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Catholic Northwest Progress
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April 10, 1964     Catholic Northwest Progress
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April 10, 1964

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--THE PROGRESS Friday, April I0, 1964 Christian Culture Series (Chapter XIV) Teenager00Takes a Drink 'Much has been written about the psychologic causes of drinking. Most of this can be summarized by saying that alcoholism is an escape (albeit a temporary and futile one)from all the trials and tribulations of life.' By PAUL O'HOLLAREN M.D. R. FREDERICK LEMERE, M.D., consulting psychiatrist of Shadel Hospital here in Seattle, where for.over30 years we have been tating fellow humans with the disease of alcoholism, states in his paper, "What Causes Alcoholism," read before-the National MeeKng of the American Medical Association in 1955: "Much has been written about the psychologic causes of drink- ing Most of this can be summarized by saying that alcoholism is an escape (albeit a temporary and futile one) from all the 'trials and tibulations of life." i in some very descriptive wording, Dr. Lemere goes on to say: "Alcohol gives a false feeling of courage to the fearful, confidence t6 the insecure, absolution to the guilty and superiority to the inade- quate. It gives solace to the lonely, sleep to the insomniac, rest to the weary, relaxation to the tense, calmness to the disturbed and oblivion tO the desperate. Alcohol offers a temporary escape, not only from worries and troubles but also from boredom." It Is A Drug Dr. Lemere writes in the same paper about the habit this disease of alcoholism can enforce in the truly sick person--while at the same time this physician deplores the lack of knowledgeable material avail- able to the medical students throughout the world. "The habit-forming properties of alcohol have not been suffi- ciently stressed in medical literature. Alcohol should be grouped with the barbiturates and narcotics as a drug (for it is a drug) that can produce physical as well as psychologic habituation." Dr. James W. Smith, M.D., medical director of Shadel Hospital staff, tells our patients and the members of the patients' families who come to the hospital to hear and learn of this disease, that this very prevalent illness is the only one known to the world of medicine to directly affect all of the various systems of the body, circulatory, respiratory, elimination, digestive, psychological, emotional and all the rest. What has gone before I have wanted to use as an introduc- tion to this article, to set the tone and fill in the background. ET US ANALYZE for a moment from a different aspect--what has been included in the foregoing. As a physician I find alcohol to be a drug--a drug with the prop- erties of a barbiturate, and with the properties of a narcotic. I find this drug to be a physical stimulant, often used to aid an unhealthy heart, to assist a sluggish appetite, to dialate blood vessels. I find .tlis drug can elevate a depression or fearful mood. This drug can ease the tensions following a busy, exhausting day. r 14s Amazing Powers .' From Dr. Lemere, we find that the drug "gives sleep to the :in- somniac--calmness to the disturbed" and so I know as a physician that this drug is also a very potent tranquilizer. I must sit back as a piysician, as your readers of this article should do in wonderment, fdr you are not without some knowledge of the drug and its visible effect and marvel once again at the wonderful, truly amazing powers of this drug. Looking at alcohol, looking at its medical powers, and what it can do for man, it is a great gift from God. OW, LET US proceed to our teenagers, our group of society for whom I have been asked to write this article and their relation- ship to this drug called alcohol. I wish to "pluck" from Dr. Lemere's foregoing lines a few statements. "Alcohol, says Dr. Lemere, gives a false feeling of courage to Paul O'Hollaren M.D. Chief of Staff, Shadel Hospital, Inc., Seattle the fearful--confidence to the insecure--superiority to the inade- quate." At no time of life does the human person experience the pres- sures of fear, of insecurity, of inadequacy, as during this blossoming, the unfolding time of their teenage life. These are golden hours when dreams, hopes, ambitions are born--when the first stirrings, the stir- rings to attain as the poet writes--"A man's reach should be beyond his grasp--or what's a heaven for," arises in their heart. Aware of Power ' Let us analyze first our teenage girl. As a small child she comes into life with the alluring brightness of her childhood upon her. She can affect those about her. Soon she becomes very conscious of it all, with those whom she knows and with those whom she loves. In her young womanly heart she has found a thrilling truth. She can win the hearts of men--she can bend the will of men--her presence or her absence can decide the happiness of many--she is a queen in her domain of mankind. It is an intoxicating discovery. In her young emotions and in her young thoughts the spring time of womanly flowering is upon her. UT NATURE stops not here. The delicate master touch of nature's awakening brush is bringing to life new powers to her young body. And once the first stirrings of this new power is felt within her, she begins to bid her baby days goodbye. Never again will she be the same. The captivating nature of a young maiden's shyness surrounds her in beauty, her fears, up to now anxieties not dreamt of--feelings of insecurities of the first uncertain steps leading to the doors of adulthood--now become her daily companions. If she has a wise, understanding and loving father, he will re- assure her of the compelling charm and attractiveness of her lovely unfolding beauty, gently he will give her assurance as she takes those first hesitating steps into the strange new world of men (seldom can a woman do this for a youpg maiden). The tragedy is that most fa- thers, and alas, most young mothers never realize that this is at once the most beautiful and the most critically dangerous period of their daughter's home life. What happens to her in he r teenage years, almost invariably sets the tone for her later life. It is the story of nature, that the young maiden takes her first hesitating step into life---soon she begins to walk and the rhythm of her walk soon breaks into a run. She ma- tures far faster emotionally and physically, than her counterpart, the young boy. Out of Sorts With World .. ..