Alcohol – is a social norm, so why then can it be considered a disorder? Are you at risk of becoming an Alcoholic? Just like any medical condition, there are a few factors to consider; biological disposition, nurture – learned coping skills and culture of Alcohol.
A good story was told to me about two brothers in court before a judge as one had got a DWI. The judge was curious as to why one brother was viewed as a criminal and the other brother retained an attorney to represent himself. The two brothers were raised in the same home; with a typical middle-class American upbringing. The judge asked the brother who had abused Alcohol and when did this start? The brother responded, “Well my father was an Alcoholic, he worked and would drink after finishing his work day, so I watched him and started to do the same.” The judge then understood that what we learn from an early age influences and shapes our thinking; as well as genetic traits/predispositions from our family members. The judge then turns to the other brother and asks, “Well what was different for you?” The other brother simply stated, “I also learned by observing my father’s drinking habits.”
Alcohol is considered an acceptable social and cultural norm within most work and home environments in the U.S. The question becomes when do your patterns and behaviors of alcohol use become a problem in your work life, family life, ability to cope with stress without Alcohol? Also, when it becomes shameful and a secret. At this moment it is more than just having a drink, it has now escalated to an addiction. Once an addiction has taken hold of your thinking, your behavior and your life then you are powerless to change without seeking professional help outside of yourself.
Written by – Jeanette Holland – Director of Intake