Jennifer Garner On How the Pandemic Made Her Rethink Her Approach to Drinking

The actress recently chatted with pal Judy Greer on Instagram about alcohol and practicing sobriety.

Jennifer Garner, the celebrated actress and her close friend Judy Greer, who were both cast in the much-loved 2004 romantic comedy, 13 Going On 30, recently discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced their drinking habits during an Instagram conversation. Garner noted that her drinking behavior is slightly different - she indulges in a small amount of alcohol almost every evening. In contrast, Greer stated, "I can abstain for about five days, but then I tend to indulge quite heavily over the weekends." Garner further shared that her nightly wine habit started after becoming a mother (she has three children - Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Samuel, 9 with her ex-spouse, Ben Affleck). Garner confessed, "I hardly ever drank while I was in high school or college. But during the pandemic, and especially after having my children, I began seeing wine as a small reward at the end of each day." She elaborated, "It was like this tiny sip I could have, which felt like something I'd worked for and deserved." Garner added, "And then it becomes ingrained in the mom code: 'Your wine, oh goodness, you must be desperate for it!' She continued, "If I'm consuming half a glass daily, and if my half-glass is really a full one, that equals seven glasses a week. And if I have two on the weekends, I'm suddenly nearing 10 glasses of wine a week! This increases my risk of cancer. So, what's the right decision here? What's the reasonable amount?" The health risks associated with alcohol consumption are well-documented. A 2018 research study published in The Lancet affirmed that even moderate drinking poses health risks. Moreover, the American Institute of Cancer Research states that even one small drink per day can increase breast cancer risk by up to nine percent. During their Instagram dialogue, Garner, 49, and Greer, 46, also revealed that they now prefer "sobriety binges" rather than drinking binges. Greer shared that she and her spouse, Dean Johnsen, participated in "Dry January" earlier this year, which, given the pandemic stress, was not a walk in the park.

"Greer, during an Instagram conversation, acknowledged the difficulty of navigating life without resorting to alcohol. She decided to partake in a dry January as a measure to regain her equilibrium. The result was improved sleep patterns, a sense of contentment and heightened self-control. Although she didn't experience constant happiness, she felt more equipped to handle life's challenges. Following her New Year's resolution, Greer maintained sobriety for a continuous period of 100 days. The actress resumed drinking on Memorial Day when she participated in a prearranged wine-tasting trip at Napa Valley, California. After this 100-day sobriety stretch, she realized her tolerance for alcohol had decreased considerably. Greer stopped drinking after Labor Day but made an exception during the Halloween Kills launch in October. This event, she points out, was a conscious decision and well-managed. She admits, "Everything in my life presently feels better when I abstain from alcohol." She expressed liking the impact of sobriety on her appearance, weight loss and increased vitality. Garner, her former co-star, also took a 10-week hiatus from alcohol with a permissible one-night indulgence during a trip to New York City in September. Garner shared that she has been selective about when to drink, explaining her decision to have a glass of wine on a Saturday night in New York. She further mentioned that she is trying to establish what a new normal might look like for her, regarding alcohol consumption. When dining out, Garner prefers sparkling water flavored with blueberry, and Greer often goes for non-alcoholic cocktails or beer, occasionally indulging in a Shirley Temple. They also discussed how people's perceptions around their choice not to drink can sometimes be negative. Greer shared an example of acquaintances attributing her early bedtime habits to her being 'boring' due to her sobriety. To this, she counters that if she were drinking, she would already be asleep. Lastly, both Garner and Greer emphasized that they are not experts on this topic but are individually exploring their relationship with alcohol, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic."

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