Alcohol is very much the flavour of the month in Scotland just now, deaths from cirrhosis are now at an all time high with the ever increasing episodes of binge drinking. The resignation of the Liberal Democrat Leader, Charles Kennedy, over his admission of an alcohol problem has further thrown the limelight on the dangers of excessive drinking. The problem is what to do about it. I don't have a magical cure, nobody does, but as long as our society, in general, is in denial over the seriousness of this illness we have no chance of making things better.

My own family has been dogged by this illness with both my grandfathers, my father and father-in-law, myself and young brother all having suffered the agony of coming to terms with it. There has been a varied amount of success in tackling the problem. Both my grandfathers died through the results of over-indulgenge, while my father-in-law went from a high-flying civil servant to the gutter, literally. I have not had a drink now in over three years and count myself as being fortunate to be having a good recovery. My young brother is still coming to terms with his condition and like Charles Kennedy is a little in denial as to the full extent of his illness. I can't do anything to help him just now because he will not accept it but believes he can defeat it on his own. That, for me, is not a good sign but it's one I have to accept as it is the course of most alcoholics. I just hope he seeks the help if it is needed.

There is the future as well. Will my children become alcoholics? I don't know but I again can't stop them drinking if they choose to. I can advise and lead a live that is alcohol free and show, by example, that you can lead a happy and fullfilled life without the use of mind altering substances.

My biggest wish in all of this is that we can get societies to acknowledge that alcoholism is an illness, that it is not a choice to be an alcoholic and that you can recover if you have the ability to be thouroughly honest with yourself right from the start. That should help extarct the amount of hypocrisy that exists on this topic


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