alcoholism in 3 societies




Alcoholism in Three Distinct Societies
This paper will explore the social problem of Alcoholism in three different societies around the world. Alcoholism is perhaps the most common form of drug abuse in North America today. Poet Ogden Nash was quoted as saying "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." We will first look at Alcoholism in American society today, and also at a sub-culture within the United States, the Amish. This is a culture of people located in North America, primarily the Northeastern region of the United States. The last culture, that of Russia, which stretches from the Baltic and Black seas to the Pacific Ocean and takes up almost half of the world’s time zones. These three cultures differ not only in what types of liquor they predominantly drink, but in how (if) they receive treatment for their problem, and if they even recognize Alcoholism as being a problem.
In 1995, in the United States 67% of all the population over the age of 12 reported drinking alcohol with in the previous year. Even more astounding, is the fact that nearly 50% reported drinking some type of alcoholic beverage with in the past month. Scientists report that the reason alcohol is so popular to drinkers is because it is pleasant, relaxing, and is considered a "social beverage." But what the drinkers often do not take in to consideration are the facts that alcohol dulls the brain and confuses physical reactions. This leads to numerous injuries, accidents, and death. Roughly 1.3 million people are arrested for driving drunk each year. As a result of the drunk drivers, 25,000 deaths occur each year in America. More 16 to 24 year olds are killed as a result of drunk driving or are involved in accidents where someone is driving drunk than any other age group in the nation.
Especially on college campuses, Alcoholism is increasing rapidly among teenagers and young adults.
Many Americans believe that alcohol acts as a "social lubricant." Many expect all increased social pleasures, talkativeness and even happiness when they drink in these situations. Alcohol is said to reduce tension and anxiety. This in turn allows drinkers to feel more relaxed and comfortable in social situations. However, this also encourages the drinker to drink more when under more stress.
Many scientists believe that alcohol triggers violence. Alcohol is believed to directly stimulate feelings of power and the need to dominate. Often times alcoholic have a tendency to abuse their children and their spouse. Many times, alcoholics come from an abusive home and they have a history of alcoholism in the family already. There are many treatment programs and support groups available in the United States today that can help. However, most of the time the alcoholics refuse to admit they have a problem with their drinking, so it goes untreated.
The Amish are members of a conservative Christian group in North America. While they are part of the United States as well, their culture is significantly different from that of the ‘average’ American in society. The Amish originated in Europe by a group who introduced washing of feet into the worship service and taught that church members should dress in a uniform manner, that beards should not be trimmed, and that it was wrong to attend services in a state church. Amish settlements sprang up in Switzerland, Germany, Russia, and Holland, but migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries gradually eliminated the Amish in Europe. The Amish began migrating to North America early in the 18th century and first settled in eastern Pennsylvania, where a large settlement is still found.
Alcoholism is somewhat of a problem in the Amish community. Of thirty-two patients at a mental institution, three of them were there for drinking (Huntington 669). The Amish do not condemn the “occasional’ drinker, only he who “makes a greater effort to fill his wine cup than to attend church” (671). The Amish usually get drunk from hard cider or wine, alcohols derived from fruits.
The Amish are taught not to make spectacles of themselves in front of Englishmen. “I never saw a drunk Amishman, nor did any of the English neighbors” (669). Because of this, the Amish Alcoholic is most likely to drink alone in his home.