce concentrated ethanol involves boiling the fermented sugar. However, ethanol’s boiling point is 173.1 degrees Fahrenheit, while methanol’s boiling point is a much lower temperature: 148.5 degrees

Methanol vaporizes faster and can become concentrated in toxic amounts. With the right equipment, it can easily be separated and tossed out. But, without it, the methanol is difficult to discard.5

The dangerous part happens when the body converts methanol to formaldehyde, which is an ingredient in embalming fluid. Formaldehyde then turns into formic acid, which is poisonous.

Moonshine can also cause blindness since methanol can permanently damage the central nervous system (CNS) and, specifically, the optic nerve that controls vision.5 If moonshine is distilled in lead pipes, it can also make you go blind.5

Many amateur distillers of moonshine also do not follow protocols, so quality control of the alcoholic substance  is not always possible. For example, toxic bacteria can grow in a moonshine still that can make you sick.6 But any poorly made alcoholic spirits can carry bacteria.

Does Drinking Moonshine Increase Your Alcohol Tolerance?

Frequently drinking any alcohol, including moonshine, will increase your tolerance for alcohol. If you drink heavily and for a prolonged period of time, alcohol will likely affect you less.1

This means that the same amount of moonshine will produce a lesser effect over time. In other words, more moonshine is necessary to have the same effect.

There are five types of alcohol tolerance that can form with prolonged alcohol use: 

  1. Functional tolerance: This refers to when your brain adapts to compensate for the effects that alcohol has on your behavior and bodily functions.
  2. Acute tolerance: This happens when impairment is greatest soon after the start of the drinking session, and it’s less noticeable later on, even if your BAC stays the same. 
  3. Environment-dependent tolerance: This refers to you being able to better tolerate alcohol if you continue to drink it in the same environment over many occasions. For example, you may have a stronger tolerance while drinking at home if you regularly consume alcohol there.
  4. Learned tolerance: If you have a learned tolerance, it means you can perform a task while under the influence because you have “practiced it” many times.
  5. Metabolic tolerance: This refers to your body’s ever more rapid elimination of alcohol. Your liver enzymes that break it down can do so faster, which means they reduce the duration of the intoxicating effects that alcohol would otherwise have on you.

Symptoms of Moonshine Overdose (Alcohol Intoxication)

Binge drinking puts you at a higher risk of overdosing on alcohol, including moonshine. Binge drinking refers to a drinking pattern that brings your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or more.9 This generally happens after four to five drinks in about two hours for women and men, respectively.9

Overdosing on moonshine or any alcohol can be fatal. If you suspect that someone you know has overdosed on alcohol, call for emergency medical attention immediately

If someone has overdosed on alcohol, they will develop alcohol poisoning. This means that there is too much alcohol in their bloodstream. Therefore, parts of the brain that control basic functions like breathing, temperature control, and heart rate can shut down.2

Symptoms of alcohol overdose include the following:2

Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

If you are concerned that you may have a drinking problem, you are among millions of other Americans. About 18 million US adults struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD).3 This refers to a pattern of drinking that causes distress or harm.

AUD symptoms vary depending on how severe your case is. However, AUD signs and symptoms generally include:3

If you or someone you know is dealing with any of the above signs and symptoms of AUD, seek professional help. Detoxing from alcohol alone, or quitting cold turkey, can be dangerous and even deadly. Either can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms that typically require medical attention/professional monitoring.

Alcohol withdrawal can occur if you drink heavily for a prolonged period, and then suddenly stop or significantly reduce your intake.4 It can happen within hours of your last drink, or it can occur a few days later. Either way, it can be very serious.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

Treatment Options/Resources for Alcohol Misuse & Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol misuse or addiction, know that help is available. For example, both inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation centers are available across the country. Rehab will provide you with medical professionals and mental health experts who will support you along the road to recovery.

Therapy is another option. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you identify the triggers that drive you to drink and develop healthier ways to cope with your stresses. Therapy can also unpack underlying depression, which may be (and often is) at the root of alcohol misuse.

Other holistic therapies are also available. These include spiritual and religious practices.

You and your doctor may also choose to use medications to treat your alcohol addiction. Medications to treat alcohol addiction include disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. These are the only medications that are currently approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose.8 None of them are addictive, and all of them may be used alone or in combination with other treatment types.

