I’m self-aware enough to realize I drink more than some, yet I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. There are days when I don’t drink, there are days when I drink one beer with dinner and then stop, but there are also days I drink enough to blur the edges.
Paul Carr writes about his decision to stop drinking without resorting to the pieties of Alcoholics Anonymous:
For years I’d told myself I wasn’t an alcoholic. I never drank alone. I didn’t wake up with fierce cravings, and sometimes I went for one or two days without drinking. A need to drink all day, every day, was never my problem.
My problem was that once I had a drink—whether it was at 7 p.m. or 9 a.m.—I couldn’t stop until my body shut down and I passed out in a pile on the floor. I still had plenty of friends and still managed to hold down a job, but my relationship with alcohol was very obviously different from most people’s. I was an alcoholic.
For one thing, I didn’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous. Not a single meeting. I have several friends who attend AA and have found it to be a highly effective way to quit. I have plenty of other friends who attend AA meetings every morning and are blind drunk every night. I almost attended a meeting at the suggestion of a friend, but first I decided to read the organization’s Twelve Steps, the program that members must follow. The first step was enough to confirm that this form of sobriety wasn’t for me:
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Please. You may be weak against alcohol, or seriously addicted to it, but powerless? No. If a drinker were truly powerless, then AA would be useless to him; nothing short of death could stop him from drinking.
(click here to continue reading My Secret to Getting Sober – WSJ.com.)
and I especially liked this caveat:
Recovery culture has set the bar for being an alcoholic very, very low. I happen to think that alcoholism is in the liver of the beholder. If you can have one or two drinks and then go back to your day, you’re almost certainly not an alcoholic. If you have a couple of beers and then switch to soft drinks, you’re almost certainly not an alcoholic. If none of your friends has ever taken you aside and suggested that your life would be hugely improved by quitting drinking, you’re probably not an alcoholic (unless all your friends are alcoholics, too).
Enjoying alcohol doesn’t make you an alcoholic any more than enjoying sex makes you a nymphomaniac. Getting drunk can be fun. If you can drink without ruining your life, don’t let me—or anyone else—stop you.