Jennifer Garner On How the COVID-19 Pandemic Made Her Rethink Her Approach to Drinking
Jennifer Garner and Judy Greer are rethinking their respective approaches to drinking.
The celebrity pals, who co-starred in the beloved 2004 rom-com, 13 Going On 30, revealed during a recent Instagram chat that the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to reevaluate their alcohol consumption.
"We drink differently — I have a little bit almost every night," said Garner, while Greer quipped, "I am the other version, where I can go like five days but then I like, hit it hard on the weekends."
Garner added during the Instagram chat that she hardly drank at all in high school and college, but that she began drinking wine nightly upon becoming a mom (she shares daughters Violet, 15, and Seraphina, 12, and son Samuel, 9, with ex-husband Ben Affleck).
"I started thinking, I'm having a little bit every night and especially during the pandemic," said Garner, explaining that after she had children, she saw wine as her reward at the end of an evening. "It was just like that little sip that I would have, and it felt like I'd earned it and I deserved it," she said. "And then it feels like it's become part of a code among moms: 'Your wine, oh my gosh, you must be dying to have it!' (Related: 5 Things I Learned About Dating and Friendships When I Gave Up Alcohol)
She continued, "If I have half a glass every night, and if my half a glass is probably really a glass, that's seven glasses a week, and say I have two on the weekends, then suddenly I'm close to 10 glasses of wine a week! And that raises your risk for cancer — it's like, gosh, what is the right thing to do? What is the right amount?"
Garner is right about the health detriments of alcohol: A 2018 study published in The Lancet found that even moderate drinking is bad for your health. And, according to the American Institute of Cancer Research, one small drink a day can increase your risk of breast cancer by up to nine percent.
Garner, 49, and Greer, 46, also shared during the Instagram chat that they partake in "sobriety binges" instead of drinking binges now. Greer added that she and her husband, Dean Johnsen, did a "Dry January" earlier this year, which wasn't necessarily easy given the stresses of the pandemic. (Related: Why More Health-Minded People Are Practicing Sobriety)
"There was so much going on. I don't know how people were coping without [alcohol], God bless them," said Greer during the Instagram chat. "We decided to do dry January just to like, dry out, and that was so great. I was sleeping, I felt happy again all the time, I didn't feel out of control, I felt really grounded." Greer then clarified that she wasn't exactly happy all the time, but better able to cope with everything life threw at her. "I also was able to be like, 'I need to just sit on this for a second,'" she said.
Greer said she kept at her New Year's habit and was sober for a full 100 days. The actress went back to drinking on Memorial Day in May when she went on a wine-tasting trip to Napa Valley in California that was pre-planned — but soon learned that 100 days of sobriety caused her alcohol tolerance to decrease significantly. Greer continued to drink through early September but ceased the day after Labor Day and went on a sobriety binge. She did, however, take a break from it for one night to celebrate the October release of Halloween Kills.
"That felt like a special occasion, and it was managed, and I was conscious of what I was doing and I made a choice to do it," said Greer during the Instagram chat. Still, she added, "I just feel like right now, everything in my life is so much better when I'm not drinking. I wish I didn't like being sober so much. I wish I didn't like how I looked. I wish I didn't like that I lost a couple of pounds. I wish I didn't like how much extra energy I have." (Related: Have a Sober, Stress-Free Holiday Party)
Garner, meanwhile, took a 10-week break from drinking but did have one night of mild imbibing during a trip to New York City in late September. "I really wanted to choose the night," said Garner on Instagram. "I took a couple months off and during that time, I went to a party, I traveled to New York, which is one of my favorite places to enjoy away from kids ... I decided to have a glass of wine on Saturday and now I'm trying to figure out, 'What's that look like?'"
The former co-stars also shared some of their drink choices when dining out, with Garner opting for sparkling water with blueberry (which she noted how many think it's wine because of the color) while Greer often requests non-alcoholic cocktails or beer, as well as the occasional Shirley Temple. And while their drink order is ultimately their business, Greer noted that it hasn't stopped some folks from commenting. "I hate when people are like, 'Oh, of course, you're going to bed early because you're sober and you're boring,'" said Greer during the Instagram chat. "I've had friends tell me that and I'm like, 'B—h, I'd be passed out right now if I was drinking! You should be happy that I'm sober! I would have already French exited to my bedroom."
Ultimately, Greer and Garner made it clear that they aren't experts in anything other than their own lives, and even then, they're still both works in progress when it comes to booze consumption. "I'm just figuring it out," Garner said. "I'm going to have a new relationship with it post-pandemic."