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The demon drink
Alcoholism in General
Member Name: ladybracknell
Alcoholism in General
Disadvantages: Loss of family, self-respect, and eventually possibly your life
To say that alcoholism is a crippling disease which destroys not only the alcholic but also his or her family, is a sweeping understatement. I speak, sadly, from bitter experience.
It is many years now since I divorced my alcoholic husband, but the years leading up to the divorce were some of the saddest and most stressful in mine and my children's lives, not least because I was helpless to save someone I genuinely cared about, someone moreover who was hellbent on destroying himself and his family for the sake of the next drink. This was a man who was a graduate engineer with a high salaried job, clever and intelligent but with his finger firmly on the self-destruct button.
I believe the jury is still out as to whether alcoholism is an inheritary disease or not but it is definitely a condition that does seem to run in families and, possibly, nations. My husband was Scottish and that does seem to be a country divided into the abstemious and the profligate drinker. A sweeping generalisation, I know, and I apologise unreservedly to all Scots who don't fall into the latter category. In fact, Britain as a whole seems to be populated with many binge drinkers, which perhaps comes from our Viking forebears, as it certainly doesn't seem to affect quite as badly nations where drink is part of the culture. By that, I mean where alcohol is consumed with a meal in a family or other social situation. In Britain however, it's the norm to just go out for a drink with the express intention of getting at least merry if not blind stinking drunk. For many of us this is a phase we go through in early adulthood but for those less fortunate, it is the beginning of the slippery slope into alcoholism.
Recognising alcoholism isn't always easy. Many people just begin as social drinkers but perhaps through stress, a sense of inadequacy or some other reason known only to the drinker, gradually the need to drink takes over.
I know there are many people who are heavy drinkers and regularly exceed their total units per week but though they may be damaging their health, especially their livers, they are not necessarily alcoholics. Personally, I would define an alcoholic as someone who cannot function without the crutch that alcohol provides and where drinking begins to impact on their personal and family life. Definitely, when a person begins to drink in secret then there is a problem which needs to be addressed.
Like other addictions, overcoming this antisocial condition is in the hands of the alcoholic himself (or herself). And they have to want something more than drink to succeed. There is help available through GP's surgeries and Alcoholics Anonymous but the problem drinker has to recognise their condition and want to change. I'm afraid many alcoholics tend to blame everybody but themselves and often fail to recognise they need help at all.
In my husband's case, it was too late. Although he tried on several occasions to dry out with the help of his GP, he just couldn't give up having a drink, always believing that he had conquered the problem and could return to having the odd drink. Alcoholics need to stop drinking alcohol altogether.
After our divorce and several years of living on the dole because he was unable to hold down a job, my husband eventually became homeless and was living on the streets. He developed pneumonia and because of his weakened state and poor physical health, he died.
I can't pretend to have any answers to overcoming alcoholism but if you are a heavy drinker who is beginning to find that life revolves around the pub and drink, or you are married to someone you suspect is drinking in secret, please take the bull by the horns and face the problem head on. It won't go away by ignoring it. Seek professional help.
For those of you living with an alcoholic, don't let them drag you down into the gutter with them. Eventually, if they can't help themselves, you have to cut yourself adrift and continue life without them. Only they can save themselves.
I'm supposed to rate alcoholism - how on earth do I do that? I would like to give my rating as -5 stars but I have had to give it 1 star. This is a false rating - there is nothing good about alcoholism.
Having said all the above and to try and end on a brighter note, not every alcoholic ends up living on the streets or dead. Many manage to overcome their addiction and live long, happy and fulfilled lives without alcohol.
Summary: Alcoholism is a destructive disease which kills