Tough choices over alcoholism

ALCOHOLISM is a disease that blights lives. It can destroy relationships, change the character of the victim, and often makes the sufferer incapable of working.

ALCOHOLISM is a disease that blights lives.

It can destroy relationships, change the character of the victim, and often makes the sufferer incapable of working.

However the financial cost of the disease will come as major surprise to many people with 200 people on incapacity benefit because of their dependency on drink.

People who know chronic alcoholics can usually see it is a disease, but those who are not so familiar with alcoholism can often see it as a self-inflicted condition and will be shocked to learn that their taxes are paying sufferers.

Figures obtained by The Evening Star today show that £4 million a year is being paid in benefits to alcoholics in Suffolk who are unable to work because of their condition.

The 220 recipients of these benefits clearly need treatment, and many people who read about these figures will feel that the benefits should be dependent on their seeking that treatment.

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However anyone who has worked with alcoholics knows that the first step on the long march back has to be the desire of the victim to kick the alcohol habit.

To recover from alcoholism, victims first have to acknowledge they have the condition and then seek help because it's what they want to do.

There is no point in coercing people into seeking treatment - they are then likely to fall off the wagon at the first opportunity.

Also if alcoholics are not given benefits, they are likely to turn to crime or begging in order to satisfy their need for drink.

Alcoholism is a very difficult problem for society to tackle - there is bound to be a high cost associated with whatever the authorities do to deal with it.

PINEWOOD is one of the newest communities to develop in the Ipswich area, but until now there has been no focal point to bring people together.

But now residents can see that they should soon have somewhere to meet as the proposals for a new community centre take a giant leap forward.

New housing developments might provide comfortable homes, but without community facilities there is always the risk that they can become soulless places where everyone lives in their own little box and know little about their neighbours.

Having a well-equipped, thriving community centre is vital to help bring people together - and hopefully the new centre in Pinewood will do just that.

TOWN manager Jim Magilton has some serious bridge-building to do when his squad get back together again next week after club's failure to bring Richard Wright back to Ipswich.

Ever since May he's been telling fans how much he would like Wright back between the sticks at Portman Road - even though the form of young keepers Lewis Price and Shane Supple had never been the greatest concern of supporters last season.

No one can blame Wright for choosing Premiership West Ham rather than Ipswich - especially as he can live in his home town.

But Magilton now has to persuade his talented young keepers that he shares the fans' faith in their abilities.

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