Don’t worry little one. It is easy. You’ll get the hang of it. Everyone does it.
Becoming an alcoholic is not taught in a class but it is taught in school. Becoming an alcoholic has a history back to the beginning of time. Becoming an alcoholic is a rite of passage and a reason for stories that bind friends for the rest of their lives.
How to become an alcoholic? It is no problem. We are engulfed in alcohol of all mixes and varieties. Alcohol is on all the television programs, sports commercials, and most of all endorsed by our friends. The wait to come of age to legally purchase alcohol (which is a joke) fades to the peer pressure to take that first drink and have that first hangover.
Our society has adjusted to cigarette smoking after decades in the fog but the consumption of spirits is still more than acceptable and even cherished.
Alcoholism (as defined on the Internet) is also known as “alcohol use disorder” (AUD) or “alcohol dependence syndrome” (ADS).
Alcoholism is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in problems (but what are the problems?).
In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when:
1. A person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time or
2. Has difficulty cutting down the consumption of alcohol or
3. Acquiring and drinking alcohol becomes a priority or
4. Alcohol is desired or the consumption of alcohol obscures the normal responsibilities or
5. Unacceptable social behavior, consumption of alcohol creates health problems, consumption of alcohol can create risky situations.
Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex among others. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body particularly the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system.
Alcoholism can result in mental illness, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, an irregular heartbeat, liver failure, and the risk of cancer.
Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Both environmental factors and genetics are associated with alcoholism with about half the risk attributed to each.
A person with a parent or sibling with alcoholism is three to four times more likely to be alcoholic themselves.
Environmental factors include social, cultural, and behavioral influences.
High stress levels, anxiety, as well as inexpensive easily accessible alcohol increases risk. People may continue to drink partly to prevent or improve symptoms of withdrawal.
A low level of withdrawal may last for months following stopping.
Medically alcoholism is considered both a physical and mental illness.
Prevention of alcoholism is possible by regulating and limiting the sale of alcohol, taxing alcohol to increase its cost, and providing inexpensive treatment.
Because of the medical problems that can occur during withdrawal, alcohol detoxification should be carefully controlled. One common method involves the use of benzodiazepine medications, such as diazepam. This can be either given while admitted to a health care institution or occasionally while a person remains in the community with close supervision.
Other addictions or mental illness may complicate treatment.
After detoxification support such as group therapy or support groups are used to help keep a person from returning to drinking.
One commonly used form of support is the group Alcoholics Anonymous.
I will pause here to present the 12-steps of support.
The Twelve Steps
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature
of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Really? I got it directly from the AA site on the web?
The medications acamprosate, disulfiram, or naltrexone may also be prescribed to help prevent further drinking.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates (as of 2010) there were 208 million people with alcoholism worldwide (4.1% of the population over 15 years of age).
In the United States about 17 million (7%) of adults and 0.7 million (2.8%) of those age 12 to 17 years of age are alcoholics.
Alcoholism is the least common in Africa at 1.1% and alcoholism has the highest rates in Eastern Europe at 11%.
Alcoholism directly resulted in 139,000 deaths in 2013 up from 112,000 deaths in 1990. A total of 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol.
Alcoholism often reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years.
In the United States alcoholism resulted in economic costs of $224 billion USD in 2006. Many terms, some insulting and others informal, have been used to refer to people affected by alcoholism including: tippler, drunkard, dipsomaniac, and souse.
In 1979, the World Health Organization discouraged the use of “alcoholism” due to its inexact meaning, preferring “alcohol dependence syndrome”.
Temperance is defined as moderation or voluntary self-restraint. It is typically described in terms of what an individual voluntarily refrains from doing. This includes restraint from retaliation in the form of non-violence and forgiveness, restraint from arrogance in the form of humility and modesty, restraint from excesses such as splurging now in the form of prudence, and restraint from excessive anger or craving for something in the form of calmness and self-control.
Temperance has been described as a virtue by religious thinkers, philosophers, and psychologists. Temperance was one of the cardinal virtues in western thought found in Greek philosophy and Christianity, as well as eastern traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Temperance is one of the six virtues in the positive psychology classification, included with wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, and transcendence. It is generally characterized as the control over excess, and expressed through characteristics such as chastity, modesty, humility, prudence, self-regulation, forgiveness and mercy; each of these involves restraining an excess of some impulse, such as sexual desire, vanity, or anger.
During the 19th century, alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling addiction, and a variety of social ills and abuses led to the activism to try to cure the perceived problems in society.
Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.
Prohibition was promoted by the “dry crusaders”, a movement led by rural Protestants and social Progressives in the Democratic and Republican parties, and was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Prohibition was mandated under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, to set down the rules for enforcing the ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. For example, religious uses of wine were allowed.
Private ownership and consumption of alcohol were not made illegal under federal law; but local laws were stricter, with some states banning possession outright.
Prohibition supporters presented the amendment as a victory for public morals and health. Anti-prohibitionists criticized the alcohol ban as an intrusion of mainly rural Protestant ideals on a central aspect of urban, immigrant, and Catholic life.
Nationwide, prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment, on December 5, 1933.
Prohibition marked one of the last stages of the Progressive Era.
Although popular opinion believes that Prohibition failed, it succeeded in cutting overall alcohol consumption in half during the 1920s, and consumption remained below pre-Prohibition levels until the 1940s, suggesting that Prohibition did socialize a significant proportion of the population in temperate habits.
OK, little one are you still ready to be an alcoholic? Try to start early and light with some beer or wine coolers. It will give you the cool look and a bit of the buzz to get a taste for it. By college age you will experiment with different potions and mixtures and techniques so prepare to binge. Oh and be ready to have your picture taken and posted on the web after you pass out.
The alcohol is in your blood now and everyone you know is drinking on the weekends so it is time to make the decision: Do you drink for social purposes or to numb reality? It is up to you to find an excuse for stopping by the liquor store as many times as the grocery. In your first apartment you will use wine bottles to hold candles. Your house must have an area to hold your booze but you will call your bar an entertainment area. You will purchase as many gadgets to strain or mix or pour your alcohol addiction as you buy appliances for the kitchen.
When you go out with your friends to party the first question will be “What can I bring you to drink?” You will attend holiday events where the goal is to drink alcohol. You will attend friends’ weddings and funerals and house warming’s with alcohol being required.
After awhile you will be boggled down with work, stress, family, stress, traffic, stress, bills…. You get the idea? Every night dragging your tired body through the door you will reach for the bottle to “take the edge off” or “relax” or whatever you want to call your need for alcohol.
Do you need this to survive? Your body will tell you when you drink too much and puke all over the bathroom floor.
Can you avoid alcoholism? It is up to you, but the numbness temptation and advertising pressure and society value system makes it difficult not to become an alcoholic.
“Can I get you a drink?”
Next Report: Comfortably Numb or Mind Expansion?