Alcoholism, Unmasked

Written by admin on . Posted in On Topic OTDT, Opinion and Column.


Some people don’t get it, even columnists in these papers. Alcoholism is a disease, not a failure of will power, a character defect, a childish indulgence or a willful abdication of responsibility. Brewers, distillers and righteous columnists piously preach about drinking responsibly. Alcoholics cannot drink alcohol responsibly, or at all. That would be akin to telling cancer patients to be sick healthily. All they have to do is abstain from having cancer cells in the body and they will not be a bother to anyone. Alcoholism does not discriminate against any human beings. It hits people, be they on Park Avenue or on the park bench, and it does not care if you are man, woman or child, or what race, creed or color you are. All it needs is your blood stream and your brain to invade and
render permanently wet.

People often ask, “How do I know if I am an alcoholic?” There are many responses to this query. One being, if you have to ask, the answer is in the question. 2) Alcoholism is like having mice—if you think you have them, YOU DO! 3) What is your day like without booze? Miserable?

Alcoholics are great rationalizers about what we drink. We trot out the list of the “I onlies” and “I nevers,” i.e., “I only drink beer,” “I only drink wine,” “I only drink martinis because I like olives,” “I only drink a little sherry or a drop of port,” “I never drink before breakfast or when I am asleep,” “I never drink when I am sober” and “I am never too drunk to drive.”

Many of us will try counting drinks, but the fact is the first drink gets us drunk. Alcoholism is a family disease and it’s not curable, only manageable. The most loving parents are powerless when in the grip of this
malady. Abuse—physical, sexual and emotional—rampages triumphant in families with alcoholics, shaming children, humiliating spouses and battering marriages to pieces. There is an endless litany of unrelenting loss connected to this horrendous condition not known in any other disease. There is the loss of things material, like jobs, houses and income, and of health, rational thought, decent behavior, spiritual aspirations, truth, dignity, family and, above all, the dreadful loss of love. It’s a three-part physical-emotional-spiritual condition. Not all alkies are on Skid Row; the
others deny it, proclaiming, “I work hard, pay my taxes and just because I take a few drinks with my breakfast doesn’t mean I have a problem.”

Alcoholics usually contribute to their physical deterioration by smoking
cigarettes and marijuana, and ingesting other drugs. Consequently, the mind and brain take an uncontrolled journey into mad territory, wherein resides violence and mental imbalance. They are thus unable to be of any service to humanity.

The nature of alcoholism is totally diseased, totally evil, totally destructive. It is a slimy pit of stinking ooze composed of lies, deceit, revenge, righteousness, soul rot, rage, rape, selfishness and murder, and it will use any and all methods to gain a foothold in the family unit. If there is an alcoholic in your orbit, or if you are one, then it’s simple to take the first step to recovery. First, stop drinking now. And if it’s a bad situation, get to the hospital so you can sober up under medical supervision. Family should not allow any alcoholic home until sober—not next week or tomorrow, but sober now. Watch out for the lies and promises. It’s a day at a time. Good luck. 


Check my website malachymccourt.com and read Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland.

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