*Will contain spoilers for seasons 1-5 of Big Bang Theory*
Apparently no one is talking about it, and it doesn’t seem a likely topic to come up in a serial sitcom with a laugh track. It would be, by far, the most serious issue they’d touch on, so I’m not holding my breath.
But she does.
She drinks when she’s stressed (when she was drinking with Leonard’s mother), drinks more than she intends to (numerous times she mentions this), does things she regrets while drinking (sleeping with Raj, sleeping with Leonard post breakup), and drinks to the point of passing out (several times she mentions she doesn’t remember what happened the night before, and she didn’t remember (sleeping with Raj or what happened between them).
She also drinks in private (several times Leonard walks in on her drinking since Season 1) and tries to hide the amount of liquor she drinks when drinking socially (season 5 she’s drinking with Amy and Bernadette and remarks that they finished the bottle, but she finished the vast majority of it. She then tells them not to talk about it when they point this out).
So why isn’t this being talked about?
Well, the biggest issue I see is the simple normalization of alcoholism. Most of the standard behaviours of alcoholics are featured in a lot of shows and movies that feature 18-35 year old characters. Binge drinking, drinking until you vomit, drinking to the point that you pass out are so normalized that people don’t realize that these are alcoholic behaviours.
I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with drinking, but I do feel there is something very wrong with media normalizing alcoholic behaviours. Young people who are drinking don’t realize that it’s not normal to always puke after drinking. Young people don’t realize that it’s not normal to drink until you pass out. Young people don’t realize that binge drinking is considered, in the United States, as having more than 4 (female) or 5 drinks (male) in one sitting.
Binge drinking increases the amount of risky behaviour that people engage in, including driving while intoxicated, having unprotected sex, violence, etc.
I’ve met several people in real life that tell me, braggingly, that they don’t remember the night before because they drank too much. They laugh it off as though it were something that everyone does – because they believe it. This idea surrounds us through our media, and it’s costing us.
In fact, alcohol has the highest cost, both personally and societally, ranking above heroin, marijuana, crack-cocaine, meth and mushrooms (study performed in Britain). And by far, the burden is put on others.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, you may have a drinking problem. Please try to get help – there’s plenty of free advice out there, and several programs available. Keep in mind that Alcoholics Anonymous does have listed that one of the 12 steps is to hand yourself over to God or a Higher Power and thus might not be for everyone.
Alcohol treatment might also be covered under your employer’s Employee Assistant Program (EAP).