Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Huguely case shows how difficult it is to combat alcohol abuse

After reading all the coverage of George Huguely's murder trial, I feel compelled to write. All the focus on this horrible event has shown just how ignorant society is about alcoholism and its effects on the drinker and the family and friends who surround that person.

Alcoholism is a disease. Expecting a parent or worse yet a group of 20-somethings to handle another person's alcoholism is like expecting them to provide a cure for a friend with cancer. It can't be done. Jean Marbella wrote on Sunday that "Huguely wasn't drinking in a celebratory fashion." Of course not! The only type of person who can drink that much alcohol and still be standing is an alcoholic. Once the drug takes over his body, the alcoholic has no physical, spiritual, or mental capacity to overcome it. The disease always wins.

Certain studies say that one alcoholic directly affects 14 people. These 14 people usually worry about the alcoholic, pour drinks out for the alcoholic, wait up at night for the alcoholic, take car keys, make excuses for the drinker and find other ways to enable him. All of which are not only fruitless over this cunning, baffling and powerful disease but also enable him to keep drinking.

What can be done? The drinker must face the consequences for his actions, whatever they may be. This way, and only this way, will the person realize how out of control his life has become. He must be held responsible, even if he doesn't remember doing what he is found guilty of doing. Jail is full of people who committed crimes in an alcoholic blackout and have no recollection of the incident.

Perhaps what we really should be focusing on with this case is how we can reach college and high school kids before their drinking becomes out of control. Most alcoholics claim they started drinking at the "magical" age of 12. As much as society hates to think about it, perhaps educating kids in middle school is the best way to get the message out about this horrible, chronic and progressive disease.

And for all the friends, family members, coaches, and teachers: We need to educate them. We need to teach them to let the alcoholic fall on his own. We need to teach them to let him fall even from an early age. Even if it means not making the lacrosse team, losing a license, losing a summer job or not getting in to a prestigious Ivy League school. Perhaps suffering those consequences could keep another horrible incident like this from happening again.

Mayree Connie, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • How does the UVa. lacrosse coach still have a job?

    The men's lacrosse coach at University of Virginia, Dom Starsia, will make $250,000 in annual compensation ("UVa. men's lax coach Starsia gets 5-year deal," Feb. 21), despite the evidence of alcohol abuse among many of his players revealed in the murder trial of one of his former players, George...

  • How will Trump get lazy people to work?

    How will Trump get lazy people to work?

    The aspiring Donald Trump says he's going to make America great again — jobs, education, health care, trade, etc. These all may be possible, except how will he put someone back to work who has been on the government dole for the past two or three generations ("Trump's entertainment value," Aug....

  • Iran poised for a lopsided victory

    Iran poised for a lopsided victory

    Now that the Iranian leaders have been able to best the negotiating team from the P5-1 consortium of nations with little concessions on the part of Iran while almost all of the Iranian demands have been met, their leaders have continued to demonize the United States. With now unlimited funds and...

  • Maryland's growing independent ranks

    Maryland's growing independent ranks

    Your recent article referencing the growing trend of unaffiliated, or otherwise known as independent, voters throughout Maryland, is a national trend that has highlighted the fact that voters in this country have grown weary of petty partisan politics ("Independent voters grow despite competitive...

  • Triumph of the Trump

    Triumph of the Trump

    As a student and scholar of Germany during the 1930s and 1940s, watching Donald Trump's rally in Alabama this past Friday ("Trump's entertainment value," Aug. 25) reminded me of a Leni Riefenstahl propaganda film, "Triumph of the Will." She produced many more such films for Adolf Hitler's government,...

  • Investors still have opportunities

    Investors still have opportunities

    There's an often overlooked advantage that some investors have in turbulent markets ("The Dow's wild ride," Aug. 24). People who invest for retirement through a 401(k) depend on their employers to make prudent decisions — especially negotiating fees and selecting a 401(k) administrator that gives...

  • Biden faces long odds

    Biden faces long odds

    As Vice President Joe Biden contemplates a run for the presidency in 2016, he might do well to look at the history of vice presidents ascending to the presidency ("Run, Joe, run," Aug. 25).

  • 'Profiling' is standard police practice

    'Profiling' is standard police practice

    Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh says he will take steps to ensure that police do not engage in racial profiling ("Amid national law enforcement debate, Md. attorney general condemns police profiling," Aug. 25).