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The Dangers of Alcohol: The Facts, Figures, and Reflection.

Updated on September 19, 2013

RELUCTANCE

I have hesitated in writing this article for quite some time. It has hovered on the periphery, always on the perpetual to-do list, never quite moving up that list….the bridesmaid of my writing career.

Why the reluctance? Simply because this writer is an alcoholic, and as such I did not want my views of alcohol to appear to be a rant made by some crusading do-gooder who now thinks alcohol is evil.

I do not, in fact, believe that alcohol is evil. I do, however, believe it is the number one drug in the world, and because it is legal, and because it is accepted, its dangers are all too often ignored.

I do not seek to rid the world of alcohol. That was tried during Prohibition and was a resounding failure. I do, however, want to raise awareness about it. The fact that this drug is socially acceptable makes it particularly dangerous, and the statistics prove that fact beyond a shadow of a doubt.

So, what are the statistics?

Before alcohol
Before alcohol | Source
After alcohol
After alcohol | Source

Hard, Cold Facts

· Alcohol-related crashes kill someone in the United States every 22 minutes. At any minute, one of fifty drivers is drunk, and on weekends that number jumps to one out of ten.

· The Center for Disease Control tells us that there are 105,000 alcohol related deaths each year on U.S. roads.

· Drunk drivers are responsible for ½ of all highway fatal injuries.

· Of all murders, 34% involved alcohol consumption.

· More than half of the rapists in America have been drinking prior to the rape.

· Mothers convicted of child abuse are three times more likely to be alcoholic; fathers, ten times.

· 36% of suicide victims were drinking just before taking their own lives.

· Heavy drinking occurs in 60% of violent crimes, 30% of suicides, and 80% of fire and drowning accidents.

· The use of alcohol costs over $18 billion in health care and treatment.

· 2.9% of live births have fetal alcohol syndrome.

· The cost to the economy of alcohol abuse is $150 billion annually.

And the statistics go on and on.

The dangers of alcohol
The dangers of alcohol | Source

What Makes Alcohol so Dangerous?

There is no simple answer to that question. Most definitely, the fact that alcohol is a legal drug and is socially acceptable makes it dangerous in society. Drinking has become a rite of passage for our youth, and it is so easy to obtain that it is literally available for anyone who wishes to exercise that rite of passage.

Alcohol is also the number one social drug in America. Whether it be at a family picnic, a business meeting, or just friends gathering socially, alcohol is part of the fabric of this country.

Because alcohol impairs judgment and reaction times, as well as breaks down our control factor, people are much more apt to do something while drinking that they would never do when sober.

One of the unique features of alcohol is the time-lapse nature of the drug. By the time you realize you should stop drinking, you are already impaired and will become more so immediately after stopping.

And of course, excessive drinking of alcohol has negative effects on our health.

A Realistic View

Bringing about an end to alcohol consumption in this country is simply a fool’s dream. It was tried once during Prohibition with disastrous results. Americans like their booze! From the good old boys pounding back some brewskies while working in the yard, to the housewives meeting for a glass of wine for lunch, alcohol is deeply mired in our society, and so it shall remain.

Teenagers have a drink or five after a high school football game, and relatives relax in the backyard with some Wild Turkey and a few beers. Business executives have their power lunches and the poor drink rot-gut to get through another day.

It is estimated that 60% of Americans drink alcohol. No, it is not going away!

Alcohol impairment - men
Alcohol impairment - men | Source

Have you ever driven while impaired by alcohol?

See results

So What’s the Point?

The point is to raise awareness. This author is, in fact, an alcoholic, and as one I can realistically point out the dangers of this legal drug. The number of alcoholics, like myself, is relatively small; however, the number of heavy drinkers is much higher, and the number of moderate drinkers higher still. No, a heavy drinker may not be addicted to alcohol, but that does not make them any less susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol. No, a teenager may not be an alcoholic, but that does not make them any less susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol.

May I make a few suggestions? I’m just going to toss out a couple thoughts and you can either grab hold of them or not.

If you are a parent, know what your children are doing. Hundreds of thousands of children begin drinking by the age of twelve. Twelve! Do I need mention how dangerous that is?

If you are drinking socially in a social setting, designate a sober driver, or be prepared to take a cab home. It is a fine line between being in control and being out of control, and that line is often the difference of one drink. Operating a vehicle requires excellent reflexes, and your reflexes are impaired when driving under the influence. If it takes you one second more to react to a situation while driving with alcohol in your system, that one second could be the difference between life and death.

