In the news, Lindsay Lohan and Tara Conner (AKA Miss
Lindsay Lohan was lambasted last fall by Morgan Creek Productions for unprofessional behavior. She arrived late on the set occasionally from partying the night before, but consider that movie stars have to arrive on set at 5-8 AM, way earlier than when most JMU classes start. Tara Conner got drunk the night she won the Miss USA paegent: that sounds as good as an excuse to drink as any.
The National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse defines alcoholism by the following.
1. Craving -- A strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
2. Impaired control -- The inability to limit one's drinking on any given occasion.
3. Physical dependence -- Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking.
4. Tolerance -- The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects
Also www.about.com defines alcoholism as interfering with your daily life, so for people like Lindsay Lohan and Tara Conner whose daily lives are much more demanding, whereas our daily lives at JMU involve drinking as an almost mandatory 13th credit.
Looking at these, someone exhibiting #4 tolerance is cheered, praised, and worshipped by his fellow collegians. You could go so far as to say that developing tolerance isn’t considered the sign of a disease as it is a training goal for a frequent drinker. But seriously, none of these are detectable if you are drinking every day, and the average JMU student has the opportunity to drink in a large social public setting at least 4 days a week:
My friend is a bartender and I asked him what an alcoholic is like, and he says you can tell who they are because they have a sort of tic when they walk into the bar before they get their drink. That’s more along point #4. If you have regular access to alcohol and you get your daily fix, who would notice in a million years if you were an alcoholic?
At JMU, you get more crap for not drinking enough than you do for drinking too much. I don’t drink too much, not for any major reason, but I can’t tell you how riled up people got at the alien concept of me being at a party on a Friday night and deciding not to drink. Drunk people would be in their quasi-friendly mode, put their arm around me, and yell with drunken breath: “Have a beer,” “Come on, have a beer,” “Now.” It’s really more obnoxious than friendly.
In fact, you could make the point that it’s pretty hard to avoid alcohol if you wanted to at JMU. Most clubs and productions don’t schedule things on Friday and Saturday night because they can’t compete with the drinking crowd. Perhaps, that’s why Campus Crusade has such a strong presence at JMU, because there’s such a large current to fight.
I’m not necessarily bashing alcohol use, that is the holy grail of JMU life and would be sacrilege to do so, but that’s just some food for thought.