HBO Documentary Examines Risky Drinking

People cheers two glasses of beerFor many people in America, binge drinking has become a core part of their social lives. This has created a culture that, in many cases, excuses dangerous behavior that is caused by alcohol abuse. Because of this, it is imperative that we, as a society, have a hard discussion about what this means for our young people, our future, and how far past the point of unacceptability we have come. Recently, HBO and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have produced a documentary called Risky Drinking, which looks into the lives of various people who suffer from their own battles with alcohol abuse.

Binge drinking statistics

Binge drinking is classified as when a male consumes 5 or more drinks, or a female consumes 4 or more drinks, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In the United States, approximately 17% of adults binge drink more than four times in a single month, according to the Center of Disease Control. This is especially a common trend amongst young adults, particularly college students. Indeed, nearly 90% of all underage drinking takes place when young people binge drink.

“Risky Drinking” documentary

HBO’s new documentary, Risky Drinking, is far more than just a collection of statistics. Indeed, it isn’t even necessarily an “issue” film. What makes it such a powerful, riveting watch is that it simply presents the lives of several real human beings who are struggling with alcohol abuse in different ways. In the film, there are four different subjects that are followed.

The first of these subjects is Kenzie, professional working young woman in Denver who drinks on the weekends. Then there is Mike, who suffers from alcohol dependence, which is ruining his relationship with his wife and son. Third is Rhonda, who drinks moderately once a week with friends to relax, but who watches her friend, Noel, fall apart from binge drinking. And lastly is Neal, a family man who tried rehabilitation multiple times, to no avail.

Deromanticizing alcoholism

Risky Drinking, at its heart, is about the real faces that are dealing with alcohol abuse. By tackling the human element of this issue, the documentary succeeds at eliminating the romanticism that has been built up in our culture of alcohol abuse. The film doesn’t seek to judge its subjects, but instead presents the simple reality for so many Americans, and why we should strive to do better when it comes to alcohol abuse.