29 Sep 2015


I remember reading one of Neale Donald Walsch's books where it said that alcohol irrespective of the dose impairs the mind. I just read this page long description on alcohol (well mostly alcoholism) and it is eery how accurate it is to me (I used to have a drink problem) and it makes me look at a lot of people differently: people who I didn't think had a drink problem but now I can see that they have (even if most of them can function by and large day-to-day)- including looking at most people in our society generally differently as I recognise now that most people, or the majority of people, are suffering from damage from alcohol to a greater or lesser extent also.

(In Ireland anyway- I will let others judge and comment on their own respective countries.)

I have highlighted what to me really sticks out. Not many people may be interested in reading the whole page.

Here is the article republished:

Alcoholism is a four fold progressive disease

Robin Foote

Alcoholism is a disease of the body, thinking, emotions and spirit. Progressive damage to these four aspects interact in various ways such that a person is increasingly compelled to drink. Also, once drinking starts they cannot 'always' guarantee when they will stop or how much they will drink.

The Body
A genetic predisposition. Fifty percent of alcoholics have an inherited genetic makeup that almost guaranteed they would become alcoholic when they began to drink heavily. For example, the brain chemistry of some children or grandchildren of alcoholics actually encourages heavier drinking.

Alcohol Metabolism. Alcohol is metabolized differently by some people. As a result the body and brain requires more alcohol to have the same effect than normal drinkers would need.

Cell alteration. All heavy drinkers undergo changes at the cellular level of the brain. Where the brain cells meet extra receptor positions grow to receive the heavy dose of alcohol related chemical messengers. When not drinking these extra receptor positions demand to be filled thus creating a craving for alcohol.

Brain damage. Alcohol, in any quantity, is poisonous to brain cells and kills off cells in their millions. The most critically affected parts of the brain are those that deal with short term memory, decision making and rational thinking. Women heavy drinkers develop brain damage with less drinking than men.

Liver Damage. The most common liver disease of alcoholics is cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver. This disease results in reduced and corrupted chemicals being sent to the body which can result in damage to other organs. Women suffer liver damage with less alcohol consumption than men.

Alcoholic Hepatitis (AH). AH is caused by other liver diseases most notably cirrhosis of the liver. More than 60% of persons who develop both AH and cirrhosis will die within four years. AH can cause changes in sleep patterns, mood, and personality; psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression; shortened attention span; and problems with coordination may occur.

Brain Chemicals. The body and especially the brain relies on the liver to filter important body fluids and excrete wastes. As a result of contaminated chemistry from a damaged liver the brain does not function properly. Typically a person will have cloudy and slowed thinking.

Heart Damage. Heavy drinking causes damage to the heart muscles. The heart pumps less blood and an abnormal heart beat may develop. Women suffer heart damage with less alcohol consumed than men.

Skeletal Muscles. Heavy drinking causes muscles in the arms and legs to shrink. For example, an alcoholic may have legs that are out of proportion, skinnier, than the rest of their body. Sufferers may become embarrassed about their body shape.

Cancer. The risk of cancer increases with greater alcohol consumption - more so in women. Cancer can develop in the upper airways, the liver, breasts and the bowels.

Sexual Organs and Sexuality. Heavy alcohol use shrinks the testicles. In men and women the breasts grow larger. Men produce more female hormones and women produce more male hormones. Men become less virile and women become less feminine. As a result a persons sexuality and libido is altered.

They may sense change in their sexuality and over compensate by becoming more sexually active. Indiscriminate or intoxicated sexual activity raises the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases.

As detailed before various damaged body organs and altered chemistry affect how the brain thinks.

This buildup of thinking changes occurs over an extended time period. These small changes are usually unseen by the sufferer. The person reacts by adjusting their reasoning and behavior to accommodate their new ways of thinking. Alcoholics always adjust their thinking in ways that are harmful to themselves. And further, they cannot see the impact of their new coping style.

