Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

21-Year-Old's Family Concerned About Drinking

DEAR HARRIETTE: I turned the big 2-1 recently, and I am so excited to be entering this new phase of life as an adult. I was never allowed to drink before, but now that I am of legal age, I occasionally have a glass of wine. My immediate family is not used to seeing me consume alcohol, so I keep in mind to do it in moderation since I am still living in their home. I found out from my sister that my family has been talking about me behind my back, saying that I drink way too much and they are worried about me developing a habit. I think this is a little dramatic and excessive, and I am unsure how to talk to them about their reservations. -- Not an Alcoholic

DEAR NOT AN ALCOHOLIC: It sounds like your family members do not drink. That’s probably why seeing you drink alcohol at all is disturbing for them. While you are living with them, you may want to curb drinking there entirely. When you go out with friends or at social events, that’s when you can comfortably enjoy a glass of wine. Drinking where no one else is drinking can be awkward.

In terms of what to say to your family, bring up the topic directly. Tell them that you understand they are worried about how much you drink. Tell them that you believe you are responsible but that, if it worries them, you can curb any drinking at all at their house.

Rather than totally brushing off your family’s concerns, pay attention to how much you drink. If you notice that you are drinking daily or heavily, you may want to reduce your alcohol intake.