In England, in 2008, the Department of Health identified different personality types of heavy drinkers. While they used English men and women as the model, some of their descriptions hold true no matter what culture you live in, and whether you drink a little or a lot.
Here are some of their drinking types, and their characteristics. To their descriptions, I’ve added my own woman-centric identifiers.
De-Stress Drinkers: Use alcohol to calm down and regain control of life. This category includes all the “Moms Who Need Wine” types, who chill out while they’re cooking dinner for the family by drinking a glass of wine. It also includes anyone who can’t wait to hit the bar after work, for example; anyone for whom alcohol is the “ahh” at the end of a hard day.
Conformist Drinkers: Driven by the need to belong. Seek structure for their lives. These are the “I’ll have what she’s having” types, who don’t really have a favorite drink. If you order a margarita, they’ll order a margarita. If you order a gin and tonic, so will they. This includes book club drinkers, sorority girls, and anyone who drinks because, what the hell, everyone else is doing it!
Boredom Drinkers: Drink to pass the time, seeking stimulation to relieve boredom. Secretly wonder: Does drinking count as a hobby?
Depressed Drinkers: Crave comfort, safety and security. These drinkers tend to drink alone, at home, or else out at a bar, telling their tales of woe to the bartender. They drink because they’re depressed, which in turn makes them even more depressed.
Re-Bonding Drinkers: Driven by the need to keep in touch with people who are close to them. Drinking loosens them up, and lets them pour out their hearts to their friends and lovers. This is the woman who regularly goes out with one or two people at a time and bonds over a few glasses of wine.
Community Drinkers: Like conformist drinkers, they are motivated by the need to belong, but they usually drink in large groups. These women are extraverts, who need to be around people. They love to celebrate, and along with celebration, often comes drinking. They’re motivated more by the social aspect of drinking than by the drinks themselves.
Hedonistic Drinkers: Crave stimulation and seek to abandon control or “let go.” These are the women knocking back shots of tequila and pumping their fists in the air afterwards.
Macho Drinkers: Spend most of their spare time in bars. These are the barflies, who pride themselves on being tough. They often excel at pool, darts and pinball, and will go shot to shot with anyone who challenges them. They have high tolerance, or they barely drink at all, but just look like they do.
I’d have to say that I’m probably a de-stress drinker, since drinking a glass of wine always seems like a mini-vacation to me, akin to taking a bubble bath or reading women’s magazines in bed. But at different points in my life, I’ve been all of these drinkers.
My drinking personality depends on my mood, and what age and stage of life I’m in. So what is (or was) your predominant drinking personality?