A Drink To Our Death Essay, Research Paper
A Drink to Our Death
Hey! Want a drink? How about one before dinner? Oh, lets celebrate with a drink! Questions and comments like these come up everyday, and everyday thousands upon thousands of alcoholics are born. Some drink to calm nerves, others drink for fun. Whatever the reason, men and women need to realize drinking can be fun in moderation, but over time, drinking can cause many side effects. The issue of drinking is very personal for me. My family has a history of alcoholics, and my sister, whom I am close with, has a drinking problem. Not only has her drinking affected relationships, work, and friends, it has effected my family and me. Although this has been going on for a couple of years, and her drinking progressed through time, she doesn?t think that it is the problem.
My sister is an unlikely woman to be an alcoholic. She has a great job in Los Angeles, a beautiful house, a dog, and friends. Yet behind the ?pretty? exterior my sister portrays, I see a lonely, depressed woman that needs help. It is hard for me to go up to her and tell her she has a drinking problem. By doing this research I am ultimately going to get the courage to find out how to approach her and help. It is sad that women are drinking to feel sexy and gain acceptance when the consequences of drinking achieve the opposite, and can lead to health problems, mental problems, and physical abuse.
Drinking may start as a way of being with others. ?Peer pressure may be overt?a direct request, invitation, or challenge to drink?or it may be covert?the subtle sense that to ?belong? means going along with others. My sister and women like her, drinks to find acceptance. A drink or two may make one feel sophisticated, relaxed, and better able to fit in? (Berman 1). Not only can this quote be associated with heavy drinkers it can be compared with lighter drinkers. The problem with having a drink or two before going out may lead to the dependence of alcohol. My sister has a high powered job where she meets celebrities and CEO?s at parties. Interesting enough, her more masculine job provides her to drink more then if she had a feminine job. ?Recent studied suggest that women who work in more traditionally female-dominated fields such as nursing or education have fewer drinking problem than women in traditionally male fields such as banking and finance? (Maugh 2). The overall thought is that women start drinking like the men they are around five days a week.
Our society is the problem causing women to receive mixed message about drinking. When we see a man drunk, we call him silly, but when we see a woman belligerent we see her as a slut or a whore. These double standards that society provides leaves women with questions unanswered. ?Women are encouraged to be good caretakers, mothers, and nurturers of others. They are supposed to be self-effacing yet attentive to their bodies, their clothes, their makeup, and their behavior so that they are attractive to others, especially to men? (Roan 2). Women are constantly reminded of their failure and next to men they are unable to drink and have fun. Society sucks in this aspect and needs to make women and men equal.
?Relationships may be formed through drinking at parties and other social events? (Roan 1). Now at 29, my sister is in desperate need to find a relationship and have a family, drinking provides her to open up and meet men. When interviewing my sister she believed that cocktail parties were a way of opening up and feeling more attractive. While looking great and having a couple of drinks allows her to meet people she wouldn?t normally go up to. I found her quote to juxtapose to the article, College women and alcohol: A relational perspective. They say, ?A woman may start to drink as she seeks to enhance her sense of herself as attractive and as successful in her relationships. If she drinks too much, she achieves the opposite result? (Roan 1). I know this is the point where my sister is. She is unable to meet anyone without a drink in her hand, and yet when she eventually meets a nice guy they turn the other way. Through the relationships she has had in the past, it has concluded that drinking was the problem that ended them. One ex-boyfriend even spelled it out for her in a letter complaining her drinking was the problem of their relationship. This ?loss? of her boyfriend started her to more heavily drink. ?The loss of a relationship is especially problematic because it fuels the woman?s perceptions that she is inadequate and has been unable to make the relationship work? (Roan 5). Alcohol eventually becomes a form of self-medication not letting my sister stop and the cycle of everyday drinking to continue.
