HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

The Harm of Labeling: Why We Say That You Are Not an Alcoholic

There is simply no reason to label yourself an "alcoholic". The label is not merely unhelpful, it can be positively harmful.

Rather than calling yourself bad names, we have found it much more helpful for our members to rationally evaluate their alcohol use and to rationally choose the goal which they feel is best for them as individuals: safer drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting.

That is right. You do not have to call yourself bad names or declare yourself "powerless" even if quitting is your choice--you will find quitting much easier the more powerful you believe yourself to be.

We believe that you have a right to drink to intoxication if that is your choice so long as you take measures to hurt no one. Recreational intoxication is neither a sin nor a crime nor a disease, despite efforts of the NIAAA to declare that drinking more than 4 drinks in a sitting is a mental illness--and 3 drinks if you are a woman.

Recreational intoxication is a lifestyle choice exactly as are homosexuality or playing tiddly winks. These things are not diseases.

I have been personally acquainted with many people who accepted the labels "alcoholic" and "powerless" and whose drinking became life-threateningly severe as a result.

We respect everyone's right to freedom of choice--and this includes the right to choose AA if you find it helpful for you. But if you do not find AA helpful then there is no reason for you to call yourself an "alcoholic". Because you are not.

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