Yesterday someone sent me a message via this website, saying they had read a recent article in Elle Canada Magazine about alcohol in which I’m quoted.
This person — a man I think — told me a member of his family was a ‘raging alcoholic’ and that he was questioning his own drinking.
I get a number of these emails every month and, as I always do, I responded. This time the message bounced back. False email address. Okay, it happens. People want an anonymous place to dump their worries (Alcoholics Anonymous understands this, by the way), they chicken out. They’re afraid to be judged.
However, I still think this person deserves a response, and so I’m going to post it here, in the hope he (or she) may drop in. So here goes, with details redacted to preserve anonymity.
I’m sorry to hear about your _______’s troubles and hope she finds help soon.
As to your drinking, only you can decide if you have a problem or not, although the fact your questioning your drinking, and that there are alcoholic problems in your family are certainly indicators.
Ask yourself — are there consequences to your drinking? Health? Work? Social life? Relationships? Self-esteem… Are you drinking in spite of the consequences? If you drink too much, drink less. If you can’t drink less, then don’t drink. If you can’t NOT drink, then get help.
For an idea of what sensible amounts of booze are, you can go here: http://www.drinkingandyou.com/site/can/moder.htm You’ll see that the suggested amount is no more than 14 drinks a week for a man, and never more than 2 at a time. For women, it’s 9 drinks a week, and never more than 2 at a time. And these don’t mean the sort of tumblers full of scotch I used to drink, we’re taking SMALL.
If you do decide you need to stop drinking, there are a number of places to go for help. For me, AA is what works, and has done since March 21, 1995. If you want to get sober and are willing, it will work for you, too. If you’re interested in a bit of my drinking history, you might want to read this essay.
So, if you’re the person who wrote me, I hope you’re okay. Feel free to write again and let me know how it’s going.