Here is Proof – I am not an Alcoholic

I’m not talking about me.  I am most definitely an alcoholic. I am talking about this study that came out a few days ago — published by the CDC. It says, something to the effect, that most hard-core drinkers are not classified as alcoholics. I cracked up when I saw several social media posts (referring to it) stating “yeah, take this b*tch, I told you I didn’t have a drinking problem”.

It busts me up that some folks are using this to “prove” they don’t have alcoholism. Don’t get me wrong, I am not lacking empathy, it is just that (for me) there is no scientific study that could have diagnosed my “crazy”. It was up to me, to determine my alcohol problem. My denial was thicker than any empirical science, known to humankind.

In any case, I would have blown the story off, but it has some series “legs”. Almost all the major media outlets have a story about this CDC study.

Here is one of the first articles to appear, from the New York Times.

Most people who drink to get drunk are not alcoholics, suggesting that more can be done to help heavy drinkers cut back, a new government report concludes.

The finding, from a government survey of 138,100 adults, counters the conventional wisdom that every “falling-down drunk” must be addicted to alcohol. Instead, the results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that nine out of 10 people who drink too much are not addicts, and can change their behavior with a little — or perhaps a lot of — prompting.

“Many people tend to equate excessive drinking with alcohol dependence,’’ said Dr. Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We need to think about other strategies to address these people who are drinking too much but who are not addicted to alcohol.”

Excessive drinking is viewed as a major public health problem that results in 88,000 deaths a year, from causes that include alcohol poisoning and liver disease, to car accidents and other accidental deaths. Excessive drinking is defined as drinking too much at one time or over the course of a week. For men, it’s having five or more drinks in one sitting or 15 drinks or more during a week. For women, it’s four drinks on one occasion or eight drinks over the course of a week. Underage drinkers and women who drink any amount while pregnant also are defined as “excessive drinkers.”

Surprisingly, about 29 percent of the population meets the definition for excessive drinking, but 90 percent of them do not meet the definition of alcoholism. That’s good news because it means excessive drinking may be an easier problem to solve than previously believed.

Studies show that simply raising the price of an alcoholic beverage by 10 percent reduces alcohol consumption by 7 percent, suggesting that higher taxes on alcohol could make a significant dent in excessive drinking. Zoning laws that reduce the number of establishments that serve alcohol in a given area can also curb excessive drinking. Importantly, a simple intervention by a physician, talking to patients about their alcohol use, has also been shown to help people make better choices and curb excessive alcohol consumption.

Ad campaigns, like a 2010 New York City initiative called “Two drinks ago,” also may help. In the New York campaign, posters showed a well-dressed woman slumped and drunk and a young businessman bleeding and bruised. The posters read, “Two drinks ago you could still get yourself home,” and “Two drinks ago you would have walked away.” The tagline was “Stop drinking while you’re still thinking.”

Dr. Brewer noted that excessive drinking is still a challenging problem, but it is not as difficult to address as alcohol addiction can be.

“I don’t want to minimize the fact that excessive drinking can be a difficult behavior to change even in those people who are not alcohol dependent,’’ said Dr. Brewer. “So many of the cues people get about drinking behavior in our society are confusing. People think drinking to get drunk is part of having a good time.”

So I wonder if this article will be slipped into Al-Anon books across the state? On a serious note, I question the motive behind this piece.  Some of you might already be aware that under the Affordable Care Act, alcohol and drug treatment is fully covered. Is this the start of redefining alcoholism, so that insurance plans will not have to cover treatment? Or, am I just being a conspiracy theorist? What do you think?
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Here is another report on the article:

