Alcoholism and the Use of Peer Pressure as a Treatment

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PART I ALCOHOLISM"I'm tired of hearing sin called sickness and alcoholism a disease.

It is the only disease I know of that we're spending hundreds ofmillions of dollars a year to spread."- - Dr. Vance Havner, American Baptist preacher 1901-1986Alcoholism: A Social TragedyIt is estimated that nearly14 million Americans, or about 1 in every 13 adults, abuse alcohol or are alcoholics. Approximately 53% of men and women in the U.S. report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem.

Alcohol is legal, socially acceptable, and harmless when used safely and in moderation. However, for some people, overtime, what starts out as an innocent social activity can become a destructive habit that crosses over into a physiological and a psychological addiction causing havoc in the partakers' lives and the lives of those around them. Webster's Dictionary defines alcoholism as "a chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction".

Even though many people may feel the negative after-effects of drinking alcohol, they can remain unaware that they have a drinking problem. Alcoholics affect not only their own well being, health, and happiness but that of others as well. The results of alcohol dependence can be serious…not only socially, but medically, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically as well. Alcoholics are much more likely to lose their jobs, engage in violent acts and be involved in legal problems. Approximately half of all traffic deaths are related to alcohol abuse.

Besides being a personal dilemma, alcohol abuse and alcoholism has a major impact on society at large. A study conducted by the Australian National Council on Drugs found that at least 50% of homeless people were alcoholics. Estimates of the costs of alcoholism on industry are between $185 million...