Human beings have used alcoholic beverages for thousands of years. People use alcohol at mealtime, during social gatherings, and in religious ceremonies. Beer and ale are made by fermentation of grains and malt; hops are sometimes added. Most contain 4-7% alcohol. Wine is made by fermentation of grapes and other fruit. Dinner wine contains 9-14% alcohol and dessert wines, such as port and sherry, contain 18-21% alcohol.
Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for teenagers. Alcohol-related car accidents are the number one killer of teenagers. Only 3-5% of alcoholics are what we consider to be bums.
One beer, one glass of wine, and one shot of whiskey have the same amount of alcohol. A person suffering from alcoholism can't stop drinking because he or she depends on alcohol to function. The faster alcohol is consumed, the faster it affects the body. When a person drinks, alcohol enters the blood stream and the body begins to burn the alcohol. Alcohol ages the brain. A persons' health, happiness, safety, and longevity are affected by alcohol.
When people are intoxicated, they show emotional signs such as erratic behavior, impaired thinking and judgement, confusion, disorientation, moodiness, and exaggerated fear, anger, etc. Physical signs include slower reactions, staggering, slurred speech, double vision, and the inability to stand or walk. A person can vomit and have incontinence, become unconscious or go into a coma.
The earlier that alcoholism is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance for recovery. A relapse doesn't mean treatment has failed. Sometimes a relapse convinces a person with alcoholism that abstinence is the only safe alternative.

1. Alcoholism-A Treatable Disease, Channing L. Bete Co., Inc. 1994
2. Teenage Drinking, P.R.I.D.E.