?Drinking women have difficulty distinguishing between real and fantasized feelings of warmth and affection and physiological arousal? (Roan 4). Coming along with women and drinking and being belligerent is the fact that women are more susceptible to unwanted sex and rape. Sexual overtures frequently occur when alcohol is present (Roan 4). Even when women are in relationships with men may also feel pressure for sex before they are ready. ?Some will consent, believing it is the only way to keep the man involved, others will be confused when their intimacy-seeking behavior is misinterpreted as seductive; a man may interpret a woman?s desire for a relationship as an invitation to sex?his way of expressing intimacy? (Roan 4). The problem with alcohol and sexual intimacy is the threat of sexual violence such as rape. When women drink it is easier for the law to consider her ?behavior suspect, and she is less likely to be taken seriously if she complains? (Roan 5). This is the sad part of drinking where the rape experience can lead to depression and anger, which often leads to more drinking. ?Ehrhard and Sandler stress the damage that acquaintance rape has on a woman?s ability to trust others and on her own capacity to distinguish who is safe and who is not? (Roan 4). Although, drinking can lead unwanted sex it can also lead to ?drunk? and unprotected sex.
A.I.D.S and HIV and other sexual transmitted diseases have risen immensely in the past twenty years. Knowing this and that, ?drunk women are sexually irresponsible? (Roan 6), I am scared for my sister. Through the thousands of women polled only ?15% of those women did not want sexual intercourse.? The other 75% of those women had one night stands and didn?t complain (www.glness.com). There were no statistics on condom use or disease prevention was documented. An informal statistic from the Missouri State University showed, ?seventy-four percent of sexually active women would not have had sex if they had not been drinking at the he time? (Berman 66). In the study disease wasn?t discussed as much as how when women were interviewed they said it was easier to have sex when they were drunk rather then sober. Ultimately women used the drinking as an excuse. ?If you wake up next to someone you?re not attracted to, you can always say you were drunk?. Women should stop living in the moment and realize they might have slept or are going to sleep with a sexual partner with a deadly disease.
Not only sexual alcoholics are at higher risk for sexual diseases but at greater risk for liver damage and breast cancer. Among the heaviest of drinkers ?usually defined as 14 or more drinks a week?alcohol causes physical ailments such as liver disease ?Some studies, for instance, show that as few as three drinks a week may increase a woman?s risk of breast cancer by 50%. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women? (Roan 3). Also, alcohol may make a woman more susceptible to hemorrhage stroke in which a blood vessel breaks. Studies show alcohol may interfere with bone calcification, making women at higher risk for osteoporosis? (Roan 3). This information seems scary, but is true and needs to be understood. I did my own survey questioning if people knew that drinking not only effected the liver but breast cancer and heart disease. More than 75% of the respondents had no idea. Although, this information can see as quite depressing, there is good news for light wine drinkers. Studies show that ?drinking moderate amounts of alcohol?particularly wine-can protect against heart disease for both sexes. This is especially important for women because after menopause women?s rates of heart disease skyrocket. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women? (Roan 3).
What the obvious difference between men and women are their bodies. Situations my sister runs into that the people she drinks with are men. While most men have more muscle and are able to consume more alcohol, women absorb it. ?Women have more body fat and less body water, allowing alcohol to move into the bloodstream faster? (Roan 5). With more research that is done every year, they have finally concluded that women use and abuse alcohol for different reasons than men (Gleason 1). Men drink in social situation just to drink, while most women drink to get drunk. Women over time pay a higher price for drinking then men.
There are programs especially designed for women with alcoholic problems. There are programs where a person can be totally anonymous, or programs with other alcoholics. One book and group which helps alcoholics become sober, is A.A or Alcoholics Anonymous. The book and group therapy has been around since 1939 and has helped millions of people recover (Alcoholics Anonymous 1). While reading or group therapy isn?t recommended for everyone there is one on one therapy with psychologists or alcohol professionals. All these programs are helpful and recommended by doctors and recovered, and recovering alcoholics. While knowing many people whom have gone through these processes, time, patience, and discipline are the most important factors in recovery.
Alcohol is poisoning the lives of many individuals and takes on no faces. A person can be rich, poor, smart, or stupid. The information collected shows me how many millions of people suffer from this disease. From all the articles and books I read, the most important help to an alcoholic is to become a good listener. By becoming a good listener a person feels important and can eventually understand that drinking has more negative effects then positive. These past years with my sister have been hard, and being able to tell her that she has a drinking problem has been even harder. I hope to help my sister discover she is an alcoholic and acquire help. She like the many millions need to take this first step to recovery.