Typically they begin to adopt a siege mentality. Inner-self feedback, and from other people, indicates they are not quite at one with their 'inner' selves or the person they once were. Their experiences seem to paint a picture to the sufferer that people around them are against them, or are better than them, or are just different from themselves. They become insecure, angry, ashamed, depressed and anxious about their altered attitudes and actions.

This siege mentality generates a self-centered perspective to protect their self concept.
They become takers and non-givers. "I want what I want and I want it now", sort of thing; "I need a drink, now"; regardless of the needs of others. And, when they do not get it they assert themselves even more, becoming more demanding as the disease progresses.

Alcoholics will increasingly try to cope by drinking more alcohol to take away the pain of their perception of being isolated in thinking and behavior. They slowly adopt a denial attitude to their real condition, which they eventually believe is reality for them.

The alcoholic drinks more due to a different brain chemistry and metabolism, has craving for more alcohol due to cell alteration and organ damage, and drinks more to cope with the effects of their changed thinking and behavior. They are drinking to feel normal.

The Emotions
From the above it can easily be seen that their emotions become strained and twisted. They become emotionally dependent on achieving and keeping a state of denial of their true situation. They deny it to themselves and others. If their alcoholism is in threat of being exposed or their alcohol supply is threatened they may protect themselves with anger, bluff, self-pity, manipulation, depression, running away & etc.

They 'feel' as if they must continue their current emotional and thinking stance at all costs. Alcohol has become their best friend and they are loyal to it.

The Spirit
The spirit of a person is the centre of their personality. If, as seen above, the person is not thinking, feeling or acting as their true self would, not aligned with their spiritual self, they are spiritually ill at ease; or dis-eased.

A Solution
The progression of the disease must be arrested by stopping drinking and restoration of health in all four areas - body, thinking, emotions and spirit.

It is the dis-eased spiritual state that is targeted by the most successful treatment service world wide - Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Through the Twelve Steps of recovery each person finds their inner, spiritual self by stripping away the effects of alcoholism and fixing up the wreckage of past thinking and actions. They begin to live a life of freedom from alcohol that has had them enslaved.


19 Jul 2015

UNAIDS 2015 Report

UNAIDS released their 2015 annual report in Addis Ababa in Ethiopa during the week in which they said that they have met the UN Millennium Development Goals target of having 15 million people on antiretroverical drugs for HIV nine months ahead of schedule. They say that there are 19.8 million people in the world who know they have HIV and again that for the first time 15 million of them are on antiretoverical drugs. They believe that there are 36.9 million people with HIV or AIDS in the world but that the other 17 million people are unaware that they have it. They expect that there will be universal coverage of the drugs by the end of the SDGs in 2030. I really hope that it happens a lot sooner though. Getting the people who know they have HIV or AIDS treated has to be the priority. Getting everyone who has HIV treated is as important a goal as making sure everyone has enough food to eat and water to drink.

UNAIDS announces that the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 has been met nine months ahead of schedule | UNAIDS

How AIDS changed everything- MDG6: 15 years, 15 lessons of hope from the AIDS response | UNAIDS (2015)

11 Jul 2015

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 and the Post-2015 International Development Process

Interviews on Global Solidarity and Ar Mhuin na Muice on Near FM and Tuairisc on Raidió na Life with Hans Zomer and Fiona Coyle from Dóchas. (Tá an t-agallamh le Fiona as Gaeilge.)

15 May 2015

Team Hope Ireland Christmas Shoebox Appeal- distribution in Burundi School 2011

It is not Christmas yet but I saw this video today (from 2011) for the first time and it is so inspiring and amazing that I have to share!


