Alcohol ruins marriages and destroys ...

Alcohol ruins marriages and destroys families

There are 76 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jan 9, 2008, titled Alcohol ruins marriages and destroys families. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Dear Amy: With regard to "Frustrated In-Laws," whose son-in-law was drunk and rude during Thanksgiving, I can tell you where this might be headed.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

Nonpartisan

United States

#47 Jan 9, 2008
Who expects nieces and nephews to send a birthday gift? What's weird is that when a birthday gift is sent to the letter writer, its that the giver including all children and grandchildren.

What I would suggest is a call to the sister-in-law, who really does all the shopping, wrapping and mailing, and say, "Hey, thanks for the nice gift and for remembering my birthday. I like to give credit where credit is due." Lots of sisters-in-law do all the work and give the whole family the credit so that the brother doesn't look like a lazy bum.

Since: Jan 08

Palatine, IL

#48 Jan 10, 2008
Gloria CT Ex-Patriate wrote:
...what about the frequent situation where ...a couple buy you as an individual one birthday gift & card, yet you have to buy each of those individuals a separate b-day gift & card? It is lazy and annoying on their part, but if you try to bring up the discrepanacy in thoughtfullness you are seen as a grump and selfish.

Wow, your sense of entitlement is amazing. Are you really suggesting that each person in a couple buy you a gift? That doesn't even make sense. Their money more than likely comes from the same place, so what difference would it make? The gifts would still be from both of them. If you were part of a couple, these people would buy something for your husband/wife, too, I'm sure.

Why are you keeping score anyway? You don't think it's thoughtful of people to bother to remember your birthday in the first place? No one owes you anything. Most people stop expecting birthday gifts once they're no longer a child.

Do you also ask these people exactly how much money they spent on you so you can make sure you don't spend a penny more on the both of them? You seem to think you're more thoughtful than them, but your attitude is anything but thoughtful; it's petty.

I'm sure if you tell these people what jerks they are for bothering to remember you, you won't have to worry about getting gifts from them anymore.
Ronnie

Broad Brook, CT

#49 Jan 10, 2008
Calling alcohol addiction a disease is one of the biggest frauds perpetrated upon consumers in the history of medicine, particularly since, in the majority of cases, heavy drinkers are encouraged to self-diagnose their disease and then seek life-long self-treatment at questionable, cultish venues like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Like so many other addictions—e.g., to shopping, sex, gambling, eating, street drugs, etc.—chronic overuse of alcohol has been categorized wrongly as a disease on a par with diabetes, cancer, and arteriosclerosis. But just as with addictions to gambling, sex and drugs, as soon as you stop indulging yourself, the “disease” magically and instantly disappears. How can this happen? Diabetes doesn’t disappear if you stop eating sugar. Heart disease doesn’t reverse itself as soon as you stop consuming saturated fats. Unlike with genuine diseases like diabetes or cancer, there is no laboratory test you can take that will prove you are an alcoholic. That you have the “disease” of alcoholism is a subjective diagnosis by the person doing the drinking, or it may be the diagnosis of well-meaning but ignorant friends or family members who’ve been adversely affected by the drinking. Often, greedy doctors and insurance companies enter the picture to make the diagnosis official, and the “patient” will be promptly dispatched to a pricey rehab center to dry out, read The Big Book, and memorize the Twelve Steps, which she is encouraged to follow religiously for the rest of her life or she will surely relapse (because, after all, she is informed, alcohol addiction is a disease). Alcohol abusers are encouraged to believe that they have no control over their “disease” and that they need to rely on a Higher Power to help them resist the urge to drink. They are told that they will have to associate with other former alcohol abusers at AA meetings daily for the rest of their lives, constantly rehashing their drinking days while nurturing new addictions to coffee, eating sugary sweets and smoking. They are instructed to get a Sponsor, a former drunk himself, who will supposedly keep them on the straight and narrow and be available whenever they feel tempted to drink. They are darkly warned to take it one day at a time and are incessantly brainwashed into believing that they may relapse at any moment if they are not constantly vigilant against Demon Alcohol. They are told to remember their former drinking history every single day of their lives. In short, alcohol addicts are quickly turned into alcohol obsessives by the rehab system, and this all too often leads to a return to alcohol abuse. Why? If you believe that alcohol addiction is an incurable disease and that you’re powerless to stop it, then you’re setting yourself up to get drunk again. And in fact, there is a extremely high recidivism rate among AA members. On the other hand, if you believe that you've developed an addiction to alcohol caused by nothing more medical than depression, anxiety, a lack of self-control or low self-esteem, then the addiction can be conquered as long as you work to become a stronger, more confident, more independent person, leave your heavy drinking days behind you, and move on. In other words, if you look at alcoholism as a conquerable addiction, not as a life-long hopeless disease, you will have no excuse not to stop drinking, and to avoid it for the rest of your life, should you so choose. Wake up and make the right choice people.
Anon

