Men, Alcohol and Abuse

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Often, in articles and posts about men and alcohol, you see numbers, such as how many drinks per day are “safe” for a man (which varies according to what source you use.) The amount for a woman is usually listed as well. Or, you might find information on the effect of alcohol on a man’s fertility, for example. But this post is comes after the start of the #MeToo movement, so it’s about the violence that occurs when certain men drink, especially those in positions of power. It’s a topic that has been in the news lately. It’s also relevant in a blog on addiction since high-level executives are occasionally in the news for alcohol use disorder.

Note: It’s well-established that women, as well, can be violent when they drink. This is not to excuse them or say that only men are violent when they drink. And couples can become violent with each other when they drink to excess. But again, this post is informed by the #MeToo movement.

Powerful Men Drinking

One noted journalist who recently wrote an article called “First the Drinks, Then the Hitting,” in the hard copy of The New York Times (online copy may have a different headline), began by mentioning “educated, affluent” women and “a certain cultural panic” that exists around the amount of their drinking (and is often written or talked about in the media). “There is no corollary for men from a similar demographic position,” she says. Indeed, Eric Schneiderman’s “fall from grace” – he was the New York attorney general before he resigned– brought to the forefront the problem of affluent and powerful men drinking and becoming physically abusive toward several women. One of his accusers noted that he was a heavy drinker—having two bottles of wine and then taking a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom and getting “plastered,” which happened five nights a week according to her. (Why the girlfriends stayed with him is head-scratching, but that’s a subject for another time.)

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Alcohol Intervention

There’s an unspoken supposition in magazines and other media today, according to the article. Women are depicted as worried about going too far when they drink, as a result of the pressures of work and parenthood, while men’s magazines “still pay reverence to the cocktail culture [for men].” The underlying assumption is that men who have succeeded know something about self-regulation, but apparently many don’t. Schneiderman is not the only powerful man to be accused of physically abusing girlfriends or wives; there’s also former White House aide Rob Porter and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Abhishek Gattani, but the others weren’t described as being inebriated when the abuse allegedly happened.

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Schneiderman has tried to say that he was engaged in consensual relationships involving role playing or rough sex. But in an article on bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, practitioners say that his sexual encounters and those of former Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri “bear little resemblance to consensual B.D.S.M. encounters.” Not only that, B.D.S.M practitioners warn against “partaking in violent sexual activity while drinking alcohol or taking drugs.” You can cause serious damage if you don’t have your faculties about you. The World Health Organization calls this type of abuse Intimate Partner Violence and says that alcohol consumption, especially at harmful and hazardous levels, is a major contributor. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says, “Individuals with alcohol problems attack more frequently, are more likely to inflict serious injury, are more likely to commit sexual assaults, and are more likely to be violent outside of the home than are batterers without a substance abuse history.” More people need to get the message and know that they’ll be prosecuted when victims comes forward. For more information on our drug and alcohol rehab programs please call (866) 569-9391.