A New Year’s Resolution – Goodbye to Alcoholism


By Zile Singh

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.  The   world is changing, everything is changing.  Let us change ourselves. The New Year is approaching.  It is high time to gird up your loins.  The Basketball legend Michael Jordan once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.” You also might have failed in the past.  Now is the chance for you to succeed. Often times, past mistakes can be conducive to learning. Make a New Year Resolution to say goodbye to excessive alcoholism.  A beautiful quote on Pinterest; “Alcohol is a Perfect Solvent:  it dissolves marriages, families, careers and finally the alcoholics.”

The chemical definition of Alcohol is an organic substance formed when a hydroxide group is substituted for a hydrogen atom in a hydrocarbon. There are several types of alcohol.  Ethanol alcohol, used in beverages, is produced by fermentation of grains and fruits.  On the other hand, “Alcohol is an exact definition of a parasite, it destroys its own host.”

Fermented beverages or alcohol were in use in early Egyptian civilization. There is evidence of an alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C.  In India also, an alcoholic beverage, called Sura, distilled from Rice was in use between 3000 and 2000 B.C. In Greece, an alcoholic drink called Mead made from honey and water was very popular.  The Babylonians worshipped a wine goddess as early as 2700 B.C. Medieval European history is not bereft of alcoholism.  In fact, Europe made several new inventions in the development of class one alcohol in the world, whether it be whisky, gin, vodka, wine and beer. There is evidence that Scotland started producing whisky in 1494. 

Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down the vital functions of the body like slurred speech, shaky movement, foggy perceptions and inability to judge properly.  Alcoholism related deaths have increased dramatically all over the world.  Several issues like domestic violence, road accidents and other crimes have gone up resulting in a major concern and appropriate enactment of laws by governments. According to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.  The definition, therefore, takes into account not just physical and mental harms but also social harms, both for the drinker and for others.  Some reasons as to why people go for alcohol are: for the high effect, out of curiosity, as a reaction to the social environment, because they see it modelled by others, to relieve stress, because it is culturally normalized and it is easily accessible.

            Many OECD countries rank among the heaviest drinking worldwide. Canada is one of the OECD founder countries.  However, in France and Italy, the consumption has decreased.  On the other hand, in Belarus, Poland,  and Norway the consumption has increased by 25 percent during the last 20 years.  Lately, the trend regarding gender and alcohol drinking is not comfortable.  Young girls are indulging in drinking at a faster rate.  Alcohol imposes an economic burden on countries through healthcare expenditure and productivity loss.  In Europe, the cost of alcohol related crime, and road accidents is about dollars 33 billion and 10 billion per year respectively.   

Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, but it is not risk-free.  On the other hand, too much alcohol may increase the risk of health problems such as damage to the heart and the brain.  Moderation is the key.  If you do not drink, do not start drinking for health benefits.  The possible damage due to drinking might outweigh the benefits.  It is safe to avoid alcohol entirely. 

Up to 12-ounce of beer; 8-ounce of malt liquor; 5-ounce of wine and 1.5-ounce of whisky per day are considered moderate drinking.  More than this is excessive drinking.  Even moderate drinking is not recommended for younger than 21; pregnant women; while driving or planning to drive; taking certain prescribed medicines and suffering from certain medical conditions.   In addition to short- term risks like fall, vehicle accident, drowning, violence, alcohol poisoning, risky sexual behaviour – the long- term risks involved are: high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, cancer of some type, dementia, depression, anxiety, diabetes, family problems, job insecurity and lastly dependence on alcohol.

Some effective methods to avoid alcohol is to get involved in some physical activity as it will get you rid of stress and will add a reason not to drink; make a scheduled time to drink; buy less quantity; caring your purse can help you to cut on drinking; eliminate the temptations by cleaning your house of alcohol. Turning towards spirituality is the most effective way because “posatmaddafeem bhang, uttarjaeparbhat; Naam khumariNanaka, charirahe din raat.” – the intoxication of poppy, tea, alcohol, opium all these highs finish by dawn.  The high of Naam, (God’s remembrance), O Nanak, remains day and night.