It is easy to forget that alcohol is a chemical substance, and this is mainly because of the fact that it is socially acceptable and readily available in supermarkets, corner shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It is also easy to forget that it is a very addictive substance that can cause a host of problems for those who abuse it.
Heavy drinking is responsible for many mental and physical health concerns, but it is also the cause of accidents and injuries as those under the influence of alcohol suffer from an inability to make good decisions and judgements. Many people take unnecessary risks while intoxicated, which could put their own lives and the lives of others in danger.
Victoria McCormack has escaped a prison sentence despite being caught driving while four times over the legal limit. She had decided to get behind the wheel of her car after drinking wine, sherry and vodka, in order to buy more wine. As well as putting her life and the lives of others on the road in danger, McCormack took her two-year-old son with her in the car.
She admitted being ‘deeply ashamed’ and said she is battling a devastating alcohol addiction, having previously beaten an addiction to drugs.
McCormack was spotted struggling to get out of her car outside a shop in Ipswich by a horrified passer-by. She was then seen at the counter of the shop buying a bottle of wine with her son in her arms. The shocked witness said she was unsteady on her feet and struggled to get back into the car after putting the child in the back. As she drove off, she just missed a parked car and then mounted the kerb on the other side of the road.
The witness immediately notified police, who arrived at McCormack’s home to find her on the path with the child. A breath test showed that the limit of alcohol in 100 millilitres of her breath was 157 micrograms. The legal limit for driving is 35 micrograms per 100 ml of breath.
McCormack admitted to police that she had been sober for two months before relapsing. She said she was ‘stupid’ and admitting to having a drinking problem. A probation officer said, ‘She feels very ashamed by her actions and can’t really remember the journey. She tends to binge, and this is what happened on this occasion.’
After referring herself for help for her addiction, McCormack was given a suspended 10-week prison sentence. She also received a 3-year driving ban and a fine.
The Consequences of Alcohol Abuse
Many people abuse alcohol and take unnecessary risks while under the influence. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to car accidents, violent crime, and unsafe sex.
Those who continue to abuse alcohol will develop a tolerance, which can result in physical dependence. People affected in this way will be unable to quit drinking even if they want to. Alcohol addiction causes many problems for those affected and for their families.
Children of alcoholics often live in fear and confusion. They may be too young to understand what is going on, but that does not stop them from suffering lasting damage. Older children may understand exactly what is going on but will still suffer from the shame and embarrassed caused by the person with the alcohol addiction.
They may be afraid to make friends at school because they worry about how their parent’s addiction will affect the friendship. They are often isolated and withdrawn, which can affect them long into adulthood. Many children of alcoholic parents are unable to form healthy relationships, and a large majority will suffer from their own addiction problems in later life.