The business manager asked me to fill out a medical history form again for this year. Most of it was very easy; I'm clearly not pregnant, have never had a stroke, etc.
I spent several minutes on the checkbox for "Alcohol/Alcoholism". In the end I checked "yes".
The hygienist I've seen for the last couple years wasn't there. The new hygienist was much younger, and I'm a sucker for a pretty girl with facial piercings.
As we discussed my current oral hygiene practices, something became apparent: I was a horrible drunk.
"Well, after brushing, I use Listerine."
"You might want to switch to something else, Listerine is very high in alcohol."
They've put me back on an horrible prescription mouthwash to help my gums. And felt it necessary to tell me that there was no alcohol in it.
I know I have problems with alcohol, and I work hard to keep them carefully sequestered in a facet of my life. Today was a perfect example of why I want there to be shades of grey in the word "alcoholic". I no longer keep certain liquors in my home, because I know I'll abuse them. Yet I can leave the open bottle of Bombay Sapphire alone, because I don't like gin. Or low-end bourbons, or amaretto, or all the other high-proof oddities in my liquor cabinet.
This was an object lesson as to why I have every incentive to lie. If I won't drink top-shelf gin at home, am I in danger of drinking my mouthwash? Is this what my local society is compelled to think if someone admits to having trouble with alcohol?
Basically, it boils down to the same reason I don't tell people that I have a mental illness: I'm not willing to be treated as the low-end specimen.