April 2 Sunday 6:30 pm at Garden City Community Church, Alanon Meeting

On April 2 at Garden City Community Church, my first AA meeting exceeded all of my expectations. Many people form their perceptions of AA meetings based on what they see in movies and on television (Rice et al. 47). Unkempt hair, improper hygiene, and alcoholic odors, for example, are some of the images that people who have never attended an AA meeting conjure up. On the other hand, the people were well-dressed and seemed to be in better health than most of my classmates (“What to Expect at Twelve-Step Meetings”). Members narrated their lifelong battles with alcoholism at the meeting, which was an open debate. As the speakers recounted their stories, they stirred a myriad of feelings, thoughts, behaviours, and reactions among those presented here (“What to Expect at Twelve-Step Meetings”).

The first speaker was a 39-old man who started drinking at the age of 19. Despite having made a significant fortune in business, he had, in the years, developed a notion that alcohol is a part of the culture. As such, he believed that good business is better transacted in the bar rather than in the office. Moreover, the speaker had developed a habit of “daily drinking officer” (DDO) and drank immediately after work. Because of this, his body gradually started functioning on the basis that it needed alcohol at 5 pm every day. In addition, his brain could not function normally without alcohol. He always woke in a fragile state. As a result, the addict’s body became dependent on alcohol to such extent that he could not concentrate in business meetings without his daily dose. It was not until he encountered significant losses in the business that he decided to seek professional help, whereby he later learned about AA meetings.

The speaker 2 was a 54-year-old lady who started drinking at the age of 16. Today, she is a successfully reformed entrepreneur. While growing up, nonetheless, the narrator watched her mother through a series of divorces and abusive husbands. In the given circumstances, she became depressed and indulged in alcoholism for personal comfort. However, it was not until her 40s when she realized the harm of drinking. In fact, the woman would always crave for alcohol to an extent of acting resilient. In the meeting, additionally, the lady told a dramatic story of how her husband, her brother and one of their male friends forced her into a car and took her to a rehabilitation centre. Spending 6 weeks there was not an easy task for her. Nevertheless, the end justified the means, as she eventually managed to conquer her cravings. Today, as a result, the entrepreneur campaigns the significance of family and colleagues in the critical period of alcoholism recovery.

Finally, the last speaker of the day was a 42-year-old sportsman and entrepreneur. He used not only alcohol but also cocaine to handle pressures at the workplace, a habit that he often covered up. Fortunately, the sportsman recognized his addictions early enough, whereby through the help of AA, he can now handle the pressures without inebriation. Furthermore, due to his management success, the speaker is currently a rehabilitator in a renowned hospital.

During the speeches, I realized that psychological issues dragged the narrators into alcoholism. Most of them consumed it with an attempt to boost or restore their morale (Brewer et al. 215). Nonetheless, none of them realized the biological effect of beer, meaning that it depletes neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine storages in the body (Hillemacher 227). As a consequence, it creates a sense of calmness, happiness and feelings of euphoria, thereby triggering an urge to drink more. What is more, alcohol generates a notion that its ingestion reinstates a sense of wellbeing (Hillemacher 227). Nevertheless, when an alcohol addict suddenly stops drinking, dopamine and serotonin tend to overexcite the nervous system, causing agitation. The neurotransmitters then trigger high blood pressure and palpitations, causing the addict to resume drinking hence avoidance to withdrawal (Behl et al. 1224). Therefore, according to the studies, an addict needs not only individual effort but also family, friends, colleagues, and groups such as the AA to control alcohol addiction. It is a collective responsibility to battle such a vice (Behl et al. 1225).

Research shows that AA is the most efficient program for alcoholics that have no psychiatric issues. Unlike other forms of therapy, it plays a fundamental role in motivating complete abstinence (Kelly et al. 648). The logic behind its operation is that it provides a better environment in contrast to being around drinking individuals, who can easily trigger a relapse. Finally, AA assists alcoholics in confronting the drinking issue head-on; besides, it is making amends with the people they harmed (Kelly et al. 648).

