When I was in college, our drinking habits did not have a name. We simply “partied”. Apparently, we were binge drinkers.

Once known as “heavy episodic drinking”, the modern definition of “binge drinking” is consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one session. Some definitions reduce that number to four drinks for females. The type of drinking is usually associated with college students who attend parties on the weekend, drinking only once or twice per week.

Recent surveys have shown that binge drinking has been dropping at universities over the past decade, but non-binge drinking has been on the rise. That means to me that people are drinking a little less alcohol, more often. This isn’t exactly an improvement on the situation.

In college, we drank until we passed out at least twice a week, sometimes we would drink from Thursday through Sunday. We didn’t count our drinks as sometimes we would pick up any glass that had alcohol in it. But I’ll tell you one thing, we sure weren’t limiting ourselves to five drinks! By all definitions, we weren’t alcoholics, just binge drinkers, even though we fit many of the other definitions of alcoholism. Alcohol was putting part of our lives in jeopardy (many of us dropped out or got kicked out of school), our sexual activity was unsafe and unwise, we drove drunk, and we drank to get us over our hangovers. By all accounts, at the age of 18, my entire dorm was populated by alcoholics!

I don’t know how many of them survived those years intact, how many of them went on to live lives of sobriety, or how many of them ended up hard drinkers like me. I don’t know, because I was one of those who got kicked out of school. I was apparently too busy drinking to attend class. As a result, it took me over 20 years to graduate from college. Yes, I think alcohol was affecting my life.