If you are a parent, keep in mind the message you are sending to your children when you drink socially. Parents are the number one learning tool for a child. Our children parrot our behavior, and you can bet that they will parrot the behavior of drinking alcohol, and they will grow up accepting it as a social ritual. If it’s good enough for mom and dad, then it’s good enough for me. That kind of thinking could have negative consequences in the years to come.

Insist that your child’s school have a program that details the dangers of alcohol. This writer is all about raising awareness; information is power, and this information needs to be taught to our children.

If you are pregnant, do not drink alcohol. Period! There is no wiggle room with this point.

If you have a history of alcoholism in your family, beware! Alcoholism is hereditary in nature, and you may very well have a ticking time bomb inside of you.

Alcohol impairment - women
Alcohol impairment - women | Source

Life has never been better

HOPEFULLY…..

Well, hopefully this does not sound like the rant of a bitter alcoholic. Believe me, I would love to be one of those who can have a casual beer with one of the guys, or a glass of wine with dinner. Unfortunately, I cannot do those things, because for an alcoholic there is no such thing as one beer or one glass of wine.

I understand the attraction to drinking casually, and I have no vendetta against casual drinkers. I do, however, have an armful of information concerning the dangers of this legal drug, and I think responsible adults need to be aware of those dangers and act accordingly.

What I find amazing is the casual attitude that people have towards alcohol. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in your circle of friends who would light up a doobie in front of their child, but there is no hesitation in pouring a couple fingers of Jack in front of the kids, even though the Jack is much more dangerous than the doobie.

The upcoming holidays are a wonderful time for friends and family to get together and enjoy a glass of wine. Please, make sure that glass of wine does not lead to problems that can have very negative outcomes.

Remember: the life you save may be your own….or your spouse….or your child.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      This is certainly timely especially during the holidays where consumption is probably at an all time high. We drink mostly at home and not much. Your honesty is always so refreshing..and I appreciate the fact that there are never any excuses. Fortunately I do not turn to alcohol when I feel a bit down. This is a difficult time of year because of family matters and I try to keep busy. I guess I just know there is not a drug in the world that cures feelings of any kind. As always a thought provoking and valuable hub.

    • roxanne459 profile image

      Roxanne Lewis 4 years ago from Washington

      This is one of the most important issues of all time as far as I am concerned and it is layed out perfectly by an extremely talented writer! This is a truely amazing and important piece of work. Thank you for writing this! I am going to share this everywhere I can so many people may benefit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, no excuses at all. Nobody ever forced me to drink, and nobody ever forced me to ruin my life. I did that all on my own, and yet somehow survived. Maybe there was a divine purpose in store for me?

      Thank you Carol; have a wonderful day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Roxanne, thank you for those kind words. That is a very nice thing for you to say. I agree, this is a very important subject, and thank you for sharing it.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      A very important hub with excellent points, Bill. The statistics are scary (dare I say sobering?) - especially with respect to driving. One in 50? One in ten???? Yikes.

      The information about awareness around your children is key, I think. My oldest is 15 and has already started having to worry about whether there will be drinking or drugs at the parties or gatherings he attends. Fortunately, he takes the school's athletic code very seriously and does not want to jeopardize his playing time. Yet, we have sadly started hearing about friends of his that have been "seduced" by this very accessible drug.

      Rated up!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Wonderful message here Bill and all here you said was true, especially drinking while pregnant. I just can't believe anyone would do that during pregnancy and purposely put their unborn child in harm's way, but the statistics don't lie and just make me ill thinking about that. Thanks for sharing and have of course voted up a ton and shared as always!!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      This does not sound like "the rant of a bitter alcoholic." It sounds like critical information from someone who was in a position to know. Bill, you didn't have to hesitate to write this, who better to write this?! Thank you for a very comprehensive hub, filled with information and facts. The statistics are overwhelming! Thank you for sharing a part of you that I know is difficult to share.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, thank you, and really, now it isn't that hard to share. When I wrote my first "alcoholic" hub ten months ago I was convinced I would be shunned by the HP community....boy, was I ever wrong. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I actually was thinking of you when I added the pregnant part....no, not that I thought you drank, but how incensed you would be if you knew a mother-to-be that did drink. :) Thank you for the inspiration of what a good mother should be.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, I have been around coaching for a number of years, and it is unbelievable the number of kids who risk their playing careers by breaking the school code on drinking. I don't know if they think they won't get caught, or not punished, or they just don't care. Good for your son and good for you!