2 May 2015

Be aware of the millions of people not being treated for HIV and AIDS today

We all know that HIV is manageable and treatable. In the West people with HIV have access to the anti-retrovirical drugs that manage the illness. If you do not have access to these drugs, or if you present to doctors too late with the illness, you will die of AIDS. I watched a couple of videos on Youtube a while back of people dying with AIDS. One of a young American man who died of AIDS in the 80's when we did not have the anti-retrovirical drugs and who contracted the illness through hetrosexual sex, and another more modern video of a AIDS ward in a country (I forget where exactly) in Africa. Millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries are not receiving the anti-retrovirical drugs.
If We Take This One Step, Bill Gates Says We Could Save 21 Million People From AIDS By 2030 | Huff Post Impact

10 Mar 2015

Raidió Fáilte i 2015

An t-agallamh eile a rinne mé inné ag caint le Fergus Ó hÍr an bainisteoir de Raidió Fáilte i mBéal Feirste. Is agallamh an-fhada ach an-eolasach é ó thaobh Raidió Fáilte!

Alcohol Action Ireland and The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015

A couple of weeks later than I planned but I interviewed Conor Cullen from Alcohol Action Ireland yesterday about the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015! :)

5 Feb 2015

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015

I have spoken to Suzanne Costello the CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland a few times over the last month and I will be interviewing either her or her Communications Officer Conor Cullen sometime on the week of the 16th Feb. I was hoping to get her this week but the bill won't become law for upto or around another year yet so it will do no harm to interview them in another couple of weeks. I personally am happy with the bill planned. There will be more debate about it before it gets signed into law but I cannot forsee any significant changes to it although I could be wrong. I think that getting alcohol advertising banned from the media is even more important than ending the connection with sporting organisations. There will be a review three years after the law comes in looking at the whole question of advertising again. The bill I think is good as a start. It should make a big difference I think over time.

27 Jan 2015

An Fóram Eacnamaíoch Domhanda 2015 agus Oxfam / The World Economic Forum 2015 and Oxfam

Bhuail mé le Sorcha Nic Mhathúna ó Oxfam Éireann ina hArdoifig ar Shráid Chláir Fhada inniu chun caint faoin dtuarascáil a sheol siad an tseachtain seo chaite cúpla lá roimh buaileadh le chéile an Fóram Eacnamaíoch Domhanda in Davos. Tá seoladh na dtuarascáil seo ní ach rud amháin atá ar siúl ag Oxfam Idirnáisiúnta mar chuid den fheachtas Even It Up chun iarraidh an fhadbh le neamhionnais eacnamaíochta domanda a shárú.

I met Sorcha Nic Mhathúna from Oxfam Ireland today in their Headquarters on Thorncastle Street to talk about the report they launched last week a couple of days before the World Economic Forum met in Davos. The launch of this report is just one action as part of Oxfam International's Even It Up campaign to try to overcome the problem of income inequality internationally.

22 Jan 2015

Seoladh Bliain Eorpach na Forbartha / Launch of the European Year for Development 2015

Sheol an tUachtarán Michael D. Higgins an bhliain i gCaisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath inniu. Chuaigh mé ann ar son NearFM & Raidió na Life agus rinne mé sé agallaimh ann leis an tUachtarán Michael D. Ó hUiginn san áireamh. Labhair mé le Fiona Coyle ó Dóchas; le Paula Galvin múinteoir agus gníomhaire sóisialta; le Jim Clarken ó Oxfam Éireann agus le Sharan Kelly ó Tearfund Éireann agus an cathaoirleach reatha de Dóchas freisin.

President Michael D. Higgins launched the year in Dublin Castle today. I went to it for NearFM & Raidió na Life and did six interviews at it including with President Michael D. Higgins. I also spoke to Fiona Coyle from Dóchas; with Paula Galvin a teacher and social activist; with Jim Clarken from Oxfam and with Sharan Kelly from Tearfund and the current chairperson of Dóchas.

16 Jan 2015

11 Visions for Sustainable Development- European Year for Development

I went to the launch of the publication of '11 Visions for Sustainable Development' by the 11 MEP's in the Republic of Ireland today in the European Parliament Offices on Molesworth Street for NearFM and interviewed, in order- Olive Towey the Advocacy Officer of Concern; Mbemba Jabbi the Director of the Africa Centre in Dublin; Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice President of the EU who launched the publication; and Lynn Boylan MEP. Unfortunately there is some friction in the interviews in the podcast. :)

12 Jan 2015

Acht na dTeangacha (2003) agus comharthaí bóithre- cad faoi?

