Alcohol is a very real problem in America, affecting nearly 14 million adults (and to further that point, more than 92% have claimed to binge drink within the past 30 days), according to reports published on ProjectKnow.com .
Men make up most of those that partake in alcohol abuse but women are the ones more likely to experience problems with the consumption. It paints a very real portrait of the American life that lives below the flash of partying.
I would like to say a few things as someone who has seen the effects of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in their family.
Knowing when the line begins to blur
When we’re young it’s acceptable to go out and have fun at bars & clubs because society has pinned down that “that’s what young people do.” There’s nothing wrong with going out and having fun if it’s within reason and that the parties involved understand the consequences.
Consequences such as:
- Automotive accidents
- Domestic disputes
- Public intoxication (and subsequent arrests)
What people don’t want to talk about is what happens when this party environment begins to spill over to the everyday lifestyles of those that are susceptible to alcohol abuse.
- Showing up late to work
- Being erratic and unpredictable
- Aggression & laziness
- General physical & mental health issues
We’ve made progress. Society realizes that women also are in danger of going down the rabbit hole that is liquor addiction, which is why women’s alcohol treatment facilities have become quite the norm. These locations do great work to help eliminate the dependence on alcohol addiction through various means of rehabilitation and coaching.
When you realize there are treatments available and you do your research into them you realize the tell-tale signs that may be affecting you, a family member, or a friend. It may not seem like the change is taking place but it’s happening – they are becoming a different person because they want to “keep the party going” even though they have responsibilities.
What really happens when you’re older
The long-term effects of alcohol are quite scary and down-right sad.
I’ve seen alcoholism consume the best of people. These were mostly the party people that I was with during my clubbing days. When I run into them now it seems like the world flipped upside down on them because they weren’t able to keep things under control.
Obviously, there are underlying genetic issues that are hereditary and make the prone to alcohol abuse but it was sad to see that they weren’t taking the advice of close ones.
On a long enough timeline, there are the big issues that occur:
- I’ve seen a few of them lose their jobs because of DUI’s
- I’ve had a relative die because of liver damage
- I’ve watched as a friend went through agony while detoxing
And that list goes on and on – you read on what can happen to a person and if you’re true about what’s going on around you … you’re probably going to see a few close ones experience these things.
What you can do
First of all, I’d say to get real about the alcohol consumption.
It’s okay if you want to go and party but live by the golden rule of “don’t cause other people trouble” aka “don’t be stupid” (as blunt as that is) in ways like drinking and driving, having that “one more drink before last call” even though you’re plastered, or falling into a binge pattern because you “don’t have anything to do today”.
Secondly is to talk about it with your friends, family, and other loved ones.
It’s not all that pleasant to talk about your issues but if you don’t you’re really just projecting yourself toward the dead end in the long-run. You’re going to have trouble finding trust with people if you abuse it early on – after enough time they may back off and that’s when you hit bottom – nip it in the bud, now, to get those resources and help before it’s too late.
Third is to simply balance it out.
You can have drinks but make sure that you’re eating, drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, and exercising so you get it out of your system. Hangovers are terrible but worse is when you’re day drinking and getting drunk. Again, it’s being real about your consumption – but also setting limits – you need to be in control of it all.
Get help if you need it. Help others. Have fun. But most importantly: be safe and smart.