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      The message in this hub is important, Bill. I don't think people think about how much they are drinking. Especially in the summertime and during holidays people drink more. In Finland Sauna and beer is a common combination. I didn't drink any alcohol for years during and between my pregnanancies. Now I can have a glass of wine with dinner sometimes. Children do what adults do, not what adults tell them to do. Voting and sharing this awesome hub. Have a great day! :)

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

      I don't think I know one person that hasn't had someone in their family or someone they love that has been afflicted with this disease. I for one have had a family member whom I almost lost and a broken marriage and family because of this horrible disease.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and advice I am deeply appreciative.

    • rsusan profile image

      Rika Susan 4 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Bill

      Thank you so much for this hub. I can understand that you were hesitant about adding it, but I was so pleased to see that you did it! You are paying it forward big time by raising awareness and just shaking folks awake.

      My mom had an alcoholic brother and father. I saw what this did to them, to their families and to my mom. I saw the destruction. I decided at a young age that I simply won't risk taking alcohol and that I never, ever want to be in a position to influence someone else to drink. So, I don't drink. Period.

      What I really don't understand is that such a big thing is made of 'responsible' drinking, as if that is the solution to all the alcohol-related problems in our world. This is a drug, after all! How on earth can you be ever be really 'responsible' in your decisions and actions when you have taken something that is a drug? The minute you take that first drink, your ability to be 'responsible' begins to diminish, doesn't it?

      And the fact that there is a genetic component (apart from all the social factors), means that you can never know beforehand if you will become an alcoholic. You may think that it will never happen to you, that you have all the willpower in the world, that you will always be a 'responsible' drinker, that you can control it. But you can never know... Why on earth take this massive risk in the first place?

      You did a superb job!

      Rika

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Wow. This is news....I never thought of alcoholism as hereditary. Thanks for this piece of information and this brave and frank sharing too. A great read, and I will share!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      A very good presentation. These statistics are alarming. Women need to be careful at clubs especially & not accept any drinks from strangers. Congratulations for staying sober.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      My dad drank when he had vacations, which was rare and he made alcohol a treat, like rock and rye with the rock candy and brandied fruit, etc. There was seven of us kids and you would think this was terrible but maybe because he did make it a now and then thing we all took it as that. I have not drank in years and have no desire to. I had a friend killed on graduation night drinking and I am sure he was never allowed drink before. There has to be a clue or answer for our young kids to make this not look like such a tempting thing. With so many killed on graduation night across our country there should be films shown or something done for these kids as a warning. We all know talking does no good with kids, they need to see the results.

      Thanks for an important subject and all your great info.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      No, billybuc, this was NOT a rant by you! I don't want to get off the subject, but just one of my thoughts: Don't you think alcohol kills more people than drugs? I have never heard of a pot smoking person causing a deadly accident of killing someone under the influence of pot.

      I have a dear friend who denys she is an alcoholic, but she drinks 3-4 cocktails every night. She gets up in the AM and goes to work, and seems fine. I worry about her, though.

      We have NO alcohol in my house. My folks didn't drink, and I married a man who didn't drink either.

      I admire you for the stand you take on this subject.

      I voted this Hub UP, etc.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      I'm not here to judge but to learn from experiences. You have stated a whole wide scope on drinking. The majority of us have been exposed to it. Even though I didn't drink, my father did, at least socially. The consequences are devastating for sure. Thanks Billy for this important hub. Hopefully these holidays will be safer.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Bill this is a significant hub! I grew up in a home where alcohol was completely forbidden. I think that can either result in total abstinence or the opposite effect for the children in the home. I think it should be looked at like any other drug or something that could be abused. I hope and pray my kids are able to be free of all addictions in this high stressed world we live in. Thanks for writing this!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Awesome job of taking on an enormously important issue. Yes, alcohol is the most socially acceptable vice in the world. Your statistics are telling. Anytime you read or hear about some horrible event, you're never surprised to find that alcohol was involved. Your video was quite touching. It must have taken some courage to write this. God bless and keep going in the right direction.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, I sure like seeing you show up; it makes my day to see your picture pop up on the screen.

      Alcohol, to me, is the most dangerous drug that there is, and it certainly causes more damage than any other drug.

