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Old 03-30-2008, 03:51 PM
 
14,743 posts, read 31,052,315 times
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I've never been around alcoholics, that I know of, until I got into my early 30s. Coming from a European family that had one glass of wine (my parents, not me) with dinner, it was available (even to me) but I never got into it. I always had a Coke or a Sprite. Still do.

So, the upon arriving in the Pacific NW, 3 of my friends are (were) alcoholics. Two in Portland and one in Seattle. Of course, they were in denial about that "label." With the ones in Portland, the friendship eventually ended, taking over 5 years for that to occur. With the one in Seattle, he was a co-worker, so we had that in common. With the Portlanders, what they didn't realize is that their drinking made them worse. Both of them were actually smart, analytical and witty when sober and just plain embarassing 'effin dolts when they drank. I was friends with them for the "smart, analytical and witty" part. I've had to have them stop being served while I was sitting there drinking a Coke. Boy, did they get p*ssed.

Since I wasn't too exposed to this stuff, it really puts me out. One friend told me that these people were drawn to me because I didn't drink. I found that weird since I would think they would like to find drinking buddies. One of them even told me "I don't trust people who don't drink." Have you, as a non-user or "take it or leave it" consumer, had friends who had problems with alcohol and what did you do about it?

A couple of other observations/questions:
(1) Why is it that the countries that produce and consume the most wine (primarily in the Mediterranean), on a per capita basis, have the lowest alcoholism rates, per capita?
(2) Don't alcoholics who are really smart and interesting people know they turn into morons (or belligerant a-holes) when they drink?
(3) Why is this a disease? Let me explain why I ask. If a young person who has this supposed predisposition and genetic makeup, and has never sampled alcohol, is hypothetically shipwrecked "a la Gilligan's Island" and there is plenty to eat (say there is game to kill, fruits and vegetables, which can be eaten or juiced) but NO ALCOHOL, they would have no disease because there would be no cravings, no withdrawals and no physical symptons. In short, it's not a disease, it's an addiction. Gambling addictions, drug addictions and sexual addictions are called addictions, not diseases. What's up with this?

Let's keep it civil. Please discuss.
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:56 PM
 
22,583 posts, read 30,569,138 times
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Quote:
(1) Why is it that the countries that produce and consume the most wine (primarily in the Mediterranean), on a per capita basis, have the lowest alcoholism rates, per capita?
I really think the genetic factor has a lot to do with this. My inlaws were both from Sicily and the glass of wine with dinner never became anything more. I know people of another culture who become addicted with their first drink.

Quote:
(2) Don't alcoholics who are really smart and interesting people know they turn into morons (or belligerant a-holes) when they drink?
No, they think they become more intelligent with each drink.

Quote:
(3) Why is this a disease? Let me explain why I ask. If a young person who has this supposed predisposition and genetic makeup, and has never sampled alcohol, is hypothetically shipwrecked "a la Gilligan's Island" and there is plenty to eat (say there is game to kill, fruits and vegetables, which can be eaten or juiced) but NO ALCOHOL, they would have no disease because there would be no cravings, no withdrawals and no physical symptons. In short, it's not a disease, it's an addiction. Gambling addictions, drug addictions and sexual addictions are called addictions, not diseases. What's up with this?
Whatever we label it as, it still exists. The young person on the island would still have a predisposition and might even discover over the course of time that some of that some of that fruit juice makes some pretty interesting drinking after awhile.
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:11 PM
 
Location: NoVa
18,434 posts, read 31,892,896 times
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Hmm.. I have never had the first drink. I have been around plenty of drinkers though.

My wasband is an alcoholic. He does still drink, occasionally, at least when we were together, and he would go next door to the neighbors house and drink. Thinking I didn't know...

My family drinks. Most of them have stopped, except at get togethers. (thats real nice)

My sisters husband... I think he breathes Budweiser and Crown Royal.

Me? I have had nothing.

I have been a designated driver for concerts and all that good stuff...

What was the question?

People do think they are just smarter after they are drinking, they know every thing and you know nothing.

I have no idea why someone would want to get in that condition.
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Charlotte. Or Detroit.
1,455 posts, read 3,865,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
(2) Don't alcoholics who are really smart and interesting people know they turn into morons (or belligerant a-holes) when they drink?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
No, they think they become more intelligent with each drink.
Some turn into morons, some don't. Some of those who do turn into morons know it, some don't. Some think they become more intelligent with each drink, some don't.

