Alcohol & Alcoholism

?? - posted on 09/11/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )




There has been a few posts about drugs so I thought I would post a topic about another 'drug.' Alcohol. It is a favorite addiction the world over.

While the ingestion of alcohol is, by definition, necessary to develop alcoholism, the use of alcohol does not predict the development of alcoholism. The quantity, frequency and regularity of alcohol consumption required to develop alcoholism varies greatly from person to person. In addition, although the biological mechanisms underpinning alcoholism are uncertain, some risk factors, including social environment, stress, emotional health, genetic predisposition, age, and gender have been identified. For example, those who consume alcohol at an early age, by age 16 or younger, are at a higher risk of alcohol dependence or abuse. Also, studies indicate that the proportion of men with alcohol dependence is higher than the proportion of women, 7% and 2.5% respectively, although women are more vulnerable to long-term consequences of alcoholism. Around 90% of adults in United States consume alcohol, and more than 700,000 of them are treated daily for alcoholism. Professor David Zaridze, who led the international research team, calculated that alcohol had killed three million Russians since 1987


The various health problems associated with long-term alcohol consumption are generally perceived as detrimental to society, for example, money due to lost labor-hours, medical costs, and secondary treatment costs. Alcohol use is a major contributing factor for head injuries, motor vehicle accidents, violence, and assaults. Beyond money, there is also the pain and suffering of the individuals besides the alcoholic affected. For instance, alcohol consumption by a pregnant woman can lead to Fetal alcohol syndrome, an incurable and damaging condition.

Estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse, collected by the World Health Organization, vary from one to six per cent of a country's GDP. One Australian estimate pegged alcohol's social costs at 24 per cent of all drug abuse costs; a similar Canadian study concluded alcohol's share was 41 per cent. A study quantified the cost to the UK of all forms of alcohol misuse as £18.5–20 billion annually (2001 figures).

With Alcoholism and alcohol comsumption having such an impact on life - should alcohol be banned or illegal or taxed more or put into the same category as other drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, etc

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Jeannette - posted on 09/13/2009




If alcohol were made illegal...I know how to make my own beer already, we have had a home brewery...I would learn how to make other spirits as well. I am not an alcoholic, but I believe in freedom to exercise your own will, and the responsibility that goes with it.
I have a bigger problem with smoking, just because I don't like the smell, and when I've gone into places where smoking is allowed I am constantly smelling my sleeves wishing I had brought perfume to cover up the gross smell.
I grew up with an alcoholic and smoker...too much of anything is bad in my opinion, but they should suffer the consequence of their choice, not take away the choice of responsible people.

[deleted account]

I forgot, GOOD FOR YOU that you can make that distinction and have the self control to keep a hold of your drinking! It is a strong person that can control their addiction! I hope that you will always have that control and do not fall back into your previous patterns of abuse!

[deleted account]

I totally understand that, and control of ones self is really the BIG issue here! The control of it is where I have an issue calling alcoholism a "disease." But I wouldn't stretch it so far to say that would apply to ALL addiction! Maybe I could pick up some blow and not have a problem with it? Maybe? But why risk it??? I also don't think that I would EVER trust a recovering meth/heroine/or crack addict w/the same possibilities, that MAYBE this time they won't take it out of hand??? Sure it is a person to person relationship w/the crap that goes on in THAT person's head that will make a difference here... Not EVERYONE that picks up meth that first time becomes addicted...but the VAST MAJORITY of them DO! And THAT is scary enough that I would never try or trust someone in THAT situation!

