Apr 20

Alcoholism Is …

  • Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, and often fatal disease.

  • It is a primary disorder and not a symptom of other diseases or emotional problems.

The chemistry of alcohol allows it to affect nearly every type of cell in the body, including those in the central nervous system. After prolonged exposure to alcohol, the brain adapts to the changes alcohol makes and becomes dependent on it. The severity of this disease is influenced by factors such as genetics, psychology, culture, and response to physical pain.

Signs of alcoholism or alcohol dependence include the following:

  • The only indication of early alcoholism may be the unpleasant physical responses to withdrawal that occur during even brief periods of abstinence.

  • Alcoholics have little or no control over the quantity they drink or the duration or frequency of their drinking.

  • They are preoccupied with drinking, deny their own addiction, and continue to drink even though they are aware of the dangers.

  • Over time, some people become tolerant to the effects of drinking and require more alcohol to become intoxicated, creating the illusion that they can “hold their liquor.”

  • They have blackouts after drinking and frequent hangovers that cause them to miss work and other normal activities.

  • Alcoholics might drink alone and start early in the day.

  • They periodically quit drinking or switch from hard liquor to beer or wine, but these periods rarely last.

  • Severe alcoholics often have a history of accidents, marital and work instability, and alcohol-related health problems.

  • Episodic violent and abusive incidents involving spouses and children and a history of unexplained or frequent accidents are often signs of drug or alcohol abuse.

Alcoholism can develop insidiously, and often there is no clear line between problem drinking and alcoholism. Eventually alcohol dominates thinking, emotions, and actions and becomes the primary means through which a person can deal with people, work, and life.

Related Reading:

If You Loved Me, You'd Stop! What You Really Need to Know When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much
Intoxication (a psycho thriller)
Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease by Fingarette, Herbert [1989]
Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy (Third Edition)
Apr 17

A Message to Teenagers…

How to tell when drinking is becoming a problem



Alcoholism is a rough word to deal with.
Yet nobody is too young (or too old) to have trouble with booze.
That’s because alcoholism is an illness. It can hit anyone. Young, old. Rich, poor. Black, white. And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been drinking or what you’ve been drinking. It’s what drinking does to you that counts.

To help you decide whether you might have a problem with your own drinking, we’ve prepared these 12 questions. The answers are nobody’s business but your own. If you can answer yes to any one of these questions, maybe it’s time you took a serious look at what your drinking might be doing to you. And, if you do need help or if you’d just like to talk to someone about your drinking, call us. We’re in the phone book under Alcoholics Anonymous.

A Simple 12-Question Quiz designed To Help You Decide

1 Do you drink because you have problems? To relax?

2 Do you drink when you get mad at other people, your friends or parents?

3 Do you prefer to drink alone, rather than with others?

4 Are your grades starting to slip? Are you goofing off on your job?

5 Did you ever try to stop drinking or drink less — and fail?

6 Have you begun to drink in the morning, before school or work?

7 Do you gulp your drinks?

8 Do you ever have loss of memory due to your drinking?

9 Do you lie about your drinking?

10 Do you ever get into trouble when you’re drinking?

11 Do you get drunk when you drink, even when you don’t mean to?

12 Do you think it’s cool to be able to hold your liquor?

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
• The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
• A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
• Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature Copyright © 1988, 1998 by A.A. World Services, Inc. All Right Reserved reprinted with permission

Related Reading:

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition
Drinking and Drinking-Related Problems Among Alaska Natives
Sober Intoxication of the Spirit: Filled With the Fullness of God
Drug And Alcohol Abuse: The Authoritative Guide For Parents, Teachers, And Counselors
Apr 14

Causes and Risk Factors of Alcoholism

alcoholic Alcohol addiction and physical reliance on alcohol occurs slowly.

Over time, drinking alcohol changes the balance of a few chemicals in your mind, like gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), which reduces impulsiveness, as well as glutamate, which excites nervous system. Alcohol even raises the level of dopamine in the mind, which is linked with the agreeable features of drinking alcohol. Extreme, long-term drinking could increase or deplete the levels of a few of these chemicals, making your body to desire for alcohol to reinstate good feelings or to keep away from the negative feelings.

Other factors could lead to unnecessary drinking which adds to the addiction procedure. These comprise:

  • Genetics: Some genetic factors might cause an individual to be susceptible to alcoholism or additional addictions.
  • Emotional state: High level of anxiety, stress or emotional ache can direct some individuals to drink alcohol to chunk out the disorder. Certain stress hormones could be linked with alcoholism.
  • Psychological factors: Having low confidence or despair might make you more possible to abuse alcohol. Having a close partner or friends who drink frequently however who not abuse alcohol might be able to endorse extreme drinking on your fraction. It might be hard for you to distance yourself from these "enablers" or in any case from their drinking habits.
  • Cultural and social factors: The stunning way that drinking alcohol is represented in publicity and in media might send the message that it is OK to drink extremely.

