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Problems drive an alcoholic to drink

Well... kind of true. Problems, achievements, company, lack of company, boredom.... all drive an alcoholic to drink. Problems drive an alcoholic to drink, yes, but so does everything else.

Alcoholics are only showing their true nature

This is not true. Alcoholism changes the perception of needs so that the need for alcohol is always urgent and more critical than the need for relationships, dignity or other objectives that drive social interactions. It is not "inner nature" to court damage to reputation for example - even for exploitative or self-destructive people, but it is a frequent sacrifice in the pursuit of alcohol. The laziest alcoholic will court a mile long walk to buy alcohol, for another example.

I write/paint/sing/whatever better after a peg or two // Alcohol makes me creative

What alcoholism does is lower inhibitions. It removes internal censors by the simple means of reducing the brain's capacity for complex thinking. It may seem like increased productivity if you have self image issues or other inhibitions preventing you from working freely, but it most certainly does not improve quality unless your standards are really low. The lowered inhibitions are as likely to let your creativity through as your lack of it.

I don't drink in the morning, so I am not an alcoholic // You turned me into an alcoholic

Alcoholism evolves. If people have raised concerns about your drinking, if you drink compulsively, if social occasions seem boring without drinks, if you avoid non-drinking company in your drinking timings, if being denied drinks makes you angry... then it is a matter of time.

A person's presence in another's life may coincide with an escalation in drinking, but one person cannot turn another into an alcoholic. Period. Such accusations by alcoholics are a way of shifting the burden of guilt. They should be ignored.

I drink from my own money // I know my limits

On running out of alcohol, the ownership or source of the money (or directly alcohol) are no longer issues. Limits get reviewed and approved extensions automatically. It does not matter where the money for the drink comes from, when it runs out, the price of alcoholism is paid by the home with emotional damage, physical damage, financial damage that goes well beyond the cost of the alcohol consumed. This could be anyone coming into intimate contact with the person if the alcoholic no longer lives with family.

I am really respected and loved by the people who work at XYZ Bar/Club/Liquor shop // They let me pay later if I don't have money

If you are known and regular enough for an establishment serving alcohol to be paying special attention to you, it is worth considering that you have become business they count on. This is not to say that there is no genuine affection and friendly relationship that grows, but it is extremely concerning when a person flaunts these relationships in front of other relationships. Many alcoholics also start nurturing their self-images that are damaged badly by alcoholism by seeing this as servitude and superiority, much like a ruler of the bar. This fantasy is profitable to waiters, because it invariably leads to magnanimous gestures and generous tips. A very definite warning sign for the person reduced to asserting self worth in this manner.

 

If you have used these explanations for yourself or someone else, know that the need for those explanations to be required in itself is a sign of alcoholism. No one asks a person who doesn't drink too much why they drink so much. At least not often. Requiring explanations for drinking, particularly when speaking with people who drink themselves, means those explanations are myths, unless they are "I drink, because I feel I cannot do without"

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When words that convey extreme contempt are used, they ought to be used with responsibility, if at all they must be used. For, is not telling people what to think an insult to their ability to reach conclusions?

This post is about an article by Sujata Anandan where she essentially calls Anna Hazare a Tin-pot dictator and condemns his dictatorial policies. I would like to address several things in her article.

Flogging of alcoholics

As the wife of an alcoholic and an occasional drinker myself, I see drinking alcohol and alcoholism as two different things with little in common other than the consumption of alcoholic beverages. For example, a regular drinker could comfortably visit Ralegan Siddhi to cover this epic news and have a drink later after returning home. An alcoholic would travel to the nearest town to find a bar, try to wriggle out of the assignment altogether, sneak in his bottle or finish it fast and return to an environment where alcohol is possible.

You cannot reason with an alcoholic. I mean, you can, but it becomes irrelevant when it is time to drink. It is also not only about the mind. The body forms a dependency and doesn't function properly without alcohol - this is how "medical licences" for alcohol happen.

It takes what many recovered alcoholics call "hitting rock bottom" or overwhelming and undeniable bad consequences for an alcoholic to undertake the overwhelming effort to fight his/her own body and mind to quit. Most alcoholics go to their graves without ever attempting this fight. Others try, lose momentum and lapse.

In other news, while drinking alcohol may be a personal choice, alcoholism is a social, economic and security menace. Alcoholism is almost always associated with domestic abuse - not even because the person is evil, but he is simply too drunk to care that others hurt because of him, and he always wants things his way, because he is too drunk to deal with  anything. They destroy domestic relationships, make enemies out of friends, deprive dependents - particularly children or resources that should rightfully be theirs for nurture.

Alcoholics will buy alcohol no matter what. It isn't a multiple choice question, unless you are talking which brand. They will switch to cheaper brands, dubious quality, spend their last dime, borrow, steal, prostitute themselves or their wives, whatever it takes to get their quota. It is a compulsion. Alcoholism itself is a dictatorship.

Drunk drivers on the streets are a risk to more lives than their own.

I don't see alcoholism as a personal choice, if it damages other people. It is far worse than say exposing people to passive smoke.

While I don't agree with the method of flogging, as someone who has read extensively on alcoholism, I can see how a rural environment lacks absolutely any leverage that is "legal" to prevent this damage to families. For a population of alcoholics amounting in the millions, we barely have enough affordable support for de-addiction in cities. Leave alone villages. Obviously, there is a point where you either bend rules, or watch many people suffer the consequences of one person's alcoholism. Would I have done it the same way? I don't know.

But this is far from a dictatorship. In focusing that Anna "sometimes" flogs alcoholics, it is easy to overlook who is doing it other times. Sure, it is human rights abuse according to fancy, imported ethics. So where are the facilities that an alcoholic can be arrested and rehabilitated if found in a village where alcohol is banned? Is it more "human rights" friendly to get an alcoholic arrested, likely beaten by the cops instead, accommodated in some prison while the country's over burdened system waits for his case comes to court? Or should this glorious Sharad Pawar experiment be ignored - I thought she liked it, but it shouldn't be enforced?

Power to women to close down liquor shops

A little more research would have told this writer that this isn't an experiment by Sharad Pawar, it was an ammendment to the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949 - her tin-pot dictator Anna Hazare is the one to demand it. Ralegaon Siddhi was the model on which the conditions were developed for banning liquor based on a vote by the women of a village - very dictatorial, huh? Nice style, calling him a tin-pot dictator, and attributing the result of his appeal as an experiment by someone else. It is obviously an article written by a gushing fan, but the facts stand there. Also the RTI, etc.

Banning alcohol and cigarettes

I smoke and drink, but as a citizen of a democracy, I also recognize the right of that village and its elected body for self-determination. With the number of people who smoke and drink, I don't think it is something that can be imposed by some freak dictator on the majority.

Which brings me to - this is the second mention of youth running away from Ralegan Siddhi rather than bear "dikkats". I only want to point out that with all the publicity the village got, as well as the massive mud slinging efforts mobilized, it should have been relatively simple to interview a few of those youth about the tortures they escaped. Surprisingly, months along, I'm still searching news for this epic article that would kill all support for Anna among youth, etc.

That said, I was a staunch supporter of the IAC movement, but I see it drifting away from the things about it I supported. However, this doesn't mean that our national sport of mud slinging is a good idea, and this is one big reason media today cannot be trusted for information in order to form your opinion. You are fed conclusions.

Thus, when an editor chose to do this, I thought why not debunk it, for no reason other than I value the freedom of thought and oppose vilifying anyone?