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Ask an Alcoholic

Natface's thread inspired me to put together a little something that can hopefully provide some information and create some good vibes. Before anything else, if you have advice for how to help a family member in this position, head over to the thread before you even think about posting here.


Without further ado: Hi, I'm Danni and I'm an alcoholic!

I'm so far past the point of defensive, knee-jerk reactions and I've been working to try to stay on the wagon for a number of years now. It's not all success, but it isn't all failure either. Every day is a struggle and sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.

Not everyone is the same, but I can say that I went through years and years of being very defensive. There was always an excuse or a reason why I wouldn't stop drinking. I even, when confronted a long time ago in college by the Residential Life staff (who I worked for), made such a production of being offended that I basically convinced them that everything was fine (though I assume they knew).

The reality is that people aren't going to change unless they want to. It took some embarrassing and thankfully non-harmful experiences and a lot of time to come to a place where I could say that I had a problem. Even longer was time until I sincerely had a desire to do something about it. Even now, three years into a cycle of getting better and then getting worse, it's still a struggle.


What has worked for me, personally, is to approach from a "harm reduction" standpoint. AA and other programs can have a very zero-sum approach. While it's true that most individuals who are alcoholics don't really have the option of "drinking responsibly", you can think of it like smaller goals. I have the most success when I can, say, drink beer instead of hard liquor. Even if I'm having four or five beers, the time spent and lower alcohol content helps me to manage instead of going into a blackout after which I may or may not do things I'm deeply ashamed of. Having a stable home life based on honesty is, for example, one of my best pillars of support.

So, if you're keen: ask me anything. I'm just one person, but maybe I can provide a little insight into something that is so culturally and personally charged.

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