Living on the Border of Alcoholism
The alcoholic is portrayed in novels and on-screen as depraved and incompetent, and the stigma associated with being an alcoholic is based on those perceptions in the minds of many.
The fear of being associated with all of those negative connotations may keep a person from owning up to how serious their drinking problem has become. Very few, if any, want to own the label alcoholic. Because they don’t fit the worst characterizations of alcoholism, they reason that they are still okay. Actually, the number of people with an almost-alcoholic drinking problem is frighteningly large.
The problem of near-alcoholism has been well researched and written about. It can be hard for people living in the almost-alcoholic borderlands to recognize their problem – they don’t fit with stereotyped versions portrayed on-screen, and at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings they come away feeling they aren't as bad off as some.
Normally, one could ask friends and family what they think, but drinkers tend to surround themselves with other drinkers. Those closest to the almost-but-not-quite alcoholic will likely be people who share their lifestyle. Therefore, what is needed is an unbiased third party to talk to about drinking habits, like a family physician. In the meantime, the NCADD offers an “Am I Alcoholic?” online self-test.