      I hope you have a wonderful holiday season my dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Cathy, thank you! I have seen way too much damage because of drinking, and not just by those with the disease of alcoholism. Casual drinkers can cause damage too; all it takes is not paying attention one time to how much you have consumed. Anyway, I'm glad this helped you in some way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rika, thank you! You made the most important point....this is a drug, and responsibility goes out the window once you have taken it. As you said, there is no responsible drinking. Sure, you can have a glass of wine at home, but what if you are a parent and there is an emergency after you had that one glass of wine? What then?

      It is not worth the risk and yet, daily, more and more risk it.

      Thank you for your kind words my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you MIchelle, and yes, alcoholism is hereditary, passed down through the generations....it may skip some members of the family, but you never really know who it skips without drinking to find out. :) Not worth the risk if you ask me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, I would be very worried if I had a single woman in my family and she was out at the bars. That is just frightening in my book. Thank you for your words of congratulations; that means a lot to me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, thank you for relaying an important story. Graduation nights are scary in my mind. Movies and television make drinking alright in the eyes of kids; seeing their parents drink makes it alright in the eyes of kids. It simply is not alright. It is a drug and it is dangerous.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I know for a fact that alcohol kills more people than any other drug. If your friend drinks 3-4 cocktails a night, she has a problem with alcohol. That is not social drinking and it is not casual drinking. That is drinking to get drunk, plain and simple. :) Thank you for adding a great comment to the conversation.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joseph, if this article makes one person stop and think before drinking and driving, then I will have done my job. This is a dangerous drug and needs to be treated as such. Thank you my friend and have a great day.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I love this. I'm glad you shared your perspective on this subject, and I hope you do it more often. The dangers of alcohol should be taught in schools, like you said. It's so important! Dr. Amen has shown how alcohol affects the brain by creating a scalloping effect that can be seen in brain scans. I'm thankful you're still sharp, though! :D

      Someone close to me drinks five beers every night and seems to think that's perfectly normal since he used to drink a case. It's frustrating.

      And YOU LOOK FABULOUS! If society judged looks based on the beauty of a person's heart, you'd be a supermodel, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kelley and yes, it should be treated like any other drug. The fact that so many parents drink around their children really bothers me; it is sending the wrong message, and it is a message that could have deadly consequences.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      rfmoran, courage? Maybe! I am committed to helping others, despite how it may reflect on me. I suffered from this drug, and I don't want others to do the same. I hope this helps.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, now you have me embarrassed. Thank you kind lady! Five beers is not casual drinking no matter what the person says. I should know. :) Yes, alcohol does create that effect on the brain; how I retained some of my brain is beyond me, but I am so grateful. I really was very lucky; never arrested, didn't suffer any major physical problems....but I was lucky and nothing more. I could have easily killed myself or someone else.

      Thank you for being a fabulous friend!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Prohibition definitely does not work...ever...ever...ever.

      Education? Now there's something that works, or can work.

      I can't blame my folks for NOT drinking....but I do believe that when I was 16-17...the massive drunks I'd put myself through...were a result of not knowing that...drinking can be done without going to extremes.

      Of course I realize that an alcoholic...is most often the person who can't stop until it's all gone.....but I wonder if that is exactly a good definition even. My guess is there are also more subtle forms of alcoholism.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Great hub, Bill. I am not an alcoholic, but it does run in my family, so we have no alcohol in our household. My biggest fear is my children drinking, because as you stated it is hereditary. I agree, people are way too casual about drinking in front of their kids and the kids in turn treat alcohol way to casually. Those statistics are frightening! Again, I am not anti-alcohol either, I just think that it is glamorized way too much in this society. Thanks for sharing this. On the bright side, my sixth grader is graduating from "DARE", the anti-drug and alcohol program in school, this week. So, they are still doing some excellent educational programs through the school systems.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, I didn't know D.A.R.E. was still around. When I was teaching it was being taught; I'm happy that it is still a part of education in some schools at least.

      The funny thing about hereditary diseases is their ability to skip some members of the family for whatever reason, or skip an entire generation. It is not something to take a chance on for sure, and I'm glad there is no alcohol in your household.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective and experience.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wesman, I tend to agree with you on your last point....more subtle forms of alcoholism indeed!

      In truth I'm not really convinced that education can stop the over-indulgence of alcohol. For me, the jury is still out on that one. I know it certainly can't hurt, but I'm wondering how many kids are really swayed by programs like D.A.R.E. in schools.