New York, NY

#50 Jan 10, 2008
Actually, "stopping" doesn't reverse the physical effects of alcohol abuse if an an individual drinks long enough. My grandfather had physical problems related to his alcoholism years after he stopped drinking. And even when alcoholics stop, there's still the temptation to relapse. And there may be genetic components to alcoholism. Three of my grandparents, both of my parents, an aunt and a sibling have all been alcoholics.

The one point Ronnie makes that I agree with is the over-reliance on AA. It has helped many people I'm close to, but when I tried to attend an AA related group for children of alcoholics, I found it to be overly rigid. But it seemed to work for other people. So I'm not saying AA & related programs should disregarded, but rather it's not a one size fits all solution. There are some people it doesn't work for. IMHO, it should be one of various treatment options. Btw, Ronnie ever see the South Park episode where Stan's dad starts drinking?:)
Anon

New York, NY

#51 Jan 10, 2008
PS Meant to say at the end of the first paragraph:

So, I would consider it a disease. Just like someone who's suffering from depression isn't going to just get over it if they have a better attitude. There can be underlying physical components which have to be addressed. One book I've been reading to read, links alcoholism and overeating and addresses it through a diet low in sugar & other processed carbs. Not sure if it's valid, but an interesting premise. And a number of us in my family who aren't alcoholics have had overating issues.
Jen

United States

#52 Jan 10, 2008
Anon wrote:
LW3:
<quoted text>
Jen, this cracks me up. A couple of my relatives are obssessed with cards. They note who sends them (I'm in the doghouse for not sending them) and the quality of the design and whether it's a generic card or a relative specific card (aunt, niece, etc.) Pre e-mail, I used to send them out, because it was a good way to keep in touch with people. Now, that e-mail allows me to keep in touch with far flung friends & family, I don't send cards out. And at the risk of sounding like Ebeneezer, I think they clutter up the place. Though I do like the ones with kid/pet photos as it's nice to see how the kids are growing, the new puppy, kitten, etc.
To me, this is where the holidays start getting stressful, everyone tries to impose their meaning on everyone else instead of just respecting the way people choose to celebrate. I like lights, I don't insist everyone else put up a lot of lights.
Yes, as you guess, I am the remiss one. I just don't care about cards. But I still have some friends, so I'm the lucky one.
EEE

Chicago, IL

#53 Jan 10, 2008
Ceferian wrote:
<quoted text>
Wow, your sense of entitlement is amazing. Are you really suggesting that each person in a couple buy you a gift? That doesn't even make sense. Their money more than likely comes from the same place, so what difference would it make? The gifts would still be from both of them. If you were part of a couple, these people would buy something for your husband/wife, too, I'm sure.
Why are you keeping score anyway? You don't think it's thoughtful of people to bother to remember your birthday in the first place? No one owes you anything. Most people stop expecting birthday gifts once they're no longer a child.
Do you also ask these people exactly how much money they spent on you so you can make sure you don't spend a penny more on the both of them? You seem to think you're more thoughtful than them, but your attitude is anything but thoughtful; it's petty.
I'm sure if you tell these people what jerks they are for bothering to remember you, you won't have to worry about getting gifts from them anymore.
I have to chime in on Gloria's side here. While yes, it seems really petty to "keep score" it does breed resentment among us singles when for years and years we are expected to give a gift for each member of a couple on birthdays and receive one gift from the pair of them in return.

