The other day I went to the movies and saw Flight, a wonderful expose of an alcoholic airline pilot portrayed beautifully by Denzel Washington. I knew I wanted to write about it, as it hit many similar chords in my life and my struggle with the alcoholic in my life.
For those who have made the "pot plunge" and quit drinking, the benefits outweigh any stigma. "I never thought I'd say this but pot makes my head feel less muddled than booze," one woman told me, adding with a smile, "and it makes sex incredible."
God definitely pitches in once we roll up our sleeves and actually do something to improve the life of ourselves or anyone else. But before then? Before then all he can do is acquiesce to our manifest desire to keep things exactly as they are.
The abused, as often happens, became the abusers and another generation of children experienced the trauma of their parents. It is a cyclical thing that the Indian people themselves are trying so hard to break.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force just issued a report and an advisory that all sensible men and women would do well to take heed of. This panel reviewed a large body of research on drinking patterns among adult men and women.
Richie Sambora has gotten used to seeing his life through tabloid headlines. At any given moment these stories and much more about singer and guitarist for Bon Jovi have helped sell papers around the world. But what is the truth?
As a society it seems that we have, over time, come to think of drinking in terms of a dichotomy. In other words, we see the "drinking world" as divided into two categories of people: There are alcoholics, and then there are "the rest of us."
Priests have the right to drink alcohol. But when they provide alcohol to minors, drive while drunk, and sexually assault children, we must never get used to it. Instead of promotions and prayer vigils, Archbishop-elect Cordileone and Father Perez deserve prosecution to the full extent of the law.
Just as our interpersonal relationships can differ in terms of intensity, so can our "relationship" with drinking. Moreover, these differences aren't separated by sharp lines; rather, they tend to blend into one another.
Is making alcohol available at the workplace justified by arguments such as long work hours, the blending of work and home life, or the expectation that employees will act responsibly? I would argue that it is not.
There is a tradition in America of expanding a problem further down the spectrum, a name for which is "problem inflation." One way this is done is to link any signs that people have an incipient problem with the cases of people who suffer the worst forms of that problem.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drinking among seniors age 50 and older is on the rise. In fact, seniors make up the segment of the population for whom drinking has been increasing most.
No one sets out intending to become an "almost alcoholic." Similarly, people do not become almost alcoholics for the same reason. There are many pathways into the almost alcoholic zone, and for that reason there needs to be many solutions.
Cocaine, heroin and now prescription drugs continue to occupy the headlines -- as indeed they should -- but alcohol deserves the same attention. Our nation's alcohol problem may not seem as scandalous, but it's just as serious.