Emily is an associate editor at a mid-sized publishing house who is starting to become aware—but only dimly aware–that her drinking might be a problem. She’s always been a diligent employee, working long hours to meet the deadlines that go hand-in-hand with her work. In fact, her job often takes priority over her marriage. Her husband is an easygoing guy, but he’s getting fed up with her missing dinner and not having the energy for sex. Emily senses that they are growing apart and she’s not sure what to do about it because she feels the need to commit herself to work: The failing economy has forced layoffs and her company is cutting back on the number of books it is planning to publish. Emily worries that she’s going to lose her job along with other competent editors in her department. And to make matters worse, she recently began to suspect that her husband might be having an affair.
If any of these problems had happened in isolation, Emily probably could have overcome them. Instead, she now feels overwhelmed and constantly wound up. For the past couple of years she’s turned to drinking two, three, or more glasses of wine a night to help her “unwind” and escape her personal and professional pressures. At the same time she is often too preoccupied to think about food and either eats poorly or drinks on an empty stomach.
Alcohol now affects Emily differently than it did in the past. Whereas she used to feel mellow after a glass of wine or two, she now sometimes finds herself feeling vaguely angry, but unable to articulate what she is angry about. This only makes her husband more distant. She’s even made a few gaffes at work, prompting her senior editor to meet with her about them. In more secure economic times this might not have been a big deal, but these peccadilloes are now putting her job in jeopardy.
Emily is not alone. The father who falls asleep after having a couple of drinks with dinner, missing out on time with his kids. The woman who has unprotected sex with men she’s just met in bars. The college student who has trouble making it to class because he was drunk the night before. The mom who looks forward to her daily double glass of wine to help her get through the day. All of these people have one thing in common with Emily: they are Almost Alcoholics.
Almost Alcoholics are filled with confusion, hurt, and anger that they don’t know how to handle. They drink—not “a lot” and maybe not even “too much”—but just enough to sow the seeds of doubt that they have a problem. If they went to a doctor, they wouldn’t quite fit the criteria for the diagnosis of alcohol dependence or abuse, which is why they fall through the cracks in the medical system. In fact, the medical literature calls them “diagnostic orphans” because psychiatrists don’t know how to identify and diagnose them and thus how to help them. But that only adds to the problem. Even though there isn’t an “official” diagnosis, there is tremendous suffering. They are in trouble.
Almost Alcoholic was written to shine a light on patterns of drinking that until now have been largely ignored. These patters put people on the path away from “normal social drinking” and toward serious alcohol abuse or dependence. These patterns affect people of all ages, all economic levels, all social strata. Those involved don’t consider themselves alcoholics—nor do their doctors—but they are Almost Alcoholic. This book offers proven solutions that will help these men and women solve their problem and restore their emotional and physical health.