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How to Get Rid of Alcoholism

Jul 12, 2008
In most head-on automobile collisions where people are seriously injured or killed, it turns out that the driver at fault has a higher-than-allowed blood alcohol level; that is, he or she was driving a lethal weapon while intoxicated. Statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism show that in 2004, lightly less than 40 percent of all traffic fatalities (not just those that resulted from head-on collisions) involved alcohol. This figure is down from 60 percent in 1982, possibly reflecting the effect of seat belts or decreased societal tolerance for drunk driving. Perhaps the message, "Don't drink and drive," is finally getting through. But 40 percent is still too high a figure.

Alcohol has also been, historically, an important factor in domestic arguments that end in homicide. In the state of Oklahoma, about half of all victims of homicide have high blood alcohol levels, and it could easily be assumed that most of their killers were also drunk. Between 5% and 50% of all suicides, depending upon the age level looked at, were people with elevated blood alcohol levels.

A drunk is a danger to far more people than himself, including the people he doesn't kill but seriously damages, whether physically or emotionally. Typical victims are his family (and we use the pronouns "he" and "his" advisedly; two-thirds of all alcoholics are male). A high proportion of child-batterers and wife-beaters are alcohol abusers or alcoholics. Somehow, the alcoholic must be made to control his drinking before he does his damage. If any drinker is unable to control his consumption, he must stop it completely.

But how? The drunk must want to get rid of his habit.

Even though quitting destructive habits is often hard to do, and one of the hardest to get rid of is the craving for liquor, many alcoholics are crying out for someone to stop them. They may be drunk, but they have lucid moments when they know what demon rum is doing to them.

There are various tools to help the drinker quit, but he must first be motivated to want to quit. Others may appeal to him to stop, and the appeals might work, but they work only if he realizes what he stands to lose if he doesn't quit the sauce and what he stands to gain if he does.

Why is this a difficult habit to break? What causes the habit to begin with? We're not sure.

When Is a Drunk a Drunk?

One can be considered inebriated if his blood alcohol level exceeds a certain set level. For purposes of testing whether one is sober enough to drive a motor vehicle, each state has set a level beyond which it defines a driver as being drunk, and these vary from state-to-state. Because most people do not carry breathalyzers on them or have blood alcohol test kits in their medicine chests at home, there needs to be an easier way to determine whether they're drunk. And there is: your speech tends to slur, your balance is off - it's difficult to walk a straight line, at first you're happy but - with a few more drinks - you start to get obnoxious, and at some point your sober friends will probably tell you you're drunk. Get drunk often enough, and they might begin calling you an alcohol abuser, though probably not to your face.
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