Alcoholism Essay Research Paper When people hear

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Alcoholism Essay, Research Paper When people hear the word drug, they usually think of illegal substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or any other drug that can be found on the street. Most never categorize alcohol as a drug, primarily because it is socially accepted. But, in fact, alcohol is responsible for destroying many people s lives and those around them, just like illegal drugs can. Alcoholism ranks as one of our four major health problems, and reliable national surveys show that there are over 5,000,000 alcoholics in the United States today. Their illness affects 20,000,000 other people including families, employers, and friends of the sufferers. Yet there is no major disease about which the public is more ignorant. Although moderate use of alcohol can

actually lower some health risks, it becomes dangerous when alcohol is abused. Alcohol can have negative effects on some aspects of a person ranging from health problems to social problems to family problems. To fully understand the effects of alcohol, one must first understand exactly what alcohol is. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is a poisonous liquid that the body can deactivate large amounts of without succumbing to its lethal effects (Block 118). Ethanol can penetrate through any of the body tissue easily, thus every part of the body is affected. It is sometimes called a downer because the brain is no longer able to utilize all of its functions. Alcohol is immediately absorbed into the bloodstream and the rest is processed in the stomach. Once the stomach has absorbed the rest

of the alcohol, a person will be at his/her peak intoxication for that amount of alcohol. It may take anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes, depending on the amount of alcohol, to peak (Block 132). Alcohol not only harms the consumer s body but also the people close to that person. It has been proven that most alcoholic marriages become abusive and end in divorce. Many families affected by alcoholism have no idea what normal family life is like. Family members unconsciously adapt to the alcoholics behavior by adjusting their own behavior (Gitlow 23). For children in alcoholic homes, life is a struggle by having to deal with constant stress, anxiety, and embarrassment. It is not uncommon for these children to be victims of violence, abuse, neglect, or even incest. When these

children grow up they are much more prone to alcoholic behaviors themselves than are children from nonalcoholic families. What some don t realize is that alcohol destroys many peoples family life. I have been unfortunate to see two of my aunt s and cousins lose husbands and fathers due to alcoholism. For example, my uncle Augie and aunt Rosie were married for 18 years before it was suddenly realized that alcohol had a negative impact on the whole family. Sometimes my uncle would not come home, leaving my aunt worried and heart broken, thinking he was cheating on her. My cousin, Anthony, missed the father figure he needed growing up as an adopted child in a big family. After many years of such a happy marriage, alcoholism began to deteriorate the relationship, causing a painful

break up for them and the whole family. Suddenly, my mother, grandmother, and grandfather hardly heard from him and they knew alcohol had taken over his life. Aunt Rosie divorced him and Anthony never had the father he wanted. After being encouraged to go to Alcoholics Anonymous by my mother, my uncle Augie attended the meetings and now I am very pleased to say that Anthony has his father, and my uncle has been sober for three years. Most alcoholics will start to become quiet and withdrawn towards their family and go into mild depression. After interviewing my uncle for this paper he told me that his mind was clogged up with random thoughts from betting on the horse races to getting another drink. For him, going to the Silver Dollar, the bar in Fresno that he went to constantly,