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Alcohol Awareness Month

WASHINGTON --

What is alcohol? For some, it is the cornerstone of a good weekend or an occasional indulgence attached to special occasions and holidays. However, for some, alcohol is a problem-causing beverage linked to negative memories or used as a coping strategy.

It is interesting how a single substance can produce varying responses for everyone. Since April is Alcohol Awareness Month, we will look at how drinking behaviors lead to differing results, negative and positive.

Per the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NCADD 2018, “Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment and recovery. It is an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus, make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.”

It's fascinating how many people come into the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) program here at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling with long histories of binge drinking, but no knowledge of what alcohol actually is. In a society that counts every calorie and talks endlessly about how amazing their gluten-free diets are, are we simply forgetting to pay attention to what we drink on the weekends? Many of you can probably instantly proclaim what country this morning's coffee beans came from, but are unable to recall the percentage of alcohol in your favorite weekend beverage. Knowing what you are drinking and how much alcohol is contained in your beverage are essential components of responsible drinking.

For example, one shot of liquor (40% alcohol) is equal to one standard drink. A long island iced tea contains roughly four to five shots of liquor per glass. If a friend goes out drinking and tells you they will only have two drinks, they very well could consume 8-10 standard servings of alcohol. Depending on how quickly your friend drinks those long island iced teas, he or she could reach a blood alcohol level (BAL) around 0.20, putting them at more than double the 0.08 legal limit of intoxication when operating a vehicle. Always keep track of how much alcohol you have consumed, never go off of “how you feel” or “how may glasses you’ve had;” different beverages have different alcohol percentages which can make your BAL a lot higher than what you may think it is.

One incident is too many. Almost all incidents are preventable and all you have to do is look out for your fellow service members. If you have any questions regarding alcohol abuse or about the ADAPT program, please call 202-767-0611.

If you would like to take a free anonymous survey to inquire whether you are drinking responsibly or not please go to: https://www.ncadd.org/get-help/take-the-test and click on the “Take the alcohol test” link.