The Truth About Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a disease.
The alcoholic craves an alcoholic beverage as strongly as a person who is hungry craves food, or a person who is
thirsty craves a glass of water.
There is a genetic connection discovered by scientists who have studied the disease. I
n other words, alcoholism can run in families; much the same way as other diseases can.
There are other factors that are present just as even though Diabetes may run in your family, not all siblings
contract the disease. So, it is with Alcoholism. Not all family members will become alcoholics.
The other factors may be the presence of peer pressure, availability of alcohol, etc. It is not true that
Alcoholism can be cured.
There is no such accuracy in the thinking that a person who has been drinking for just a short period of time
can be cured.
The length of time the person has been drinking has nothing to do with the disease being a part of that persons
An alcoholic can through professional help and a system of support be able to stay dry/sober over a period of
time; but the disease will still be there and the person must always remember that.
Understanding the disease and that there is no cure is an important part of being able to be in control of the
Even though there is no cure for Alcoholism, a person can be helped to stop drinking by using the tools of
counseling and medications prescribed by a physician who is experienced in treating Alcoholics.
Some of the more commonly used prescriptions used to treat Alcoholism are disulfiram, naltrexone, and
acamprosate. These medications are used to both reduce the occurrence of drinking and to help avoid a relapse into
These medications are also used to foster abstinence in the person who suffers from Alcoholism.
Treatment for Alcoholism is like the treatment for any other chronic disease; there are varying degrees of
success. The degrees can vary from total success in that a person undergoes counseling, and medication therapy and
never touches a alcoholic beverage again, to someone who experiences several relapses to someone who cannot stay
sober despite counseling, support and medications.
There are things that family members, friends and others who care about Alcoholics can do when the person who is
suffering refuses to get help. Some of these things are: Do not protect the person by covering up the consequences
of their drinking.
The person needs to be forced to be responsible for the consequences of his/her disease and the actions they
partake in while drinking. Sometimes the court will force a person into a treatment center, this is a difficult way
to have help come about; but for some it is a blessing in disguise.
Speak of your concerns to the person as soon as you can following an alcoholic event. Make sure that the person
is sober before approaching them, so that they have the ability to understand what is being said.
Any discussion should be conducted in privacy and when all involved have had the chance to calm down.
During the discussion there should be a listing of what consequences occurred or what the results of the
drinking event were.
Be as specific as you can in regard to these results and consequences. Using examples can help the person relate
to your concern regarding the drinking problem.
Did You Know
Alcoholism is a progressive and potentially fatal disease. Alcoholism itself is not
curable but it is possible to recover completely.
Recovering from alcohol is to abstain from all forms of alcoholic beverages and
medications that contain alcohol such as cough medicines.
Alcoholism is considered a chronic illness. As with any chronic illness, it affects
entire families. As a result, the recovery process also affects the entire family and network of
friends of the alcoholic.
The good news is that these people can serve as a good support network to enable
the alcoholic to abstain from drinking alcohol. The same way a family would support a chronically
ill person is how the alcoholic should be treated because alcoholism is chronic.
Anyone who is an alcoholic will be an alcoholic for the rest of his or her
lives. Even though there is no cure for alcoholism,
there is hope for the alcoholic.
That is where recovery comes in – the
abstinence from all alcohol on the part of the addicted person. This is where the control part of the disease comes into
It is important to be able to control the desire to have alcohol and to choose not
to drink it. Unfortunately, the sheer nature of
being an alcoholic is defined by the lack of an ability to control ones drinking.
In order to enter the recovery phase and thus control the disease itself, the
alcoholic must come to the place where he or she is able and willing to take control and stop
reaching for alcohol.
Research has shown that the alcoholic cannot willfully control his
drinking and therefore should be abstinent. The alcoholic has to accept responsibility for
his addiction and recovery.
It is important to get help for the person suffering from Alcoholism.
Have counseling, treatment and support information ready and available when you decide to discuss or confront
Discussing and offering information with the alcoholic is called "intervention". It is where you intentionally
confront the person with the issues involved in the drinking problem, but in a way that is helping to solve the
problem and not just to be critical or as a form of punishment.
Alcoholism, regardless of whether the alcoholic totally abstains from alcohol or just drinks
in moderation, is a controllable disease.
However, alcoholism is not considered curable because the alcoholic can relapse back into
the acute phase of the disease many times with just one drink or one episode of over
There are support groups for all members of the family of Alcoholics: spouses, significant others, teens and
These support groups help those close to an alcoholic to understand the disease better and to be able to
connect with others who have similar experiences.