"Why is it so hard for the deaf to deal with admitting they are alcoholics or drug addicts which is an impediment for recovery? Why is it so hard for them to stay sober once they have achieved it for a few weeks or months? What do you think the main reasons are?"The above quote came from an article from a person who have worked with the deaf for over 30 years although this article was probably written in the mid to late 1990s yet I'm sure it's still relevant today.
I recognize that alcoholism is an insidious thing and I applaud anybody who publicly announce and seek support from friends and families to help him or her through this trial by fire. Or even find ways to express their experience and battles like, for example, through YouTube or blogs. But doing these things are not a prerequisite but a choice on how to deal with this problem head on whether done privately or publicly.
I, myself, do not drink even though I was a licensed bartender at age 22 but it wasn't long until I figured out that I was really uncomfortable serving alcoholic drinks and getting approached by people under-21 years of age who try and ply a drink from me without ever showing a photo ID. Or notice a customer who had a bit much to drink and refuse to serve a drink only to get cussed at not knowing that I probably saved his life. After about a year, I quit being a bartender. No glory in serving or drinking alcoholic drinks. None at all. I know what alcohol can do. I know somebody who was drunk and got behind the wheel and passed out while driving. Luckly nobody was killed except this driver I personally know ended up paralyzed from the chest downward.
It ain't pretty and I'm sure many people recognize that. Or do they?
Now, imagine what I saw when I went to Gallaudet University where many weekend in 1988, 1989, and 1990 I got to see the after effects of weekend partying and Rock Festivals did people leave their vomits all over the place inside and outside of my dormitory building. Inside the elevators, on the stairwell, in hallways, outside of the dorm in the bushes, and so on. Even witnessed a freshman lying in his own vomit completely passed out in the freshman lounge area of Benson Hall on the 2nd floor where I stayed. College life and alcohol simply do not mix. Sorry, accept that idea and get it through your head on that one.
But what causes one to go down the path of alcoholism (or drugs for this matter)? There are many reasons and causes. The article explains one of the many reasons for alcoholism.
"Substance abuse is a sensitive issue about which the deaf community does not yet feel comfortable talking. For many with in the community, it remains a moral issue; the denial of pathological drinking is very strong." (Rendon, 1992)
Regardless, talking about it helps. It makes you more human by facing your demons. And that no one is ever perfect. If alcohol is a big part of your life, it's time to rethink that and seek support. Find alternative ways to avoid alcohol by taking up other activities to keep you busy.Talk about it. And perhaps one day you'll find yourself having no desire to drink and say, "No thanks. I don't drink."
ADDENDUM: Here are some links on more information on where to get help on a variety of substance abuses.
Substance and Alcohol Intervention Services for the Deaf at NTID.
The International Deaf Substance Abuse Message Board
Substance Abuse within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community
Deaf and Hard of Hearing AA 12 Steps Recovery Resources
Northwest Deaf Addiction Center
The Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals
The National Information Clearing House Catalog: Addressing the Chemical Health
Needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals, 2006 Edition
Substance and Alcohol Intervention Services for the Deaf
Deaf Adult Services
Anixter Center - Addiction Recovery of the Dea
The National Directory of Alcohol and Other Drugs Prevention and Treatment Programs
Accessible to the Deaf
Sponsored by the Michigan Coalition for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
The Substance Abuse Resources & Disability Issues (SARDI) Program
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Recovery Resources
Treatment Options Listing
Addiction Recovery for the Deaf
McAlister Institute - Signs of Life
F.E.G.S. (formerly New York Society for the Deaf)
Deaf Addiction Services
Family Services Foundation
Signs of Sobriety
Substance and Alcohol Intervention Society for the Deaf
Substance Abuse & Dependence Bibliography
Western Region Outreach Center & Consortia
Northwest Deaf Addiction Center
Deaf and Hard of Hearing AA Recovery Resources