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March 31, 2006

HarryTho 3/31 Natalee Holloway Commentary

Topics: Natalee Holloway

This evening, I thought I would follow up on some of the alcohol-related issues that I posted during the week.

First, let's explore alcoholism, and perhaps the best way to enter a discussion on alcoholism is to appraise one's drinking habits, and one way to do so is to take a 20 question quiz. According to John Hopkins University, if you answer only 3 with a "yes," you may have a drinking problem, and should consult a physician:

From the statements recorded in yesterdays editorial by Whatley and Broughton (classmates of Natalee), Natalee Holloway would have answered more than three of these questions with a "yes." She had a drinking problem! The question now becomes: was Natalee Holloway's drinking problem significant enough to be considered alcoholism?

Symptoms of alcoholism:

* Drinking increasing amounts of alcohol and becoming intoxicated often.
* Being preoccupied with drinking, to the exclusion of other activities.
* Making, but readily breaking, promises to quit or control drinking.
* Experiencing "black outs", i.e., unable to remember what he/she said or did when drinking.
* Experiencing personality changes, i.e., tense, irritable, denies or conceals drinking, wide mood swings.
* Making excuses for drinking.
* Drinking alone, in the morning or before a party.
* Refusing to admit to excessive drinking and becoming angry if someone mentions it.
* Having trouble on the job or at school, i.e., misses work or school, is frequently tardy, has conflicts with coworkers or fellow students.
* Changing jobs frequently and/or is usually demoted, rarely promoted.
* Losing interest in personal appearance or hygiene.
* Suffering from poor health, e.g., loss of appetite, respiratory infections, nervousness.
* Having several arrests for drunken driving or other alcohol-related incidents.
* Suffering from family, marital, academic, and/or economic hardships.
* Spending a great deal of time overcoming hangovers.
In final stages, experiencing grave social, financial, and personal damage.

Admittedly, there exists a distinction between alcoholism and social drinking. The difference resides in the loss of control. To me, if Natalee Holloway had to be carried back to her room from over drinking, then she was out-of-control. The 151 rum for breakfast can readout nothing but alarming concern for Natalee's experience and/or evolution in drinking and alcoholism.

Since Natalee was too young to create many of the problems normally associated with alcoholism, the disease may have been masked within her. Undoubtedly, it would have blossomed in her college years when her grades began to suffer, and she would be reported absent from classes.

Given her reported consumption while in Aruba, sooner or later, the effects of alcoholism would surface in her life. It has been estimated that 1 in every 13 persons in America abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. That number comes out to be 14 million Americans.

Apparently, it is too late to do anything for Natalee; however, some of her classmates may be need help. For Jefferson County in Alabama, the best portal would be the Birmingham Alcoholics Anonymous. They have a number of meetings scheduled every day of the week at different locations.

A brief guide to Alcoholics Anonymous is contained in this link.

For serious conditions, of which I would conclude drinking 151 rum for breakfast qualifies, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Centers Inc, located at 2701 Jeffereson Avenue SW, Birmingham, AL 35211 or phone: (205) 923-6552 will suffice. This is an in-house treatment center that recovers and prepares a person afflicted with alcoholism for life with a support group. Within this facility, the afflicted person will be introduced and familiarized with the 12-step method.

All twelve, paraphrased, are:

1) an admission of powerlessness over the substance, person, thought or activity to which one is addicted.

2) a process of coming to believe in a Higher Power who can "return one to sanity" (for some this means coming up with their own conception of a God who can help them).

3) a decision to turn one's will and life and one's hopes and dreams over to the God of one's understanding.

4) the taking of a complete and totally honest written moral inventory of one's character strengths and weaknesses.

5) sharing that inventory with a trusted sponsor (a recovering addict who's further along on the path to recovery), therapist, or spiritual guide, and admitting "the exact nature" of one's wrongs to oneself, God, and the person chosen to listen.

6) becoming willing to give up one's character defects.

7) asking God to remove them.

8) making a list of all persons one has harmed.

9) making amends to those people except in cases where another person (other than the recovering person) would be harmed by doing so.

10) continuing to take personal inventory, and promptly making amends as necessary.

11) regular prayer and meditation in which one seeks to improve conscious contact with the God of his/her understanding, with the single purpose of gaining "knowledge of God's will" in one's life and the "power to carry it out."

12) By this time it is assumed that one has had a "spiritual awakening as the result of these steps." It is then time to carry the message of recovery to those still suffering and to "practice these principles" (outlined in the steps) in all of one's affairs. (The twelve steps in their original form can be found on page 59 of the textbook of AA, listed above.)

This 12-step method works well when coupled with group therapy. Group therapy is what the follow up Alcoholics Anonymous program provides. Also, there exists similar groups for narcotics, etc.

Despite the gloomy advice in this editorial, the pictures and the reports that were deciphered indicate a need to evaluate at least some of Natalee Holloway's classmates for treatment. It is best to catch and address these affliction, now, rather than to wait until they blossom and destroy these children's lives later on in their college years.

As a reminder, my next editorial will be Monday evening.

With Aloha,
Posted for HarryTho

Posted by Richard at March 31, 2006 9:44 PM

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