(Investigator 116, 2007 Sept)


Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger late over wine, and who keep trying mixed wines.
Do not look at it when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly.
At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder.
Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind utter perverse things…
(The Bible, Proverbs 23:29-35)
Robinson & Lawler (1977) wrote, "For about 9 million Americans chronic alcoholism severely affects health, job security, and family life."

Pulse magazine (August 16, 1985) reported that, worldwide, alcohol abuse cost $100 billion per year, about 1/10 the cost of the arms race! In America 10,000,000 problem drinkers cost the economy $19 billion in lost production plus $14 billion in other costs.

The 20th century produced about 300,000,000 problem drinkers and alcoholics worldwide.


Society long associated excessive drinking with manliness:

Hard drinking was endemic in eighteenth century society… Manliness required you to be a three-bottle a day man. Drink was built into the fabric of social life; it played a part in nearly every public and private ceremony, commercial bargain and craft ritual. (Berridge 2004)

[In the 1980s] it was nothing for friends to boast of their drunken exploits. (Hodge 2004)

The macho image of heavy drinking took a dive when Luks & Barbato (1989) showed it can lead to impotence, reduced testosterone, and female characteristics such as breast growth:
They [Luks & Barbato] say it is ironic that in many cultures it is considered manly to drink, and that the first drinks in adolescence are viewed as one of the "rites of passage" to manhood, whereas in fact, heavy drinking can lead to feminisation. (Sunday Mail December 17, 1989, p. 31)



Kessel and Walton (1965) cited a study comparing families with alcoholic fathers with non-alcoholic families. Divorce or separation was 28% vs 4%. Children who teachers considered "problem children" were 48% vs 10%.

Also, in 44% of fatal road accidents during Britain’s 1964 Christmas period at least one person concerned had consum-ed alcohol. (pp 66-67) The suicide rate for male alcoholics admitted to a London psychiatric hospital was 86 times as high as the rate in the general London population. (p. 164)

In 1974 Time magazine cited studies showing that:

  • The liver becomes less efficient after several weeks of 3-4 drinks per night.
  • Regular heavy drinking weakens appetite leading to malnutrition. It’s also linked to heart and brain damage.
  • Excessive alcohol reduces the production and activity of white blood cells, hence lowers resistance to harmful bacteria.
  • 10% of alcoholics develop a cirrhosis-damaged liver, which cannot produce bile (necessary to digest fats).
  • In Australia in 1979 alcohol was associated with:
  • 50% of fatal road accidents;
  • 20% of hospital admissions;
  • 73% of violent crime;
  • 40% of adult drownings;
  • 45% of poisonings;
  • 66% of household and industrial accidents;
  • 40% of divorces;
  • 20% of baby bashing.     (Hicks 1979)