Alcoholics as Outlaws
People who drink to much often break laws and some are arrested for breaking
laws and convicted of crimes. They often become outlaws. The most dysfunctional
alcoholics begin with character flaws and antisocial tendencies; their drinking
exacerbates existing problems. Some very nice, smart and honest people, however,
become increasingly sociopathic as their drinking damages their body, mind and
relationships with others.
Alcoholics often have encounters with police that lead to arrest and
conviction for crimes committed. Some of the arrests are for minor felonies.
Other arrests are for major crimes such as drunk driving or assault. Drinking
alcohol disables the brain and introduces a temporary dementia that impairs all
cognitive processes, judgment and concern for others.
As alcoholics become more dysfunctional, they resort to deception, lies and
dishonest methods of maintaining their social credibility, earning an income,
and avoiding detection by family, friends and employers.
As drinking and driving laws become stricter, more careless drinkers are
arrested. With repeated offenses, more drinkers face heavy fines, suspension of
driver’s license, criminal charges and jail terms. Drunk drivers who crash into
cars carrying sober, innocent people are guilty of a major crime and punishment
in many jurisdictions is becoming more severe as citizens demand protection from
the drunk driver. Some claim that drunk drivers are terrorists. Drunk drivers
can mame and kill innocent people senselessly, without provocation. Some
lawmakers demand severe punishment for the crimes committed while intoxicated.
The consensus is that alcoholism is gigantic societal problem that is largely
unsolved. You could argue that control of alcoholic beverage distribution is an
excellent public health measure. Tougher drinking and driving laws have reduced
traffic deaths and sent the worst offenders into treatment programs and/or jail.
Few alcoholics volunteer to enter treatment programs; most have to be persuaded
over time or compelled to seek treatment by spouses, employers and judges. Some
physicians like to believe they have some good results with highly motivated
patients. Most alcoholics enter the medical system through emergency rooms and
there is little evidence that they receive effective after care that resolves
their drinking problem.
According to Stephen To: “Almost 19 million Americans require treatment for
an "alcohol problem"; however, only 2.4 million have been diagnosed… Denial or
refusal to admit severity and fear of social embarrassment were the top 2
reasons for not seeking help. The majority of the general population believes
that alcoholism is caused by moral weakness.”
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers social commitment and support. AA is most
successful way for a revering alcoholic to obtain help. AA membership is over 1
million in the United States and over 2 million worldwide.
Research supports AA’s success maintaining abstinence-based recovery from
alcoholism. AA does not depend on profession supervision or input and physicians
are generally ignorant of its methods. The following study results summarize the
opinions of physicians and alcoholics in recovery about the obstacle to seeking
help. Both groups rated denial as the major obstacle.