This post was originally published on July 2, 2015.
The myth that those with alcohol problems are only low-bottom alcoholics who guzzle booze in the morning sometimes keeps problem drinkers from thinking they need to stop or getting help. Because these problem drinkers aren’t chugging Popov in the gutter and living in a shady motel, they don’t identify with the word “alcoholic.” And they certainly want nothing to do with AA.
But one woman is trying to change this.
Fine Wine to Bad Blackouts
Lucy Rocca, a well-educated and successful mother from a suburb of Sheffield, England, found that the wild drinking patterns of her 20s followed her into her 30s. But she couldn’t believe she had a problem, given her taste for fine wine and her middle-class lifestyle. Regardless, her two-bottle-a-night habit finally landed her in an emergency room, where she woke up covered in her own dried-up vomit with no recollection of how she got there.
Thankfully, it was a wake-up call.
Though Rocca still doesn’t think she’s an alcoholic, she does recognize she can’t drink safely. She thinks acknowledging a “middle ground” kind of alcohol dependency is important.
“The word [alcoholic]implied a level of alcohol dependency that resulted in the wheels falling off entirely: the loss of a job, involvement of the social services or a drink-driving conviction,” Rocca wrote in The Telegraph. “My own experiences with booze fell far short of such extremes, and yet I knew I had a problem.”
Reaching a Tipping Point
Instead of pissing on AA, as some people do when they get sober outside of the 12-step program, or droning on and on that alcoholism-as-a-disease is bunk, Rocca decided to put her new-found sobriety to good use. In 2012, she started Soberistas.com, a blog and social networking site tailored to women with destructive drinking patterns who want to get on the wagon and steer clear of booze entirely.
Apparently, there are plenty of women who identify with this “middle ground” dependency because in just one year the site collected 20,000 members.
“Most of the women who use my site didn’t regard themselves as alcoholics and for that reason the majority had been turned off Alcoholics Anonymous,” Rocca writes. “They come to the site because they know that they are at a tipping point—a place where those carefree days and nights of social drinking and office networking are morphing into something else, when the bad feelings are beginning to outweigh the good.”
Just like an AA meeting, Soberistas provides a forum for women to support each other in their sobriety and remind each other that staying away from booze does not condemn you to a boring, routine existence. In their personal stories, they describe all the benefits of putting the plug in the jug, which include waking up without the agony of a hangover, kicking even more ass at work and not retching at the sight of your last hook-up.
Whether or not Rocca or these other problem drinkers are alcoholics in the proper sense of the word is a moot point—they know where alcohol takes them and that it takes them to hell, and they want to stop the nonsense.
Let’s hope Soberistas starts a brother site called Soberbros to help out the dudes suffering from middle ground dependency too.