Most people who take an alcohol class expect to be bored and to have the topics not apply to them They come in expecting alcohol as a legal, harmless drink that somehow got them into trouble. Almost no student sees that they have a problem.
Most people drink alcohol. It is estimated that more over 50% of all Americans aged 12 and older have consumed alcohol within the past 30 days. Among this group of current drinkers almost a quarter admitted to have indulged in binge drinking (5 or more drinks during any 24 hour period ). Of those adults under the age of 25 the number of binge drinkers swelled to more than 40%.
The general feeling among my students is that "only alcoholics are heavy drinkers". They think that "winos" and "bums" are typical alcoholics. The majority has a mental picture that all alcoholics are "total losers." This isn't the case at all. People who abuse alcohol run the gamut, from corporate officers, professors, attorneys, policement. Almost any profession you can name. There is no race or social class where alcoholism does not exist.
Heavy drinking can be defined binge drinking five or more times in the past month. Many of these students, especially those under 25, were shocked to learn that they have habitually engaged in binge drinking, and that this pattern is abusing alcohol, regardless of your age.
One of the most important aspects of an alcohol awareness class is meet the realities of alcohol - the dangers to your mind and body, as well as learning drinking patterns and how each student fits in. With court-mandated alcohol classes, you have a group of students who have all had at least one problem situation in their life related to alcohol. That is why they are sitting in my classroom in the first place.
As the alcohol class progresses I slowly see the recognition on their faces as the students try to place themselves within the national patterns. There is not a student that cannot relate to the topics at hand. Recognizing and admitting there could be a problem can be the hardest challenge people who consume alcohol face. This doesn't mean that all drinkers have a problem. Quite the contrary, most people can control their consumption and do not have a problem.