Risk factors

Stable drinking over time could produce a physical reliance on alcohol. Drinking over 15 drinks per week for men or 12 drinks in a week for women augments the risk of rising confidence on alcohol. Though, drinking by itself is only one of the peril factors that add to alcoholism. Additional risk factors comprise:

  • Age: People who start drinking at an early age by age 16 or earlier are at a high danger of alcohol reliance or abuse.
  • Genetics: Your hereditary makeup might augment your danger of alcohol need.
  • Sex: Men are more probably to turn out to be needy on or neglect alcohol than are women.
  • Family history: The danger of alcoholism is high for citizens who had a parent or parents who abused alcohol.
  • Emotional disorders: Being harshly unhappy or having anxiety places you at a larger risk of abusing alcohol. Adults with concentration deficit/hyperactivity chaos also might be more probably to turn out to be reliant on alcohol.

Although a lot of people imagine otherwise, alcoholism is treatable disease. Medications, self-help and counseling groups are amongst the therapies which can give continuing support to facilitate you improve from alcoholism.

Article Source: About the Author; Dennis Draking

Suggested reading

Related Reading:

7 Weeks to Safe Social Drinking: How to Effectively Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
I Can't Stop (drinking): A Self Help Guide on Overcoming Alcoholism
Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor
Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
Apr 12

Boating Under the Influence

Coast Guard Calls Attention to Dangers of Boating Under the Influence

The U.S. Coast Guard launched “Operation Dry Water” this weekend, a nationwide annual campaign to call attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to the Coast Guard, alcohol was the leading factor in 16 percent of boating-related deaths in 2011, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion cause fatigue and slow down your reaction time,”

Cleveland-based Coast Guard Commander David Beck, Chief of Enforcement for the 9th Coast Guard District, told the newspaper. “Combining those factors with alcohol or drugs greatly reduces your reaction time and can lead to deadly consequences.” The article notes that boaters who fail sobriety tests can be issued citations or can be immediately taken into custody and have their vessels impounded.

The Coast Guard recommends that in order to avoid boating under the influence, boaters should take along a variety of cool non-alcoholic drinks. “If you want to make alcohol part of your day’s entertainment, plan to have a party ashore at the dock, in a picnic area, at a boating club, or in your backyard… Choose a location where you’ll have time between the fun and getting back into your car or boat,” the Coast Guard notes on its website. Boaters who dock for lunch or dinner and drink alcohol with their meal should wait a reasonable amount of time (a minimum of one hour per drink) before operating a boat.

By Join Together Staff

Related Reading:

Five Personal Journeys Beyond Addiction: Interviews With Former Addicts (Drug Addiction Memoirs, Alcohol Recovery, Prescription Drug Abuse, 12 Step Programs, Pain Pill Rehab)
For Teenagers Living With a Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/Drugs
I Need To Stop Drinking!
Responsible Drinking: A Moderation Management Approach for Problem Drinkers
Apr 08

Female Heavy Drinkers have Smaller Brains

Female drinkers lose brain volume more quickly than men, according to researchers at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The BBC reported May 15 that researchers took brain scans of 150 women – about half of them alcoholics – and found that the heavy drinkers have smaller brains.

Female alcoholics were found to lose the same brain volume as male alcoholics, but suffered atrophy much more quickly.

"Women typically start drinking later in life and consume less" said lead study author Karl Mann. "But there is evidence for a faster progress of the events leading to dependence among female alcoholics and an earlier onset of adverse consequences of alcoholism. This suggests that women may be more vulnerable to chronic alcohol consumption."

From Join Together Online

Mann, K., Ackermann, K., Croissant, B., Mundle, G., Nakovics, H., & Diehl, A. (2005) Neuroimaging of Gender Differences in Alcohol Dependence: Are Women More Vulnerable? Alcoholism: Clinical and Epidemiological Research, 29(5): 896-901.

See also

Related Reading:

How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol (2nd edition)
Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy (Third Edition)
The Woman
Apr 07

Deadly Perils of the Booze Diet

Korean lady A woman in her 30s in Gwangju (Korea) recently died while on a so-called booze diet. She was under extreme pressure to lose weight, and after 10 days of only drinking alcohol for dinner while skipping breakfast and lunch, her system packed up.

