Alcoholism By the Numbers


Based on this drawing, I favor the side of the brain with all the pretty colors!


You hear people speak of right brain and left brain dominance… I am of the brain dominance that doesn’t remember the side of the brain in which I am dominant. I think that makes me thick-sculled, or forgetful or maybe I’m a nihilist… The fact is I just don’t care.


Here is the bottom line: I like words and I don’t understand numbers. Show me one of those equations with parentheses and plus signs and mysterious integers marked with X’s and my Ban Invisible Solid fails me – my upper lip and my eyeballs sweat… I do not even try.


But below are some numbers I understand. And they are important to those of us who drink way too much, and to those of us who feel alone while we drink too much. Read them and weep.

The NCADD and the NIH report that in the United States:

  • 87% of all people over the age of 18 drink alcohol;
  • 25% of all people over the age of 18 are binge drinkers;
  • 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence (1 in 12 adults);
  • Several million additional people are “fringe bingers” (good band name) who engage in risky drinking patterns;
  • 7 million children live in a household with alcohol abuse;
  • There are 90,000 alcohol related deaths each year (it is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death);
  • 5.4 million youths between the ages of 12 – 20 are binge drinkers;
  • 1/2 of all adults have a family history of alcohol abuse;
  • 30.2 million people over the age of 12 (I mean if you are driving at 12 and DUI – I don’t know what to say…) report they have driven under the influence;
  • 223 billion dollars are spent annually – $1.90 per drink – on the misuse of alcohol (I spent almost that much myself…) for insurance premiums, law enforcement and lost job productivity.


Today I’m not drinking because I’m doing it by the numbers

How come you’re not drinking?