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Alcohol is the liquid that is contained in drinks such as beer, wine and whiskey that makes people drunk when consumed. For purposes of this article, alcohol refers to drinks that are beer, wine or any other drinks that contain alcohol regardless of the percentage contained. Alcoholism comes about as a result of too much consumption of alcohol or failure by an individual to control his consumption to the optimum levels. Most alcoholics do not have a limit on the number of beer bottles they can drink. They drink and end up sleeping in a ditch. This kind of behavior is associated with people who do not have a hold on their liquor, and hence alcoholism. Alcoholism comes with addiction to the alcohol. This is in some instances characterized as an illness that warrants counseling. Alcohol industry is no doubt one of the most profitable in the world. The legal drinking age in most parts of the world is 18. However in other countries like the United States, it limited to 21. The consumption of alcohol has been on the rise, with the companies coming up with new products each time, the companies too are increasingly involved in advertisement campaigns as the completion becomes stiffer each day. Companies with brands such as Tusker and Heineken are involved in sponsoring sporting tournaments in order to reach out to new markets as the completion intensifies. Advertisement or no advertisement or with disregard to the legal drinking age, alcoholism is rife in the society and has many negative effects in the community.
Alcoholism is no doubt the number one breaker of relationships in the world. Many family structures have completely broken down as a result of alcoholism. Alcoholism affects families in many ways. For instance a father who comes home drunk and enters into fights with the wife or children. This not only affects the children physically but also psychologically. Children who are raised by alcoholic parents are usually abused physically and psychologically. This has negative effects on the children in the future. On the sidelines, alcoholism is associated with irresponsible sexual behavior, which is infidelity. Most people when under the influence of alcohol cannot be able to make sound decisions. This is when somebody wakes up in the morning only to find a total stranger in bed with him or her. Under the influence of alcohol, some people tend to throw common sense to the wind and only come to their senses when they are sober. Regardless of the drunken nature of the spouse, infidelity is definitely a deal breaker. Alcoholism may also result to people losing their jobs. If the family depends on the person then they will have to look for another alternative, this has resulted to young boys being involved in illegal activities such as drug trafficking and young girls involvement in prostitution. This is all due to the lack of grownups to take care of the daily needs of the children. Also children, whose parents are alcoholics, are their own parents, because they have nobody to guide them or help them out in their activities. Thus alcoholism not only breaks down families, but also breaks the family structures.
Crime is another factor that is associated with alcoholism. Crime may take very many dimensions. For instance violence, many people tend to be involved in violent activities when they are drunk. Many cases have been reported on individuals who kill one after a drinking spree. Rape is another instance; rape could be forceful sex with an adult or consensual sex with a minor. Having sex with a minor is statutory rape, under the influence of alcohol many people will not think for a second ho they jump to bed with. The harsh realities hit them when they are arrested and charged with the offence. Also many cases of incest have been reported in many parts of the world. This is when fathers have sexual relations with their daughters. This is directly attributed to alcoholism. Battery is another is not a new concept even in modern families. Prominent people such as sports stars, music stars, respected business personalities or even politicians have at one instance involved in beating up their spouses. This is largely attributed to the drunken nature of the individuals. In general alcoholism more often than not is the cause of violence especially in public places. Poor judgment is without doubt due to alcoholism. Thus alcoholism is a major contributor to criminal activities rather than peace and harmony in the community.
Another effect of alcoholism on families is the alteration of the social, cultural and economic pillars of the family structures and hierarchy. As a matter of fact accidents do happen sometimes during our daily activities. However with alcoholism, the accidents are more likely to occur. The accidents could partially or completely impair a person, making him or her dependent on other people. By nature, the parents should provide for their children, and by extension the older siblings in the family, in the absence of the parents, should take the parental roles. Alcoholism changes all this. It is not news to the world to hear of children as young as 10 years old assuming parental roles especially in the African continent. The parents could end up because of criminal or social crimes committed while drunk or could die driving when drunk. Also due to irresponsible sexual behavior, some may contract infections such as HIV/AIDS. Note that HIV/AIDS is associated with drunkenness. When a situation like this arises, there is nobody to look after the siblings. Thus the siblings, regardless of their age have no other choice but to assume the parental roles. Worse still if the parents are sick and are unable to support themselves, the children assume the responsibility of providing and taking care of them. This is a complete reversal of roles in the family and the society as whole.
Alcoholism comes with subsequent impairment of parental skills. This is largely due to negligence of the ongoing things in the home especially those that require parental guidance. Also the decision making capacity of the parent is impaired, as they are not home to see what is going on, or if they are there, they are too drunk to gauge the events. This leaves the children feeling neglected and do not feel loved by the parents. This has detrimental consequences on the future of the child; however this is not something that can be foreseen by a parent who is an alcoholic. Not only are the children affected but also the other spouse if he or she does not take alcohol. This may lead to divorce, which complicates the matters even further for the children. Even the performances in school or other activities that could define the future of the child, the parents do not take part or show any interest at all. Lack of interest on the progress of a child in school activities or extracurricular is irresponsible on the part of the parent and hence lack of adequate parental skills.
Alcoholism strains the family financially. The amount of money spent on alcohol is arguably higher than what an alcoholic could spend for food for the entire family. If either parents or the bread winner of the family is an alcoholic, then most of the time, they tend to eat into the family savings. The person will spend a lot of money on alcohol and other things that come along with it. The alcoholic could even sell household items to spend the money in a bar. This mostly affects the family especially the children as they will not have at their disposal money for tuition or even the money to buy the basic needs such as food and clothing. The family will either use the little they have or stop using at all. As days go by, laws continue to tighten and lawsuits come up, thus the insurance costs are through the roof. This means the cost of alcohol will continue to rise day by day. This will result to less and less money channeled to homes as most of the money if not all will end up with the alcohol industry.
Alcoholism is by all means a huge problem in our society in general. Given the effects shown, it should be dealt with amicably. However some experts claim that, alcohol consumers benefit in some way, as it prevents them from rheumatoid arthritis. True alcohol consumption is good, but excess of it may cause more harm than good. Given the problems associated with alcoholism, some countries like Kenya have passed laws that outlaw selling of alcohol before 5 pm. The bars are allowed to operate between 5 pm and 11 pm. While the night clubs operate from 5 pm to 3 am. This is all meant to contain the alcohol consumption and the effects associated with alcoholism. Laws may be there, but the buck stops with us. We should influence the way the society operates or the society will influence the way we operate.