What is Alcohol Abuse?
The disease called Alcohol Abuse is characterized by a craving for and a dependence on alcohol; an urge so strong that it's beyond the capability of the person to control. But there is so much, much more to it… it is a disease of the body, mind and spirit.
However, what that “means” is probably the more important question to ask. Alcoholism is an enormous problem in the United States because alcohol is so readily available, it’s socially acceptable and we tolerate those under the influence, even when they break the law.
“I need a drink.” It’s a common statement, one that millions of Americans mutter when faced with a tough situation, or after a stressful moment. In film it is portrayed as a necessary element to handling tragedy, such as in the “The Godfather” scene, when Tom Hagen (Robert Duval) is trying to compose himself in preparation for telling Vito Corleone (Marlin Brando) that Santino had been killed.
Film also portrays the need for a drink in a comical light, such as the scene from “My Fair Lady” when Alfred P. Dolittle (Stanley Holloway) tells Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) that he can’t face the missus without “a little liquid protection.” The whimsical way in which alcohol is portrayed in theater, movies and television is a contributing factor, because drinking is acceptable and isn’t taken seriously.
Alcoholism are VERY wide-spread
The problem of Alcohol Abuse is wide-spread. The Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University concluded:
“more than half of all adults have a family history of Alcohol Abuse or problem drinking, and more than nine million children live with a parent dependent on alcohol and/or illicit drugs.” That is a staggering piece of information.
A major part of our Culture
I live in Milwaukee, where beer drinking is a major sport. Attending a game at Miller Park for the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team is quite an experience, as vendors are constantly walking the aisles of the stadium hawking beer. As soon as one leaves another one appears.
I counted once and recorded that 48 vendor appearances were noted before the fifth inning at one game. People drink the whole time, and come into the ballpark after having a few in the parking lot. It’s all a part of the culture. The Milwaukee Brewers don’t consider it a problem, especially when they take in nearly $7 a serving.
It impacts all of us!
Alcohol Abuse affects us all. Beyond the immediate family, we have friends, co-workers and neighbors. Moreover, Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are directly related to our most difficult social problems, such as crime, domestic violence, teen pregnancy.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism teaches us that a person will continue to drink even though it has serious impact on family, friends, employment, health and legal matters. The disease takes over and soon a person is slave to the alcohol. They have to take another drink. People have been known to literally drink themselves to death.
Sadly, there is no cure
Alcohol Addiction cannot be cured. It will forever remain a part of a person’s makeup. However, when it comes to Alcohol Abuse, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that alcohol can be treated and managed. Alcoholics can live successful lives. The bad news is that they are always vulnerable to relapse if they take a drink.
Denial is major issue
Some people will say, “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just a problem drinker.” There is humor in this statement, but there is also serious truth. People can drink too often, drink too much and run into problems, even though they are not physically addicted.
DUI, driving under the influence is huge in this country. People have been known to go to court repeatedly, yet they are not technically alcoholics. Sure, there are drunk-driving laws, but people abuse the tolerance and generosity of the court system. They will continue to drink and they will continue to drive, with or without a license. If you lock up the drunks, the jails will be filled every night.
Common Questions About Alcohol
There is help. . The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service toll-free telephone number, 1-800-662-4357, is a good resource. You can speak to a professional and get referral information.
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