Ríomhthionscadal Cónaithe-Residential E-Project

Rinne mé nuashonrú ar an ríomhthionscadal cónaithe a thosaigh mé i 2009 le déanaí. Buíochas le Justin Ó Scanaill as ucht an cabhair arís!

Ríómhthionscadal Cónaithe

Residential E-Project 

Ceantair cónaithe le hainmneacha i nGaeilge / Residential areas with names in Irish 

Just so you know I reuploaded the as Béarla press-statement a couple of years ago. It had got over 2,000 views so that means that my e-project/the statement with it has been viewed to date (January 2015) by around 4,000 people.

Olltogchán General Election 2016

I started a Dublin West election thread for the GE in my area last week. It is worth checking out occassionely if you live in the area. The Dublin West threads are amongst the small number of better threads on that website.



Micheál Martin made a great point when interviewed on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday that he would prioritise funding to services before (small) tax cuts etc. in future budgets. As he said what is the point in a lot of people having an extra €200 a year (which a lot of if not most don't of course since the last budget with Irish Water also coming in) and they can't access decent services. I agree with him of course.

Even it Up

The inequality in Ireland and in most countries in the world is actually unbelievable. Even if we in Ireland and other Western countries are not dying of starvation like in some countries in the Sahel in Africa the level or degree of inequality in Ireland is unbelievable. A drive around Dublin and other cities will tell you that.

Anyway Oxfam Interntional launched a huge new campaign and report a couple of months ago called "Even it Up" to try to change the shocking level of inequality around the world- in rich countries and poor- and I interviewed Sorcha Nic Mhathúna from Oxfam Ireland about it. (Tá an dara agallamh as Gaeilge.)

Gorta- Self Help Africa

Gorta Ireland's oldest overseas development NGO merged a few months ago with Self Help Africa and they are now called Gorta-Self Help Africa in Ireland and Self-Help Africa in Africa. They work in ten African countries and hope to help three million people to help themselves in these countries in 2015! They do great work and I am happy to help them as a volunteer in Ireland. :)

The Hope Foundation

Seo hé agallamh a rinne mé anuraidh le Róisín Higgins saorálaí leis The Hope Foundation in Kolkata san India. Déanann siad obair iontacha le páistí ann!

Toilets & Sanitation in Developing Countries

I first became aware of this issue even existing only around two years ago. I have since interviewed two specialists on it- Niall Roche a WASH specialist and lecturer on global health and Brynne Gilmore from the Irish Forum for Global Health and the Centre for Global Health at Trinity College (interviews below) and I also discussed the topic with Claire Lynch of Aidlink who works on this matter in Uganda and with Hans Zomer when discussing the recent Millennium Developments Goals Report and the post-2015 International Development Goals targets.

Snáitheanna Gaeilge faoi chúrsaí idirnáisiúnta

Tá roinnt snáithe idirlíne tosaithe agam trí mheán na Gaeilge le os cionn dhá bhliain anuas faoi chúrsaí idirnáisiúnta:

Géarchéim sa tSiria- Tuairisc Raidió na Life

Tuilleadh foinsí nuachta Gaeilge:



Community & Voluntary & Development Sector on Social Media

If anyone wants to show that you work in the Community & Voluntary & Development Sector I started a Linkedin and Facebook page called just that so we can display on our profiles on those social media sites that we work in the sector.



Seinnliosta Youtube-Youtube Playlist: The Global Goals / Na Spriocanna Domhanda

The Sustainable Development Goals #SDGs

Help your own country



I still think we need the International Development NGO's though of course. It can be easy to forget about it for me interviewing mostly Irish people from the development sector, but I think that most staff working for the Dev NGO's abroad are actually from those countries.