By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Little Rock Air Force Base Alcohol Awareness Month is held every April and was founded and has been sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence since 1987. The idea is to increase the publics awareness and to help reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help.
As stated by the National Institute of Health many adults drink moderately and responsibly without complications, and there are indications from research that some can derive modest health benefits. At the same time, alcohol-related problems which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often are among the most significant public health issues in the Unites States and internationally.
For those who find that their drinking patterns are above the recommended limits, cutting back or quitting can have significant health benefits. People who reduce their drinking decrease their risks for injuries, liver and heart disease, depression, stroke, sexually transmitted diseases, and several types of cancers.
According to a 2009 study released by the University of Minnesota and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled “Binge drinking in the military,” 43 percent of more than 16,000 military members polled admitted to binge drinking during the past month.
In an article published on sciencedaily.com, titled “Startling Numbers of Active Military Personel Engaging in Frequent Binge Drinking,” the first author of the study remarked about the significance of these results.
“Our study clearly shows that binge drinking is a significant public health problem in the military, which is dangerous to both the drinkers and to those around them,” said Mandy Stahre, Master of Public Health, a doctoral candidate in alcohol epidemiology. “It also underscores the importance of implementing effective strategies to prevent underage and binge drinking, such as maintaining and enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age.”
All Airmen are familiar with the Air Force’s policies against driving under the influence and drinking underage as well as its alcohol abuse prevention program: 0-0-1-3. This program means Airmen commit to 0 underage drinking incidents, 0 drinking and driving incidents, 1 drink per hour, and no more than 3 drinks per evening and the consequences that follow such behavior.
If you are addicted to or abuse alcohol, do not feel embarrassed when seeking help.
“Getting treatment has done a lot of good for me,” said Senior Airman Matthew Parton, the 19th Logistic Readiness Squadron technical order distribution officer. “Not just in the realm of drinking, but you realize that when you have a problem, there are 100 other things pushing that problem. When you start to get to the root of that, you begin to feel better. Now I know I don’t have to drink to feel better or to be social.”
For other Airmen who have had a bad moment of judgment and feel like there’s no way up, Parton expressed that anyone can recover from a bad mistake.
Parton said there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
“Everybody in the world has a problem with something, said Parton. I have gotten more respect for being honest with my problem and treating it than I ever got from not saying anything to anybody. There are so many sources for help. Don’t be too proud.”
If you are having a problem with alcohol addiction or abuse there are several outlets to turn to on base for help such as the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment clinic (501-987-7338), your First Sergeant, the chapel (501-987-6014) or even a Wingman.