The Antidote to Alcohol Abuse: Sensible Drinking Messages

Charlie - posted on 07/28/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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There are lower rates of alcoholism in European countries where drinking is common and accepted and yet a conversation on the welcome page about drinking responsibly at a childs birthday showed people labeling and berating parents who choose to drink responsibly in front of children it certainly showed a cultural divide and while many were dead set against drinking in front of children for fear of teaching them to drink it is evident in MANY studies world wide that countries where drinking is normal and done responsibly have drastically reduced alcoholism and alcohol related problems , it shows that teaching responsible drinking works far better than abstinence .

Here is a study from Harvard university showing these findings .


Cross-cultural research (medical as well as behavioral) shows that a no-misuse message about alcohol has sustained advantages over a no-use (abstinence) message. Cultures that accept responsible social drinking as a normal part of life have less alcohol abuse than cultures that fear and condemn alcohol. Moreover, moderate-drinking cultures benefit more from the well-documented cardioprotective effects of alcohol. Positive socialization of children begins with parental models of responsible drinking, but such modeling is often undermined by prohibitionist messages in school. Indeed, alcohol phobia in the US is so extreme that physicians are afraid to advise patients about safe levels of drinking.

The beneficial effect of alcohol, and especially of wine, in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease has been characterized in the American Journal of Public Health as "close to irrefutable" (30) and "robustly supported by the data" (20)—conclusions supported by editorials in this country's two leading medical journals (9,27). This thoroughly documented benefit of moderate wine consumption should now be made known to Americans as part of an accurate and balanced presentation of information about the effects of alcohol.

Some in the public-health and alcoholism fields worry that replacing the current "no-use" (abstinence-oriented) message with a "no-misuse" (moderation-oriented) message would lead to increased alcohol abuse. Yet worldwide experience shows that the adoption of the "sensible drinking" outlook would reduce alcohol abuse and its damaging effects on our health and well-being. To understand why, we need only compare the drinking patterns found in countries that fear and condemn alcohol with those of countries that accept moderate, responsible drinking as a normal part of life. This comparison makes clear that, if we really want to improve public health and reduce the damage resulting from alcohol abuse, we should convey constructive attitudes toward alcohol, especially in the physician's office and at home.
We can best prepare young people to live in a world (and a nation) where most people do drink by teaching them the difference between responsible and irresponsible drinking. The most reliable mechanism for doing this is the positive parental model. Indeed, the single most crucial source of constructive alcohol education is the family that puts drinking in perspective, using it to enhance social gatherings in which people of all ages and both genders participate. (Picture the difference between drinking with your family and drinking with "the boys.") Alcohol does not drive the parents' behavior: it doesn't keep them from being productive, and it doesn't make them aggressive and violent. By this example, children learn that alcohol need not disrupt their lives or serve as an excuse for violating normal social standards.

Ideally, this positive modeling at home would be reinforced by sensible-drinking messages in school. Unfortunately, in today's neotemperance times, alcohol education in school is dominated by a prohibitionist hysteria that cannot acknowledge positive drinking habits. As with illicit drugs, all alcohol use is classified as misuse. A child who comes from a family in which alcohol is drunk in a convivial and sensible manner is thus bombarded by exclusively negative information about alcohol. Although children may parrot this message in school, such an unrealistic alcohol education is drowned out in high-school and college peer groups, where destructive binge-drinking has become the norm (34).

To illustrate this process with one ludicrous example, a high-school newsletter for entering freshmen told its youthful readers that a person who begins to drink at age 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an alcoholic! It added that the average age at which children begin to drink is 12 (26). Does that mean that nearly half of today's children will grow up to be alcoholic? Is it any wonder that high-school and college students cynically dismiss these warnings? It seems as though schools want to tell children as many negative things as possible about alcohol, whether or not they stand any chance of being believed.

