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The Shame of the Alcoholic

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by kevinkimers, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. kevinkimers

    kevinkimers Community Champion

    "America has a long tradition of public humiliation, dating back to stockades and pillories of the colonial era. But this recent upsurge in the use of scorn and shame is raising important questions about this practice, namely: Does it work? Does shame really motivate people to change? Or does it work the opposite way, further tarnishing people's self-image and diminishing their sense of personal responsibility?"

    Here is a link to the article in Huffington Post
  2. StillFighting

    StillFighting Member

    From my experiences being married to an alcoholic, I don't believe shaming him would have helped at all. When he hit his rock bottom, he shamed himself without even trying. For example, he would take longer than usual while doing a store run, and I would go out looking for him and see him parked at a bar, his legs dangling out of the window. It was embarrassing and shameful. But he didn't care at that point. Now, if I had gone out of my way to shame him to make a point when he was sober, I believe it would have pushed him further into that hole he was in. The more he lost of himself and things he cared about, the more ashamed he became, and the more out of control the drinking became. Alcohol was a way for him to hide from the shame.
    Nichole W. likes this.
  3. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    To feel ashamed or to make another person feel ashamed is non-productive in my opinion. All it creates is fear and a low morale. Most people react by trying to withdraw and hide from the "accusers". I can't see how that can help to improve things. People often judge harshly without really seeing the truth behind the facade. A little bit of empathy and understanding goes a very long way.
    MrsJones likes this.
  4. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I think those alcoholics have done a lot of things already on public that are shameful but they are not ashamed for those actions. Mainly because they are not that aware of what they are doing anymore because of the spirit of alcohol within them. So, it is not effective for them.
  5. kevinkimers

    kevinkimers Community Champion

    When a person is drunk, they are already making an ass of themselves as it is because of the things they do and say in their drunken state. So I don't understand how "shaming" them can help them. It can have the reverse effect though by making them drink more because it puts them in a depressive state making them want to find an escape.
  6. Lexi

    Lexi Member

    You do not need to ask people if "shaming" people works in helping them. The fact that you are asking this questions tell yous all that you need to know. You do not see any evidence of it so, the answer is no.

    It's like calling an overweight person fat. Shaming someone for their addiction means you are offering an opinion without any helpful advice. It is not wrong to tell someone that the lifestyle they are living is unhealthy. But, when you do, be sure you provide them with advice that can help them make changes rather then being negative to them.

    Most people do not care about life and it shows in the way that they treat their own body. While one person has a drug addiction, another has an addiction to junk foods. (for example) Neither one of you is better then the other.

    Discipline is one day going to be a forgotten word in the lower class. It will not exist at the rate civilization is going.
  7. valiantx

    valiantx Community Champion

    No, public humiliation is defamation, it's that simple. Defaming a man or woman, does not help him or her at all, and does nothing to keep the public safe - in fact, it stirs a individual to be even more anti-social! The reason why practices to publicly shame wrong-doers were diminished to simply interfering with one's social status and credibility in economics, is because there were a lot of people branded as outlaws not too long ago, and that led to many of them causing further mayhem and discord across the U.S.A. nation. A man or woman, knows when he or she has done wrong to another [wo]man and their property, so to defame him or her for making a mistake that involved no harm, injury, or wrong - which all humans do in their lives - is of no benefit to the whole of society; however, if one did cause harm, injury, or wrong to another human, one better ask forgiveness from the wronged human and do what it takes to remedy one's mistake(s), or rot in jail instead.

    To truly be forgiven for any wrong, is to be self aware of one's shame and resolve to be a better individual by learning from one's mistake(s); it is one's actions and inactions that effect others, and to understand one is always responsible and liable for their creations and destructions, is to self-govern - to be a man [or woman].
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  8. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Alcoholics, when they are drunk don't have the capacity to feel any shame. The exception might be when they've had just a little alcohol. There's one drunk guy who when his neighbor, a respectable old lady said "hello," called her a slut. She rebuked him sternly and the guy kind of slunk away in shame and from then on tried to avoid the old lady if he could.

    Should you want to shame an alcoholic when they are not drunk then I'm sure that once they get the chance, they'll try to stay drunk all the time if possible so the memory of what happened to them doesn't surface to torment them.

    When it's all said and done, unless an alcoholic makes a firm decision not to touch the stuff again, nothing can keep him from his bottle.
  9. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I don't think shaming people is productive at all, and personally I think it's even counter productive. Chances are the person drinking alcohol to an excess just lacks the foundation necessary to control it, not that the condition excuses him or her from taking responsibility, but I do think that people with a stronger foundation should be smart enough to give consideration to it prior to making judgements. No one is perfect, we all have our flaws, some just more obvious than others.
  10. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    I think shaming people seem like an easy solution for many. It once felt like one for me, whenever I felt annoyed at how much my boyfriend was drinking. I thought that if he saw it my way, he would stop. That was very naive; like shaming fat people, it doesn't help them, it just destroys their self-value. Furthermore, even if it would bring a realization to mind, you would have to wonder if it's worth the strain it would bring to the relation. If it does not break the trust the person has in you, it will still do damage. You will not be seen as the supportive partner or friend, but rather as an enemy to hide from. Also, you will also bring YOURSELF in a spiral of negativity. It can do no good, I think.

    There was in the Little Prince a passage about an alcoholic. The Little Prince asked him why he drank. "Because I'm ashamed!" answered the alcoholic. "Ashamed of what?" asked the little Prince. The alcoholic answered, taking another sip, "Of drinking so much!"

    Better to be kind. If you want to help, then help, but you do not need to accelerate the process of destruction the person already started. If you are a part of it, you are like the alcohol, a problem. And you will not be trusted to help in the process of getting better.
  11. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Shame may have a hand on helping one change his way. It does for me. When I screw up big time and I bring shame upon myself and family, the shame and guilt alone is enough incentive to make a change in myself. But everyone is different. Some people might be confronted with shame and then go back to the bottle as that is their coping mechanism. Everyone has their triggers.
  12. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    I understand, Josh, and I think it's good that you can look at your behaviour and see your shame for what it is, a sign that there is something to change! That being said, I still think there is a difference between a drinker seeing it for himself vs. the people around him/her shaming him/her to make him see. It's this old thing they say: you'll stop drinking when you'll decide it for yourself. I think it's also a point about seeing the truth when you're ready to open your eyes, not because everyone you love made you feel shitty long enough.
  13. TheKid

    TheKid Active Contributor

    no no, I do not believe that shaming an alcoholic will help at all. I mean, a drunk is already putting shame on himself by drinking so much so I do not believe that more shame will help at all.
  14. Nichole W.

    Nichole W. Member

    I agree with this. It's something I see in my father. The more ashamed and depressed he becomes the more he drinks. The worse he feels about his drinking the more he drinks. It's a vicious cycle. Alcohol is a way to find from his feelings.
  15. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    I don't think shaming someone for their shortcomings is the way to go at all. Most people already have an understanding that their behavior should change even if they don't admit it. I used to shame myself with every cigarette I picked up because I knew my body was harmed by them. Funny enough that the self shame actually made me smoke more. Encouragement and caring is what people need.
  16. Nichole W.

    Nichole W. Member

    I agree with you Rosyrain, but encouragement and caring is so hard after you've been hurt by someone. Eventually even the most robust person gets tired of the abuse and become indifferent or worse.