It bothers me somewhat that the language I hear when people are talking about alcohol can to say the least be confusing.
Over Christmas and the New Year, when describing someone who was clearly inebriated, I heard dangerous and demeaning phrases such as alcoholic and addict used when clearly the speaker did not understand the true meaning of either word.
Personally I would have to first question whether or not the particular drinker in question was indeed a problem drinker or someone who was plainly addicted to alcohol, or if more likely they had unfortunately consumed more alcohol than they planned because of the festive season.
In an attempt to aid our understanding, guidelines from the government put the drinker into high or low risk categories by informing us that a woman can drink 15-34 units a week and a man 15-49 units a week.
15 units of wine for instance, equates to roughly one small glass per day. Ask yourself, does drinking more than this make you a problem drinker or even worse, an alcoholic, if so then exactly how much more? What the government figures actually mean is that 15 units is where the risk is at its lowest and anything above the higher level might be considered to be dangerous.
Confused? I actually feel a bit sorry for the festive drinker who has downed far more than the recommended limits and left himself open to the judgement of others.
Seriously, when exactly does alcohol become a problem? Someone once told me that it becomes a problem when it creates problems, a handy definition but one which does not do full justice to the issue.
Why? Because the whole issue of alcohol consumption is indeed confusing, which is the reason my new book, ‘Is Alcohol really the Problem.’ discusses the issue at length while offering a selection of opinions to help you to understand if or not, you or someone you know might have problems as far as alcohol is concerned and what you can do about it.
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The acknowledgement of an alcohol or drug problem within the family is a daunting prospect.
The decision to ask for help for yourself or your family can also be frightening and overwhelming; the need to make emotional and behavioural challenges, equally daunting.
Yet counselling can be an ideal opportunity for you or your family to heal. It offers the chance to communicate openly in a safe environment, to let go of resentments, to create new ways to cope with adversity, to build more intimacy, and effect positive change.