On the other hand, Alanon is a global organization that provides mutual support and assistance to relatives and friends of an addict that has an embedded preprogram. Alateen is a version of Alanon for younger members, whereby its participants receive understanding and comfort through a mutual sharing of experiences, strengths, and hope. As a consequence, the people have an opportunity to learn how to apply the principles offered by Alanon/ Alateen to their lives (Kelly et al. 648).

Question 6

In fact, my attitude and values towards alcoholism and drug addiction have changed dramatically after the meeting. Contrary to previous stereotypes, I learned that drug abuse is neither a social issue nor a characteristic of the moral weakness (Neville 39). Specifically, drug addiction is a complex issue that can affect anybody (Candice). As such, overcoming drug/alcohol addiction requires more than a strong will or good intentions. Its dependence influences the brain in such ways that quitting becomes a hard task for them (Candice). In fact, research proves that prevention programs that are social-based, involving communities, families, the media and school, are useful in regulating the issue of alcoholism for an individual (Neville 39). In other words, I understood that it is a collective responsibility to help people understand the risks of drug use by introducing certain control measures. What is more, I realized that a drug dependency is a form of slavery. It is hence essential for users to not only quit but also despise any other type of substance (Neville 39). After these insights, I quitted drinking alcohol completely even though I tried it occasionally before.

In fact, Alanon and Alateen meetings have taught me that substance addiction severely impacts not only the individual but also the society as a whole. Once an addict’s physical and mental health starts to deteriorate, there is a high probability of joblessness, family disengagements, and poverty that create a negative socioeconomic impression (Timko et al. 330). Consequently as a realization as well, programs like Alanon and Alateen are helpful in guiding the family members and friends on how to understand addiction and contribute to reducing it. Besides, it insists that the entire society is a primary driver towards substance abuse and early-age drug dependency (Timko et al. 330). After experiencing the devastating impacts of drug abuse in the community, I chose abstinence from any form of addiction alongside assisting the society towards fighting addiction.

Works Cited

Behl, Tapan, et al. “A Critical Insight into Complications of Alcohol.” World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 3, no. 2, 2014, pp. 1222-1238.

Brewer, Colin et al. “Supervised Disulfiram’s Superior Effectiveness in Alcoholism Treatment: Ethical, Methodological, and Psychological Aspects.” Alcohol and Alcoholism, vol. 52, no. 2, 2017, pp. 213-219, doi:10.1093/alcalc/agw093.

Candice, Shelby. “Addicts Are NOT Powerless – Lifting.” Lifering, 2017, http://lifering.org/addicts-are-not-powerless/. Accessed 5 April 2017.

Hillemacher, Thomas. “Biological Mechanisms in Alcohol Dependence: New Perspectives.” Alcohol and Alcoholism, vol. 46, no. 3, 2011, pp. 224-230, doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr026.

Kelly, John F. et al. “Do Drug-Dependent Patients Attending Alcoholics Anonymous Rather than Narcotics Anonymous Do as Well? A Prospective, Lagged, Matching Analysis”. Alcohol and Alcoholism, vol 49, no. 6, 2014, pp. 645-653, doi:10.1093/alcalc/agu066.

Neville, Michael W. “Pharmacy Students’ Attitudes about Treating Patients with Alcohol Addiction after Attending a Required Mutual Support Group.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, vol. 78, no. 2, 2014, p. 39, doi:10.5688/ajpe78239.

Rice, Samara Lloyd, and Scott J. Tonigan. “Impressions of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Group Cohesion: A Case for a Nonspecific Factor Predicting Later AA Attendance.” Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 1, 2012, pp. 40-51, doi:10.1080/07347324.2012.635550.

Timko, Christine et al. “Al-Anon Family Groups’ Newcomers and Members: Concerns about the Drinkers in Their Lives.” The American Journal on Addictions, vol. 23, no. 4, 2014, pp. 329-336, doi:10.1111/j.1521-0391.2014.12122.x.

“What to Expect at Twelve-Step Meetings.” Americanbar.Org, 2017, http://www.americanbar.org/content/newsletter/publications/gp_solo_magazine_home/gp_solo_magazine_index/whattoexpect12.html. Accessed 5 April 2017.

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