Recent research has found that antidrug programs like DARE are not effective (8). Dennis Gorman, the Director of Prevention Research at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, believes this is due to the failure of such programs to address the community milieu where alcohol and drug use occurs (18). It is especially self-defeating to have the school program and family and community values in conflict. Think of the confusion when a child returns from school to a moderate-drinking home to call a parent who is drinking a glass of wine a "drug abuser." Often the child is relaying messages from AA members who lecture school children about the dangers of alcohol. In this case, the blind (uncontrolled drinkers) are leading the sighted (moderate drinkers). This is wrong, scientifically and morally, and counterproductive for individuals, families, and society.

http://www.peele.net/lib/antidote.html

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Stifler's - posted on 08/01/2010

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We did this at uni. I believe in drinking around kids, because they are possibly going to drink when they are older and it's best to see people being mature and responsible and not being drunkards rather than alcohol being a taboo in the house and then they make friends who drink and have no idea about alcohol at all and end up with alcohol poisoning and die.

Valerie - posted on 07/30/2010

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My daughter's father is a recovering alcoholic, from a family of alcoholics. I was a cocktail waitresss and partier when we met and we were good and sloppy until I found out I was pregnant. I cleaned up my act immediately. He took a little longer, but did it eventually. There has been no alcohol in our house for over 2 years. He shouldn't drink, bu occasionally enjoys one (but he admits he always wants more after, so we know it's a slippery slope). We had such hard times as a family I can't stand the smell of alcohol on people. I wish I could enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner sometime, or a nice pint on a terrasse, but I just can't anymore. But I have more than enough to fill whatever hole quitting the drink has left.
As far as what to teach my daughter is concerned, she's going to know what's in her genes, and hopefully she'll make choices that will allow her to partake in moderation, should she desire to.

Sharon - posted on 07/29/2010

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I was raised european, in regards to alcohol consumption. I enjoy my winecoolers now & then. I used to be a heavy partier but I never drank between parties and I didn't miss drinking during those odd long spells between parties (weeks) When I got pregnant - I quit drinking. It was never hard and I only missed it on my most stressed out nights. The kind of nights when I would normally have had one or two and then hit the sack for some good deep sleep!

When I was young, alcohol was an every day thing. It was huge at parties. My parents kept a fully stocked bar. I tried a sip of just about everything in the cabinet, most of it nasty as hell.

[deleted account]

I have always been around alcohol and have been allowed small amounts for as long as I can remember and in my experience I am a much more controlled drinker than my friends who were not allowed alcohol until they reached the legal age (18). I have been ridiculously drunk twice and hate it, but from these times I learnt my cues as to when to stop drinking (I hope ;-D) so now I can have a few and stop before I am drunk - whereas my friends still go out with the mindset of getting 'off their heads'. Since having my son I have been much more restrictive with my drinking because I need to be able to look after my son but I still drink and will still have alcohol at his parties - his naming ceremony was held in a bar so people could buy drinks :-).

Isobel - posted on 07/29/2010

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I guess then I would probably just not make a big deal of other people having a drink or two around my kids.

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Charlie - posted on 07/29/2010

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I dont think its about saying children WILL drink moderately , its about children seeing responsible drinking and then as adults given the choice to drink as they have been shown , they can either choose to or not if that makes sense .

In Australia we have beers and babies dadddy playgroups where dads play and enjoy a beer with friends while discussing fatherhood , one drink and lots of fun for child and dad .
I used to have a drinking problem before i had kids its taken a lot to change my attitude towards alcohol , i now enjoy and savour a glass of red wine while i cook dinner .

I do think it goes both ways if your experience with alcohol is to see it abused then more than likely it is how alcohol will be treated .

Rosie - posted on 07/29/2010

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i don't necessarily think it's genetic. i think the fact that alcoholism runs in families is because you often see alcohol misused and misuse it yourself, or that you get so messed up in the head from that family member drinking (usually there is abuse, or lack of attention or something when there is an alcoholic involved) that you turn ot alcohol for comfort.



and teresa i don't think you should start drinking if you don't like it, theres no need. but like laura said, there's no need to make a big deal out of it when people are drinking around you or your family (not saying you do, just saying incase). don't make it something that's mysterious, or taboo. show them the people that drink responsibly, and if you happen to be around someone that isn't drinking responsibly, you can make them a lesson. :)

[deleted account]

Why would I start drinking when I have no desire to do so just to teach my kids that it is 'ok'? I don't think it is ok. I don't enjoy it. I don't see the point. Why can't I just teach my kids that?



