97 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

19 Dec

It’s a given that college drinking, and the way society tolerates and encourages it is a serious problem.  But is it a serious disease?  Are our university campuses crawling with addicts?  Let’s put this in perspective, shall we?

My dad was is an alcoholic, because you can never really 100% recover and be able to drink moderately like a non-alcoholic. I’m much too lazy to look up scientific studies and statistics, but I’ll bet if you did you would find an alcoholic’s brain chemistry is different. I’d also be willing to bet that an alcoholic metabolizes it in a different way than a person able to self-control their drinking. An alcoholic literally cannot stop themselves from consuming too much. They will always drink too much at a time, too often, and become dependent on alcohol to function. Once an alcoholic stops drinking–they can never have another sip of alcohol–or they are right back in the middle of their addiciton and the destructive behavior that comes with it. My dad has not had a drink in about 30 years. If he had one drink today, he might be right back in the middle of his sloppy behavior.

Also, alcoholism is a more serious, uncontrollable disease, very unlike the (poor) choices made by college drinkers. Alcoholics need medical detox to stop drinking. They can seizure and die if they try to stop drinking without intervention. Most college students simply sober up before finals or other important tests. And when they graduate–their habits clean up. True alcoholics couldn’t do that. Without help–they are still drinking abusively.

Saying all college kids who drink are alcoholics discounts all of the above. Yes, drinking is excessive in college. Yes, youth should be held accountable for their actions. But saying they are failing because they have a disease isn’t quite right. . .

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2 Responses to “97 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”

  1. Kerry Lauer December 29, 2011 at 9:50 AM #

    Yes indeed, the brain chemistry of the addict is different than the brain chemistry of the person who can abuse alcohol for years, yet still stop drinking without the physical cravings. I can’t tell you the specifics, but I live with an addiction counselor who has worked in the field for 25 years. Unfortunately, most Native Americans have this specific brain chemistry that puts them at risk, the addiction counselor at your school was obviously working from this stereotype. On the other hand, most people of Jewish descent (not religious converts) can drink to excess for years and never become addicted to the alcohol.

    • kit10phish December 29, 2011 at 10:07 AM #

      Thanks for your comment. It’s very interesting isn’t it, the difference between various ancestry and addiction? I just might look at Google Scholar for some sort of peer-reviewed study on the brain chemistry of alcoholics.

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