Sure I agree alcohol maybe different, and for some ppl cigarettes maybe different, and you know MAYBE for some cocaine, crack & heroin MAY BE different? Not everyone will fit into one category...not everyone HAS to go to treatment to quit... the thing about that is, that addiction counselors DON'T see those people! So THOSE people are left out of the statistics. Those people are NOT accounted for, and YES those ppl DO exist! I've never gone to treatment to give up any of my bad habits, I didn't even use quit smoking aids to give it up... but I am NOT other ppl and I will acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that for the majority of ppl that fall in that category belong there and can not pick it back up, EVER or else they'll find themselves back where they once were. I think the biggest thing about this is that IF those ppl DO pick it back up it is when they are weak and depressed, otherwise WHY? Drinking can totally be social and that be it, but it doesn't always work out that THAT is where it stays :(

[deleted account]

See Erin, that's what I'm talking about. Not everyone is going to fit into a category on a chart. For example, with smoking, when I quit (soon), I know I'll never be able to even smoke one drag or I may as well go buy a pack. But my cousin, who smoked more and longer than I have, quit 4 years ago and literally has about one or two smokes a year and has no problem at all with it. It all depends on the person and I think that with alcohol (or any addiction) it is the same. The way I was drinking before I sought help, I was definitely in the "alcoholic" category. No question or doubt about it. But it's the after part that I disagree with. For some people, yes, they have no control and to drink one drink, they may as well drink several. But not everyone is like that. I'm one of those people.....I can drink, I can recognize the signs that I've had enough, and I can stop. I can also evaluate the reason WHY I want to drink. If it's just to relax or have a few with my problem. But if I'm depressed and just feel like I need a drink to calm down.....then I don't drink. To me, that's a control issue.....not a permanent diagnosis of "alcoholism".

[deleted account]


I personally believe once an addict always an addict. Unfortunately it is REALLY easy to fall into an addictive pattern or diagnosis. I don't think that everyone that is given a diag. is TRUELY an alcoholic, which maybe would fit for your situation? But being an ex-smoker I CAN NOT pick up a cigarette w/out turning it back into an addiction! It just wont work! I could probably smoke a joint and never do it again, but it wasn't that much fun to begin with... I know people that have been diagnosed w/an alcohol dependence due to a traffic violation or binge problems that could conduct themselves better given the opprotunity and probably fit more into alcohol abuse category then dependence, but like I said b4, REALLY EASY to get a dependence diag!!! Here's the DSM guidelines for abuse & dependence

[deleted account]

I don't think alcohol should be illegal. Not everyone who drinks is a problem drinker and the whole shouldn't get "punished" for the few who can't drink responsibly. That being said, I also don't buy into the whole "rehab" "AA" definition of alcoholism. I don't believe that "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic". Myself, personally, I've been in rehab 3 times for alcohol abuse. I tried my hardest to fit myself into "their" definition of me being an alcoholic and no matter how hard I tried, it was like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It wasn't until 2000, when I went to a place in West Palm for 30 days, and was referred to a place in New Mexico for another 30 days that I got my life under control. The place in New Mexico is a trauma recovery center and they basically (through intense talk/group therapy and several other different types of therapy) helped me to get to the root of WHY I had no control over my drinking. They didn't pound the AA philosophy on me and they didn't diagnose me with a permanent disease. They taught me why I did what I did (not just with the drinking) and how to recognize signs that were leading up to it. I came home a new woman. Since then, I do drink on occasion. Sometimes just one, sometimes (like on girl's night out) several. Never since have I lost control of myself or done anything stupid like I used to. I do not consider myself to be an alcoholic. I consider myself to be an emotional person who can sometimes use alcohol to dull my pain. But not every time I drink am I dulling pain...sometimes it's just to chill out and relax at the end of a long week or to celebrate with friends.

Now, I do want to say that just because the whole AA philosophy doesn't work for me, that doesn't mean that it isn't successful for others. I've known people who go to AA and it works for them. Some people put down the drink and know in their hearts that they should never pick up another. But not all people are like that. I think that if you have a problem with alcohol, you need to choose whatever path you need to choose, in order to get to whatever place of serenity you're looking it AA, self help books, rehab, therapy.......whatever gets you healthy.

[deleted account]

I don't think makiing Alcohol illegal would help any situation.

New Zealand has a big binge drinking culture. Our legal age for drinking is 18.

Every year the government say they are going to raise the age to 21 but they have been saying that for the last 6-8 years.

