By Emsie Martin
Have you ever thought that you would admit that alcohol had the better of you? Perhaps not, but most people prefer to ignore or hide the problem.
When you, or somebody you love, is entangled in the web of alcohol dependence rehabilitation could seem impossible. Every day you decide to stop, but it just never happens. There is hope, however, with the right decisions, treatment and support. There is help, even by talking to a labour relations specialist, office practitioner or health practitioner, but the road to recovery is a long one.
If you are worried about somebody you care for who might be struggling with dependence, go and search for guidelines for yourself on how to help the person you care for.
Alcohol abuse statistics in South Africa
According to Maurice Smithers, director of the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Saapa) (http://saapa.net/countries/south-africa/alcohol-in-south-africa ), whose website carries these statistics, there is no doubt that South Africa has a liquor problem.
• The fact is that 31% of South Africans are heavy drinkers, 16% are moderate drinkers, 7% are occasional binge drinkers, and 46% are non-drinkers. Men’s drinking habits show that 89% are heavy drinkers.
- Alcohol abuse is the most common form of substance abuse in South Africa.
- It is directly responsible for almost half of all car accidents.
- Alcohol abuse affects an estimated 17,5 million South Africans.
- More than 30% of our population abuse alcohol or run the risk of becoming addicted to it.
What is your category?
- Drink mainly at generally accepted social occasions
- Do not feel regret, shame or guilt after drinking
- Can decide to stop drinking even if there is still a lot of liquor left
- Are almost never in conflict with those close to them about their drinking habits
- Consider and obey the current drinking-and-driving regulations
- Know their limits and keep to them
- Do not endanger themselves, family, friends or other people because of their drinking
- Sometimes have amnesia after a drinking session
- Can drink a lot before getting drunk
- Do or say things when they drink that they regret afterwards
- Find that their weekends are usually filled with drinking sessions
- Act impulsively and endanger themselves and others because of their drinking
- There are often occasions where their drinking embarrasses or angers those around them.
- They often drink to relieve what they see as a problem – loss, loneliness, anger.
- They often drink to relieve the symptoms of a hangover.
- They lie about their drinking and/or drink on the sly.
- They experience big problems in their relationships.
Are you worried that you could be addicted?
Signs of alcohol abuse
- A craving after alcohol
- Become anxious and irritated if alcohol is not available
- Begin to tell lies about the use of alcohol
- Boast about drinking alcohol
- Breath smells of liquor the next day
- Drink too fast
- Think of excuses for drinking
- Drink fast and order doubles
- Need alcohol in order to function
- Have relationship problems at home, work, etc.
- Drive while under the influence of liquor
- Become aggressive towards others
- Deny having a problem
- Hostile when confronted
- Drink on the sly and alone
- Eat peppermint sweets to mask smell of breath
- Neglect your appearance
- Need a pick-me-up the next day
If you recognise any of these signs, you need help.
If you want to read more about dependence, click on the link below:
Advice for beating alcoholism: Most alcoholics deny their problem. This kind of treatment can be applied only after they have admitted that they have a problem.
Selfhelp: Books and internet research could help, but success depends on how motivated the person is, how good their support base is, how big the problem is and the reason for the abuse. Many people find this way too difficult.
An experienced therapist or psychologist can treat the alcoholic. Cognitive behavioural therapy is usually used. The underlying reason for the alcoholic’s drinking must be treated as well as the addiction itself.
Detoxification and rehabilitation clinic
Treatment through admission includes therapists, support groups, family involvement, medical and pastoral care. Medication helps the patient to control the withdrawal symptoms. This is usually the ideal choice because it forms the basis of a new lifestyle.
Where do I get help?
If you have any questions about substance-related matters, contact the substance help-line on 021 940 4500 at the detoxification unit at Stikland Hospital. They will give you information about the next step. You can also contact the toll-free number 0800 121314 for help.
You can also get further information at:
SANCA (tel: 021 945 4080) for enquiriess. Western Cape: http://sancawc.co.za/
Alcoholics anonymous (AA): Call 0861 435 722 https://aasouthafrica.org.za/
For a complete list of contact numbers and addresses of state-supported treatment centres for alcohol and substance dependence in the Western Cape, https://www.westerncape.gov.za/directories/facilities/736
Solidarity understands the labour relations specialists, office practitioners and health practitioners face unique challenges, such as working under a lot of pressure, handling personnel with, inter alia, alcohol addiction, panic attacks and bipolar disturbance and must have a wide range of other information, knowledge and skills and therefore Solidarity Occupational Guilds offers you an opportunity to join any of their guilds. Visit the link https://gildes.solidariteit.co.za/ for more information.