In addition to thoughts of New Year’s resolutions, at this time of year peoples’ thoughts also include what they are going to do for New Year’s Eve. For many people this time of year is closely associated with drinking. What many do not know is the dangers of drinking. The advertising media bombard us daily with billions of dollars of ads that glamorize drinking. Even though the efforts of organizations such as MADD has instituted new warning labels and ads that encourage responsible drinking the ads still fall short of showing the true effects of drinking on many people. Yes, most of the population are what is known as social drinkers, meaning that they use but never abuse alcohol. But for some drinking ultimately leads to alcoholism, and the incidents of alcoholism are increased the younger a person begins drinking. Here are just a few of the statistics on alcoholism.
• Alcoholism can increase the risk for certain cancers, especially those of the throat, voice box (larynx), liver, colon, kidneys, rectum, and the esophagus. Excessive drinking can also cause immune system problems, brain damage, harm to the fetus during pregnancy, and cirrhosis of the liver.
• Approximately 43% of American adults have had a child, parent, sibling or spouse who is or was an alcoholic.
• 6.6 million American children under the age of 18 live in homes with at least one alcoholic parent.
• More than one-half of American adults have a close family member who has or has had alcohol addiction.
• More than seven percent of the population ages 18 years and older -- nearly 13.8 million Americans -- have problems with drinking, including 8.1 million people who suffer from alcoholism.
• In one survey, 50% of high school seniors reported that they drank alcohol in the past 30 days, with 32% of them reporting that they were drunk at least once.
• According to one U.S. survey, almost 20% of 8th-graders, and 41% of 10th-graders have been drunk at least once.
• The average U.S. 18-year-old has seen 100,000 television commercials encouraging him or her to drink.
• In 2002, U.S. alcoholism statistics reported that 2.6 million binge drinkers were between the ages of 12 and 17.
• According to one U.S. study, almost 11% of 8th-graders, 22% of 10th-graders, and 27% of 12th-graders report binge drinking (five drinks in a row in the last two weeks).
There are other health benefits not drinking, just as there are health benefits for drinking in moderation, meaning one drink a day for women and two for men. Also a drink is defined as one and a half ounces of licquor, five and a half ounces of wine, or twelve ounces of beer. For more information on the benefits to health and mental health of quitting check out the articles of these two fellow examiners.
Dr. Steve Orma http://www.examiner.com/x-15626-Bay-Area-Mental-Health-Exminer
Elizabeth Hunter http://www.examiner.com/x-761-Healthy-Living-Examiner
If you have made this resolution before and have not been able to stick with it or you start this year and find that you can not stay quit you might want to check out the following websites.
Another aid in helping individuals stop drinking through a faith-based program that has local connections is Celebrate Recovery which began at Saddleback Church in California. Rich Warren author of A Purpose Drive Life is the pastor at Saddleback. http://www.celebraterecovery.com is their website. Plus the local churches offer Celebrate Recovery groups: Huntsville First Nazarene Church, Asbury United Methodist Church in Madison, Decatur Baptist Church and First Bible Church in Decatur, and Friendship Church in Athens.
Lastly if this is not one of the resolutions you plan on making this year (at least not until after New Year’s Eve), remember to drink responsibly. If you are going to be drinking New Year’s Eve have a designated driver, celebrate at a hotel offered party and then stay in the hotel, take a taxi, plus there will be free rides for those who have had to much to drink. This year let’s try to make the holiday and quiet, boring one for our local police and highway patrols.
Celebrate Responsibly and have a Happy New Year.