I have one set of friends who I love dearly. Her birthday is in March - I give a gift. His birthday is in November - I give a gift. My birthday is in September - I get A gift.

I'm not saying that there's some overarcing "Us vs Them" going on, but I do occasionally get a bit resentful at the inequity of it, simply because I have chosen to live my life alone.

It doesn't bother me enough to actually stop buying my paired-off friends gifts on their individual birthdays, but it's hard not to feel the inequity.

Life isn't fair. I accept that. It's just hard to like it sometimes.

Since: Jan 08

Palatine, IL

#54 Jan 10, 2008
[QUOTE who="EEEI have to chime in on Gloria's side here. While yes, it seems really petty to "keep score" it does breed resentment among us singles when for years and years we are expected to give a gift for each member of a couple on birthdays and receive one gift from the pair of them in return.
I have one set of friends who I love dearly. Her birthday is in March - I give a gift. His birthday is in November - I give a gift. My birthday is in September - I get A gift.
I'm not saying that there's some overarcing "Us vs Them" going on, but I do occasionally get a bit resentful at the inequity of it, simply because I have chosen to live my life alone.
It doesn't bother me enough to actually stop buying my paired-off friends gifts on their individual birthdays, but it's hard not to feel the inequity.
Life isn't fair. I accept that. It's just hard to like it sometimes.[/QUOTE]

It's not that I can't see the possible inequity in this. What I reacted to was her saying "It is lazy and annoying on their part, but if you try to bring up the discrepanacy in thoughtfullness you are seen as a grump and selfish." She seems to have a much different attitude than you. For her to say that the people who buy her something are not thoughtful is ridiculous. We don't rely on gifts to get whatever goodies we've had an eye on as children do. We're adults; we can buy ourselves what we want. So for people to buy us anything and to remember our birthdays is extremely generous, in my opinion.

In your situation, if you're feeling resentful, why don't you tell your friends that it's becoming harder financially for you to give two gifts each year, so either you'd like for all of you to just give cards, or you'd like to start buying them a joint gift either in between their birthdays or on one or the other's birthday? Since they're good friends, I'm sure they'd understand.

Another possibility would be to estimate what the value of the one gift they buy for you is and then buy the two gifts for them totalling around the same cost. You wouldn't have to say anything to them about it, but it might make you feel better about things because gift giving isn't supposed to make you feel bad.
TGIFingers

Hartford, CT

#55 Jan 10, 2008
Martinis are nice. Splash a little vermouth in a glass and then empty it out, then shake some gin with some ice. Pour it in the now empty-of-vermouth glass and add olive to taste.

Perfect!
David

United States

#56 Jan 10, 2008
The title says it all. You don't have to be an alcoholic for alcohol to ruin your family. What about the 20 year old kid who got drunk at a party, decided to drive home, and crashed into a family of 4 killing the 2 children and the mother. That guy's family and marriage are now ruined.
So Sad

Enfield, CT

#57 Jan 10, 2008
I grew up in the same house as dad but I never
knew him on a personal level. He was always drunk. I always thought It was me that was not good enough for his attention. But, 36 years later I realize he has an addiction and it' not me. God, it took me so long to feel normal again..... poor guy. He's in my prayers.
Bated Breath

