Some people have a way with food. My aunt is one of those people. Since she is a connoisseur of fine food, I always look forward to family gatherings at her house. And with that appreciation for fine food comes an appreciation for fine wine. Not strange at all.

She loves to pair wine with her meals. Pork chops with pinot noir. Lamb with a good Cabernet Sauvignon. It seems that she has a glass of wine with every meal she prepares. And that is what scares me. I guess part of me can’t help but wonder at what point pairing a good wine with good food becomes an excuse to have alcohol whenever she can have it. If she doesn’t get it with her meal, she becomes a little perturbed.

For example, she’ll come to my parents’ house for a family gathering. Now my parents are complete teetotalers, of a mind that any consumption of alcohol is unwise for anyone. I don’t argue that they are a little extreme in their views, but given my father’s family history, they have good reason.  Therefore, they do not provide wine with the meals they provide.

I understand that there is nothing wrong with having a glass of wine with a meal. But you would think that if your host is not serving wine, you would go without for a night. Not so with my aunt. If wine isn’t provided, she’ll sneak in a small bottle and pour it in her glass. Sometimes she’ll bring it in a water bottle to disguise what beverage she is drinking.

Now, I’ve never seen her drink more than a few glasses at one sitting. I guess you could say I have seen her buzzed, but I have never really seen her drunk. However, I can’t help but ask myself, is she dependent upon alcohol? Does the fact that she has to have it at every meal speak to a deeper problem? Is this tendency to drink at every meal just the surface of something deeper? What does she do at home, alone? Since alcoholism runs in my family, I can’t help but be concerned for her. Her father was an alcoholic, and her sister attends the meetings. Is there a deeper problem here? Or am I just being overly concerned? All I know is that I don’t want to see her end up like other members of my family.

Is it possible to be an alcoholic without being a drunkard? Should my aunt seek help?

The video below attempts to answer commonly asked questions about alcohol abuse and how to help you or your loved one from addiction.