For many people, the facts about alcoholism are unclear. Since the symptoms of alcoholism vary from person to person, and many alcoholics will justify or rationalize their drinking far past the point where they can differentiate the truth from the false. This paper will define alcoholism and discuss a few of the many ways this terrible disease can destroy one’s health, the lives of innocent bystanders, and the detrimental effects of their own family.
Alcoholism by definition is an addiction to the consumption of an alcoholic beverage or the mental illness and obsessive behavior resulting from alcohol dependency. While The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, defines alcoholism as having an allergy to alcohol. Dr. William Silk worth states “All types of alcoholics have one symptom in common they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon of craving as we have suggested may be the manifestation of an allergy, which differentiates these people and sets them apart as a distinct entity” (xxv-xxvi). A typical person who has been unaffected by alcoholism, probably believes that it only is a weakness. If a person exerted more will power, he or she would not be an alcoholic. This stereotype has long since been proven untrue. Alcoholism is a disease that knows no socioeconomic boundaries; it affects the rich, the same as the poor. It tells the alcoholic; they do not have a problem.
As the alcoholic begins to drink more and more often, he begins to hide this fact from those around him. Depending upon his circumstances, he may drink openly, but usually he will conceal the amount he drinks, by not drinking around those who are closest to him.
The health ramifications from alcoholic drinking are serious; show direct correlation to a wide variety of negative health consequences including illness, disability, and mortality. (Rehm). Its consumption has a direct correlation to traffic accidents, violence, cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy, poisonings, and several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, larynx, liver, and colorectal. The World Health Organization points out the detrimental effects caused by alcoholism; that approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol-related factors, the (WHO) said in its "Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health."
While, the most catastrophic effects alcoholism is the way it affects the innocent bystander. The senseless loss of lives because the alcoholic makes a selfish decision to drink; without any consideration of the outcome. According to a study conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. (Center for Disease Control and Pervention)
Despite the potentially lethal damage, heavy drinking does to innocent bystanders, and the body; consequences for the family can be just as devastating. Alcoholics’ have no idea the stress and pain they cause in a family. They may break apart a family by lying, cheating or even physical abuse. There are the types of alcoholics that will have a successful career, but are emotionally unavailable even though physically they are not absent. There is only so much a family member can take before he or she decides, it is not worth trying to save an alcoholic from his or herself; at the expense of their life or their children.
The personal effects of alcoholism in my family go several generations back. They have been seemingly unnoticeable, almost as an invisible chain throughout my family history. All though it is my personal commitment to break the chains of alcoholism in my life; the realization came at great pains both in my life and others. It is my hope that my daughter may have an example of what she can do if she finds herself in the throes of alcoholism. While alcoholism was like a dirty little