San Antonio, TX

#58 Jan 10, 2008
Ronnie wrote:
Calling alcohol addiction a disease is one of the biggest frauds perpetrated upon consumers in the history of medicine, particularly since, in the majority of cases, heavy drinkers are encouraged to self-diagnose their disease and then seek life-long self-treatment at questionable, cultish venues like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Like so many other addictions—e.g., to shopping, sex, gambling, eating, street drugs, etc.—chronic overuse of alcohol has been categorized wrongly as a disease on a par with diabetes, cancer, and arteriosclerosis. But just as with addictions to gambling, sex and drugs, as soon as you stop indulging yourself, the “disease” magically and instantly disappears. How can this happen? Diabetes doesn’t disappear if you stop eating sugar. Heart disease doesn’t reverse itself as soon as you stop consuming saturated fats. Unlike with genuine diseases like diabetes or cancer, there is no laboratory test you can take that will prove you are an alcoholic. That you have the “disease” of alcoholism is a subjective diagnosis by the person doing the drinking, or it may be the diagnosis of well-meaning but ignorant friends or family members who’ve been adversely affected by the drinking. Often, greedy doctors and insurance companies enter the picture to make the diagnosis official, and the “patient” will be promptly dispatched to a pricey rehab center to dry out, read The Big Book, and memorize the Twelve Steps, which she is encouraged to follow religiously for the rest of her life or she will surely relapse (because, after all, she is informed, alcohol addiction is a disease). Alcohol abusers are encouraged to believe that they have no control over their “disease” and that they need to rely on a Higher Power to help them resist the urge to drink. They are told that they will have to associate with other former alcohol abusers at AA meetings daily for the rest of their lives, constantly rehashing their drinking days while nurturing new addictions to coffee, eating sugary sweets and smoking. They are instructed to get a Sponsor, a former drunk himself, who will supposedly keep them on the straight and narrow and be available whenever they feel tempted to drink. They are darkly warned to take it one day at a time and are incessantly brainwashed into believing that they may relapse at any moment if they are not constantly vigilant against Demon Alcohol. They are told to remember their former drinking history every single day of their lives. In short, alcohol addicts are quickly turned into alcohol obsessives by the rehab system, and this all too often leads to a return to alcohol abuse. Why? If you believe that alcohol addiction is an incurable disease and that you’re powerless to stop it, then you’re setting yourself up to get drunk again. And in fact, there is a extremely high recidivism rate among AA members. On the other hand, if you believe that you've developed an addiction to alcohol caused by nothing more medical than depression, anxiety, a lack of self-control or low self-esteem, then the addiction can be conquered as long as you work to become a stronger, more confident, more independent person, leave your heavy drinking days behind you, and move on. In other words, if you look at alcoholism as a conquerable addiction, not as a life-long hopeless disease, you will have no excuse not to stop drinking, and to avoid it for the rest of your life, should you so choose. Wake up and make the right choice people.
You must be one of those people who can read words without having any understanding of the meanings...and

someone with nothing in the head or heart but full to the brim with the brown stuff below.
jeff

Oklahoma City, OK

#59 Jan 10, 2008
Gotta Love It wrote:
BAN BOOZE! come on jump on the anti-booze bandwagon! It MAY ruin your marrage
Ban Smoking!! come on jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon! It May cause you health problems, it is not for you to decide how to run a business it in the majorities!
Ban Cussing!!! come on jump on the anti-swearing bandwagon! Gotta keep the language clean, it might hurt someones feelings
Ban Sugar!!!! come on jump on the anti-sugar bandwagon! I have had enough fo the twikie defense, plus it could cause ou health problems
Ban Speach!!!!!come on jump on the anti-speach bandwagon! YOu can't say waht tyou want on what the majority wants to hear
Ban SEX! come on jump on the anti-sex bandwagon!
Sex is bad period.
Ban non-marrage relationships!come on jump on the anti-immoral bandwagon! IMORALLITY enough said
Ban Cars!! come on jump on the anti-car bandwagon! YOu might get run over someday... plus all the crap they put out hurts the environment
Ban it all NOW!!!!
----------

Darn it boy, you can't spell can ye??!!

Igit
Gotta Love It

United States

#60 Jan 10, 2008
jeff wrote:
<quoted text>
----------
Darn it boy, you can't spell can ye??!!
Igit
Yes, lick-spittle I can spell, very well actually when I choose to. I can also type well, but again it is when I choose to. Thanks for asking.
Jon

Wilton, CT

#61 Jan 10, 2008
Alcohol: The cause of and solution to all of lifes problems
Anon

New York, NY

#63 Jan 11, 2008
I'm single, and I don't mind buying gifts for individual parts of couples. If you're close enough to both parts of the couple to buy them gifts, that's 2 friends instead of one. Or 2 close relatives instead of one. So what if I only get the 1 gift, I get the friendship/support/companionsh ip of 2 people instead of just 1, which is really what matters.

