There can be no doubt about it can there, as for some people alcohol is a life destroyer, isn’t it? Yes, but many of those though whose lives are wrecked are not actually the ones drinking the stuff at all, are they? Nop, but often they are the ones inside the bubble as being in the family of the drinker so who are themselves actually living with the many consequences – which includes often violence, criminality, and not least abject poverty. Then there are of course the unsuspecting other innocents who are mowed down by drunken drivers, or are raped, or are physically attacked late at night, or suffer alcohol-related crime, by those pissed out of their minds – so yet more people whose lives are smashed, eh?
Now, those who are immediately blamed for this growing mayhem are those old and young men and women, from all backgrounds, some rich some poor, some very attractive some ordinary, some at the top of the work pile some at the bottom, who are Alcoholics, and they are simply some amongst those who are alcoholic dependent.
In fact, however, in the present day’s drinking culture of Britain (where alcohol is so cheap that it is doubly as affordable as thirty years ago – and those from the higher income families are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers), not all drunks are alcoholics and not all alcoholics are drunks, are they?
Now, most of us ordinary people are bemused by the old-wives tales about dealing with alcohol intake, so let it be said straight away here, that individual people have absolute zero impact on the way that their body processes alcohol – it doesn’t matter if they eat beforehand, eat during, or eat after drinking, or try to sober-up with a gallon of coffee – the booze will have exactly the same effect and they will be drunk or over the drink-drive limit if they have overconsumed, won’t they?
A person though who is deemed an ‘alcoholic’ has the major problem with alcohol in that after they have started, they don’t know when to stop drinking. Now ordinary drinking people are able ‘most of the time’ to knock it on the head after a few too many tipples and avoid getting blind drunk – but not an alcoholic, they will just carry on drinking until they physically collapse, or the available alcohol runs out, won’t they?
Those unfortunate people, who suffer from such a life-threatening addiction as alcoholism and are heedlessly blighting the lives of others (all told over thirty thousand deaths alone resulting from alcohol, including those involving road accidents, drownings, and fires, and health, like heart attacks – it kills twice as many people as any other drug apart from smoking), are said to be suffering from an illness, aren’t they? Whether or not ‘you’ classify it as such, or just put it down to idiotic evil human frailty, it doesn’t alter the baseline fact that it is a ‘physical & mental condition’ that cannot ever be conquered, cannot be medically treated, and certainly it is there for life and cannot cured, can it? That is why alcoholics are routinely refused hospital treatment for their condition – nevertheless the NHS spends an absolute fortune on treating over some hundred-thousand drinkers in hospital (£3billion), and giving-out some quarter-of-a-million medications to those who are alcohol dependent (mind you about half of the treatments for ‘alcohol dependency’ are successful, though). Indeed, many of those in our midst tend to drink too much for their own good, don’t you think? But that doesn’t mean they are alcoholic nevertheless.
Alcoholics who collapse are indeed taken to hospital and are ‘dried-out’ over a week or so, but then they go out and simply get plastered yet again, don’t they? Private health care places also offer rehabilitation services, it must be said at great expense (say £20 thousand for a few weeks stay), where the alcoholic is both dried-out and professionally counselled about their need to stop drinking – but that is routinely money down the drain, to the utter disappointment of the paying family it should be said, as the majority of alcoholics are soon quickly hitting the bottle again, aren’t they?
While it is impossible to measure properly, it is estimated that there are probably already over one and a half million alcoholics in Britain and those numbers are steadily growing, aren’t they? Why is that you may wonder? Well, it is simply because whatever that is that triggers this condition in particular people, it is cruelly exposed by the ready availability 24/7 of cheap alcohol in this Country, and that has made it nowadays undoubtable one of the greatest risks to life and limb. Apart from causing depression, alcohol is a contributing factor in so many deceases and illnesses, not least in many-many types of cancers.
