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?

800RecoveryHub.com
Our 800RecoveryHub site offers free and confidential help

Here is another report on the article:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285918.php

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

  1. I’m not averse to making a separation between those who are alcohol dependant and those who are continuing heavy drinkers, but for some continued heavy drinking will lead to dependence. Perhaps this study will help to give insight to when someone could be caught early and dependence be prevented. It’s very complex, my real issue with alcohol dependence, heavy drinking is the stupidity that comes with it, poor behaviour, bad decisions, reduced inhibitions that lead to mistaken judgements and the mental health issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the article.From reading my blog, I believe you know I am a recovering alcoholic. The article actually made me laugh. I would say that the writer of that article doesn’t understand the phenomena of craving and obsession of the mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you have a point. They are definitely up to something. I wouldn’t be surprised if “all of a sudden” addiction will not be covered. I mean after all they don’t believe addiction to be a disease. Its shameful how the government conspiracies continue to grow when it comes to this subject. SMFH

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a frightening thing that the government is becoming so inhumane and cold. They are controlling and regualting more and more. If it keeps up we will lose all freedoms and choices. It should be up to the individual to know if alcoholism has made their life unmanageable. It is not up to committees who know nothing about you and your life.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes! The system as a whole, government is nothing but a big conspiracy theory! They got ya coming and going….think about it, When people get in trouble from a DUI/DWI….here’s the response from the courts, the justice system, WHERE JUSTICE DOESN’T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE! We’ll seize your 2014 Camaro, your Harley Davidson and on top of that, we are going to “order” a chemical assessment that you must obey ALL recommendations! and on top of that your fine will be $1,000+ you will get so many days in jail which will cost you $25.00 a day, it will cost you $150.00 for first assessment on probation, we are to put you on a breathalyzer and that will cost you another $25.00! I can keep going with this but it irritates me because the bottom line the “enemy” will totally annihilate you. After the injustice system is through with you, you are left with zilch, I AM NOT saying it’s ok to be behind the wheel after drinking but I’m living in a state where they will clean your clock and it is one of the worst financially stable states in the US. This is full blown conspiracy. And they don’t wink an eye over it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is absolutely, beyond the shadow of a doubt, 100%, an attempt to not only deny treatment, but also impose a fun new tax… because that seems to be the solution to everything these days. I love my country… but loath my government! I may need to write a 4th step – lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The gov’t seems to have their hand in everything today. This is just my opinion, but I believe that if you drink heavily over a long time period, um, you’re an alcoholic. Can you imagine someone who’s smoking cigarettes for ten years saying they’re not a smoker? I don’t believe that everyone with alcoholism was born with the disease. Just like cancer, you can “catch” it later on in life if you’re exposed to certain conditions. I know that just because something is in a garage doesn’t mean it’s a car, but if it has four wheels, a steering wheel, an engine, and the ability to drive you and your family down the road, then it’s a car. Let’s call things what they really are.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: URL
  6. Alcoholism is because of diet or unresolved emotional issues or because we are biologically inclined to it. I know, I am in the last catagory and it was only by the grace of God that He rescued me from this destructive addiction and have been clean for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow. Reading this great post =and= your responses, you guys are so powerful. So strong to go through what you have and come out the other side. You should be proud. Truly. It’s an amazing feat.

    I agree that the govt. article is off-base – way way off base. This, to me, sends the worst message possible. What idiots.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I find it interesting that there are different ‘definitions of alcoholism’ for men than there are for women.

    I consider alcohol a problem when it becomes a crutch for dealing with life’s
    stresses. There IS more than just drinking to be done to cope with our feelings. While I wouldn’t feign to know everything about this issue, I think a core factor contributing to alcoholism is that it is socially acceptable and even expected for people to get wasted at social gatherings.

    It’s really telling that the CDC released this ‘study’ when coverage for treatment became available. I think that is irresponsible and likely driven by profit over science or health.

