I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. I hear this statement a lot in my therapy office as patients discuss their pattern of drinking. Usually they’re thinking of an alcoholic as someone whose constant drinking leads to missing work, DUIs, losing relationships, and hitting rock bottom. However, the majority of alcoholics don’t fit this stereotype, and remain largely functional despite their use.
Whatever the definition, I find that it’s not necessarily helpful to reduce our relationship with alcohol to a single black-or-white question, Am I an alcoholic? The implication is that there’s a problem if I am, and no problem if I’m not.
But our relationship with alcohol isn’t that simple. We don’t have to be chugging vodka first thing in the morning, blacking out, or driving while intoxicated for there to be an issue. The better question is:
Is the way I’m drinking a net positive in my life?
Full disclosure: I never had a healthy relationship with alcohol, …