Healthy People 2020 is a government initiative designed to help Americans get healthier. We’re a country largely known for sedentary work, obesity problems, less than wholesome food options, and, as we discussed in our last blog, a drinking problem. It could be the day pigs fly when America as an entire country decides to abstain from the consumption of alcohol. In the meantime, Americans are consuming more alcohol than they have in nearly 30 years. Researcher reports have revealed that many Americans don’t know what healthy drinking is, don’t know what the “proper” amounts of alcohol to consume are, and don’t particularly think there is anything unhealthy about drinking, even in the occasional excess.
According to the Healthy People 2020 initiative there is such a thing as healthy drinking and a definitive numerical line between what is healthy drinking and what is unhealthy drinking. About 448 “standard” drinks per person per year is considered the highest healthy amount of alcohol for an individual to consume. The NIAAA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines one standard drink as containing 14 grams of our alcohol. Translated to everyday drink size lingo, that’s a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. All together, the highest amount of alcohol Americans should be consuming to stay healthy is about 2.1 gallons every year.
Counting drinks for a man who is struggling with active alcohol addiction is about as helpful as counting calories for someone who doesn’t care to regulate what he eats. Men with alcohol addiction do, on some level, deeply desire to stop drinking, stop hurting themselves, and live a healthier life. The mechanics of alcoholism in the brain and body make it extremely difficult to just stop drinking. Four-hundred and forty-eight drinks per year is a very specific number and it is unlikely anything close to a majority of Americans are going to keep a 365-day tally of how many standard drinks they have consumed. For men who are recovering from alcohol, there is a snippet of wisdom they carry with them which eradicates the idea of a “healthy” number of drinks. Men who have lived with active alcohol addiction know that it is not any number of drinks which cause a problem, but the very first drink. The myth of regulation or control in drinking for a man who has become alcoholic is a dangerous, life threatening myth. All it takes is one drink- the very first drink- to put a man in a tailspin of alcoholism. Not one drink is what “causes the problem” of alcoholism. Each and every drink is the problem, the reasons for drinking are the problem, and the way that drinking affects a man’s life, is the problem. There may be a way to do “healthy drinking” for “normal drinkers” who haven’t lived with alcoholism. Men in recovery know that healthy drinking can never include alcohol, in any capacity.
If your drinking has become one of the greatest problems in your life, it is time to seek help. You can find freedom from addiction by creating sustainable changes as a foundation for a sustainable sobriety. Call Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon today for information on our programs of treatment for men struggling with alcoholism: (503) 850-2474