    Not surprising.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. There are PR people who look for opportunities to pool resources for campaigns catering to clients with deep pockets, such as the liquor, and as you say, the insurance industry. These people will find themselves mulling over the ugliness they’ve committed when they reach the end of their time and they find that all they really ever had was that time they’ve spent engaged in such activities–that… is eternal damnation. Thanks for taking up the fight, Victoria B.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. WOW. Having married someone from a different ethnic culture, I wonder… My husband family are all drinkers. How does one really know if someone is addicted when the whole family drinks for any occasion? Is it that one person is a happy drunk and another is a vicious drunk? Is it that one will drink until he passes out and another just has one or two?
    One thing I do know is that I hate when people drink excessively no matter what the reason.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you, Merry – drinking to excess is never fun for the onlookers! I grew up in a family of drinkers and learned that the only guarantee with alcohol is not a good time – but unpredictability. I still have a hard time with other people’s need to consume, yet our society seems alcohol-centered.
      Maybe it is not so much a definition of alcoholism that we need, but an alternative perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. While I believe that there is a growing crisis regarding alcoholism and that modern society (particularly the youger generation) is perpetuating the idea that alcohol needs to be a factor in a “good time”, I dont believe that this post was biased or that the positer should be blamed for commenting in the CDC’s report.
    However, I do feel that this report might “justify” younder adults’ drinking habits and could very likely prevent some from finding help for their drinking or addiction problems.
    I find it shameful that our government is so willing to point the finger but so unwilling to lend a hand. I only hope that nonprofit and private organizations will continue to offer assitance and guidance to those with addiction issues in our community.
    Very clearly any positive change will need to be perpetuated by us/ by our community.

    Like

  12. Great subject and great post. Food for thought. I think that the issue is FAR more complex than ‘alcoholic or heavy drinker’ because at the root lies ‘why do you drink’. Without addressing the many reasons ‘why’ people drink to excess there will never be any solutions and there certainly won’t be one solution as reasons vary drastically.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. When it involves the medical industry ‘proving’ sometime, I’d always be skeptical. Alcohol abuse is huge, it may not be labelled alcoholism but it’s a system that keeps the taxes rolling in. To be frank, if humans did not have ANY problems, there would be no need for medical establishments, Governments, and whatever else. Alcohol is similar to smoking. It’s killed far more people in its lifetime than say class A drugs of cocaine or ecstasy. Ever noticed that the quit smoking products still contain the drug that people want to kick – nicotine – and they charge just as much as cigarettes. Instead of trying to put a theory on alcohol addiction, the medical establishment must look at the whole picture. Human kind as a collective are broken and in need of love and nurture.

    Like

  14. Not sure from where they obtained this information, but I can tell you that I was once married to an alcoholic, and he is pretty much still in denial about his problem and refuses to get help. Even though, he has had (2) DUIs, been pulled over for the suspicision of driving while intoxicated, has lost his family and traumatized his children, problems with his job and so on and sor forth. Yet, still he sees nothing wrong with his drinking. Even though, I am not an alcoholic (not even close and not very fond of driving), when I have a drink or drinks, he will criticize my alcohol intake . . . which I find truly amazing! He drinks all the time, every single day, from early in the day to late in the evening. He does drunk calls to people that he never remembers the next day, but he still refuses to believe that he needs help nor will he admit that he has a problem. All I can say to anyone who is having problems with excessive drinking and if it is affecting your family, your career and your health, then you should look into getting some help. Good luck to all!

    Like

    1. I am glad you are not with your “ex” anymore. He sounds like a real brut. It’s unfortunate that denial is such a big part of alcoholism. I have heard people with multiple DUI’s say “I don’t have a drinking problem, I have a driving problem”. I blamed my drinking on my “problems”. It was obvious to everyone (but me) that my drinking was causing my problems, not the other way around. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the day I told myself the truth about my alcoholism, is the same day I got help. I have been sober 19 years, and I still feel bad about what I put my family through. Thanks for your sharing your story.

      Like

  15. You know how I know alcoholism via heavy drinking is real?
    Because despite this article that reeks of bullshit, I couldn’t help but immediately and subconsciously use it to rationalize all past behavior and give a fleeting thought to, “Hey, maybe I don’t have a probl-”

    But luckily, I stopped short there, hung my head a little, and came down to read the comments & share what had just transpired in my head.

    Thanks for sharing, and reminding me that I’m sober for a very good reason. I’m also sadly with you on fraudulent claims that come the shadowy world of healthcare providers & corporate insurers…but, again, it’s not something worth picking up a drink over. Take ‘er easy!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This kind of reasoning is sinking into so many parts of harmful behaviors in our culture, that I’m not surprised, but I agree with you: Heavy drinking is still a problem. When we have to alter ourselves in any way (other than for medical reasons), we really are living in the chains of addiction. It might not drag us out yet to have us steal for the money to fund it, but if we have to have it, we have a problem. If we can’t stop thinking about it, it’s a problem. I had a professional years ago want to make this distinction (not regarding myself) to me, and I found it laughable. Oh how we justify vices. It’s a slippery slope the minute even one drink is too much for anyone to handle. Thanks for the read. I also find these distinctions take away from people like you who do the hard work to fight it and set an example for others. That is not easy. Saying heavy drinking is not a problem feels like a mockery to me.

