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Sunday, 20 October 2019


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So true. My stepmother was an alcoholic. We had an intervention and she went to Hazeldon and made great progress. Before you can leave there you must pass a full physical. Her chest x-ray found a lot of lung cancer that had spread. Not surprisingly, she went back to drinking and died, of a stroke soon afterwards.

On a brighter note, both of my brothers were alcoholics and got sober about the same time you did, and remain sober. It can be overcome, it takes a village.

That’s a bit unfair to alcohol — to accuse it of killing the yeast that creates it. It’s only when we put the yeast into captivity that it happens, in the wild the alcohol concentration won’t usually reach such high levels :-) .

Years ago I saw an estimate that 10% of our population was addicted to alcohol. Add in the numbers of addictions to all other mind-altering substances and the tally would be staggering.

The corrosive effect of addictions on families, associates and productivity in general is incalculable.
Addiction to alcohol is a generally ignored public health issue that is buried under a societal barrage of glamorization of drink.

Nice post.
Congrats on your sobriety. My date is 7/28/81 [you can calculate the # of days].

[13,963 days as of today, Sunday. Good work! --Mike]

Alcohol is NOT a stimulant in any quantity.
The function of higher centers of brain is to keep the next lower level in check, to keep them going wild, so to speak. In other words, it maintains our civilization.
Alcohol depresses those higher centers, liberating the lower ones from the control of the higher centers. That might appear as a stimulation of the brain but in fact it is the effect of depression of the higher centers.

"How often do you think a stone cold sober 20-year-old falls out of a window?" Probably not many, but alcohol may not be the only cause of such activity.

I was in the red light district of Amsterdam one pleasant evening and watched a young man fall out of a coffee house window. Fortunately, the window was on the ground floor and he wasn't badly hurt. The whole thing was kind of funny to watch because his reaction time was so slow he seemed to fall in super slow motion and he hit the ground in pretty much the same posture as when he sat on the window ledge, only 90 degrees and three feet later.

Mike:I would be grateful for this post even if I didn't live in a home touched by alcoholism. So much good info. Thanks.

I lost a friend last year due to his drinking. Pretty much drank himself to death. He was found dead in a local park.

Likeable guy. He was a co-worker and was everyone's best friend. He finally could not function at work anymore and quit. I'd see him occasionally and would be shocked to see how old he now looked. I miss him and wish I could have done something to help.

As a former newspaperman, I know a lot of alcoholics. One of them told me that the wonderful thing about alcohol is that when you're drinking, all things seem possible -- it alters the conditions of the world.

Hi Mike - I always enjoy your AA posts; my mom had her 50th AA birthday a couple years ago and my siblings and I all grew up well informed of the perils and pitfalls of substance abuse. Although informed, our individual response was...mixed.
Related to one of the myths you listed, whether Alcoholics can ever safely drink again - One of the 12 Steps is accepting you are Alcoholic and powerless to control your drinking. It did occur to me as I was questioning my own relationship to alcohol, that once having struggled to achieve sobriety, only an Alcoholic would risk that sobriety by testing its "limits".

Congratulations. Your example is inspiring.

A good post, Mike, thanks. As I've written you before, both of my Grandfathers were addicts, one to alcohol and the other to self-prescribed narcotics (he was a licensed physician) plus alcohol. I don't believe I have inherited those tendencies, but I often wonder.

Thanks Mike,
It wasn’t until I stopped selling beer that I took the time to try to better understand the varied dangers of the product I had been selling.
I recommend this book, along with “The Big Book” by AA, to everyone who works in the Alcohol Industry.


Thank you for sharing this. So important to talk about the terrible personal and social impact of alcohol use. I come from a family of alcoholics and no longer drink.

Must disagree on the "real person" not coming out when one is drunk. That is what the really are when the inhibitions are gone. Saw it with too many family members over the years. Without booze they were one person, with it they changed and what was in the background came out - seldom pretty.
Worst is knowing someone gets drunk and beats kids and family - and those who know it happens do nothing about it. They are as guilty as the drunk child/wife beaters.

No matter what they do to get sober the memory of drunken bastards beating kids never, ever goes away.

