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Blacking Out Three Nights A Week Doesn’t Make You An Alcoholic, Says Science We Can All Get Behind

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According to a New York Times article that I’m going to print out and shove in my mom’s face this Christmas when she calls me an alcoholic for making my gin and tonics too strong, just because someone drinks heavily does not mean they are actually an alcoholic. Finally, a statistic that doesn’t make me feel shitty about myself.

The finding, from a government survey of 138,100 adults, counters the conventional wisdom that every “falling-down drunk” must be addicted to alcohol. Instead, the results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that nine out of 10 people who drink too much are not addicts, and can change their behavior with a little — or perhaps a lot of — prompting.

Tell me something I don’t know, government study done by people with PhDs. Everyone knows alcoholics are people who wake up on days that don’t have sporting events, float trips, holidays, too much snow, warm weather, nothing meaningful planned, or get togethers with less than three people and immediately need a drink. Alcoholics drink for non-festive, non-creative reasons. People like you and me? We only abuse alcohol for social and practical reasons. Totally legit.

The one downside to these findings is that I might not be able to call myself a high-functioning alcoholic anymore, which is a bummer because it’s the only time I can apply the term “high-functioning” to myself.

As the article notes, it would simply take some prompting for heavy drinkers to cut back. But what could that prompting be?

Studies show that simply raising the price of an alcoholic beverage by 10 percent reduces alcohol consumption by 7 percent, suggesting that higher taxes on alcohol could make a significant dent in excessive drinking.


Zoning laws that reduce the number of establishments that serve alcohol in a given area can also curb excessive drinking.


In reality, raising prices or spacing out bars wouldn’t do much other than change how heavy social drinkers consume alcohol. Drinks are more expensive at bars now? Guess I’ll be at my house an extra hour pounding shots (which in theory is great, until you show up to the bar hammered and have lost all inhibitions about spending money). The point is, drinking, uh, ah, eh, uh…finds a way.

So go out and celebrate not being an alcoholic by drinking until you blackout, and regain consciousness in a fast food drive thru, either in the midst of intercourse or a fist fight. You earned it, guys.

[via The New York Times]

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