Ideally, alcohol abuse and addiction problems are resolved by preventing them from occurring in the first place, but this is far easier said than done. Most individuals would agree that knowing who will become an alcoholic so that they can be prevented from ever using alcohol would be incredibly helpful, but it simply doesn’t work this way. The truth is that any individual who uses alcohol, even socially and occasionally, is at risk for alcohol abuse. But if this is the case, can Alcoholics Anonymous actually help social drinkers to see the potential consequences of alcohol abuse?
Understanding Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol, despite being legal and socially acceptable, is a sedative drug substance that slows the functions of the human body. This is most noticeable in the slurred speech, impaired coordination and altered judgment of the individual who is under the effect of alcohol. Many individuals enjoy the effects of alcohol consumption because it helps them to feel relaxed, especially after a long, stressful day. However, like any other drug substance, alcohol can become tolerated and then even depended upon by the individual. This drives the individual to consume more and more alcohol, which can lead into alcohol abuse and addiction. And since the human body isn’t made to metabolize alcohol it can build up in the individual’s body, causing extensive damage to their health and well-being.
It is true that some individuals can participate in minimal and occasional alcohol use for an extended period of time, without ever really falling into the trap of alcohol abuse or addiction. It is also true that some individuals participate in minimal and occasional alcohol use for a very brief time and immediately fall into the trap of alcohol abuse and addiction. Either way, the individual who chooses to consume alcohol is placing himself in a potentially dangerous position. While they may feel that their alcohol consumption is minimal, safe and acceptable, the fact is that it can have extremely dangerous consequences.
It is not unusual for an individual to feel that they are the only one who is affected by their alcohol use. After all, they are the one who experiences the alcohol buzz, the impaired coordination, fuzzy thinking and morning hangover. But it is the others around him that are placed in danger when he chooses to operate while under the influence, even if it only occurs one single time when the individual was out social drinking. In many cases, an individual who participates in occasional social drinking without experiencing much in the way of adverse effects may begin to believe that he is invincible, at least to some degree, and therefore he isn’t much concerned about controlling his alcohol use. Unfortunately, it is often this cavalier attitude that drives an individual to drop his guard which then leads to dangerous consequences. The question becomes whether individuals who are better informed about the potential consequences of alcohol abuse will make the wise choice and abstain.
Can AA Help?
When a judge orders that an individual participate in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, he may not know that the individual is only a social drinker. What he does know is that the individual’s alcohol consumption has placed himself and others at risk, and therefore must be addressed. And while sobriety cannot be forced upon anyone, the idea behind such a judgment is to open the individual’s eyes to the situation and perhaps push them into making a better decision for their future. Where Alcoholics Anonymous can help is that it does not force an individual to take any specific actions, but rather encourages them to make the admissions and changes necessary in order to improve their life. Even where an individual is a social drinker, their exposure to the Alcoholics Anonymous group can help them to see how alcohol has adversely affects individuals’ lives. This little bit of information can be powerful enough to benefit the individual’s life by causing him to make a new decision about his future.