It’s a slippery slope that defines the differences between enthusiastic social drinker, binge drinker, problem drinker, and full-blown alcoholic. A new book, Almost Alcoholic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Drinking a Problem? (The Almost Effect), examines the behaviors and consequences experienced by individuals described as “not quite” alcoholics. These individuals, subclinical alcoholics, are an emerging area of interest in the field of recovery and addiction studies.
What exactly is an almost alcoholic? Julie Silver, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, provides the following description of a typical almost alcoholic:
The father who comes home from work, is stressed and drinks to alleviate stress, ends up getting tired, goes to bed earlier and isn’t all that helpful to his wife, helping with the kids, isn’t as present for his wife and kids as he needs to be. This is really impacting their ability to function…
Alcoholism is a progressive illness. Not every almost alcoholic will become a full-blown alcoholic, but every alcoholic was, at one time, a problem drinker. It is important for almost alcoholics to get honest with themselves about the costs and benefits of their drinking behavior.