Unlike major drug addiction, alcohol is not actually physically addictive and with medical help the body can quickly recover from limited alcohol abuse – but less so the mind, eh? Many alcoholics, and indeed often sometimes their loved ones, think that they can return to alcohol consumption, and ‘handle it’. Well, the truth is that they CANNOT. It is of course difficult within current lifestyles for an alcoholic NEVER to drink ever again, but that’s what it takes, doesn’t it? It is not easy, not easy at all. Amongst their bundle of assets (or faults!) alcoholics when it comes to drink are also devout devious liars, and others like husbands, wives, children, brothers & sisters, and parents, are on a fool’s errand trying to police them, as all it causes is distrust, hurt, resentment, and despair on all sides – finding them out is pointless and counter-productive, so JUST DON’T DO IT, eh? Those affected by an alcoholic’s behaviour (and that averages out to about half-a-dozen for each of them, and many times their wounds run deep), need to get help for themselves so that they can cope or survive it – the local family groups of Al-Anon is one source of help for those affected by someone else’s drinking.
All that you can do with an alcoholic is to support them as best you can in their intended quest (hopefully) to stop drinking and achieve their lifelong sobriety, and that can be a long-long struggle when there are constant let-downs and relapses into drinking, don’t you think?
Nobody, but nobody (and many try), can stop an alcoholic drinking except themselves. Many alcoholics do make that life changing decision, but countless don’t do so until they have lost all they had by their drinking – their spouse, their children, their assets, their career, and not least their self-respect – sometimes their lives into the bargain.
In general, alcoholics are amongst the most accomplished of people, often professional, charismatic, clever, astute, smart, and extremely successful individuals, and that is why it is so sad that this condition drags them down into the gutter’s abyss with many dying before their time, isn’t it? That is not to say that alcoholics don’t feel the guilt and shame bestowed on them by society – so numerous of them try to simply hide their condition and that is neither healthy for them, nor helpful in their ability to deal with their problem, is it?
Those who find themselves to be alcoholic need to face-up to their situation, admit to their problem, and get on with their lives (WITHOUT ALCOHOL, though!). There should be nothing though to be ASHAMED about in being an alcoholic, just as those who are major cancer suffers aren’t ashamed of being ill – just worried about getting better or surviving, eh?
No, alcoholics as such have nothing whatsoever to be ashamed about for being sufferers of that condition which means that they cannot control alcohol and it controls them. There are however two species of alcoholics – the ‘non-drinking alcoholics’ and the ‘drinking alcoholics’, and while the former should be gratefully proud of themselves, the latter lot do have everything to be utterly ashamed about.
There is a bit of a misnomer when a non-drinking alcoholic describes themselves as ‘a recovering alcoholic’ because it isn’t something you can ever really recover from, is it? Nevertheless, what they are trying to say is that they are actively trying to deal with their non-self-inflicted but irreparable condition with a compulsion to drink, and good luck to them all in that long journey, eh?
Many alcoholics across the globe (more than 100 countries) are helped in their quest to maintain their alcohol abstinence by the fellowship organisation of Alcoholics Anonymous, which holds meetings daily far and wide, where alcoholics meet-up and share their experiences of being an alcoholic. The idea is to admit to others that they have a problem condition but are sincere in their determination to deal with it, with the help of their fellow suffers.
Now, Christmas is a particularly bad time of year for all those facing-up to an alcohol problem, as booze takes over this whole Country in crazy manner, through unbelievable sales of it and that’s over-and-above the massive amount bought for immediate consumption in pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, at work parties, and the likes, as well as homes of course, eh?
This would be a good time for all people to reflect on their own use of alcohol and be thankful if it is under control, and to offer the hand of friendship and support, socially or at work, to those not in the same position, rather than criticism – and certainly not a Christmas drink.
[Well-known celebrity alcoholics or alcohol abusers from around the world include unfortunately the likes of Irish amazing footballer George Best deceased as a consequence, English iconic footballer Paul Gascoigne (Gazza) still relapsing, actor David Hemingway who committed suicide, Antony Hopkins actor now sober, singer Elton John who overcame addiction, jazz singer, writer Stephen King now clean, actor Mel Gibson needing recovery, diva singer Diana Ross may still be struggling, crooner Amy Winehouse who’s time ran out, Billie Holiday died alone, toughly Oliver Reed actor brought to an unfortunate end, and many others].
This post is dedicated to the memory of Ryan, a fantastic young man and father who was untimely called some six years ago.