The Battle To Define Down the Meaning of Abuse
A new study shows that at some time in their lives "30.3 percent of adults have abused alcohol or suffered from alcoholism at some point in their lives."
That’s all? Just 3 in 10 have abused alcohol? I find that hard to believe. But wait, what does "abuse" mean?
According to those who wrote up the study over at the "National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism", the term "abuse" is defined as "those whose excessive drinking leads to personal and professional problems." Bridget Grant, the lead researcher on the study, also defined abuse thusly:
"The hallmarks of alcohol abuse are interpersonal problems, financial
problems and problems in daily living due to excessive drinking."
There’s nothing I like more than a crisp, clean, obvious, unambiguous definition of a word or phrase. They keep you out of trouble and they make communicating much easier and more efficient.
In my world, a "personal problem" related to "excessive drinking" would be having a harder time getting out of bed after an evening of sampling through one too many new French Rose imported by Kermit Lynch. I would also consider it a "problem in daily living" that I had to choose to stay the night at a friends house because after sampling more than 15 wines with a seven course meal I just didn’t feel like it was safe to drive home. These are definitely problems of a personal nature to me.
Despite my somewhat dubious perspective on this survey, I do find this statistic an interesting one:
"alcohol abuse and alcoholism rates were more prevalent at higher
income levels. Of those making less than $20,000 a year, rates of
alcohol disorders were 23.9 percent. For earners of $70,000 and above,
the rate was 41.4 percent."
Does this mean that low income folks simply can’t afford to buy alcohol? Does it mean they that low income affects negatively one’s appreciation of alcohol?
In any case, I’m not concerned with folks like me who sometimes drink enough to find themselves impaired. I’m really not. And to lump folks like me or others, who very occasionally drink enough dry rose at a 4th of July picnic to find themselves impaired enough to ask someone else to drive, into the harshly and judgmentally negative category of "abusers", is really not very useful.
Now, if we are talking about chronic over indulgence, then we have an issue. Then we have something that if it isn’t treated or reversed you can really have some problems.
Now…where’s that bottle of Rose! Damn it. I can’t find it. I can’t find my glass either.