Secondhand Drinking | A Phenomenon That Affects Millions

“Secondhand Drinking” – the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others – is “A Phenomenon That Affects Millions.”

This title is the first in my new series of Quick Guides. Why this series? They’re to share 21st Century brain and substance misuse-related research and science in a way people can use the information to self-elect change. This research and science has unleashed an explosion in discoveries about the human brain, its development, its functioning, what changes it, what can heal it, its ability to regenerate cells and so much more.

But it doesn’t help if we don’t understand this science, which is the point of my Quick Guide series. Each Guide addresses a specific topic in a short, easy-to-read manner, with key concepts hyperlinked for further information, including the Quick Guide to Addiction Recovery | What Helps, What Doesn’t.

About the Quick Guide to Secondhand Drinking

The explosion in 21st century brain research is radically changing our understanding of what happens to the brain when it’s under the influence of alcohol and when it’s on the receiving end of a person’s drinking behaviors. As a result, this science is giving us new language for talking about a phenomenon that affects 90 million Americans and hundreds of million more people worldwide. This phenomenon is Secondhand Drinking (SHD).

Now Available from Most eBook Retailers.

Now Available from Most eBook Retailers.

As stated, secondhand drinking refers to the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others. These behaviors are not intentional. They are not the “real” person coming out, rather they’re the consequence of the chemical in alcoholic beverages changing brain function when alcohol is misused. Drinking behaviors include: verbal, physical or emotional abuse; driving while impaired; “falling asleep” most nights right after dinner (and the beers and wine consumed after work); being so drunk one is not aware of their surroundings or actions, thereby putting sober friends in the role of protector and monitor, making sure s/he doesn’t wander off, have unplanned or unwanted sex, drive impaired…; domestic violence; committing a crime; creating a safety risk or productivity burden for co-workers (e.g., reporting to work hung-over); sexual assault; going off on random tangents; being especially loving or attentive and expecting it to be reciprocated; generating significant economic costs to others related to lost workplace productivity, health care expenses for problems related to excessive drinking; and criminal justice and law enforcement expenses related to alcohol consumption, to name a few.

In other words, SHD crosses spectrums from those directly affected by SHD — family members living with someone whose behaviors change when they drink, for example — to a community’s citizens paying the quality-of-life costs and/or tax dollar contributions for law enforcement and criminal justice expenses of alcohol-related crimes. It can be as indirect as a co-worker whose own workplace experience suffers as a consequence of their fellow-employee’s ongoing exposure to SHD.

People on the receiving end of drinking behaviors can experience a range of negative physical, emotional and/or quality-of-life impacts, often related to ongoing activation of the brain’s fight-or-flight stress response system. Thus attacking the underlying problem, a person’s drinking behaviors, from the other side – preventing and protecting oneself from secondhand drinking – offers a sea change opportunity.

So how does a person protect themselves from secondhand drinking without interfering with another person’s right to drink? What does stress and stress-related brain and physical changes have to do with SHD? How is it possible secondhand drinking affects 90 million Americans? And perhaps most importantly, why should we care?

Where to Purchase Quick Guide to Secondhand Drinking | A Phenomenon That Affects Millions

You can purchase it from most eBook retailers. The image to the right shares a few. Here are the links to Kindle, iTunes and Nook. If you don’t have any of these devices, Kindle has a free reading app that allows you to read the Kindle version on most major smartphones, tablets and computers.

With 90 million Americans affected, you’ll want to check out this Quick Guide. Even if you don’t think it affects you personally as an HR manager or teacher or law enforcement officer or therapist or the neighbor next door, you’d be surprised how it does. Additionally, it’s a quick read, and its protection and prevention messages may be just what you’ve been looking for but could never put your finger on why.

Distributors of Lisa Frederiksen Quick Guide series. Each Guide retails for $2.99.

Distributors of Lisa Frederiksen’s Quick Guide series. Each Guide retails for $2.99.


Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.
Lisa Frederiksen

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  1. Thank you so much for writing this!!! I have seen the results of SHD in the parents and children I work with and with friends and relatives. This topic is jut not talked about. It’s essential to get the word out that everyone suffers when the person they love or work with has an addiction. Lets reduce shame for all, and look at ways to support the people who are suffering.

    • I so appreciate your comment and support for this, Rona! Having read your book, “Is That Me Yelling?,” and followed your former radio show, Childhood Matters, for years, I know of your extensive work with parents, children, friends and relatives, so your spreading the word through the work you do is extremely helpful!

  2. Love the Quick Guide concept, Lisa. And knowing you, it’ll be the first of many to come. Excellent and important subject-matter. You have created a marvelous niche with SHD, and it’s relevant to millions. Charge forward, ma’ dear…


  3. Second hand drinking….This looks so like a marketing gimmick.
    Go to youtube and watch what Dr. Kevin McCaully tells us about what our drug of choice does to our brains, and more importantly what we must do to change that. I have been in recovery for over 2.5 decades and I kind of resent your “trick”….

    • Hi Ed – I’ve been researching and writing on/about substance misuse-related topics for over a decade now – which includes the majority of the articles on this blog, which I’ve been writing since 2008. As you browse through my blog articles, as well as my videos on YouTube, you’ll see what I share about the science of addiction as a brain disease, as well as what must be done to successfully treat it. This particular Quick Guide is on Secondhand Drinking – the negative impacts of a person’s drinking behaviors on others. These are the behaviors a person exhibits when their alcohol misuse changes brain function. This Quick Guide is not about addiction. The next one that will be released, however, is titled, “Addiction Recovery | What Helps, What Doesn’t.” Thank you for taking the time to comment. Lisa

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  7. You are right Liza. there’s so much to know about second hand drinking especially its bad effects. Many people take risk of being driven by drunk drivers although they already know the dangers that might happen. This post is really helpful. Many thanks!