Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014


Jeanne Phillips, writer of the Dear Abby column got it really wrong in today’s advice column. (San Francisco Chronicle 4/17/14). A troubled wife writes that her husband consumes “six to twelve” cans of beer daily after work. Dear Abby writes, “You husband is an alcoholic.”

Wrong. A person who can keep a job, maintain relationships and function in society and drinks a lot of beer is not an alcoholic. An alcoholic is a person who admits his life is taken over by alcohol. Only the drinker can call himself an alcoholic. There is no known medical or scientific test that can prove a person is an alcoholic.

Name-calling only interferes with person admitting he has an alcohol problem. He becomes more resistant to admitting he has a problem. Phillips is right when she suggests the wife seek help from Al-Anon where she may find strategies to help her husband deal with whatever problems he may have with drink.


Anonymous Andrew Harris said...

Oops - I guess this comment went to your statement about drones. Here it is:
Anonymous Andrew Harris said...

Hey Robert,
A guy who has 6-12 cans of beer every day, especially while at home, is a drunk. At that amount he's numbing himself to something, and, given he does this at home, he's blocking out the others in his family. Waiting for the drunk to declare himself a drunk is a fool's errand. Alcoholism does not start with the admission of alcoholism, it starts with drinking too much. What's too much is as much the decision of the loved ones as the drinker. This guy is a functioning alcky. One doesn't have to fall down in the gutter, lose jobs, fuck up everything one touches to be a drunk. And, who the hell wants to hang around, be married to, grow up with someone who gets drunk every night? Having grown up in an alcoholic family, I know that waiting for the drunk to self proclaim is denial, pure and simple. Al-Anon is hardly a panacea - often it becomes a way to enable the drunk to stay a drunk, because it rarely offers help for people to set a boundary, and stick to it. Only a boundary that tells the drunk to stop drinking, deal with the inherent wound being self-medicated, or go on in life without his/her partner, children, and loved ones, will work.

Love to Ann,

5:17 PM

5:19 PM  

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