I just read what I typed and it kind of sounds like I'm angry if you can't read tone... just want to clarify that I'm not upset in anyway. Just curious since so many don't get the anti-alcohol standpoint. :)

Katherine - posted on 07/29/2010

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So that brings me to the question: Can an alcoholic "train" themself to drink in moderation? Or is in a chemical imbalance, or is it genetic and uncontollable?

Ok so many questions. How can you 'teach' omeone to drink the right way if it's genetic?

Rosie - posted on 07/29/2010

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yeah, i don't understand the whole no alcohol thing either. my sister is an alcoholic, and my bio-dad was one before he died (it's also what killed him), and i still have no problem with it. i feel my life experiences have made me realize that it is VERY important to know how to drink. my father didn't, and passed it on to my sister. i will be passing down the correct way to handle alcohol to my boys! :)

Kelly - posted on 07/29/2010

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I have never understood the whole anti-alcohol sentiment. My parents and grandparents have always had a fully stocked liquor cabinet. When I was a teen I was allowed a small glass of wine with dinner. In my opinion, the only harm this did was the fact that in my early adulthood I was frustrated because I couldn't afford the quality of drink I had grown accustomed to. :-p I have no qualm having a beer or a glass of wine or a mixed drink in front of my kids. I can count the times I have been shitfaced on less than one hand, and it was all pre-kids. I plan on doing the same with my kids as my parents did with me. Responsible drinking habits to me are just as important as sex education.

Isobel - posted on 07/29/2010

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Everybody has the right to throw their own party the way they want I guess...It just never bothers me so long as nobody's getting stupid in front of them...though if they do, that's kinda a good lesson too (in my book) nobody wants to be like ole uncle Henry making an ass of himself.

Katherine - posted on 07/29/2010

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I was one of the ones who disagreed about the drinking. My thing is 1) I don't drink and 2) EVERY single function I go to that has to do with my husband's family has alcohol involved. I just get sick of it.
It has really nothing to do with my opinion of others. I personally don't want drinking at my daughters 1st birthday. That's just me. Not because I think it's sending a message that drinking is ok, it's my personal preference.

Tara - posted on 07/29/2010

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I really feel that the idea of not drinking around our children in order to (hopefully) influence our children not to drink is absurd.
The more something is made taboo, the more likely kids will want to try it. The more something is prohibited and treated as if it is wrong, the more kids will want to try it.
When kids see that adults can consume some alcohol and it doesn't get them shitfaced and stupid then they understand that there are levels of drinking, and social drinking is just that; a social norm. People can have a drink or two, some wine, a beer etc. and still operate as functioning adults. But to keep it away from children is basically saying that "drinking is bad and so we have to hide from our children" this gives children the impression that we are doing something mysterious and forbidden. Just escalating and curiosity they have.
Our side of the world is so weird sometimes.
Tara

Becky - posted on 07/28/2010

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I agree. I was not raised around alcohol at all. But I do drink occassionally now, and I don't see an issue with having a drink or two around your children. My husband often enjoys a beer after work or while he's working outside. (I hate beer, so I don't join him in that!) I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is parents who get drunk in front of or while they are caring for their children, or parents who are ditching their children with a babysitter all weekend every weekend so they can go party. You want to keep partying all the time, wait to have kids!

Charlie - posted on 07/28/2010

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haha obviously im not focused either ........yes that is what i was looking for :D

Isobel - posted on 07/28/2010

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I totally agree with your premise...the best solution to binge drinking is for children to see you drink one or two drinks then stop...that way they know that while you may enjoy wine (or whatever), the purpose is never to become intoxicated.

Charlie - posted on 07/28/2010

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No it wasnt you Teresa :D Just a couple of comments like it being selfish and crazy LOL .

Im not really bothered just interested in everyone elses take on it .

[deleted account]

My parents didn't/don't drink. My brother drinks a LOT. I don't drink. Did a 'little' experimentation when I was in my late teen's, but the amount of alcohol I have consumed since turning 21 wouldn't even equal the amount of alcohol in one drink.

I certainly believe it is possible to drink responsibly, but for me personally... I hate being around any amount of alcohol. Some of my friends occasionally drink responsibly and I (and my kids) have been around it and I'd never say anything, but I'd prefer not to ever be around it.

Did my response have anything to do w/ what you are looking for? I'm not too focused at the moment. ;)

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