Those on a liquor diet drink alcohol to lose weight, skipping breakfast and lunch and eating only side dishes with a drink for dinner. Some then throw up to ruin their appetite for the next morning. The method may appeal to those who want to lose weight fast, but it is perilous. "It’s such a dreadful way to lose weight," says Prof. Cho Kyung-hwan of the Department of Family Medicine at Korea University’s Anam Hospital. "It should never be recommended, and no one should listen when it is."

Two out of every 10 Koreans have less than the normal amount of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol, which is why their face reddens or they keel over after just one glass. If such people go on a booze diet, they can die. But even those who have enough enzymes are in danger as the booze diet badly hurts their stomach and esophagus.

Full story at; Deadly Perils of the Booze Diet

Korean Spirituality (Dimensions of Asian Spirituality) by Don Baker
Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind by Roger Walsh

Related Reading:

Drinking and Drinking-Related Problems Among Alaska Natives
Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies
A Wanted Woman
High Risk Pregnancy: Management Options (Expert Consult - Online and Print), 4e (High Risk Pregnancy (James))
Apr 06

13 Characteristics of Good Counsellors

Qualities to Look for in an Effective Counsellor

Many heavy drinkers, alcoholics, addicts, co-dependents and adult children of alcoholics have experienced good and bad counsellors. These guidelines may help next time you seek professional help.

Seeking a therapist? Here’s what the experts advise

To be effective, counselling needs to be provided in a way that meets a set of well-defined criteria. Condensing many hundreds of studies, psychologist Bruce Wampold, in a recent American Psychological Association symposium, boiled these ingredients down to this baker’s dozen.

1. Possession of a sophisticated set of interpersonal skills.  Can your therapist communicate to you in language that you understand? Does your therapist talk about you, rather than him or herself?

2. Ability to help you feel you can trust the therapist. Clients of effective therapists believe that their therapists will be helpful because the therapist communicates both verbally and non-verbally that he or she is someone the client can trust.

3. Willingness to establish an alliance with you. Though the therapist is obviously the expert, do you feel that the therapist cares about your goals in therapy and is willing to work with you to set goals that both of you agree on?

4. Ability to provides an explanation of your symptoms and can adapt this explanation as circumstances change. Clients want to know why they’re experiencing their symptoms. Effective therapists provide explanations that clients can understand.

5. Commitment to developing a consistent and acceptable treatment plan. Effective therapists conduct an assessment very early in treatment and share the treatment plan with you.

6. Communication of confidence about the course of therapy. An effective therapist keeps clients in therapy by communicating to clients the feeling that therapy will be worthwhile.

7. Attention to the progress of therapy and communication of this interest to the client. Good therapists are interested in finding out how their clients are responding to treatment. They show that they want their clients to improve.

8. Flexibility in adapting treatment to the particular client’s characteristics. A good therapist doesn’t follow a rigid schedule of treatment- a “one size fits all” approach.

9. Inspiration of hope and optimism about your chances of improvement. Hope is a terrific motivator. Feeling that something is going to work is often a large part of the equation in successful treatment. 

10. Sensitivity toward your cultural background. Therapists adapt treatment to their client’s cultural values. This includes showing respect for your background and being aware of attitudes within your culture or community.

11. Possession of self-insight. An effective therapist is self-aware and is able to separate his or her own issues from those of clients.

12. Reliance on the best research evidence. Therapists should stay abreast of the latest developments in clinical psychology, particularly in their areas of expertise.

13. Involvement in continued training and education. Licensed mental health professionals must participate in continuing education to maintain their credentials.  

The outcome of therapy depends on many factors, but researchers have evidence to show that these 13 qualities in a therapist play a key role in increasing the odds of a successful outcome.  Therapy can occur in many types of situations, ranging from marital counselling to employee assistance. Each therapist may not meet each of these 13 criteria, but as long as you are aware of them all, you can decide whether you or a loved one are getting the best possible treatment.

All these points are fully explained at; Qualities of Good Counsellors


Related Reading:

Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down: 50 Things Every Alcoholic and Addict in Early Recovery Should Know, or How to Stay Clean and Sober, Recovery from Addiction and Substance Abuse
Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions (Plus)
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition
7 Weeks to Safe Social Drinking: How to Effectively Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
Apr 04

Alcohol Abuse and the Liver

Woman drinking glass of white wine Alcohol abuse affects our health and our body in a variety of ways.

Several key organs and internal functions can be irreparably damaged because of heavy drinking over an extended period of time. Chief among those areas at risk is the liver – one of our body’s most crucial organs. Once the liver is damaged by alcohol, a number of serious health problems can ensue – many of which eventually lead to death.