My social father is a alcoholic. He had a olderly friend (he was old enough to be his Dad) who had a bar in his garage. I remember spending many of my childhood weekends at "dad's" friends house. We would arrive there in the afternoon and we would come home late at night with a drunk father.

So after years of going to his friends place, he came up with a "brilliant" idea!, to convert our double garage into a bar!. It took two years, starting off with a quater of the space in the garage to now having beer on tap and home made brew (I used to hate bourbon- cause it was home made). Evey day after work he would come home and straight out into the bar to start drinking. The same thing in the weekend, when he got up, straight to the bar.

Whenever we went out for social gatherings, family events, "Dad" never left until all the alcohol was gone.

One of the reasons why some people (particularly the tourism industry) don't want the age of consumption to go up is because there is alot of money to be made from 18-21 year olds buying alcohol.

[deleted account]

I don't think it should be illegal. I also don't think marajuana should be illegal, but that's another debate. =)

I think we shoul have much harsher penalties for those who are caught driving drunk, and I think that passengers in the car should be charged as well. We've already tried prohibition in America, and it didn't work. We created larger problems with rum-runners, bootleggers, and gangsters running around all over the place.

Just as it's not our job to keep people from harming their lungs smoking cigarettes, it's not our job to protect people's liver. At a certain point, people have to stand up and save themselves. Like many of the other posters on here, I have a family member who is an alcoholic-my dad. But he stopped drinking before I was born and I've only ever seen him drink one glass of pink champagne at a nice restaraunt in New York. I'm not saying it was easy for him to stop, but he did-and if he can, others can as well, and it's not the government's responsibility to try and make that happen.

[deleted account]

I grew up in an alcoholic family, I've been trained in addiction counseling (although I do not practice this), and I have ALOT of trouble with the addiciton is a disease :( I understand the principle well enough, had plenty of training in that line of thinking, but I lived it too and I've had my own personal battles and it has only strengthened my thought that it is NOT a disease! I don't choose to be diabetic, I don't choose to have MS or cancer, I CHOOSE to drink, smoke, inject, or stuff my face with WHATEVER my "disease" is in the field of addiction. And everyday I CHOOSE to buy more cigarettes, and I choose the food items that I store in my house, and I choose to buy crack instead of food... I don't see how these CHOICES make my addiction a "disease" Like I said, I'VE HAD THE TRAINING, I KNOW THE LINE OF THINKING, hell I even understand it, I just don't agree with it :( So please don't TRY to sway my thinking here, I KNOW! With this, do I think making it illegal would help, didn't prohibition give you an answer to this one already? NO making it illegal WON'T help! Do dry counties NOT have issues w/alcohol abuse??? Seriously, people make meth from the crap in their kitchen, ppl grow and sell marijuana, hell I know ppl that grow tobacco! I think decriminalizing it all would help to some extent, one of those if you're told you can't do it then you want to, but if it's ok then whats the big deal kinda thing... I'm not a heavy drinker by any means, maybe drunk 2x/yr! When I found out I was pregnant I wanted to drink, I never have, but that didn't mean i didn't want to, and WHY? Because now I couldn't... and seriously we all know I am able to, but in my mind I CANT! Absolutely irrational, but true. I have a 6pk over the fridge that's been there for 3 months (i bought it cuz it was seasonal and the seasons changed and I wanted to try it, when I'm NOT pregnant!) sure I could drink one, but why risk it?

Krista - posted on 09/12/2009




I agree that making alcohol illegal will solve nothing. I think that all that can be done is to educate young people, and for families with alcoholism to stop the cycle so that their kids are not raised in that environment. My dad is an alcoholic. He quit drinking over 20 years ago, but that doesn't mean he's no longer an alcoholic. The disease stays with you, even if you quit drinking. Even now, he's dying of a terminal illness, he's always in pain, he doesn't have much to lose, but he still will not have a drink. I'm proud of him for quitting - it took my mom leaving with my brother and I when I was in second grade. Knowing what I do about living with alcoholism, I don't think that it is possible for an alcoholic to drink socially and keep his consumption in check. My mom gave my dad plenty of chances, throughout ten years of marriage, and it was only the threat of losing his family that got him into treatment. Thankfully, neither my brother nor I have a drinking problem, so I hope that my dad has put an end to the long line of alcoholics in his family.

