“we need to stop the stigma towards drug users and addicts” and “we need to challenge the idea that being sober makes you boring” and “we need to stop acting like binge drinking to the extent you’re doing medical damage is fun and normal for young people” are all ideas that can and should coexist.
just so we’re clear, the threshold for “binge drinking to the extent you’re doing medical damage” is waaaay lower than you think.
I work in an obstetrician and gynaecologist’s office. we have to tell patients on a regular basis that they are binge drinking weekly when they think they are simply consuming a normal amount of alcohol on the weekends.
having more than 3 drinks in a single sitting if you have an estrogen based endocrine system is a binge that is medically significant.
having more than 5 in a sitting is a medically significant binge for someone with a testosterone based endocrine system.
every time you do this, it significantly impacts your risk of getting breast cancer, and damages your liver. it takes time to recover from that liver damage. if you’re having a 3-5 or more drink binge on a weekly basis, you are an alcoholic, medically speaking, and your liver is not recovering.
again: the bar for what binge drinking is, medically, is so much lower than what you think it is.
alcohol is a really toxic substance and not something you should fuck around with.
again: if you have an estrogenized hormone system (common for most women), then 3 drinks is a binge. if you have a testosteronized hormone system (common for most men), then 5 drinks is a binge.
anything above that number, consumed as frequently as weekly or more, and you’re medically a binge drinking alcoholic.
also, if you’re drinking any quantity of alcohol 6 days a week or more, that’s another threshold at which, medically speaking, you meet the definition of alcoholism. your liver needs more days without alcohol in your system than just one a week to recover and be healthy.
I don’t say any of this to shame anyone—to me, alcoholism or substance use disorders aren’t a sign of weakness or moral failing. and most of us genuinely don’t know this stuff.
rather—I point this out because it’s important to reduce harm, and find ways to live healthier, happier lives. there is a life outside of constant binge drinking. it’s not always easy to find it. but it’s out there. you deserve a life where your emotional needs are met by something other than alcohol, and a life in which your liver is healthy, and the ways you cope and celebrate and find joy don’t put you at increased risk of cancer.