+ Now, let us look for a moment at the young lad. So many beau- tiful lines in the world's literature have been written of the transition from a young boy into his manhood. As the young girl needs her father for assurance--young teenage boys need to grow, not only from the tender love of a mother, but also upon "woman love for a man" from his mother. In many ways the young man's problems are greater than the young maidens. For in the latter years of a girl's teenage days--she has matured far more than a boy and so we find her searching the company of youths three or four years older than herself--she will decry that boys of her own age are so young--so immature. The boys find difficulty with the girls of their age group in the later teens and the girls younger than they--still a little too babyish. So we find a time lag of some two to three years when they seem to themselves to be out of sorts with all of the world. Because of the newness of their gradually opening adult world-- both the young maiden, and the young lad feel fearful, insecure, in- adequate. Hence the social pressures to be accepted by the group brings a need to ease the sufferings, fears of insecurity and inade- quacy start the young maiden to begin her drinking several years before her young teenage male counterpart will usually begin his. The young woman has an instinctive drive to attract men--to hold men--and she sees other young women about, allaying their fears in this new society and the demands it makes upon them by the drug of alcohol. First of Many Yieldings "And womanlike, what is both the strongest and the weakest part of her woman's nature to yield a little that a greater good may come," she now finds to be the first of a long series of yieldings. The young man on the other hand wants to prove his manhood and in our society one of the marks of manhood is the way the male can hold his "liquor." Without "manliness" he cannot attract. Thus, the young man too solves his problems of fearfulness, insecurity, and inade- quacy with the drug of alcohol. We find greater pressure placed on the girl (There are over three million more women than men in this country). And so of the 68 per cent of teenagers who drink, we find a third more teenage girls who drink than do teenage boys. As a rule her three to four year older male companion often almost demands this Of her, if she does not want to sit home alone. LET us GO BACK now in our minds to the beginning paragraphs, we spoke of an illness, the only one which affects every part of the human body, we spoke of a drug that is at once a stimulant--a powerful anesthetic, a tonic, a marvelous tranquilizer, to mention but a few of its powers and as a physician I know with absolute cer- tainty that if this drug, which can do so many things, was discovered today in one of our modern medical laboratories, no one could obtain it without a doctor's prescription. And yet over 68 per cent of our teenagers use it today, practically without any exercise of caution; and too often with little concern by their parents. At the hospital I have almost 13,000 case histories of my patients. And history after history almost invariably relates the same begin- ning of this illness as I have penned for you in this article unburdened by strange sounding medical terms. Through my mind pass the faces of, a hundred thousand and more teenagers I have talked with about this disease. Suddenly, at times like this, I feel very weary and very old. Eager To Spread Message From the Gospel there comes to me these words "having they see not--having ears they hear not" and again the cry of help- less anguish. "How long O Lord, how long?" And yet each time I have the opportunity to spread this message, ! am eager to do so. Perhaps, this article will help some young person from some day being ill of this disease. Especially the many teenagers who have blood relatives who drank to excess. And those teenagers who have had a history of liver illness or nervous diseases. To you parents, my mute files of the history of those patient who have gone before us into eternity and those fighting the illness now cry out "Mother and Dad, really help your children on the road to adulthood." The teenager calls out today as Peter called out to Christ long ago to be saved as he was sinking on the watersmand with the self same cry your children cry out "mother, dad (be a good, mother and father), save us lest we perish." Something To Talk About 1. Why do teenagers drink? 2. Should teenagers be served liquor in the home? 3. What do you think of the pledge made at the time of confirmation in which the girl or the boy promises abstinence from alcohol until 21 years of age? Should parents put more emphasis on the taking' and the keeping of this pledge? 4. 'Do the problems relating to the use of alcohol have more significance for teenage girls than for adolescent boys? Explain. 5. Can any parent have assurance in saying: "My daughter (son) wouldn't drink because I've forbidden them to drink"? / --SPONSORS--THIS SERIES OF CCD ARTICLES ARE PUBLISHED THROUGH THE KIND COOPERATION OF THE BALLARD BLOSSOM SHOP 2001 N.W. Market St. Seattle SU 2-4213 FIRMS LISTED BELOW; i iiiii ii L. G. 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