Book Review: Can I Keep Drinking?

Can I Keep Drinking?:  How You Can Decide When Enough Is Enough, by Cyndi Turner

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Author’s Den.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Although for rather personal reasons I choose to refrain from drinking [1], I consider myself a moderationist when it comes to my approach on the proper use of alcohol that avoids its abuse but recognizes it as a good thing and an enjoyable thing in its proper use.  I give that as a bit of context because it suggests that I am not the ideal person to read this book, although where I stand is not far from where the author herself stands.  That said, although very little about this book applies to me, this book does present a thoughtful approach to dealing with alcohol abuse that gives readers a chance to examine themselves as to whether they can drink in a moderate way that does not cause problems in their lives.  To be sure, much depends on self-control as well as the existence of other issues that make drinking more difficult–the use of medications, issues of sexual abuse and mental health, difficult family history, or the existence of tolerance that has pickled the mind and body with alcohol and led to full-blown dependence.

This book is close a standard length of nearly 200 pages–a bit over 100 pages in its e-book format–and is divided into several chapters.  The first chapter introduces with the obvious truism that not everyone who drinks has a problem.  The second chapter asks why treatment for problem drinking assumes a one-size fit all solution of abstinence.  The third chapter asks the reader to do a self-assessment to figure out where they sit on the spectrum of drinkers.  The fourth chapter looks at the effect of alcohol on the body.  After this, the author spends a couple of chapters dealing with change management, before providing a detailed quiz about whether the reader is able to drink moderately based on their behavioral patterns and habits.  After this the author discusses what a moderate drinking plan is–it’s pretty moderate, one or two drinks over the course of an evening at most and how it can be maintained in the face of life’s stresses and pressures.  The tenth and final chapter contains some very practical discussions on the resources that someone can have when it comes to drinking–some of which, like Celebrate Recovery, the approach used by my step-grandfather, are useful for people with serious life struggles like mental health issues and personal histories of sexual abuse who are not chemically dependent.

Obviously, this book is aimed at problem drinkers, those whose drinking has caused them some trouble in life, and who want to know if it is possible for them to drink in a reasonable and moderate fashion.  The answer the author gives is “maybe.”  Assuming that someone’s drinking has not reached a critical stage, and they are able to work on overcoming the issues that led them to abuse drinking in the first place, it may be possible to drink in a moderate fashion if someone wishes to do so.  Many will, however, find themselves impossible to enjoy alcohol on anything approaching a frequent use while being able to maintain sobriety in their lives, and the author does not seem untroubled by this.  She does not make any false claims about the universality of the possibility of moderate drinking for problem drinkers, but rather seeks for people to examine themselves and look at the context of their lives and habits and resolve to make better habits and take responsibility for their behavior and make sure that they are not under the domination of any sort of chemicals.  Particularly noteworthy is her connection of mental health issues and histories of rape and abuse with problem drinking, as providing a large part of the context that encourages people to drink for self-medication, only to slide deeper into dependence and addiction.  Although it may not have been the author’s intent, this book certainly convinced me that my own wary and guarded approach towards drinking in light of my own life and history is a wise one, and so this book had value to me even as a non-drinker.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/02/21/book-review-the-alcoholism-and-addiction-cure/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/04/19/an-ambivalent-culture/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/02/21/book-review-addicts-at-the-cross/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/04/06/book-review-passion-for-pinot/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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