Charlie - posted on 09/12/2009




I don't think making alcohol illegal will do anything to deter alcoholics just as illegal drugs have not turned away any drug addicts , where there's a will theirs a way .
Alcoholism runs in my family i try to stay away from it as much as possible , i have never been able to have just one drink in fact i would say once i have one i cant help but drink all of it .
In Australia especially in smaller towns there is a major issue with Binge drinking , especially teenagers .
Our government raised the taxes on alcopops to deter teens from drinking but it did nothing but drive them to buying straight bottles of spirits and mixing it themselves , even more dangerous .
I defiantly think alcohol is one of the most destructive drugs out there .

ME - posted on 09/12/2009



190 can't be made illegal...and I would benefit a lot if it were...I would be fine with them raising the tax even more than they just did here in the states tho...

My husband also has a prob with alc. I would prefer it if he would start smoking pot instead to be honest, but that is niether here nor there. His prob is that when alc. is around, he can't stop drinking until it is all gone. Most of the time we/he controls this by not bringing home more then is reasonable to drink in one sitting (ie, one bottle of wine, or a 6 pack of beer). Unfortunately, sometimes he fails at this goal, and brings home a case of beer and a 5th of whiskey (Miles and I don't stay in the house with him if this happens, and it's been a REALLY long time since it has). He has recently promised me that he will only have a few drinks socially when we are out with friends or family for special occasions...I'm holding him to it because I'm sick of this shit...It's a terrible disease (which he got from his father), but if a person refused to seek treatment for diabetes or stage 1 cancer...we would think they were foolish...Treatment is available, and most alcoholics don't accept the help.

Jocelyn - posted on 09/12/2009




alcoholism runs in my family (both sides) and my mom was an alcoholic until i was 9 or so. needless to say, i am very very careful when it comes to drinking. I already ended up with a drug problem because of the addictive personality that was "handed down" to me. so no, i don't believe outlawing liquor will solve anything. the true alcoholics will find a way to drink, no matter what (case in point, the drunk guy drinking Listerine sitting next to us the last time i went to the movies...)
i work in a liquor store, in alberta. they raised the taxes a few months ago. some bottles (hard liquor) went up in price by $17 (some wine, up by $30). that didn't stop anyone. every single one of my regulars showed up the day after the tax increase and bought the exact same brand, in the exact same size that they always had. and liquor was never "cheap" here like it is in the states.
it could never be illegal, it's too easy to make. they can tax it all they want, and ppl will still buy it. i do think that pot and booze should be in the same category (both legal, but regulated) but that's just because a drink is no worse than a joint (imo).

Sharon - posted on 09/12/2009




I agree making it illegal will solve nothing. Illegality hasn't stopped drug addicts and its only created a job market for criminals.

They ought to make high fashion a crime. Prada and gucci being smuggled instead of cocaine and pot.

My husband is an alcoholic. He stays sober for long stretches then something triggers him and wham - weeks of him being reeking drunk. He's not a mean drunk - which only makes the situation tolerable. However he is on his last chance. He pulls that crap again, and he is out on his rear. I love him, I'll always love him, but I don't need his crap as an example to the kids.

Lindsay - posted on 09/11/2009




Well the US has recently added sales tax to alcohol. I don't think it should be illegal. As for alcoholics, even if it was made illegal, they would continue to get it just as they did when it was illegal before. It's easy enough to make. I guess the government would start taking your information when you buy potatoes like they now do with sudafed(sp?).

I enjoy my alcohol. I don't drink all of the time but when we have gatherings, cookouts, or sometimes just after a stressful day, that beer or cocktail just hits the spot. I understand that alcoholism is a disease but for the majority of adults that consume alcohol responsibly, they should not be punished because some don't know when to stop.

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