Whatever route you decide to take, do not wait to reach out to a trusted professional. Seek help before you let it consume, or take, your life.

Signs & Symptoms of Alcoholism

What is Alcoholism (Alcohol Use Disorder)?

Alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and alcohol addiction are common terms for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

The three main signs of alcoholism are:

Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease that arises from alcohol misuse. This can include any excessive drinking habit. Long-term alcohol use leaves lasting effects on a person’s health. It may also cause social and legal problems.

Unless treated, alcohol use disorder will worsen with time. In some cases, it can even be fatal. Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcoholism can help you get early treatment and prevent complications.

How Common is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use is the second most common substance use disorder in the United States. The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows the prevalence of alcohol use disorder in the United States.1 Based on their findings:

Studies also show that alcoholism often goes undiagnosed.2 This means there could be more Americans struggling with alcohol use disorder who have not sought help from a medical professional.

Alcohol Misuse vs. Addiction

Alcohol misuse or alcohol abuse is a mild form of alcohol use disorder. It can refer to the unhealthy habit of excessive drinking, which increases a person’s risk for negative consequences.

On average, men who consume more than one drink per day and women who consume more than two drinks per day suffer from alcohol misuse.3 Heavy drinking and binge drinking are also considered symptoms of alcohol use.

Alcohol use that isn’t managed in time will eventually lead to addiction. Alcohol addiction is a severe form of alcohol use disorder that requires medical intervention. Although chronic, it’s also preventable if you know which signs to look out for.

Signs Alcohol Misuse is Turning into Alcoholism

A person with worsening alcohol misuse will start spending more time drinking. They will also begin to lose track of their lives as they become increasingly preoccupied with alcohol. This includes:

Unfortunately, most people ignore these early signs of alcohol addiction. What this does is create a missed opportunity for early recovery.

6 Warning Signs of Alcoholism: How to Recognize It

Once alcoholism sets in, it’s usually hard to ignore. You may have mild, moderate, or severe alcohol use disorder, depending on the signs and symptoms. 

Below are the six definitive signs of alcohol use disorder:

1. Intense cravings for alcoholic drinks

Why it happens: The brain releases dopamine whenever you engage in certain activities, like eating food. The “feel-good” hormone induces pleasure and encourages you to repeat these behaviors. However, research shows that alcohol affects the brain differently.4

With normal stimuli such as food, the brain eventually stops releasing the hormone. As a result, you will no longer feel the same level of satisfaction. On the other hand, alcohol continues to trigger its release despite repeated consumption. The brain then gets used to the presence of dopamine and seeks it out, hence the cravings.

How to recognize it: Alcohol cravings can occur randomly or when triggered by external or internal factors. Mental disorders such as depression, trauma, and bipolar disorder are some internal triggers. Places that remind you of alcohol are other examples of external triggers.

2. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after you stop drinking

Why it happens: People who drink heavily for too long become physically dependent on alcohol. Alcohol dependence is a symptom of alcohol addiction. Like drug dependence, alcohol causes physiological changes in the brain. However, these changes only become apparent when you experience withdrawal symptoms.

Unlike alcohol cravings, which occur as a behavioral response, withdrawal is a physical reaction to reduced blood alcohol levels. This reaction can be highly unpleasant. It's also associated with a higher risk for relapse in the first month of quitting.5

How to recognize it: Alcohol withdrawal encompasses a range of physical and behavioral signs that appear within the first 6 to 12 hours after the last drink. Withdrawal symptoms can last for 3 to 5 days, depending on the severity of alcohol addiction.

Common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include headaches, trouble sleeping, irritability, mood swings, and gastrointestinal upset. Some people may also experience anxiety, feelings of depression, hallucinations, and seizures.

3. Impaired decision making

Why it happens: Problem drinking causes the hippocampus to shrink. The more a person drinks, the greater the shrinkage.6 Research suggests that the loss of hippocampal tissue causes memory decline, impaired reasoning, and reduced cognitive function.6, 7

Alcohol consumption also increases a person’s risk for impulsive behavior such as unsafe sex.8 This impulsivity, along with reduced cognition, can lead to poor life choices.