What are you going to do, set a friend/relative cap? And remove people once you exceed it? Though I do think single people should get homeowner showers!:) I've shelled out so much for bridal/baby showers/weddings/engagements over the years, it would have been nice to have a shower/be able to register when I bought my first place. Oh well, I'm just going to be grateful for the people I have in my life.
Anon

New York, NY

#64 Jan 11, 2008
PS, at Christmas, I do tend to combine the couple gifts into 1 gift for the couple, except for parents, etc.. It's just a lot easier.
Desperate

Monroe, NC

#65 Jan 11, 2008
When I responded to the letter from "Frustrated In-Laws", I never imagined that my reply would actually make it into the newspaper. I replied to "Frustrated In-Laws" out of genuine concern for anyone who has experienced problems with alcohol. Yes, I agree that alcohol in itself is not a bad thing but abuse in any realm is. It just so happends that the experiences that my family has faced with alcohol are of the more extreme kind. "Frustrated In-Laws" described similar experiences that I have witessed over the 19 years of my marriage and I felt it was important to share that. One big hurdle for those of us with alcoholic family members is that social drinking is very acceptable and provides the alcoholic with many, many opportunities to abuse it. It is a very difficult thing to get help for when the individual abusing the alcohol (or whatever else it might be) won't admit to having a problem. I married this man and thought we could make it through anything. Unfortunately, his abuse of alcohol has put my children and me in harms way too many times. With respect to his efforts to live in a world that is surrounded by opportunities to drink, I only want the best for him. While he may not be my husband forever, he will always be the father of my children. I will support him in his efforts and try not to stand in his way to becoming a healthy person and wonderful dad for our children. Anyone who takes this issue lightly (or jokingly says "ban drinking as it might be a problem") must not fully understand the pain that goes along with the abuse. Again, alcohol in itself is not the problem but the abuse of it has caused tremendous pain for us and a changed future for my family.
Alex Rychlewski wrote:
I completely sympathasize with the reader who warns of the dangers of alcoholism, and the ruinous effect it had on her marriage. I would just like to add, however, that the moderate consumption of alcohol is an entirely different kettle of fish and there are plenty of people (I'm one of them) who enjoy a reasonable amount of wine or beer at mealtimes. I live in Bordeaux, and I confirm that it is entirely possible to consume wine as an intelligent accompaniment to food.
In other words alcoholism is a disease, but alcohol is not in and of itself something inherently bad. It's the abuse of alcohol that leads to problems.
A reader in Bordeaux
Suze

Delmar, DE

#66 Jan 11, 2008
Anon wrote:
I'm single, and I don't mind buying gifts for individual parts of couples. If you're close enough to both parts of the couple to buy them gifts, that's 2 friends instead of one. Or 2 close relatives instead of one. So what if I only get the 1 gift, I get the friendship/support/companionsh ip of 2 people instead of just 1, which is really what matters.
What are you going to do, set a friend/relative cap? And remove people once you exceed it? Though I do think single people should get homeowner showers!:) I've shelled out so much for bridal/baby showers/weddings/engagements over the years, it would have been nice to have a shower/be able to register when I bought my first place. Oh well, I'm just going to be grateful for the people I have in my life.
I used to joke that when I turned thirty I wanted a "She's not getting married, but that's no reason she shouldn't have nice things" shower!
Buze

United States

#67 Jan 14, 2008
Suze wrote:
<quoted text>
I used to joke that when I turned thirty I wanted a "She's not getting married, but that's no reason she shouldn't have nice things" shower!
That's funny, just like when I was gathering daisies into a plastic bottle vase and found some odd upsidedown orange flowers growing in orangeish soil. It was a great excuse for a birthday cake and song!

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