Reading for February 11
“A typical day in the life of a heavy metal musician consists of a round of
golf and an AA meeting.” Billy Joel (born 1949)
We can’t speak to this musician’s golf game but statistically speaking, the
metal-head in each of us likely displayed addictive tendencies before the age
of twenty-five, maybe as teenagers. What makes chemical dependency a youth
problem is that 95% of drug and alcohol addicts started using before the age of
twenty-five. Treatment professionals in the USA report that less than one in ten
youth that fit addiction criteria find their way to treatment.
Do enabling parents talk themselves into believing their kids will grow
out of it? Is our social infrastructure unable to deal with the fact that our
children are drinking? And what might the Statistics be for youth addicted to
food, porn and Gambling? All of these are easily available to the average
teenager. Studies show that reduction in the size of the brain region known as
the hippocampus has been found to be common in adolescents being treated for
alcohol dependence. This renders reasoning and other brain functioning more
vulnerable to intoxication at younger ages. Morbidity and mortality related to
booze is highest in twelve to seventeen-year-olds. The National Institute of
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism studied youth alcohol abuse from 1991 to 2002
and found that the younger we started drinking, the more likely we were to
abuse alcohol. Depending on parental factors, the under-sixteen-year-old
drinker’s risk of alcoholism is 20%, at the low end, rising to close to a 60%
chance of addiction where there is Family addiction history. Starting at sixteen,
the risk is still high, reducing at age twenty-one to the 10% range—the normal
risk for any drinker.
For those of us who are teenage addicts, for those of us who saw signs we
ignored back then, and for those of us with kids at risk, the age at which we or
they start is an important factor. What none of this explains, and what maybe
Billy Joel can elaborate on, is—what causes rock stars to go golfing each day?
At what age did I start demonstrating addictive tendencies? Statistics and
facts keep changing in addiction and recovery.
Do I spend the right amount of time keeping up to date?
C., Joe. Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life:
Finally, a daily reflection book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone!
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