The liver is “in charge” of processing the alcohol that enters your body. A healthy liver is able to properly process about one drink (one ounce of alcohol) per hour. If you drink more than this, the liver is unable to do its job and body starts to become saturated with alcohol.

What happens when your body becomes saturated with alcohol? The unprocessed alcohol goes straight to your brain and causes the kind of behavior commonly associated with drunkenness (impaired judgment, loss of inhibitions, etc.).

But over time, a much bigger problem begins to occur.

When someone engages in heavy drinking over a long period of time, the liver becomes swelled and fatty. A fatty liver causes several key internal problems:

  • It chokes off the supply of blood coming into the liver – which keeps oxygen and crucial nutrients from being delivered.
  • The lack of oxygen and nutrients causes liver cells to sicken and die
  • The live liver cells are replaced with scar tissue (this process is known as cirrhosis of the liver).

Once cirrhosis of the liver occurs, the individual is no longer able to properly tolerate alcohol because the liver lacks the proper cells to process and metabolize it.

How likely is a person to get cirrhosis of the liver?

Genetics play a big role in whether or not someone is stricken with cirrhosis of the liver. If the drinker has a history of the problem in his family, then he might show symptoms relatively quickly (in as little as a year of consuming 3-4 drinks per day).

On the other hand, there are some people who drink heavily on a regular basis for their entire lives and never get cirrhosis.

What happens if the liver fails because of excessive alcohol consumption?

The results can be fatal. The liver is a crucial part of our how our body functions. It is responsible for so many vital operations that we cannot live without it. The liver is:

  • The largest organ in the human body
  • Responsible for most of the blood flow between the intestinal tract to the heart
  • The storage area for glycogen – the body’s breakdown of sugar which is used to generate energy
  • Responsible for breaking down toxins that occur with the body’s metabolism.

One of the most prominent warning signs of cirrhosis of the liver is jaundice. Jaundice is characterized by a yellowing of the skin and the eyes.

Not only older people are candidates for cirrhosis of the liver. Young people just out of their teens (who have already been drinking for years) have experienced liver failure brought on by cirrhosis of the liver.

Article Source: Author: Scott Briggs

Related Reading:

Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease
Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease by Fingarette, Herbert [1989]
Alcohol: A Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine, How and Why What Medical Writers Say
How to Quit Drinking without AA: A Complete Self-Help Guide, 2nd Edition
Apr 02

Alcohol and Hangover Video

St. Patrick’s Day Science: New American Chemical Society video on the chemistry of alcohol and hangovers

Anyone who needs a reason not to overindulge on St. Patrick’s Day — or on any other day of the year — can view a new American Chemical Society (ACS) video on alcohol’s effects on the body at www.BytesizeScience.com.

St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday (2013), and there are many ways to celebrate, like Irish soda bread at breakfast or corned beef and cabbage for dinner. For those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer, moderation is the key. Alcohol has several negative effects on your body — many of which usually amount to a miserable morning-after.

Produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs, The Chemistry of Alcohol and Hangovers explains the science behind these unpleasant after-effects that excessive drinking can have on the body, including:

• Headaches, caused by low blood sugar and allergic reactions to certain ingredients in liquor.

• Nausea and upset stomach, resulting from alcohol’s irritant effect, which stimulates the secretion of acid in the stomach.

• Thirst, the result of alcohol’s dehydrating effects on the body.


Related Reading:

The Hangover Handbook: 101 Cures for Humanity's Oldest Malady
Drinking and Drinking-Related Problems Among Alaska Natives
7 Weeks to Safe Social Drinking: How to Effectively Moderate Your Alcohol Intake
Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy (Third Edition)
Apr 01

Alcohol Abuse Warning Signs

  • Drinking more heavily when under pressure, or after an argument or disappointment

  • Waking up, and not being able to remember part of the evening before (blackouts)

  • Sneaking extra drinks when at a social gathering

  • Feeling uneasy when in a situation that alcohol is not available

  • Feeling guilty or worried about your drinking

  • Continuing to drink after others have stopped

  • Trying to control your drinking by switching brands

  • Avoiding other people in favor of spending time drinking

  • Problems at work arising from drinking or hangovers

  • Having a drink in the morning in order to get over a hangover

  • Feeling chronically irritable or depressed

In general, as the saying goes, “You know you have a drinking problem when your drinking causes problems”. These problems may be on the job, in interpersonal relationships, or emotional.

Related Reading:

I Need To Stop Drinking!
Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease
How to Change Your Drinking: a Harm Reduction Guide to Alcohol (2nd edition)
The Drunken Monkey: Why We Drink and Abuse Alcohol