Alcohol Awareness Month

by: K.S. Ellis
April 1st may be for fools, but the month of April is for alcohol education.  Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence since 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month encourages communities to raise their consciousness on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.  The key lies in the fact that there is
treatment for alcoholism.

Roughly 17.6 million people suffer from alcoholism in this country.  And, no, they are not all bums hanging outside your corner liquor store.  In fact, only about 3 percent of alcoholics are on skid row, which means most alcoholics have families, friends, jobs, and homes.  About 45 percent of alcoholics are in professional and managerial positions, and over half have attended college.  Far from being inferior, the intelligence level of an alcoholic tends to be slightly higher than his/her peers.  We are not talking about people on the outskirts; but rather, we are talking about society itself.

Alcohol abuse has been on the rise as the economy has gone down.  Out of a job, with bills to pay,  that glass of wine can turn into a bottle.  For this reason, The National Institute of Health has a new campaign, Rethinking Drinking, along with an interactive website that helps you identify whether or not you have a problem with drinking, or the potential for one.  It helps you figure out how much alcohol you consume and allows you to guess how many glasses of wine are really in a bottle.

Rethinking Drinking

Alcoholism is a disease.  There is a line one crosses when he/she turns from a problem drinker into an alcoholic.

Taken from ‘The Doctor’s Opinion’ out of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

“Men  and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol.  The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false.  To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one.  They are restless, irritable, and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks- drinks which they see others taking with impunity.  After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink againThis is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.”

The good news is, we are in 2011.  Back in 1933, it was a whole different story, but lucky for those willing to admit they can’t stop drinking today, Alcoholics Anonymous was established in 1934 and is thriving all over the world.

In April, why don’t you raise your awareness and take AA’s twenty questions to determine if you are an alcoholic?

Twenty Questions

Answer YES to two or more?  Do not despair, there is help.  Treatment is a very good place to start.