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Published: April, 2005; Vol 1, Num 11

 

April – Alcohol Awareness Month:

Taking Stock of Your Relationship with Alcohol

Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking? Do people sometimes annoy you by criticizing your drinking? Ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover? Do you ever feel bad or guilty about your drinking?

If you answer yes to any of these, please read further. You could have a problem with alcohol.

One kind of problem is alcoholism or alcohol dependence. This is a disease. The most common symptoms are:

  • Craving: a strong need or compulsion to drink
  • Loss of control: the frequent inability to stop drinking once you begin
  • Physical dependence: the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when you stop after a period of heavy drinking
  • Tolerance: the need for increasing amounts of alcohol to “get high”

Another kind of problem with alcohol is alcohol abuse. If your drinking leads to any of the following, you may be abusing alcohol.

  • Failure to fulfill major work, school or family responsibilities
  • Operating machinery or driving a car while you are impaired
  • Recurring legal problems such as arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) or arrest for fighting
  • Problems in on-going personal or family relationships

Also, if you feel the need to drink before or during work, you’re greatly adding to the danger already present on construction worksites. You’re increasing the risk for yourself as well as your co-workers. If you can’t control this need, you should seek help.

At 16 percent, the construction industry (along with mining) has the highest incidence of heavy alcohol use (not commonly at work, but overall) among its workforce. The average for all other industries is eight percent. Heavy drinking contributes to heart disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death among LIUNA members.

Alcohol problems are common in US and Canadian society, but help is available. You may have benefits for, and access to, treatment through your health and welfare plan or member assistance program (MAP). Hotlines can direct you to other resources (see below).

Hotlines:

Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Hopeline: 800-475-HOPE
Alcohol Treatment Referral Line: 800-252-6465
CSAT Drug Information, Treatment and Referral Hotline: 800-662-HELP or 800-66-AYUDA (Spanish)

Web Resources:

Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Locator
Alcoholics Anonymous Local Phone Locator
“How to Cut Down on Your Drinking” for tips, suggestions and exercises to help reduce the amount of alcohol you consume

Canadian Resources:

Alcoholics Anonymous Worldwide Services: 800-443-4525
Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): 416-535-8501
Drug and Alcohol Registry: 800-565-8603
Marijuana Anonymous World Services: 800-766-6779
Narcotics Anonymous: 818-773-9999