Vol. 3, No. 5
"We are now producing alcoholics at the staggering rate of about 1,500 every day . . ." (Garland Elkins and Robert R. Taylor, Jr., Social Drinking: Unjustified, Unsocial, Unwise, Unscriptural, Memphis, Getwell Church of Christ, p. 2.) Alcoholism affects both men and women, though women who drink are more susceptible to alcoholism than the male population that drinks. "The process of becoming an alcoholic is of shorter duration" for women. (Edith S. Lisansky Gomberg, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan Alcohol Research Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her statement appears in an internet article hosted by the Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1996, http://www. rci.rutgers.edu/~cas2/clearinghouse/factSheet/fact20.html. [15 Sep 1998]) Alcoholism can begin as a subtle shift from social drinking to a dependence on alcohol. Often the alcoholic is unaware of his dependency or later when rationally one could not refute his alcoholism he adamantly denies the obvious. Alcoholism may also go unnoticed by one's friends at first. Some elderly alcoholics have successfully masked their addictions until their later years, at which time the effects of alcoholism may be confused with the onset of old age.
Alcohol affects various individuals differently. One cannot know when he begins to practice social drinking that his body is especially susceptible to addiction to alcohol. The best way to avoid alcoholism is not to start drinking alcoholic beverages. Warning signs of alcoholism include the following.
Frequent and constant use of any type of alcohol can lead to physical dependence and tolerance to the alcohol. Alcoholism develops in stages, beginning with a preoccupation with drinking, and advancing to complete physical dependence. Warning signs of problem drinking include: gulping drinks, drinking to modify uncomfortable feelings, personality or behavioral changes after drinking, getting drunk frequently, experiencing blackouts -- not being able to remember what happened while drinking, frequent accidents or illness as a result of drinking, priming -- prepping with alcohol before going to a social event where alcohol is going to be served, not wanting to talk about the negative consequences of drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, focusing all social situations around alcohol, sneaking drinks or clandestine drinking. (Anonymous, "Alcohol Habit Forming?," Go Ask Alice, 1998, Columbia University, New York, http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/0313.html. [17 Sep 1998])
Several indicators of alcoholism in the above quotation appear to characterize the general drinking public. Our society seems to have a "preoccupation with drinking." Drinking is often engaged for the effect, including "to modify uncomfortable feelings." Nobody wants to address the grossly negative effects and tragedies attributable to the consumption of alcohol. Most social functions are attended with so-called social drinking. No wonder drinkers have difficulty evaluating themselves for alcoholism. No wonder one's friends and coworkers are slow to realize that some of their fellow employees may be alcoholics. No wonder alcoholism and other ill fruits of the pleasurable consumption of alcohol ravage America. No wonder!
[Editor's Note: A book entitled Beverage Alcohol, written by the Editor is available for sale. This title is published in paperback format. Please contact us via email to purchase it.]