Unchecked Drinking May Lead to Life Long Drinking Problem


Research indicates that alcohol use during the teenage years could interfere with normal adolescent brain development and increase the risk of developing Alcohol Use Disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“Drinking is fun, it helps me stay loose,” said a student at Wilde Lake. As the school year comes to an end, he finds himself at parties almost every weekend, and sometimes even drinking alone. These options, similar as they were to this student, demonstrates the tow alcoholism can have on an individual without them even knowing it’s a problem. With summer right around the corner, alcohol is more readily available and becomes a seemingly attractive option as students have more free time to attend parties, travel to countries with lower alcohol restrictions, or even access it through basic interactions with friends.

Though alcohol might not prove to be consequential for all who drink, it can lead to a life-long struggle for those that find themselves compulsively drinking and displaying traits of an addict. In the United States alone, about 6.2% of all adults suffer from alcoholism, many of whom began drinking in high school.

A 72 year old alcoholic, who has now been sober for over thirty years, was able to analyze alcoholism from the time when he started drinking at age 13. “Alcohol does something for the alcoholic that it doesn’t do for other people,” he said. “It made me feel different. It made me feel okay.”

When he had first started drinking, he didn’t understand that he wasn’t actually okay or feeling well, he only knew that alcohol made everything seem better, even though he later realized that it was an illusion.

“To the alcoholic, alcohol triggers a mental obsession about feeling better with a physical compulsion [to drink alcohol],” he said. “In high school, I drank as much as I could, whenever I could. Then, I followed the course that is predictable for any alcoholic.”

Although his wife is not an alcoholic, she was raised in an alcoholic household, and can explain a similar, though not entirely identical perspective. She described her experience of being the wife of an alcoholic very differently from how she described her life as a child of an alcoholic. Towards her husband she mostly felt anger and resentment, while towards her mother she felt more fearful and responsible.“I felt like it was my fault. Like I was responsible for her happiness and I felt like her caretaker.” She said, reflecting on her younger self.

She expanded on her statement, to show how it affected her later in life. “I became a people pleaser and I lost myself,” she said. “Children who grow up in alcoholic homes tend to be drawn to other alcoholics [like her husband].  It really is a disease that gets passed from generation to generation.”

Wilde Lake guidance counselor, Mr. Mazzo, says, “When you find yourself compulsively drinking: involve your parents, try and find the reason you’re drinking, and then get the help you need, whether it be AA or a rehabilitation center.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, a meeting where an alcoholic can get together with other recovering alcoholics, helps prevent the person from further pursuing the destructive path of alcoholism. “It helps you find a higher power that gives you hope and feel worthy of recovery,” the man explained. Through giving the alcoholic a chance to work on their personality, AA allows them to replace their way of life with a different one.

There is also help for family members of alcoholics such as Al-anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA), where a person can learn to cope with the damage done by the alcoholic. Held in a similar format, the meetings support the person suffering from their family member’s alcoholism and allows them to work on bonds that have been broken through the abuse of the alcoholic. As a result, the relationships between the alcoholic and their friends, family, and even coworkers have the chance to improve.

“Basically,” the man said, “If you’re wondering if you have a problem, or if what you’re doing makes someone cry or feel uncomfortable, then you probably have a problem and you need to get help.”


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