Drinking and Driving

To take a step back, to take a look in the mirror and admit you have a drinking problem is one of the most difficult things to do.

Story by Paloma Solis

This was the message from the Student Health Services at an Alcohol Awareness Day April 25 in the quad.

When friends and family make up excuses for an addict, they are doing more damage than they can imagine. They are prolonging the addiction and keeping then away from the help they need.

Otherwise, they stay in denial.  It takes time and courage to recognize and admit to a problem and staying in denial makes it impossible for an addict to recover.

People who are afraid to face their problems fall into denial before they even become addicted. The more addiction begins to progress, the more problems  follow, including becoming resentful, angry or defensive.

Addiction takes over lives. It places a person’s (and others) health, safety and happiness in danger. The more the problem is ignored the bigger the problem will become, making the situation more serious and harder to deny.

Addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on a substance or behavior. While anyone can be at risk, recent studies have shown that people with certain past histories or personality traits are at a higher risk than others.

But help is available in many forms.

An intervention should always be the first step. This allows concerned friends and family to unite with the addict and present their feelings about the addict’s lifestyle. It is a risk to a certain extent. The addict may refuse help and continue living in denial — or they may come to realize that the intervention’s purpose is only for the friends and loved ones to demonstrate how they can no longer participate in the addict’s self destruction.

Substance abusers affect not only themselves but also everyone else who shares the house with them. Teens with family members who abuse alcohol or drugs almost always suffer consequences, and are most of the time unaware that there is a problem at all. They may suffer from low self-esteem, loneliness and strong anger. It is common that there will be physical, emotional and sexual abuse in households where drugs or alcohol are radically consumed.

If one is a victim living in an alcoholic’s home, try to follow these steps:

• Express one’s feelings and experiences by talking to friends, relatives and counselors.

• Remember that alcoholism is a disease. When it comes to someone else’s drinking, you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.

• One should try his or her best to love the parent even though they may be angry at the disease. Many children of alcoholics not only feel unloved, but unlovable.

If there is an alcoholic in one’s family and it seems as though there is no immediate answer, look for support from Al-Anon, a worldwide fellowship similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. There are no membership fees. Any friend or family member concerned about an addicted loved one may attend the meetings, and discretion of what is said in the meetings is promised by fellow members.

Whether people choose to accept it or not, alcohol is a drug. Even though it is legal to use, being intoxicated at work has many outstanding consequences and is probably responsible for more trouble on the job than all illegal drugs combined.

Because drinking at social gatherings has become a part of life, it is difficult to determine whether someone has a problem. If someone finds himself or herself concerned about what the appropriate amount of alcohol consumption is they should look up drinking patterns. In general, people who only drink to relax and increase their good feelings find it much easier to control and limit their drinking.

However, there are people who claim to be social drinkers but who cannot go without an alcoholic beverage on a regular basis.

Drinking while driving is a thought that should never cross any responsible individuals mind. If every driver was completely aware of the consequences they would understand why. If caught driving under the influence, the person could lose their license and job. In some states, being found under the influence while operating a vehicle will result in a one year suspension of a drive’s license. Commit the same crime twice and the license could be suspended for life.

Alcohol impairs coordination, distorts vision, causes sleepiness, slows reaction time and gives a person a false, overblown sense of competence. Driving is dangerous enough when sober.

If a problem is suspected, take the first step and seek professional help through organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, World Services, National Council On Alcoholism, Adult Children of Alcoholics, National Association For Children of Alcoholics, National Clearinghouse For Alcohol And Drug Information, Al-Anon, Alcohol Information And Referral Line, and National Institute On D

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This entry was published on May 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm and is filed under base line stories, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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