There seems to be some debate over whether the body is irreversably damaged by even the tinyest amount of alcohol consumption. i.e. "unsafe at any speed".

Does the book opine on that?

Alcohol is also a major contributor to drowning deaths. It's a significant problem in Australia where waterways and backyard pools are the ideal place to hold a party in the warmer months. Drinking alcohol and going for a swim in the ocean to celebrate or sober up often has tragic consequences. Alcohol and water don't mix! It impairs judgement about when and where it's safe to swim or when to get out of the water. It can accelerate hypothermia. Young people are particularly vulnerable - the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia says alcohol contributes to at least 41 percent of drownings in the 15–29 years age group, compared to 20 percent of all adult drowning deaths.

I've always liked wine with meals, but after a family member almost died from alcohol poisoning I gave up in support. That was at the beginning of 2018. I've never regretted it, or felt better.

"it is addictive for only a minority of its users, namely, alcoholics."

"Others (alcoholics) will become addicted no matter how much they drink."

Do you have peer reviewed evidence for these two claims? Is there scientific consensus about these claims?

[Read the book? --Mike]

Just imagine how beneficial it would be if all broadcast advertising for alcoholic beverages was banned in the same manner as tobacco ads were banned (in the U.S.) long ago.

Of course "imagine" is about as close as we'll get to that, as there's way too much money involved to ever make this dream come true.

Thanks Mike,
Data suggests encouraging kids to delay starting drinking as long as possible.
See this from Australia:

Dopamine Blockers are showing potential to turn one myth into reality. In some testing addicts report being able to drink socially and not fall back into addictive behaviors. Truly a stunning outcome if it proves to work in the long term.

Is there a distinction between alcohol dependency (I should probably plead guilty to that, getting through half a bottle of wine probably most days), and alcoholism? In particular circumstances I can give up alcohol for days on end without any ill-effects or unpleasantness. But like many people I find a regular glass of something a prop in stressful times. I certainly get through more than the medically recommended level of alcohol, but by the standards of many of my friends I am only an average drinker.

On a separate aspect of this complicated subject, I think there is a serious cultural problem in the UK (and maybe also Australia?), where people go out with the express intention of getting smashed. My impression is that this is less the case in Continental Europe, certainly the Latin countries; maybe it happens more in Northern Europe. It's true that drunken Dutch football supporters are indistinguishable in appearance and behaviour from the British counterparts. I will never forget an encounter with them in the railway station at Den Haag ... Is public drunkenness less common in the US?

I and my partner gave up drinking 15 years ago and life has never been better. I very much appreciate this article and only wish more people could read it. My father told me just before he died that alcohol was the invention of the devil. Now I don't have a religious bone in my body so do not really believe in the devil, but I suspect he could have been right.

Regarding “ See this from Australia:
I don’t see any data on that site (maybe I just didn’t find it) , just assertion. May be true maybe not. Of course it’s true that if you never drink you will not suffer alcohol poisoning but it’s not a helpful statement :-(.

I have friends whose son is a terrible alcoholic. He literally becomes psychotic when he is drunk. He is in his thirties and is waiting for yet another court date regarding some trouble he got into while intoxicated. They feed him wine to keep him quiet when he shows up at their house desperate, but I know they have given him his vodka in desperate times. I do not understand why his parents do this.

I have a family member that is addicted to illicit drugs. They too have become psychotic at times. I would never give them a drug to quiet them down. Alcoholics are drug addicts and should be identified as such. I pity my friends with their son. He has been in and out of treatment and was sober for ten years they say, but they also say it started in high school. I think he is mentally ill and needs to be away from those that provide him his drug.

I am afraid to say anything as I will probably lose their friendship. I pray the courts do the right thing and incarcerate him into care. I do not drink alcohol and glad my parents would not allow it in the home when I grew up. I never seem to miss what I did not have.

Mike you should absolutely check out a guy that runs a website on internet porn addiction that has updated it. The big revelation is that all addictions (GAS, internet porn, drugs, video games when addictive) all show the same pattens in frying the reward center to the brain.

Interesting, scary but holds some interesting keys.

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