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Alcoholics need all the help they can get; Mailbag letters also appear online at Mailbag.

THE Examiner's recent story (February 18) about the problem of alcoholism was interesting for several reasons.

Firstly, I don't believe that 10,000 people in an area as populated as Kirklees having a problem with the amount they drink is shocking. In fact, I'd say it was a rather conservative estimate.

If you go into any pub on a Friday or Saturday night or go into Huddersfield town centre you will see more people affected by drink than those in control of what they're drinking.

It's a sad story, but one replicated throughout the country, I believe.

I have, in the distant past, experienced alcoholism first hand and it's a pitiful existence.

People know they are doing wrong but are too ashamed to ask for help. That's the case with many of life's experiences, but despite the amount of agencies who do good, people still feel isolated.

I think the reason for this is the media stereotype of an alcoholic and I hope the article you ran recently will help people see there is somewhere on their doorstep they can go to and get help - and that they will go. TV programmes like Coronation Street sometimes treat alcoholism as a joke problem.

I'm sure many regular watchers can remember the hilarious scene where Peter Barlow was at the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with his dad Ken, stepmother Deirdre and step-grandmother Blanche - who threw the meeting into chaos with hilarious consequences.

It is good to have a laugh at, but hardly realistic, is it? And it doesn't help people understand how deep the problem can be.

How can alcoholism be stopped? The answer is it can't. Maybe a few landlords and bar staff could exercise some commonsense and say no when they see someone out of control, but it's not their fault. They should not police people's lifestyles. Like eating junk food, we all know drinking too much is bad for us, but will we stop? No.Regardless of all the government initiatives and money poured into tackling the problem, only bad experiences will have any impact. And to experience those, many people have to hit rock bottom.

I congratulate Kirklees Alcohol Advisory Service for being there for those who do hit rock bottom. They are very much needed.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Mar 1, 2010
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