I'm sure I'm not alone amongst bloggers at having the above accusation levelled at them, but it does begin to grate. Its bad enough when friends and family who don't know my drinking habits show concern, but for random strangers to whom I have no connection to try to use it to besmirch my character is beyond the pale.

The chambers dictionary defines alcoholism as "alcoholism noun, pathol 1 a severe and potentially fatal condition caused by physical dependence on alcohol, habitual and extensive consumption of which impairs physical and mental health. 2 loosely heavy drinking habits."
an alcoholic being someone who has alcoholism. 

I certainly don't have a dependence on alcohol as I am able to go for weeks at a time without a drink. I am a social drinker (even if I smetimes have to make my own company) and  I drink beer for the taste, not for the alcohol content.Definitions of heavy vary but maybe ten beers per week does not equal heavy drinking.
So have other bloggers had to face this accusation from people who don't know any better? What have you said to them or have you just ignored it?


  1. I think they should be ignored, without hesitation. Would they level the same accusation against a wine writer? I'm betting not.

  2. "betting" - great! Now I look like a gambling addict as well!

  3. I get it all the time myself but at the end of the day, I don't "need" a drink, I "want" a drink because I enjoy the experience, the taste and the social-ability. I do not, however enjoy getting or being drunk. In my book that makes me less likely to be an alcoholic than almost every Irish person out on a weekend.

  4. Melglee has a point there.

    I had this very discussion with a friend a few weeks back. For me I find it puzzling that someone (other than a close friend or family member) thinks they have the right to accuse you of anything, drink related or otherwise. I've had two colleagues say such things having followed my Twitter account. I had to block them and politely ask them to mind their own business. For anyone who asks in the future, tell them to visit the AA website and follow their questionnaire to understand the types of things alcoholics suffer with, then ask them to consider these things before insulting anyone else. If they have genuine concern for you then they would not be so insensitive. Busy body to$$ers.

  5. Thanks for your feedback everyone, my thoughts are pretty much the same.
    Megless, oh you'd better not be a smoker too...that would be the unholy trinity of addiction ;)

  6. Interesting thoughts, Steve.

    For me, I do think we need to be careful about the 'want' vs 'need' thing....addiction issues are not that clear cut. It is more about the way we have constructed cultural myths about addiction: what defines it, what it does to us, who has the right to say 'enough'etc. In the end, alcohol is a drug, we have just culturally accepted it on the basis of things like tradition, its general impacts on us and society, and the structural power vested in many of those who 'supply' us. However, to deny its dangers seems wrong to me - like EVERYTHING we do, drinking alcohol creates risk, it is about how we choose to manage it that counts.

    The other issue is that people who read this and other material see us at snapshots in time. I too have had people ask 'Do you spend all you time in a pub?'....the answer is very much a 'No', nor do I drink at home very often. They just don't bother looking at the timestamps everytime I make a comment on Twitter, FB or on my blog!

    I'm not that bothered what they think, tbh!!

  7. I've always had a low tolerance to alcohol, and it's getting worse as I get older. I can also easily go for days and weeks without drinking, and frequently do, for the sake of my health. Like most people reading this, I drink for the taste of beer -- I regard the intoxicating effect of alcohol as a bit of nuisance, but sadly the presence of alcohol is part of the character of beer, and I do like quite strong beers too. I've got very good at regulating my intake at beer festivals and tastings and had to accustom myself to leaving beers unfinished and pouring the remains of sample bottles away, much as it still hurts to do so -- I was brought up to "waste not want not". I find it quite annoying when people pour me large measures of beer thinking they're being generous, when really I'd rather only have enough to get a hang of the taste and then use the spare capacity for something else. And I fint it deeply embarassing when people who know I'm a beer writer assume I must be rollicking on 14 pints a day.

  8. People rarely call me an alcoholic.

    Because, if they do, I explain patiently what it's like when someone close to you is an alcoholic. How it feels to find them in a coma on Christmas Day after drinking a bottle of vodka hidden in a toilet cistern.

    I enjoy a good drink. Sometimes, I enjoy it too much. But I know at first-hand the difference between heavy drinking and alcohol dependency.

  9. I have (half-jokingly, to be fair) been described as such by some of my friends. They just didn't seem to get that a) It is possible to go to a pub and have 3 or 4 pints for the sociable experience, without getting drunk, b) At the time of my heaviest drinking, I was finishing work around midnight, so when I got in at 3am after a few beers with my workmates, I wasn't necessarily getting bladdered for hours on end, and c) I've inherited quite a high natural tolerance to alcohol, so a few pints to me is a pretty standard, quiet drink, not a piss up!

    When people haven't worked in the drinks industry or take an interest in drinking as a hobby, they tend to (in my experience) have a skewed view of people who drink regularly and brand them all as 'pissheads' or 'alkies'. Granted, some of them probably are, but very few. The typical pub regular is just that; regular, not dependent.

  10. I am sure none of the bloggers is an alcoholic person. It would be very tough for me to stay fit in their role. In fact i avoid beers Monday and Tuesday. I admit sometimes i exceed on Friday, that's the social drinking

  11. I used to manage an off sales near my house. That very quickly showed me the difference between an above average consumption drinker and an alcoholic. I love to have a beer especially strong Belgian varieties. If I worked out in units my weekly consumption it would probably be the same as 10/12 tins of harp.

    Now in the shop I worked in I served many people 12 tins of harp EVERY DAY. That's the difference between someone who enjoys a drink and an alcoholic.

    For the alcoholics I served daily 12 tins of beer was at the extreme low end of the scale. Some were drinking a litre and a half of vodka a day and others were drinking three bottles of strong wine....