|Alcoholism: Prevention and Cure by Dr Courtejoie J., MD and Pierre, B (Bureau of Study and Research for the Promotion of Health - Congo - CPS, 1983, 175 p.)|
|Part 6: Slideshow: The damaging effects of alcohol|
This chapter shows how a normal family lives in a village. "Before the father had the habit of drinking alcohol, the whole family lived happily and had no major problems" . To make it easier for the educator to prepare the lesson, we have provided text and wordings that may be used with little or no change. These comments are in italics. Happiness in a Village (pictures 1 to 10)
As an introduction, the educator will say: "Only one drink is necessary for all beings: water. However, we all tend to drink other drinks, either for pleasure, or for other reasons. Some people are used to coffee, others to tea, to sodas, etc Besides these harmless drinks, there is a wide range of drinks containing alcohol, the abuse of which could have serious consequences. We knew many of these drinks: various beers, palm wine, whisky, etc.
The drinking habit can cause much misfortune in a family. First of all, these purchases cost a lot of money. Second, alcoholism is associated with many diseases. Finally, it can eventually disturb the family's harmony. We are going to follow the story of a man who starts to drink and all the consequences this has for him and his family"
Picture 3: "A happy atmosphere reigns in the family. Each person is busy and the parents devote themselves to developing the talents of their children"
Picture 4: Palm nuts are a source of income for the family. A palm tree which is looked after well can yield several harvests of nuts per year. "An energetic, healthy father harvests the nuts as soon as they ripen
Picture 5: Palm nuts have several uses. Some of them are sold, bringing the father regular income. Many villages have craft industries to extract the oil on the spot. Part of this locally made oil is then sold in the market, after an amount corresponding to the family's needs has been set aside. The palm nuts are then crushed and the almonds are sold in the local market.
Picture 6: "Thanks to the family's savings the mother has bought a sewing machine which is an invaluable help in making and mending the clothes of the whole family"
Picture 7: The mother and father work in the field with regularity. They have a satisfactory income. They are thus able to feed and care for their children. "At the age of four months, the mother's milk a/one is not sufficient to feed the baby. The mother then starts to give him additional mea/s. The children in this family have no prob/em getting protein-rich food they need for growth"
"A happy, prosperous family, good health, a relatively affluent standard of living: these are the important advantages which allow the children to succeed at school and devevelop their bodies through sports"
Picture 11: "Now let us see how the family's happiness can be destroyed by a false friend, alcohol which sometimes becomes part of the family without anyone noticing it" .... see next item on the know tree ...
(Pictures 11 to 29)
Picture 11: Alcoholism comes into the family like a thief
Picture 12: "We tend to adapt new habits from the outside, a city or a foreign country, because we sometimes consider them to be progress"
Picture 13 at home in the evening.
"We all know that beer is the most frequent means to establish friendly relations, to attract sympathy, to seal reconciliation after a quarrel. A friend's visit is thus very often an opportunity to offer something to drink. We are used to offering alcoholic drinks. We know very well that a glass of beer relaxes the atmosphere, makes conversation easier. A little bit of alcohol creates a good atmosphere favourable to friendly contacts. Unfortunately, sometimes the visitor does not stop after the first drink or bottle"
Picture 14: A whole rang of sweet liquids derived from plants can be used to make beers or wines.
These alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting juice from palm tree, sugar cane, pineapples, sorghum, bananas, etc. One can then distill these fermented alcoholic liquids to obtain alcoholic drinks. In many countries the preparation of these traditional alcohol is prohibited by law in order to protect the population's health. Indeed, habitual consumption of such "hard liquor" brings great misfortune to the families which adopt such a habit.
Picture 15: "The people who tap palm wine devote much time to this activity.
This wine, which must frst be fermented, is then often drank by a bunch of friends. This activity thus does not bring in any additional income. Moreover, a palm tree used for the production of wine bears no more fruit"
Picture 16: "The tapping of palm wine, is often an occasion to drink a lot of palm wine, sometimes as early as the morning...
So, how much energy is left for the other tasks: chopping down trees, clearning the forest, working the soil before planting?"
Picture 17: "A palm tree used to produce wine often remains sterile. The female buds are sacrificed, a substantial part of the sap is extracted.