84 thoughts on “Here is Proof – I am not an Alcoholic

  1. Victoria, you caught part of the import of my blog “Regarding Demons & Their Powers” very well. The point was: even if Demons didn’t exist, they would still exist in our minds and be very real. Thanks, V.!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very cool, not necessarily the same but I got a writer reaching out to me to comment on a new study stating that Sex and Love addiction isn’t really a thing, it is a made up malady. I had a similar thought to yours when you say “no scientific study could diagnose my crazy”. i don’t care what some researchers say about my addiction (they are not the spokesperson of science) but i care that i was able to identify a problem and to find a solution in working a program.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Here is the question: What strategy results in less alcohol use? It turns out motivational interviewing, which is pretty gentle, makes a much more predictably positive impact in alcohol consumption than an intervention.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I come from a family of alcoholics. I am not a big drinker or an excessive drinker, but some of siblings and my adult children are. I think if you are consistently a heavy drinker that maybe you’re not technically an alcoholic but you have a problem with alcohol. If you can’t be without it for a period of time, say a week or more, then what’s the difference? If you’re damaging your body from alcohol use/abuse then it’s the same thing to me. How many of these excessive drinkers could walk away and never have a drink again? I could.
    Sugar is another matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The addict is the one who can’t stop drinking. The one who needs it. Can some people drink and stop after a couple? Sure. Is drinking a little bad? Is taking a little oxycodone bad? All I know is that when I take some oxycodone bad things happen and long term habits come into effect, therefore I refrain from it. (4 years coming up!) we need the self control to stay away from our favorite poison. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another socially exercising article. One could write a epic on just what exactly “too much” entails. As an alcoholic myself, almost immediately my mind jumped to replacing drinking with smoking and asking, “well if one was smoking too many cigarettes, odds would suggest they would be a smoker and have an addiction to cigarettes, no?”. This also brought up a nostalgic and relatable emotion while reading, because not so long ago it was crucial for me to prove to myself and others that I did not have a problem. I can’t help but ponder how different or authentic the results might be if surveys were created from an alcoholic mind. In any case, I am glad I came up on this article. Thanks Victoria!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Victoria, nice blog! All of these numbers can be explained via a good Astrologer who knows how to see each person’s unique issues both natally or via a short-term/long-term transit. Seeing what YOUR issues are, brings awareness which changes everything:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are awesome. I am so glad I visited your site because it helped me with my closed mind. You see , I never gave astrology any consideration — but something on your blog caught my eye. I am glad that I am still teachable. Keep up your good work.


  8. You may really find neurobiologist Marc Lewis’s book “The Biology of Desire: why addiction is not a disease” interesting reading. He is a recovered addict himself and has some very interesting insights into the neurobiology of addiction. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have reviewed a couple more books on my blog, which is mostly about bipolar disorder, though I do touch on substance abuse occasionally as my father tried to drink himself to death as a way of self-medicating his undoagnosed bipolar. With addition there is always something that lies beneath. I hope you check out my blog and find it useful.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The CDC report makes a valid point about excessive drinking not being the same as alcoholism. But it is like the story of the blind men each examining an elephant and believing that each of their perceptions is the whole truth. Your view, Victoria is also most valid. The CDC article should not be read as the whole truth, e.g. that excessive drinking is NOT alcoholism. You gets an “atta girl” for synthesizing these truths.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s interesting isn’t it? Yesterday marked the 3rd anniversary of my sobriety after very nearly previously managing to drink myself to death..I found out after that had I not gone to the dr’s office when I did, 24 hours later would have been too late….it took me 15 years of being a career drunk..I guess I always knew BUT as is the way refused to accept the fact until it was almost too late man did I wake up and smell the coffee!! Our father was a heavy social drinker who subsequently became a fully functioning alcohonolic until late in life he went cold turkey on the back of relatively minor abnormalities in his liver function test..I am one of four siblngs my self and one other fully acknowledge and accept the stark reality that alcoholism is what we are ”blessed with” I say blessed because my life now because of it has improved for the better beyond recognition…another sibling is almost tea total such is her loathing of the substnce which has wreaked havoc across the family….having made an informed choice she drinks very occasionally in a purely social setting…our fourth sibling drinks, A LOT, daily, for the larger part of it..starting off with wine and usually ending up staring down a bottle of vodka BUT becasue she reads and chooses to believe misleadig articles which are often ignorant at best then she will before long be in the sae siuation I was but I fear that she will unfortnunately her journey and the consequences are her responsibility as was mine BUT when someone so desperaately ill clings onto the misguided ill informed content found in the nedia and hangs onto it as she desperately tries to convince herself and others that the papers et l are saaying it, so it must be true then she and far too many others like her are in even bigger trouble asa result….sadly alcoholism isn’t a one size fits all number…I drank wine for 15 years in increasing amounts, my brother and father a mixture of beer and spirits, one ssister tea total the second in denial…for me there is very definitely a genetic link but the press ad other media forms should be madde to take responsibility for filling the minds of the bulnerable with the false hopes/beliefs that will as sure as I drank 2 bottles of merot a day contribute to far too many deaths which may be prevented IF they were printing cold hard facts…kjust a thought…a very long one granted..rant over…sorry I just get frustrated at times


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