The Myth Of “Normal” Drinking
There’s a prevailing myth that when it comes to alcohol, there are two types of drinkers:
Normal drinkers — and alcoholics.
The “normal drinker” generally refers to anyone who drinks alcohol at a mild to moderate level, and doesn’t have the outward circumstances usually attributed to problem drinkers — like DUIs or legal trouble, loss of job, strained relationships, daily dependence, or binge drinking.
The problem drinker, or “alcoholic,” typically has one or more of the above issues — but they may have a laundry list of other problems associated with alcohol.
So when does one cross the line from normal drinking to alcoholic drinking?
AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder)
First, let’s do away with the term “alcoholic,” because even Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t have a working definition for the word.
There’s no magic threshold, set of standards, or membrane to pass through that makes you an “alcoholic.”
Alcohol use and abuse exist on a spectrum — AUD (alcohol use disorder) — that goes from mild to moderate to severe.
During the pandemic lockdown, millions of people all over the world went from so-called “normal drinking” to severe alcohol abuse in a matter of months — or even weeks.
Given the right set of circumstances and/or trauma, no one is immune to abusing alcohol. Covid taught us that the hard way.
But even the drinkers who never graduate to severe alcohol abuse are putting themselves at risk for certain health conditions — like cancer.
60% of Americans don’t know alcohol causes cancer
Recent studies all over the globe keep coming to the same conclusion: no amount of alcohol is safe, and the potential risks far outweigh any perceived benefits.
One has to wonder: how many people die of cancer or other debilitating health issues every year without the slightest idea that their “normal drinking” was causing it — or at least contributing to it?
Our drinking culture may consider drinking to be “normal,” but our bodies and brains do not, even at a mild to moderate level.
Thank you for reading, and feel free to join me and a growing alcohol-free community on Instagram. I’d love to connect with you.