We're individuals.
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Tucson
42,835 posts, read 83,443,821 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
A couple of other observations/questions:
(1) Why is it that the countries that produce and consume the most wine (primarily in the Mediterranean), on a per capita basis, have the lowest alcoholism rates, per capita?
These cultures practice something virtually unknown around here - moderation! In this country everything is taken to extremes, including things that were originally good ideas.

As you said yourself, your family had a glass of wine with dinner and most likely would've given you a sip, too, if you had any interest in it. People in other countries are given some alcohol when they're young, nobody makes a federal case out of it, and they learn to drink responsibly and in moderation. Since there are no ridiculous laws like here (21y... ), it's not their life goal to reach 21 and get wasted like there's no tomorrow.
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Old 03-30-2008, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Ocean Shores, WA
5,080 posts, read 13,858,521 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
Why is it that the countries that produce and consume the most wine (primarily in the Mediterranean), on a per capita basis, have the lowest alcoholism rates, per capita?
Drinking wine at mealtime can not be compared with using alcohol as a psychoactive drug to alter your perception of reality.

One has cultural roots while the other has psychological causes.

They can overlap, but it is the psychological usage that usually leads to addiction.
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,565 posts, read 16,479,844 times
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Both of my parents were/are (my mom died 20+ years ago; my dad is still alive and kicking) alcoholics. I grew up hating alcohol. I didn't even mind that I couldn't drink when I got married, because I wasn't 21 yet, nor did I mind that I couldn't drink on my 21st birthday because I was pregnant with my daughter.

My viewpoint has mellowed somewhat over the years. I have a glass of wine two or three times a week, and that's it. I've only been drunk two or three times in my entire life. I'm too much of a control freak to feel comfortable being out of control.

Alcohol does make people stupid, but of course, they're drunk and so they think they're hilarious and wonderful! A truly mean-spirited person would take a video of these people and then play it back when they're sober. It's incredibly boring to be around a bunch of drunken morons.

As for the disease vs. addiction debate, there is a genetic predisposition in some people to become alcoholics. Yes, they can only become addicted if the substance is there to imbibe, but the predisposition is always there lurking, waiting to cause trouble.
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Beautiful New England
2,412 posts, read 6,794,406 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
(1) Why is it that the countries that produce and consume the most wine (primarily in the Mediterranean), on a per capita basis, have the lowest alcoholism rates, per capita?
Not to be skeptical, but can you point to any data to back up this claim? I've never heard of such a thing.
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:28 PM
 
Location: NC, USA
7,087 posts, read 13,844,643 times
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I have to agree with Met, she puts things well, and has a good mind. Just for starters, Alcohol, substance Alcohol is a solvent, it's how it is defined. When I drank, it desolved friendships, bank accounts, marriages, my sense of humor, jobs, careers, and eventually my self respect, the problem was, I could not concieve of a life without drinking. It was, as the same time, both the solution and the cause of most of my problems. If I drank enough, the problem went away, or, I forgot about it, either way, to my pickled state of mind, it was no longer a problem, ie. it cured it. Odds were also good that the drinking caused the problem in the first place. I was absolutely untrustworthy, not because I intentionally lied or tried to lead people on (unless I was working an angle that I thought had a good chance at getting me a free drink, or two), I would agree with full intention of carrying through with whatever I had promised, then, I drank more and forgot what I promised. Alcohol induced amnesia. Sometimes I would claim I didn't remember because to remember would be really embarrassing, most of the time I really did not remember. One of the other problems was euphoric recall, no alcoholic sets out to become an alcoholic, they remember when they drank socially and could stop when they wanted and not make a fool of themselves. Years after that no longer was a valid thought process, the alcoholic lies to themselves that they will be able to do better "this time". It won't be, it only gets worse and most of the time, people, good minded people, will try to help but do not understand the problem, they see it as will power, and it isn't. An active alcoholic has to drink, it is a really tough cycle to break. Oh yeah, one other small thing, Alcoholism tends to run rampantly among those of Native American, Irish, Scot, and African ancestry. Conversely, very few Jews, percentage wise, end up alcoholic. I've heard several theories, but it just is the way it is, doesn't seem to be a logic to it. Not all things fall within the scope of logic. Or, we don't know enough about Logic to fully utilized it's capabilities.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:07 PM
 
96 posts, read 348,646 times
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It's true - we learned about the lower rate of alcoholism in Med. countries in my addictions course.
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