Alcoholism possible for underage drinkers

By Julian Scharman

The night began, his freshmen year, with a group of friends casually drinking in a University dorm room, before the cluster made it’s way to a “four corners party,” where there was keg in each of the four corners of the house: where hours of excessive beer drinking ensued.

“All I can remember of that nights is how I finished it … with people holding my feet and chanting my name while I did a keg stand, and that just put me over the edge,” said Christopher Donohoe, junior in LAS.

That night Chris found his way back, and then vomited several times while asleep in his dorm bed.

However, there is debate whether these habits can become lifelong behavior.

According to the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, thirty-one percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence in the past twelve months. This information was gathered from questionnaire-based self-reports about students’ drinking.

These statistics show the need for government established organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which has formed chapters all over the country. Alcoholics Anonymous of Southern Illinois was established to help adults, as well as college students who believe there is even a hint of a problem with alcoholism in their life, said Todd S., Alcoholics Anonymous Web Liaison.

“Basically there is one thing to understand about having an alcohol problem, if you think you might have a problem, then you probably do,” said Todd.

Nights such as Donohoe’s are not an uncommon circumstance on campus among freshmen, personifying the drinking culture associated with collegiate life. And drinking frequently and in excess can often be a bragging point, said Donohoe.

“A common topic of conversation is often about how high an individual’s tolerance is,” said Donohoe. “And particularly among male college students, they use it to prove their manliness or masculinity,”

For many individuals, coming to terms with alcoholism can be a very difficult thing, this is because most people want to believe that an alcoholic is a person that is an old bum that is lying in the gutter with a brown paper bag, and that is not even the case at all, said Todd.

There are ample resources and meeting places available for students and all young adults in and around Champaign that can be found via the Southern Illinois Alcoholics Anonymous Web site (http://www.aa-sia.org/),. The SIAA has a deep interest in helping young people who have an alcohol problem, but the SIAA is not concerned with how individuals acquired their alcohol problems, said Todd.

“We’re not really interested in how the tractor got into the ditch,” said Todd, “What were interested in is trying to get the tractor out of the ditch.”