Addiction Story: How Much Alcoholism Costs


The following is a true story from an alcoholic.

I started drinking about a week before my 21st birthday, and haven’t stopped since. I am only 29, but am not sure I could quit if I tried  anymore. Sure I have gone 2-3 days without a drink, but it’s not fun and all I want to do during that time is binge drink. My own personal alcoholism has morphed over the years from feeling like I can’t wait to get off work to go out and party and drink that weekend, to trudging through work until I get off and can have the first drink of the day, to full blown alcohol abuser.

I won’t go into my feelings about it, or what happened to me to allow myself to become an alcoholic, or any of that. This article is about one thing: the cost of being an alcoholic. This is just how much it costs me personally to stave off the withdrawals of sobriety, and it will change depending on what kind of alcohol others abuse and the severity of the drinking problem. I’d call my drinking moderate to semi-severe.

I try not to exceed 12 beers per day and usually put that limit on myself; however, there are binge periods where I am out of control and can go through 18 beers or even more. We are going to stick as close to the 12 per day average just to make the math a little easier. Sundays are a slight detox day, and Saturdays can get rough if I don’t try and control myself…

Drinking Schedule:

  • Monday — 12 Beers
  • Tuesday — 12 Beers
  • Wednesday — 12 Beers
  • Thursday — 12 Beers
  • Friday — 12 Beers
  • Saturday 18 Beers
  • Sunday 10 Beers

With the above schedule set as “the norm” for this experiment, we are looking at about 88 beers per week. The true cost depends on how you purchase the alcohol, so we are going to say that it is (7) 12-packs and (1) 6-pack. We are also going to go with the cheapest standard beer where I am living currently. It will break down as follows:


$7.99 — 12-pack

$4.39 — 6-pack

With the price established, lets run some numbers:

$7.99 X 7 = $55.93
$60.32 Per Week

Now that we have established how much money I waste every week on staving off alcohol withdrawals and the miserable effects of trying to clean out, let’s see how this begins to add up…

$60.32 Per Week
52 Weeks

That was painful… I am wasting over three grand every year on this habit. But, we said that this has been going on since the age of 21. While I did not always drink this large amount in my younger years, there were plenty of binge weekends, and expensive shots at bars and the cost of everything else, so we will now take that number to the 8 year period.

$3,136.64 Per Year
8 Years

Now that is getting up there… Let’s take this a step further and let’s figure that with this unhealthy lifestyle, I live to the age of 56. Let’s do some more math to see what a lifetime of drinking would cost at this rate:

$3,136.64 Per Year
35 Years

Again, this is a fair but conservative estimate with way to many variables to make it 100% accurate, but a fair average of almost $110,000 in beer.


I am spending way too much money to slowly kill myself. Seeing the numbers really puts it into a better perspective. The worst part of it is, I haven’t even told you… I also smoke a pack of cigarettes per day since age 21.

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4 responses to “Addiction Story: How Much Alcoholism Costs

  1. Considering the financial consequences of addiction can be a very valuable exercise when trying to maintain sobriety. I thank you for sharing this exercise here. It is truly staggering how much I spent over the course of my fourteen years of addiction. And the cost rises when you consider not only the price of the drugs/alcohol, but also include all the other financial consequences related to the addiction, such as the totaled car, the lawyers, the court fines and other legal expenses (and so on). And as much as I wish I could have all that money now, even greater is my desire to have spent those wasted years more productively.

  2. Reblogged this on the sirius dark room and commented:
    The cost break down puts everything into perspective. We never think of it at the moment. I was a smoker as well. So that amount of 109k over 35 years would increase significantly. That money could be invested in many things. Take a step back and reflect. Great blog. Thank you for sharing.

  3. it’s not just money. it’s also looking over your shoulder, worrying someone will notice the booze on your breath or on your tongue. worrying the store will get closed before I get there late at night. worrying about failing and knowing it is my fault and blaming it on someone else. in one word – insanity. money too, of course but mind once lost is hard to fix.

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