Premieres December 19 at 8 pm

Risky Drinking

Where Are They Now?

The subjects of Risky Drinking speak out about life after filming and the progress they’ve made.

KENZIE

HBO: How has your drinking changed since you participated in this documentary?

Kenzie: When the documentary was filmed, I was in mourning from losing someone close to me to cancer, and just getting back into the dating scene after a painful break up one year prior. I truly was not myself, so a lot has changed. I really only party (drink heavily) on big holidays, and even then, I don't drink as much. I'm happy again, so I don't feel like partying to that extreme, which was partly due to being in that young, single phase of life, and to keep my mind off of the loss I was feeling.

HBO: What is happening in your life right now?

Kenzie: I'm getting married to Pat! We had just started dating during the film, and I was so unsure of my own feelings. The last two years we have grown so close, and it's clear we're a perfect team. I'm very lucky. Last year I bought a condo before we were engaged, and he bought a house. We now live together in the house in Denver.

Over the past two years, I've received two promotions at work and continue to do digital marketing and sales development for the same company.

HBO: What message would you like to share with viewers?

Kenzie: Don't drink if you're feeling down in any way or if something is nagging at you. If I'm upset for any reason, I simply don't drink. I've learned that I will just wind up later in tears. I’m proud that Pat and I have never had a drunken fight.

NOEL

HBO: How has your drinking changed since you participated in this documentary?

Noel: I attend 12-step meetings regularly. I have stayed sober for two six-month periods as I work on long-term sobriety. In the film, I talk about moderation but have to come to realize that one drink is just enough to piss me off. Moderation is not for me. I drink to get drunk and that’s not something I want in my life. I am grateful to have been given the gift of recovery through the gift of desperation.

HBO: What is happening in your life right now?

Noel: I got my real estate license and I am working in a clothing boutique part time. But best of all, I’m able to be present for my two girls.

HBO: What message would you like to share with viewers?

Noel:
As clichéd as it sounds, I want to send a message of hope. During filming, I felt hopeless. Since I joined a sobriety support group, I have found friendships and fellowship. I went to rehab where I was able to get rid of my shame and despair. And I learned that there is a better way of living. While there still is plenty of mess, I want anyone who is where I once was to know they can find a way out. If I can do it, you can too.

MIKE

HBO: How has your drinking changed since you participated in this documentary?

Mike: During the documentary, I attended Alternatives Behavioral Health in Los Angeles for treatment. It was an education and I received a lot of useful tools. I learned how to reduce my drinking. It was not a one-time fix, but something that I continue to work on daily. I continue to speak with my doctors several times a week. That accountability is helpful for me. I appreciate that they always ask what would make my life better or more enjoyable and help me achieve those goals. I am praised for the good work I do, and not overly chastised for mistakes.

HBO: What is happening in your life right now?

Mike: I have regained some control over my drinking and have more confidence in myself and my decisions. My son chose to move to St. Thomas and lives here full time. I now have employment in my life rather than just time. I work at a restaurant, and, with a partner who is a concert promoter, I bring bands and comedians here to perform. It’s much easier to achieve my goals when I stay busy.

HBO: What message would you like to share with viewers?

Mike: I think the biggest thing I would like to share with people is, if you think you have a problem, find a program that will meet you where you are and help you move in a positive direction, rather than forcing you into a one-way or the highway decision. Find one that can help you improve your quality of life. It is much easier to make changes when you are given the chance to participate in a process you believe in.

RHONDA

HBO: How has your drinking changed since you participated in this documentary?

Rhonda: After what happened with Noel I feel like I did start to take a closer look at my habits—I think we all did—but I have no intention to quit drinking altogether. One of my life goals is to NOT end up with "a drinking problem." I still work out, do cleanses and all the crap I've always done, for quality of life in general but partly so that I can keep drinking for pleasure—in moderation, of course.

HBO: What is happening in your life right now?

Rhonda: It's more hectic than ever! The kids have more activities than ever, I work more than I ever did, and still work on my momwhodrinksandcusses.com and my food blog. Life can be stressful with a lot on your plate! But, sadly I have less happy hours out with friends these days. One major change is that Chris and I moved further away from town and realized almost everyone we know has more drinks than they should and then drives a car—this isn't the big city where people cab or walk everywhere—so we've stopped taking that risk and stay home more. Uber makes a lot of money from us when we do get out.

HBO: What message would you like to share with viewers?

Rhonda: I know there are messages from Doctors like, "If you have more than 2 drinks as a woman and 3 as a man you are binge drinking" or, "if you look forward to a drink then you might have a problem," and maybe those could warrant digging a little deeper as to why you're drinking, but I don't think there's a blanket answer to what is a problem and what is not, and that's what the film's mission was—to show how it's not black and white. I think it is highly individual and that as adults, like anything else we put in our body—fast food, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, soft drinks, whatever, we are responsible for knowing our own limits. For figuring them out. My limits are not the same as hers or his. It depends on so many things.

Obviously, we can lose control and that's when it's a problem—when it interferes to a real degree with our health, family, work, and quality of life in general. At that point we need to take further action and find help to either moderate or ditch alcohol altogether.