    Like

  17. Live and let live I suppose. All I know is that when I start I can’t stop. When I try to leave it alone and swear it off for good, I fail… miserably. I drink when I’m happy. I drink when I’m sad. I drink when I have a reasonably good reason to reason myself out of drinking. Is that a sentence? I used to have the mental obsession, and when it touches my lips I crave for more of it like Santa after cookies. Even if I’m not an alcoholic, it’s an irrelevant proposition. It seems much easier to abstain than to beat my head against a wall trying to be a “normal” drinker. Working my tail off to be able to “moderate” seems a little daunting compared to taking on certain attitudes and principles that connect me with a higher power that lightens my load and eases my burden in all venues of life. *shrug.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I am glad I found your blog it is so realistic, I wish so people I know here in Australia should read it…I once knew someone who said “No I am not an alcoholic” An ex cause so much heart ache…The article made me smile as well.

    Like

  19. I didnt bother to read the whole NY times article, I have read plenty of this stuff and its all pretty much the same. The people who do these studies are working from a scientific point of view, their findings are probably correct, as far as science is concerned. However, being a drunk is not a scientific thing, at best it defies science and only an alcoholic came makes sense of it, so I suppose that these CDC people managed to prove that those who conducted the study are probably not alcoholics. i wonder how many tax dollars it took to accomplish this study, I find the notion that taxing booze can reduce problem drinking is very telling.
    The turning point for me came via an old guy named Ferg, telling his story at a now closed detox. I will paraphrase, “blah blah blah, have one drink a day for thirty days and call me”, my reaction was sudden, I thought to myself, screw that, give me enough to get plastered or shove it up your ass, that was 20 years ago last December, no thnks to me, just Gods grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. A word comes to mind that was presented to me by a youth at local homeless youth center. That word is… obfuscation. The youth eloquently stretched the definition to: “To take one small truth and stretch it so far as to be telling a lie.”

    Obfuscation fits like a glove, and this is coming from a former very heavy drinker who was blessed enough to be able to quit without addiction. Pulling a number like 90% out of ones ass is where the piece crossed the line. It should have instead focused on the age of the drinker and how long they had been habitually abusing alcohol. Shalom.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Reblogged this on Without a Roof and commented:
    A word comes to mind that was presented to me by a youth at local homeless youth center. That word is… obfuscation. The youth eloquently stretched the definition to: “To take one small truth and stretch it so far as to be telling a lie.”

    Obfuscation fits like a glove, and this is coming from a former very heavy drinker who was blessed enough to be able to quit without addiction. Pulling a number like 90% out of ones ass is where the piece crossed the line. It should have instead focused on the age of the drinker and how long they had been habitually abusing alcohol. Shalom.

    Like

  22. When I first went through the “program” this is what I was taught. Alcoholism by definition is a progressive disease. It never levels off, it never gets better, and everything it affects, quality of life along with both physical and mental health will show signs of deterioration. Heavy drinking can, on the other hand, lead to a life of stagnation but not necessarily decline. If someone has ten drinks a night and has done this for twenty years without increasing the “dosage” are they an alcoholic? Only if they are worse off than they were twenty years ago; otherwise, no. For one, they will probably never have an incentive to quit because they simply don’t see a life of chaos and destruction coming at them. Granted, without the alcohol they might enjoy lives of higher production and peace, but maybe not. It’s “almost” sadder for these people because for them there will never be a bottom to endeavor to rise from. They will never overcome instinct and replace it with intention and inspiration. Perhaps this is why the BEST people I know are recovering addicts and alcoholics; and I really do mean that. The lower you fall, the higher your potential bounce. It’s a hell of a way to find your feet, but it does work for those who work it.

    What do you think?

