Monday, July 11, 2011
Woman on a mission...
I learned something interesting this weekend about how others view me. At least how one person sees me anyway… my son-in-law thinks I’m on a crusade to stop alcoholism. He sees me as a one-woman temperance union calling out the evils of alcohol. I don’t know if he sees it as a bad thing or not, but it was interesting to hear how he feels.
I was not offended, but I was surprised. My son-in-law’s statement got me curious. I looked up Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in my electronic version of a Funk & Wagnalls (for those of you too young to remember, it’s an encyclopedia). I was surprised by what I discovered.
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was created when a group of women from
banded together to form a non-sectarian organization which was a primary influence in the crusade for prohibition. Well… we all knew that and how it all turned out. New York
What I didn’t know was that the organization is still in existence today. They continue to fight for a healthy life-style by focusing on abstinence from alcohol, drugs, tobacco, abortion and gay marriage. They even publish a quarterly journal entitled The Union Signal. They have age-appropriate groups that attempt to instill in young people the virtues of living a substance-abuse free life. The have a website http://www.wctu.org/, just in case you’re interested in getting more info.
OK. I really believe this is a good organization with valid points and a worthwhile cause. But, I would not qualify for membership. I don’t want to ban all alcohol use. A ban on alcoholism would be great – but that’s not realistic. I’m not in favor of punishing the masses for the actions of the few. I know… that’s an over-statement because there are more than just a FEW alcoholics in this world… The problem is not in the liquor – it’s in the abuse of the liquor.
That being said, I really love the idea of educating our young people on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. That’s something I can get behind 300%. I’ve always said education is the key to survival. This takes it one step further by educating before the need for “survival” and helps our children make informed choices. I doubt that every child or teen who is provided this education will turn down that beer offered while viewing a sporting event. But the chance that even one will decline is worthwhile. I’ll take one over none any day of the week.
There is an organization that doesn’t mix abortion or gay marriage into the substance abuse issue. During the early inception of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SMAHSA) of our government, one of the goals was to remove the negative stigma of alcoholism. The organization’s focus is on recovery and that recovery is possible. They aren’t concerned with the abortion issue or other people’s sexual preference. They also work to educate the public in general on the dangers of substance abuse. I like this organization even though I don’t share the idea that everyone who is an alcoholic can recover to lead a healthy, productive, alcohol-free life. I’m a realist. I know they CAN, but unfortunately, most do not. If I change the word “alcoholic” to “family member of an alcoholic” then I can absolutely give them a very high “thumb’s up.” You can find them at http://www.samhsa.gov/.
You will notice that I have not mentioned AA or Al-Anon until now. I don’t mean to discount them. They are wonderful organizations that provide support to anyone fighting the hold of alcohol over their lives. But they don’t publicly educate nor do anything that would be counter to maintaining anonymity. They are unlike SAMHSA, who believes that removing the negative stigma would also remove the need for anonymity. With the need for anonymity gone, many high profile people could help with the fight for recovery. It sounds good in theory, but I doubt that the alcoholism stigma will ever be completely changed over.
If I were to design an organization to fit MY ideals, it would look something like this:
1) Provide support to families who are in the midst of alcoholic insanity with a special focus on end-stage alcoholism;
2) Provide education as to the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol abuse;
3) Provide education as to the options when caretaking an end-stage alcoholic;
4) Provide education to our youngsters as to the dangers of all substance abuse;
5) Promote the removal of the negative stigma on end-stage caretakers as being enablers;
6) Promote legislation that dictates every rehab center be legally bound to provide a family program to all patients in their facility. The program must include education, support and therapy.
7) Promote a healthy lifestyle in all aspects of life.
The only requirement for being a member of this organization would be a desire to help any family who may be struggling with a loved one’s alcoholism. Unfortunately, that organization does not exist. Or, I least, I don’t know of one that exists. If you of any, please pass on the info.
So after careful examination of my intentions, I duly declare I am not a zealot out to destroy the lives of anyone who wants to enjoy a scotch on the rocks after a hard day at the office. Nor do I believe that anyone who goes wine-tasting is an alcoholic. But I am a woman on a mission. I’m a woman who has been presented with a difficult task and my mission is to help others faced with the same circumstances.
at 8:18 AM