Why did she leave? When alcohol leads to relationship breakdown.


A few days ago I received a phone call from a gentleman.  He sounded very agitated and cried like a child whose favorite toy had been taken away.  He began by saying that he was depressed and needed to talk to a psychologist urgently.  Then he told me how much he loved his wife, and he also mentioned how she left the house and never came back.  I asked him about their relationship and what kind of problems they had.  After a few minutes, he told me that he likes to drink alcohol, maybe a little too much.

He began to drink beer with friends at the age of 16, and continued to do so approximately two or three times per month.  By the time he was 23, he was drinking almost daily.  His drinking began to get out of control, and his life was unmanageable.  He also told me that he was almost 40 years old and remembers being sober for no more than five days in the last 10 years.  In just four minutes, anyone could tell that this gentleman had a serious problem with alcohol.

Alcoholism is a progressive, incurable disease, with fatal consequences for the individual.  There are certain characteristics that may indicate someone has a serious alcohol problem: 1) a strong desire to want to drink, 2) loss of control or inability to stop drinking after taking the first drink, 3) physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, or tremors, and 4) the need to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effects, a phenomenon called tolerance.

It is no secret that social consequences due to alcohol abuse can be catastrophic.  Automobile accidents due to alcohol consumption are the main cause of deaths in many countries.  Marital problems and job losses marked by absenteeism are some of the problems we see almost daily in alcoholics.  The gentleman who called me said that he often feels rejected by others and that he also feels extremely lonely.  These are clear signs of someone suffering from this disease.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that promotes alcohol consumption daily.  Pressure from friends and the media (i.e., television, radio, magazines, and movies) plays a big role in this.  However, the good news is that there is treatment available to help alcoholics change their lives.

Contact a substance abuse counselor in your community if you feel that alcohol is ruining your life.

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