Proud To Be In The Drinking Minority – Kyle’s Naked Life

Kyle found himself in the drinking majority in his late 30s. Moderating, setting rules, and even rehab didn’t change that. Enter This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment. Kyle shares how those two things helped put him in the drinking minority.

drinking minority

I Started in the Drinking Minority

My parents were daily drinkers but growing up I did not drink much as I was a serious athlete so growing up it was not much of a thought or issue.

After college, I experienced terrible depression but initially did not cope by using alcohol. I did self-medicate with marijuana starting in my early twenties.

Enter Alcohol

Alcohol started to become an issue for me at age 38 after losing a “dream job” and moving to Portland, Maine where seemingly whatever could go wrong, went wrong. Marijuana was not effective to relieve my anxiety so I turned to alcohol. What stands out is when I eventually moved back to NJ and got my own apartment I began drinking alone and even drinking before work.

I tried moderating by saying I had a 2 drink maximum during the week which of course only lasted a few weeks.

Something Needed To Change

I read This Naked Mind and completed The Alcohol Experiment after leaving an outpatient rehab program due to insurance issues.

I loved the book and the science of the Alcohol Experiment and have not drank since with the exception of “Getting drunk for science” as Annie did. The stories on the podcast were eye-opening and helped to know that others were having similar issues with their drinking. Specifically, it helped hearing how people would go to different liquor stores so people at the store wouldn’t know how much they were actually drinking. I did that as well.

Ready to Join the Drinking Minority?

Are you curious to find out how reading This Naked Mind can help you join the drinking minority? Download the first chapter for free and start reading now!

Happier without Alcohol

I’m happier than I ever thought possible. My health has turned around. Most relationships are repaired. Job performance has improved. Sleep is much better (I had sleep apnea from drinking). I exercise and meditate daily just to name a few. I’m excited to help others; I coached my aunt through TAE and she is 3 months Alcohol-Free after 40 years of daily drinking. I’m also finally ready to share my life with someone and recently met someone at my brother’s wedding.

In The Drinking Minority

drinking minority

I would tell my old self to STOP DRINKING, that’s not who you are and to not be afraid to be in the minority. It’s great being in this drinking minority.

Share Your Story

Did you join the drinking minority with the help of our booksthe appthe podcasts, or another program? Share your story here and inspire others on their journey!

Are You In The Drinking Minority?

Does Kyle’s story have you wondering where you fall on the drinking spectrum? Are you part of the drinking majority or the drinking minority? Here are some facts and figures to help you with your research.

Alcohol Use in the United States

A pie chart showing that 85.6 percent of people ages 18 and older reported having consumed alcohol at some point in their lifetime.
  • Prevalence of Drinking: According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 85.6 percent of people ages 18 and older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime,1 69.5 percent reported that they drank in the past year,2 and 54.9 percent (59.1 percent of men in this age group and 51.0 percent of women in this age group) reported that they drank in the past month.3
  • Prevalence of Binge Drinking and Heavy Alcohol Use: In 2019, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 and older (29.7 percent of men in this age group and 22.2 percent of women in this age group4) reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month, and 6.3 percent (8.3 percent of men in this age group and 4.5 percent of women in this age group) reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.5
  • Emerging Trend—High-Intensity Drinking: High-intensity drinking is defined as consuming alcohol at levels that are two or more times the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds. Compared with people who did not binge drink, people who drank alcohol at twice the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds were 70 times more likely to have an alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visit, and those who consumed alcohol at 3 times the gender-specific binge thresholds were 93 times more likely to have an alcohol-related ED visit.6

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States

An illustration indicating that 14.5 million people ages 12 and older had alcohol use disorder in 2019.
  • People Ages 12 and Older: According to the 2019 NSDUH, 14.5 million (nearly 15 million) people ages 12 and older7 (5.3 percent of this age group8) had AUD. This number includes 9.0 million men (6.8 percent of men in this age group) and 5.5 million women (3.9 percent of women in this age group)

How do I know if it’s binge drinking, heavy alcohol use, high-intensity drinking, or alcohol use disorder?

Alcohol use disorder

A chronic brain disorder marked by compulsive drinking, loss of control over alcohol use, and negative emotions when not drinking. AUD can be mild, moderate, or severe. Recovery is possible regardless of severity. The DSM-IV, published by the American Psychiatric Association, described two distinct disorders—alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence—with specific criteria for each. The fifth edition, DSM-5, integrates the two DSM-IV disorders into a single disorder called AUD, with mild, moderate, and severe subclassifications.

Binge drinking

  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings BAC levels to 0.08 g/dL or higher. This typically occurs after a woman consumes 4 or more drinks or a man consumes 5 or more drinks—in about 2 hours.58
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual NSDUH, defines binge drinking as consuming 5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.59 
  • The Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey defines binge drinking as having 5 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks.60 

Heavy alcohol use (or heavy drinking):

  • NIAAA defines heavy drinking as follows:
    • For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week
    • For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week
  • SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month.

High-intensity drinking:

  • Consumption of 2 or more times the gender-specific thresholds for binge drinking, which is to say 10 or more standard drinks (or alcoholic drink-equivalents) for males and 8 or more for females. High-intensity drinking is consistent with drinking at binge levels II and III. The levels correspond to one to two times (I), two to three times (II), and three or more times (III) the standard gender-specific binge thresholds.6
  • The MTF survey defines high-intensity drinking as consuming 10 or more or 15 or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks.60

What about the drinking minority?

Since 2000, the number of drinkers in the world has decreased by almost 5 percentage points, from 47.6 to 43.0, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

drinking minority

So why does it feel as if those who drink are the majority if the opposite is true? There are a few factors at play here. First – society and marketing certainly play a role in how we perceive alcohol and those who drink it. And then there’s the issue that while the total number of drinkers may be down, for those who do drink alcohol consumption is up. So some might just be a minority within the majority when it comes to their drinking habits.

Remember that knowledge changes emotion which is the key to lasting change!