April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the role of alcohol in our lives and its potential consequences. As a social drinker myself, I never imagined that alcohol could have such devastating effects until I experienced a personal loss. Growing up, alcohol was part of our social gatherings, and I never saw anyone in my family struggle with addiction. However, that all changed when I lost a family member to an alcohol overdose, a tragedy I never knew was possible. Recently, I learned about a condition called “wet brain,” caused by alcohol abuse, which can leave individuals in a vegetative state. It was a shocking revelation that further underscored the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.Reflecting on my own experiences, I began to question how alcohol has impacted my life and the lives of those around me. While social drinking can be enjoyable and even bring people together, it’s essential to acknowledge the potential risks involved. Has alcohol use affected your life or the lives of your family members? Do you find that drinking enhances your enjoyment of life, or does it come with its own set of challenges? Let’s talk about it.

Journee Myoan: “My stepfather’s alcohol addiction disrupted developmental and emotional growth as well as the way I dealt with relationships from partners to my children.”

Blake Bailey: “My older brother’s alcoholism affected my relationship with him as well as his relationship with his wife and kids. He was difficult to be around when he was drinking. He quit drinking. Our relationship improved as did his with his family. I asked his wife a couple years after he had quit drinking how things had changed. She said things are much better. He’s still a jerk but now he’s a sober one.”

Lyvia Kenton: “As someone whose father was an alcoholic, substance abuse caused a childhood lived in fear and punctuated with moments of violence and terror. As someone whose father eventually became a secret IV user, it caused a much lower standard of living as all the money secretly went to the purchase of drugs. It caused me to step in at 23 years old and try and take care of him as he went through a heart valve replacement due to IV use. He had developed a blood infection that went to his heart. At that time I found out his big secret. I had not recognized the signs in his house. Blood drops on sheets , walls, even the ceiling? Burnt spoons. It was all so sordid and depressing and difficult to fathom. I was angry at his weakness and yet wanted to help, wanted to believe he would change. It still kills me to this day that I couldn’t help, that he died alone and on drugs and I wasn’t there for him. As someone whose son has become addicted to opiates, it has shattered my heart into a billion little pieces.”

Ted Haigh · “It is one technique to allow one to release inhibitions. What are some inhibitions? Fear, shyness, concern, preoccupation, taciturnity…and more. Alcohol can inhibit these by blunting emotions and limiting the extent of thought. The concept is valid. Great writers who wrote drunk found themselves unable to settle down to a train of thought minus the sedative effects of booze. Drugs have been formulated to do exactly that, and are available by prescription today. The issues with alcohol are these: it is addictive. Long term use has deleterious effects on the nervous system, brain receptors, and various organs. The up side is illustrated in the way alcohol was described medically in the 1940s and ’50s: a stimulant/depressant. It can give the appearance of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear and rendering a schlub silver tongue. The effect does not last, and in a time, face down on the bar will be the result if it goes on that long. Alcohol can be a socially-acceptable social lubricant in moderation, if one is genuinely non-habitual as some are. Thus it is a dangerous proposition, best tested by the mature. Unfortunately, the “fun” effects are most desired by the most naturally emotionally polarized…the young.”

Brian O’Sullivan: “Probably, and in ways you fail to recognize.I am borderline alcoholic but not physiologically addicted. Ever broken anything by accident? Dropped someone’s phone? A toy? Accidentally hurt someone like maybe tossing the TV remote across the room too hard either to pass the remote or as a way of venting anger? Ever gone into a work situation stinking of alcohol? How much money does your habit cost you? Could you maybe use that money for something else?”

Justin Philip Turner ·”These activities are fun to some people because they are a form of instant gratification. Smoking gives you a rush. Drinking lowers your inhibitions. Partying is an opportunity to be around other people (which some people find fun).”

Anonymous: “My father became an alcoholic after he lost his mother, the last member of his first family, when I was 8 years old. Through the years I watched him go from a man who was beyond wonderful, loving, thoughtful, smart and fun when sober to a man who was rude, insensitive, unreasonable and aggressive when drunk. This went on for eight years until his liver quit him before he quit his alcohol addiction. In what ways has someone else’s addiction affected my life? It took my father away from me when I was only 16 years old.”

Tish Tanner : “My almost 25 year old son is an addict. He has been in and out of rehab and jail for years. He has stolen from us and physically attacked us. Right now he is about to get out of jail but the no contact order the judge gave me runs until May 4th. I love him, but more who he was. I will not have anything to do with him until he has been clean for at least 6 months without being in jail. (So I know he worked to stay clean, not just had no choice.) No money, no rides, and even though it will kill me, even no food if he is hungry. I have been fighting for him since he was 14. He either quits drugs or I can not be around him. And it breaks my heart.”

Murray H.G. Paterson: “For me – so this may not apply to you or any others – I drink for the taste as a first priority. As a result I like craft beers not the generic, big company beers (barely more than flavored water). I prefer Malt whisky and Cognac rather than the blended whiskies and brandies because they have more varied and distinguishable flavors. I also enjoy the slight “buzz” I get from the alcohol in these drinks – but it is only slight as I rarely drink more than a liter of beer at a time (say once or twice a week … in summer), or two glasses of wine with dinner. For me, constitutionally a chatterbox, it isn’t needed as a social lubricant.”

Rubén Carbonero:“Well, I’m not a doctor. It is true that alcohol is a toxic substance with no “safe” dose. Yet there are studies that link a moderate alcohol consumption with a lower rate of coronary disease. Yes, lower. So a small, social alcohol intake might protect you from a stroke and actually be good for your health. It’s weird, isn’t it.”