How to recognize it: People addicted to alcohol often engage in risky behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex, drunk driving, and/or getting involved in legal problems) and usually have impaired judgment from alcohol use.

4. Unable to control drinking problem

Why it happens: The inability to control one's drinking isn't something an alcoholic actively chooses. Instead, it is a symptom of the collective physiological and behavioral changes the brain undergoes after being exposed to unhealthy drinking patterns.

How to recognize it: Drinking more alcohol, or drinking for longer periods than intended, are indicators that a person is struggling to control their drinking habits. Some chronic alcohol users will openly express previous failed attempts at quitting alcohol.

5. Increased tolerance to alcohol

Why it happens: Alcohol tolerance can happen for different reasons. The most common cause is the repeated consumption of large amounts of alcohol, which desensitizes the brain to its intoxicating effects. 

Tolerance can also develop if you drink in the same environment, or as a metabolic response that speeds up the elimination of alcohol. People with functional alcoholism don’t have the classic signs of an alcoholic. They develop tolerance by learning to function while intoxicated.[9]

How to recognize it: A person with alcohol tolerance doesn’t show signs of intoxication after heavy drinking. It usually takes more for them to get drunk. Some of them even complain about it. To achieve their desired effects, they will drink increasing amounts of alcohol over time.

6. Spending time drinking despite consequences

Why it happens: Alcoholism is a medical condition that affects your behavior and cognitive abilities. The combination of alcohol cravings, difficulty controlling drinking habits, impaired decision making, and withdrawal symptoms are enough to keep someone hooked to the substance.

How to recognize it: A person with AUD will spend most of their time drinking. They will also prioritize drinking above anything else. They might give up activities, interests, and responsibilities to maintain their habit. In spite of worsening consequences, they will continue to drink.

What are the Physical Signs of Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder causes a range of physical symptoms. These can appear shortly after drinking alcohol or as a result of prolonged alcohol use and alcohol addiction.

Short-Term Physical Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder

Long-Term Physical Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Who is at Risk of Developing Alcohol Use Disorder?

Some people are more at risk of developing alcohol use disorder than others. For example:

1. People who engage in binge drinking or heavy drinking

Binge drinking is the consumption of large amounts of alcohol on a single occasion. This means five or more drinks for men and more than four drinks for women within two hours. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) further defines it as excessive drinking for five or more days in a month.

Heavy drinking is the regular consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol. This means having more than four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week in men; and more than three drinks per day or seven drinks per week in women.

2. A family history of alcohol use disorders

Scientists identified genetic factors that increase a person’s ability to metabolize alcohol and make them susceptible to its sedative effects.11 Consequently, having these genes increases your risk for alcohol problems. It also helps explain why alcohol use disorder tends to run in the family.

3. People who are exposed to environmental factors

Certain places put you at risk of alcohol use disorder. Some of them include:

4. People with poor mental health

People with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are also at risk of developing alcohol use disorder.12 A person with AUD who also shows signs of mental disorders has a dual diagnosis.

5. Underage alcohol drinkers

Children who started drinking between 11 and 14 have a higher risk for alcohol-related problems in older age. Ten years after their first survey, researchers confirmed that 13.5% of participants already suffered from alcohol misuse, and 15.9% had alcohol dependence.13

What are the Dangers & Consequences of Alcoholism?

Long-term alcohol use has wide-ranging adverse effects on a person's health and mental wellness. These include:

The consequences of alcohol addiction are irreversible, with some leading to death. They leave lasting effects and add to the financial and social burdens of alcoholism.

When is Addiction Treatment Necessary?

Alcoholism can be mild, moderate, or severe. Symptoms include:

People with 2 to 3 symptoms suffer from mild alcoholism. If you start showing these signs or know someone who does, you should get immediate help. Try not to wait until a person has more than six symptoms before seeking treatment. By that time, they already have severe alcoholism, which can be more difficult to treat.

Tips for Helping a Loved One with Addiction Treatment

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Patients can access a variety of treatments for alcoholism. The three basic types of alcohol treatment are:

When exploring these options, keep in mind that there is no single treatment for alcoholism. More often than not, a multidisciplinary approach is needed. What matters is that you are able to sustain long-term recovery through the prevention of relapse.