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I recently heard a CBC interview with Ann Dowsett Johnson who is a recovering alcoholic regarding her book, "Drink".

"Every person with a drinking problems learns that booze is a loan shark, someone they trusted for a while, came to count on, before it turned ugly."

Here is how the story goes: "first alcohol is that elegant figure in the corner by the bar, the handsome one in the beautiful tuxedo. You canít miss him. He is always at the parties - and he gets their first. He sidles up to you with a quick hit of courage. You grab it. It feels good. It works. This is the sweetheart deal where all things are possible."

If you need some courage, energy, stress reducer, loneliness helper then alcohol will lend you a hand. After a while, the smooth velvet taste of alcohol is calling the shots day and night to help you try and cope. In time you find yourself promising to drink less. Only you donít.

We sadly very seldom teach our young people how to deal with stress. We teach them to read and write to better succeed in school but not how to deal with lifeís travails.

Too many of my female clients admit to being perfectionists hoping to please their parents, teachers, partners They look like they have just stepped out of a Vogue commercial with a perfect size zero figure and gorgeous complexion and hair. Not able to be the perfect persona, they tend to want to procrastinate hoping that more time will help them cope. Many stressed out females turn to drinking to help them balance their hectic impossible life styles.

Walk in to most social gatherings and the first thing you are asked."Red or White?" Eating out an expensive restaurant with friends is supposed to start with a cocktail or two before dining followed by glasses of wine with the main course.

For many women a decanter of wine is a total joy. The alcohol content of wine has spiked considerably. Winemakers are now leaving the grapes on the vines much longer which translates into fuller-bodied vintages and thus more alcohol content. Your favourite wines now can have 13.4-14.5 percent of pure alcohol for women to drink that adds 340 calories to their diet equal to a slice of decadent Madeira Cake.

Women seem to develop dependence sooner then men. Drink for drink, it is usually worse for females. It seems that more women are drinking, and the women who drink are drinking more trying to match their male peers.

Londonís very own distillery of "Black Fly Coolers" are the choice of many young women for an evening out on the town. The four pack 240 calorie per bottle of Vodka, Tequila, Rum 400 ml bottles to choose from with 7% alcohol content. The "chick beer" or "starter drinks" are sweet, brightly coloured flavoured concoctions in ready to drink attractive bottles.

Binge drinking at college or university with young women trying to fit in is trendy. To be accepted by their peers is a fact of life. It is totally uncool not to drink. Date rape can be a sad part of Frosh Week.

Men are happy to drink a bottle of beer with 330 ml that has 5% alcohol content with 180 calories. It is no contest between women and men. Males being on the whole heavier they can better metabolize their drinking resulting in a greater tolerance.

There is a health risk for women with a greater incidence of STD , breast cancer and having children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,

Many families are torn asunder by alcohol. I still remember trying to counsel an eighteen your old young man from a professional family: he was very sad that his mother was inebriated when he came home from high school. She would finish the bottles of Vodka or Gin and replace the contents with water to try and hide her drinking habit.

Rich or poor those who see drinking as a panacea for their problems pay the price for their addiction. But if you admit that you have a problem and follow the sage wisdom of the Serenity Prayer. " God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference." Then, all things are possible.

Without alcohol in your life, there are many chapters to come.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com