      Anyway, thank you Wesman!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      billybuc,

      My fitness partner during my personal training certification was a nurse and one of the best weightloss reocmmendations was to limit alcohol.

      I have heard teenagers support and celebrate drinking and I have gracefully taken them aside.

      IF we enable we are helping this alcohol craze.

      Programs in school I feel are necessary but the real success only comes from the parents. Sharing your values, being true to your priorities is paramont.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you GmaGoldie! Thank you for saying what needs to be said....parents need to step up and realize the dangers of this drug.....and they are enabling their children to drink by drinking in front of them.

      I greatly appreciate your comment.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Sadly, I have known several people whose lives were cut short by drinking..

      Thanks for writing on such an important issue, Voted up and shared

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Really timely Bill and very well done too. It does not come across as a rant at all. It is a "sober" reminder of the dangers involved with irresponsible alcohol use. The statistics are daunting. I hope that the numbers killed or injured by drunk drivers decreases this holiday season. You have certainly reminded all of us to be responsible.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, so have I, and it is such a waste.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, the good news is that fatalities are down over the past couple years. The bad news is that there are still fatalities due to drinking. :) Thank you Sir!

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 4 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Billy: You're absolutely right. Too many people die, get injured or beaten up because of alcohol. Apparently Prince Edward Island (Canada's smallest Province) has introduced a mandatory jail sentence for anybody driving above the legal limit. I guess if you can't ban the stuff, then this is another solution that should at least keep impaired drivers off the road. I consume alcohol more or less regularly and even brew my own wine & beer, which by the way I thoroughly enjoy. I guess the problem with alcoholics is that they don't drink for the taste but mainly for the buzz. When going out we try to limit our alcohol intake and we always make sure that we have a full water glass next to us so that we don't overdo it. I find that I tend to drink more while socializing and I therefore make a point to alternate between wine and water. I usually drink a huge glass of water or more with every glass of wine and after a few initial snide remarks people tend to accept this habit. These days I even bring my own water bottle along just to make sure that I always have a refill at hand. I also always put a water jug on the dinner table when we have guests and encourage them to drink water. I feel that children should be warned at school about the dangers of drinking at a very early age. Coming from Europe I grew up in a society where alcohol can be consumed almost anywhere in public and is not frowned upon (unless somebody is drunk). In Switzerland the legal age for drinking is 16. I can absolutely assure you that this has not had a negative impact on my drinking habits, in the contrary it has made me more responsible and aware. I personally believe that the North American drinking laws encourage young people to drink behind their parents back and that they therefore consider drinking cool. I also feel that alcohol (especially liquor) is far too cheap in the US. When drinking and smoking becomes expensive, then most people will have to cut down for financial reasons.

    • SoundNFury profile image

      Michael Valencia 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Excellent article on this subject. I have also suffered negative consequences of binge drinking and have been sober almost three years now. It is such a difficult drug to break free of because it is everywhere and so mired in our culture. I can relate to a lot of what you say here. Great work!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nova, great comment and perspective. I have no way of knowing how Europe or Canada handles alcohol, or what their policies are. I know the U.S. has a lot of work to do in this matter. All one has to do is look at the crime rate with alcohol to know that we do not have our collective act together here.

      Thank you for the visit and great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      SoundNFury, congratulations on your three years and yes, in today's culture, breaking from of the addiction is not easy at all. Well done and thank you!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Bill, my friend, you did a good job and it did not sound at all do-gooder. It's such an important subject. I have campaigned against corporate parties serving alcohol and then sending employees home behind the wheel after the party for years. I have campaigned against alcohol use in anyone having Native American blood because it is a fact that Indians are pre-disposed genetically to aocoholism. I have camaigned fiercely against pregnant mothers drinking as I have seen the outcome of fetal alcohol sydrome and it is heartbreaking. I lost a wonderful marriage to alcohol. Well, it wasn't so wonderful after the alcohol took over but I lost a good friend after it did. Like you, I'm not a do-gooder but the casual acceptance for alcohol use in our society is frightening. Those, like yourself, who are recovering are to be applauded. You are a minority. Life is so precious and all too short to risk losing it or taking the life of another over a few drinks. I am so grateful that you finally wrote this hub. I hope everyone who reads it will lend their support to your objective.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great message Bill and very timely with the Holiday's here. It is a shame that alcohol is so accepted in our society but you are right, it is not going away any time soon. Hopefully more people heed your message and take some responsibility when drinking. Thanks for the great message.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda my dear friend, you are running late today. :) Bravo to you for lobbying against alcohol. Every cause you mentioned is important. If only the Native Americans would realize the dangers they invite into their reservations with alcohol. White man did a number on them when we introduced it to the tribes.