    With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

    Liked by 1 person

  23. All I can say is this, I am an alcoholic. I thought I was just a heavy drinker for a number of years, well I wasn’t …I was an alcoholic. I would have so used that article to prove I wasn’t had I had it then. I will also say this, life is so much more wonderful than I ever imagined now that I live it without alcohol.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Reblogged this on Spirited Away and commented:
    This article is interesting and helps me put some of my problems into perspective. Also, make sure to have a good look at this blog 800recoveryhubblog, a blog ‘written by people in recovery for people in recovery.” Some inspiring stuff. 🙂

    Like

  25. I believe most clinicians, therapists, etc still use the DSM 5. The Diagnostic Statistical Manuals have been around for a while (that’s why we’re on #5). I’ve worked in the chemical dependency/Substance abuse field for around 30 years and that’s what we’ve always used. The DSM 4 differentiated between abuse and dependence. The DSM 5 doesn’t use those terms. Instead, it identifies whether a substance use disorder is mild, moderate, or severe based on how many criteria are met. The criteria have a lot to do with patterns and consequences. I’ve always believed that just because a person doesn’t consider him or herself an alcoholic, doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need help.

    Like

  26. Maybe for a start they need to redefine their definition of excessive drinking. I would say most of my friends drink more than 15 drinks a week, and I wouldn’t have said more than 10% of them were alcoholics. So maybe the study is correct, but hardly helpful. For those folk who think they are borderline where alcohol is causing a problem in their life, I would guess drinks per week could be as high as 40 – 50. Or 10 – 15 drinks in a day.

    Like

  27. This is like comparing over-eaters to binge-and-purge eaters. People in both categories have an in issue with eating, yes? Both could use some help, yes? If you are drinking until you black out on Saturdays nights, then obviously there is some pain that needs to be processed and released, preferably before it becomes, Friday and Saturday nights, etc…You are worth health, wellness and clarity.

    Every blessing!

    Like

  28. Do the right thing…Then do the next right thing. No matter what the CDC says, I’m an alcoholic. No matter the definition is we know what we are. Its what we allow ourselves and GOD do that determine our outcome. One minute at a time. Thank you for your honesty and reminding those of who deal with this very real issue that there is light at the end of the tunnel, we have to want to change. No one can make that decision for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I don’t think you’re just a conspiracy theorist. The government runs our lives, and are trying to cut down on our benefits, and coverage of insurance in any way they can. I agree with John Elmore, if you get drunk and pass out, something is wrong, just like drinking lots every day, something is wrong. 2-3 drinks when you’re out on the town? Probably no problem. Unless you go home to a hidden stash…
    I’m an alcoholic with 21 sober years, thank God.
    Melinda

    Liked by 1 person

  30. When I first went to the doctor, I was asked, “do you drink”. My response was, “Yeah, I have a few.. Only on the weekends though”.
    Doctor replies, “A few”
    Me, “Yeah, probably 8-10 pints every Friday and Saturday”

    Was I intentionally trying to downplay my use? Of course not! I lived in London at the time, and every circle of friends I was involved in, drank at an equivalent level what I consumed.

    Point of story is, it wasn’t till I saw the third doctor that I reconstructed my response to, “Yes, I binge drink”. If looking at the above information, clearly I was having more than 15 standard drinks per week. In addition, throw in most people I knew at the time, all of whom held respectable jobs thoroughout the week.

    Ok, so it is established that I drank, however, would it have had a difference by having ownership over my drinking by changing the response? I don’t think so, cause if situation didn’t unfold how it has, I would most probably be in a better role, still in the same city and most likely polishing off a few last pints at this very moment!

    Final point, addiction is something government needs to seriously look at rather than downplaying it. I think the above example shows how some behaviours can be changed (I drink one to two drinks these days), however, as mentioned above, addiction, is more than just a circle of friends or family patterns, it is real, and a challenging test for all those who have to face it, and a mighty victory for those who are able to overcome it!

    Like

  31. Glad to have found your blog. This topic has interested me lately as I have been meeting great people who are alcoholics. Thanks for sharing.

    What do you think about non-alcoholics quitting drinking in solidarity?

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Reblogged this on Brain Injured Biologist and commented:
    I question the motives. It would redefine the type of treatment for alcoholism. Growing up with parents who were heavy drinkers I find it disturbing that the study is not taking into count the impact “heavy drinkers” are to their family.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. In speaking to this article,( I at first accidentally thanked you for the follow in the wrong area) it raised some remarkable discussions including one with a family member that spoke as if the article was written about them. I find it remarkable how the people that do not want to face their own issues and yet label those in recovery as cultish, take these words and run with them. I am happy to have been identified as an alcoholic, gambler in recovery. It has meant the world for change in my life. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comments got lost but I am happy to have found them. I really appreciate your sharing. Currently I am in Las Vegas, and we have a lot of alcoholic gamblers here in recovery. You would be surprised how much success and support there is here — great group of sober folks. Glad to get to learn about you. Stop by again.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s