Risky Drinking

So this premiered on HBO in the US in December 2016.  Luckily for us the documentary Risky Drinking has now appeared on Youtube so we can watch it too 🙂

Here’s a synopsis/review from Esquire:

To qualify as a risky drinker, a woman has to drink more than three drinks in one day, or more than seven drinks in a week. A man must have more than four drinks in one day, or more than 14 in a week. The risk itself from breaching these limits isn’t simply defined; it ranges from increased risk of violence, accidents, and self-injury to increased risk of sexual assault. It means an increased risk that something will happen that will irreversibly change someone’s life.

Or, as the new documentary Risky Drinking from HBO and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows, risky drinking could have already changed someone’s life. Now, the risk is that their life will spiral completely out of control.

The documentary follows four individuals, each on the spectrum for at-risk drinking, and each on the verge of toppling further into their dependencies. Kenzie is a young professional who parties on weekends; most binge drinkers are in her age group, 18 to 34. She downs shots and dissolves into tears each night out. “We haven’t gotten raped or murdered yet,” says her friend. Then there’s Mike, who is on the verge of domestic violence with his wife, and Noel, whose dependency affects her two daughters. The last is Neal, a grandfather so dependent on alcohol that he thinks he’s going to die (and who violently shakes when off the drink).

Risky Drinking doesn’t finish their stories. All we know is that each tries to get help, whether from medication, support groups, or moderation management, which is a treatment plan that doesn’t require total abstinence. Whether they are successful—whether they can get out of range of “alcohol use disorder,” which makes up one third of the drinking spectrum—is left unanswered. It’s a frustratingly open ending. But then, frustration is what you feel as you watch Kenzie, Mike, Noel, and Neal drink themselves stupid.

As the documentary points out, 70 percent of Americans drink alcohol. It’s worth knowing the risks, even if most Americans aren’t at the disorder stage—at least not yet. Risky Drinking assumes you already know this. It’s just showing you what risky drinking itself looks like for real people, if you care to watch.

Here’s the trailer:

And if you want to watch the full documentary film go here:


Or here: https://youtu.be/4hKmYthx718

Interestingly in looking for the new link for you to watch I came across this panel interview with the experts featured and this is what they had to say:

“Alcohol is a bigger cost on society than all the rest of the drugs combined.” – George Koob, Ph.D.

“It’s the worst drug of all and it’s hidden in plain sight. – Stephen Ross, M.D.

“People don’t drink because they’re crazy; they drink because it works in some way.” – Carrie Wilkens, Ph.D.

“We do have a large epidemiological study in the field now that is looking at rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and we’re hopeful, but the early evidence is concerning.” – Deidra Roach, M.D.

Here’s the panel discussion in full:

8 thoughts on “Risky Drinking

  1. This doc. left me speechless. I worried it might be triggery for me but the total opposite happened. I was hurting for these people. When Noel and I think Mike was his name talked about moderation I knew it was useless for them. I felt for that young boy watching his father getting plastered and talking to him the way he did. I pray alcohol will not become an issue for him too.

    And Neal . I hate thinking what’s happened to him .
    So much more I’d like to say. This would be a good “bookclub” topic for our kind.

    1. It’s really hard to watch isn’t it Kim? So so sad and as you say – the children.

  2. Wow!
    That was really, really good.
    I wish everyone could watch this.
    I too, felt sad for these people, as their lives were unraveling.
    It was so painful.
    And that was me.
    Stuck in that pain.
    PS- I found it on youtube as your link was deleted.

    1. Me too Wendy to seeing myself in them. Thanks too for the heads up on the deleted link! Will try and locate new one and upload after work.

  3. Hey Lou, How timely – I was only watching this the other day. Was so so sad. The guy whose son visited him on the island and he spent his whole time getting drunk. I felt so sorry for his son who was obviously mortified and embarrassed at his dad. It pained me to see, and hit home.

    Thanks for sharing it.. xx

    1. Hey lovely 🙂 Hope that you are well? Agreed – so sad and was difficult to watch xx

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