      Thank you for your continued support; you are special to me, my kindred spirit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, this is such a huge problem, and I'm not sure there is a solution other than better parenting. You can't legislate this problem, so that leaves it up to the parents.

      Thank you Sir!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Despite the statistics, Bill, we always think we are the one they don't apply to when it comes to a legal drug. Alcohol has long been associated with socializing among adults. It doesn't discriminate between the casual drinker or the alcoholic in its effects to create a buzz, its ability to uninhibit inhibitions and leave normally cautious people sloppy in their decisions. It is not surprising that so crink and drive. Its difficult to choose to error on the side of caution when drunk.

      A couple of years ago, my mom told me a story she'd read in the newspaper about two young men who went out drinking. They were drunk as they drove home. The passenger told the driver to pull over as he was going to be sick. The driver told him to just lean out the window. The passenger's head collided with an unseen wire, decapitating him on impact. The driver, drunk and oblivious, got home and stumbled into bed. The next morning a neighbors child, leaving for school, saw an horrifying sight and ran back home to get his dad. They found a headless, blood-soaked body slumped over in the front seat of the pickup truck. When the police arrived, they woke the hung-over friend, who had no knowledge, much less recollection, of the previous night. I'm betting the survivor of that tragic night of drinking would do things differently if given the chance today.

      Thank you, Bill, for a serious, thought-provoking, personal piece. It is unfortunate that there will still be life-altering accidents and deaths related to drinking and driving. The hardest lessons, it seems, are usually learned by traumatic consequences.

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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I wish everyone with alcoholism had your strength and determination. I do not drink at all because my childhood was destroyed by alcoholism. It is rampant in my family and some have died from it. I think we all have our vices but it can be deadly if they control us. Excellent hub from the heart. I am sure this will help others.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, I hope so, but I am doubtful. The very nature of alcohol, for anyone who drinks it, is a social act.....and the chemical nature of it means you don't know you are in trouble until you are in trouble. Kind of a pain in the butt for anyone. :) So, your approach is the best if you ask me. Just don't drink! If someone told the average person that tomatoes were potentially fatal, nobody would eat tomatoes. Not so with alcohol, unfortunately.

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      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I too know first hand what alcoholism can do to a family. Both of my parents were alcoholics and I was an only child. The only friends they had were also alcoholics and my friends were not allowed to come to my house. I cannot tolerate to be around anyone who is drunk. Hubby and I rarely drink and 2 is my limit. Before we married, I made very clear, that I cannot tolerate a drunk. It is such a shame that some people don't realize what damage alcohol can do. I cannot tell you how proud I am of you! You had the strength to do what so many people cannot! Voting this up and awesome!!!

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      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      I have also seen what alcoholism can do to a family. I wish more alcoholics would admit they have a problem and stop. However, only relatively few actually do. Thanks for sharing your story.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deborah-Diane, my first ever commentator.....thank you! It is a matter of denial and refusal to give up control, and the percentages are against anyone making it. I'm one of the lucky ones. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      SG, that is so kind of you! Thank you for being proud of me. It is not easy, especially in the first few months. After six years, I can say that it will never go away but it is my choice entirely. I no longer have any desire to drink, and I don't crave it at all....it's just a part of my history now, and something that needed to happen for me to reach this place in life. :)

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bringing about awareness....I think, bill, this is all any of us can do with pretty much any issue....but I must say that you do it extremely well. You do not rant and you are cautious not to preach and point. This kind of understanding can come only from someone who truly knows.

      It's important. The statistics you list ...alone, make this a vital issue to become AWARE of.

      Seems I'm always giving you some sort of "job to do"....but I hate to see such wisdom and talent go to waste. Get thy butt to the local High Schools and offer to SPEAK to the student body......Once, twice, three times?....eventually..You can order business cards, advertise and CHARGE a reasonable Public Speaking Fee.....(Like you don't have ENOUGH to do in your busy life)....I can really be a pain...I know.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Amy, I would be crazy to think that this situation will ever go away....my only goal is to possibly change the thinking of one or two people. If I can do that with an article then I am a very happy writer.

