“I’m NOT an Alcoholic”

Yesterday, I received a call from someone who was asking me about what recovery services were available. The individual told me that he had a problem with drinking in the past, but he no longer does. I asked him if he has ever obtained help and he quickly responded, “I am not an alcoholic.”

I explained to him that one does not need to be an “alcoholic” in order to have problems due to alcohol use. I added that I was not looking to label anyone and the term “alcoholic” is subjective, if anything. In speaking about the last time that he drank, he told me that he had not done so in a long time, but two weeks ago he had a pint of whiskey. I reiterated it back to him,” So let me get this right. You have not drank in a long time, but when you did, you drank a whole pint of whiskey in one sitting.” “Yes,” he replied.

I gave him a scenario illustrating how a person that did not have a problem with alcohol might pour a shot or so of whiskey in a glass, maybe with a few pieces of ice and enjoy it while they have a conversation with friends, read a book, or relax in their yard on a saturday afternoon. I reminded him that he drank a whole pint of whiskey in one sitting.

In asking him what he thought about that, I could hear his shoulders drop, “Ohhh..”, was his only response. I did not ask him for any further details at any point in the conversation. I did encourage him to think about that and then give me a return phone call when he was ready to do something about it.

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