The reason I am answering this question in parts is because I want everyone to get a better understanding about all the components involved in addiction. It is not a simple malady, and there is no simple treatment. As you read each part, I hope you will begin to understand how the pills can help, and how they can’t.
Today I’m going to address the environmental issue in alcoholism. This has to do with a person’s environment, upbringing, exposure, and availability. This plays a huge role in how people view alcohol and how they use it. Basically, if you grow up in a home with drinking parents then you were obviously exposed to alcohol. You see first hand how it is used and for what purpose. If your parents fight, then immediately reach for a drink you may start to think of alcohol as a comfort. Dad comes home from work stressed out and tired, immediately goes for a drink, and the drink signals relaxation. Perhaps they throw a party occasionally where everyone eats, drinks, and laughs all night….alcohol seems fun. If there is a liquor cabinet, then alcohol is readily available and at your reach whenever you desire. Or maybe dad has some beers in the refrigerator, or mom has some wine on the counter. This is all your environment. Not to mention what we see on television and in movies.
For me, my exposure was a little different. When I was 20, I started working in a nightclub. This nightclub didn’t serve food, or even snacks. It was strictly drinking. Now, I grew up with a step-parent that drank some beers, and I had a few friends that liked to drink. But until I started working in that club, I was never all that interested. I was the girl that would get a 4 pack of wine coolers and maybe drink one and half of another. That nightclub changed everything for me. All of a sudden I was in an environment where the only purpose was drinking. Everyone drank all the time, and I really thought that was how the world was. I swear, when I got sober at 33, I was absolutely shocked to learn that there are people that live their lives without drinking! LOL!!! I really believed that everybody drank, all the time because that was my environment.
Accessibility. Back to the beers in the fridge, the liquor cabinet or home bar, a bottle of wine in the kitchen, or for me, an entire bar at my fingertips. When it is readily accessible, you are more likely to use it. If I were a bank teller at 20 years old, I don’t think people would have been sneaking me shots of tequila every ten minutes!! I think you get my point…. if you hang out in the barber shop long enough you are bound to get a haircut!
All of these things combined equal a desensitizing of the importance of alcohol. It is important because it makes a huge impact on your life, on your decision making, on your future. But when alcohol is just around all the time and seems normal, it is no longer taken seriously. Alcohol in any amount should be taken seriously. Within two minutes of taking a drink, alcohol has physical and psychological effects. I would say that is pretty serious.