The bunches of nuts disappear: there are no more nuts to sell; no more cooking oil either; the family's income, as well as its available food supplies, drops"
Picture 18: It is extremely tempting to use a substantial part of one's revenues to buy alcoholic drinks. What little money is left is often spent on beer. indeed, the palm wine drinker does not content himself with this cheap traditional drink. Bottled beer is more prestigious, but it costs more. its price is even higher when it is imported. Drinking beer thus takes a large slice out of the family's budget.
Picture 19: A drinker's home is a troubled home,
"The father, who is often drunk, seems to live in another world. He does not take care of his family any more. All their problems seem very far away. He no longer sees the numerous difficulties in life clearly;he drowns them in alcohol. The consequences of this are rapid to appear.
The house becomes almost uninhabitable after a few years because it is not kept up Not only the house, but the whole family falls apart for lack of moral, emotional and financial support"
Picture 20: An alcoholic who at the beginning may seem to be a cheerful, amusing fellow quickly becomes aggressive, particularly at home.
He becomes quick-tempered and rough because he has progressively lost his will, sense of right and wrong and respect for the rules of society. A bout of drunkenness can provoke the end of a friendship or the beginning of a familial quarrel. The day after an acute attack of drunkenness, the alcoholic may have forgotten everything that he said and did the night before; but the people who suffered because of him may not forget as quickly and may harbor resentment
A Yombe proverb says: "He who insults you when he is drunk already had the intention earlier" This proverb shows that alcohol can make us say things that we would normally keep to ourselves if we were sober.
Picture 21: Spending lots of money on beer or wine is a real danger for the nutrition of the whole family. First of all they are useless expenditures, wasting money that could be used for more vital needs.
Alcohol reduces the feeling of hunger; one does not feel as much the need to eat. Moreover, alcoholic drinks make one less enthusiastic about working.
"All one's money, all one's efforts are gradually diverted into the preparation, the search for, and the buying of drinks. Consequently, the family's table remain empty, the children have nothing left to eat.
The father does not worry about that. He is only interested in getting his daily ration of alcohol"
Picture 22: We say in the first part how the father cares about his children's education, giving them financial and moral support. But once his primary concern is to get alcohol he neglects his family duties.
Consequences are not slow to appear. The children's studies are affected: they do not pay attention in class since they are hungry, they miss school repeatedly because they have diseases which are not cared for on time, sometimes they are even sent away from school because of unpaid tuition.
Picture 23 Drinking fellows are in the habit of gathering in the bar, where they like the noisy, warm atmosphere.
Drinkers all fit this Yombe proverb, which, however, is not part of our ancestors wisdom: "Kondolo kopo kondolo mayangi, wena ye kopo wena mayangi" which approximately means: "He who is deprived of alcohol is sad, he who finds a drink, finds happiness"!
Picture 24: A merry evening may sometimes ends up in bar-room fights among people who were friends when the evening started.
Picture 25: The alcoholic wants to escape the social restraints imposed by village life and customs. He neglects family and professional obligations.
The lack of understanding he often encounters at home may lead him to leave his family in order to flee his responsibilities. Most of the time his family's reproaches will not help him to abandon drinking, On the contrary, they will isolate him even more. The presence of his family and friends is very important; they must give him moral support and encourage him to change his habits, strengthen him with their trust.
Picture 26: "Alcohol abuse is even more dangerous when the driver of a vehicle is concerned.
The alcohol excites him, he thinks he is strong, he no longer recognizes danger, he drives roughly and too quickly. He takes risks when passing. He stops anywhere in search of more drinks. He no longer obeys traffic regulations often the consequences of such behavior are not slow to appear"
Picture 27: The passengers of a drunk driver's vehicle truly risk their lives.
The speed of the driver's reflexes are considerably slowed. If danger appears suddenly, he will brake later than if he had not drunk and an accident will occur... Studies have shown that almost half of all road accidents are due to alcohol, justifying the wise precept: "If you drive, don't drink, if you drink, don't drive"
Picture 28: "Road accidents, which are mostly due to drinking alcohol, fill the hospitals with seriously injured patients.
Some victims remain crippled for the rest of their lives, Many others die in the accidents or on the way to the hospital"
Picture 29: This is a recapitulation, an overall view of the problems.
This picture is very important, as it helps the educator and the listeners to summarise the talk. It displays some of the main consequences of alcoholism. We might add ruined health due to alcohol's effect on the various organs of the body.
Quickly visit the next slideshow to see how the father can stop drinking and how family can regain happiness.