Posts Tagged ‘Alcoholism’


January 26, 2012

Just as with other diseases such as diabetes or heart disease, alcoholism can and does run in families.

Alcoholism is believed to be caused by both genetic and enviornmental influences.

However, just because there is a predispostion to alcoholism due to family history, it does not mean that it will automatically happen.  It does mean, however, you will need to use caution, monitor your alcohol consumption and seek help early if necessar

Have you ever had experience with alcoholism in your family or other families?

Would it be better for a member of an alcoholic family to abstan from drinking?

Does alcoholism run in the family?

What do you think?


May 10, 2011

Last Sunday’s New York Times carried a provocative article, “Challenging the second “A” in A.A.” by David Colman who described himself as an active member of AA.

When A.A. began in 1935 with Bill W. and Dr. Bob, anonymity was a key part of the 12-step program.  It was meant to shield those struggling to become sober from the stigma of being an alchoholic, a stigma far more marked 75 years ago when there was little research on alcoholism as a medical condition over which its sufferers had little control.

Now that alcoholism has beeen identified as an illness there is far less urgency in protecting from shame.

And the most sacred institutions sometimes modify their teaching.  For centuries the Catholic church taught that limbo was where little unbaptized babies went.  The Church has now dropped that teaching.

Now, considering new medical information and changing attitudes, couldn’t A.A. drop its anonymity plank?

But, hold on.  Wait a minute.  Suppose some celebrity gets on TV and announces that he is an alcoholic.  The media report six weeks later that he has fallen off the  wagon and is back in the sauce.  Who does that help ?  Same thing with an author who writes a book about her alcoholism and then goes back to the booze.

I have a personal angle on this.  Back in the sixties I had a drinking problem.  I checked out several recovery routes including AA.  Many years later I wrote a memoir called “The Inside Story.”   How should I handle my addiction problem in the book?  After a good deal of thought, I decided to describe my drinking in full but not to mention AA.

Now in 2011 the arguments for ditching anonymity are even stronger.  More and more it seems like an anachronistic vestige of the Great Depression, when AA got its start and when alcoholism was seen  as not just a weakness but a disgrace.

Does denying one’s participation in a program that is helping your life make any sense?

If staying anonymous is not aan outdated (and sometimes absurd) technicality, is it at least a CHOICE thaty everyone should have?

As the writer, Ms Cheever, put it:  “This dancing around and hedging, figuring out ways of saying it that aren’t really saying it, so that people in recovery know what I am talking about — all the code words.  I am sure this is not what Bill W. intended?

Should A.A. drop the second “A”?

What do you think?


April 3, 2011

A homeless shelter for alcoholics  in Ottawa is practicing an unusual treatment for problem drinkers.  On the hour over a daily period of 12 hours they give each alcoholic a generous glass of wine.  This amounts to 72 ounces or about three bottles of wine a day.

The rationale for this unique treatment  (run by medical personnel) is that it takes the worst alchoholics off the streets, their lives calm down, and daily police pickups, ambulance rides and emergency room visits are replaced with harm reduction and far better care.  “The alternative”said one caregiver ” “is drinking themselves to death”.

By giving them five ounces of wine an hour, the recipients no longer resort to drinking such harmful substances as paint thinner, mouth wash or aftershave. Once the drinking is stabilized, they then start to work on other aspects of their lives.

It also emerges that only one out of 55 gives up drinking on their own.

The people the Ottawa Centre deals with are those who have been on the streets drinking to unconsciousness for an average of 35 years.

A medical group in Montreal would like to see the “wet” program in Ottawa established in our city.  Montreal has between 3,000 and 5,000 homeless people with each one costing the taxpayers $55,000 for healh care etc.

However, not everyone agrees with the Ottawa program.  Cyril Morgan, director of the Welcome Hall Mission, says he’s “not convinced it’s the way to go.”

“It doesn’t wean them off, it pacifies them for the time they’re in the program.  Once you take them out of that environment, then what?”

Would you like to see the Ottawa “wet” program in Montreal?

Should they give wine to alcoholics?

What do you think?

Research on the program has shown that health and hygiene improved and some participants even stopped  drinking entirely.  (I’m from Missouri on that one.)

It is estimated that 20 per cent of alcoholics require some kind of intervention to stop drinking.  The Ottawa “wet” program targets four per cent of that group.