I recently watched the HBO documentary, Risky Drinking. It delivers a powerful, disturbing, and important message about dangers to our health and happiness from what are now called alcohol use disorders.

The documentary had four segments. All of them were meaningful.

The first segment focused on binge drinking. The filmmakers followed a group of 20-somethings. I watched that segment twice. The second time I watched it, I did so with two experts on women of that age: my two, 20-something daughters.

After we watched the segment, I asked them if it seemed somewhat accurate. One of them quickly replied, “That’s exactly what it’s like.”

According to Carrie Wilkens, a PhD, and subject matter expert featured in that segment of the film, the biggest cohort of binge drinkers are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Binge drinking for women generally means four or more drinks in a single drinking episode. For men, it’s five or more. Wilkens says, “There’s lots of suffering that goes on that is kind of whitewashed away because people think, ‘Oh, it’s just fun. We’re having a good time.'”

She also explained things have changed in terms of how we think about alcohol use disorders: it used to be black and white: you either had a problem or you didn’t. The way it’s thought about now is on a spectrum of risk, and binge drinking automatically places you in higher risk range.

When you get a little wobbly or a little sleepy when you drink, that’s your natural system of your body saying, “I’ve had enough alcohol. Stop drinking.” When people override that system, it breaks, and the consequences include a range of problems, many of which can change the course of one’s life.

Please watch the documentary. And whether you watch it or not, please join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,


p.s. A few years back I wrote a series of posts I called “Teenproofing” to help parents navigate a time period I had just been through. Here’s a link to part 1 of the series, where I shared my story of coming home to stop a teen party — and highlighted the problem that ALL parents of teens face.