      As for that horrific story, as unbelievable as it sounds, I have no doubt that it happened. Blackout drinking is the worst; the shame and horror when one wakes up and is faced with the events of the night before are beyond belief....and still it is not enough to make an alcoholic stop.

      Thank you as always. I hope you are well.

      hugs from Oly

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No, Paula, you are not a pain...you are in-my-face honest and caring, and I will always respect that.

      I had never actually thought of that....but I will now begin thinking about it....and then I'm sure I'll act on it once I'm comfortable with it. :)

      Thank you Paula!

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      Deepali 4 years ago from India

      Hello billybuc You have written the real facts about alcohol. It is not only America's problem but I think most of the countries of this world are facing the consequences of this drug and still there is no permanent cure. Moreover, in spite of knowing all about alcohol people cant stop them using this drug and this is our helplessness.

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      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. My illness will not allow any alcohol in my body. If I ingest it, I will vomit in less than a minute. Here is a doctor joke. My doctor says alcohol will (literally) kill me. (It might if I could hold it down.)

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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      If only, if only something could happen to reduce the consumption of alcohol but of course it's impossible. I agree with neelu sinha - it affects so many other countries too. Sad statistics - especially for young people. It seems everyone I know is touched by this in one way or another. Thanks for bringing to the attention of so many..

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Neelu, you have said it all perfectly. It is our helplessness, and I doubt most even realize it. All we can do is raise awareness and hope that one or two see the light. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I would laugh, but that is so serious I can't get the smile to my face. :) Thank you for sharing!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tavmaj, that may be the saddest commentary of them all....everyone is affected by it, and yet many people still drink, as if they are immune from the problems. Sigh!

      Thank you my friend!

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This was difficult for me to read. Two in my family died from alcohol, one, cirrhosis of the liver, the other, sucicide while drunk. Your hub is very important. Thank you Bill for sharing...

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Back to report a headline in this morning's Eugene Register-Guard:

      Alcohol related deathsin Lane County (Oregon) are twice as high as the national rate.

      Regarding Travmaj's comment, I heard on NPR that England is considering a big price increase on alcoholic beverages, imposing heavier taxes and even minimum prices by law.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I know, Ruby! I can't tell you the number of friends I have lost to drinking. It is a sad way to die, and so unnecessary. Thank you Ruby!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, what's up with Lane County, Oregon? Any explanation for that?

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      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Not a rant at all, Bill. A well-reasoned , unemotional (in a good way) thoughtful analysis of a serious problem. It is very weird how people are scared to death of their kids using "drugs" but never put alcohol into that category. Thanks.

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      Jamie Brock 4 years ago from Texas

      Bill, great hub as always! You brought up a great point about how casual people are about alcohol and loved the comparison between the doobie and alcohol. NOT that I'm for that or anything like that but problems related to alcohol are obviously much more destructive. I'll tell ya one thing I'm grateful for is not having to wake up feeling like I have a couple of bricks weighing down my head, feeling like a bowl of jello, not being able to remember what happened the night before and seeing that dead look in my eyes when I look in the mirror. That was me every weekend.. and to think I just couldn't wait for the night to come so I could do it to myself all over again. I mean.. it was just a hangover, right? Perfectly normal, right? At least that is what I used to tell myself...Another thing I'm grateful for is that my little one has never seen me drunk. Voting up and awesome:)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Louisa, that is the hardest part to understand...it makes no sense at all, and yet it is done daily by thousands.

      Thank you and I wish you a peaceful day in Eureka!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jamie, those days are gone for both of us, and good riddance. My son did see me drunk, but he hasn't for the last six years, and only one or twice in the last twenty, so I'm okay with that. I hated the hangovers but like you, they weren't enough to stop me. :)

      Thank you dear lady; have a wonderful day in Texas.

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Bill, the article does go on to say that we have a high rate of bindge drinking (we have about 20,000 students at the U of O here). Also, that we have a received a grant specifically to focus on high risk drinking among 18-24 year olds.

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      That was supposed to say "binge drinking."

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting! I wonder if the same can be said for any college town? I would suspect so, except possibly Provo, Utah. :) Thanks for the clarification.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, I figured that's what you meant. :)

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      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Thank you for this article billybuc. I find this subject very exasperating. There is no drinking in my household whatsoever. I have several extended family members who have literally destroyed their life with alcohol and still continue to drink.

      The most frustrating part is most alcoholics (sorry if I offend you) blame the word for their problems and cannot see how the alcohol destroys their family and after years of drinking it fries your brain. Well that want my rant for the day.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lipnancy, why would that offend me? You are absolutely correct. While under the influence of alcohol, alcoholics do blame the world for their problems while the destruction occurs all around them. It is sad and it is their choice; it is also their choice to get help and end the destruction if they so choose. I did, and today life is good. Thank you for your honest comment.

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      Ka'imi'loa 4 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

      I find it comical that the first paragraph of this Hub is what lead to your new Hub on Procrastination..bah-rum-tss!

      "A productive drunk is the bane of moralists" the alcoholic quote of the day.

      As a ex-drinker myself and a contestant of the D.U.I. game of Honolulu county, I have been dry for more than four years. I do not miss it. I do miss the environment that came along with it. The laughs and the "shennanigans" that boys with their way of thinking and behaving will do for a laugh. It is a shame that individuals cannot control the intake so that alcohol wouldn't get such the stigmata that it receives from the average citizen that has something negative to say about drinking. In any case, if you are in a much better place, than I am happy for you Bill.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Benisan, I am in a better place, and thank you! I do agree with you....I do miss the environment....I miss it most on hot summer days.....just want that one cold, frosty beer to quench the thirst. Like that's going to happen. LOL

      Thank you my friend!

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      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      I highly appreciate your honesty and thank you very much for giving us more vigilance on the negative effects of alcohol. Many lives have been taken in my country because of, directly and indirectly, having been under the influence of alcohol and many ended up in death caused by traditional alcoholic drink .

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      agusfanani, the deaths are so senseless and yet they continue unabated. It is sad and it is infuriating.

      Thank you for your kind words; let us hope this helps at least one person.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Its nearly the holidays now and this article says it all if only one would consider such points

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Definitely not a rant Bill, but a nudge to wake up for some. I have to agree with Paula, you could do much by speaking at high schools. Your sense of humor coupled with your brilliant mind and yes, past alcoholism, might just reach one of those kids headed for a car crash while drinking.

      Voted this up, useful, and interesting. Shared and pinned as well.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, that is the problem, isn't it? People need to stop and consider the consequences of their actions.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mary! I'm considering doing it; I'll take a look at it over the holidays and see what I come up with.

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I commend you for writing such an honest and important hub about the many dangers of alcohol both towards the abuser and the people who are affected by the person with the disease.

      Very good write in honor of much needed awareness as the numbers keep riding with the difficult times.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, thank you! Considering the week you have had, I am honored that you are taking the time to read this stuff. Alcohol is a danger in this country....around the world, actually, and there is no end in sight. Just another crusade for me to get involved in. :)

      love to you,

      billy

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      krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

      The earlier kids start drinking or using drugs, the more likely it is that they will become career addicts. It's just a fact. I'm glad you shared your story. It's very relevant to what's going on in the world. Unbelievable that liquor is one of the last legal drugs and it's advertised everywhere, branded like a clothing line and available to the masses. I salute you for your brevity and honesty and congratulations on your sobriety. I believe that there are many other recovering addicts who are just not willing to tell the world because of the stigmas involved. ;) Bravo to you my friend. -K

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      K....thank you! You are right, of course. A great many recovering alcoholics do not want to say anything because of possible repercussions. My stand....nobody can hurt me as much as I hurt myself in the past. Take your best shot is my message to anyone who would judge me. :)

      I appreciate you greatly; have a wonderful weekend.

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Really useful hub here Bill. We had a family member who was an alcoholic and has sadly now passed. Her immediate family was destroyed slowly over the years so I have seen the affects of alcohol. Thanks for writing this.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, you are very welcome, and thank you for adding to the discussion and bringing home the importance of the point I was trying to make.

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      The stats on this are amazing, 150 billion on abuse? Wow! You have posted wise words for parents, kids and others to follow. As we head into the holiday season, it is a fact that some people will lose out to this drink. Voted up and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, it is a fact indeed....every twenty minutes and that figure gets worse during the holidays. Sad but true.

      I hope you are having a great weekend. Thank you!

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      So well said, Billy. It is the person with the most experience that has the wisdom to point out the facts. Too bad more businesses aren't run seeking the advice of the underlings.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb....that will be the day, when businesses ask the employees for suggestions. LOL It is a worthy dream, though, isn't it? Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      albusacar, I'm glad you found us. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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